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

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Today we find, in Mark’s Gospel, the same theme of the reality that we must be awake because we do not know when the end will come. This is not at all intended to be a morbid topic of fatality or finality. Rather, it is a focus on the assurance that there is eternal life with and in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit after our earthly life comes to a close. 


In Mark 13:33-37, Jesus uses a parable in which a man travels abroad.  While gone from his home he leaves his servants to tend to his home and business, each with tasks to perform. These tasks must be performed diligently and regularly for the servants do not know when the master is returning. He may return, unexpectedly, in the morning, noon, evening or midnight hour! The caution is that each servant must be awake and prepared for the master’s homecoming. 


Jesus’ message, thus, is that we must not take our faith for granted and assume we can satisfy the Father’s will “at the last hour” before our earthly end, as we do not know when that last hour is. In effect, we should live every moment as if it were our last, but in anticipation of His judgment, which will determine the status of our eternal life with Him. Think of how Jesus prepared for His time to fulfill His Father’s will. Throughout His ministerial life he set an example in thought, word and deed as to how we are to live in accordance with God’s command and will. Instead of living in fear of “the end”, we are called to live in the joy of imitating Christ as best we can!


This brings the question: “How deep is our desire and how evident is our effort to live in full union and communion with Jesus in this world, so as to be accepted in full union and communion with Him in the next? We must strive to focus on prayer and purpose that allow us to focus on the final destination and not things of this passing world! 


Lord, as I prepare, in the next few weeks, to celebrate the occasion of Your entry into the human condition, may my eagerness for your word increase my hope and joy in our inevitable union in Your Eternal Kingdom of Life!

Paul B

Jesus cautions us that the end can spring upon us unexpectedly. Therefore, we must strive to live in God’s Wisdom—choosing to live a discerning life of seeking and serving His will at every moment. Luke 21:34-36 reminds us that every day is filled with (and we must take advantage of) divine opportunities to grow in our love for God and to draw others toward Him. He advises, “Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen and to hold your ground before the Son of Man.” 


The strength of God is that which allows to NOT be consumed by materialistic and secular ways of living. While these are attractive to us, in our humanness, these very things push God into the background, if we allow them to do so. If we fall asleep spiritually, these other things take precedence. The things of this earth, our possessions, must be servants to the Will of God in our lives, not the “master(s) of our lives”. Jesus calls our hearts to be ruled, daily and in each moment, by one thing—His love and truth. It is this love and truth that enables us to choose whatever is good and to reject that which harms our eternal salvation. Until the end comes, which is inevitable for all of us, we can expect trials and temptations in our lives. 


The adversary does not rest in any attempt to distract us from God’s Will. Little by little, the distractions are placed in our way, trying to prevent us from pursuing God in prayer and from listening to the guidance offered through His Word. We must heed the message of His Word! It is incumbent upon us to “stay awake” and be vigilant—watchful—for we know not when the end will come. 


Each opportunity in life is a chance to ask the Lord to continue firing us up in His love so we are ready and eager to meet Him! Lord, enkindle my spirit to the truth that this world will pass away. Give me joyful hope, lively faith, and fervent love to see you in Your Glory.

Paul B

As Luke’s Gospel continues (21:29-33), we are further reminded that if we only trust Him there are no threats that can discourage or put out the fire of love and zealousness that we have for Christ Jesus and the salvation He poured out for us. It is when we lose sight of that trust and the prize of God’s Kingdom that we ultimately lose the sense of the true meaning of life. Just as we can predict the seasons of God’s creation, using the fig tree budding out as an example, we can see the signs of the coming of God’s Kingdom. 


In verse 33, though, is the most pertinent reminder. Jesus tells us that as the leaves and flowers bud and bloom then pass away, so will with sky and the earth. But one thing shall stand firm: The Word! In His predictions that all things shall pass, Jesus was predicting the consequences of not choosing to believe as well as ensuring the understanding that no matter the trials/tribulations of true faith, the Word and the Will, of God will always be our direction—our compass and our strength in the journey! 


Ponder the four seasons: as the fall comes, the air becomes crisper, seemingly cleaner, and the leaves begin changing to beautiful, often fiery, colors. When fall transitions to winter, though the trees become barren, we look forward to the winter snows, cold nights looking out the warm windows of our home, fire dancing in the hearths of the homes and family time around that hearth! Then comes spring, with the dancing of God’s creation budding to life, followed by the summer of full Glory. Such is what we are called to anticipate in/with the coming of God’s Kingdom and the wondrous “season” of the eternal life! 


As we anticipate, we must reflect upon the quality of our spiritual life and ask, “Lord, how evident is my preparation and anticipation of Your coming eternal season?” Help me grow in each season on earth so as to enjoy the coming season of Your Glory!

Paul B

Today in Luke 21:24-28, Jesus speaks in very graphic terms of the “end of the world”, which He says is inevitable. But, in that inevitability He offers clear hope that when this time comes, we are to stand erect and hold our heads high because our liberation is at hand (vs 28). This liberation will be in the form of eternal life with Him, with the Father, in the Kingdom of Heaven. 


If we so choose to Live in His Ways, therefore, we are encouraged to not fear the passing of things of this world, including death to this world!  Jesus cautions us about succumbing to the turmoil and sufferings of this world with despair and hopelessness. Rather, we are to face such realities with peace, joy and effort to live and love in God’s ways. Fear cannot and must not prevent us from living our faith, hope and love for God by expressing it to and for one another. The question that comes to mind is, “How is God challenging us to live our daily lives, to the fullest and as if it were our last on earth, instead of squandering it in idleness and frivolity?” 


We are thus, encouraged to examine our life’s decisions and actions in light of His Love.  The “WWJD” craze (What would Jesus Do?) is, unfortunately, just that for many people. But today’s Gospel drives home the seriousness of that question! The aforementioned “fear of death” and the end of the world (as we know it) is, in some respects, a normal “human reaction”, as we have been given the freedom to think and choose, “preferably” bearing in mind His Word in all that we think and choose to do!  But, that fear must be overcome by living as He Wills us to do, rather than through over-attachment to things in our earthly lives! 


Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude for the gift of salvation. May my hope and longing for You and Eternal Life increase my desire for your Glorious Return! May the anticipation of that day and the coming of that day bring me strength to serve You!

Paul B

Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand…

As much as we would like to think that we have our stuff together and keep it that way, Jesus lets us know in no certain terms to forget all that for the moment. He will give us what we need to take care of for that battle at that time we need it.


How many times a day to we battle ourselves in our waywardness? Starting out the day with prayer, right as we awake and get going, sooner than later we get into our first skirmish.

Maybe it’s gossip.

Maybe it’s laziness.

Maybe it’s thinking ill of someone else or wanting what it is that they have. Or maybe it’s not doing what you should do or should have done.

Those are the sort of battles that come our way and often lead to greater ones, where we find ourselves fighting on all fronts. And maybe it’s then we want to give it all up.


But that’s when Jesus says we must persevere in His name even though our adversaries may be our family or our friends, or even ourselves. We fear that we will have to defend what we don’t know—the truth that is our faith. We don’t know it because of what we have not lived, a life more complete in God’s way instead of our own. Hence, the persecution from the world around us. Hence, the handing over to be held before and by those who charge us as subversives, threatening the laws of the land. Hence, the reason for us to give our testimony, our life and journey in faith and in Christ Jesus.


All this because of our love of Him. He told us it would happen and it does and it will. Sometimes in greater experiences, sometimes in lesser instances. All the while, Jesus reminds that He will lead us as to what to say, what to do and who He would have us be. As Christ proclaimed the truth about faith, hope and love so must we too continue to do the same. And as He faced the injustices for doing so, so will we. The part about ‘not a hair on our head being harmed’: in our eternal salvation, nothing can happen to us there. We will be forever with Him and the communion of saints, where nothing can harm or destroy our love for Him. Through our courage and perseverance, we will see our way to do and be as He would have us. Let our prayers be raised in praise and thanksgiving for the grace and mercy to continually live His will.

Jesus reminds us, in Luke 21:5-9, that the reality is nothing in this life, whatever we own, whomever we love in our human condition—all things of “earthly substance: beautiful things and things of earth not so pleasant—wars, revolutions, famine, and the like”, will  last—our human condition is finite. 


God is eternal. In loving God, our primary focus should be in and on His ways so that we will know how to share this lasting love and compassion with others. In reading this Gospel passage, Jesus addresses those who are admiring the adornments and offerings in the temple. He tells them, “All these things you are staring at now—the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another; everything will be destroyed.” In response, He is asked if there will be a “sign” that this time has arrived. Jesus, then, takes the opportunity to remind them (us) that there is no “sign”  Rather, we must be prepared. 


We cannot/must not be terrified of the things of this world, as all things (“good” and “bad”) shall pass away and move us toward the eternal life with God—if we so choose in living His Ways in all that we think, say, and do as we pass through this life. Through all of this, we are asked to live fearlessly, waiting in joyful hope for our eternal life! This is a challenge, given the emotion of our human condition. To do so, 1 John 4:17-19 tells us, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as he is so are we in this world.


There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us. It is in demonstrating (living in) His love that we conquer our human conditions that often hinder us from experiencing Him fully. 


Lord, Your grace and mercy abound, even in the midst of trying times.  Help me to be filled with love, joy, and hope—and live my life daily—for the ultimate fulfillment of Your Kingdom.

Paul B

"I tell you this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus, but she, from her poverty has offered her whole livelihood."


These words from today's gospel invite us to reflect on what Jesus is saying to us as He observed those putting offerings in the treasury. I suspect most of us would look at the size of a gift and be impressed or not by apparent generosity. Here Jesus clearly points out that from her poverty, the poor widow gives all.


Jesus is directing our attention to motive. The poor widow gives as we sometimes say ‘till it hurts’ by her sacrifice, a word we don't use too often anymore. But, perhaps we can look deeper and come to a realization that we see trust in God, who will provide. We can see a realization that all we have is what we have received from a generous God, who first gave us life and sustains that life with his bountiful gifts.


During the past few weeks we can recall the parables of Jesus regarding the talents we have been given. Again a reminder that when we cooperate with the Father's will, we grow in our ability to see Him in all circumstance and realize more and more that He is our all. Everything in life comes from Him. It is not in comparing with others but rather our falling in love with love and in imitation of Jesus, obediently seeking always to do the will of Our Father. 


Today Lord, help me to see more clearly, and follow the lead of the Spirit in doing your will in all circumstances. Have mercy on me in your compassion and keep me from the occasion of sin.


Jesus speaks to His disciples about His coming Glory in Matthew 25:31-46. Throughout this discourse He speaks to the fact that God looks at how we on earth treat the ones who have, or are perceived as, the least among us. This is the most fundamental difference between the ways of the human condition and God’s ways, as the secular world often highlights those who have “the most”. So, today’s discourse examines the question, “Is it better to seek God’s favor or that of this world?” 


Of course, we have a cerebral understanding of the concept that living in God’s ways will bring true and lasting happiness in life—both in this life and the eternal life to come. And, as we read throughout the Gospels, we must set our sights on heavenly goals, not earthly goals. Jesus makes it clear that the Son of Man, the King of Glory, will sit upon His Glorious throne and all nations on earth will be assembled before Him. It is at this time that they (we) will be separated from one another in the same manner as a shepherd sorts sheep from the goats. 


Jesus uses a familiar analogy for His listeners—in this case, sheep herding. It was typical for sheep and goats to graze the dry land together, during the day, because grass was so sparse. But at night, the sheep and the goats were separated because of the stubborn, erratic behavior of goats. Goats by nature are aggressive, restless and territorial. They lock horns whereas sheep tend to be gentler. 


When the time of judgment comes, therefore, the King will separate each of us according to the manner in which we behaved toward each other. For in the end, what we do to the least of our brothers, is how we will be separated as having responded. 


Lord, give me wisdom to find ways to affirm Your dignity in the human condition, that which the material world tends to ignore.

Paul B

Is the ultimate focus of our lives “earthbound” or “heaven bound”?  It seems in today’s Gospel, the Sadducees had a problem: they could not believe in a heaven beyond what they could see or “prove” in their human condition. They struggled to recognize the spiritual realm and reality that is heaven, rather tried to satisfy it using earthling images/imagery. As with so many who get distracted by the here and now—the distractions of daily living, they become rooted in earthly things. 


In Luke 20:27-38, Jesus is asked a question about the Eternal Life in the resurrection, whose wife will a widow be, in heaven, when her first husband has died childless so, according to the law of Moses, she marries his brother. Their question is tied to the fact that we, as humans, tend to live in the present, materialistic point of view, putting our “ultimate destination” in the back of our minds. Jesus cites Exoudus 3:6, in which Moses, himself, calls God the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thus speaking of the earthly dead as living, for God is the God of all who live in Him both now and forever. Though these had died hundreds of years before, they are still alive in and with God. Reference Psalm 73:23-24:  “I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel and afterward You will receive me to Glory.” 


The ultimate “proof” of the resurrection, though, as Christians, is the victory of Our Lord over death when He rose from the tomb. And, even before His own suffering and death, we recall John 11:25 where, just prior to raising Lazarus, Jesus had shared, “I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me, though he die, he shall live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 


Jesus, today, asks us the same question. Do we answer back through our hearts, minds and actions, as if we believe? Or, are we like the Sadducees, questioning all, applying our earthly values? 


Lord, free my eyes and heart to see what is to come and to strive for Your eternal salvation in all I say and do today!

Paul B

In John 2:13-19 and Matthew 19:45-48, they both share the account of Jesus entering the Temple and finding the buyers and sellers desecrating the House of His Father! This account is the only example in the Gospels of Jesus using physical force. This act is a prophetic sign and warning to us that we are to take worship and praise very seriously and that the place in which we do so is to be sacred. 


In reflecting on John’s account, we spent time focusing on Jesus’ act of frustration and on the importance the collective body of worshippers, we, the Christian People, as the Church of Christ! Today, in reflecting on this same account, written by Matthew, the symbolic significance of this prophecy, clearing and keeping clean the “temple” that we are (body and soul), individually, comes to mind. 


As previously pointed out, we must serve as one body, valuing the sacred trust of working together for His Glory. But, as with any body, parts serve different functions! And to serve our function within the Body of Believers, we must understand several things: 1) We each have specific gifts–skills, knowledge and blessings—to offer as part of the whole; 2) We must find ways to center ourselves to Christ each and every day so that those gifts are put to proper use through thought, word and deed; and, 3) We must strive to keep the distractions of this world cluttering the temple of mind and heart!


If we approach His Word, every day and with humble attention and willingness, His Word will sweep through our minds and hearts, cleansing and strengthening us. Allowing Him to come in and cleanse us will change and transform our lives, just as powerfully as He cleansed the temple when worldly distractions desecrated it! Do we allow Him to enter in and transform us? 


Lord, open the door of my body’s “temple” and enter in!  Sweep through the temple of my heart, mind, and life so that I may be cleansed and be a dwelling place of Your Spirit, Grace, Wisdom, and Praise in all I think, say, and do!

Paul B

The “enemy” gains a foothold in our hearts, minds, and lives when the temptations of the secular world become more desired and important than God’s ways. We are reminded, throughout The Word, to set our sights upon our heavenly goal and to accomplish this by using our gifts to serve others in His Name. 


In Luke 19:41-44, we find Jesus showing the sorrow in His heart over the fact that the inhabitants of Jerusalem failed to recognize the Presence of God, the Messiah, in their midst. In failing to recognize the obvious, He laments that the enemy will soon get the best of them.  Their failure to recognize God’s very presence will result in the enemy overtaking them, encircling them and, ultimately, destroying any foundation among them. 


All of this because they did not recognize the moment(s) of God’s Visitation among them. This truth is as relevant (if not more so) in today’s society. The secular world seems to be encircling and eroding the very fiber and foundation of our families, communities, states and nations. The pervading presence of war, abortion, divorce, sub-group identification and separation, poverty, discrimination toward the aging and disabled and myriad other societal ills continues to risk and marginalize our relationship with a Loving Father who, in spite of our ignorance, will continue to be present to us, if we but seek Him. 


As He approaches the center of His ministerial world, Jerusalem, Jesus pours His heart to the Father, shedding tears of sorrow, grief and mourning for all whom He came to offer salvation. The tears shed, at that time, covered the long history of rejection of prophets who came in God’s Holy Name, as well as for His pending suffering at their doubting hands, and, finally for our own present-day omissions of Him in our daily thoughts and actions. 


Lord, You are Hope and Salvation. Though You redeemed me through Your Passion, Death and Resurrection, grant that I may not miss the grace of your Presence today as Your Spirit moves to bring us into greater union with You!

Paul B

Today I read Luke’s account of the same parable, told by Jesus, also shared in Matthew’s Gospel (Ch. 25). It is interesting to note the same parable being shared with minute differences in the details of the story, yet major difference in emphasis (taken by the reader, anyway). 


In reading Matthew’s account, the reader finds emphasis on the behavior of the servants, entrusted with the master’s money and what they did with those gifts while awaiting his return. In Luke’s account (19:11-28), though the details of having received portions of the master’s money, to be “tended to” in his absence, the emphasis seems to be as much on the return of the master, as the behavior of the servants, in anticipation of his return! Both Gospel accounts share the (success) story of a servant who is bold and creative enough to use and multiply the talents given him by the master. And, this servant is compared to one who does not make any effort with the talents given him; rather, he hides the talents given him out of fear, which overrides any sensibility he might have for pleasing the master. 


Luke emphasizes, more so than Matthew, the fact that the Jews were longing for a new kingdom, the coming of a Messiah who would usher in a new age, the reign of God, and end Roman domination, bringing peace and good things! Both parables reveal important insights into God’s plan and His purpose for us. They speak of trust that The Master has for us, simply by the gift of life and the blessings contained in each of our lives (personal talents, money, possessions...all blessings to be multiplied within the kingdom for the good of all). Both speak of the Master “going away” and leaving servants to use talents in the manner they think best (and what good master has not prepped servants in the expectations, if the servants but heed and anticipate?). 


The essence of this lesson, Lord, is the responsibility we have to use our gifts to multiply the Goodness You have shared! Give me the strength and wisdom to be a responsible steward of all You have given me so as to grow these in and for You!

Paul B

How would you feel or react if Jesus, today, knocked on your door and said, “I must stay at your home today?”


Would you be embarrassed? Excited? Unprepared? Prepared? Jesus, as He traveled around in His ministry, probably “dropped in” often and unexpectedly. Today we find Him staying at the house of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector that, of course, raised the eyebrows of the scribes and Pharisees when Jesus stayed with him. Why would Jesus stay at a known sinners house? 


Well, as we read Luke 19:1-10, we find that Zacchaeus was in need of Jesus merciful love and forgiveness AND he was openly seeking it. The reading starts out telling us that Zacchaeus was “short” (in stature) so he climbed a tree to get a better look at Jesus than he would have had standing in the midst of the crowd.


This act gives us a not so symbolic description of what we need to do to seek even a glimpse of the Lord in our daily lives! Then, upon Jesus’ recognition of him—literally entering his home—Zacchaeus responds with a depth of repentance so deep that he decides to give half of his possessions to the poor and uses the remainder to make restitution for the overcharging he had performed as a tax collector. His change of heart, accepting Jesus into his home, resulted in a change of life that can only be viewed as genuine acceptance and example to others of the power of Christ in our lives... if we but choose to let Him in! And, it all started because he was willing to “climb the sycamore tree to get a better glimpse of Jesus.” 


So, we go back to the original question, “How would you feel/react if Jesus knocked on your door today?” Are you prepared? Excited at this prospect? Have you “climbed the tree” and made yourself visible to catch His watchful eye? 


Lord, Jesus, come and stay with me in my home and heart! Fill my home with Your presence and my heart with Your praise! Amen!

Paul B

Life is often times like the road to Jericho with large crowds setting a pace for us to follow. We can find ourselves in a position similar to the blind man wondering what all the noise and carrying on is about. The answers we get sometimes are conflicting and we don't always respond to those telling us that Jesus is passing by. On the other hand, we may hear and like the blind man and recognize our desperate need of Him, and call out "Have mercy, on me!"


In our prayers, do we sincerely cry out to Him in faith? And in faith, do we hear Him respond, ‘What do you desire me to do for You?’ Great question! What is our desire? Do we, like the blind man, want to see? Do we even recognize that we are blind—blind to the presence of love in our lives? Blind to the wonder of God's presence in the very essence and simple things of each day, in the place where God has given us, in the persons He placed in our daily encounters? We are so busy with the agendas we create, we so often are blind to the wonder of God always so close as even our breathing. 


As we approach the annual wonderful holiday of THANKSGIVING can we make it a time to give glory to God? What if we made a concerted effort to invite all in the Sacred Heart Family to come to the banquet of life on Thanksgiving morning?  Imagine the family gathering to give praise for all that Our Father has poured forth, giving us His only Son, the Bread of Life. Today as God grants you sight, may He reveal to you who to invite to the banquet of Thanksgiving.


This leads us into the season of once again celebrating forgiveness in preparation for the anniversary celebration of the Incarnation. How important is it that we share our experiences of this great mystery of faith. The world in wonder waits! We the Body of Christ are on mission to shout with Joy to the Lord!


God intends for us to put ourselves and all He has given to us to “good use” and share that which we are with others for His good. With each blessing He bestows, we should work to “multiply it” through use and sharing, so that we can draw ourselves and others towards the reward of His Kingdom! 


In pondering Matthew 25:14-30, we see a lesson about the Kingdom of Heaven being taught in terms we can understand: economics and productivity. Here, Jesus shares a parable about a businessman who leaves town, entrusting his money to be tended by his workers. This makes even more sense in today’s “jet-set” mentality. Those with wealth often travel and leave others to “handle the business” while they are gone. The most important message is what this story tells us about how God will handle us when we tend (or not) to His business. He entrusts us with the very life we are given, not to mention the blessings within that life. 


Just as with the servants in the story, where there were “no strings attached” to the money with which he entrusted them, there are no “strings attached” to our lives. We live it on this earth with free choices in how we handle ourselves. But, in the end, just as the master rewarded the industrious and faithful servants who worked and increased the value of the money, God will reward those of us (with our eternal life with Him, in heaven) who are industrious in faith (faith in action), using and multiplying our lives for His Eternal Kingdom. 


Think about how each servant viewed the responsibility given them by the master: while each servant was faithful, the one who buried the master’s money, keeping it hidden and not making any effort to be productive with the master’s gift was irresponsible. Each gift from our Master must not be squandered and unused. We must not bury our Christian life, as our Spiritual fruits will not multiply without our efforts in thought, word and deed.  


Lord, be the Master of my home and life; my time and service. Help me to make use of the gifts and resources so as to Glorify Your Kingdom.

Paul B

“Jesus told His disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never losing heart.” Luke 18:1-8 is about perseverance in prayer. He tells of a woman who repeatedly came to a judge seeking justice. The judge continually refused her until he tired of her persistence. The judge, though unjust, lacking in fear or respect for his fellow man or God, finally gave in to the woman’s tenacious appearance! 


Jesus goes on to point out that even an unjust person gives in. Think how much more God will ultimately give to His faithful who call upon Him in all things, day and night, in true faith! Through this parable Jesus asks us to take heart, not despair, by the pains and struggles in our lives. Too often we do become disillusioned by these and give up praying to God. We must take heart in the widow’s victory and trust because God, who loves us without condition or fail, will provide answers to and through our prayers, if we but ask and look. The graces are not always apparent in our eyes and in “our time”, but we must persevere in seeking His Goodness! 


It may seem odd to compare an unscrupulous judge and a defenseless, yet persistent woman who finally gets justice, to our own relationship with a loving God, but let’s not miss the point that persistence pays off. This is especially true of our trust in God! Jesus shows how God, as our own (ultimate) Judge and Vindicator, desires only to bring justice, blessings and divine assistance, wisdom and understanding when we need it most!  The point is to not lose heart and forget to ask for grace and assistance in our human condition. In our present lives we will, expectedly, face trials and tribulations but we are not without hope that His justice will triumph over all. 

Jesus ends the parable with a question for us: will we have faith? Faith that does not give up, lose hope? Faith that perseveres to the end of our earthly existence? 


Lord, strengthen me in faith and hope that I may never doubt Your word in ALL moments of life: in supplication and thanksgiving…. In times of need and times of joy!

Paul B

“But God is rich in mercy; because of His great love for us He brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin. By this favor you were saved. Both with and in Christ Jesus, He raised us up and gave us a place in the heavens (Ephesians 2:4-6). Jesus continues speaking to His disciples, in Luke 17:31-37, about the end of time—the end of the world, as we know it.


As stated in Ephesians, we believe and know that there is a place prepared for us and that He suffered in order to lay a path for us. We must also be aware, though, that the end of our time is not to be anticipated or assumed to be “somewhere (off) in the future….” We must be ready to face God and give him an account of the way we have been living our life up to this very moment.


This is not a fatalistic point of view. Rather, it calls us to reflect on that question and work on an immediate (and continual) conversion of heart in each moment we have. Do not put off this work to conversion until lunchtime, or dinner time, or this weekend. Begin this very moment. 


Think about it: when the time of Judgment Day arrives, all of our worldly possessions, knowledge and “positions of esteem” among our contemporaries will have no significance. The question will be, “How much did you love others through Me and through/with the blessings with which you were bestowed?”


Throughout Luke 17 the message is, “Be watchful and ready. Do not allow yourselves to be drawn into a spiritual dryness or lethargy, clouded or veiled by daily, worldly concerns. Challenge each moment to be centered in Christ’s example and each blessing from God. 


WWJD:  What Would Jesus Do?  We see this stamped on jewelry, t-shirts, rubber bracelets and I’ve even seen it tattooed on a person. But, what does it mean to our heart, mind and actions? 


Lord, My hope is in You because you redeemed the world. Help me to keep you “in my sights” each moment, in anticipation that I may live each moment in joyful hope of Your Kingdom, to come!

Paul B

Yesterday we read the account of the lepers, upon whom Jesus took pity and healed, only to be shown gratitude by one—the 10% Club. Today, in Luke 17:20-25, we find the Pharisees questioning Jesus as to when the Kingdom of God will come. Jesus proclaims that the Second Coming of God’s Kingdom cannot be predicted; therefore we must remain vigilant in our faith. This vigilance requires a wholehearted love and trust in Jesus and the Saving Grace upon which He become Man, God Among Us! 


It is through faith (in thought, word, and deed) that we will have the wisdom, strength, and spiritual enthusiasm to live His Will in our daily lives. When Jesus responds to the Pharisees, “The Kingdom of God is among you”, He was surely addressing their blindness to the fact that He is God, present among them. Jesus spends time trying to explain to them about the “nature” of God’s coming, rather than the “timing”. It is important that we spend every waking moment preparing in anticipation of the Kingdom, which will only be revealed in full Gory in the Eternal Kingdom of Heaven. Until then, we are expected to “wait in joyful hope.” 


Imagine a small child at Christmas—the best time of year for a parent to get him or her to go to bed by 8:00—you have to be “good” when Santa gets here—you have to be asleep so he can leave gifts. In addition, we remember the kids song about being good “cuz Santa Claus is coming to town.” The same simplicity applies to the presence of God. We must prepare ourselves, every day, to be more worthy of living in His Glory when the time comes. 


Let us not worry about that moment, rather, worry about each moment leading to that day and the path we follow(ed) to get there. His hope and desire is that we see that the path we choose lead us to/in His Kingdom is the path He has forged through His willingness to become one of us, an example! 


Lord, may “Your Kingdom come and Your Will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven”: be the ruler of my heart and life so that I may live and give in You.

Paul B

The 10% Club. 

Today, in reading Luke 17-11-19, I find myself pondering my “membership” in this “club”. Here, we find Jesus traveling the borderlands of Samaria and Galilee where he comes across ten men suffering from leprosy. They called out to Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” He took pity on them in their faith, sending them to show themselves to the priests, cleansed. Upon realizing they had been cleansed and healed, ONE (10%) returned to praise the Jesus for bestowing God’s Healing Blessings upon him. 


As I thought about this, I immediately put it into perspective—10%! One in ten! Are we like that? In our prayer life, do we spend 10% of our prayers giving thanks for the (many) blessings in our lives, which leaves 90% in which we are asking for something more?  Surely, the fact that only one of the ten returned to recognize the source from which it came bothered Jesus. He asked, “Were not all ten made clean?”  And, he noted that this was a “foreigner”, a Samaritan—someone normally looked “down upon” by the Jews as unfaithful, unclean. Because of his faith AND gratitude, Jesus said, “Stand, and go on your way, your faith has saved you!”. 


It is that simple! We must have faith and gratitude—two very important elements of true humility—to receive the true Saving Grace of God! I continue to put this “10%” into perspective for my life’s actions: 10% of every dollar is one dime; $10 of every $100….. How do I share my material blessings with others?


In a perspective of time, let’s assume we are awake sixteen hours of the day. That is 112 hours per week. So, our “one hour of worship” each week comes up to .89% (less than 1%) of our waking time. If we were to give (just) 10%, that would be a whopping 1 hr. and 36 minutes per day in prayer, reflection, or “faith in action”. How do I fare in the 10% club? 


Lord, may I never fail to recognize Your Kindness and Mercy through the Blessings You have given in kindness and mercy. Help me to count my blessings more than my needs and praise You!

Paul B

Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.

How has the grace of God appeared in our lives recently? Last week? Yesterday? Today?

If we have the breath and life in us now, we have much of His grace to be thankful for as we are near, if not in, His graces now. With His grace, we learn to reject what is evil and hold on to what is good. Yes, that is scriptural practice. We are reminded of it throughout the bible, our lives and our faith. Yet we still fail to grasp it completely.


We still find ways to do it our own way. Even with its evil and wicked ways, we still find the darkness more attractive than the light. We see that the narrow path has its challenges and the wider, downhill path is so much easier to follow. Instead of the way of the cross, we choose too often be like dross… scum, lesser-rate, half-hearted believers. The more we live that way, the more our faith is diminished. With everything else staying the same, we find out that the less we put in, the less we get back… hence, the diminished return. Not such a good or practical way to live the Gospel message.


Integrity and character are founded on lives of faith and witness, where our behavior matches our word, in love and in commitment to what we believe. As the messenger, we carry the message of the Gospel but are not the identity of it-that is Christianity as what we should believe, as our aim, our goal. Jesus Christ is the identity of Christianity and we are so less than Him, so less than perfect, that it’s no small wonder those who don’t believe take so many shots at our sinful ways. With mercy and grace, we go on.


And with the abundant love God has for us how can we not keep an expectant attitude of faith? What is keeping us from practicing it with a wild ambition to do good? And with His ever-present love, how can we not strive to become God’s image and likeness?

Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.



Daily we sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him, as He draws us to life, to fullness of life in God. Today, in the revealed Word given to us through St. Luke, we listen with wonder as Jesus speaks. 


Sin inevitably is caused in human activity. Woe to the person however, who causes another to sin. Then, Jesus goes on in the strongest terms to indicate what should happen to one who leads another to sin. A millstone tied around the neck and thrown into the sea? Can we imagine stronger language to point out the terrible effects of sin? 


In Paul's letter to Titus, he indicates the qualities of a Bishop and in a positive light. Again, we see the call to living a holy life in Christ. Even beyond just the living a holy life, is the admonition to look to correcting others in the family of the Church when they are choosing to travel the path of sin. Yet importantly, Jesus speaks of mercy and forgiveness and as often as one seeks forgiveness, we are to forgive.


Perhaps today we may reflect on Jesus’ words by spending enough time quietly conversing with Him, especially after Holy Communion and beginning with our own need for forgiveness ask to grace to receive His forgiveness and begin our own quest for holiness with needed renewal.




Today I read John’s Gospel, 2:13-19. Here, two things occur. At the time of the Jewish Passover Jesus went to Jerusalem. What He found was people bartering in the Temple: the “money changers” were boldly conducting worldly business in God’s Temple. To make His point he took a cord whip and drove them from the temple because of this blatant disrespect for His Father’s house!  Upon this action, Jesus was questioned by the Jews—on what authority can You clear the temple in this manner?  Not only did they NOT recognize Jesus as God’s Son, they clearly had lost sight of “simple reverence” for the House and Ways of God! 


Jesus’ response, though, was a prophecy of His own suffering, death, and resurrection when He said, “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up!” Secondly, in this passage, we see one of the few times Jesus is angry, and with good reason. The “money changers” had belittled and reduced the House of God to a market—there was no reverence or respect for the worship of God in this space. Here, Jesus took the opportunity to (try to) deliver a message about His pending sacrifice for the world—His passion, death, and resurrection to Eternal Life. 


The reminder we must take from John 2:13-19 is the importance of treasuring what belongs to God! Our bodies are “Temples of the Holy Spirit”! They, in turn, become the “collection of bodies” that we call our Churches. As Christians, we believe, first, that WE are the Church. The extension of respect, then, logically goes to having a respect for all we have and do, including our physical places of worship, because they come from God! A great reminder to regularly inspect our Church’s foundation comes in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11: ”Everyone must be careful how he builds.  No one can lay a foundation other than the one that has been laid, namely Jesus Christ.” 


Lord, may we all see that You have opened, wide, the door of Your Father’s House and Kingdom. May our words and deeds follow Your bid that we respect all He has given us!

Paul B



Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? A trinity of questions to give us some perspective as we listen to the Word of God. 


We talk the talk so easily. We profess belief in God, we join the club and call ourselves Catholic and we do all the acceptable things we know will give us a sense of belonging. Belonging to a particular group that too often adopts  unwritten rules that even keep out undesirables. As we listen to the WORD, and reflect on what Jesus is saying, what the  Apostles announce, perhaps we begin to get a sense of the truth and of our own weakness and  sinfulness.  Yet, we rejoice in the God who loves us who sent His Son to die for us. And then we begin to give ourselves in unity with the sufferings of Christ that we might also share in the glory of His resurrection.


Today the question looms large:  who do you serve? What motivates your life throughout? Is the motivation to seek to know God's will in all the actions of each day?


Those who seek success and are disciplined in their quest devote most of their energies to serving self or those who can reward their actions. We who profess to love God, who are baptized into the life of Christ, are we on fire for the Gospel and are our energies spent in seeking to know and do God's will?  Do I strive to grow in faith, Hope, Charity and humility so that I may give glory to God in all things? 


May our merciful Father grant us all the graces we need to walk the path of holiness.




As members of “the world”, we become “well-versed” in the ways of our human condition. To maintain a certain lifestyle we have figured out how to become successful and make sure that we have the best things in this life.


In Luke 16:1-10 we find Jesus highlighting this fact: that people of this generation—this world—have figured out how to be shrewd and get what they need to be successful in this life. I have always struggled with this passage because, at the end of the parable, the master of the steward praises the steward’s earthly shrewdness, even though it appears that he is focusing more on his earthly status than his eternal, spiritual state.  Jesus’ point, though, is this:  if we apply (at least) the same perseverance and dedication to our spiritual life, as we do our material status then our eternal rewards will be even greater! The question, in reading about this steward, who was “marking up” his master’s debts and then keeping the extra, becomes, “What is distracting our focus on our long-term spiritual disposition, instead, focusing ‘here and now’? 


The “voices of the world” call at us in every waking moment! The voice of God must take precedence over these voices. Jesus, in his life and ministry, does not deny that we have human needs. Rather, He calls us to make use of the gifts we have been given to meet the needs of all, not just ourselves. How do we use of the “goods” our Master has given us? Let us focus on what the steward did to receive the master’s praise: the steward, once recognizing the Master’s displeasure, ended his “usury” tactics, thus making both he and the master look good and, at the same time, helping the debtors. Simply put, he “changed his ways” in a manner that served the master and others. 


Lord, before it is “too late”, may I heed Your Word which makes clear to me the eternal results my actions will bring:  eternal life with You, if I but “mend my ways” and “tend Your Ways”. May I love you freely, with all I possess, and use my skills to be a wise, faithful steward to You now and, in turn, forever!

Paul B



Each day whether we can be present at the celebration of Eucharist or not, we can treat ourselves to the Church's offering of the Word of God.  There are so many ways we can avail ourselves of the daily selections of the Scripture and reflect on what God is saying to His people. 


Each day we can devote a few moments to sitting at the feet of Jesus and making time to express our love by being immersed in His words. "Getting to know Him, getting to know all about Him" the song says. Today we listen carefully as He points out how concerned God is for all, especially those who are lost in sin. Imagine leave the ninety-nine to find one who is lost. 


God is searching for you, for me. Can you hear Him call your name? Will you respond by using all your gifts and talents as God intends to build up the body of Christ? To do the will of God in order to bring the Kingdom to its fullness?


We can be so caught up in ego-driven wants that God is not even on our radar. We go about trying to achieve all that will fulfill our wants, our thoughtless desires, never giving a thought to all that God has given us.  On waking, pause a moment and listen to and be attentive to your breathing.  Who gives us breath itself? As the new day begins can we at least give thanks and praise to the creator, the sustainer of life. 


Today can I make the concerted effort to see God's action in all the events of the day, the moment by moment events that are replete with the presence of a loving God? Throughout this day may there be many pauses, where I converse with God.




Jesus often uses strong language to grab our attention. In Luke 14:25-33 we find Him saying we must “hate” our families and even ourselves if we are to follow Him. As we know from our life’s experience in the Word, “hate” is not Jesus’ intended outcome in anything. We must understand the context in which this word is used—Since God is Love, we must understand that the expression “hate” is intended to mean that we must “prefer less” these things to God. His point in using strong language is to drive home that NOTHING should take precedence over God. 


He made us in His image and has placed us first over all things of this world (Gen 1:26). Therefore, our love for Him must be an appropriate response to his love for us. Jesus’ point in this passage is that true love is costly in the sense that it is a willing sacrifice for the sake of the one you love. Case in point: God’s Sacrifice on the Cross in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ! Jesus goes on to say that we must take up our crosses, daily, to follow His Ways of Love. To do so not only requires the sacrifice highlighted in his stark language, but it requires intentional planning! He uses the example of a person desiring to build a tower. Such a person would first, sit down and plan the design and the cost to ensure it will stand and that he has enough resources to build it. 


Such is the same with planning and laying the foundation for our Eternal Relationship with God. We must INTENTIONALLY serve Him and make plans to serve Him in all we think, say, and do. We have heard of “sins of omission” - those things we fail to say or do. Also, we have heard the phrase, “think before you speak (or act)”. Both of these examples highlight the INTENT upon which we must focus all of our being upon God, first. If we make God an “afterthought”, we are not being grabbed by the intention of His strong language—we are not “preferring Him” over all things of our earthly life. 


Lord, may Your love and sacrifice be the center of my desires so that you are always first in my thoughts, words, and deeds.

Paul B



In the parable of the “great feast”, Luke 14:16-24, Jesus reminds us that we are to share in and of God’s blessings that are laid out for us daily. This is very similar to the wedding feast parable in Matthew 22:1-10. In each instance, a celebration has been prepared, yet too many are “too busy” to attend. And in both we learn that God will not impose His “invitation” upon us, though it is always open, if we simply commit and accept! 


The invitation to His Great Feast is His call to be one with Him in His love on this earth and, in turn, throughout eternity. In today’s parable, the master sent out servants to announce that the great banquet has been duly prepared and the time to enjoy the feast is upon them. What the servant found is that the invited began to make excuses and begging off attendance. The master then told the servant that the feast must not go to waste and gave him the directive to round up the poor, crippled, blind, and lame to fill the banquet hall. These, who are viewed as the unfortunate, will become the honored guests. 


The master continued to push his servants to find those willing and in need to fill the house! So it is with God’s Kingdom. Shall we say “yes” to live God’s deeper love with Him, serving Him through commitment in sharing the feast with all—He has given us what we have? All He asks is that we commit ourselves to Him and join in the banquet of life, here on earth, so as to fully enter His house on the day of the great feast!


How are we preparing? When we prepare to go to the “prom”, to that college function or fundraiser, a “first date”, or to our work-social gatherings, recall what we spend time preparing. We wash up and comb our hair, we wear nice clothes and we make slightly “nicer” preparations of ourselves. How much preparation do we make of ourselves for God’s feast? Do we spend time in prayer, preparing our mind, heart and soul for what He has called us to do? 


Lord, you withhold nothing from us and share only Your Love.  Help me to answer your call to be prepared to accept the Invitation to Your banquet of Love.

Paul B



As we begin the month of November, there are reminders of the unity we are to experience in the Church. All Saints Day and All Souls Day are celebrations of the Communion of all those who, through the ages, have given their lives to God. 


The scripture readings for the day are also a reminder of unity and seeking to do God's will. Paul reminds us to be of one mind. The psalmist calls us to meet God in prayer and Jesus in the Gospel exhorts us to share our blessings with those who may be less fortunate. We are not to seek only to ingratiate ourselves with those who have a sufficiency to repay us, but rather to share with those who may not be able to repay us. Rather our sincere desire is to serve others out of  love for God, and to live to give God the Glory.


The cornerstone of Sacred Heart Church is emblazoned with the letters:

A M D G: Ad Majorem Dei GloriamTo the greater glory of God

In all that we do let us give God the Glory. What is it we have that we have not received from Him? Life itself is from God. He is Our Father who longs for our return to love.




John 6:37-40:

Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” 


Physical death will claim each of us at the “appointed time”, but God gives us each something which cannot be touched by this death if we but follow His Ways and proclaim His Son, Jesus Christ. If we choose this in our hearts, minds and souls, we will be chosen as His Faithful and taken under His Eternal Protection and Care (Read Revelations 12:1-17). Therefore, we must ask ourselves, “Is our hope in the things of our present life? Or, do we look forward to the life to come after our physical passing?” 


One of the greatest Old Testament examples of “looking ahead” to the eternal life, though this earthly life may bring suffering is Job! In the midst of great suffering, Job did not waver in his trust that, in the end, he shall see God who will be standing with Him. (Job 19 25-27). David, in Psalm16:9-11, sings of gladness of heart, joyful tongue and rest in soul because God will not abandon him to death. Rather, he will be filled with eternal pleasure at the hand of God. 


In the New Testament, Jesus affirms this in John 6:40 when He tells us that whoever sees and believes in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, shall be raised by God on the last day. 


Lord, by Your Cross and Resurrection you have offered redemption to the world, as has been promised and believed by the faithful from the beginning. Give me firm and unwavering faith and hope to see, seek, and find You in my life and to allow others to see You in my daily actions.

Paul B


The call to God’s Holiness in this life and the next can be found in Matthew 2:12—The Beatitudes. There are several definitions of this word, when looking up Latin translations, but all include references to happiness, blessedness or bliss. So in pondering the eight attributes of today’s reading, we see that Jesus sums up the call of our life’s mission—our vocation—to live a happy, blissful life, filled with His blessings. 


How do we do this? God promises to give us everything we need to live in true happiness, if we but seek Him and see Him in the way we choose to live. The beatitudes are central to Christ’s teaching and example because they highlight our natural desire for happiness that God has placed in the heart of man. They teach us the final end to which God calls us: His Kingdom and what it takes to enter it in His triumphant Glory. The Beatitudes point to a contradictory way when compared to the ever-increasing materialistic worldview. 


Through following God’s call, verse twelve tells us that we are promised a “great reward” in the Kingdom of Heaven! We shall be blessed with this eternal reward if we but live out the truths He has shared. As stated, this is not easy in the world of the “human condition”. But it is not impossible if we choose to put on the heart and mind of Christ, as outlined in this Gospel.  


We must ask ourselves what is hindering us from these things? Am I humble? Do I accept moments of sorrow and sadness knowing that God will prevail? Do I seek right over wrong? Do I show others mercy? Do I act with pure motives? Do I seek peace and reconciliation with those around me? Am I a “victim”, always worrying about “why me”? Or, do I worry too much about “poor me” when others don’t act the way I want? 


Lord, increase my hunger and thirst for you and lead me to everlasting peace and happiness. May I ponder these 8 things above all else and find Your Joy in each day!

Paul B