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

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Offer It Up!   Saturday, November 30, 2013

Romans 10:13-18

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?

And how can people preach unless they are sent?

As it is written,

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!

But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says,Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?

Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

But I ask, did they not hear? Certainly they did; for

Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.

Like it or not, believe it or not, the way we live today will have an impact on the way we live after we die. As Paul notes in Romans, we who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. And how we do that is imperative to our salvation.
Through our scripture, through our Creed, we have come to believe.
Through the lives of saints, we have learned how we can believe even more of a life ever after in Him.
Through disciples, through messengers, through apostles, through angels and saints, we have all come to hear the Good News that leads us all on our paths and journeys.
All have been sent for all have God’s hand to lead them to spread the message of His Good News.


How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!

Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.

Birthday Notes

In celebration of another year of her life, Gayle lives as a messenger of the Good News. As one His saints on earth, she goes forth to all corners of the earth, in full capacity with all her gifts of the Holy Spirit. And there are many she shares—wisdom, understanding, counsel… knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord.. yup, that’s about all of them! And with these, she passes them on so that others may come to know the fullness of life in Christ.


Many have heard that for one to spread the gospel, it first must be genuinely lived before it can be sincerely and earnestly spoken. It doesn’t take a second look to realize the life that she leads is just that—a life so full of faith and love that others see an attitude of gratitude in all she does. Giving of herself so that others’ needs are met, Gayle trusts humbly and lives for her faith, family and friends.


As she does, so should more of us, more often. A faith and life founded in the gospel, one that was shared with her and one that she shares with others as she witnesses her beliefs. The saints would have us do so, those saints including the ones on earth like Gayle.


Happy Birthday Gayle. May there be many more blessed and fruitful days and years to come as God wills to share your love and spirit.

Offer It Up!   Friday, November 29, 2013

Luke 21:32-33

Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

And as Yogi Berra has been quoted as saying, ‘It ain’t over till it’s over.’ Truer words have never been spoken, particularly in reference to the Word of God and the coming of Jesus Christ.


Look at where we are today. Will there be hell to pay? Count on it. Will we have to suffer through droughts and storms? Both will bring their destruction. Will there be those that do all they can to persecute the believers and lead them away from the Truth? Just tune into any social media outlet or television or radio for three minutes and see for yourself.


In his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium-The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis points out that times are indeed difficult now, difficult for us all just as they were difficult for those saints who first preached the Good News.

“We do well to keep in mind the early Christians and our many brothers and sisters throughout history who were filled with joy, unflagging courage and zeal in proclaiming the Gospel. Some people nowadays console themselves by saying that things are not as easy as they used to be, yet we know that the Roman empire was not conducive to the Gospel message, the struggle for justice, or the defense of human dignity. Every period of history is marked by the presence of human weakness, self-absorption, complacency and selfishness, to say nothing of the concupiscence which preys upon us all. These things are ever present under one guise or another; they are due to our human limits rather than particular situations. Let us not say, then, that things are harder today; they are simply different. But let us learn also from the saints who have gone before us, who confronted the difficulties of their own day. So I propose that we pause to rediscover some of the reasons which can help us to imitate them today.” (263)


We may not see our paths or journeys as ones of sainthood or even quite of holiness just yet. For that matter, many of the saints didn’t either at certain stages in their lives. Yet they persevered in their faith and love and the Gospel. Whether we see things as harder or as different as Pope Francis speaks of, we all must continue to learn, and even instruct others as we do, of the importance of the Gospel message and living it fully. Even if we do not become saints, we can say we at least tried to live like one.


We cannot be thankful enough. Really, it is about as simple as that. For all that we have in front of us on any given day, when we recognize all the good in our lives, how can we ignore our gratitude? Regardless of our circumstances, be they bountiful or lacking, fortunes or failures, we should know that all things are in the hands of God. And these things He ‘fashions them according to His will.’

It is with our free will then that we choose to submit to these fashions of will and trust in His way. As we do, we will come to learn more of Him and experience the peace beyond all understanding. For that peace and for all He has given us then, we should be thankful. The joy of our hearts. The peace within them. The love He has given us in His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Sacred Heart. All this brings our relationship with Him closer, while deepening our faith and making our path of holiness even narrower.

Of course we have so much for which to be thankful. Every day should be a day of giving thanks.

Matthew 21: 18-22

When he was going back to the city in the morning, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went over to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again." And immediately the fig tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed and said, "How was it that the fig tree withered immediately?"Jesus said to them in reply, "Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."


What if Jesus came over to you and asked something of you and you had nothing to give Him? No figs, so to speak, as the fig tree had no fruit to bear? And if so, could something along the lines of what happened to the fig tree, could that happen to you?


Maybe we don’t have all we need to have when it comes responding to Jesus Christ. And that’s okay, provided we are still seeking what it is that He would want us to know and have for the next time He comes asking. Seeking to have more faith, more prayer, more wisdom, more of a Christ-centered life that will keep us from withering underneath the pressures of the secular world.


Let us not waver in our pursuit of the path of holiness. There is enough ‘fruitlessness’ going on about us already. We should concern ourselves more with providing those with a way to a more fruitful life and bearing fruit on our own than worrying about doing or being without.

We have closed the year of Faith! Today's readings present us with food for reflection on living in faith always. 


Today we read and hear reading from the Book of Daniel. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah stand out in this Old Testament life. We who live in the light of the revelation of Jesus the Christ, who are children of the Light, can well be inspired by these men of old. Daniel and his companions, prisoners in exile, did not have that revelation of Jesus. Yet, they can inspire us with their encouraging faith.


How easy is it to remain faithful with all the distractions of modern life? As the icons of success beckon, how do we live our faith life?  We see Daniel and the three young men willing to forego any special favors in captivity rather than offend the God of Israel.  By contrast it can be so easy for us to bow before the idols of modern technology that promise various joys or unanticipated riches. We too are captives.  How many in our lifetime are in slavery to a life of consumerism?


Where does my treasure lie?  As I spend an hour each Sunday worshipping the Lord, remembering by standing at the foot of the tree of life, receiving the bread of life, drinking the blood of redemption, hearing the intercessions of the Son of God pleading for me in my sinfulness, does it transform by life? How slow I am to even begin to sense the awesomeness of love! 


How ungrateful, Lord in my blindness! Moment by moment over the course of a lifetime You Lord call sometimes softly, sometimes loudly, but incessantly. Despite my unfaithfulness, You remain faithful always!

As I begin each day I turn to You Lord, and sadly as the sun rises to its zenith, I find myself immersed in created wonders and practically ignoring You the Creator of all these wonderful gifts.Lord, this day grant me the grace to live with the determined faith of Daniel and the three young men, and the generosity of the widow in today’s Gospel who gave her life to You. Let all I am and all I encounter radiate the wonder of Your love which pleads for oneness.


Luke 23:42-43

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

With each day we have, we’ve been given an opportunity to share in the kingdom of glory God has for us here on earth. As the repentant criminal pleaded for his mercy, we too plead for ours in the days to come in preparation for that time when we will meet our Lord face to face. The choices we make up until then will determine the response we hear… will it be the same as what was heard that day at Calvary?Sometimes-if not always-the carrying of our crosses is the best method we can have of controlling who we are and what we do and where we end up.


Reaching out to others with compassion can bring us to a better understanding of who Christ calls us to be. As we become more conscious of His love for us, we will become more aware of our love for others. Superficially, we seem to find joy on the secular side of life, be it in the fame and fortune we may find our way into along the way. What 'superior joy' awaits for us as we let go of the fame and fortune found in the world and hold firmly to the faith and love that unites us with Jesus Christ. It is not every day we take the time to find out how the Love of God truly impacts our lives. Yet therein lays the problem.

Celebrate not only a new day for growing in faith but a lifetime of it, sharing in the love of God.

In case you missed it, and many of us may have, the Presentation of Mary was celebrated yesterday. How many are aware of this day and celebrate it in their daily prayers? We ask so many questions in our dialogs about faith. One of which invariably arises is the how we regard Mary.


In our Catholic faith Mary has always been the disciple par excellence.  She is the Mother of God, Theotokos, and we give her honor, veneration, and love. The rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary remains a wonderful meditative prayer, where with Mary we meditate on the mysteries of the Life of Christ.


Each day we take a moment to include a few thoughts  in "Offer It Up", and we hope anyone who is led to read these offerings will share with others and  invite them to visit the ‘Frayed Knot’. 


We are all on a mission, or should be, as the baptized. Go out and proclaim to all nations. Today, a conversation with Mary would be appropriate. Ask her to bring you to Jesus and also help us to bring others to Him. 


Praise God in whom all blessings flow! Thanks to Him who has given us so loving a Mother.


What we invest ourselves in, we usually get or become, right? If we want to become a better cook, or cook better, we read about cooking, take cooking classes, and devote much of our time to developing our skills in that area. Pretty soon, you become what you set out to be. However much you invest, the more you get and become.


Taken from the gospel, the same could be said for the servants who invested their shares wisely; they received more in return for what the put in. (Might even say they were really ‘cooking’ with what they did with their money.) Not so much for the servant who kept hold of what he was given. Turns out he even lost that. In a sense, it brings to mind the phrase ‘use it or lose it’.


Given the gifts with which we’ve been blessed, we all could be in a position to lose them if we choose not use them. As the servants who managed a hefty return on their undertaking, so too can we get more back from ours the more we give into them. This is not so much about financial prosperity as it is more about our spiritual well-being and the continued realization of our eternal salvation. Financial security and prosperity is great, provided it does not keep us from our spiritual awareness and prosperity. It’s when we lose our perspective on what’s important that changes our focus: a Christ-centered life.


Wherever we are along our journey, we have been entrusted with much. There are times we are well aware of gifts and use them accordingly. There are also those times when we’re afraid to do no more than just sit on our ‘assets’. Either way, it is a choice in how we answer when God calls us to be His disciples. The world has seen many come before us who have shown us the way; it might be they will be looking at us in the next hundreds of years to show them their own way. Let’s get cooking.

Today as we reflect on the Word of God, I am struck by the reading for the day from 2 Maccabaees 6:18-31, the Martyrdom of Eleazar. We  are in the Old Testament reading of one of the foremost Scribes, one who was not privy to the life, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus as we are.


Eleazar sets up an example for us of moral courage.  Not only willing to die for His faith in God, but not willing to do anything that would be deceptive in order to save his own skin. It gives me pause to think about my own willingness to live completely openly as a follower of the Lord, Jesus Christ. And to fully abide by the laws of His Church.

Fasting before communion? Do we really follow  the fast or do we often just ignore the fast? If we eat immediately before mass, would we observe the fast and not go to communion? We are called to live chaste lives, how do we compare with Eleazar when we cohabit before marriage? When we treat one another as objects..?  When we ignore Canon Law and scandalize brothers and sisters by living in violation of the law as if it didn’t matter? Rather than lead others astray by living openly, lives that contradict Church teaching, would we be willing like Eleazar to be willing to suffer persecution rather than deceive another?


We are all in need  of taking time to sit with the Lord, to converse with Him in prayer, and in reading His word.  You and I baptized in Christ have been sanctified. If we have lost grace because of our sins, we need now to  seek reconciliation and be cleansed and  strengthened by grace, and proceed to live as members of Christ body.  Being witnesses by our life is the first step in evangelization, and as we ourselves are constantly transformed by grace we find ourselves in life situations that enable us to lead others to Jesus.


In the gospel this day we have another example in Zacchaeus. He was willing to climb a  tree because he desired to see Jesus. He was willing to do what takes to search Him out. What are you willing to do to really get to know Jesus Christ? What are the daily efforts you engage in to insure you are in union with Christ? He is passing you every day, what tree will you climb that He may see you and invite Himself into your heart? Really, how important is it that He died for you?


Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.


We all want to see what we want to see. Yet some of us fail to see—or in some cases, cannot see—at all. Some of us see a stand of trees with leaves falling to the ground; others see the beauty of a forest as the leaves turn in the fall. Some of us see a flight of clouds about the horizon; others see the greatness of the sun and the magnificence of the sunset. So we all see what we want to see. It might be that we are blind to those things or we just choose to see things differently… imagine that.


The blind man in the gospel could see all that he needed to see through what he heard. That this Jesus of Nazareth was passing by and that this same Jesus of Nazareth could and would help him see, in spite of the opposition he faced.

“Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”

Jesus asked the man what he wanted Him to do for him.

‘‘Lord please let me see.’’

The man’s faith is what saved him as he was able to see, giving praise and glory to God. Not only that, the others around also joined in as they saw what had taken place.


Perfect segue into our lives today; how many celebrate with us and or how often do we celebrate with others when ‘eyes are opened’ and healings take place? How often do we call out for Jesus to stop and heal us in our prayers? Would He hear us or heal us if we didn’t? How often is it that we are helped out by others in our lives, just as the blind man was in the gospel as they brought him to Jesus? Who are those in your life that have made that difference in prayer? In faith? In hope and in love? And on the other side of the coin—who are we keeping from Christ?

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Keep the question handy. Use it every day. Don’t be surprised if your answer changes day to day, maybe from hour to hour occasionally. Prayerfully consider what you would ask of Jesus to do for you. Prayerfully consider what He would ask of you to do in return. To know Jesus better would be a great place to start. What greater way to do that than to see Him better than we do now.


By your perseverance you will secure your lives.

Throughout this Year of Faith, many of us have exhibited such perseverance as we have grown more secure in our own faith. Being attacked or persecuted for our faith is not necessarily a bad thing, provided we don’t give in to the attack or persecution. Contrary to the attacks, we must continue our fight of faith and carry out the life we have been called to live in Christ Jesus.


For sure there will be an end, an end to our lives, as well as an end of time. Until that happens, what we do to secure our lives for eternity carries greater import than the concern of the persecutions and the attacks of those who are not. As Jesus, His disciples and the saints faced all sorts of cruelty and challenges, they continued to live out the mission and message of Christ. As they did, there was little time to be anxious about the slings and arrows pointed their way.


There will always be those who will go against us. There will be those events that bring us to our knees. There will be those that hate us and detest the very core of our faith. Through all that, Jesus reminds us that He is always with us and always will be. The more we live our Christ-centered life, the more we will learn to endure and persevere. As we do, the more others will see us living humbly as God gives us the strength to carry out His Word.

This past week the daily scriptures have provided much for our meditation. Readings from Wisdom and the Gospels all, if  we are open and reflective, provide us with much to lead us into a deeper walk in faith.


The wonders that surround us we are reminded, the marvelous gifts of God's creation, all are transcended by God who is the origin of all. When we marvel at Beauty, God is beauty itself.  When we experience the wonder of love in our relationships, if we open ourselves to prayer and meditation, we begin to realize deeply that GOD IS LOVE.


We read and listen as Jesus, speaking of the Day of the Lord, when people are going about the normal things of daily life.  He points to Noah and the flood and speaks of how people are going about the business of life.  He speaks of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and again says when it occurred people were about the business of doing their daily routines.


He doesn't mention punishment or their sinfulness, but implies that in their busy-ness, they don't seem to connect things to all that He has provided.  Are we any different after all that God has done?  The men and women Jesus referred to didn't have His revelation of the Father, were not privy to His life, passion, death and resurrection.  We however, who also become so involved with life, failing too frequently to live in gratitude, are we more culpable when we ignore the connections to God in our busy-ness? How easily I get caught up in daily endeavors, even Church related busy-ness, and fail to see the presence of Jesus in wonderfully ordinary situations.  


Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.  In your compassion blot out my offenses and let the light of your love illumine my path. Teach me, O Lord, to die to self and in that dying to be a conduit of your love, your grace. Let Wisdom be my guide in all I say and do.


Luke 17:26-37

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. 
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” 
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”


Elsewhere in scriptures it goes something like this: eat and drink for tomorrow we die. (Isaiah 22:13). Taking it out of context, like so often we do, even scripture can lead us into things we should ‘re-think what we first thinked’.


For all the good it would do for one to throw in the towel and quit their faith, or at take a little time off from it knowing that the end is near, there are just as good and many reasons for continuing to live one’s faith and persevere. The end of our earthly life is not what it’s about; it’s where we spend it afterward that carries the weight. We do not know when, where, how, who or what the occasion will be. From floods and typhoons, to earthquakes and tsunamis, they happened then and they happen today.


Some of us might be a bit alarmed or anxious at the thought of the impending doom and destruction. Those some of us might be right. Yet others of us might spend our time being prepared, maintaining our faith and growing even more conscious of God’s plan for us, living in the here and now. Our anticipation is one lends itself to trust and faith that God knows what is going on and that we do all we can to live accordingly. His will. His way.

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?  Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” 
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”


As He traveled, it was part of Jesus’ plan to live the compassion and mercy He spoke about. From Galilee to Jerusalem and all points in between and around, as people came to Him with hope and faith, they left with His greater grace and mercy.


With the lepers, the disease they carried kept them far away from others because their condition was easily spread by contact. It was even thought at the time that those with the disease had been outcast by God because of the way they had lived in darkness and sin. That was their life, their ‘sentence’ for and from society. And Jesus was coming to them as their hope for mercy and freedom.


They cried out for His compassion and what did He do? All it took was a little direction with six words: ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’ On their way, they were cleansed as their faith in what He had told them to do, made them clean. Just like that.

And just like that, the one leper returned to give Him thanks for his new lease on life. Never mind the others-the Samaritan came back to ‘give thanks to God.’ And Jesus responded with a few more words for him as he told him that his faith again had saved him.


Put yourself anywhere in this gospel passage. As a passerby. As a disciple watching all this take place. As a villager. Maybe you were a leper who was made clean. From any perspective, your faith could not help but be made stronger if not cleaner for having been a witness to such an event. Such as it is today with Jesus Christ in our lives.


Cleansing us and forgiving us and sending us on our ways as we return to give Him thanks for the compassion and mercy He has bestowed upon us. We do so every chance we get in celebrating the Eucharist.

We are fast approaching the end of the Liturgical year and the Gospel readings are leading us to reflect on our ultimate destiny.  As we look ahead, mercy and forgiveness loom large in the words of the Lord. We are reminded of His mercy, His forgiveness, His call to oneness and we are given a glimpse of eternity. 


Last Sunday, Jesus was clear when He responded to the Sadducees, that life in eternity will not be like life in time. As we approach Advent, and ready ourselves to begin a new year, we look to the end times and we reflect on the coming of Christ as man, to dwell among us.


There are so many things we do not and in fact cannot understand.  We are to live in faith and do our best to grow in holiness.  Yet, we struggle with things beyond us. We ask questions that have no answers in time, and distract us from living a life of obedient faith.  We even sometimes formulate answers that give us (in our weakness) ways to hear God say to us ‘Thy will be done’.


When we pray we mouth the words,  and perhaps at some level long to do God’s will…..but the hope often is Your will God be in agreement to mine. This week reflect on how God in fact longs and cares for you. Let us know your thoughts… how does God long for you?


Several conversations this past week indicate the concerns of the saints and sinners among us. The conversations varied from thoughts and discussions about sacraments and also Scripture passages that raised questions about God's unconditional love.


As I reflect on some of the comments and questions there seems to be a  general questioning of how God will judge His children.  Questions for which we who are journeying in faith and through time do not have answers.  What will God do to children, infants who were not baptized and died? How can we know what God will do? We do know that God loves as Jesus demonstrated that to us powerfully! As we grow in faith we also discover over time  the  depth of God's love.


One person asked if God's love is unconditional, why in Scripture do we find the "if you do this or live this way… I will reward you in eternity!" Perhaps this reflects our human tendency to desire to do our own thing. It seems we can so easily forget that God is Creator and we are creature! We struggle with the freedom God has given us.  We often want God to do this or that while we retain the right to do as we will. After the fall, we have this tendency, this weakness that without God's grace we tend to enter into a life without God. A life where sin comes easily and we are it I suspect prone to excuse our failures.


Original Sin, what is it we inherit? Is it not that weakness that tendency to commit sin more easily if we choose to live by our own wills and not desire to live according to the grace of God? Who am I? Who is God? How did I get here? Why am I here? Why was I born into this family, this country, this time? We have a long history and tradition in the Church that gives answers to such questions, if we are willing to search, and strive to grow in our spiritual quest.


In our time we are continuing the effort of building the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom Jesus Christ will come to rule in the fullness of time. We are faced each day with choices, challenges to come to deeper understanding through faith. The missions remain, for those who believe in God, who have received and believe the Good News of Jesus Christ, we must evangelize we are called to proclaim His Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection as we received the message from Him, from the Apostles.


May we be guided by the Holy Spirit to find ourselves each day spirit-filled and on fire with desire to spread the Good News.!!!!!!


Luke 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? 
Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. 
In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”


Hate is such a strong word. And to be used in this instance, especially from the words of Jesus Christ, we should pay attention to what is going on around the use of it. For sure, we are all called as He has told us to love one another as He loves us. And if He is calling us to ‘hate’, are we then to turn around and do just that? I think not.


All of who Jesus is and taught is Love. All we are to be in following Him as we strive to be as He taught is love. And if we do that, love as Jesus taught us, then as St. Augustine has noted we can do as we will. When the word ‘hate’ is used here, we are to understand the commitment it must take to put Jesus Christ before anyone else in our lives. As He was making it clear to them, so we must understand it today; no compromising in our love for Him. We cannot have it both ways.


And to say that Jesus would have us abandon our families would not be in the name of love either. What it does say is that for one to commit to following Christ, they must decide that His way comes before the way of the family and the way of the world. And when those choices are presented, however difficult they might be, the road Christ has for us must be taken. There are many before us who have done so and their return has been great in their salvation. With our commitment and cooperation in His will, so too will our reward be great with them.

Romans 12:5-18

We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them:
if prophecy, in proportion to the faith;
if ministry, in ministering;
if one is a teacher, in teaching;
if one exhorts, in exhortation;
if one contributes, in generosity;
if one is over others, with diligence;
if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
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. 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. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.


Through our baptism, we are all united in Christ. And as Paul notes, though there are so many of us with so many different parts, we make up the body of Christ. United in Him, with Him, for Him and through Him.


With the gifts we have, we have our distinct differences that allow us to serve Him and each other in our own ways. With those gifts—from prophecy and ministry to authority and acts of mercy—we are called to use them for the good of others. With yet another gift, the gift of free will, we choose whether or not to serve, how we serve, or how committed we will be when we do use them as we serve others. A lot to do with all the gifts we have. A lot more to do with that gift of free will.


Do we rejoice in hope? Do we endure in affliction? Are we persevering in prayer? Are we contributing to the needs of the holy ones and exercising hospitality? Of course we all bless those who persecute us and curse us, as we turn the other cheek.. and we all count ourselves among the lowly before we put ourselves on any pedestal, right?


Paul asks us all to live in deep affection for those we love as he urges to live as Jesus lived, looking after the needs of others and having the same attitude for all, just as He did. Reflecting on today’s readings, let us ask ourselves how well we are using the gifts we have to serve one another and Jesus Christ. And whether lastly or even as our priority, as far as it depends on us, let us live at peace with one another.


Offer It Up!    Monday, November 4, 2013

Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us. 

May we continue to proclaim God’s love in the spirit of St. Charles who responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, moving the Church of God in Faith as he worked tirelessly to teach the truth of God.


As we prepare for our new day we place ourselves in God's presence desiring the grace to live observantly, seeing his presence in all that comes to us this day.


The mercy of God is beyond understanding. In faith He calls us to be merciful as we realize how he has shown us Mercy. We come to the banquet of love and unite ourselves to the Lord, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself completely to the Father as a sacrificial offering for all creation, and we ask for an increase in faith, hope and love. May each encounter with life itself this day, increase in all of us the fruits of the spirit, Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.



Offer It Up!    Sunday, November 3, 2013

We begin this month of November with the feast of All Saints and our remembrance on November 2nd of a all those  who have left time to dwell in eternity. In a previous entry in Offer It Up, you can read an excellent tribute to those saints in our midst we often fail to recognize. We give thanks to the author of this entry who reminds us to be observant and learn. Each day we have myriad opportunities, those few we may respond to and so many that probably just plainly do not appear on our radar, most probably because we are preoccupied with our self-made plans.

Yesterday, some of us were privileged to be present as a young couple in our parish celebrated the Sacrament of Matrimony. I found it inspirational. The simplicity and focus of the event was clearly the Sacrament of Marriage. Celebrated in the context of a communal celebration of the Eucharist, all of the actions of that celebration centered on the Sacramental encounter reminding us that this union was sacred, that the love being promised reflected at least a sincere desire to reflect the mysterious, unfathomable love of God for His children. 


I was moved by the entire celebration, the prayers, the hymns, all pointing to the presence of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Mary and all souls who seek God. I was reminded that marriage unites not only the two in one, but the entire family of God is included in this great act of creation which continues moment by moment, and in which all are united. That all may be One!


Can we hear again the prayer of Jesus in John 17, and not begin to reflect on how we are called to fullness of life in God, a oneness we are striving to understand as we grow in faith?  Can I look on my brother, my sister, and still not even begin to see the wonder of God's likeness?


May the light of faith shine brightly in our lives here until we see light itself.


Offer It Up!   Saturday, November 2, 2013
All Souls Day

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, 

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of the faithful departed, 

through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. 

Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. 

Come, share your master’s joy.   

Matthew 25:21

Offer It Up!   Friday, November 1, 2013

Revelation 7:11-14

  All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed:

“Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. "

The joke went something like this, that night at RCIA as the topic was about saints: ‘Do you know what all the saints have in common?’ And the ‘comical’ repartee intent was ‘They’re all dead.’  


Well, there was some nervous laughter and some few ha-ha’s but mostly there was only courteous amusement at the attempt at humor. What was more interesting though was the spark it lit in the discussion about the topic of the evening: saints. I was more on the side that saints had to be more dead than alive to be a ‘saint.’ Yet upon further elucidation and clarification from those that know way better and have an overwhelmingly amount of comparative of sense and logic, I have moved my position.


How many of us have those we know in our lives that are veritable ‘saints’ on earth? I can start my list with at least three: my mother, my mother-in-law and my wife. And a fourth is this woman who has adopted special needs children—five of them. Nothing heroic really in any of them. Nothing spectacular that would draw so much attention to any of them but that they all lead such kind, faithful and loving lives. Surely we would all know someone like them here on earth.


And with all the lives that have gone on before us to share their eternity and salvation with God the Father, they too have led and are living saintly lives. They’re just doing it in a much greater place now than what the saints on earth get to deal with. Canonized or not, living on earth or alive in their heavenly home, saints indeed surround us in their goodness and their love.

“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."