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

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Offer It Up!  May 31, 2013

Romans 12:9-16

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.

 

Mary knew she had to ‘visit’ her cousin Elizabeth. Not only for the news and events in her life but for those going in Elizabeth’s as well. That is sincerity of her love as she was holding out her love for her with her show of affection and kindheartedness. How one travels ‘in haste’ in such times we can only imagine yet Mary did as much as she could to get there as quickly as possible.

 

Not unlike any of us these days at the announcement of good news in our own lives be it the birth of a child, the marriage of husband and wife or any of those things we come to celebrate as friends and family. As Mary and Elizabeth served the Lord, they too also would ‘rejoice in hope, endure in affliction and persevere in prayer.’

 

We have come to know that they exhibited all the tendencies and qualities we can only hope to aspire as ours someday, giving fully of their lives to God in faith and in love. The selection from Romans is appropriate for Mary and for Elizabeth as it is for us all. As they were humble and compassionate in the service to God, so too can we as we make ourselves smaller in our own way so that we may be greater in God’s.

With the celebration of Trinity Sunday we are back in Ordinary Time for the Liturgical calendar as we prepare for the feast of Corpus Christi, The Body and Blood of Christ. Also the Friday following on June 7th, we will celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

 

Plenty to celebrate, plenty to meditate. Everything is directed toward love. The heart of Jesus pierced for us, for our willfulness and willingness to commit sin. Despite our attitudes and lack of love, we remain loved. Fantastically merciful God our Father comes in search of the lost sheep. His promises abound, yet willful men and women continue to ignore the splendor of love and seek their own path. They continue “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

 

The hope that exists is our faith. We express our faith in the way we live. As we begin each day the light we awaken to was created just for us. The breath we take is God’s gift of life and His gift of the Spirit for each of us. Can we realize in gratitude the wonder of it .Fearfully wonderfully made the psalmist says. Indeed, we are.

 

Perhaps we are prone to going it alone… we don’t need God, as He will cramp our style. However, we soon discover if we are open to all that is gift as we realize nothing is ours except as gift. That is not what our culture tells us. Rather, we are the gods who create, the gods who build fortunes, we are in control…so some are prone to believe and say. Then, the awakening which either leads to Christ or to a path to ruin.

 

During these next days and weeks, pray for the Holy Spirit to reign in all hearts.

Look with love!

Deacon


Sirach 36:20-22

Give evidence of your deeds of old; fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name, reward those who have hoped in you, and let your prophets be proved true.

Hear the prayer of your servants, for you are ever gracious to your people; and lead us in the way of justice. Thus it will be known to the very ends of the earth that you are the eternal God.

 

Such a beautiful prayer. Makes us want to pray as Sirach did, or at least better than what we offer up to our Lord these days. No, not that there is anything wrong with our current petitions and supplications—it’s just that we can never get complacent with our prayers.

 

How we express what we have come to know and believe, be it in our actions, our prayers or songs or worship, reflects our faith. The more we go to our Lord in prayer, the more likely we are to live in holiness and grace. We would almost have to just by the osmosis factor if nothing else. If we place ourselves with those who do what we feel is right, the more we find ourselves doing what is right—like praying, living in grace, doing the right things. There is less time to do otherwise.

 

The prayers of Sirach were heard by God. Our prayers are heard by God. In no special method with no special words. As we call upon Him to hear our cries, He will be there with us, no matter the place or time. His love and mercy are everlasting.

Sirach 35:1-12

To keep the law is a great oblation, and he who observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering. In works of charity one offers fine flour, and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise. To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is atonement. Appear not before the LORD empty-handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts. The just one’s offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High. The just one’s sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten.
In a generous spirit pay homage to the LORD, be not sparing of freewill gifts. With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means.
For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold. But offer no bribes, these he does not accept! Trust not in sacrifice of the fruits of extortion. For he is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.

 

Is the way you act at work any different than the way you act at church? How about the way you behave at home—is it any different than the way you conduct yourself at a social gathering? If there is, what makes up so many ‘personalities’ in us to be so acting so differently?

 

As believers in one faith and one Jesus Christ, we should all follow and live accordingly, where ever it is we are. And wherever that place is, we are to act then as Jesus would act—with kindness, with love and with charity. As we do, so will be done unto us. As we give, so will be given back, even more so. And as we truly and fully live our faith, so will it be pleasing to God.

 

Sirach reminds us not to appear before God empty handed—we must come to Him with our hearts full of sacrifice, with a life that has been as close to holiness as we are able to live. The more we practice a life centered on Him, the more we will find ourselves in communion with Him.

Sirach 17:1-15

God from the earth created man, and in his own image he made him. He makes man return to earth again, and endows him with a strength of his own.

We are here only as God wishes, not as we wish. With all we have and are in His image, we would do well to share our gifts.

 

Limited days of life he gives him, with power over all things else on earth. He puts the fear of him in all flesh, and gives him rule over beasts and birds.

We would like to think sometimes we are immortal and can rule over all things but think of the last time you told a cat to do something… or a teenager to clean their room… or your car to start on a cold morning. It is in His kingdom we reside and it is His providence that He provides.


 

He created for them counsel, and a tongue and eyes and ears, and an inventive heart, and filled them with the discipline of understanding.

Think of the prayerful and discerning hearts over the thousands of years. Think of the thousands, of the millions of inventions. Not one word, not one prayer, not one invention would have been said or heard or brought to fruition were it not for the majesty, the power and the love of God.

 

He created in them knowledge of the spirit; with wisdom he fills their heart; good and evil he shows them.

With all the gifts bestowed upon us, the gift of free will—as we opt for wisdom—will show us the way to our holiness. We know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Even when we fail to make the right choice, His love brings us back.

 

He put the fear of himself upon their hearts, and showed them his mighty works, that they might glory in the wonder of his deeds and praise his holy name.

‘I’ll put the fear of God in you if you don’t behave.’ Maybe you’ve heard that before and if you haven’t, now is a good time to hear it a first time. We should all have that fear in our hearts to keep us holy in His sight and praise His holy name. Look about and take in all that He has made for us.

 

He has set before them knowledge, a law of life as their inheritance; an everlasting covenant he has made with them, his justice and his judgments he has revealed to them.

With our wisdom comes knowledge, knowing what to do with all He has given us and doing it for the right reason.

 

His majestic glory their eyes beheld, his glorious voice their ears heard. He says to them, “Avoid all evil”; each of them he gives precepts about his fellow men.

As if we needed further instruction—of course we do—with all that is before us and all that we hear and see around us, we still put ourselves in harm’s way, into the darkness of sin and evil. Again He pronounces: “Avoid all evil.”

 

Their ways are ever known to him, they cannot be hidden from his eyes. Over every nation he places a ruler, but God’s own portion is Israel. All their actions are clear as the sun to him, his eyes are ever upon their ways.

Lincoln once said, ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.’ Try as the rulers and presidents and kings might, and even sometimes seem to get away with it from our worldly perspective, they cannot fool God. Just as it is with our own actions. We are the rulers and kings of our own actions, our own choices. God knows what we are about. He knows our ways. As much as we may fool even ourselves, it is folly to try to fool God.

Sirach 5:1-8

Rely not on your wealth; say not: “I have the power.” Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart. Say not: “Who can prevail against me?” or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?” for God will surely exact the punishment. Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” for the Most High bides his time. Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: “Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.” For mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD, put it not off from day to day. For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed. Rely not upon deceitful wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath.

 

How often is it that we rely on what we think we know instead of first going to prayer for guidance for at least a bit more ‘information’? How many times have said to ourselves ‘It’s just a little lie... God will surely forgive me for that.’

 

As great is the mercy of God, it is not up to us to act for Him or as Him. When He wants our help, He will be sure we know how to do just what He wants us to do. The more we prepare ourselves for Him, the better off we will be when He calls us. And we prepare with prayer, with scripture, with putting ourselves in that better position of holiness and grace. Those all come from forgiveness and reconciliation. Those come from the love and mercy that only God can give.

Sirach 4:11-19

Wisdom breathes life into her children and admonishes those who seek her. He who loves her loves life; those who seek her will be embraced by the Lord. He who holds her fast inherits glory; wherever he dwells, the LORD bestows blessings. Those who serve her serve the Holy One; those who love her the LORD loves. He who obeys her judges nations; he who hearkens to her dwells in her inmost chambers. If one trusts her, he will possess her; his descendants too will inherit her. She walks with him as a stranger and at first she puts him to the test; Fear and dread she brings upon him and tries him with her discipline until she try him by her laws and trust his soul. Then she comes back to bring him happiness and reveal her secrets to them and she will heap upon him  treasures of knowledge and an understanding of justice. But if he fails her, she will abandon him and deliver him into the hands of despoilers.

 

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that a tomato doesn't belong in a fruit salad.

 

The quote has been attributed to Miles Kington. Our own knowledge and wisdom can only be attributed to what we learn ourselves. It is through what we learn, either through the classroom or the hard knocks and trials of life that ultimately determines our wisdom. Yup, those experiences that we may want to live again or those we would just as soon never have to visit or think of ever again.

 

Yet, tough or easy, good or bad, wisdom puts us in our place for our eternal salvation. As noted in the reading, those who seek wisdom will be embraced by the Lord. He who holds her fast inherits glory. What better way then to go through our lives than to understand more of God’s plan for us as we come to learn His blessings and love for us?

 

The sort of wisdom we should be seeking is not the stuff we find of the earth but the sterner stuff of heaven. With that sort of wisdom, we become enriched in faith, opening our minds and hearts to live and be the Word of God to others, just as it was given to us.

 

She walks with him as a stranger and at first she puts him to the test.

Fear and dread she brings upon him and tries him with her discipline until she try him by her laws and trust his soul.

 

No one ever told those before us it was going to be easy. No one gave us the easy way route either. How much we learn in the tougher times of failure, of disappointment, of grief and death—those are often the real tests of our faith, if not measures and experiences of our wisdom.

 


Offer It Up!  Sunday, May 19, 2013
             


Offer It Up!  Saturday, May 18, 2013

John 21:20-25

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.”
So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?”
It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.

 

The Beloved Disciple. Many of us have come to know him as John.

John, the beloved disciple, who was there at the Last Supper, next to Jesus, resting upon His chest.

John, the beloved disciple, with Mary and Mary Magdalene at the Crucifixion.

John, the beloved disciple, at the tomb with Peter.

John, the beloved disciple, recognizing Jesus on the shore as the disciples returned to what they knew to best to do.

 

During a recent contemplative prayer session, the homework included putting ourselves in imaginative prayer, that being a prayerful part of scripture where we would be someone in scripture with Jesus. Be it Peter walking on water, Mary or Martha as Jesus was staying with them, the Good Samaritan or maybe even the beloved disciple at any one of the scenes above. We would be that person, knowing what we know now, fearing what we would fear now, loving Christ as would love Him now, following Him—all of that—putting our lives with Him then.

 

What would we do differently? What would we do the same? What would Jesus have to say to us? What would we have to say to Him? With today’s gospel, as Jesus tells Peter ‘Your business is to follow me,’ that is what we would do then; that is what we are called to do today. We are His beloved disciples. We are the disciples that poured the oils on His feet. We are the disciples who stood at the cross. We are the disciples who walked on and sank in the water. Then and now, we are to follow Him.

 
 


Offer It Up!  Friday, May 17, 2013

John 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Jesus seems to be asking Peter if Peter loves Jesus more than the other disciples love Jesus. Somewhat of a rhetorical question, there at table with the rest of the disciples. What else is Peter to say but ‘Yes!’ Even with the rest of the disciples there, that would be his only response. And yet, Jesus goes on and asks Peter twice again, questioning Peter’s love, if not the rest of the disciples’ devotion.

 

We are questioned in our own faith with each day we have as gift. Our faithfulness, our love, our commitment. As the disciples found out how deep their own commitment was when Jesus was crucified, we find out how committed we are with each trial we encounter. We can hear Jesus asking us ‘Do you love Me?’ How we react to our own trials in our humility and trust will be our response. He will never leave us; He knows our pains and will bring us through them. Let us love and follow Him and experience the peace He has for us as we do.

 


Offer It Up!   Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Unity. Oneness. What does it mean to be one?

In John’s gospel chapter 17, Jesus prays for us that we may be One. One with Him; One with the Father, living in Him, and He living in us. How do we discover this wonder? How do we respond when we hear in the Gospel reading Jesus praying for you, for me that unity may be ours? How about fantastic for starters! That Jesus, Son of God, God Himself praying that we may become ONE! Looking at the world around us it is tempting to conclude that this won’t happen, but then, with Jesus praying to the Father for us we certainly are correct in our hope that it will be.

 

This, I think, could and should lead us to serious prayer, some serious effort to work for the Kingdom. “Thy Kingdom come” not just words but a call to living in such a manner that we are in the process of bringing the Kingdom to fruition.

 

Holiness of life, wholeness of life, a life centered on Christ Himself, centered on loving as He calls us to love. He is clear about the greatest commandment; can we learn to love, to be ‘other-centered’, to die to selfishness and sin and always seek the good in truth?

 

Today there are many false idols, the prince of the world is waging war against the forces of truth and love. We are sorely in need of supporting one another in faith and love. We easily become distracted by political forces that in all their attempts to do good, as they perceive it, are unwilling to see the divisive results of some of their actions and decisions. The call to take up the cross and follow the Master rings like a clarion in our world today as always. All will be well if we but cooperate with the Holy Spirit of truth and love and let our whole lives give witness to Jesus the Christ. How passionate we must be in our determination to learn to love with every fiber of our being, to discover in all circumstances how to love by standing firm in the truth.

 

This Pentecost, celebrate the Spirit in you, in the Church. Pray for guidance in the very ordinary things that make up your life in the acceptance of the faith that Christ is with you every step of the way. The only time He is not with us is when we are not with Him. God, in Jesus, has left all to bring you life. In addition, you are the lost sheep for whom he has left the ninety-nine, you are the wayward son who on return the Father throws a banquet. You are the one who is loved beyond your wildest imaginings.

 

Pray for unity. Pray with the Lord Jesus, respond by breathing unity in all your endeavors. Let Peace enfold you, truth be a path in faith, love be the light of your life.

Deacon

 


Offer It Up!  Tuesday, May 14, 2013
 

And God said...

Come to the silence

Life is so loud

and your soul needs a break from the clock and the crowd.

 

Come to the silence

And let My love start,

to heal all life's hurts and comfort your heart

 

Come to the silence

Be calm and be still,

just rest in My arms for today, that is My will...

 

Come to the silence

In search of My peace,

gently your doubts and your fears will all cease.

 

Come to the silence

Here, take My hand.

 Have you forgotten that I understand?



Offer It Up!  Monday, May 13, 2013

 

The Easter Season is coming to its climactic end as we approach the feast of Pentecost. We ponder in our hearts the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and look within to the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the life of the Church.

 

Each day as we move and have our being we walk with the Spirit that Christ promised and did send upon us. On Pentecost Sunday we will celebrate in the sacrament of Confirmation the outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on those who come seeking to be strengthened in their journey of faith. Hopefully, the entire community of the Sacred Heart lifts heart and soul in prayer interceding for these souls calling forth the Holy Spirit to fill them with all the gifts promised for encountering life as a disciple of the Lord Jesus.

 

As you encounter these brief thoughts on Offer It Up, consider that the Lord has led you to here and has chosen you to join in prayer this week calling upon the Holy Spirit to Come into the life of all who come to this feast.

All of us have moments when God, in Jesus, and through the Holy Spirit touches our lives and invites us to union with Him in love with all our attention on our destination.

 

May our hearts, minds and voices be one in our prayer this Holy Season.

Deacon

 


Offer It Up!  Sunday, May 12, 2013
Mother's Day

For this Mother’s Day during this Year of Faith, let us recall the love and compassion the Mother of God shared with the Lamb of God, as she proclaimed His glory and majesty. Let us not only give glory and praise to our God but give thanks and praise to our Blessed Mother and all mothers this day in thanksgiving for the love they have shared with us.

 

      
 
Pray for us O Holy Mother of God
 
That we may be made worthy
 of the promises of Christ.


Offer It Up!  Saturday, May 11, 2013
Happy Birthday Rita!

Love one another as I love you! This is how they will know you are my disciples. ‘Love one another’—such words fall so easily from the lips. ‘Love one another’—such action so difficult to accomplish in living.

 

Like Peter we are sometimes quite capable of denying the Lord who is love even in the name of what we may call love. The trail of broken vows, broken people, brothers and sisters left forgotten in the streets is vivid testimony to the moments of failure in being true disciples of the Lord Jesus.

 

As I stand before the Lord, I too feel like Peter for my denials, and seek the mercy of God. I long for His grace and strength in the Holy Spirit that I may grow spiritually and begin to see more clearly His presence in all those who enter my life, in creation.

 

Christ be before me, above me, beside me, behind me; within me to be the light of my life and guide me along the path of holiness.

Sacred Heart of Jesus let the flame of love consume me in all endeavors!

Deacon

 
 


Offer It Up!  Friday, May 10, 2013
Happy Birthday Angie and Joe!

John 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

Those that followed Jesus Christ knew the pain of His suffering and death. Those that stayed with Him also knew the joy of His resurrection. Not such an easy thing to do then or even now for us, really.

 

I read something recently about the commitment those followers, those disciples had then. The pain versus the joy—where we want one without the other, they lived as if they, the pain and joy, were not incompatible. In other words, they knew and were coming to understand what Jesus had told them; that even though the world might rejoice at His passing their (the disciples) sorrow will turn to joy at His resurrection.

 

As difficult as it is for us to recognize our own joy at times, it is with us in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Through His wisdom and understanding, through His counsel and knowledge and all that He shares with us, we can come to accept and live the joy beyond the sorrow and grief of our trials and challenges. He gives to us the fortitude and the strength to see them through. With our prayers and faith, we reach out and find our way with Him.

 


Offer It Up!  Thursday, May 9, 2013
Happy Birthday Joe and Becky!

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

 

When you thought I wasn't looking

I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,

and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I saw you feed a stray cat,

and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I saw you make my favorite cake for me,

and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I heard you say a prayer,

and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to,

and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick,

and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it,

and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I saw how you handled your responsibilities,

even when you didn't feel good,

and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I saw tears come from your eyes,

and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I saw that you cared,

and I wanted to be everything that I could be..

When you thought I wasn't looking

I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know

to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I looked at you and wanted to say,

‘Thanks for all the things I saw when
you thought I wasn't looking.'

 

 

Each of us—parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend—influences the life of a child… as we are all children still.

How will you touch the life of another child today?

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly. Laugh often.
Leave the rest to God.

 



Offer It Up!  Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Happy Birthday Mary!

Acts 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens, they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination. God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We should like to hear you on this some other time.” And so Paul left them. But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

Paul had it right all the while. It was the Athenians who were in need of some redirection. While it was true the Athenians may have been ‘very religious’ in their offerings, they were just a bit off target as to who—or what—they ascribed their religion and to what they believed. Paul helped them with their belief, or better yet, their unbelief.

 

He proclaimed of God’s might and wonder as He made the heavens and the earth. He proclaimed of God’s majesty and glory as He reigns supreme not just in the heavens but in His kingdom on earth. Paul helped them turn away from an ‘unknown god’ to One that lived in each breath they were given, that put the stars in their orbits and put order to the seasons and horizons to the earth.

 

Yes, God has done all of that for us. “For we too are His offspring.” And as such, one would think we should behave in a manner more appropriate than what we would do sometimes. And while it is true that He does forgive our ignorance, even after awhile, the stupidity would begin to wear a little thin as we continue to do the same things over and over. Hence, we should repent from those things that keep us from Him. No reason to list them here as there is only so much room.

 

He will ‘judge the world with justice.’ Ignorance might be bliss but the justice of God is forever. What are we to choose?

 
 


Offer It Up!  Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Yes, real marriage does matter.

 

For the first time in our nation’s history, the Supreme Court is considering two cases about whether or not marriage should be redefined to include two persons of the same sex. These cases involve the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, both of which define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The Court is expected to rule on both cases by the end of June. A broad negative ruling could redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the "Roe v. Wade" of marriage. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined with many other organizations in urging the Supreme Court to uphold both DOMA and Proposition 8 and thereby to recognize the essential, irreplaceable contribution that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, make to society, and especially to children.

 

MARRIAGE AND THE SUPREME COURT

WHAT YOU CAN DO

PRAY, FAST, SACRIFICE

The Bishops have encouraged Catholics to participate in a Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty during this Year of Faith. Visit www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty to learn more and commit to praying and fasting for life, marriage, and religious liberty.

 

The Bishops have also called for a second Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4. Visit www.Fortnight4Freedom.org.

Please consider contributing time, talent, and/or treasure to local or national efforts seeking to protect the unique meaning of marriage.

 

ADVOCATE FOR MARRIAGE

Be a witness for the truth of marriage in word and action. Take advantage of opportunities to speak about marriage’s unique meaning in conversation with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers. Share the truth in love.

 

Everyone has inviolable dignity and deserves love and respect. There are many ways to protect the basic human rights of all, but redefining marriage serves no one’s rights, least of all those of children.

 

What is marriage? Marriage is the permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman, for the good of the spouses and for the procreation and education of children. One man, one woman—for life. (See Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, no. 48).

 

The difference is the difference.

Men and women matter. They are equal but different. Sexual difference is essential to marriage. Mothers and fathers matter. They aren’t interchangeable. Every child has a basic, natural right to come from and be raised in the loving marital union of his or her own father and mother.

 

Protecting marriage matters to everyone. It’s Catholic social teaching 101: pro-woman, pro-man, pro-child. Redefining marriage in the law says many false things: women - mothers - are dispensable; men - fathers - are dispensable; what adults want trumps what a child deserves and has a basic right to.

 

LEARN MORE

Visit MarriageUniqueForAReason.org for more resources on the authentic meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. For resources for engaged couples and married couples, visit ForYourMarriage.org and PorTuMatrimonio.org.

 
 


Offer It Up!  Monday, May 6, 2013

This week we approach the feast of the Ascension. For us here in our diocese of Fort Worth, the Ascension is the 7th Sunday of the Easter Season. We also hopefully to begin our preparation for the feast of Pentecost on the 19th of May this year.

 

Like those who have preceded us in faith we celebrate the Lord's Ascension to the Father, we rejoice that Jesus in our most powerful intercessor in the heavenly realm and look to the promised Holy Spirit to continue to guide us on our path to life forever.

 

We have so much to be grateful for and we have so much that calls forth our efforts to proclaim the message of salvation and God's merciful love. Each day we hear of monstrous events in our world of men, a culture of death surrounds us, many men and women of good will are assailed by evil spirits. All of us are called to put on the armor of God and enter into the fray.

 

Paul in Ephesians reminds us that we are in a spiritual war. As we celebrate in our Church family and remember that Christ has conquered death and sin, that the Holy Spirit is sent into our midst to light our path may we pray fervently for the grace and wisdom to heed the Spirit's guidance.

 

At every opportunity may we courageously respond to the God who calls us to mission and clearly witness to His presence in our community of faith and in each of us baptized into Christ Jesus.

 

You have been chosen! Live life! May the radiance of your faith illumine all who encounter you in life.

Deacon

 
 


Offer It Up!  Sunday, May 5, 2013

Each day provides us with an opportunity to meet our God. Not only in those special times when we respond to Him by entering into a period of prayer, but also in the encounters with all that makes Him present to us. The moments of encounter with those we love deeply. The ordinary moments that we too often fail to acknowledge, so laden with the presence of Love itself, that love the Apostle John speaks of when he reminds us—GOD IS LOVE.

 

Are we aware of His presence in the rainbow? In the morning sunrise and in the glory of a moonlit night? Or in the wonder of brothers and sisters those we know well, and those we have just met for the first time? God’s Love is there.

 

Are we even vaguely aware of the wonder of this family of God, all created in His image all being redeemed by His passion and resurrection and ascension to the Father? What we offer up is ourselves in all our struggle to become what He created us to be.

 

Today, I beg His grace to use each moment, and with each breath, to somehow express awareness of His love, to respond by being loving in all circumstances.

 

Lord, make me a channel your love, your peace, your mercy. Amen.

Deacon

 


Offer It Up!  Saturday, May 4, 2013

John 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

 

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve probably heard it more than once… you’re known by the company you keep. You keep good company, you’re known then to be of ‘good’ company. You keep not so good company, your character rating takes a bit of a beating.

 

That rings true in most cases. As much as the disciples loved and followed Jesus, as much as ‘good’ company He was, they found themselves on the other side of being accepted, just as Jesus was often found. Even with the message He had to share, even with the love He was imparting, there was still the dislike and the hate for what He said and what He represented. And for those who were with Him and followed, He said it would no different for them.

 

As the disciples left behind the things of the world to be with the Christ, those that could not or would not understand were not letting go of their worldly values and priorities. Those values that saw power and status as opposed to humility and peace. Those values that kept them greedy for things instead of wanting for the true peace of salvation. Their love was for the world, not for their salvation.

 

Jesus came to bring them from the world, as He has chosen us to be His children. And we still find it hard to grasp these days as not only do we struggle but we see the Church struggle and the world in disharmony and unrest. Yet we persevere, praying and offering ourselves as sacrifices for the good of all who love Him. Jesus was there 2,000 years ago. He is here today. He had disciples then and He has us as disciples today. He has sent us all to carry out the Good News.

 


Offer It Up!  Friday, May 3, 2013
Happy Birthday Lulu!

John 14:6-14

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

Maybe Philip was caught looking for the forest and still didn’t see it for all the trees that were in his way. Here was Jesus Christ in his presence and all Philip could come up with was a bit of impatience as he looked to see the Father as Jesus spoke of Him. The gospel doesn’t say or even imply that Jesus might have been frustrated or perturbed but the question could lead us to believe He may have had that certain tone in His voice when He replied. We all know the tone, the one that goes with ‘Reallly?’ Or ‘Are you kidding me?’ True story… or not.

 

As great as Philip was leading so many to Christ, these verses from John’s gospel help point his pre-sainthood humanity. Just a little more evidence if you will Lord. Not quite sure I get what you mean so would you make it simpler even yet for me?

 

For the rest of us on our sinners-to-saints path of holiness, we do the same thing every time we doubt our own faith, our own prayers, our own gifts we’ve been given. As we hear and read scripture, there is so much we have yet to comprehend as we struggle to understand, just as Philip and the others did while they were with Jesus.

 

As Jesus told them then and tells us now as simply as He can, just follow Me: "I AM the Way."

 


Offer It Up!  Thursday, May 2, 2013
Some of us might find it amazing that we are already in the month of May, present company included. For those 'us' and many others, May is Mary’s month, the month of the Blessed Virgin. The month of the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Indeed a time to really celebrate with Mary.
 
It is good that we remember Mother’s Day this month, honoring all our mothers by holding them in prayer and loving esteem, expressing our love for them and with them. For those who may still be fortunate enough to have your Mother still, do your loving and prayer in the 'first person', face-to-face if it all possible.
 
In today’s gospel Jesus tells us how much He loves us. As much as the Father loves Him. That much love from our dear Lord is difficult to imagine, unworthy as I am to be loved with such tremendous, fantastic love. A love so much that He loved us to death! As I offer up my own prayer this day, I express to the Lord my desire to not only experience being loved but to discover how I can begin to express the beginning of that kind of love. Help me to see how I can be a lover like You O Lord!
Deacon


Offer It Up!  Wednesday, May 1, 2013

John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.

Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

 

So if we are already pruned, if we are already living in the Good News that Jesus Christ has given us, then it could be and should be true that we indeed are in the pruned state as Jesus said. It does not necessarily mean that we are done with the pruning either. For us to continue to bear fruit, we are going to have to subject ourselves to more and more pruning. Yes, that message is very clear.

 

His unconditional love is found in vine and in the growth of its branches. It is also found n the pruning and the subsequent pain that is associated with that sort of growth. As goes the love of Christ in the vine, so goes the love of those who bear fruit on it—the love that you and I and the others that are a part of that vine share.

 

Yet what happens to a branch that bears no fruit? What happened to the fig tree that was bearing no fruit when Jesus walked up to it? Be our lives like a branch or fig tree—fruitless and empty of love—then what use would there be in a life like that, other than sapping life from the rest of the vine or tree? Any weekend gardener could tell us that pruning allows for more fruit, more roses, more vibrant growth and is vital to the development of the plant.

 

The more we ‘suffer’ in growth it seems, the more we become Christ-like. Not that the suffering is self-induced or inflicted or that we go looking for it just for the sake of suffering. The sort of ‘offering up’ or recognition in our lives of giving up the material things that keeps us from living as we have been called to live in a Christ-like fashion. That’s the pruning on the vine that matters as Christ flows through us. If we choose otherwise, what good are the branches that are cut off then but for kindling for the world to burn?

John 15:5-6

Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.