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Do not be afraid. Just have faith. Mark 5:36

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Offer It Up! Monday, February 28, 2011

Sirach 17:22-24

Who in the nether world can glorify the Most High in place of the living who offer their praise? Dwell no longer in the error of the ungodly, but offer your praise before death. No more can the dead give praise than those who have never lived; you who are alive and well shall praise and glorify God in his mercies.
How great the mercy of the LORD, his forgiveness of those who return to him!

The light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing,
stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to
exit her car with her hands up... He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the
door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting
officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, ''I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind
your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front
of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me To Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish Emblem on the trunk, so naturally....I assumed you had stolen the car.'' author unknown

Sound like anyone you know? Maybe it’s all too familiar a scene to you, though not exactly as presented what with all the bumper stickers, emblems and such and let’s not forget the hand signals and colorful language either.

Whether in or out of your vehicle, would there be enough evidence left at the end of your day to convict you of your convictions as a believer?

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.


Offer It Up! Sunday, February 27, 2011

Psalm 1:1-4, 6

Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, but delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night.
He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.
Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.

We must walk through life with our eyes open.

We must understand why we make the friends we make or hang around in the places we frequent.

We must choose wisely where we go for advice and who we listen to.

We must decide how often we allow ourselves, if at all, a “break” from life and how we go about taking that break.

We must stand firm when it comes to taking a moral or ethical stance on an issue.We cannot allow ourselves to be blown about like the wind in accepting the latest theory or “truth” about something.

Doing so allows us to be satisfied and grow.

Doing so allows us to help others to walk, understand, choose, decide and stand firm, which in turn makes us a stronger community of believers.

Doing so allows us to prosper in so many wonderful ways.

lgboyd

Sirach 5:1-6

Rely not on your wealth; say not: “I have the power.”
Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart. Say not: “Who can prevail against me?” or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?” for God will surely exact the punishment. Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” for the Most High bides his time. Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin.


Offer It Up! Saturday, February 26, 2011


Sirach 5:14-17

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;

he who finds one finds a treasure.

A faithful friend is beyond price,

no sum can balance his worth.

A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy,

such as he who fears God finds;

For he who fears God behaves accordingly,

and his friend will be like himself.

Friends

I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travelers to go

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything's all right

It seems to me a crime that we should age
These fragile times should never slip us by
A time you never can or shall erase
As friends together watch their childhood fly

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything's all right

Elton John/Bernie Taupin


Offer It Up! Friday, February 25, 2011


Mark 10:5-9

But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate."

Today's gospel from Mark, is again the encounter of Jesus with the Scribes and Pharisees, where they ask about why Moses allowed divorce. Jesus points out that is because of hard-heartedness.
We 21st century Catholics would do well to reflect on the Scriptures that deal with marriage. It seems we have in the main forgotten that marriage is a Sacrament. We don't seem to grasp the wonder of our vocation as husbands called to love as Christ loved. I wonder if perhaps we are so out of touch with the wonder of Jesus the Christ and what he has called us to be that we just don't get it.


Are we caught up in a culture that has sees love in a completely different light than what Jesus teaches?


We are called to a vocation of love. We are called into relationship with a woman that completes us as man and completes her as woman. The union of male and female in marriage brings unity and the call to love as God loves. The union of wife and husband lived as close to God's plan, symbolizes God's love. Each day we are given the opportunity transform our lives, our hearts, to cooperate with God's grace in this sacrament and witness to what love is. Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church. To be a MAN who is courageous enough to love as unconditionally as God loves. What a challenge! What a call to friendship with the Lord who will support any man in his sincere effort to LOVE.


Pope John Paul insisted in his teachings on the relationships of man and woman, that it is the vocation of every man to guard the dignity of women. Each of us who are living our lives in the vocation of marriage are called to guard and protect the dignity of the woman who is our complement, who is the one who completes us. How can we live out this vocation without the graces of the Sacrament? How can we husbands and wives do our best to love one another so completely as to always see as our goal eternal life with God for the one we have united ourselves to in love for life?


In our Catholic family of the 21st century, we can ask Jesus the same question the Pharisees did as we face a divorce rate among Catholics that is practically the same as any other groups of people.
And the word of Jesus should challenge all of us to action, to renewal, to conversion, to a deeper search for love, "In the beginning it was not so...... "Jesus goes all the way back to creation and points to God's plan for us. Male and Female he created them, In his image he created them male and female, what God has joined no one should split....

We all of pray for vocations, we need priests. As we pray we must also live as Holy Families, creating environments fully aware of the presence of God in all aspects of our lives, striving to love our wives, our children, as God has loved us. Oh we will have moments of not meeting the mark; we will always need to work at overcoming sin in our lives. In order for that to happen we need to be men of prayer and witnesses to love.
At this time we have WHY CATHOLIC? groups that are a support if we participate in them wholeheartedly. It is an opportunity to come together and share the joys, the sorrows, the difficulties, the successes of living our Faith in Christ Jesus. As we learn about the Church, its history, what it has said and says over time, we discover hopefully what it means to enter into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. To what avail is being a Catholic if we only go through the motions of wearing the badge of belonging to a Church, if we do not seriously seek to live as disciples. We are on a mission. That mission begins when we are given life in a particular family dedicated to living the Life of Christ. We honor the call to love when we become co-creators with God bring children to life. When we accept the challenge and have them baptized we bring them into the family of God and we are the primary educators in the ways of faith. In our homes we show them the way to the Father. We surround them with love, the love we have for each other as fathers and mothers. We introduce them to the ways of God, as pray with them. Mealtime prayers, Bedtime prayers, prayers in times of Joy, prayers in times of difficulty always seeking to love and to give thanks to God for all the wonder of His love.


In my sin-filled life, God has been merciful and forgiving. Despite my repeated failures always, always God reaches out in love. His faithfulness is beyond understanding. Slowly oh so slowly I respond to His love and make some little progress in being an obedient and hopefully loving child. Perhaps because I find it so difficult to forgive myself, I remain at a distance from his awful love. Lord, I am not worthy....that makes more sense to me most of the time. But, even in my unworthiness, faith makes clear to me the wondrous love of God, so clearly made manifest in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Lord, in my unworthiness you remain ever faithful, always seeking to probe my inmost thoughts. You are always present to strengthen my in times of temptation, and you are merciful and forgiving when I falter and fail to be all you will me to be. Pour forth your Holy Spirit, Lord, may the Spirit be my strength and guide to holiness of life. Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Thursday, February 24, 2011


Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Not that big of a stretch to handle.

Before you utter a word, before you place a prayer in your heart, let all you do begin with His acceptance. And you do this by living in such a way that you start thinking of the way you live and then living by the way you think. Rightly, of course.

The way you think is His Way, not yours. His Good News. Prayer. Denying of self. Bearing burdens in His name. All acceptable in His sight. Thus, His Way will be the way of refuge. His Way will lead you to redemption. A way of life. A real way. His Way to eternity.

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting


Offer It Up! Wednesday, February 23, 2011


God added:
“This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come,
of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.”Genesis 9:12-13

Traffic crawls
Cell Phone Calls
Talk radio screams at me through my tinted window
I see a little girl, rust red minivan
She's got chocolate on her face
Got little hands, and she waves at me, yeah she smiles at me.

Well Hello World
How you been?
Good to see you my
old friend
Sometimes I feel, Cold as steel
Broken like I'm never gonna heal
I see a light, a little hope in a
little girl, Well HELLO WORLD

Everyday I drive by a little white church,
its got these little white crosses like angels in the yard
Maybe I should stop on in, say a prayer
Maybe talk to God like he is there
Oh I know he's there, Yeah I know he's there

Well Hello World
How you been?
Good to see you my old friend,
Sometimes I feel as Cold as steel
And broken like I'm never gonna heal
I see a light, a little grace, little faith unfurl.
Well Hello World

Sometimes I forget what living's for, And I hear my life through my front door,
and I'll be there,
oh I'm home again
I See my wife, little boy, little girl, Hello World

Hello World
All the empty disappears
I remember why I'm here
Just surrender and believe
I fall down on my knees
Oh Hello World, Hello World, Hello World

“Hello World” Lady Antebellum. Songwriters: Douglas, Tom; Lane, Tony; Lee, David

Even when life does not feel right, we need to Thank Him for all that we have and all that we are.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Thoughts on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

He prayed… Father, if it is possible let this cup be passed by. If there is another way to save humanity, let it be done. But, not my will but Thy will be done!

As I sit in the silence I am struck by Jesus’ conversation with the Father and with wonder, that a loving God would seemingly allow his Son to suffer such humiliation in nakedness and torture and to die such a ignominious death on the cross.


I reflect on Jesus’ birth, the incarnation, the taking of human flesh and life by our God. Is this perhaps a key to understanding the mystery of the Cross? In becoming the man Jesus, was God not taking on all of humanity male and female? By becoming one of us, creatures, God assumed all the conditions of the human creature. He came to save us by renewing mankind as the second Adam. Does His passion and death signify the destruction of sinful humanity?

After the flood, God indicated He would never destroy man that way again. In this new covenant in Jesus, is this the necessary way to save humanity?
By dying, is it a destruction of all the failures of mankind, and in rising, recreating mankind in Christ? In baptism we believe and profess that we die to sin and are raised to new life in Christ Jesus, we are indeed children of God, brothers and sisters of the Risen Lord, united to Him in a new covenant. As we listen these last weeks to the periscopes from the Sermon on the Mount, we are invited by Christ Jesus to look more profoundly into the depths of our hearts, to discover where in our living we are in constant need of transformation, of growth, of learning about love as He has taught us.


Too often in life the emotions, the feelings, the periphery of love has taken hold of me and led me into side roads on the journey, and the need has always been to seek guidance to reestablish that I am back on the way, in truth. This 7th Sunday of the year, Jesus reminds me to love my enemies, I respond by imagining and even asking if this cup could pass me by… Isn't there an easier way? And, as I gaze at the Lord himself in The Garden, I know in faith there is no other way.

Love calls me, calls us, to love. Love calls us to look to the other. Love calls us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Truly take up your cross and follow me. The journey will be arduous, but the transformation will lead you to an eternity you cannot even imagine.

Lord, I can only trust in you, and ask that you be my constant aide in living as You will. Let Your will be my will. Grant that I may use always the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and recognize daily the Fruits of the Holy Spirit that are made visible in living a holy life. Deliver me from any false pride. Let me always see in everyone Your image in which we were all created. Let my daily prayer be with
Jesus, that all may be ONE. Come, be my life.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Monday, February 21, 2011


Hebrews 11:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s.
Through this, he was attested to be righteous, God bearing witness to his gifts, and through this, though dead, he still speaks.

God bears witness to everything that we do, say, feel, and act upon.We bear witness to all that He does for us in return. While we could argue that it is easier for God to bear witness of us, than it is for us to bear witness of His love to us in return, just look around. In spite of the sin in our lives and the mistakes we’ve made, we still get out of bed each day and get to start anew.

Yes, God is God and we are not. And because of that, He can bear witness to more things and have that perfect perspective that we do not have. What we do have is faith – faith that even though we can’t see it all like God can, He knows what is happening and will perform His perfect will in our lives.

So what did Abel do that Cain did not? Why was Abel’s gift considered one of faith and sacrifice and Cain’s was not? I would venture to say that it had more to do with where Abel’s focus was. Abel was focused on God. He desired to serve and give to God in the best possible ways. Cain seemed to be focused on himself and how he compared to others. Cain was setting himself up for a strong dose of jealousy toward his brother.

And, in spite of the fact that they are both dead and gone, their story is still read and discussed and analyzed to this day. Think about it – Cain and Abel’s story is one that took place almost at the beginning of time – the beginning of the world and God’s creation. Yet, here we are, still reading about it and talking about it. Our actions and our words can have an everlasting effect on ourselves and those we encounter. We would do well to follow in Abel’s footsteps and always desire to stay focused on God.lgboyd

Psalm 145:10-11

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.


Offer It Up! Sunday, February 20, 2011


Offer it up! What? Your life. Look at the beauty of life and realize from whence it came. Each day as the light awakens hope, as faith urges us into the fray, as love brings us together in God's peace, offer it up.
You don't have to, it isn't a requirement, nor a command. But, it is a response in love to love.

God is love. Let that phrase linger in your psyche today, may it seem blazoned before your eyes, and may you hear a still small voice repeating...God is love. We long for love, but we too often fail to take time to seek to know in the depths of our being …what love is…

I believe there is not greater challenge for everyman than to discover truly what God has in store for those who love him.

During the Lenten Season I hope many will take the opportunity to make Scripture daily conversation with the Lord. A Lenten long deep meditation on Matthew Chapters 5-7. The Sermon on the mount: Read it in its entirety, reflect on those words of Jesus that call us to holiness of life.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Saturday, February 19, 2011


Genesis 8:20-22

And Noah built an altar unto the LORD…

And the LORD smelled a sweet savor; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Noah trusted the Lord.He obeyed his commands, as crazy as they may have seemed to him at the time.He built an ark, gathered animals (scary ones at that), and waited and endured.Then, when it was all over, he built an altar to the Lord and thanked Him for saving his life and that of his family.In return, the Lord stopped to savor Noah’s sacrifices to Him and to determine what was best for us, in spite of our sinful hearts.Noah’s action resulted in a “sweet savor” to the Lord.If only we could all aspire to become such a beautiful thing in God’s eyes.

Were Noah’s actions really crazy?Perhaps they only seem crazy to us because we see the situation through different eyes.What if we looked at it from a different angle?Sometimes that still, small voice tells us to do things that may seem crazy at the time, but in hindsight, it was the best thing we could have ever done.Maybe it involves moving to a new town or state, maybe it involves changing careers, maybe it means living your daily life a little differently, maybe it means loving someone from a distance or in a different way, maybe it means that you simply STOP what you are doing and wait for more direction.

In bustle so little is accomplished. You must learn to take the calm

with you in the most hurried days. God Calling

It is really a matter of trust.Do we trust ourselves more than God?If we do, we might want to rethink that, even though it may seem crazy to trust what we cannot see. It will all become perfectly clear, as we open our eyes to Him, just as Noah opened up the ark, built an altar and praised God for his safe journey through the storm.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is
stayed on You: because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3


Offer It Up! Friday, February 18, 2011


Mark 8:34-9-1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

We all have our crosses to bear. If not, we’re obviously not doing something right.

Physical pain. Emotional scars. Daily doldrums. Even our children, family and friends—work—can be a cross we are called to bear. Life would not be all that we would have to enjoy were it not for those crosses. How would we know what was ‘good’ if there was nothing to show us that life was not so good?

Yes, the saints we speak of today, those that gave their lives for their beliefs, they carried their crosses as martyrs for that is what they were—life-givers for the sake of Christianity. Today, we are life-givers in a different way. True, we may be called to give our life for that of another for what we believe but along with that, we are also called to share what we believe as disciples. Our ministries. Our vocations. Evangelization. And when we are on those paths, stuff happens that will then remind us of the crosses we carry.

Maybe you’ve heard of people that when they carry their cross or particular cross, they may seem to have grasped the horizontal bar of the cross—the worldly connection. They realize that though they are of this world, they don’t necessarily have to live in it according to what the ‘world’ says. What they may be lacking on the other hand, is the vertical connection—the piece that takes them from the world to the heavenly kingdom. They get one part but not the other. And not that there is a whole lot wrong with that but it can lead to an unsettling spiritual life until the two pieces are in accord.

And that accord is not always easy to ascertain. But with prayer, trust, sacrifice and persistence, none of us will be giving up our lives for anything less than God’s eternal kingdom.


Offer It Up! Thursday, February 17, 2011


Mark 8:32-33

He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

With Peter’s ‘misstep’, Jesus cautions us all to put aside our earthly thoughts and put ourselves more in line with the kingdom He has planned for us in heaven with His Father.

Like Peter did, for sure there are times when we probably feel like giving Him a piece of our mind—and when we do, we should go ahead do just that. He’s capable of handling it. And then some. Those thoughts are our reaching out for help just as Peter’s thoughts were.

And so we pray and press on.

Below is a prayer just for those occasions to help make us small...er

Enfold Me in Your Heart

Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart;

and there hold me, refine, purge, and set me on fire,

raise me aloft, until my own self knows utter annihilation

From Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ


Offer It Up! Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Mark 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

I can see clearly now the rain/spittle is gone…

That could have been what the blind man was thinking after the second laying of the hands. And no, Jesus was not holding back nor was He mistaken in His first attempt at helping the man see; the blind man’s faith needed some bolstering before he could take in the fullness of all Jesus had to offer him.

When things don’t quite seem what they need to be for us, just as people looking like trees—and walking, we would do well to be checking in on our faith. We need to further submit ourselves to the path He has for us.

He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.

Sometimes we are blinded by the worldly methods of our way of life and our way of thinking, often leading to a dilution of our faith. That would just about the time we would/should be holding out/up our hand(s) for some guidance and help. Just as the blind man did. He had enough faith to believe Jesus could something for him. He just didn’t know how much He could do. Again, a lot like us. We do know that Jesus can do so much for us but how much do we let Him? And how much do we really believe He will?


Offer It Up! Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Mark 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

The best laid plans can still have a hole or two in them. If you don’t think that’s true, how often have you gone on a vacation or trip and not forgotten something? Did you leave the stove on? Is there enough water for the dog? Or putting together a kid’s bicycle or rocking horse on Christmas Eve and missed a washer or screw somewhere? We could compulse about the lists of things we could forget if we were to go on.

The disciples had a bit of that going on themselves it seems. They started out on their journey and realized the food, their own daily bread, was not going to be enough. Right then, they went into their own way of thinking, not comprehending who was with them and what He had done in their presence in past experiences. They were caught up in the immediacy of the moment and not the overall scheme of things: God is in control.

That is so much like today. Where did that file go? Am I going to close on this house? So where does that extra washer go on that rocking horse? And what were they going to do for food, asked the disciples? As diametrically opposed as those thoughts might be, God had and has them all under control. We need to let Him be God. By giving ourselves up to Him and to His plans for us, we will find just as the disciples did that we will be nourished beyond our wants and filled with all we need. And no, we don’t have to understand it or Him. We just have to know that He is God. And that will be enough to know.


Offer It Up! Monday, February 14, 2011


Mark 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.

Show us a sign! Lord, give me a sign. The Scribes and Pharisees wanted signs and I believe most of us today are also looking for signs. As we approach life perhaps we are looking for signs that simply will show some approval for our living the way we want to and according to our own wills. Does Jesus then depart and go to another shore? In Mark’s gospel, it seems to indicate that He did leave the sign seekers.

However, even in seeking a sign the Scribes and Pharisees had an agenda, they had already decided the answers and no matter what sign was given, if it didn't satisfy their prejudices, they would not have accepted Jesus' teaching. They had the answers and no one was going to change their minds.

Can we possibly be like them? What sign can we seek when we have the Lord Himself, coming to us even as food? Bread for our living. Bread for our dying.
During the past few years we have been actively reaching out and receiving signs of the Holy Spirit's presence in Christ Renews His Parish. The action of the Holy Spirit is visible in the lives of the people who are continuing to proclaim the Lord in their lives. Outreach is now a part of our efforts and with humility we acknowledge the gifts and generosity of all those able and willing to proclaim the gospel message to whom the Lord calls. As his instruments we can pray with Saint Francis: ...Lord, Make me an instrument. Let me be all that you call me to be.

All this requires that all of us continue to exercise our spiritual muscles, and faithfully each day be with the Lord in conversation, prayer, and listening to His voice as we immerse ourselves in His word. As Lent approaches I would remind us all that in this year of the Gospel of Matthew, we would do well to spend time preparing for Lent, and during Lent, immersing ourselves in the Sermon on the Mount. Chapters 5 through 7 of Matthew’s Gospel. To spend enough time reading and rereading and meditating on Jesus’ words, so that we can deepen our understanding of the Good News and understand our own motivations as His disciples and indeed as children of God the Father.

If you perchance read this entry to Offer It Up, consider that God has led you to this juncture and consider making it a plan to make Lent a time of intensely seeking to be with the Lord. We Catholics usually SACRIFICE during Lent. This Lent consider not giving up something; consider rather actively adding to your busy schedule a regular time of prayer, with the Scriptures every day. Prepare now and for the next weeks to examine our lives and seek the sacrament of reconciliation.

COME LET US SING TO THE LORD AND SHOUT WITH JOY TO THE ROCK WHO SAVES US!

Deacon


Offer It Up! Sunday, February 13, 2011


Sirach 15:17-20

Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Immense is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power, and all-seeing.
The eyes of God are on those who fear him; he understands man’s every deed.
No one does he command to act unjustly, to none does he give license to sin.

God’s will. God’s way.

God’s way. God’s will.

He does give us free will. We do have the choice to live in His light and life everlasting or the darkness and death in the fires of hell. With all His wisdom—and He does have all there is—He still lets us call our own shots.

We may not understand what He wants for us right now. Yet that is really the beauty of living in His Way. Leaving the journey in His hands. Who better to trust and who better to guide us? All ways are good that He will lead us, provided our choices are those that follow the commandments He has laid before us.

How great is our God as He waits for us to answer His call. Every day we can answer that call and grow closer to Him and His wisdom. Today you are closer than you were yesterday. Tomorrow, if given that opportunity, will be yet another chance. So stay with what He has given you—today. He will take care of what you need from here on out. Provided you make the choice to go with His will, His way.


Offer It Up! Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Margaret!

Happy Birthday Rena!


Gen. 1:6

The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Sin.That word that no one wants to hear or acknowledge.We don’t like to think about sin in our lives so there are usually two ways of responding to it – we either beat ourselves up constantly for it, or we tend to walk around with a “so what…get over it” approach.Or, we attempt what Adam and Eve did; we try to hide the sin in our lives from God.That didn’t work out so well for Adam and Eve and it doesn’t work out so well for us either.

It is not hard to find sin in our lives.As humans, we are drawn to it because it offers some kind of temporary gain or satisfaction.Sometimes we grow impatient with circumstances in our lives and take matters into our own hands to try to fix it.Sometimes, like being drawn to that yummy piece of chocolate cake, we are drawn to sin because it looks way too good to pass up.

Like Adam and Eve, we can try to justify our sin – it is good for us, it seemed like a good idea at the time, or it even appeared to be the noble thing to do.But if that still small voice in our heads tells us that we are only doing it for ourselves, or we doing it at the expense of someone else,then we must examine what we are doing and why we are doing it.

We can try to hide it, brush it aside, or internally beat ourselves up, but in the end, until we confess our sin and accept it as a part of our lives, it is not going to help us; it is going to hurt us.Thankfully, God forgives. Thankfully, God does not hold a grudge.Thankfully, God knows how to help us right the wrong. lgboyd

Psalm 32:1-2, 5

Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin.


Offer It Up! Friday, February 11, 2011


Mark 7:34-37

…then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, "Ephphatha!", that is, "Be opened!"

And immediately the man's ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.

He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, "He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Jesus doeth all things well.

Of course the people are going to proclaim the Good News. How can they not?

‘Don’t tell anybody I told you this but…’

‘Now you didn’t hear this from me but…’

‘He told me not to say anything but this is just way too great…’

Maybe they didn’t go about just like that but sometimes, don't we get carried away in our own excitement when things happen to and around us? And yes, we are often reminded not to say anything about those incidents but we are overcome with wonder and awe (or a complete disregard for someone’s wishes) and go about and spread the news. Shame on the gossip; God bless the Good News.

Some would say there is a difference between the two-news and gossip. I would have to agree as rumors and gossip are not the best ways to communicate and should be avoided. But when miracles happen, how can we not? The birth of a child. The healing of a sick friend or family member. The mending of a broken relationship. Any and all miracles that happen to us that we are called to share.

Our faith is what keeps us opened to the miracles around us. We have to remove those impediments that keep us from seeing and hearing-if not receiving-them. The deeper our faith becomes, the more likely we are to handle the circumstances and 'obstacles.'

As the deaf man was made to hear, we too will be open to hear God’s call to us.

Ephphatha!


Offer It Up! Thursday, February 10, 2011


Mark 7:24-30

Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

She was an outsider as she was not of the chosen people. And it seems as if Jesus had other things on His mind at the time she was begging for His merciful help. Yet she persisted courageously, albeit with a little chutzpah. She was determined to do what she could to save her child. And Jesus saw her faith grow and healed her daughter—her persistence and dare was rewarded.

So, how often do we feel as if we are on the outside when it comes to our relationship with Jesus our Savior? Are we like the woman and persist in our faith as we offer up in prayer all those for whom we pray? Do we pray with the enthusiasm the woman showed as she begged for His healing power? Of course not. We are always on our best game with all of our prayers… right? No rushing through, going through the motions with the daily routine stuff just to get them done. He deserves the best and we should deliver our best for Him.

Yet it does not always happen that way. And we sort of get embarrassed right there in front of God and, well, God, and find ourselves making excuses then not pray so much since we ‘just go through the motions’ anyway. Then more than ever we need to get with our prayer life stronger than before. Before we get even more on the ‘outside’ of where we belong. Take the courageous steps that the woman took—fall at His feet and beg for His mercy. He will bring you back inside where you belong. Just as He did her. And just as He healed her daughter, He will heal you too.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Cyndi!

Happy Birthday Brad!


Mark 7:14-23

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”

When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”

Maybe something like this took place after Jesus spoke to the crowd…

Jesus: ‘You guys don’t get it, do you?’

Disciples: ‘Well, not really. No… no we don’t.’

Jesus: ‘What is it that is puzzling you?’

Disciples: ‘Oh, just that part from the beginning to the end.’

I don’t know about you, but I am often the same way. As much as I do comprehend of what is written in Scripture, there is much I do not. Mark Twain had a good quote just about that:

‘Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture they don’t understand. What have always bothered me are those passages that I do understand.’

I am sure it has turned up somewhere on these pages before-no harm in that than to say that we should all take heart and care with Scripture we do know more about. The rest we can build on from there.

GIGO.

Garbage in, garbage out.

If a man lets into his heart the darkness, then what will come out? What is worse: to let in ‘unclean foods’ or to live with ‘unclean’ heart? Neither is too good for us but to live in the darkness is far worse-it will lead to spiritual death.

Get out of the darkness and get rid of the garbage and get into the light.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Genesis 1:30-31, 2:1-4

And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed–the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.

How it all came together to begin with.

And how it continues to all come together today.

And all for the good of those that love Him.

Not only did He bless the days, He has blessed us and given us the world He made. What do we do in return for His gift? Do we slow down enough to take in what He has shared with us? Do we rush through the day and rush through the lives around us?

There is love and beauty in all He has made. Our response and gift to God is to let His world become our own story of love. Of who we are and how we share ourselves as His creation. Hear Him, see Him, touch Him and Know Him in all that He has given.

That would be a story worth repeating.


Offer It Up! Monday, February 7, 2011


Mark 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

When the people recognized Jesus and his disciples, they scurried from towns and villages to be where they were. They brought many who were in need of physical or spiritual healing so that they might simply touch the hem of Jesus' garment and be healed. Such faith was rewarded, the Gospel tells us, that they received healing. As we read and meditate on the gospel accounts, can we not imagine their faith and perhaps even long for what they experienced in being able to come into the presence of Jesus the Christ?


As we enter into the presence of Jesus, we too enter with faith in His loving desire to bring the grace we need into our lives. We may look at those who were privileged to live when Jesus walked the land, but can we not see what privilege is ours each day when we can be in the presence of Jesus always with us, longing for the unity he prays for in Chapter 17 of John's Gospel?

The evidence of Jesus longing is expressed each time we celebrate Eucharist. In this awesome mystery we are brought to the presence of Christ not to touch the hem of His garment, but to become one with Him. He gives himself totally in the very food He promised, his body and blood. In Holy Communion, we receive, we enter into union with His very being. The wonder and beauty of God, to love humanity so completely that in His Word he become our very food to accomplish this union, this oneness He wills for us.

Faith draws us to this mystery, love completes the action. Love that enables us to become detached and abandon ourselves to the will of the Father. Love that transforms us and enables us to understand how we are to live as lovers as modeled by the Lord Jesus Himself. As we meet the challenges of life and strive moment by moment to see God in all circumstances we are blessed with growth in holiness no less than seeds planted in fertile ground grow and produce fruit.

God, Father, grant that I may be fully aware each day of the wonder of your presence, that in receiving Jesus in Holy Communion I may be consumed in His presence and open hearted as I learn anew to give of myself completely. Father, grant me the strength to joyfully live each moment of this day in total awareness toward accomplishing your will. Keep all who I have promised to pray for in your warm embrace and give them all the graces they require to live as children of the light, and the healing they need for any illness.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Sunday, February 6, 2011


Romans 8:25-27

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.

And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will.

It starts from within.

Keep praying.

Even when the words are not there, keep the Spirit alive in the solitude that you share in prayer.

God is there.

The world outside us won’t change until the spirit inside us does. That happens through prayer. Through the love we offer Him in humble, thankful-yes, contrite-prayer. As God is faithful to us, we are faithful to Him through the prayers we offer. And that faith grows as we submit to His way, not ours, as great as we may think our plan might be.

He calls us to come closer to Him through our prayers, just as a friend would call us to come closer to them by sharing their life with us. What better way to express that closeness to your friend than to acknowledge their presence in your life? For all they have meant to you. For all they have shared with you. For all that they have loved you. And continue to do.

God listens and answers. He even makes His answers look like ours sometimes. Other times, we have to submit to His will and trust that He knows what we need. So we keep praying and growing in our faith, all the while trusting Him and knowing that we are on the way to person He wants us to be.


Offer It Up! Saturday, February 5, 2011


1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

People can talk about anything they want. They can use a lot of words—big ones that—but until they start putting something in with their voices that shows they do what they say, that’s about all they have is some vocalization.

Our walks of faith are not much different. For sure, we can and must continue to pray and offer our thanksgiving and praise yet we must also put into service the love and spirit behind the words and prayer. After all, what is prayer, what is faith, without works? The demonstration of that Spirit and power that God will answer when we call to Him comes from our faith and in our prayers.

And when He does, we are humbled. Humbled and bowed low at the mercy granted us for the grace we have received. All for knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior. All for our faith in God, not in the ways of man. Our daily path includes our daily cross, in service to God and man, not to man’s gods.


Below is a note from a regular contributor to the site. At her request, offered below is her latest contribution to the OIU page. Thank you... I am humbled by your kindness and remain a humble servant to Him. db

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!

Hebrews 13:15, 16

Brothers and sisters:
Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise,
that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;
God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.

Today is the birthday of the main author and owner of this website.

I was friends with David several years ago, his ‘early’ days and knew him to be a kind and caring person then.But, when I got back in touch with him a couple of years ago, God had obviously done many good works in his life to create a true and faithful servant for Him. It was this website that helped me to get back in touch with him, but it was also this website, along with some faithful and patient coaching from David, that helped me find my way back to God again.

Acts 13:22

… God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David…, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

He has allowed God to work in his life, to show him the truth, and to share that truth with everyone he meets.I am thankful for his willingness to follow God’s lead – God’s will, God’s way – and this is my prayer for him in the coming days, months and years:

l

gboyd

Hebrews 13:21

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.


Offer It Up! Friday, February 4, 2011


The writer of Hebrews reminds us of the experience of Moses and His people in the desert when they were too fearful to approach God who appeared as a blazing fire, a thundering voice. And we are now living in the age of Salvation, Jesus came to bring us Good News and we are invited to approach God who is tender and merciful and loving, always drawing us to Himself. Despite all that has been revealed we in our weakness so quickly turn to created things seeking as the song says, "looking for love in all the wrong places."


As I look at my own journey through the years, I am brought low by the repeated failures to see the wonder of God's love in the ordinary circumstances of daily life. So many missed opportunities because of blindness caused by misplaced loyalty and selfish desires. Another name for it all: SIN. Sin: truly it is a blindness caused by failure to acknowledge the need for God's grace. Trusting in my own will, my own ego, my own desire to control my life, so frequently I failed to be even willing to do the will of Him who gave me life, who despite my wandering away from Him always remained close, always beckoned in love.


The call to repentance, to change, to awareness of what is true, to wake up to the presence of eternal life being offered, eventually broke through. Yet, the habits of self-love, and the habits of sin continue to be a tension. Only in the cross of Jesus, only in His guidance, only in nurturing daily that love for love will I find welcome...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Thursday, February 3, 2011


Philippians 4:6-9

Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Keep on doing what you have learned.

What have we learned then? What have we forgotten? Or what have we chosen not to practice if we have in fact learned it?

It is hard to unlearn things that have been ingrained in the matters of our thoughts and behaviors. Old habits die hard; grudges even longer.

Companies are quick to hire people with experience in certain fields so that they can pick up the industry trend in a timely fashion. Other outfits choose to hire those with little experience in a given field but with great potential and drive so that there is little if any unlearning to process through. Either way, it is possible for benefits to be reaped by all parties as experience and drive and persistence are traded for a quicker ROI or a fresh start with a clean slate.

Athletic activities are similar in that if one practices a certain way of doing something, like a golf swing and finds a better way to do it, then some changes have to be made. One has to unlearn some past habits because other ones have to take their place. Then those new ones can be practiced and the rewards received-longer drives, straighter shots and lower scores.

Our spiritual life and its benefits should be so easily seen. Yet we don’t often get to see the results of much of our earnest prayer work right away. Yes, there are those occasions of there He is, right on the spot, answered prayers. But for all those that we witness, we are to persevere and press on, keeping to what we have learned. And received. And heard. And seen. Trusting in Him. Then, and only then, will we begin to fully experience the peace that only God can fill us with. And no, we don’t have to understand it. We just have to know it. And Him.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Birthday John Paul!


Malachi 3:1-4

Thus says the Lord God: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord. Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord, as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Maybe you’ve heard how silversmiths’ work with their metal, purifying it till they are sure that it is the essence of what they want. It is heated to a certain degree—sure and certain—and at which time; they know it is ‘silver.’ They know this because they see themselves in silver—a reflection of the refiner, purifying the metal, reaching its most purest form.

Think about that then. The process of heating, of tending to, of the reflection, the sacrifice. Who can endure or who will endure? And of those who do, will they stand till the end? Who else would do such in comparison? It is not a stretch at all to see how Jesus Christ endured for us. He will also do the same for us, tending to us, working with us, through the fires and the heat, even the cooling off, till such time He sees us in Him.

For us to endure and last, we have to be willing to accept the process that goes with what He has planned for us, not what we have planned for Him. He makes us the silver and gold, we don’t make Him. We have to be open to receive all He has for us, not just the occasional prayers or the ‘God-I-could-really-use-a-miracle-right-now’ blessings sort of things. As was Simeon’s and Anna’s hope, so can ours be. Our hope is in the Lord.

Luke 2:25,29-32,37-38,40

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

"Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."

She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.


Offer It Up!Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Matthew 5:35-28

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.

She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."

With all the winter storms across the country, you may have been one of those who experienced at least one driving episode where you lost some traction, albeit just for a moment or two. That bit of hesitation where the wheels spin and the car or vehicle begins to do its own thing while you just sit there, trying to decide to turn the steering, hit the brakes, put it in neutral or a combination of the three. That second or even split second seems like an eternity when you don’t have the control you had a moment ago.

Before you know it, the car is back in your control. No brakes were applied. No counter-steering measures taken. Just all four wheels headed in the right direction and in the right posture. You didn’t even have time to do anything really. It might have been a small patch of snow or ice that was there and now it’s gone. It was enough that it did get your attention and now you are even more focused on the challenge at hand-getting to your destination.

Do you think we get our own patches of ice or snow we have to travel through on our own journeys? Do you think we often try to steer our own way out of them with all our own tricks and methods we have learned over the years? What of our faith when these patches are encountered?

Mark 5:36

Do not be afraid. Just have faith.

This is by no means a message to all those in snow-covered parts of the world to forego all the precautions and warnings—for sure God has given us all the gift of knowledge and wisdom to use our senses and intelligence. Yet when we set out to use them, let us also surround them in prayer and thanksgiving and in faith so just as the woman who touched His cloak, we too may come out cured, healed and safe on the other side of that patch of ice.