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

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OFFER IT UP!     WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2015

With our Lenten walk well past the mid-point, the Easter Light glimmers on the distant horizon and in the Gospel today we listen as Jesus tells us He is one with the Father. He is the Resurrection and the life. We read, we hear yet the cacophony of the everyday world muffles the message. The distractions too often draw us into misadventures along the way.  Sometimes, not simply misadventures but downright sinfulness.

 

As Jesus speaks to us in John's gospel today how do you respond? Perhaps there are things we would like to take care of, or do before we follow the Way.  Life is good! What need is there for change?  There are so many needs, so many requests for help, I do what I can but I have to look out for myself my family, don’t I? We have needs too…

 

Yet, sometimes to look at what is available, the need to build larger storehouses to put things for the future, who will enjoy the stored wealth when I am no longer here? How does that stack up when right now my brother, my sister, nearby  is hurting even finding it difficult to live another day?

 

Jesus, you came that ALL may have life. Open my eyes to see as Your eyes see. Open my ears to hear as You have given us to hear. Strengthen my heart to love as You have shown me to love.  Strengthen me and give me desire and will to serve as You serve. Amen.

Deacon

 


OFFER IT UP!      TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2015

Jesus reaches out to us in times of crises, suffering, indecision, and other conditions of our human condition that distract us from truly living in and of our faith. In John 5:1-16 we see a direct and clear example of Jesus reaching out. We find Him at the Pool of Bethesda, where there is a man who had been paralyzed for nearly 40 years. He sat helplessly, day after day, with no friends or family to help him into the purifying waters of the pool. Imagine, for nearly 40 years, waiting in hopeful expectation? 

 

Jesus offered this seemingly incurable man help and total healing. First, before doing so, He asked the man a simple, yet faith awakening question, “Do you want to be healed?” This was followed by, “Get up and walk”. The man decided to take Jesus “at His Word”, so to speak, got up and walked. 

 

Put your daily lives in the same light as the man at the pool: Jesus approaches us daily with the same question, perhaps in different words? Do you want to be healed? Do you want to be set free from sin? Do you want to be forgiven? Do you want to forgive? Do you want peace? And, daily, we ask God to guide, intervene and otherwise provide us with “direction” in our lives? 

 

But, do we “get up and walk” when we are given that direction? Do we truly seek to discern that direction? The first and foremost requirement for discernment and ultimate freedom of living in Christ’s love and ways is desire to change—desire to live in Him. Once we have accepted His direction, He will say (John 5:14), “Remember, now, you have been cured.  Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you.” I once read, “God heals us for service to Him. He didn’t heal us so that we could be the healthiest person in hell.” 

 

Lord, give me peace and wisdom to free myself from the burdens of this world.  It is in this freedom that I can worship You must fully.  Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!      MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2015

Each day the Church prepares a feast for us from the Word of God. We are given rich food to nourish our minds, our hearts, our souls and draw ever more deeply into life itself. Drawn into a life where love is the fullness of living.

 

Today we are invited to  ponder the story of  the official who hears Jesus is in Galilee and is ready to walk a very long distance to seek healing for his son who is ill. He isn't looking for signs and wonders; he is simply a Dad concerned for the welfare of his son. He goes to Jesus aware in faith that Jesus can bring healing. He goes to Him and is happy to return home at Jesus’ word that his son will be well, and verifies that happening when his  servants bring him the news.

 

Where Jesus is, THERE  is life! Can I sit with this Gospel gift and enter into the moment? I want to discuss this with Jesus, with the others who were with Him at this occurrence. I want to hear the tender voice of My Lord encouraging me to come into the light to walk with Him. The light given to me at baptism, represented by the candle presented to those who brought me to the fount, who prayed for me. I long to ignite into a fire in the heart to enable me to proclaim at every chance, by the actions of my life the wonder of Jesus’ Resurrection which brings salvation to everyone in our world.

 

Though my faith convinces me, my will is often weak and faltering. May I find the Amazing Grace that will lead me home, and draw as many brothers and sisters possible with me to the Journey’s end.

Today Lord, guide us to Your light.

Deacon



OFFER IT UP!      FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2015

Today's Gospel reading reminding us once again of the great commandment to Love God and neighbor calls us to self reflection.

Do I really Love God with all my being? 

Do I see my neighbor as one to be loved as I love myself? 

 

A recent reflection I saw and heard looked at love of God and love of neighbor as two sides of the same coin. Heads or tails. Where can one go with this image? For the man who loves football, maybe the coin toss. That's likely a common approach— heads or tails, you win, I lose or I win, you lose.

 

Really? Is that what it is all about—winning, losing? As we speak of loving God, loving our neighbor and using the same analogy—the coin—can we see we are all in the same "game" loving, learning to be ONE for eternity?

 

At some level, I suspect we all at least sense that we are loved. God's love can be evident in the very air we breathe. God at creation, breathing the spirit of life into the human person. What is you experience of being loved by God, and loving God? 

 

Why not share with us your own thoughts?

 

Deacon

 


OFFER IT UP!      THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 2015

I have previously mentioned a song entitled, “Whatsoever You Do To The Least Of My Brothers (That, you do unto Me)”.  Luke 16:19-26 brings the point of this song home. Jesus’ parable, which he spoke to the Pharisees, is about a rich man. As he comes and goes through the gates of his lavish home, daily, he ignores the poor, sore-laden man who sits outside his gate, each day, begging for mercy and attention, even just scraps from his table. 

 

The beggar, named Lazarus, died, as did the rich man. Lazarus found himself comforted by Abraham’s embrace, as he reaped his heavenly reward, while the rich man found he was not welcome. The ultimate point of this example is that the man who was blessed with abundance became so absorbed in the material gifts, with which he had been blessed, that he failed or forgot to take notice of the needs of those around him; those with whom these blessings could have (should have) been shared. Since his “earthly treasures” blinded him from the “heavenly treasures”, he became an “eternal beggar” in the end—after death from this human condition. 

 

 Lazarus, on the other hand, despite his sufferings, never lost hope in God and His goodness. He set his hope and eyes upon Him, daily, and ultimately enjoyed the reward of “eternal richness”. This is not defined in houses, cars, money, or other “icons” of earthly wealth. Rather, it is defined as the simple embrace of Love that awaits all of us. In this parable, Lazarus is greeted and embraced by Abraham as he enters God’s Kingdom! As Christians we are called to consider, “How and by whom will I be welcomed into my eternal reward?” 

 

Lord, give me the strength and courage to find and share the spiritual and material blessings which I have been given in this life! Increase my desire/understanding of the ultimate heavenly reward that awaits those who serve You here! May my example be of Your goodness!  J.O.Y.

Paul B.