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

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Offer It Up! Monday, January 31, 2011


We have completed the first month of a New Year. If we look at time, we reckon how fleeting the days, weeks, months are. Perhaps time is not so terribly important when we begin to consider who we are as Children of the most High God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, the Christ.

What is time in the scheme of eternal life? We are present to love beyond our capabilities of imagining, and we are called to live in that love forever.

Forever.

Can we even begin to grasp the wonder and mystery of all this? The Creator has given us life and all means of good things to sustain that life. He created us out of love and has given us the freedom to respond to that love. Time: absorbs us in past and future and for some diminishes the present. Kairos-the opportune time to say the right or do the right thing-when we begin to grasp the wonder of God, the wonder of eternity. Kairos fills us with the present moment.


Can we abandon ourselves and surrender to God? Can I give myself so completely to God so that I can be completely obedient to His will? The man Jesus did just that. When he says the Father and I are One, can we begin to grasp the completeness of His abandonment to the Father's will? Can we move in imitation of Him toward complete abandonment to the will of the Father? "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect!" How is this possible? Perhaps the answer lies in submitting to the Father's will? If I am able to abandon myself so completely as to be always obedient to the Father's will, are we not then One?

Each day we see the wonders of God's creation. We discover new and wondrous things about the universe daily. Our wonder at created things can lead us to the creator, or they can lead us to worshiping the things of creation rather than the Creator. Where is your heart? There is your treasure.

God and Father of all, hear my plea. Grant me and all those who seek you with sincere hearts the graces we need to live in holiness each moment of our lives here in time. Keep us from being tested by false desires, and lead us in the right path. Let the light of love illumine all our associations. Send your Holy Spirit upon us that we may always and everywhere proclaim the Good News.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Sunday, January 30, 2011


The late Fr. Jim Babb SJ of the St. Ignatius House in Atlanta, spoke on priorities and how we are praising, reverencing, and serving God. He gave these four items with which to meditate.

We have recently heard/read here about rating our own priorities and against these, there seems to be some contrast as well as some comparison. Take a look and see where yours fall in line or not so much in line with these.

If you will excuse me, I have to go now and get some rest… right after some time I spend communicating with my wife.

1) Health - Getting enough sleep? Exercise? Good Foods? Your body is a temple of God.

2) Mind - What are you watching? What are you letting into your mind?

3) Work/Career - Are you making it your God? Are you using your talents?

4) Marriage - Are you spending time and communicating with your spouse?


Offer It Up! Saturday, January 29, 2011


Hebrews 10:32-36, 39

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense.

You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised…

We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Endurance. We can read that word and either sigh in resignation that we are too tired to endure anything more or we can be energized by it. Or, maybe there is a third option. Maybe we can kneel before our Lord in silence and wait for Him to fill us up and send us on down the path He has chosen for us.

Let’s face it. Life can be complicated. Even if personally we feel stable and strong, we are sometimes surrounded by others close to us who are living on the edge and need our guidance and support. When we join with others in their suffering or confusion, we bring our confidence, our faith; our very life to them as support. As a result, we might feel drained or we may feel energized by the experience.Either way, we cannot lose sight of the fact that it is our Lord that provides for us and for those around us.

There is no ‘right’ answer to how we endure, except that we are not to be “among those who draw back and perish.” That does not mean we have to always rush head first into the fray and bring abuse or affliction on ourselves. It does mean that, in faith, we listen.Then, sometimes we act and sometimes we wait. But either way, we endure. We keep our eyes focused on the Lord and our hearts in tune and ready. And if we don’t feel that we are in tune, we stop…and we wait in silence before the Lord.

It is during those moments of silence that God’s voice will be heard and God’s love will wrap around us. Faith and life will be ours to possess and to share.

lgboyd

Psalm 37:23, 24

By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm, and he approves his way.
Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate, for the hand of the LORD sustains him.


Offer It Up! Friday, January 28, 2011


2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.

Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

During the last few weeks the subject of holiness seems to have been part of the dialogs I have been invited to enter. Vatican II, document Constitution of the Church has a section on the Call to Holiness that perhaps should be required reading periodically for all of us.


Just what do we understand by holiness? A recent comment I heard was that saintliness and holiness are different. I am still puzzled as to what was intended by that statement.
Holiness perhaps should be reflected on as wholeness; that is becoming as fully as possible what God created us to be.

This involves living life to its fullest.

It involves coming to grips with who we are as humans, created in the image of God.

It involves understanding of what it means to be free, and having free will.

We so often view the Church as authoritarian and restrictive, constantly dictating how we are to live. The Church is Christ in our midst, shedding light on life and God's love and mercy. We listen to the Church to give us guidance in forming consciences that enable us to see the truth, the way, the life that will enable us to choose life, or even to choose death.


John Paul II, left us a legacy encouraging us to choose life, a culture of life. He spoke eloquently of both the culture of life and the culture of death. He reminded us constantly to "Be not Afraid" to follow Christ, to CHOOSE life, to choose the way to truth and eternal life. Too often we are lured by the wonders of creation itself, lured to new discoveries that can make life less burdensome in some ways, but can also distract us from the way of love, the way of truth, the way of eternal life.


Yes, we are called to holiness. Those saints, spiritual guides who preceded us are in a sense our heroes. They took the high road and we can learn from them, imitate them, by living for Christ as they witness. This necessitates that we look inwardly, discover who we are and what God created us to be. For many of us this will be rather ordinary it seems, but no less are we called to sainthood to unity with Christ, to becoming lovers in the best sense of love, to have as our aim to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Is it difficult? Only if we refuse God's ever present grace to help us. His grace, as he revealed to St. Paul, is sufficient for us.


Daily take up your cross, your life now, and follow Jesus.

Luke 9:23

If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Thursday, January 27, 2011


Hebrews 10:19-25

Brothers and sisters:
Since through the Blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,”
let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Haven’t we all been inspired to action—‘to love and good works’—by someone we know or even don’t know? That person in our life who has been around for us to call it as they see it and to help put us back on our path. That individual who has such character and moral and spiritual fiber and lives it in living color without calling so much attention to themselves. Or maybe it was someone unknown to us, risking that character by standing their ground for what they believed in as we stood by and watched.

What if you were the person that was being noticed? What if it was whatever you were doing, your gifts and talents and character that were leading someone else to be inspired? They wouldn’t necessarily have to come up to you and say it but your life could be the difference maker in what they do with theirs. I’ve heard it said often that people do things better in their own lives because they have seen the ‘love and good works’ of others that has inspired them to make adjustments and live accordingly. They were encouraged by what they saw.

From Hebrews to Mark’s gospel, our light is one that can shine to lead others to Christ. The more light we find ourselves in, the more light we should want to shine. A light for growth for us all, rousing one another to hear and live more of the Good News in our lives.

Mark 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”


Offer It Up! Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Marilyn!


2 Timothy 1:6-8

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.

Get after it.

Go for it.

Do whatever you can to make it happen.

Stir the flame He has given us to light the world.

How often do we stand back instead of leading the way? How often do we keep from singing His praises and giving thanks? Certainly we are not ashamed of what He has given us. Don't we want to step up? How great it is to be a prisoner of the Lord to do as we are called to do—to surrender to His will?

To trust in the way we have been called is to live in His light. Regardless of trials. In thanksgiving for our gifts, not so much for what we have achieved but for what He has given us. We are stronger in our faith because we believe in His power over sin and the forgiveness of ours. May we all share in the strength He has brought to us through Jesus Christ.

For we are not ashamed.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary John and Irene!


Acts 22:6-16

"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'

I replied, 'Who are you, sir?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.' My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?'

The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.'

Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

"A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law, and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me and stood there and said, 'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.' And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.

Then he said, 'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice; for you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard.

Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away, calling upon his name.'

Not all of us have knock-down, blinding, hear-the-voice-of-the-Son-of-God-Jesus-Christ tell us He has some news for us experiences like Paul’s—and for many of us, we might be thankful for that. Yet it will be safe to say here that we all have had our own major and minor conversion andor transformation events or aha-moments. Those occasions that have turned us from what we were doing toward what we should have been doing all along—doing God’s will.

Succinctly stated, conversion is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as ‘the movement of return to God’ (1490). Not so succinctly phrased, for us to have those types of moments where we ‘see the light’, ‘find God’, ‘become born again’, or truly, open ourselves up to let God back in, that means we have to be in a precarious position of sorts to begin with. We would most certainly not be in a state of grace; we would be in a state of sin, if not somewhere near the seventh stage of hell. (Been there, done that, pray not to go that route again.)

However it is that the situation overcame us, it is not so deep that we cannot come out of it. It begins with the desire to make that change. Paul had another agenda of his own that day he started out persecuting the Christians. Jesus had other ideas. We may have had one today or even one tomorrow when we set out on our own daily plan. Handing our plans over to Him, He will have other ideas for us as well.

As Paul listened to what Jesus had to say, we can too. It may not take the blinding light or the shaking earth or the voice of God that no one else can hear, we can stay true to His call for us and live in His grace every day. If He did it with the saints, He can do it with us. After all, the saints had a past too, just like we have a future.


Offer It Up! Monday, January 24, 2011


Luke 18:26-30

Those who heard this said, "Then who can be saved?"

And he said, "What is impossible for human beings is possible for God."

Then Peter said, "We have given up our possessions and followed you."

He said to them, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive (back) an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come."

Okay, that’s enough prayer time for today.

Yup, I’ve had my quota filled for God-time and talk. Let’s move on to something else now that I have that taken care of.

Nnaaah, I’m pretty sure I’m through with going out of my way to do anymore good today… a guy can only open so many doors for others and carry so many other burdens, don’t you know?

What’s that? Have I had enough grace for today? Well, I would think so! With all that I have done, with prayers and good deeds and clean living, I’ve probably got enough to last me through at least tomorrow if not well into the end of the week!

Really, how preposterous do the above comments sound? But to see and hear how some people react and respond these days, you would think that is precisely the way they are seeing things. And unfortunately for them, it is all too clear a picture for them—better than HDMI, 1080, 3D—they see it live and in color that their life is as good as they want God to want it, not what God wants them to want.

Maybe they are looking for a better offer than what they have. Maybe they had a better offer before and passed on it. Maybe they just don’t know yet what that better offer is… what God wants them to want.

Water will satisfy the thirsty. Food, the hungry. Rest for the weary. And just as those will fill their needs, nothing will fill a spiritual hunger more than the reliance on and fullness of the grace of God. And the beauty of it is, you can’t earn it or buy it but you can accept it freely as He offers it to you. Because He wants you to have it. Eternally.



Offer It Up! Sunday, January 23, 2011


Riverdance!

Simply entertainment or an opportunity to see the wonder of creation in human achievement? The experience of Riverdance was for me also an experience of God in our midst. We who have been created in the image of the creator, through our artistic endeavors can reflect the Creator who is creating moment by moment. Irenaeus in the 2nd century said the Glory of God is a human being fully alive! The Joy of music and dance, the portrayal of creation in some sense was displayed in the life of Riverdance.


I imagine there is a symbol of the Joy that will be ours when our hope is fulfilled and we are one with Him who gives us life. The energy of the dance, the chariot of music that carries our thoughts and prayers beyond the realm of time lifts us beyond self for a brief moment into the arms of love. It is a different liturgy, but a liturgy nonetheless. It can be a reminder that when we enter into CELEBRATION of the Word and Eucharist, when we truly give ourselves completely to the moment we are lifted in prayer, in sacrifice, in wonderful communion with Jesus the Christ into the presence of the Father, into love.

Let our prayer be a plea for deeper understanding and appreciation of what love is and a longing for all those in need to receive all they need to turn to their loving Father and be healed in every way. Dance, sing, find each day the Joy that is deep within and the Joy that remains present in all circumstances.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Saturday, January 22, 2011


The following is a contribution from a friend and brother in Christ. By his own admission, he has been blessed with more gifts than he deserves yet you would never know that as he continues to be a humble servant for Christ.

There are not enough words to describe the ways this Godly man has impacted the lives of those around him, yours truly included. I am blessed and honored to share with you just one of his gifts here today. Thank you, Pat, for all God has made you and for allowing Him to continue to form you in His image.

Romans 12:1-2

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.

Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

This is a reprint of an article I put in the magazine in 2004. I hope that some of you who read it will relate to what I wrote back then because it is still true today.I will be the first to admit that my priorities get switched around way too often and I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the things God has given us. Get outdoors with God and Family and slow down and enjoy what is there for us.

My motivation for again putting this in writing is three fold: one, I was able to spend some quality time with one of my sons on a youth fishing event, two, I find myself neglecting my priorities and spending too much time being a Game Warden and three, there are some newer Wardens in the field who may need to read this. In reality we may all need to review this subject.

What I would like to briefly talk about is our priorities. I am not sure what yours are but I will tell you what mine are even though I am not always able to follow them. I only have four priorities and I will outline them to you in the order of their importance. Yours may be different than mine but I have thought about these long and hard and I know they are in the right order, at least for me. Not only will I tell you what my priorities are, but I will also tell you what I do to accomplish them and where I fall short.

My first priority is God. We are only on this earth for a very short time and our goal is to put God first. That is why we are here on earth. I accomplish this by going to church with my family on Sunday and being involved in my children’s religious education and beliefs. As Game Wardens we have the tendency to skip church when we are working over the weekends and I will be the first to tell you that sometimes I fall in the same trap.But I make it a point to be with my family at church on Sunday mornings even if it means letting the bad guys get away with something. I have learned that if you don’t catch them today you will have another opportunity at a later date.

1 Timothy 6:11-12

…pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.

Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.

My second priority is my Family. I try to spend quality time with my family. I go to ball games, school functions, special events in their lives, etc. I have raised two daughters thus far and still have a few in the nest and I can assure you that you cannot spend enough time with your wife and children. Looking back, I can honestly say that I wish I had spent more time with the two daughters who have gone off to college. Spending today with my son on a fishing trip shows me how precious family is and how important it is to spend time with them. I have had more than a few retired Game Wardens tell me that they wished they had spent more time with family, I do not want to have to say that when I retire.

My third priority is Friends. I do not get to spend much time with friends because in the past few years I have had this priority out of line. I have spent too much time of my final and last priority.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

My fourth priority is work. This is a tough one to hold in the last position because it always wants to go to the first. As a Game Warden I always struggle with keeping this my lowest priority because I love the work so much. I jokingly tell people that I am an addict, but my addiction is being a Game Warden. I am sure that most of you feel the same way. The problem with nearly all addictions is that they are very destructive. Being a Game Warden can be the same way. I know because I constantly struggle with letting this job get in front of the more important things in life, like God, Family and Friends. I guess I will fight this as long as I am a Game Warden and I assume that all the Game Wardens reading this will too.

Please take time to think about your priorities and how you live your life. Being a Texas Game Warden is a great way of life and I would not trade it for any other job but in the long run it is only a job. Please put it the correct place and for me that is a distant fourth behind God, Family and Friends.

Galatians 2:19-20

For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me

Pat C.

(Please note: the Bible verses have been added only for scriptural emphasis. db)


Offer It Up! Friday, January 21, 2011


1 Corinthians 3:11-16

for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire (itself) will test the quality of each one's work.

If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone's work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

What are some of the things—rather simple things at that—that you can do that will help keep you or even put you even firmer in place on your path toward holiness? Maybe you have some that you practice already that keep you where you need to be. Maybe you’re in a position where there might be a need to refresh what needs refreshing. Sometimes the thing to do is find a place, any place or time is good, to start with those things to keep us where we need to be. How about today—is today good?

Do as they doMaybe you’ve heard before that to do great things, first aspire to do those things then find those that will guide or teach you to do them. Surround yourself with like-minded people, those that can help you do what you want to do and do those things that they do. These are some solid steps that can put you more firmly on that path if not help keep you there.

Prayer LifeHow is your prayer life these days? Pretty good? Better than pretty good? Why not add something else to it? There are daily prayers to recite, the Office of Readings, the Liturgy of the Hours, Divine Office—a number of opportunities to supplement a steady diet of ‘steadfast prayer.’ It bears repeating: for those that lead a busy life, an hour of prayer is a must. For those that are even busier, two hours should suffice.

Time OutSomething that a priest recently ‘prescribed’ for me continues to pay dividends. As a part of penance and absolution, two separate sessions of fifteen minutes of silence were included. I even asked for clarification—two sessions of silence? Really? Just listening for God and His wisdom? For those out there that are the personality types that would rather be walking than standing, driving than riding, or even talking than listening then you know how much of stretch this was and continues to be. But it works. Really well.

These are not huge, earth-shaking events that can change the course of history but they are small steps that will lead to the eventual growth and development of our daily will and way God has called us to follow.


Offer It Up! Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birth Day, Jude Anthony!


Hebrews 7:25-27

Therefore, Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.

He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself.

Always able.

Always availing Himself to our needs. How great then is it that we should find ourselves at His mercy for those times when we are lost and not so holy, not so innocent, found with the sinners. The path to our salvation goes not always as we had planned. Therein lies the problem: our plans, not His.

We must be the ones to offer our sacrifices day after day to atone for the sins of our lives. We are the ones to make that ‘approach’ to Him and ask for the forgiveness that we don’t deserve, the mercy that we cannot earn and the Love that He will always have for us. And He does that because He is and always will be our God.

Did Jesus need to sacrifice His life for us? Did God need to send Him, His only Son—God Incarnate—to save us from the world and ourselves? No, it’s as simple as that. Daily we can carry our crosses as we have been called to do. On the cross He gave up all for us. At the cross we can give up all for Him.


Offer It Up! Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Jacob!


2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.

On we go. With that spirit and support, that encouragement as well as enlightenment from God the Father and Son, how can the day not be filled with hope?

Well, there is the matter of free will. We do have a choice in that He has also given us in our gift of free will to follow Him or to try to come up with something better on our own. Which we sometimes do. Which then leads us away from where we should be. Which then puts us in a position more in line with things of the earth than with an eternal salvation. And on we go.

Until we realize again our gift of free will to reach out for His forgiveness and be brought back to His grace through His mercy. That’s the wideness of God’s love and mercy, so vast it’s more than anything we could ever understand here with our finite minds. What we can do though, as St. Ignatius of Loyola points out, is: ‘Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.’

God’s grace is enough; living in His grace within His love is pleasing to Him.

Galatians 1:10

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.


Christian Unity Week

Offer It Up! Tuesday, January 18, 2011


January 18th through 25thChristian Unity Week

What can we do to make this week truly meaningful? Certainly we can pray. Pray that the entire Church of Jesus Christ may come to recognize the dignity of its call to conversion.


All who claim the name Christian, I believe it necessary we look honestly and sincerely within and seek to break down any barriers we have created that prevent us from living as disciples of Our Lord Jesus.


It is a terrible scourge, a terrible witness to non-Christians when we are seen as a Church divided and even without love for each other. May this week be a time for all Christians to find time to pray for unity. We must find common ground. That common ground is Jesus Christ the Savior of the World. We need to find our call in Him and not in practices that we claim make us identifiable as Christians.

We all know from Scripture, and in our hearts that God has written the law of love within us. We now must strive to live in accordance with that law, recognizing our oneness in the Lord, our call to oneness in Him.

In John's gospel Chapter 17 we read and can hear the words of Jesus, ‘Father that they may be ONE.’

Pray!Especially during this week, for all who are members of the body of Christ.

Deacon


Memorial of St. Anthony

Offer It Up! Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Paul 'Jake' G.


Hebrews 13:15-16, 20-21

Through him then 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.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, 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.

He picked a great day to have surgery, his birthday of all days. But, at his age, you best get done what you can when you can—God only has us here for so long, right? We do pray that Paul will be here for at least twice as many years as he has celebrated thus far. That should put him around sixty-something according to the new math that is making the rounds. Maybe you’ve heard of it—50 being the new 30…

Never missing an opportunity to do good for someone or offering up a chance of sacrifice of praise and thanks, God must certainly be pleased by the sacrifices He has seen in Paul’s life. For the time I have known him, that is what his life has been most about-giving of himself for others, doing good and sharing what he has so that others would not have to go without. Be it faith, family, friends or even the stranger on the street, Paul gives of himself and nothing else but the truth in love in a way only he can. That is how God would have us all do it if we only would.

It won’t take you long to hang around with him to find that there is no sugar-coating with Paul. You get what you get even if it might be a ‘right-between-the-eyes’ painful, he gives all what he has to you with love. Not the one to speak the most but his words speak volumes and are testimony to his faith in Jesus Christ and to those he loves. Loving son and husband, caring father and grandfather, trusting friend and champion to all who know him, it is has been evident that God has this great plan for Paul and we are blessed to be a part of it.

Happy birthday to my friend and brother in Christ. I’ve learned more from you and your own path toward holiness than you’ll ever know. I love you Jake.

Your brother Elwood


Offer It Up! Sunday, January 16, 2011


1 Corinthians 1: 1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Called to be holy, with all those everywhere.

As we believe with each other in Christ Jesus, how much simpler can it get? If everything we do were put up against that as a measure, as some sort of looking glass—and how clearly we see through it—does what it appear to be call us and those around us to be on our path to be holy? If not, does it lead us away from holiness into ways that God does not call us to go?

We cannot deceive God or ourselves really. It either is or it isn’t the path to take. We are either with Him or we are not. He does not particularly fashion Himself for the tepid and halfhearted. As we offer our thanks and praise to Him for all He has done for us and trust that He knows what is best for us, He also puts His trust in us for us to do as we have been called to do.

So as He is faithful, so should we be. To Him. To each other. In love. In forgiveness. In family. In friendship. In prayer. In thanksgiving. All from the wisdom and power that God has brought down through the ages for us all. Not just for the saints of hundreds of years ago but for us as saints today and for tomorrow.

1 Corinthians 1:8-9

He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by Him you were called to fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.


Offer It Up! Saturday, January 15, 2011


Hebrews 4:12-16

The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

All-powerful.

Omnipresent.

Omnipotent.

With that handy bit of information in hand, try as we might sometimes, we cannot ‘run’ from God.

It's often we try to help ourselves. Maybe even more often that we try to help others. There are even those times when we try to help those who can't help themselves and even those instances who ask for our help-with 'help' being mercy and grace.

Wherever we are in our journeys, wherever it is that our families, friends—anyone—wherever it is that we are in prayer and in confidence in that prayer, we are within God’s reach for the ultimate help-God's mercy and grace. We have all felt that love all the way into our joints and marrow—that chilling warmth of the Holy Spirit enveloping our bodies and our own spirits as we give ourselves over to Him. What more can we give ourselves and those we love than that what God gives us?

He wants us to be encouraged. He does not want us to be discouraged and broken. His plans for us are for the greater good. We can find that greater good in scripture, in the Eucharist, and in His love. The more we go to Him, the more we can hear, see and feel that ‘still, small voice’ He has for us in His grace, mercy and forgiveness... and life.

John 6:63

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.


Offer It Up! Friday, January 14, 2011


Hebrews 4:1-5, 11

Let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains, that none of you seem to have failed. For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did. But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in faith with those who listened. For we who believed enter into that rest, just as he has said:

As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter into my rest,”

and yet his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world.
For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner,

And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;

and again, in the previously mentioned place,

They shall not enter into my rest.

Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.

Did you hear that?

Even then, thousands of years ago, the same message being preached then as it is today—you better watch where you’re going lest you end up where you shouldn’t be. As was the message then, God swore that those who did not believe in Him not were not to enter into His eternal rest. And as believed today, we will get no closer to that glory should our lives be filled with things other than Him.

Whoever it is that wrote Hebrews encourages us sincerely and encourages us often as they tell us to ‘be on our guard’ so that we too may enter into our eternal rest. We should take care, we should lift each other up in prayer and in good deed and thought-everyday. With faithfulness, in love and kindness. Our lives, woven and joined, will pull us all forward together in faith. All for our eternal rest.

Let us all continue to set that example for each other, not of disobedience but of hope and of mercy and forgiveness.


Offer It Up! Thursday, January 13, 2011


A year ago, the world watched as Haiti crumbled. We have come far since then but then, have we come far enough?

We hope to come even and ever closer to what the Holy Spirit has called us to do every day we have been called to serve Him.

Below is an excerpt from a book by Dan Woolley and his life-saving experience from those days in Haiti. May we all be so driven in our own lives to be brought from the darkness into His light every chance we get.

Psalm 139:7-8

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

On January 12, 2010, millions of people in Haiti experienced the severe shaking of the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake, and with one voice millions called out to God for salvation and rescue and comfort as their world fell apart. In the hours following the quake, thousands found themselves trapped under rubble, and had to “make their beds in the depths” that night as they hoped for rescue. On assignment in Port-au-Prince that day with Compassion International, I was one of those trapped in the rubble.

As I lay in the darkness under the collapsed Hotel Montana, I cried out to God, asking Him to be present with me, to sustain my life, and to comfort me. And in that place of extreme darkness and destruction, I experienced God’s presence like I never had before. God did not abandon me in my time of crisis. The darkness and the pancaked stories of concrete did not prevent Him from ministering to me. And God used Psalm 139 to encourage me, reminding me that He was not taken by surprise by this earthquake–that even this day was written in HIs book before I was born. Reminding me that I could trust Him.

Feeling God’s presence and having a reminder that He had sovereign control over my wellbeing, in life or in death, sustained me through my 65 hour ordeal until I was rescued. And as I talk with Haitian survivors of the earthquake, though so many stories are fraught with heartache, I regularly hear accounts of how God’s presence sustained them through their trial.

If you are suffering today, if you’re facing some kind of darkness in your life, call out to God for His comfort and sustaining presence. He loves you!

Dan Woolley


Offer It Up! Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Simon’s mother-in-law was sick and she was about to be healed.

There were others that were sick and demonized and they too were on their way to being cleansed and cured.

The whole town was gathered at the door.

Simon and his friends chased after Jesus as He went to go pray and it seems his sole purpose was just to let Jesus know that there were more people looking for Him.

I am not so much the theologian or biblical scholar but it doesn’t take me long to look at a red horseshoe to know that it’s hot… don’t you think Jesus knew all of this? Don’t you think that even before He entered their home, He knew what He was going to be healing Simon’s mother-in-law? That He was going to be cleansing and healing the ‘whole town’ gathered at the door? Don’t you think the apostles were surprised to see the crowds as they gathered wherever they went? Even with what they had seen and heard thus far, they were still in the early parts of the ministry and what they were experiencing could still be hard for them to grasp.

For this purpose I have come.

To preach to the villages, to heal the sick, to drive out demons.

If Jesus knew what He was going to do before He entered Simon and Andrew’s home, (and He did), and if He knew the whole town was gathered at the door as He was there, (and He did), how hard could it be for us to grasp what Jesus knows about us, entering our ‘home’?

Oh He knows. And we know He does. He knows because He has been there and knows what we have been through and knows what we need. And He can do for us what He has done for the sick and demonized. And for Simon’s mother-in-law and for the lepers. And for the blind and lame and the broken and the lost. He can heal us and bring us peace in His love and mercy.

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Ordinary Time.

The Christmas Season ended Sunday with the Baptism of the Lord, and we begin the first week in Ordinary Time. Ordinary time is really not so ordinary if we reflect on it. Ordinary time is living our baptismal commitment to its fullest. For most of us it is the weekly celebration of the resurrection of the Lord each Sunday, offering to the Father in the Holy Spirit the sacrifice of the Lamb, His only son Jesus. And with that offering we offer ourselves. We come giving thanks for what has been and seeking the graces to accomplish our mission in the days to come. Each week listening to the Word as it is proclaimed and uniting in Holy Communion with Christ Himself.

Some thoughts at the beginning of Ordinary time, and the beginning of 2011...


What is your attitude at coming into the Church before Mass as you prepare to hear the Lord speak, as you look forward to meeting Him in Eucharistic communion? As you prepare for Eucharist are you aware of any serious sin for which you need to seek forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation?

Are you aware of your brothers and sisters who join you in this liturgical prayer and worship? Do you reach out and seek to know them and pray for them? Can you name the person or persons close to you and if not, do you make an effort to know them, or welcome those you do not recognize?

Reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament: Do you show reverence for the Lord present in this Sacred Space. Do you acknowledge his presence by proper reverence genuflecting, or if this is not possible, bowing to the tabernacle, and then sitting or kneeling in prayer asking for the grace to participate attentively?

Do you take part actively in the Mass, fully attentive, responding to the prayers, listening actively to the proclamation of the Word, the homily? Do you join in the singing of the praises even if only softly praying the words of these song prayers?

Do you RECEIVE the Body of the Lord worthily? Do you do this by allowing the minister to place the Lord's body in your hand or on the tongue and not take it from the minister? Do you return to your pew and spend moments in silent prayer conversation with the Lord who is now with you, in you? Do you remain for the final blessing and dismissal-- being sent forth to witness to Christ in us?

We can become complacent with time. We come to worship with and allow ourselves to be distracted by the busy-ness of life, by pursuits that bring us entertainment, by valid concerns that perhaps we would better lift up to the Lord and seek His help in dealing with them.

As we enter into Ordinary time in these several weeks before the Lenten Season, we could resolve to make our participation in Sunday worship a vibrant experience in meeting the risen Lord. We can respond to God's call to discipleship by making a special effort to know our fellow worshippers a little better. We could honor those who serve coffee and donuts by at least periodically sharing with them a little time and friendly conversation, getting to know our Catholic family.

May the Light of Christ illumine all our minds and hearts that we may hear his call and respond with JOY!

Deacon


Offer It Up! Monday, January 10, 2011


Mark 1:14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

They must have thought that what Jesus had to offer was better than what they had going on. Maybe the nets kept coming up not as full as they had liked. Maybe the work itself was getting to them. Or maybe they knew there was something else they had to be doing with their lives and this was the break they were looking for. They dropped what they were doing and took off on another path, a ministry of faith.

What would some of us give for that same chance today? What would we give up to grab that brass ring, that passing opportunity when someone would come to us and say ‘Come follow me.’? These guys literally left family and friends to follow Jesus. Would we do so even figuratively if we were to be called to serve?

Our answer is of course, yes. As they fished and cast their nets, we too do our own method of fishing and casting as we look for ways to bring more of those that are called to the Word of God. It starts with a yes and goes from there with any practical and sometimes impractical method of imparting our faith.

Jesus and the disciples had the written word to read. So do we.

Jesus and the disciples had their feet to carry it out. So do we.

Jesus and the disciples had their words to speak. So do we.

Jesus and the disciples had their entire body and spirit to active live and baptize the called. So do we.

We have all this and so much more.

They proclaimed it and so can we.

The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.


Offer It Up! Sunday, January 9, 2011


Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Christmas is over. Now we get back into the real swing of things. Putting away the tinsel and trees. Down come the manger scenes and mini-lights. But look what we get for our efforts. All the preparation and celebration has not been for naught. Lest we forget what happened such a short time ago, we have our Savior with us and as humbly as He was born, we should also be living with Him.

As Jesus was baptized by John, He humbled himself for us. We are humbled by our own baptisms and the renewals we experience in our lives by His grace and mercy. As God the Father called His Son for his mission here on earth to save us, we too have been called to serve our own mission. We just have to hear and respond to that calling.

Maybe we have heard it already. Maybe not. Maybe we’ve given it some thought and are already into it. Or maybe we’re still in the thinking mode and trying to discern if that call is really meant for us or the guy next to us. Some of us heed the call willingly. Some of us go about answering our call as if it we’re trying to put a cat in a pet carrier that doesn’t won’t to go in it-try it sometime if you have not already.

Keep praying. Keep discerning. Keep listening. God will open the doors as He opens our eyes and hearts to who and where we are all called to be.


Offer It Up! Saturday, January 8, 2011


Offer It Up!
What exactly are we to offer up? Whatever we experience. At the beginning of each day we rise to new life, God has granted us time and the freedom to use it as we choose.


How often we forget what freed
om is. We are free to use each moment as selfishly as we desire, we are free to respond to LOVE with gratitude and a sincere desire to do live each creating moment in His will.

Offer it up! What? Your life. With each breath seek to live in and with and through the divine life of the Trinity. We were created out of Love. We know that by faith, and through the revelation of God himself incarnate in Jesus Christ. The invisible God reveals Himself to us by taking a body like ours and living in our midst in his humanity. We look to Him, we learn from Him how to strive to live our lives in time.


We are His Work of Art, and He has taken such pleasure in us that He came to live in our midst and yet remains with us. Jesus Himself promised He would remain with us always. The accomplishments of men and women are fantastic, especially in our time we are seeing "progress" that boggles the mind. Advances in science, medicine, and communications and on and on are occurring so rapidly most cannot keep up with the new discoveries.


Despite the advances, we are incapable it seems of keeping up with this pace with our reason. With these tremendous advances which promise so much, we find ways to use what God allows us to discover to turn away from Him. We are like Israel faced with all that God is doing to deliver them from Egypt they are blind to his creative action and turn to created things to be their God. The Golden Calf of our time is evident in the search for wealth beyond reason, in using gifts of the creator to treat one another as commodities.
The baptized are being called to proclaim the Good News. On the coming feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we are reminded that we share in His role of Priest, Prophet and King.


All of us who were baptized were baptized into Christ, grafted to His body, we are baptized as priest, prophet and King. We must strive to live our baptism, to pray as priests for one another, husbands pray for wives, wives pray for your husbands, parents pray for your children young and old, children pray for your mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ pray for each other, pray for all those who give their lives to Christ in the priesthood and religious life.
Prophets all, speak God's word, learn his word through frequent reading of the Scriptures and speak His word, his name often in conversations.
Realize and believe that God calls you into Kingship sharing His divine life for all eternity.


Live that others may see Christ in you. Do coworkers know that you are a Catholic Christian? If not, why not? Have we hidden our light? Live, dress, act, speak, so that the glory of God is evident in your life.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary John and Amanda!


Luke 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

All he did was ask. Well, he didn’t even do that, really.

To be a leper then was to be an outcast of the worst sort. Despised, feared and living in the hell on earth in the pain of their own emotions and skin, they could not even carry on conversations with the clean so as to not spread the disease via germs. This leper though, he had seen the Lord and got down on his knees and prayed and pleaded. With his disease, he knew what Jesus could do for him. With his faith, he knew he could be cured. He could make him clean.

He could cleanse him of his disease that kept him apart from others. The cleansing would even bring him back from the insanity he was living within. It would make him whole physically, emotionally, mentally and put him on the road to fullness spiritually. If only it were so easy for us… oh yes, if it were only so easy.

We do want it easy, don’t we? Like the commercial from some months ago with the ‘easy button’. If things weren’t going the way as planned, push the easy button and everything changes just as you would want them to be. The leper had faith and believed, pleading for Jesus to cleanse him, as his faith was strong and Jesus wanted him clean. We would just as soon not have to go that route: just had us the remote and let us see what we can do to change the scenery and not have to see what Jesus wants us to do to get ourselves into better shape, if not clean.

Start having your plans match a little more closely with what God has planned instead of what you think you want. That can be done just as the leper did with prayer and with an active faith. And just as the leper did, let your cleansing speak for itself.


Offer It Up! Thursday, January 6, 2011


We are fast approaching the Baptism of the Lord, the end of the Christmas Season and the return to Ordinary Time. The Christmas season has filled us with God's revelation once again that He is with us always. The sights and sounds of Christmas that come to us through His Word draw us into the mystery of LOVE. As we reflect on John's letters during these days of Christmas we are reminded of God's call to us to love one another. The wonder of it all is reflected in our history as we remember and honor those who have gone before us and left us a legacy of hope in their living faith, and the love they achieved.


During the Christmas season we see St. Stephen stoned to death pleading that God have mercy on his executioners, Thomas More, a martyr for courageously living his faith.
St John the Evangelist, who through his Gospel and letters, continues to remind us to love. And, this week those pioneers of faith in the New World St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint John Neumann, and Brother Andre Bessette, who established the Oratory to Saint Joseph in Montreal and was known for the ministry of His healing and his deep devotion to Saint Joseph. May God inspire us and grant us strength and grace to continue in faith to build the Kingdom. Those who have gone before us have blazed a trail and we are being called to build on the foundation of faith.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, those who devoted their lives to Him have laid the foundation and we are to continue building the living temple, the body of Christ. We are living stone. We embody the faith that has been passed from generation to generation through the ages. In our time we see signs of darkness as many have chosen not to work for the up-building of the kingdom. The wonders of God's creation too frequently have become idols that distract us from the Creator who is love.

As we approach Ordinary time, may the wonders of the Christmas message lift us to the heights, that we become a people of faith, hope and witnesses to the awesome love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Come, Lord Jesus fill us with the Holy Spirit that we may delight in doing the will of Our Father.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Nancy!


Mark 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea.

He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

If He is here then what should we have to fear?

Of all the times I have heard and read these from the various gospel references, this is the first I recall reading this particular verse stuck away here in Mark’s. Can’t you hear the disciples saying ‘What—first He’s told us to get in the boat and now the storms are raging and He’s just going to walk on by? What is wrong with this picture?’

Well, at least a couple of things from their perspective.

They thought He was a ghost, making them even more afraid than they already were.

Then it appeared He was meaning to pass them by.

And if that were not enough, they were still trying to get their heads wrapped around what went on with the loaves and fishes just a bit before they were where they were now.

We are never going to be in any situation or point in our life where Jesus will pass us by. And we should not be putting ourselves in such positions where we should pass by Him, either. Putting Christ at the center of our lives, making Him more than just a priority—putting Him above everyone and everything—will help us in those times when the waves are well over our boats. We may not know why we are where we are right now. We may not understand completely or at all why He does what He does. Rest assured, He lets us know when and what we are able to understand and handle.

John 13:7

Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later."

As He did with His disciples then, climbing into the boat, He does with us—the storms were quieted and the seas calm. Let our lives and hearts not be hardened but astounded at the Love He has for us.


Offer It Up! Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Mark 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

Has it ever happened to you that you get so wrapped up in your goings-on in your own life or so inflated with something you’ve done, you are just can’t believe the world has not stopped long enough to recognize the magnitude of your accomplishments or the importance of what you are doing? Maybe it wasn’t the cure for cancer or the common cold or maybe it wasn’t world peace but whatever it was, you felt it worthy of the admiration of rest of humanity.

Sometimes we get to be so full of ourselves, we are indeed ‘overfilled’ and begin to over-serve ourselves to others as if they cared to hear or see what it is we were offering. Our egos get in the way of the walk God has planned for us. The more the ego, the more the stuff inside us has nowhere else to go but out. Sometimes God uses that as a humbling road of surrender for us in ways we would rather not have to travel. Our jobs don’t go as planned. Relationships that were once rock-solid are now precariously on a fault line-or blame line. The bills are bit higher month after month…

When God gives us gifts, He does so for the good of others. He calls us to use them to help fill their needs, not ours. And in return, our needs are then met through His graces and His Love. The trials we suffer, the illnesses, the heartbreaks, they too are part of His plan for us to grow in His abundance. Through those experiences we can become closer to Him and know more of His love for us. Never mind so much about what we need-what about those needs of others?

The disciples were a bit like that. They were into what they wanted-some peace and quiet and let the crowd fend for themselves. So much so in fact, they were telling Jesus how to handle them… imagine that! What happened then? When left up to Him, when they listened to what He had them do with their gifts, the crowd was fed. And just as He fed with the loaves and fish and had much left over, we can serve others with all we have and still be able to serve Him with what He has given us. We just have to give Him that chance to do so. Every day.


Offer It Up! Monday, January3, 2011


Matthew 6:32-24

All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil

What do you fill your time with? We know there are the basics for those that are employed as we go about our job duties. There are those functions we put ourselves to for those that are called to volunteer. And of course let us not discount nor forget the litany of responsibilities we assume as husbands and wives, parents, family members, friends, caretakers—who or what else could be added to the list?

There are those things that many of us—working or not, volunteering or not, even obligated or not—put on ourselves into, so as to fill our time. Be it productive or not. Spinning wheels or spinning yarns, we find that we have to do something.

Got to stay busy.

Idle hands are the workshop of the devil.

Million dollars waiting on a dime.

Romans 8:5

For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit.

If we were to couch the question a little differently, how would we fill our time when we’re not doing any of the other things we feel responsible or obligated to do? What if you actually did have all the time in the world, so to speak, to do what you would really like to do? What then would fill your time?

The challenge with the question is that it’s not really our time to begin with. How strange it is that we are here in a world made by God, separated by the mountains and seas developed over thousands of years. We are governed by rules and laws enacted hundreds of years ago and living by traditions handed down from generations long past. We do all we do with all this time we say we have and it isn’t even ours to begin with. It never was. And never will be.

So why make such fuss about this time that is not ours? Why live according to what God holds as His—a thousand years as a moment and a moment as a thousand years—when He has instructed us in so many different ways not to let ourselves be bothered by it? Could it be that the message He is trying to get across is that if we are devoting whatever it is we are doing to the good of others and to Him, then maybe time wouldn’t so much to us? If that were the case, what would we have to worry about?

John 3:30

He must increase. I must decrease.