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

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OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2016 

Luke 1:39-56 

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

We are all at least somewhat familiar with the Gospel from Luke as Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. 

Familiar with how Mary traveled in haste to see her. 

Familiar with how, when Mary entered the home, the child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt with joy. 

Familiar with how Elizabeth announced ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’ 


What I was not familiar with, and maybe some others of us as well, how was it that Mary went to visit Elizabeth? How was it that she, who was carrying the Son of God, went to see Elizabeth? Elizabeth even asks “How does this happen to me that the mother of the Lord should come to me?” 


This is how it was made clear for me: with Mary visiting Elizabeth, it is the anticipation of the Son of Man coming to serve, not to be served. With Mary’s presence with the Son of Man within her, that is the cause of the excitement in her womb. That should be the cause of excitement for us as we anticipate the greatness of our Lord each day. 


Mary acknowledges this as she proclaims in the Magnificat: My soul proclaims the greatest of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. 

She could very well speak for us all as we too proclaim His greatest in our own lives as our Savior. As He has done great things for her, He has done great things for us and will do great things for us as we submit in loving obedience to Him. 


In the Magnifcat, we pray 

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 


Let us be mindful of how we are to empty ourselves so that we may be filled with what God may fill us—nothing we have is ours to begin with—and that all we have is from Him. For today, let us welcome all that He gives us so that we may live more truly in the promise of His mercy as His children forever.

OFFER IT UP!    MONDAY, MAY 30, 2016


In honor of those who have served our God, served our country, served us and saved countless others throughout the world by their sacrifices, we share this day in prayer and in memory for the love they shared with us. May God continue to grant His eternal rest and peace upon them. Amen.

God has given us all that we have and are! In reading Mark 12:1-12, Jesus shares a parable about a vineyard owner who leases out the vineyard to tenants, giving them all they need to be successful in reaping a harvest for him. As they tend to the vineyard, they grow confident and arrogant, forgetting that what they are sowing and growing is not, ultimately, theirs. So when the master comes to collect, they forget that it is by his goodness to them that they have been successful. The master sends servant upon servant to collect—reminding them to render unto the master what is His. But in their confidence and arrogance, they ignore the servants, in fact beating and even killing some of them. Ultimately, he sends his own son to collect—and they beat him and killed him.  


So it is with God, as He created earth and all that is within it, including man in His Own Image. His intent was to give us dominion over the earthly Kingdom, wanting in return only our effort for and on His behalf—all Glory to God! He has sent prophet upon prophet, many of whom have been scorned, beaten, and killed as they bring us the Word of God—His desire!  The one difference is that God knew, when He sent His own Son, Jesus that He would suffer and die so that all may be saved—knowing that only some would be saved.  


1 John 4:16 tells us, “So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” As Christians therefore, we are called to love as God loves. How do we fare? We are to tend to all He has given us, using time, talent, and treasure to Glorify Him, honoring His Creation as HE INTENDED IT TO BE, not the way WE WANT IT TO BE.  


Lord, help us to overcome our confidence, arrogance, (and selfishness) and strive to live in this world, loving each other in Your Ways and Laws. May we turn to You and be saved! Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y. 

Paul B.

OFFER IT UP!     SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2016

In our human condition, how often do we find ourselves bound by our own limits?    In reading Luke 9:10-17, we are given a significant lesson: God will provide all that we need to obtain our eternal reward—Salvation: everlasting presence in and with Him!  


This lesson is in the account of Jesus feeding the thousands with just a few fishes and loaves. One can also reference  Matthew14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44,  and John 6:5-15, which highlights the significance of this particular event, as it appears in all four Gospels accounts. As we read these accounts we are given a glimpse into the awesome power of God to provide that which we need. It is that simple. Do we believe that God is present in our lives and desires to see us through all of our trials? What does this mean in our daily walk? How (and when) do we seek His Presence throughout each day?  How do we show our gratitude (and for how long) when we sense His Presence?  


These are questions that we, in our journey, must seek to keep in the forefront of all our waking moments in order to truly feel His Presence. If we wait only until we have a real or perceived need, we will always be asking for something. This is true in our daily lives and interactions with each other, so why would it not be true in our relationship with God, as well? No one likes “that guy” who only comes around when he needs something, right? Now God, by His nature, is pure love and always loves us no matter the circumstance, though we must understand that we cannot reject Him and expect Eternal peace. 


These are challenges to understand in our human walk that we can try to discern and accept through seeking His Graces and Wisdom, which He willingly provides, just as He provided necessary food to the multitudes in such a miraculous way!  Lord, help us, as we seek Your Wisdom, to experience Your Divine Goodness as we receive what You have to offer—and give me strength and courage to share it with all whom I encounter.  

Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B.


As Christians, how often do we rationalize the decisions we make in our daily lives, “siding” upon our human desires, rather than on those we are called to by God? In our human condition we are able to convince ourselves and often each other that our attitudes and behaviors, though clearly opposed to the example of Christ, are justified because others do it or “someone deserves our treatment of them.”  


in Mark, 11:27-33, we find the religious leaders trying to “trap” Jesus when they ask him, “What authority do you have to act like this?”  in reference to His berating of the buyers and sellers in the temple. Jesus, filled with the Father’s Wisdom, responded in question form: “I will ask you a question, just one. Answer Me and I will tell you My authority.  “John’s baptism, what was its origin? Heavenly or Human? Answer me that.” The leaders were afraid to answer the question because if they said heavenly, the question as to why they cannot believe Jesus would arise. If they responded, “human”, those who believed John to be a Prophet of God would rise up against them.  


This was a two-fold dilemma for the leaders because they proclaimed a faith in the God of their Fathers (from whom Jesus came) and they proclaimed to be the example of obedience to Him. Many people were following Jesus and His proclamation that the Word (and His Example) are the surest way to eternal peace and joy with the Father. Is this not what we, as Christians, proclaim today? Yet, why do we often find ways to be like the Pharisees, abiding to or succumbing to man’s authority, which contradicts God’s?  

Lord, help me to deepen my love and respect for Your Call!  Jesus, Only You!

Paul B.

OFFER IT UP!    FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2016 

Jesus tells, us in Mark 11:24, “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” In Mark 10, we saw the story of the blind beggar who showed that the attributes of faith, hope, and expectation are pillars of required persistence in our walk with Jesus and our final outcome that He will provide all that we ask, in that faith, hope and expectation. This verse, 11:24, combines two of the terms: Expectant Faith! This verse follows two exchanges: one in which Jesus curses the unproducing fig tree and the other in which Jesus expels the money changers from the temple.  


In both these instances, as Jesus comes closer to His time—His time of sacrifice for our salvation—He must, inevitably, desire that man “mend his ways” beforehand? We know that, up to the night He was arrested, He hoped for our own awareness of our need for repentance, praying to His Father that if there was any way in which His suffering (“this cup”) could pass without His suffering and death, to allow it. But He also fully succumbed to the Father’s Will, understanding what must happen for (stubborn) men to turn to Him. 


Following these instances, accounted in Mark 11:11-20, Jesus begs us to have “expectant faith”. We are to pray for God’s will to be accomplished, no matter how daunting the challenge of the moment may be. He uses the phrase, “to move mountains”, which was a common Jewish expression to describe removing difficulties. How do we approach difficult situations in our lives today? How do we demonstration “expectant faith” in our prayer life? In our approach to challenges in families, work places, or communities?  


Lord, increase our faith—building a fruitful way of honoring You through our thought, word, and deed. May our faith be exemplified by the expectation that You are with us on every step of our life’s journey. Jesus, Only You!

Paul B.


In reading Mark 10:46-52, three words came to mind: faith, hope, expectation. In this passage, Jesus was leaving Jericho , in the midst of a great crowd along the sides of the road. One man, a blind man who was known as a beggar, named Bartimaeus, was in the crowd. In great faith he called out loudly and repeatedly, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.” The crowds, irritated by his repetitive plea, scolded him, telling him to be quiet. This only made him call out all the louder—asking for mercy in his plight.  


Jesus took note of his persistence and sought him out, asking the crowds to bring the man over. The crowd took note of the Master’s attention and said to the blind man, “Courage, get up, He is calling you.” Jesus asked Bartimeaus, “What do you want me to do for you?” The man simply responded, “Let me see again”, to which Jesus responded, “Go, your faith has saved you” as his sight was restored.  


The blind man exhibited faith in simply calling out to the Lord. He exhibited hope in his persistence. Finally, he was clearly expectant in his firm request, “Let me see again”. The crowd, though they tried to diminish his faith, his hope, even recognized his persistence by calling him “Courage”, when Jesus asked them to bring the man to Him.  


As we review this story in today’s time, we must look at our own beliefs: do we call out to Jesus unashamedly and courageously amidst the throngs? Or, do we listen to their demands that we “quiet down”.  


Lord, give us the strength to be persistent in our prayers of thanksgiving and supplication. May more and more see the courage of our own faith, hope, and expectation and cry with us, “Lord, let me (us) see again.”  J.O.Y. 

Paul B.


Jesus, through His example during His Ministry, gave us the ultimate example of leadership: Combining authority with selfless service and sacrifice. As we read Mark 10:32-45, we find one of three times in which Jesus predicts His suffering sacrifice for our salvation. We also find Him settling a dispute among the disciples as to “who is the greatest” among them.  


In line with prior teaching and example, Jesus told them, “….but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” In this entire passage, the argument was caused when two disciples, James and John, asked if they could be given “seats of honor” at His right and left hands, when entering the Kingdom. This type of thinking is inherent in the human condition and we struggle to understand our human desire versus our spiritual obligations. 


By Jesus’ response, in this passage, He makes it very plain that in order to reign with Him in the Kingdom, we must be willing to “drink His Cup”, that is, to drink from the Cup of Salvation—one intermingled with the bitter suffering, Crucifixion, and death—sweetened, solely and greatly, by His Resurrection! (ref:  v 38-40) In light with the human condition, the other disciples were angry at the request of these two. Jesus called them all together and, as always, reminded them that they are to remain united IN HIM and FOR HIM. He reminded them that there are tyrants, among men, and to remain united in righteousness, they must be committed to His Glorification—first—not to each other’s glorification.  


Lord, Your bitter-sweet life, suffering, death and resurrection is the ultimate example of servant-leadership. Make me a servant who accepts all You need and desire of me to accomplish Your Will. Jesus, Only You! 

Paul B.

OFFER IT UP!     TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2016 

Peter, in his typical boldness asks Jesus, “What about us? We have left everything and followed you.” Recalling that (Mark 10:17-27) Jesus had just shared with the rich man that following the commands and precepts of the Lord are good, but to truly honor God, we must leave the distractions of this world behind and follow Christ in all we say and do.  So continuing in Mark 10-28-31, Jesus assures His disciples that they will receive God’s graces “a hundred fold”.  


Jesus could have admonished Peter for his question, but instead made this clear! As we ponder our own Christianity—and walk, thereof—we must question ourselves as to what we have left behind to follow Jesus. In our daily walk, what do we find most difficult to forego at any given moment in order to truly be His disciple?  


We all understand that we are to take care of ourselves in order to have the physical strength to carry on our daily walk. But in that walk, we are also challenged, each day, to give to others in need. How attentive are we in finding and observing those challenges. Jesus does not promise that it will be easy. In fact, in Mark 10:30-31, He says that there will be rewards AND persecutions…”now in this present time…and in the world to come, eternal life, many who are first will be last and the last, first.” 


We are called to put others in front of our own needs at all humanly possible times. How do we fare in this challenge? As we begin each day, perhaps we can/should ponder what distraction we will avoid today? What can we do “without”?  Is it the joke (at someone’s expense) at the water fountain, to forego the laughter that might boost your own ego? Is it the soda or special coffee at break time, sharing what you save with someone who may need a little extra?   


Lord, help me to truly put others first, through my own thoughts, words, and deeds, each day. May I “invest” all I have, say, and do in You!  J.O.Y. 

Paul B.

OFFER IT UP!    MONDAY, MAY 23, 2016 

Here we are again standing before Jesus, listening to the question of the rich young man, which of course may be our question today. What must I do to gain eternal life? Obey the commandments, pray, receive the Eucharist. Yes Lord, I do all these. 


Looking in the eyes of the Lord, He responds: ‘If you really desire to be one with the Father, give everything to the poor and come follow me.’ What, in your heart of hearts, is taking place as you hear these words?  Do you struggle with this as Jesus goes on to say it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom? What is it that identifies who you are? Is it where you live? How you live? What do you hope others see when they identify you? 


Where is your treasure? That is where your heart is, Jesus says. Will you spend time with the Lord to day reflecting on His Word, letting it be a light to illumine your inmost thoughts revealing the truth that is perhaps difficult to face? Lord, be with me in all the moments of this day, and grant me the wisdom and desire to stop and be still and know you are GOD. 


OFFER IT UP!    SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2016

If we as Christians, truly and wholly believe that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to live as one of us, for all of us, then how can we continue to struggle so greatly, in putting our trust in God?  


John 16:12-15 reads, “ “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever He hears, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine. For this reason I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it to you.”  


We often see, hear, and sometimes say phrases, such as, “Let go and Let God!” or “Put it in God’s Hands!” or “What would Jesus do?” and, “God does not give us more than we can handle!” But, how often do we truly sit back and simply trust? Or curb our anger or frustration when something doesn’t go our way? And our anger is expressed in resentment of or turning away from God, in these moments.  


In this passage we are told that the Spirit of Truth will come and, if we open ourselves to it, complete truth will be revealed. Ponder on those times when you may have sensed the Holy Spirit truly moving you. Was it during a time of trial? A time of difficult decision? How did you place yourself in a position to be in tune with His Voice? Reflect on how you begin, conduct, and end each day. Do you take time to “Be still” and know that God Is (ref Ps 46:10)?  


The phrases, mentioned above, are true and not intended to be “trite”. In order to make them meaningful, we must find ways to invite the Spirit into our lives throughout and in all of our waking moments. Lord Jesus, You promised to send us the Spirit of Truth.  May we be open to Your Guidance, toward full union with You, through a life of mercy, love, and compassion in this life.  J.O.Y. 

Paul B.


Jesus, in Mark 10:13-16, became upset with His disciples when they scolded people for bringing the children to Him that He might touch and bless them. He told them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs.” 


As we look around at today’s society, how far from Jesus’ statement have we come? We have allowed secularists to argue that “God has no place in our public schools”. Wow, the very place that we place our children in for at least thirteen years of their lives and we have allowed this to occur? As Christians we must ask, “What is our role in educating our children AND helping to ensure that the place to which we send them, during their precious, formative years, is wholesome and a place which will foster understanding of the Kingdom?” Is not our country—the USA—which was founded on the principal  of values and morals—truly rooted in Christian Principles?  


The First Amendment clearly reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF’;’ So, when Jesus says, “Let the children come to me” and we see (and silently condone) God being removed from “public view”, are we living up to the call to which He has made of us?  


Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God, as these little children do, will never enter it.” Children are very open and accepting to what we teach and expose them. If we expose them only and solely to secular/worldly views, with little or no exposure to the God’s views, we are truly hindering their spiritual growth. It is up to parents and families to be the first and foremost in “bringing the children to Jesus”, that is true. But let us pray for the strength and courage to move society back to God—return to the “free exercise, thereof” of our right to give praise and thanksgiving for and with the children whom God has entrusted to us—to bring to Him!  


Lord, let us turn to You!  Jesus, Only You.  J.O.Y.

Paul B

OFFER IT UP!    FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2016 

Today we are reminded in Mark's Gospel of Jesus response to the Pharisees with regard to marriage and divorce. It is something we find difficult to hear in today's world view. Jesus is clear in His comments about marriage, the two shall become one. Divorce was allowed by Moses because of the hardness of heart. 


What are we to respond to this? We who so easily break commitments, vows to be faithful and love one another for life. We are called to holiness, to sanctity of life in the sacrament of Matrimony. A sacrament! As we approach marriage today, do we truly acknowledge it as sacrament? Are we truly in love with the other with a longing and yearning to help the other achieve wholeness and holiness of life? Do we strive to live in our families to be a sign of love to each other and the world we live in, receiving from God all the blessings He gives, including children He creates for us to guide and lead to faith?


What is our response to the increasing numbers of broken families? To the increasing numbers who fail to see marriage as a sacrament and simply cohabitate—and with what intent? Perhaps there are some who enter into such a relationship truly loving one another and fail to see the sanctity of that union and therefore do not marry because they see only the destruction of marital relationships around them.


As we listen to Jesus today, may we make time to examine our own attitudes with regard to marriage, perhaps join in the American Bishops call to prayer each week for a deeper understanding of marriage and a restoration of family life in all of society. All of us are being called to unite in love and obedience to the will of God. All of us are called to humbly bow before our Creator and seek forgiveness for missing the mark, and receiving God's mercy, become a people of mercy.


OFFER IT UP!     THURSDAY, MAY, 19, 2016 

Mark 9:41-50 encourages us to manage our human “baggage” by seeking God—His Wisdom and His Grace. Jesus, having pulled a child to the forefront to make His point to the disciples about our role in leading people to God (as children are a prime example of someone needing our mature, Christian guidance), says (in v 42), “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.”  


In an effort to give us clear example, He goes on to instruct us on how to avoid the temptations of sin. He says that it is better to eliminate a hand or an eye, if one of these is causing us to sin. It is better to enter God’s Kingdom with one of these, than to be thrown into Hell because we continued to stumble. This is a graphic way of saying, “Identify and eliminate those things in your life that cause you to look or stumble away from God so that you can focus upon that which will cause you to move towards Him.”  


Our “human baggage”, that which distracts us, is often overwhelming. Our senses get overwhelmed with distraction and temptation—sight, touch, sound. We must strive to fill these senses with things of God—His Word and His Service, rather than things of this world. Jesus, by example and Word, as do other references in both Old and New Testaments, points out that we are called to value the things of God, first and foremost, over the things of this world (ref Jas 5:1-6). Finally, in vs 49-50, He references “salt”, as something everyone uses to bring out true and crisp flavor:  “Salt is good...Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace.”  


Lord, help us to be salt for the earth—may our lives bring out Your “flavor” for all to experience—drawing ourselves and others closer to You.  May our senses be filled with Your Goodness and our words/actions reflect You. Jesus, Only You! J.O.Y. 

Paul B.


In Mark 9:38-41, we find the disciples concerned because someone who is not “one of us” is casting out demons in Jesus name. Jesus’ response is clear and points to the fact that Christianity is not an “exclusive club”.  He said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in My Name will be able to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.”  


It is often human nature to want to be part of something “elite” - some type of “club” or “membership”. In doing so, we often perceive ourselves as better than someone else, either by our intentional or unintentional actions or words. We tend to think in terms of worldly gain in relationship to joining, saying, “What’s in it for me?” Jesus summarizes the attitude of service that we must have (in both giving and receiving such service) in verse 41: “For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink, because you bear the name of Christ, will be no means lose the reward.” He is talking about the often “humanly” intangible reward of faith/hope in an eternal life with God.  


We are called to serve others in our life’s actions—called to serve God IN that service to others. Due to the secular world’s emphasis on “What’s in it for me (here and now)”, this type of service has become a lost art, if you will. I recall a situation in which a group of parents were saying that their kids (and they) will no longer do “community service” if the reward of money at the end of the service was taken away. It seemed they had difficulty in understanding that if they expected to be paid in tangible, monetary or other secular benefit, then it was not a service, rather, it’s a job.  


The “service” we are called to do is different from the daily “work” we must do to sustain earthly existence. And, God calls us to share time, treasure, and talent in service, in addition to the necessary work we must do for sustenance.  


Lord, give me wisdom and strength to see Your Spirit present among all people and/or to help all people see or feel Your Presence through my own life. Jesus, Only You! 

Paul B.

OFFER IT UP!     TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2016

Today we are back in the Gospel of Mark, and with the Apostles listening to Jesus, who asks us what we are about. He knew the Apostles had been arguing and discussing who was greatest among them. We too find ourselves often in the same social condition. We worry about status, who belongs where, who is important, Number One! We want to be liked, voted for, selected to lead, be rewarded.

We compare our lives and find ourselves wanting to be just a bit better than the other guy! So often Jesus in the Gospel is not only addressing the twelve...but also you and I. 


We need an image from today's gospel, that of Jesus with his arms around a little child reminding us if we wish to be first we must be the servant of all, be like the child in His embrace, humble willing to serve. In my own life is a mental picture. When my children were little, perhaps like the child in the Gospel, I never asked them to but most days when I came home from a day at work, they would remove my shoes, get my slippers and place them on my feet and allow me some moments rest on a living room lounge. Only in retrospect do I see now what I should have seen then: the love of God being demonstrated by the children God had given us in sharing His love for creation.  


Today let us pray these moments in all our lives reveal the presence of God always and everywhere. Be silent and look and listen, gaze lovingly at all the memories harbored within, the moments of blessedness enjoyed, the moments of carrying the cross of love that seemed to painful but in retrospect was the encounter of a loving God.

Let go! Let God! 



OFFER IT UP!     MONDAY, MAY 16, 2016 

In Luke 9:17-29, we find a man bringing his child to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, I brought You my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; it seizes him, dashing him down, making him foam and grind his teeth…. I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.”  (Luke 9:17-18) Jesus ultimately commanded the unclean spirit from the child, healing him of his affliction of seizures.  


As Christians, we must look at our own faith in our following, our discipleship, of Christ. In following the conversation between the boy and the father, in verses 19-24, compare it to our very situations in today’s world: when the father of this boy told Jesus that his disciples were unable to cure the boy by casting out the demon, Jesus responds, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me!” The father, bringing the boy, shares that he has been afflicted since childhood, saying, “It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if You are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 


Jesus, understanding the severity of the demon’s possession and power, questioned further, “If you are ABLE? All things are possible for the one who believes!” To this the man responded, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 


How deep is our faith and trust in Jesus as we look at the many, many distractions that the evil one has placed in our secular world today? How do we overcome? Jesus gives us the answer in Luke 28-29, when His disciples ask, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.” Jesus clearly points out that it is through a relationship with God that we overcome everything. This relationship begins with prayer. 


Lord, teach us to pray and give us the conviction that our relationship with You can bring all things to fruition. J.O.Y.

Paul B.

OFFER IT UP!     SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2016


As Christians, we have the opportunity to know and experience the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised His disciples (and us) that as believers, His Father would send down for us, the ‘Paraclete’. This word, translated from Greek, means advocate or intercessor. Jesus knew that His disciples would be confused and scared; not knowing which way to turn or how to proceed, in the times after His death and resurrection.  


In John 20:19-23, John describes the disciples having locked themselves in the house out of fear of the Jews. While there, Jesus appeared and stood among them saying, “Peace be with you!” (v 19)  Upon saying this and showing them the wounds He received from His suffering, the disciples rejoiced at His Presence. Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” He went on to say, “ ‘As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.’  Then He breathed upon them and continued, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit...’ “  (v 21-22)  


Jesus, when He was baptized at the beginning of His ministry, was given the power of the Holy Spirit (ref John 1:32-33; Mark 1:8; Matthew 3:11; Luke 4:1). So it is that the Disciples needed to be and were “infused” with the Holy Spirit at the beginning of their ministry. As Christians, we believe and know that the Holy Spirit is given to all who are baptized into Christ. This Spirit is a renewal of life—giving us strength to help each other in living a life and call to love, peace, joy, and righteousness (ref Romans14:13-23).  


In our human condition, we will repeatedly encounter times of fear, doubt and confusion. It is during these times when we must strive to recall, first, the wounds that Jesus suffered for our sake and then, secondly, the words, “Receive the Holy Spirit”, remembering that Jesus promised to send God the Spirit as our comfort and support in these times.  Lord, we are grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Life offered through this Gift.  Fill our minds and hearts with the Fire of Your Love, giving us strength and courage to serve You in fullness of Joy!  Jesus, Only You! JOY

Paul B.


Saint Mathias. Pray for us!

As we remember and celebrate the feast of St Mathias we would do well to reflect that we too have been chosen to go and bear fruit that will last! As we are about to end the Easter Season, we will take leave of John's Gospel and how he passed on to us the message of Jesus. Repeatedly from John we are directed to Jesus's message of love. Over and over, we are reminded to love one another, to be merciful and forgiving—over and over. 

In these final days of the Easter season, the message is clear: the answer to the woes of humanity is love. Yet in order to love, we are to learn what love is. Though perhaps it may be easier to grasp Who love is.


We are chosen. We do not choose the Lord. He has chosen us to become ONE with Him, to become LOVE. It appears that to accept this simple message is difficult. Jesus goes on to say simply obey God's commands, do His will. Then again we are exhorted to love one another. He calls for us to love God with our mind, heart and soul. In other words, with every fiber of our being. 


To do this, as we hear from John, we are to love our neighbor. And if that is not enough, we go another step to love our enemy. As much as we desire to do this, we encounter resistance from our EGO and then devise schemes to obey God's laws according to our terms.


Maybe we can begin again this moment to do the right thing in love. And when we fall short of accomplishing it, as we likely we will, may we rise and begin again.  


Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner!


OFFER IT UP!     FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2016

The past few days we have had the privilege of being able to listen to Jesus pray to the Father for us. His prayer is filled with His love for us, His longing that we will become ONE with Him and the Father. He is asking the Father at this point to sent the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, and on all the subsequent believers even till now, and continues to plead with the Father for YOU, for me.


Look back on your own journey of faith. How did you come to this point in time?  Who in the long line of believers brought you to the faith, doing their part in cooperation with the Holy Spirit?  We eavesdrop through the Scriptures and hear Jesus plea to the Father. Does it speak to our heart, our soul, our desire?


How do we respond to such great love that longs to unite us for eternity? Do we even begin to understand it? Perhaps at times we are given a glimmer of the wonder of love when we experience love in our human interaction, when we experience being the center of another's life. Even then, the moment is often fleeting, perhaps as fleeting as the experience of the Apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration. Yet it happens and we, like the apostles, sense the challenge and yes the doubt, the wonder, the hope and joy in the midst of suffering. And through all the messy conditions of life that can lead us to a life of faith, we believe so that we can seek to understand. And in our seeking, we experience those moments of light though also walk in the dark with God always at our side.


We learn to pray without ceasing when we continue to become aware of God's presence in every breath, every moment, in all circumstances. Prayer is that attitude and stance realizing God always with us.  Live the JOY of faith.



In John 17:20-26, Jesus prays in a way that reaches out to the whole body of believers – His Church. The scope of this prayer encompasses the entire body of believers, for all time. He prays for the unity of all believers, the ultimate destiny of all believers, and for the intimate, personal love shared with all believers.  He begins by saying (17:20):  “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their word….” 


This extends the scope of his prayer across the centuries, praying for millions who will come to believe through the Gospels and the words and works of the Apostles. The unity for which Jesus prays is, first and foremost, a spiritual unity – sharing in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. The “human condition” will always get in the way, but I believe this prayer, just before His passion, death, and resurrection, asks that regardless of our “locale of man-made, divisive “label”, we understand that we belong to one another as brothers and sisters (and we belong to God) because we share in the reward offered by His life, love and sacrifice for us.  


Finally, He prays for the ultimate destiny of all His faithful: (John 17:24) Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which you have given me in your love for me before the foundation of the world.” To be with him, in heaven, is our ultimate destiny. Finally, Jesus concludes his prayer, in the Upper Room, with, “O righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you; and these know that you sent me. I have made known to them your name and I will make it known that the love with which you loved me will be in them and I will be in them.” (John 17:25-26).  


Lord, Christians, today, more than ever, need to look to You and strive for Unity in the one Church, the Church of Believers You established by Your Life, Death, and Resurrection.  May we unite as believers in Jesus Christ, thus rising to our eternal reward (Ref 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).  

Jesus, Only You!

Paul B.


As we prepare for the feast of Pentecost we let our minds and hearts and souls be open to the Word. Jesus’ prayer to the Father as we are hearing it read should fill our hearts with Joy. We are reminded of the Passion Jesus shares for us, and He reminds us that as the Father sent Him, He sends us.  


The mission is clear, yet so often the apparent clarity is lost in our desires for the created wonders rather than for the life of the Creator. ‘That they may be one as we are one’, Jesus prays, and we either fail to hear or are too distracted by our own desires for … fill in the blank with your most recent worldly want.  


During the remaining days in preparation for Pentecost, perhaps we will pray ardently for the Holy Spirit to set us on fire; perhaps otherwise. The fire that led those first apostles to proclaim the message and spread it to the world still burns today. There is an apparent thirst in the world for truth.  


Though as the song says, "Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places"!  To carry the torch of faith, to be identified as a true disciple of Jesus Christ may well bring on the hatred of the world. Jesus said it would. Can we expect less, if the Lord himself bore the burden of the sins of humanity? Can we understand in doing this, He bore our pain, and still does in the suffering of his followers? 


Each day God gives us, He provides opportunities to be more loving, to be a light in our corner of the world, to share in some way the wonder of God's desire, His limitless love for all humanity. It may be not be a great achievement but only a simple act of kindness and love that opens the door to heaven. Be that light, that flame of the Spirit today.


OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2016 

In John, 17, we see the longest prayer prayed by Jesus in all of the Gospels. In this prayer there is much to learn about His relationship with God, the Father. In the scope of this prayer we learn two things: 1) His desire to ensure that the Father protect His faithful disciples as they prepare for their journey to go forth, without His physical presence; and, 2) The understanding that the scope of this prayer spans across the years to include us, as believers in His Word, thus successors or heirs of these original Apostles.  


Throughout John seventeen, Jesus prays for three intentions: 1) For Himself, that He may be glorified and restored to His original place at the Father’s right hand; 2) The eleven (remaining) Apostles, that they may be protected and sanctified in their earthly journey; 3) He prays, across the years, for the body of Christian believers, that they may be united in the Love and Salvation He came to bring. 


John 17:1-8 begins with as Jesus’ acknowledgement that He is about to begin His final earthly journey and the ultimate trial (His) in the Father’s Plan of Salvation: “Father, the hour has come; glorify Me so that I may Glorify You.” (v.1) In this intention, Jesus asks to be glorified in and by the means of the Cross. This is not a selfish prayer, but a true and final acceptance of God’s Will. He knows that “mission accomplished”, related to His Father’s Will, is the only acceptable way to return to the Father.  

We, in our human condition, tie “glory” to “winning the championship”, or “getting that promotion”, or otherwise gaining some fleeting prize, but Jesus’ entire earthly journey is an example of doing the Father’s Will. To “glorify” means to make manifest or to show some hidden treasure. This is our Christian call—to make manifest God’s presence through our own thought, word, and deed.  


Lord, help me build my to desire to be glorified, solely, by glorifying You!  It is through living in union with You, in this Life, that my journey to Eternal Life with You is strengthened and achieved. Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y. 

Paul B.

OFFER IT UP!    MONDAY, MAY 9, 2016 

This week we look forward to Pentecost. Like the first apostles, hopefully we look with anticipation and bow down in prayer as we await the ‘Promised Spirit’ that Jesus assured us. We wait with yearning hearts ready to respond to the indwelling Spirit and be transformed into decisive followers of Jesus the Christ. 


Can we make time each day to sit with the scriptures the Church provides and really let the Lord speak to our heart of hearts? The love of God yearns for your response. Often it seems we are seeking God when in reality He is reaching out to His lost sheep, calling them to come and share the joy that was won by Jesus in HIs sojourn among humanity.  


Recently a young women in our family circle was quoted as saying ‘God had never done anything for me’.  How blind one can become when seeking to satisfy the ego and obtain all that I can, living as if I can do it all. I don't need anything but me. There is no god, she claims, as she seemingly acknowledges God has never done anything for me. 


For each of us it seems we can begin with the breath of life. Are we the origin of life itself? Did we come into being by simply willing it? Are we simply some aberration that came into existence by itself? We know how new life comes about biologically, but do we know it with complete understanding? Do we know and can we explain the behavior of all human animals? 


Each day new discoveries make us aware of our littleness and our ignorance of life in the universe. Like Job, we need a serious conversation with God to begin to understand in faith the wonder of life, the greatness of God. 


OFFER IT UP!     SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2016



In John 17:20-26, Jesus prays in a way that reaches out to the whole body of believers – His Church. The scope of this prayer encompasses the entire body of believers (and those who would come to believe through His and our example), for all time.  


In this intention, He prays for the unity of all believers, the ultimate destiny of all believers and for the intimate, personal love shared with all believers. He begins this last segment of His Last Supper prayer saying (17:20):  “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word” This statement extends the scope of His prayer across the centuries, praying for millions who will come to believe through the Gospels and the words and works of the Apostles for whom He just specifically prayed. 


The unity for which Jesus prays is, first and foremost, a spiritual unity – sharing in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. The “human condition” will always get in the way in this, Jesus’ final prayer before His passion, death, and resurrection. It asks that regardless of our “local label”, we understand that we belong to one another and God as brothers and sisters because we share in His eternal life, offered by His life, love and sacrifice for us. Finally, He prays for the ultimate destiny of all His faithful:  

John 17:24: “Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which you have given me in your love for me before the foundation of the world.”  To be with him, in heaven, is our ultimate destiny.  Paul, in First Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that the ‘believers in Christ shall rise and meet the Lord so that we shall ever be with him’. 


Finally, Jesus concludes his prayer, in the Upper Room, with, “O righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known You; and these know that You sent Me.  I have made known to them Your name and I will make it known that the love with which you loved me will be in them and I will be in them.” (John 17:25-26). 


Lord, may we recognize that through this final prayer of Jesus, with His apostles, we are all given an opportunity for intimacy, with the Living God, that is the key to our Christian vitality and spiritual health. May we strive to be One, in unity with each other, through You!  Jesus, Only You.  JOY 

Paul B.


As we continue to listen carefully to the Scriptures though this Easter Season, we are carried along with the Apostle Paul and those first apostles as they proclaim the message of Jesus through the known world. We travel across the Mediterranean world with Paul and Peter and Barnabas and Mark. We meet Apollos, Aquila and Priscilla—all those early missionaries who evangelized in Jesus’ name.


Are we inspired to also set the world on fire as we follow the urging of the Holy Spirit? And do we live our lives in a way that vividly proclaims Jesus, the Risen Lord to our world?


‘Ask the Father and He will give you all you ask for in the name of His Son, Jesus.’ So we ask the Father for the grace we need to live our faith in Jesus. We listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and each day we seize the opportunities presented to build up the body of Christ. We so easily claim to be the body of Christ, is our claim making a difference in the world we touch? 


In this Year of Mercy, God guide us to the truth and make us ambassadors of Your Mercy. Help us to see You in every circumstance, may our love extend to every person we encounter because You are love and in loving we reveal Your presence in our lives.

Veni Jesu, Amor mi! 


OFFER IT UP!     FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2016 

“And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Luke 24:49 


With this simple directive to the Apostles, Jesus lifted His hands to the heavens and ascended to the heavens to be with His Father (ref: Luke 24:50-51). In Luke 24:46-53, we find Jesus with His disciples, marking the end of His visible, human presence among us. Having demonstrated an example of how we are to live and offering the greatest sacrifice of love, for our Salvation, He made a promise that He would be with us in Power and Glory, through the Holy Spirit, through the end of time! The directive He gives is that we seek and patiently await the “clothing” of this Spirit—Power—from on high.


How patient are we in our daily lives—through trials? Through joys? In our waiting, we are called to be vigilant and seek to find the Lord in the myriad moments that pass. The disciples could have easily moped around and mourned the departure of their Master, Friend and Lord, from their physical presence. But instead, they followed Jesus’ directive and returned to Jerusalem, weeping, laughing and worshiping—filled with Joy at His promise. This is faith! Hope in the God—hope in God, the Word! 


As Christians, believers that Christ is the Son of God, we are called to live in true hope. We are called to be examples of faith in the way we think, speak, and act. Through baptism we accept a role in the family of God. We know, from our life’s experience, each person must fulfill that role for the family unit to work and for each member to reap the benefits of being in that family. It is no different in God’s Family—we must each fulfill our role, ordained by God and fulfilled by the presence of His Spirit in and among us!  

Lord, send out Your Spirit and give us each courage to be continually renewed. J.O.Y.

Paul B.


Ever get impatient with yourself? No matter what you do, you just keep missing the mark the same way over and over? 

We work we pray, we admire the saints, but too often we fail to take into account the time spent becoming the Holy Person we read about or admire. For example, it took a lifetime for Mother Teresa to become ‘Blessed’ Mother Teresa. Pope St. John Paul the Great and Pope St. John XXIII lived many years, working daily on their spiritual lives to become saints.  


Holiness is not some overnight sensation but the renewed desire each day to place Jesus at the center of our lives, and to live as He did in obedience to the Father. To do that requires that we pray diligently and that we work at developing the awareness of God's indwelling presence. 


In this Year of Mercy especially, let us strive to learn to be merciful as our Father is merciful—merciful to others and merciful to ourselves. And in our prayer each day if not already, beginning now with the realization that Pentecost is a mere nine days away, pray. Pray—pray that the Holy Spirit will descend upon us and enable us to renew the face of the earth.



"In Him we live and move and have our being." 

These are Paul's words in the Acts of the Apostles when he is in Athens and meets those Greeks who he finds to be spiritual people, and notices the shrine to an unknown God. Paul seizes the opportunity to proclaim to them the God of Israel and the Resurrected Jesus. Can we be aware and make use of the opportunities that we encounter, are we ready to announce the Good News?


Jesus is clear in the recent Gospel passages, and we are reminded of the Trinity in so many ways, the Father and I are one. The Father will send another Advocate to guide you and give you all you need to understand all that I told you. The Spirit, the Advocate, will remind you and sustain you that you may proclaim to all nations the message of salvation. As we listen and meditate on Jesus' words, do we allow the spirit to excite us and let the grace of God energize us to share the wonder of His love proclaimed in His passion death and resurrection?


Recently the exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" The Joy of Love (in the family) from Pope Francis was published and released. May we encourage one another to share this message, to not only read it but discuss and study, and put into action the life of Christ. How clearly Papa Francis reminds us of the need to live the faith and make known in our families the love of God. Prayer becomes a clarion call, life in Christ is the salvation of mankind. It is our response that will show the way to the ultimate destiny of all.


OFFER IT UP!     TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2016 

John 14:6-14 

 Jesus saidto 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.”


I will do it. 

All you have to do is ask. 

And how many times does it seem that we ask for what we want and get what God would have for us instead? 


What Jesus was telling the apostles was that all they had to do was know Him and they would know the Father. And since you have seen me, yes, you have seen the Father. 


But for some, that was not sinking in, for the likes of Philip and others. Others like us today when we see what He gives us and we want for more or for something else. 


Maybe there was a bit of exasperation that Jesus was feeling as He went through it once again… Philip, how can I say it any clearer? The words I speak to you are not my own… 


And just as He responds to us when we pray, they are the words of His Father to us—we would do well to listen and heed. For He is the way the truth and the life. Not just a way but the way. We will not get to our salvation but through Him. How can our lives be more meaningful any other way than to live them through Him? 


As this was the last appearance of Philip in scripture and the only appearance of James the Lesser, (son of Alphaeus), they still contribute much to the development of our lives today as they were part of the foundation that we know as the Church. They were a part of that community, that early Church that we celebrate even now. Whatever gifts they had, they made a difference. Whatever gifts we have, we too can make a difference, as we live the way, the truth and the life with Jesus Christ.

OFFER IT UP!      MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016

In response to the question, “Lord, how is it that You will reveal Yourself to us, and not to the world?”(John 14:22), Jesus responded that it is through the commandment of love and loving one another and by keeping His Word, that we will know Jesus. And as John tells us in 1:1, the Word is God. So to know and keep the Word of God is to know and keep Jesus.  


In John 14:23-27, He goes on to explain that after He is no longer with the disciples in human flesh form, the Holy Spirit will dwell among them (us), allowing His peace and wisdom to be available to us: To know and abide in the love of God. Here, we must recall the new commandment—the greatest commandment—to love one another. This new commandment does not replace our commitment to the commands of God given to us through Moses, rather it is the “eleventh commandment”, if you will, that binds all of these together.  


We don’t abide by and in God out of “fear”, but out of love and desire for Him and the eternal reward of Joy He has shown and offered each of us. Jesus’s disciples are called to know God’s way and commands—but this “new and greatest” commandment weaves together the fulfillment of God’s promise throughout the old Testament.  


Song of Solomon 8:6 reminds us that “love is stronger than death” and, Jesus’ life, passion, death and resurrection shows us the truth of that scripture: He is Alive! His love conquered death! As He prepares His disciples for the “inevitability” of His Suffering and Death, He dwells on the fact He is ever present and His Presence is in and through our Love for each other, in this life! How difficult is it to comprehend that Jesus’ example can and should be lived through us?  


Lord, help us to “remember You” through our own lives and daily sacrifices made in love of each other!  By doing so, You remain alive in us and we in You!  Jesus, Only You! 

Paul B.

OFFER IT UP!      SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2016

We begin the month of May with our focus on Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. She is with us always as she was with the Apostles and disciples as they waited in prayer for the promised Holy Spirit. She prays with us now and always that we may come to deeper awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 


As we approach the final weeks and days of the Easter season, we prepare for Pentecost. We can take the time during these next two weeks to schedule into our prayer the novena to the Holy Spirit. This can be a time of growth and renewing ourselves in the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Remember those? Those gifts we were filled with at Confirmation?  Yes? No?  


Listing them here would be easy and quick for you to read, but challenging you to seek to revisit them would be more beneficial. You can look them up in a Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the Scriptures, or you can get into a dialog with Catholic friends and discuss them. Wisdom would be one of them to get you started.  


Let the Alleluias continue to ring in your prayer time, let yourself be inspired to enter into conversations that inspire FAITH.  Let the love of Jesus enfold you and warm your heart to love Him and know that because of that love, God dwells in you!