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

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Offer It Up!   February 28, 2014

 

To God For Guidance

 

With all my heart I seek You;
let me not stray from Your commands…
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of Your law.
I am a wayfarer of earth;
hide not Your commands from me…
Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
and I will meditate on Your wondrous deeds…
Your compassion is great, O Lord…

Psalm 119:10, 18-19, 27, 156

 

 

O God, You are our Creator.
You are good and

Your mercy knows no bounds.
To You arises the praise of every creature.

O God, You have given us an inner law

 by which we must live.
To do Your will is our task.
To follow Your ways

 is to know peace of heart.

 

To You we offer our homage.
Guide us on all the paths

 we travel upon this earth.
Free us from all the evil tendencies

 which lead our hearts away from Your will.
Never allow us to stray from You.

 

O God, judge of all humankind,

help us to be included among Your chosen ones

on the last day.

 

O God, Author of peace and justice,

give us true joy and authentic love,

and a lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen!

 

 

May the God of mercy, the God of love, the God of peace bless each of you and all the members of your families!

 

Blessed Pope John Paul II

 


Offer It Up!   February 27, 2014

Poor in Spirit! Look and see where true riches lie! The word ‘poor’ it seems, can convey a variety of messages. In Luke’s gospel we read or hear ‘Blessed are the poor.’ What's the difference between ‘poor in Spirit’, and ‘poor’? How can I be poor in a world so rich in God's lavish creation? Is being ‘poor in Spirit’ rather a way of living in the midst of such wonders given in creation? 

 

As we view the world around us, externally we see beauty, the wonders of the universe of which our tiny home of earth is a mere speck. We also see man's inhumanity to man, we see the amassing by some of the world's treasures. Man has created something called money, which has become a god, a pearl of great price for some, a treasure in a field, a net to gather all possible lifeless wealth. 

 

A recent report on the new law passed in the State of Colorado regarding recreational marijuana is an example of the this idol of wealth. The reasoning of many is guided by a desire to satisfy immediate wants for feeing "good". The willingness to invest in a small amount of "pot" to feel free (they say). This freedom is really a kind of death to the reality of living life to the full. The report presented those who are anticipating a fantastic increase in wealth by supplying the magic dragon of this plant. We have yet to see the results of this new "legal freedom". 

 

In a world filled with the wonder of God's presence imaged in nature itself, and in the wonder of man and woman who can be images of God's presence in their love for one another, those who hear and answer the Lord must learn to be disciples who live in awareness of Jesus' presence. There must be those who are spirit-filled and who by their communal living are the remnant of God's Kingdom which will be brought to fullness.

Deacon



Offer It Up!   February 26, 2014

The Gospel reading, this morning, is Mark 9:38-40. We see an extension of yesterday’s theme where the disciples were arguing about who is the greatest. Today, they were rebuking one, who was not “in their group”, for acting in Jesus’ name. Jesus corrected them and says that they must see His spirit present in all people who are acting and doing good things in the Name of Christ, in spite of differences in “divisiveness of group or human subdivision”.

 

On a different “note”, I observed a “Facebook exchange” between my niece and her “friends” about what the word “thirsty” means (in today’s slang). In my “oldness” I shared with her, not only the traditional (biological) definition, but a definition based on the need of today’s society to have a spiritual quenching of thirst that only Jesus can provide. Today one of the psalms in my morning meditations brought to mind another phrase that is (used to be) popular: “Rock my World”. "Only in God is my soul at rest; from Him comes my salvation. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all" (Ps 62:2-3).

 

Jesus, may we all know that You are the One who brings Living Water to us; to quench our thirst for Your Eternal Salvation. May we understand and desire to quench that thirst. I pray that you “rock this world” in the sense of BEING the foundation for all that we do and strengthen the fiber of our being so that we stand stronger and together in the face of those who would tear down Your Goodness!

Paul B

 


Offer It Up!   February 25, 2014

Can we imagine what it would be like if Jesus were to speak us as a group of His disciples this morning? As I read about those in His company when he walked the hills of Galilee and how they responded, I  am inclined to see us, modern day Christians, in a similar light. 

 

What kind of Messiah are we looking for? Does Jesus fulfill our expectations? As they looked for one who would restore Israel and overthrow Rome, we too often look for the ‘pot of gold’ that will provide us with dreams of prosperity. The way Jesus walked is the way of the cross. Do I really understand that? Though the early disciples had not experienced the Resurrection, we can perhaps readily understand their confusion. We know Jesus rose from the  dead, we know Jesus sent the promised Holy Spirit to guide us, we know in faith He is with us in the Blessed Sacrament. Does the path we walk in our daily life give witness to what we say we believe with our lips?

 

Jesus Lives! The Resurrection is the astounding fact that should lead us to Kingdom living! When we begin each Eucharist calling out to Our Lord Jesus who is eternally praying for us at the Father's right, does it move us to the very depths of our being? Like the Apostle Paul we must strive to be able to say ‘I live not my own life, but Christ lives in me and through me.’ 

 

Moment by moment God is creating. Moment by moment, the Spirit is breathing in and through us if we allow it.

Today, may God grant me vision to see His presence in these moments by moments of life.

 

Deacon

 


Offer It Up!   February 24, 2014

Today we see another example of Christ’s healing power and, yet, another “simple, but not easy equation” by which we can and must address the human condition of “doubt” that creeps up in our lives.

 

In Mark 9:14-29, we find Jesus encountering a man who’s son suffers from epilepsy. The man turns to Jesus, after the disciples are unable to help him. Here is the first piece of the “solution” Jesus offers the man when he says, “If you can”, related to asking Jesus help.  Jesus replies, “If you can!?” Everything is possible if one has faith.” The man immediately professes belief AND asks for help in his times of doubt/unbelief. Later, after He healed the boy, Jesus’ disciples asked him why they were unable to drive the spirit from the boy. 

 

“Part two” of experiencing Grace is revealed in Jesus’ simple response, “This kind can only come out through prayer”. So, we find the two “simple, but not easy” steps to experience His Grace: Faith and Prayer.

 

Lord, in speaking to you today (and every day), may I remember that I need to constantly seek you and converse with you, especially during times of doubt and question, as well as those times strength and happiness: Faith + Prayer = Grace

Paul B
 
 


Offer It Up!    February 23, 2014

Matthew 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said,

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles.  Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,

You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

It’s pretty safe to say that we’ve all been in a situation, if not several of them, when we’ve had to decide to take matters into our own hands as far as ‘revenge’ is concerned or, as in today’s gospel points out, take a less violent approach.

Turn the other cheek.

Give him your cloak.

Go the extra mile.

 

To some of us, it may sound a bit unreasonable, given the situation that caused the condition to begin with. Maybe a broken family relationship. Maybe something at work went south. Maybe someone just ‘unfriended’ you on one of the social mediums and started vicious rumors about you. One or all could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Yet Jesus says love your enemies. And not only love them but for us to be perfect as well. And for us to do that, we have to help those enemies become more than what they are.

 

Jesus says that it’s easy for us to love those who love us… well most of the time anyway. There are those certain unlovable moments we all experience. But it seems His point could be that we should not just love those we find it easy to like and love. For as sinners find it easy to sin with sinners, so do those who love find it easy to love with those who love. The hard part comes when we love those hardest to love. The harder or hardest part comes when we love those who we deem undeserving of love. Not the warm, fuzzy love but the love that God has for us and for them.

 

What we must all do is keep our love above that of judgment. We should not lower ourselves to that level of those who persecute us; if they choose the low road, so be it. No sense in having more persecution in the world. We keep our dignity, they do what they will with theirs. As we do, we show our strength-not weakness-in keeping our faith and doing the right thing, in love. Whether or not they return it is up to them. 




Offer It Up!    February 22, 2014

As Lent rapidly approaches we find ourselves caught up in a whirl of activities. Primarily. this week is a mission at Sacred Heart to prepare us for this season of self-examination before Our gracious God. For those of us whom God has for whatever reason chosen, we know this as we find ourselves sharing His thoughts placed in our minds and hearts. 

 

Just being on this site is a call from Our Father to spread the word. Will you and I put forward our best efforts to reach out to those the Father directs us to invite to renewal? Is there someone, family, friend, acquaintance, coworker, that you sense God is urging you to invite to the mission?

 

First, is that person looking back at you in the mirror today? Then, who comes to mind as you imagine the next few days and drawing closer to God by making time for an encounter with Him? In any case, anyone who is visiting afraidnot is hereby invited to spend a few hours this week with the Lord. Clear your schedule and do it! If prayer is an exchange in communication with Christ, consider that you are hereby invited to be with the Lord by Jesus Himself!  And then, who does He invite you now to bring with you? As the tag line says, just do it.

Deacon




Offer It Up!   February 21, 2014

What does it mean to “be ashamed” of something or someone? In our human terms, it means that we attempt to deny the existence of that something or someone. For a child, it is that period of time when he wants his parent to drop him off five blocks from the school. Most of us, after an awkward year or two (or 3), cautiously allow mom /dad back into our lives, slowly and with “rules of engagement”, so as not to embarrass us.

 

So it is, for many, with God. And, in Mark 8:34-38, we get a clear message of the cost of being “ashamed” of Jesus. And, that “shame” is manifested in sin and refusal/inability to stand for righteousness. Those who are parents know that their children love them, even in temporary lapses of judgment.

 

So it is with God! He knows that we have obstacles, the human condition, which prevent us from living our faith as fully as He desires. But, throughout the Gospels, we see that He knows what is in our hearts and souls. 

 

May I be a true disciple of Jesus, today, especially in the face of rejection, ridicule, and crisis, even among family or friends. Lord, give me the strength to hold firmly to You, embracing You, so as to be embraced by You.

Paul B





Offer It Up!   February 20, 2014

Who do you say I am? This is a question asked, by Jesus, of His disciples in Mark 8:27-33 and asked of us in our daily walk with Him!

 

The disciples found it “easy” to answer the first question in today’s Gospel reading, “Who do others say that I am”. He was compared to the greatest prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and others. When the harder, more introspective question was asked, Peter responded, “You are the Christ”. Although Peter was the first to “see” and “say” this, he was also the one most sorely tested, in several places throughout the Gospel. 

 

Who do we say Jesus is in the way we live and grow our relationship with him? Do we, like Peter and the other disciples, pick and choose the teachings of Christ, especially when we are tested? Like the disciples, we want (and do) believe that Jesus is The Christ, but when facing crises or the idea of suffering (our own or others), it becomes more of a challenge to accept and understand God’s presence and purpose. 

 

Lord, make my faith strong to truly profess and believe that You are the Son of THE living God. Help me to understand the victory of your suffering and death, today, so I can spend eternity in the presence of Your New Life.

Paul B

 


Offer It Up!   February 19, 2014

Blindness! Without light reacting in and through the physiological workings of our eyes, we would live, breath, and move in utter darkness! So it is with blindness of heart and soul.

 

When we have physiological crises in our lives, we seek God’s assistance, imploring him to help us through healing, guidance, and ultimate understanding. In Mark 8:22-26 we see, yet again, the faithful coming to Jesus with the belief He will and can heal. And again, today, he does not let the faithful down. The healing of the blind man, at Bethsaida, is the only recorded miracle that is in “phases” of healing. This is an interesting parallel, of how God’s enlightenment works.

 

If we are accustomed to prolonged darkness, exposure to light is shocking to our eyes. Our eyes work better if we are gradually acclimatized. Likewise, we must exhibit patience and kindness with each other and ourselves as we draw closer to Him, especially when we know we or others have not been living in the light.

 

Further reading, today, might be James 1:19-27, Psalm 15:2-5; and Proverbs 20:27.  May the Word allow Jesus to touch you with grace and power to see and walk with Him, in the Light.

Paul B

 


Offer It Up!   February 18, 2014

During the next days and weeks leading to Lent, it is a good time to immerse ourselves in Mathew's gospel, particularly chapters 5-7 and the so called Sermon on the Mount chapters.

 

Lent is a season of entering into the desert, focusing on our life with Jesus. The desert; that place of silence, hopefully reducing the distractions of life and scrutinizing our relationship with our God. Taking time to  place ourselves in the presence of Jesus prior to our journey into to thirsty land, we fill our hearts and minds with his teachings from the Sermon  on the Mount. 

 

This Lenten season, examine deeply what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and what attitudes we need to develop as people of the Kingdom. We are aware, are we not, that Jesus is the very image of the invisible God.  The incarnation revealed to humanity, completely the invisible God. Jesus, truly man is truly God. He pitched His tent among us, and he dwells in our midst in fulfillment of the promise He made that He would be with us always. 

 

Each day throughout the world, the Eucharist is being celebrated continuously. The Bread of Life is the food that sustains the life of Christians in all circumstances. Sadly, many continue to seek some signs that this is true. Again, our Lord, sighs deeply and reminds us no sign will be given that has not already been given. Often it seems as men and women discover new wonders of God's creation, they fail to see beyond the wonders to see the Creator of all that is.

 

As we approach Lent, and next week as  we prepare with a  parish mission, may we pray and invite all of our brothers and sisters to pray for the graces needed to know God's will in each life and in the life of our community.

Certainly there is  a call by the Church for a new evangelization, a reaching out first to all who have been baptized, and to all who, for whatever reason, do not find their way to worship the Lord in community. To all who find their way to this site, all who are inspired to renewal, invite all those you know to join in prayer particularly during Lent.

 

Lift High the Cross, witness to the Love that is Love.

Deacon

 


Offer It Up!   February 17, 2014

God has created me to do Him some definite service
He has committed some work to me

which He has not committed to another

 

I have my mission
I may never know it in this life

but I shall be told it in the next

 

I am a link in a chain
a bond of connection between persons
He has not created me for naught

 

I shall do good - I shall do His work
I shall be an angel of peace
a preacher of truth in my own place

while not intending it

if I do but keep His commandments

 

Therefore I will trust Him whatever I am,

I can never be thrown away

 

If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him

In perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him
If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him

 

He does nothing in vain
He knows what he is about
He may take away my friends
He may throw me among strangers
He may make me feel desolate
make my spirits sink
hide my future from me –

still He knows what He is about.

 

 

Cardinal John Henry Newman

 
 
 


Offer It Up!  February 16, 2014

Simplicity and Truth

In Mark 5:20-37 these concepts are clear. He reminds us that, while upright lives are rooted in obeying the commandments of God, our ultimate fulfillment lays in the simplicity of saying, “Yes”. We see this theme throughout the Gospel. Too often, people tend to view the laws of God as negative, perhaps because we have, just as the scribes and Pharisees, taken those laws and added minute burdens to them and made them more important than the fruits of righteousness:  Holiness, Peace, and Joy? 

There is a simplicity in God’s Commands(perhaps, that is why there are only ten?) that makes saying “Yes”, much more “straightforward”. Psalm 119 is praise to “God, the Law Giver”. Today’s scripture references should (and do) remind us that we are to love God’s Law and meditate on it throughout our day. Ultimately, this leads to a simple “yes”. Our life’s fulfillment depends upon how truthful we are in our “yes” to Him!  Happy Sunday! Pray for our earthly lawmakers, today, as they head into last throes of legislative session meetings!

Paul B
 


Offer It Up!   February 15, 2014


Prayer for Detachment



 

I beg of you, my Lord,

to remove anything which separates


me from you, and you from me.



 

Remove anything that makes me unworthy


of your sight, your control, your reprehension;


of your speech and conversation,


of your benevolence and love.



 

Cast from me every evil


that stands in the way of my seeing you,

hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;


fearing and being mindful of you;


knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;


being conscious of your presence



 

and, as far as may be, enjoying you.


This is what I ask for myself


and earnestly desire from you.

 

Amen.

 

Saint Peter Faber, SJ





Offer It Up!   February 14, 2014

If we simply open our hearts to encounter Jesus in our lives, His Spirit that dwells within us will surely bless us with a life-changing experience. This is what the people in Mark 7:31-37 found when they brought, to Jesus, a deaf man who also had a great impediment in his speech. Jesus, again, being touched by their faith took the man aside and prayed that his ears be opened and his tongue loosened for clear speech. The man and those who brought him  were so overwhelmed with joy and admiration proclaimed Jesus’ power, in spite of a caution to them to keep it to themselves. 

 

What an example for us as Christians! What are the obstacles preventing us from seeing, proclaiming, and praising God’s goodness in our lives? Do we proclaim to all through word, action and deed? Or, do we select time, place, and to whom we “admit” our faith? 

 

Have you been before Jesus, in praise and thanksgiving, today?  Do you go alone? When is the last time you brought someone with you to experience Him? Amen! It’s Friday! If for no other reason, thank Him for that!

Paul B

 


Offer It Up!   February 13, 2014

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.

 

As we read in Mark’s gospel from today and often in scripture, Jesus cut out often to get His rest. And rightfully so as in His humanness, He showed that He tired like the rest of His followers. His journey and His message of salvation took Him from town to town; His healing and compassion and love took Him to the hearts of those that came to know Him and follow Him.

 

No wonder it was difficult for Jesus to find even the smallest window of time to get any rest. From crossing the seas to the mountain sides to the homes He shared, He could not ‘escape notice’ for all the good He was living and sharing. Just as the woman with the possessed daughter found Him, He encountered all walks and faiths. And just as it was her persistent and deep faith that ‘finally’ brought Jesus to cure her daughter, He did the same for others as He kept to His mission of eternal salvation.

 

What about our eternal salvation? What are we willing to give up, as did the Greek woman and her sacrifice for her daughter? Are we ready to give up our pride and ego so that others may be healed or cleansed? Is our faith so deep and so persistent that we won’t stop even if others do? With the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ, let us all continue to raise up in prayer all that we are and all that we have—in thanksgiving and praise—for without His mercy and grace, we would have even less than the scraps that the dogs would have.

 


Offer It Up!   February 12, 2014
Happy Birthday Margaret!

Jesus emphasizes, in Mark 7:14-23, that what comes FROM our hearts is what ultimately draws favor from God. This is not to say that we shouldn't take care of ourselves, properly, in a physical manner. Our physical health is important to our ability to carry out His Will. But, the point of today's parable is that we must tend to our spiritual repository: Our Heart. What we transcribe as our life must come from our hearts and that transcription must focus on overcoming material thought and sinful desire that are natural to our human condition.

 

Our "spiritual diary" is our life and it's that diary that is the official record for God's judgment of us.  So, His point is that our lives will not be judged by what we take in and collect, rather, by how we use that which we are given to be an example for and/or provide for others in that example. May we outwardly practice our faith from and with a heart filled with desire to please Him and, that when He reads our hearts, He is pleased.

Paul B

 


Offer It Up!   February 11, 2014
Happy Birthday Brady!

Living our faith! What does that mean?

In Mark 7:1-8 we find the Pharisees upset because Jesus’ disciples eat with “unclean hands”, which is against “tradition”. Jesus, immediately, points out the hypocrisy in their argument, Jesus warns the Pharisees (and us) of “lip-service” in honoring “traditions” before honoring the simplicity of God’s Word: Love one another through thought, word, and deed.

 

How often do we “get our hands dirty” in living our faith. We go to church “waiting to be fed”, rather than stepping up to help feed ourselves and others through seeking His Will through The Word and, in turn, providing a living example of that Word in action! How often do we say (or hear), “That preacher doesn’t ‘move me’?” Or, “This/That Church does not offer enough for me or my kids?”

 

Jesus, today, makes clear that we must “get our hands dirty” in the practice of our faith, first and foremost. Lord, today, may we be examples of “faith in action”, living Your Will through conscious ACTS of faith that lead us to salvation.

Paul B

 


Offer It Up!   February 10,2014

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.

 

Great crowds were hurrying and flocking to anywhere Jesus appeared, throughout the land. They were frantically searching for Jesus to cure them or their loved ones from their afflictions and worries.

 

As these people, in Mark 6:53-56, do we find ourselves displaying similar attitudes towards Jesus when we are sick, desperate, and in crisis? Health and peace in our earthly existence is necessary, but what is truly essential is to learn to love Jesus and develop a personal relationship with him on a daily basis, no matter the momentary circumstance of our human condition. 

 

Jesus, as we know, is compassionate to all who ask and seek His Divine Grace. It is easy to “trust in God” when times are good and, in these times, we often “trust Him” in silence and without daily acknowledgement of His Presence. Read Psalm 55:22 for assurance of His eternal presence and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 for direction to praise Him every day. 

 

I pray that we value praise and thanksgiving, in our good times, as much as we value our supplications for help in times of human need!

Paul B




Offer It Up!   February 9, 2014
Happy Birthday Cyndi!
Happy Birthday Brad!

Looking ahead we will begin the season of Lent in one month from now. Today we are given the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew's Gospel. It would be a good time to begin preparing for the penitential season by reading the sermon in its entirety, Matthew, Chapters 5-7 during the next 3 weeks.


Begin by setting time aside to read at one sitting the 3 chapters and during the coming weeks reflect continuously by reading in daily sections and reflecting on Jesus' teaching. A good practice some might find beneficial is to obtain a notebook to use as a spiritual diary and write daily comments on the insights obtained during prayer and reflection time.


This Sunday's Gospel, spend some time on considering what Jesus is saying about Salt, Light and a City on a Hill. Christians take to heart what your Lord is saying today to you! We are living in a world that certainly does not reflect in many ways what we profess to believe as Christians. In the mid 20th century we look back with horror at the holocaust which took place in Christian Europe. Today we are challenged to look at what is taking place in the midst of our own society that purports to uphold Christian values. Gun violence escalates but what is the reaction of Christ’s followers? Since Roe vs. Wade, tens of millions of children never got to see the light of life. Can we deny that many abortions were among those who claimed to be Christian?


Where is your light shining? What is your witness? As a Christian community are we lighting up the world illuminating the darkness, spotlighting the ugliness of evil and proclaim the kingdom by living Kingdom values? Child of God... Let your light SHINE!

Be Not Afraid, when you hear his call, cry out: Speak Lord, your servant is listening. When your heart is moved to be light in the darkness, let the Spirit guide you. Spend time in prayer each day and sharpen the ability to hear the Spirit speak and guide you to the truth. Seek the grace to live simply and courageously for others.

At the end of each Mass or Eucharist, we are sent forth. We are on a mission, the mission to light up the world for Christ, to set the world on fire with love. Spread the word to those closest to you, invite them to life! Eternal life in the Kingdom.

Deacon



Birthday Notes

Anthony de Mello wrote about wisdom being sensitive the situation, to the person, uninfluenced by any carryover from the past without residue from the experience of the past. No obstructions, nothing in the way of preventing us from striving to learn more of who we are. He said wisdom is not so much about the years of experience adding up and filling us then with solutions, as is often considered. Along those lines of wisdom, de Mello adds another distinctive note of for the heart: ‘if the heart is unobstructed, the result is love.’

 

Brad, my good best friend-though he does not know all there is to know about either love or wisdom-he knows enough that he sees us all as we really are, not as we imagine ourselves or as he would imagine us to be. He lets us love as we have been led to love. He understands our faith and our love to be intertwined to be one for our God and to be separate entities when we love our God above our love for one another.

 

With his love and faith, he fills all the many ways God calls him serve. Born as a child of God, he continues to serve Him with praise and humility, peace and grace. It can be safely said that not all times are all things so praiseworthy, so humble, so peaceful and grace-filled. Yet with his own awareness, his faithfulness—his wisdom and his love—he resolves to maintain and maintains to resolve his sensitivity to such times and demonstrate the fullness of God’s measure in him. That’s Brad. My friend, my brother.

 

He means much to many, way more than he means to me. His wife, his sons and daughters-in-law and daughter and son-in-law, sisters and brothers. His mother and father who have gone on before him. Countless friends-well we could count them but that would take up a little more space here. Those that count on him for their health. Those that count on him for their livelihood. Those that count on him for their faith.

Yup, there are many that he means the world to... and that’s a good thing. His heart’s unobstructed, resulting in love for us all.

Happy Birthday to my brother Brad.

God bless you now and always.




Offer It Up!   February 8, 2014

One...

The Apostles, after their earlier commissioning, rejoin Jesus in Mark 6:30-34. They shared with Him the places they’d been, the things they had done, and the lessons they’d taught. Upon hearing of their hard work, on His behalf, Jesus (like any good “boss”) sensed they needed some “time off” for a rest.

 

As we read we can get pretty excited, in human terms, because this sure gives us a great argument to take to our earthly bosses as “biblical proof” that God requires us to take a vacation! Be assured that our “Boss” wants us to take time EVERY DAY from our busy engagements to “vacation with Him”. To find solitude with Him and give Him attention and devotion is essential to our spiritual well being and growth. Jesus showed compassion for His disciples be asking them to “take some time off and rest (in Him)”. May we learn from His compassion for those who are burdened with worry and work.

 

God, grant us the wisdom to offer ourselves and others rest, within the spiritual and emotional support that You Are! Have a restful Saturday.

Paul B

 
And another...

Come aside with me to a deserted place and let us rest awhile. Jesus and His disciples who have just returned, filled with excitement over the accomplishments of their missionary journey. The marvels of God's creative work that they have participated fills their conversations. 

 

But as they leave to cross the sea to the place Jesus invites them to set apart, the crowds come to know of their destination and precede them to the place. On arrival, Jesus sees the crowd and has compassion for them; He sees them as sheep without a shepherd. Plans change immediately, the needs of the moment are met and He teaches them and cures their illnesses.

 

As we meet Jesus and our predecessors in the gospel, what is our reaction? Each of us in the circumstances of our lives must ask how are we to respond to God who blesses us each day with countless blessings, blessings which too often we take for granted as we fail to see love Himself in the unfolding of each day.

 

All too frequently in my own preoccupations with my desires, I fail to see the Lord before me in the myriad disguises He adorns. The funny little man who appeared for a free lunch, and engaged me in conversation, who was he really? His conversation a little out of the ordinary, seemingly a little strange, but what are his daily experiences? Is He treated with the dignity His humanity demands? Do I see in Him the very image of God? The person of Jesus Christ who is still in our midst as truly as He was twenty centuries ago? As I come to Eucharist, as I receive the Bread of Life, am I aware of His presence in all of my brothers and sisters who are filled with the Spirit of God?

 

Today, Lord I come to you repentant of all those times when I am so absorbed with my own self-fulfillment that I remain ignorant of Your love, of Your faithfulness of Your desire to guide me all of life. Let Your light illumine my every steps, may each breath be a prayer of longing to be all You created me to be and to step out in faith to do Your will in all things. Amen.

Deacon



Offer It Up!   February 7, 2014

Every day we read or listen to the Gospel the Church provides for us to reflect on and ponder our own life of Christian discipleship. Today we have a longer periscope that draws us into life with Christ. We enter into the company of Herod, Salome, Herodias, John the Baptist, his executioner, and perhaps find a seat at Herod's birthday bash. 

 

What was Salome's dance for Herod like? Can we see his reaction as he promises to reward Salome handsomely? She in turn runs to her mother to get advice, the mother who is Herod's brother's ex-wife and now Herod's wife. Herodias is moved to hatred of John because he has pointed out this adulterous relationship. So now she seizes her opportunity to destroy John. She advises Salome to ask for John the Baptist's head on a platter.  The executioner is sent to complete this deed. Herod must comply to the request rather than risk the loss of  favor from his guests and military leaders.

 

In our lives, how do we handle situations where we become concerned with what others will think or how they might react? Do we place above all this our appearance before the Lord? What matters more: how we serve the truth as disciples of the Lord or what others think?

 

Lord, all those times when I was concerned about many things I failed in trusting You. Grant me this day deeper insight into the truth, the grace to live courageously in the attitudes You presented in the Sermon on the Mount. Grant that I may grow in faith, deepen my ability to love and help me in each present moment to see as You see, to love as You love.

Deacon

 


Offer It Up!   February 6, 2014

Kingdom living!

Jesus came to preach the Good News of the Kingdom, and those who accept His teaching, who become His followers, His disciples are in the Kingdom! What does it mean to live in the Kingdom? How do we live in the reign of God?

 

The Church during this current year is presenting us with the Gospel of Matthew. It would be a great exercise of us to sit and read the Sermon on the Mount as a unit. Take the time to sit in silence and read Matthew, Chapters 5 through 7, as a unit. Listen with the heart to this teaching of Jesus. Imagine you are sitting on the grass, intent on hearing every word from God Himself. Let Jesus teach us what attitudes we must have for Kingdom living. Be present to the life Jesus Himself lived as one of us in His humanity. 

 

Can you come to a deeper understanding of the truth? Can you sense deep within that you are called to Kingdom living now? Do you sense more fully the meaning of compassion, forgiveness, community, agape? Can you sense the need to eliminate from the heart anger, contentiousness, lustful conditions, and idol worship?


Pearl of great price! Treasure in the field! Are you close to giving all to live in the Kingdom? Love the Lord, your God, with all your mind, with all your heart, with all your strength! Yes!

Deacon




Offer It Up!   February 5, 2014

This week we read in the scriptures stories of faith and lack of faith. Yesterday we were inspired by the faith of Jairus and the Woman healed of a hemorrhage. In today's gospel offering we are assailed by the lack of faith of Jesus’ townfolk.

 

Like them we too are often caught in taking up the externals of life. We fail to look to the heart of what is offered us and are blinded by the externals. Jesus, they admitted, taught with wisdom and authority but they rejected what He had to say because He was "the carpenter's son", the relative of their acquaintances. 

 

We might say, "Who does He think He is anyway? I knew him when he was... Where does he come off teaching these things?”

 

Where is faith in our own lives? Faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ? Faith in the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the Church? Faith that God provides our NEEDS! Faith that helps us develop a heart that is compassionate, able to forgive, able to love, leads us toward becoming perfect as Our Heavenly Father is Perfect!

FAITH!

Deacon

 


Offer It Up!   February 4, 2014

Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.” He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.

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.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, Who touched me?” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.”


And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.

 

Two stories in the gospel, both about hope, both about faith, both about the healing power we find in the reaching out and relationship that we have with Jesus Christ.

Throughout our lives, we may have found ourselves or some people close to us in either of those particular circumstances—a family member close to dying and someone with an ongoing illness that, no matter what they have tried, nothing seems to cure it. Yet with prayerful perseverance, with faith and with cooperation with Christ, it is through the will of God they found the help to see their way through.

 

What events in our own lives have put us on that painful path like the woman? When have we been like the official with a family member that is suffering through a deathly illness? And what about those times in our lives when we had less faith than we should, fearful for the worst instead of living for the will of God?

 

As the official knew Jesus could do something for his daughter for the asking, as the woman knew she would be healed just by reaching out and touching His cloak, so too do we know He will do something for us as we ask and reach out to touch Him. Do not be afraid-just have faith.

 

As we do let us remember two very important things: one, we have to be able to trust and surrender to Him those things we cannot handle. Two, we have to remember that we cannot handle any of those things without Him.

 
 


Offer It Up!   February 3, 2014

As I begin a new day for what am I grateful? Does gratitude fill my thoughts, my actions as I realize what God has done and continues to do each day?

 

In reading Mark's gospel today we see the grateful man healed of many demons wanting to remain with Jesus, and Jesus tells him it is better he return to his family.  His response in gratitude is to begin witnessing to the 10 cities in the Decapolis. As we read about this, it is a spur to reflection on the wonders of God's gifts in our life. Perhaps we have, perhaps we haven't taken time to let the wonder of all that God has done sink in. 

 

Beginning with this moment let the wonder of life fill your mind and heart and ask God to help you realize and perhaps visualize the myriad moments of His  wonderful   graces and blessings. Then perhaps we too can go forward announcing the Good News!

 

Lord, in all my thoughts and actions of this  day grant me all I need to be a constant witness to your loving presence.

Deacon

 
 


Offer It Up!   February 2, 2014

The Presentation of the Lord. What are we to make of this Gospel scene--Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, the child Jesus all intent on fulfilling the Law, presenting the firstborn son, who in this instance is God himself?

 

How do we 21st century Christians look at all this? What lessons do we draw from God taking upon himself our humanity and living according to the law of Moses? We Christians who see in all these rites the roots of our own faith, how do we respond to life? On this morning I wonder what truly is in our minds and hearts when we come to celebrate the baptism of the children God has deigned to entrust to our care?  Do we approach the waters of Baptism, the sacrament of life in God, as Mary and Joseph approached the presentation and purification of Mary? Do we celebrate life with the joy of knowing in faith that we are God's beloved and long to live as witnesses to that love? 

 

Last Sunday after the 8AM mass I witnessed a young mother bringing her child into the pastoral center presumably for Religious Education. They had not been to Mass, nor it seems would they go to celebrate the Lord's Day at Eucharist. What is the message to our children when we insist on classes about faith, when there is not evidence of faith?

 

As we learn from the Gospels about the life and times of Jesus, we also learn that he died and is RISEN, that He lives now, interceding for us at the right hand of the Father. He is with us always, as He said. The Holy Spirit sent at Pentecost guides the Church always. But the question remains for all and each of us: are we living in response to the gift of faith?

 

Often in our desire to teach our children, we seem to lose our own way. Our relationship with Jesus Christ, with God, needs to be nurtured in prayer and living acts of faith. To be the Church we need each other, providing support in all aspects of Christian living. 

 

A good exercise is to look at our daily lives and honestly examine our relationships. Do we pray daily? Do we get to know our fellow Christians, especially those in our faith community? Do we participate as fully as we are able in spiritual activities that would help us grow in faith and deepen our own ongoing conversion to holiness of life?

 

If perhaps you would like to grow spiritually, and help us grow also, why not begin taking those small steps today? Maybe a good start would be brief dialogs with fellow parishioners on AfraidNot!

Deacon





Offer It Up!   February 1, 2014
Happy Birthday Paul B.!

This morning my meditational Gospel reading was one of my favorites (Mark 4:35-41), where Jesus was sleeping amidst the storm that was threatening to overturn the boat in which the disciples and He were traveling.

 

While we should be/are in awe of the fact that the winds and the waves obey Him, as were the disciples, let us not lose sight of the fact that all it took was the disciples to wake Him up and he quickly took care of their "problem". After doing so, He asked them, "Why are you frightened? Have you still no faith?"

 

How often does the Lord lay out a solution for things that are "eating at us" in our daily lives? Do we even remember that we called on Him in the crisis and, in turn, take time to thank Him? Often we are lost, scared, or feel threatened by an apparent "glitch" in life's compass, when things are aright again, do we remember that we had called out to God and through pacifying the "storm" around us, His Hand saved?

 

Lord, may we believe and trust in You more, through all of life's experiences and recognize those many times when You carry us through. Help me to demonstrate strong, Christian values with the knowledge that if I simply ask, You are there!

Paul B  


Birthday Notes:

50 years used to be an accomplishment for birthdays-back when typewriters were the rage instead of iPads, tablets and smartphones. Now with folks adding years to their longevity, 50 is often called the ‘new 30’ and people are living as such. Nothing wrong with that provided they live according to the moral values they’ve acquired over the 50 years they’ve been around.


Not that he is claiming the ‘50-30’ deal, but as Paul celebrates his birthday today, he has maintained his moral compass and it is pointing him along a path of holiness. Coming from good stock, though his direction may not have been set before him, he was given a great start and has certainly found his way along it till now, as evidenced with his faith.


Happy Birthday to a new friend. May God continue to bless you and yours as you continue to actively live, love and encourage others to follow the faith.