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

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OFFER IT UP!    MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTY!

Our daily time with the Lord is enriched as we read and listen to the word of God provided to us in the daily liturgical cycle. Today, with little effort we can relate to what the prophet Amos is saying. He speaks for the Lord and identifies our ways of turning to false gods, ways in which we walk a path that leads to spiritual disaster.

 

With the psalmist we are exhorted to remember those things that preoccupy us so that we do not think of God. Then the Gospel sums all into Jesus' call to follow Him. To the Scribe who says He will follow Jesus no matter where He goes, Jesus points out that though the creatures in God's creation have places to go, the  Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Following Jesus in this earthly journey does not lead to where-or what—many expect.  

 

Let me go first and bury my father, there are so many things to accomplish, Lord when I have done these things I long to do, I will follow you. Jesus responds, ‘Let the dead bury their dead. You, follow me.’

 

Can we spend some time with Jesus and ponder what He is saying? Follow me; don't let all the distractions and lures absorb you so that you will not follow me. If you desire, come then, like the rich young man and rid yourself of excess baggage. Give it away to those in need. Then come follow me and I will be your all. 

 

Lord, strengthen my weak faith that I may give myself completely in obedience to the Our Father's will. Amen.

Deacon

 


OFFER IT UP!     SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 2014

“Who do you say I Am?” 

Each of us are tested daily, in the same way that Jesus tested Peter and the other disciples, with this question in Matthew 16:13-19. Through the gift of faith, Peter recognized that Jesus is the Messiah–The Anointed One. 

 

Jesus’ first question, “Who do people say I Am?”, brought several different comparisons to mind–John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah. So, He specifically asks, “Who do YOU say I am?” To this question, Peter, always quick to respond, said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” It is through true faith, in heart, mind, and soul, from which Peter was able to respond so clearly and willingly with this testament! 

 

Jesus, in turn, played upon Peter’s name, which means “Rock”. It is upon rock that we must build, as we read in Matthew 7:21-29, our spiritual foundation. To call someone a “rock” is a great compliment. Through our faith that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, we lay the first rock of our spiritual foundation. The New Testament brings forth the church–The People of God–as a spiritual house and temple of the Holy Spirit.  

 

As people of faith we are called to be spiritual rocks–LIVING STONES, (Peter 2:5).  As such, we are called and tested daily and personally with the question: “Who do you say that I am?”

 

Lord, as Christians, we profess and believe that you are Christ, the Son of the Living God. May we fully accept, know, and understand that as Lord and Savior you set us free from sin, doubt, and deception. Give us the same boldness conferred upon Peter, through his faith, to speak of you and be a living example of You so that we may come closer to you. And, that others, through us, may come to know You as Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God! Amen.

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!     SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 2014

Obedience! Jesus, through His Sacrifice of Self for our Salvation, is the ultimate example of obedience to God the Father. The first example of Jesus’ obedience, though, is found in Luke 2:41-51 and it is obedience to His earthly parents. Imagine Mary’s maternal joy, anger, fear and concern all rolled into one, after they found Jesus who had been “missing” for three days. Recall, they had gone to Jerusalem for Passover and in the departing crowds, did not realize Jesus was not with them, at first! Verse 51, perhaps, can be interpreted as the first example of Jesus, as a child, being graced with Wisdom when it says, after they found Him, “He went down with them (His parents) and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them...” 

 

At 12, Jesus had a lot to learn about obedience and, as parents, we can understand the lesson He must have been taught after Joseph and Mary finally found Him. Of course He went home with them and was obedient to them throughout the rest of His raising! Not only is today’s passage, an example of Jesus willingness to be obedient to His earthly parents (knowing full well His ultimate commitment is to God, the Father), it is a precursor of the conflict He would feel as He prepared for His Passion and Death on the Cross.

 

As we travel in Luke from this first example of obedience, we must then go to Luke 22:42: “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me; still, not My Will but Yours be done.” Here, in the Garden, just before His Passion, Death and Resurrection, we see Jesus laying out His final obedience to God!

 

Lord, may my prayer, today, be not my will, but Your Will, be done. May I seek to discern Your commands and be obedient to them as a means of bringing Your healing and joy to self and others (Matthew 8:8-9)! May we humble ourselves to God’s Will in our lives just as You humbled Yourself, accepting death on the Cross. (Philippians 2:8)

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!    FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2014
Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The heart of Jesus pierced for us. The heart of Jesus, love for us that is beyond anything we are capable of imagining.

 

Today for us, this is a special feast. We are the family of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our patron. We are loved and called to be love that the very presence of God may be seen by those who encounter us. This is a day when we can come aside and rest in the arms of love, in the heart that is love.

 

Come all who labor and are burdened, Jesus says, come I will refresh you.  Take my yoke; it is easy and comfortable, my burden is light. Jesus the carpenter was skilled at making yoke for the oxen and He is skilled at making a yoke for you and me that we may live in union with him, a team of love...transforming the world.

Deacon

 


OFFER IT UP!    THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2014

Today's gospel is an attention getter. Jesus says not every who calls Him Lord will be acknowledged by Him. Going about using Jesus’ name and taking credit for doing might deeds, appearing to be very saintly, won't cut it if we fail to develop a close relationship with the Lord.

 

Jesus is looking not for slaves, but for friends, true friends. How do we establish that relationship? How do we form close friendships with others? We spend time with them, we converse with them. If they are away, we call them, we stay in touch. 

 

How am I doing in my relationship with Jesus? Do I discuss my life with Him, listen to Him and discuss what He says, like today’s Scripture? What do I hear Him saying to me in my conversation as I ask and listen to what He says?  he Rock he calls us to build our house on is the cornerstone of the Church, Jesus himself.

 

As we invest time and energy into a relationship with Jesus, we are building a rock foundation for our relationship with God. 

J O Y… Jesus Only You. 

You love me beyond my understanding, draw me to Yourself and be my all.

Deacon




OFFER IT UP!   WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014 

Today I returned to Matthew 7:15-20. Here, Jesus makes clear that “false prophets” can be easily identified by the contradiction between what they say and how they carry out the actions of their daily lives. 

 

False prophet. 

A powerful choice of words then and in today’s world.  With so many choices in life and the bombardment of “all things material”, we have so many distractions in our lives. Sadly, we have allotted time in our week for God. For so many of us, it is that one hour or so each Sunday in which we have penciled God in that is our allotted time. Then, we go on with our week having satisfied our obligation.

 

Following today’s reading, in which Jesus says that “rotten tree will bear bad fruit” and a “sound tree will bear sound fruit”, we must strive to be sound in all that we do. Even a “sound tree” needs pruning, watering, and general care to produce and remain sound. So it is with our daily produce. We must prune, water, and care for our spiritual soundness with daily effort and reminder. God has provided all we need, in His Word, to water and tend to our spiritual growth if we but absorb it daily and allow our fruit to bear and be witness to Him.

 

Lord, may I bear good fruit through my daily actions and for Your Sake and Glory! Help me to grow in faith, hope, love, courage, and justice!

Paul B



OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, JUNE 34th, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE!

Today we look to the birth of John the Baptist. The Scripture readings today point not only to John the Baptist's unique role in God's plan, but are a reminder that we too have been created by God, and called by God to fulfill a role in His eternal plan. Not the least is what our role is in building God's kingdom. 

 

We pray ‘Thy kingdom come’ and too often we are simply mouthing words that are not truly taken to heart and reflected on. What does it mean to me, to you—‘Thy Kingdom come’? Why am I here? What did God intend when He formed me in my Mother's womb? Did He have a vision of what I would be, what I would do? 

 

When I reflect on His having created me and given me freedom in His love, do I really desire to live in His love?  

 

I can say the words, Lord, I love you, but can I live actively as one who truly loves the Lord? Do you love me? He asks just as He asked Peter and I say, you know I do. But then in the reality of life, in the daily task of living out that love... ah how terribly in need of His grace and strength I become. 

 

Peter denied Jesus and cried bitterly. Jesus too often I have denied you and I too must cry bitterly and come humbly before you, seeking to live in holiness.  

It is so easy to look at the lives of others and sometimes to judge them, and each time I must realize as I point at others failure more fingers point back at myself. Let the light of love illumine my mind, my heart, and strengthen me that I may live as one with you. 

Deacon 

 

Birthday Notes

Katie, a beautiful, faith-filled woman, is celebrating the start of her gift of faith today as she realizes her 25thbirthday! Her faith continues to shine and grow as she continues her journey with focus and desire. Not to say that journey is one without its bumps and detours, but it is one that has shown her character of perseverance, dedication and trust. Add a bit of patience as well and some discipline along the way and she will be the first to admit that a life centered on faith is far more favorable than what the world may have to offer… just as the prodigal son found out. 

 

Few people really know the hard road that others are living. Fewer still have compassion for them. Then there are those on that hard road who have that compassion for those on even harder roads. That would be Katie. As hard a road as it has been, she still gives and lives with passion and compassion. Regardless the circumstances or the conditions, she senses and responds to those who have a greater need. That is witnessing her faith, walking what she talks, putting into practice what she truly believes. Many people in our society would choose to treat the ‘others’ otherwise. Not so with Katie. With her and with us all, we should take on our responsibility and be those who bridge the gap for healing, not to keep the sores festering. 

 

As the parable of the Prodigal Son goes, he finally hit bottom and saw what he needed to do for his prayers to be answered. Just as many of us do. Our faith is like that. We have it. We lose it. We find it again. Doesn’t matter the reason what took us away—what matters is that we are back. Our faith, as long-standing as it is, is our gift. A family gift in many instances, handed over from generation to generation. Generations that go all the way back to Jesus Christ. A faith and gift that continues to grow from within, even when it is hard to see or imagine it doing so. A faith to come home to. 

 

And that takes faith and prayer. Gifts we have as believers. Just as we as Catholics and as Christians should be, loving toward one another, humble and compassionate, all the while living a faith that we will all come home to… someday in God’s grace and mercy. 

 

Happy Birthday Baby Girl. You are so beautiful and full of life and love! 

 

We love you and always do and will, no matter what! 

Mom and Dad 

 


OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014 

Today's gospel is not one I like to hear. It is a poignant reminder to look within, to look at my own actions before I begin to judge another. Not so easy, when the temptation is so frequent to look at the behavior of others as not according to standards I likely have established. Oh, I am sure I am convinced the standards are Christian standards, but somehow when I really take time to converse with God, I see that I don't even abide by these standards strictly. 

 

When Jesus reminds me to remove the beam from my own eye, I must take Him seriously indeed. Sin is ever present and perhaps especially in my judgments of others without taking the time, without letting the Lord give me insight into their particular walk in life. Walk a mile in another's sandals and see how you perform facing their challenges. 

 

We will be judged by Jesus and indicted, or not, by the way we judge. Let us ponder this today, really take Jesus’ words with us on our daily walk and let the light illumine our path. 

 

Lord, today let me see with Your vision, let me love as You love, let my experience forgiveness and a forgiving heart. Let Your face shine on your people! 

Deacon 

 


OFFER IT UP!   SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 2014

In John 6: 51-58 we see Jesus boldly offering Himself as the “Bread of Life”. The Jewish leaders were scandalized at this and His disciples divided when He said, “…unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you….” 

 

In the Old Covenant, bread and wine were offered in a thanksgiving sacrifice–a sign of grateful acknowledgement to the Creator as the giver and sustainer of life. Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine as high priest and king, pre-figures Jesus’ offering. The remembrance of the manna in the wilderness recalled by Moses to the people of Israel, reminds us that we live, not by earthly bread alone, but by the Word of God! In turn, Jesus becomes the New Covenant when He blessed the cup of wine and the bread–pointing to the sacrifice He was about to make on the cross, shedding His blood and pouring himself out, giving Himself to us. He fulfilled the sacrifice of the lamb! Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5:7, tells us that Christ, the Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed. Here he is echoing John the Baptist, who called Jesus the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). From the beginning it is clear that Jesus IS the offering and sacrifice made for us for our eternal salvation.

 

Lord, You nourish and sustain us with Your very own Presence and Word. You are the Heavenly Food that sustains us through all eternity. Let us value Your ultimate fulfillment of the Old, within the new, through Your Presence: Your Life, Your Word, Your Sacrifice, Your Resurrection! May I hunger and thirst for You and be only satisfied by You: Jesus, Only You!

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!    SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014

Who is the master of your life? This is the question that we must ponder upon reading Matthew 6:24-34. Here Jesus makes it clear to us, His disciples, that we must make a choice for we cannot serve both God and mammon.

 

Mammon, defined, is material wealth/possessions. This goes beyond the drive for money, food, and basic needs of survival in our world. It must force us to ponder what we gather beyond our need to survive AND serve. Survive AND Serve Him! 

 

Perhaps this becomes the question of a 1200 sq. ft house versus a 12000 sq. ft. house? Or, the $50,000/yr job versus the $150,000/yr job? Once Jesus makes the statement that you cannot serve both God and mammon (materialism) He goes on to speak of worry or anxiety.  

 

Anxiety, by definition, means “being of two minds”. An anxious person is pulled two different ways on the given issue(s). Jesus clearly gives us direction in dealing with that anxiety. Here are words of a beautiful song that sums up today’s Gospel: “All that we have and all that we offer, comes from a heart both frightened and free. Take what we bring, now, and give what we need. All done in His Name! Some would rely on their power. Others put trust in their gold. Some have only their Savior…. Whose faithfulness never grows old….”  

 

Lord, help me to put you “front and center” in thought, word, and deed, so that all decisions I make are rooted in a desire to serve you first!

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!    FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014

What is Jesus saying to us in today's gospel? Are we to ignore all the wonderful gifts in God's creation? Surely all these gifts are intended for our use in our living out our lives. As we look at how He contrasts those things in life that do not last, with those that are forever we can get thepoint. We have to avoid being absorbed by things and by stuff and continue—or maybe even begin—placing our faith in created goods intended for our use, intended for making us better able to live in loving relationships and in faith. 

 

Jesus, I believe, makes it quite clear that we are to place our trust in the gifts that will not corrode, become moth eaten, those things that will not last. But rather, the gifts that will last: peace, justice, love, mercy, forgiveness, storing up those gifts provided a lasting treasure. Today, perhaps we can spend some quality time really examining our lives to see where our treasure is.

 

What do I give my energy to in the daily living-out of my existence? The actions I take each day, where I direct my energies are an indication of where my treasure lies.

 

I know I want to do your will, dear Lord, but so often I am distracted and allow myself to become immersed in ego pleasing behavior. Let my eyes be truly a light to the Truth and to knowing Your will in my living, and grant me the courage to live in complete obedience to Your will, confident that by keeping my mind’s eye fixed on You I will more and more become able to hear Your voice and know Your will in all circumstances.

Deacon




OFFER IT UP!    THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILIANA!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL!

Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’

“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

 

Lili, though she may have much to say from time to time, does not babble. What she does have to say reflects (most often) the faith she has found in her that God has given her. Most often because none of us are perfect as she will be one of the first to tell you. Most often because she knows that God does have a plan for us all but we all often have plans for ourselves. Yet more often than not, she understands that God knows what she needs long before she goes to Him in prayer… that which she does very often.

 

Lili, as she celebrates her birthday today, has learned to pray just as Jesus has taught us to pray. From her family, from her faith, from the way she has held fast to what she believes and holds as true and eternal, she has prayed and led others to prayer and to the faith of Christ. She knows of her Father in heaven as He guides her and prepares her to accept all that her journey brings her. 

 

She knows how holy His name is and that His kingdom is not only something she strives for but something she also lives to witness to today. It is His will that is to be done, not hers, nor does anyone else’s will compare to what God has in store for us all. She looks to Him for what she needs only for now, regardless of how tempted she may be to look ahead and grasp what might be needed then or glance over her shoulder to see what was and what might have been if only… yet she knows that the love of God takes care of all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and bring her to His ready love today.

 

As scary as it is to ask for His forgiveness as we forgive others—yes, that is exactly what that means—she prays for that unconditionally just as God loves her and us unconditionally. It means more than uttering the words from rote; it means more than reciting them. It means to forgive as He does. As hard as it is, she gives it up as her Father would have her do. Not to be led into temptation, not to be led away from His grace, she seeks to be protected with more and more of His love and mercy by the witness she is and the weaknesses she lays as His feet. 

 

We would all do well to practice a prayer life like hers. Maybe even a little bit of her prayer life would do us well. But there is more to her than that… a faith, a family, a life rich in love and peace and joy. She is as much a part of those gifts as they are all a part of her and how she shares them with us.

 

Happy Birthday Liliana. We are indeed blessed to have a life shared with you. And though you may not be in the 6-0 club just yet, honorary memberships are available!





OFFER IT UP!    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 2014

In Matthew 6:1-17, we find Jesus singling out three things: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. He points to these three key points as they are considered cardinal works of the Jewish religions life; key signs of a pious person on which a good life is based. But, Jesus drives the point home about purpose! Do we do these things to be noticed by others? Or do we do them solely for the glory of God. 

 

In Matthew 18:20, Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst”. Is this an apparent conflict in His message(s) throughout the Gospel? I would think not! Here, in Chapter Six, He is simply warning us of “self-seeking” glory. He adds in this discourse and others that God knows what is in our hearts. Let us take heed of His words, today, and know that God knows from where our thoughts, words, and deeds come. May our purpose in praise be solely and foremost to Glorify Him!

 

Lord, give me a fervent faith and love for You. Take me from a tepid desire to meditate upon You and Your word and give me passion and delight that fills me from the heart, then outward. May you recognize my praise from deep within!

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014

Today Jesus continues on in Matthew 5:43-48, focusing on the very thing that distinguishes Christianity among all others: grace! The act and gift of treating others, not as they deserve but as God desires them to be treated, with loving kindness, patience and mercy.

We are called by God to embrace the saint and the sinner, alike. He highlights the fact that it is easy to love those who love you back and to be excited to see our brothers. But, these are not the exception. To be exceptional, one must pray for and reach out to his enemies–his persecutors. These are the ones who ultimately, need to be shown the grace of God (through us).

How do we possibly accept and embrace the call to love those who stand against us? Through Him and by Him, we are given power and grace to accept the Spirit. Through the Sacrifice of His Son on the Cross, we are called to be free from malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment.  Jesus, through modeling sacrifice, truly “practiced what he preached.” Jesus calls us to be “perfect” as God is Perfect. In Aramaic, scholars say, perfect means “complete” or “whole”, ”not lacking”. 

We were given everything in Christ so that we would not lack anything we need to do His Will and KNOW how to live as true Sons and Daughters (ref: 2 Peter 1:3). 

Lord, may Your Love and Sacrifice bring freedom and pardon to the heaviness of our hearts. Set us afire with Your love to temper our anger, enrich our peace and give fullness of joy in all we do.

Through You, For You, and With You, Jesus, Only You!

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2014 

It doesn't take a whole lot of effort to take up the scriptures and read the daily offerings of scripture given us in the Church calendar. Today we have a periscope from the Book of Kings and of course Matthew's Gospel and the Psalm.

 

Taking some time to sit attentive to God's presence, we read and we meet Ahab, Jezebel, Nabob and Nabob's townfolk—some of whom become his accusers at Jezebel's intrigue. In the Gospel we listen to Jesus and perhaps even wonder: is He serious?

 

The actions of Jezebel and Ahab and the rogues Jezebel directs leave us with a sense of almost disbelief at the lengths some will go to achieve their selfish goals. Then we have Jesus telling us to be generous, to give till we can feel the cost. 

 

How do we respond in prayer to these Scriptures? How do we see ourselves in the light of the Gospel? Is it possible that in my own living I have been like Ahab, wanting something badly and depressed when I can't get it? Or am I willing to use devious methods like Jezebel?  

 

Then as I listen to Jesus, how do I measure up in love and generosity toward my neighbors? Am I willing to go the extra mile and share time, talent, treasure to the point of sacrificial giving? 

 

We know that we are called to love. We know that we are being called to share in God's eternal love. Faith leads us in that direction. This life with all its joys and sorrows is a journey with God if we listen and believe that we have been chosen. Chosen to live each day in His presence, in His peace. You are chosen. Will you live as one chosen? 

 

Father, in your mercy forgive my sins and help my weak faith!

Deacon



OFFER IT UP!    SUNDAY, JUNE 15, 2014
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Today, the Gospel’s journey took me to John 3:16-18. Here we find Jesus speaking to Nicodemus, a Pharisee who came to Jesus in the night out of fear and doubt, as he was a leader among the Jewish council. In John 3:1-15, (recommended reading to fully grasp today’s “Gospel highlight”) Nicodemus has some serious questions for Jesus that lead up to the ultimate answer and explanation of verses 16-18. But it is Jesus’ words, in 16-18, that should have “smacked” Nicodemus, “square in the nose”:  

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish, but have eternal life: For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God!”

 

These words should have shaken Nicodemus to the very core of His being, just as we, as Christians should be shaken as we ponder these words in our daily walk!  

 

Lord, on this Father’s Day, may men come to see You and know You through the Gift that You are: One Being: Father, Son, and Spirit! Grant that we, as men, Glorify You as our Creator; Embrace You as Gentle Shepherd; Embody You as the Ruler of our hearts and minds! May all come to know You, eternally, as Father, Son, and Spirit!

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!    SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 2014 

This morning we meet Elisha at the task of plowing when Elijah calls him to prophetic service. Elisha's sacrificing of the oxen and the plow used for fuel I view as an act of turning to God completely. He is cutting the cord, so to speak, from life as He has known it and giving himself completely in service to the Lord. He will take up the mantle of Elijah to prophecy for the Lord.

 

How prepared am I to give myself in completeness to the Lord?  Can I say with complete sincerity "You are my Inheritance O Lord"? As I begin each day in your presence, Lord I hope that it will be a new beginning over and over as I recognize more completely the false gods that creep into my life. Despite my daily offering of all that I am and all that you have given me I am prone to selfishness and sin. 

 

Your words of warning in the Gospel this day give pause. To live in the present moment is a call to simply respond to your love in all circumstances. ‘Yes’ is truly the simple answer that eliminates so many ifs in our own planning and goals that are too often designed to satisfy the ego-god. ‘No’ is that simple answer to those temptations to take the broad and easy way that often leads to destructive behavior.  

 

Lord, we are surrounded with the wonderful good things of your creation. Grace me, grace us, with knowledge, understanding, wisdom and all the  gifts of the Holy Spirit that we may find you in our prudent use of all you have created in  love, and become one with you in love.

Deacon

 


OFFER IT UP!    FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2014 

Jesus, in Matthew 5:27-32, uses very forceful graphic language to urge His disciples and us to choose life – the everlasting, enduring life of joy with the Father.  Just as a doctor might remove a part of the body that is diseased, in order that the rest of the body continues on, so Jesus urges us to be prepared to part with anything that causes us to sin and lead to spiritual death.

 

In this discourse we are reminded that there is nothing in this world which lasts forever and there is nothing for which we should risk our eternal salvation. We are to use His blessings, His commands, and His Ways for the sake of our salvation and, in turn, be an example that will lead others to Salvation. In today’s world of electronic devices and so-called “graphic organizers”, let us not miss the “blunt” and “graphic” picture that is laid out for us in God’s Word! 

 

Lord, give me the wisdom to know and understand your commands and desires for me. And, give me the strength and courage to follow my heart in obeying Your Will.  Let Your Spirit to burn in my heart and fill me with a thirst for holiness in every area of life. Finally, Lord send your discerning power among us that we may choose You in thought, desire, and intention. Keep me on track towards your desired destiny for me: A “one-way ticket” to eternal happiness.

Paul B

 
 


OFFER IT UP!    THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 2014 

Today I will take a journey into the Old Testament: 1 Kings 18-41-46. Here we find the prophet, Elijah, having predicted that the drought would soon end. He repeatedly told his servant to check the skies for clouds. Time after time, the servant reported that there is nothing—no clouds in sight. Finally, a very small cloud, seemingly with little chance of delivering moisture, appeared. However, immediately the sky grew dark and heavy rain fell.  

 

This pattern is very common in our human condition.  Like Elijah and his servant, we watch and we pray, we pray and we watch. Often during this time of prayer and hopeful waiting, we become impatient, wondering if God is “even there”. Suddenly, and often in the smallest things, the Lord amazes us again and again.  

 

Lord, give me the courage to pray without ceasing. Grant me the gift of perseverance and the vision to see the “small clouds rising”, knowing that your mercy is coming to those who wait! Finally, grant me strength in my actions to demonstrate faith in my words and deeds.  

Paul B 

 

PS-(Read Mt 5:20-26 for affirmation that our faith and obedience is desirable and our faith in action a reflection of that faith and obedience: Today’s lesson: Dealing with anger)

 


OFFER IT UP!    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11, 2014

Like a clarion call, the first readings of Scripture during Ordinary time are a reminder to us of who we are. We are in a sense "God's Kids" brothers and sisters of Jesus the Christ. We are to be lights shining in the darkness, Salt flavoring the life of the world, a beacon lighting the path to eternal life.

 

It is so easy to get caught up in the temporal world around us. There is a cacophony of voices often blurring the reality of life in the Spirit. Successes in terms of mammon are alluring and we drift into a way of living that leads us into grey areas and sometimes into the darkness.

 

The news on a daily basis delivers messages that give evidence of salt losing its flavor, lights not being placed on the lamp stand but hidden under somewhere, or extinguished. Where is the JOY of living in Christ? Where is the wonder of love that brings peace? The peace that is borne of love! Let the look of love be your goal this day!

Deacon




OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZABETH!

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He continues speaking to the crowd after sharing with them the Beatitudes – what it takes to be blessed!  He compares our faith and commitment, as His followers, to both salt and light. These are such simple items in our lives that we often take for granted. Yet, this comparison conveys extraordinary truth.

  

Salt and light.

Salt transforms the simplest foods, bringing out extra flavor, yet, if it hardens in the shaker or loses it’s flavor, it serves no purpose and cannot be used for any purpose.  Salt is also a preservative – in ancient times it was used to preserve food from going bad.  


Light.

Illuminates/eliminates darkness!  Light exposes the things around us to ensure that we don’t stumble in the dark and is intended to draw us toward goodness.  Jesus uses these two analogies to provide direction to His follows. 


“You are salt for the earth!”  

“You are light for the world!”  

These two statements give clear direction of God’s expectation of us.  We are to be a catalyst in drawing out God’s goodness in ourselves, others, and the gifts of creation around us, just as salt brings out the richness of food’s flavors! We are to be the “light of Christ”, a beacon for other’s to be guided by, towards God’s salvation – Eternal Life with Him! As a light, we can help others prevent themselves from stumbling and making their journey, not only safer, but for some, simply possible!  

Lord, guide me by the light of your Saving Word.  Fill my mind with light and truth to save me from the blindness of sin and deception of the material world.  In doing so, may I bring illumination (of You) to others and be salt for the earth so that they may “taste and see Your Goodness”.

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!    MONDAY, JUNE 9, 2014 

Back to Ordinary Time. 

The gospel for today as we enter again into Ordinary time is the beginning of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, The Beatitudes. To follow Jesus in the ordinary way is fully outlined in this listing of attitudes. We are being called to be like Jesus. He didn't just come to remind us of ten commandments that are the line we shouldn't  cross, but rather to point out the persons we should strive to be. 

 

Poor in Spirit, pure of heart, merciful, peacemakers.  Can we not look at the world in which we live and move and not see the need for persons who live the ‘Be-attitudes’?

 

The Holy Spirit comes, the Holy Spirit has come and we, the baptized, we the confirmed in Christ, are His temple. The breath of God inspires us. Will I listen on tip-toe for the word of God that comes to me in prayer and in the moment to moment events of life?

Deacon



OFFER IT UP!   SUNDAY, JUNE 8, 2014

In John 21:20-25 (the final verses of John’s Gospel) we find Jesus challenging Peter to simply, “Follow me”. Here, Peter had asked Jesus, “What about him (in reference to John). Remember, Jesus had already “predicted” to Peter that Peter would suffer (for Christ and his proclamation of the Word). And, as we read yesterday, Jesus had questioned Peter THREE times, “...Do you love me?” So, today, He drives the point home even more, to Peter, that He is to “buck up”, tend to business, and begin his journey of faith without worry as to the mission of the others. 

 

When we commit to Jesus and to the “acts of the apostles”, to which we are called as believers, Jesus does not want us to “compete” with each other, rather, we are called to listen to our call and act on His behalf. While, as humans, we worship “in group” and draw spiritual and emotional support from each other, our strength comes directly from God and our courage to move forward in His Name comes from His Spirit dwelling within us. Peter, in his “earthly end”, died for Jesus after completing his task to shepherd sheep to Christ. John, in turn, lived a long life and wrote the Gospel as his testimony to the reality of Christ’s resurrection. In doing so, John ends his gospel with: “Human books cannot exhaust the person and work of Jesus Christ.” Is he basically saying that we can never say (and do) enough to highlight the power, majesty, and Glory that is God? And, we are each called to fulfill a role in proclaiming Him?

 

Lord, may we unselfishly accept our own path of glorifying you, without question of Your call. May we hear your voice and tend to the business to which you call us, regardless of the distractions around us!

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!    SATURDAY, JUNE 7, 2014
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY JOE and NANCY!
CONGRATULATIONS LAUREN and JOE!

Veni Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit!

 

With open hearts, and generous spirits may our prayer at Pentecost be a sincere desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. May the words we utter become truly evident in the deeds we perform. As we proclaim to be temples of the Holy Spirit may our actions give witness to that reality. 

 

That first Pentecost, in the glow of the Resurrection was exciting as the fire of the Spirit blazed like a wildfire spreading the message throughout mankind. We are now being called to renew the face of the earth! New Evangelization! Let every nation on earth, every tongue ring out the Glory of God. Jesus is Lord! Let no man or woman fail to hear the good news, He is Risen as He said! 

 

On this Pentecost, the world presents us with many faces of despair, lack of hope, poverty, hunger, violence and Christ crucified, died and Risen. How will I respond to the call? Give me clear vision, courage, understanding, knowledge, perseverance that I may fulfill my God given role in living His mission.

Deacon



OFFER IT UP!   FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 2014 

The Lord has established His throne forever. Our psalm response today says it quite well. Jesus has received all from the Father and rules forever as King of kings and Lord of lords.  

 

Before returning to His heavenly throne, Jesus has a breakfast encounter with the apostles and especially with Peter, who He places at the head of the community of his followers, the Church. Listening to the words of the Gospel, we can in our imagination sit by the breakfast fire and listen as Jesus addresses Peter.  

 

"Peter, do you love me more than these?"

 

The words echo and linger in my own response as I sense Jesus is asking me that question also. Peter responds a little impatiently. "Yes, Lord, you know I love you."  

 

Feed my lambs. 

 

There is silence now and we look at each other, the realization sinking in that not only Peter but all of us are being asked a significant question. It is repeated a second time and we note Peter's heightened irritation as he responds affirmatively. We too are somewhat perplexed. Then, a third time Jesus addressed the same question to Peter. 

 

Visibly irritated Peter again says, "You know everything, you know that I love you."

Feed my sheep. 

 

We are quite aware of the commission Peter receives from Jesus. We are quite aware of the part we are to assume as followers of Jesus with Peter as the leader. As Peter is told that one day others will take him where he does not want to go, we glimpse our own destiny as followers of the Lord, the Savior. All will be well if we trust in Him.

 

Later, after Jesus as ascended to the Father, Peter shares with us his own experience and realization that he was prepared by Jesus with these three questions, erasing the three denials he committed when Jesus was arrested and crucified.   

 

In my own life, I must realize how often Jesus has asked me, do you love me more than... How many times He has had to ask to erase my sins and failures as His disciple. Always the grace is there if I am willing to rise and begin anew. 

 

Jesus only You... help me focus my gaze on You in all circumstances of life now and forever.

Deacon

 


OFFER IT UP!   THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 2014 

In John 17, on the eve of His Great Sacrifice, we have been meditating upon the longest recorded prayer of Jesus found in the Gospels. This prayer demonstrates the incredible greatness of love and trust He had for His disciples in so many ways. Even with the knowledge He had that they would abandon Him during His pending trial(s), He prayed for their pending trials and the mission of spreading His name throughout the world. His prayer, in turn, is for ALL those who are blessed with the gift of faith. He prayed that none would be lost and that those who obtain and share that gift be further strengthened for this journey.

 

In John 17:20-26 Jesus specifically delves deeper into His desire that all Christians share the same unity that He shares with the Father. Therefore, we must understand that we are entrusted to share their same mission: making Jesus known to each other through our lives. In turn, our example of witness to EACH OTHER can and must be an example to those who do not yet believe. Do we love and accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, as believers in the Faith we have been given, no matter the house of worship we choose to enter on Sunday morning?  

 

Jesus ends His prayer at the table with, “….and I will make it known that the love with which you loved Me may be in them and I in them.” Clearly, as believers we are to know, with surety, that the ultimate desire is oneness with God! 

 

Lord, have mercy upon us, Your people, and guide us to understanding that you desire all Christian people to attain the unity for which Jesus prayed the night before His sacrifice for all, so that we may come to believe.  Renew the power of Your Spirit that we may be a sign of unity that draws those not yet in your fold to join us in Your deep love! 

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!   WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, 2014 

Today, in rereading John 17:1-11, which was Sunday’s Gospel reading and meditation as well, I began meditating upon exactly what “Glory” Jesus is speaking of. We have been reflecting upon the Gift of the Holy Spirit that is to come upon the disciples after Jesus leaves and upon the eternal life that the Spirit will lead us to through God’s word. But, in re-reading this Gospel passage, I am brought back to the simplicity of the Glory of the cross.  

 

Throughout this discourse we must come to the realization that Jesus gave to His Father the supreme honor and glory (to which we are all called) of obedience. In turn, we are honored by this supreme sacrifice that is a model for us. In our humanness we honor those who devote and give their lives for the betterment of fellow man: in deed and, often, in death. Jesus, in His earthly life, gave both: He gave us example of living the life required of us to gain eternal life and He, ultimate, gave His earthly life.  

 

There is no greater proof of God’s love than His sacrifice of passion and death.  There is no greater proof of God’s power than the Resurrection. Jesus, knowing that His Passion, Death, and Resurrection are upon Him, pleads for His Father to return Him (now/soon) to the Glory He enjoyed with the Father before His human journey. May we, too, share this prayer.  

 

Lord, please continue to guide me so that, in the end of my earthly existence, my tiny drop of life will be deemed worthy of being absorbed into the ocean of goodness from where all life comes: Your Eternal Kingdom! 

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDA!

Philippians 4:5

Let your gentleness be evident to all. 

The Lord is near.


 

Not only is her gentleness evident to all, her love and her faith are equally clear for all to see. And they are not pretentious in any respect or ‘aspect’, either. The real deal she is. The Lord is near and within her.

 

There are people that we see and know that say such things that leave us pondering their wisdom and knowledge—as profound as they may be. There are others that we know that their lives are their witness to their wisdom, their knowledge and their faith as well… that with all they are and say and do, that with simplicity and generosity, their own ‘profundity’ is made clear without any fanfare or circumstance. This woman lives that way.

 

With each day she has been given, she shines the love of Christ more than the day before. That is how her world and the world around her change: by giving more, being more and loving more with what God has given for each new day. No, it is not always as easy as we would want or even think it should be yet she perseveres and with her calm spirit clings to her faith, trusting in His will and way.

 

I’ve said it before and am blessed still today to have her in my life: she is more than I deserve. Indeed her gentleness and love have made such an impact on our faith, our family and our friends. Without such, our hearts would less than what they are today. St. Benedict is noted as saying ‘Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.’ As she is now, has been and will be, Linda lives her life like that; we all would do well to do the same.

 

On the celebration of the 30th anniversary of your 30thbirthday, I profess my love for you. Happy Birthday to my love.

I love you-

me




OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2014

The Ascension of Jesus signals the presence of the Holy Spirit. The promise of the Father fulfilled at Pentecost which we will celebrate this coming Sunday. Throughout the liturgical year in our Catholic Faith as we come together in liturgical celebration week after week, we are living in the presence of God with us always. The Holy Spirit advocate and guide, we are constantly reminded dwells within us. The Lord has indeed written the covenant in the hearts of His people.

 

As we prepare for Pentecost why not make it our daily time of prayer and meditation to call on the Holy Spirit to speak plainly to our minds and hearts as the disciples felt Jesus was doing in today's gospel. With a little determination and effort can we very deliberately spend 10-15 minutes a day or more in the dialog with the Spirit seeking the graces we need to live as citizens of the Kingdom.

 

Why not start each day with the Lord. We RISE  from sleep to a new day, each day. Perhaps we can rise to new life each day in gratitude for all that Jesus has done and revealed to us.

Deacon


Birthday notes:
It's not that hard really to see the love of Christ in others. All you have to do is find the right person to see Him in... a spouse, a family member, a close good friend or those that have put themselves in such a way of life that pretty much all they are and do reflect the Light and Love of Christ. Their gifts are full and overflowing, shared with all who they meet.

These people, these servants, may not have any idea of all the lives they impact, much less give any credence as to their involvement with those lives that have been impacted. That's just who they are. Whatever it is that their faith life is like, they practice a spirit of giving and living as Christ did when He walked and served.

For those that do as He did, there is a bit of Him in all that do those things, whether they intend it or not. That's how they are; that is how Jesus Christ is with them. He came that we all may have life and He gave life to those who give and share their lives with others... just like Jason does.

I've gone along way to say that he is more Christ-like than he would tell you he is. But there are those that see Jason that way other than those in his family. A life of looking out for others, of giving and sharing, of caring without cost and even sometimes without reason. He's been around long enough now to recognize the difference he makes and still he is as humble and selfless as he has been. The sign of true character and virtue in anyone, in any man.

Happy Birthday, Jason. You are a light for us all to aspire to shine as brightly as you live and give as fully and generously as you do.

God bless you and Amanda-we love you and always will
Mom and Dad




OFFER IT UP!   SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014 

In John 17:1-7 Jesus prays the words, “Father, Glorify me with that Glory I had with Your before ever the world existed.” In this statement, he affirms Divinity, Equality, and Union with God, His Father. As He offers these words, following the powerful premonitions He just revealed to the Apostles regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is truly laying out the whole of God’s Kingdom. 

 

We realize, now, through the benefit of the Gospel accounts, that Jesus is not only trying to mentally and spiritually prepare the Apostles for what is to come in the next days, He is preparing Himself for the anguish He is about to endure to make His Kingdom present and apparent. He knows that to reunite with God, the Father, He must follow through with His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. As the hour approaches, He acknowledges that all that He has done (in His earthly Ministry) has been to bring to fulfillment God’s Gift to us: Eternal Life! It gets no clearer than this (John 17:3): Now this is eternal life, that they should know You, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ!  

 

Jesus knew that His mission was two-fold:  One - to teach us how to serve the poor, nurture those in need of comfort, minister to the sick, and bring others to God through Perfect example of God’s Love. Two – to fulfill the ultimate sacrifice for all man-kind – Passion, Death, and Resurrection. In the face of this, the “hard work” was done by Jesus – true suffering! Our first and primary goal must be to follow His example of service.  May we all work to discern what God wants of us in our daily lives so that we can fully participate in the eternal reward of Heaven with our God – The Father, the Son, and His ever-present Spirit! 

 

Pray for safe travels home from Galveston today! 

Paul B