Are you prepared for a guest to drop-in?

November 29th, 2010 by admin

We tend to be a reactive society. We think about how we can become more valuable contributors at work after we’ve lost our job. We start our exercise routine or quit smoking after the heart attack or diabetes diagnosis. A very good friend of mine installed a new security alarm two weeks ago –  a few days after his 16-year old daughter returned home from school to a home with a burglar still inside. Although his daughter was not harmed, she is now petrified of going home when no one is there and his wife’s entire jewelry collection was stolen.

Why do we wait for something bad to happen before we decide to act?

This weekend celebrates the first Sunday of Advent.  I always thought of advent as a time of preparation to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  It is, but it’s also considered a time of preparation for Christ’s return and for the end of our time on earth (yes, you and I will eventually die!) Advent causes us to ponder questions like, “Am I ready for Christ’s return today?”  and “If I were to die today, would I be ready for my meeting with Jesus to review how I’ve spent my precious time on this planet?” With that in mind, each of the readings have to do with hope, looking forward, staying awake, being prepared and walking in the light of the Lord – t-o-d-a-y!

In the reading from Isaiah (2:1-5),  he is offering hope to a nation that was petrified of being attacked by the Assyrians. Rather than being worried about war, Isaiah offered the people a vision for Judah and Jerusalem that didn’t include being attacked. Instead Judah and Jerusalem would become a destination site for people of other nations.  People will come in peace, without their swords and spears, and say, “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.”

Isaiah offered the people of Judah hope in a time of uncertainty and war. We’re offered that same gift today in these readings. Isaiah says that the people of Judah must remain faithful to their covenant with God not only to survive, but they’re also being called to be examples to other nations of how to “walk in the light of the Lord.”  You and I are called to be examples too. Are you and I people who walk in the light of the Lord?  Is Christ’s light visible in you?

Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 13:11-14) was written at a time (about AD 58) when Paul expected Jesus to return to earth while he was still alive.  Although the reading is quite short, Paul is sending a loud and clear wake-up call to the Romans, “You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.”  I wonder if the Romans thought that they were sleep-walking through life?  Is it possible that you and I are walking through life asleep (or half-awake?) Today is our personal wake-up call.

Paul now tells us exactly what we need to do in order to wake-up: “Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Do you and I awaken each morning and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” as we would slacks or a sweater?  Is “putting on Jesus” part of our daily routine? If not, in what ways could you intentionally wear Jesus on a daily basis?

Paul describes the Romans’ darkness (non Christ-like behavior) with words like orgies, drunkenness, promiscuity, lust, rivalry and jealousy. Did you ever notice how we tend to act differently depending on what clothes we’re wearing?  Think of how your posture and language change when you take off dirty old sweat pants and put on your best suit.  I literally feel like a different person when I change my clothes. Paul is asking us to deliberately become different people – Christ-like.  Are we being asked to behave in a way that will allow us to be prepared for Christ’s return at any second of any day?  Yes.

Matthew’s Gospel (24:37-44)  continues with the themes of staying awake and being prepared. At that time, the people were looking for security and his disciples asked the question, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” Like all of us, they were seeking security. They wanted to know when it was happening so that they’d had time to prepare. Jesus wants us to be ready for his visit at all times and tells them, “Be sure of this; if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.”  My friend Vinnie would have installed his house alarm three weeks ago had he known the exact day and time that the home he’s lived in for twenty plus years would be broken into.

“So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”  While many people are focusing on parties, presents and trees (things of this world), you and I have about four weeks to contemplate our readiness to meet Jesus.  As we attend parties during this holiday season, we can make sure that we’re always wearing the “armor of light.”

If Jesus chose today as the day of his return, would you feel prepared to greet him? Would you feel that your house was in order? If not, what do you need to do to get ready?  Now is the time. Use your time wisely.

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Jesus Christ The King

November 22nd, 2010 by admin

On this weekend’s feast of Jesus Christ the King, we hear and learn from three different and wonderful readings. The first reading from Samuel (2 Samuel 5:1-3) talks about Jesus’ royal ancestor King David. In this short passage, David is appointed king of Israel by the elders of all the tribes of Israel. Although David became Israel’s greatest king, he was human like us and therefore imperfect. We’re reminded that God’s will can be accomplished through David and each of us – despite our imperfection. Reminders like this fill me with hope in today and the future.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Colossians 1:12-20) he is filled with joy and thanks. Paul thanks God the father for Jesus who “has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light” and “is the image of the invisible God.” Because of Jesus, you and I will be “transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” God, who up until this point has never been seen by humans has made himself visible in human form as Jesus.

What a gift God gave to us. He loved us so much that he sent us himself in the form of a human. Jesus told us first hand about his Father, his Father’s love for each of us and how to develop and maintain a relationship with God. We learned that by making a place for Jesus in the temple of our earthly body, we invite the divinity of Christ to live and dwell within us. You and I become walking, talking extensions of Jesus’ love each and every day and share that gift with everyone around us.

In this same passage the words “all things” are repeated five times as a reminder that everything comes from God.

For in him:

• were created all things in heaven and on earth

all things were created through him and for him

all things hold together

• we know that in all things he himself might be preeminent

• all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him

In summary, all of creation and salvation come from God through Jesus.

In Luke’s Gospel (Luke 23:35-43), Jesus is hanging on the cross being sneered at by the leaders and rulers. This reading reminds us that we have faith in the only king who not only rules over people, but who rules over death. Through our faith in Jesus, we’re promised to rise from our death and live in the splendor of everlasting life with God. With that belief, how can we allow worry and fear to infiltrate our minds?

Throughout Jesus adult life we know that it was very common for him to spend time with society’s outcasts – tax collectors, lepers, adulterers, etc. In his final moments prior to his death and resurrection, he again spends time and shows solidarity with outcasts – criminals. One thief jeers and challenges Jesus by saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The second thief has received and accepted the gift of faith and says to Jesus, “We have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

To those tremendous words of faith uttered by the second thief Jesus responds, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Pray for God’s grace so that you may receive tremendous faith in Jesus and that you will be filled with the fullness of God’s love all the days of your life. Listen to Jesus’ soft voice whispering in your ear, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The Kingdom of God is within you

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Gossip and Work

November 15th, 2010 by admin

When I think of Christianity, I think of love, service and charity. I don’t always associate it with hard work. One of the many reasons to read and re-read scripture is to remind us of all that can be forgotten.

This week’s letter from Paul (2 Thessalonians 3:7-12) to the Thessalonians gives two very clear and strong messages to the early Christians. Is it good to be prayerful, alert and ready for Jesus’ return? Yes. Does that mean that we should stop working and hang around on the coach all day in sweatpants doing nothing while waiting for his return? Not according to Paul!

Paul asks the Thessalonians to imitate his strong work ethic and behavior. Although Paul could probably have expected to be fed by his followers, he works to support himself and tells the Thessalonians, “We instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.” Wow! Are we expected to love, assist and financially support people who are incapable of working and providing for themselves? Absolutely. Should we expect people who are mentally and physically capable of working to perform some type of work in exchange for assistance with their food and shelter? Paul says, YES!

In the same relatively short letter, Paul also touches on the topic of gossip and being busybodies. Paul eloquently says, “We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.”

Let’s review what was going on a little more than 2000 years ago my fellow Christians:

1. Some early Christians were not working to support themselves.

2. They were expecting others to pay their way through life.

3. Because they were sitting around with nothing better to do, they were sticking their noses into other people’s business.

Does that scenario sound more like 2000 years ago or November of 2010?

Paul’s very old advice will serve us equally well today: “Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food.”

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Faith and Resurrection

November 13th, 2010 by admin

This week we focus on faith and resurrection in all three readings. In the first reading (2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14) seven brothers and a mother are willingly tortured after being arrested rather than violate God’s law (eating pork.) Can you imagine risking your life over the ingestion of a particular food? These people willingly accepted brutal sufferings and death because of their strong faith and belief that they will “live again forever.”

May our faith be as strong as theirs.

The second reading (2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5) has a very different tone. In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he’s writing to encourage the early Christians to remain faithful and to ask them for their prayers.

The Thessalonians had expected Christ’s second coming during their lifetime. They had to huddle together, remain strong and figure out how to remain faithful to Christ’s word as their disappointment increased with each passing day. Earlier this week I was waiting for a loved one to return home who was only 60 minutes later than I expected and I was worried and impatient.  Can you imagine what it must’ve been like for the early Christians waiting for the return of Jesus?

Having never physically met Jesus or heard him speak, is it more difficult for us to remain faithful than it was for the early Christians or do you feel like you really know him from studying and living his Words?

Paul is asking the Thessalonians to pray “that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith.”  Paul compliments them on their acceptance of Christ’s Word and reinforces his belief in them by reminding them that, “the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”

When we keep Christ in our mind, heart and soul we are protected from any and all outside evil influences.  Faith in Christ and belief in our resurrection upon the death of our earthly body keeps us focused on our ultimate goal. This is the foundation from which each of our thoughts, words and actions originates.

In Luke’s gospel (Luke 20:27-38), the religious leaders were constantly  questioning Jesus and trying to set traps to see if they could catch him and prove him wrong. Do you remember trying to do that with a parent, teacher or coach?  The Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, contrived a question based around a woman who marries each of seven brothers and unsuccessfully tries to conceive children with each. They pose this question to Jesus: “Now at the resurrection (which we do not believe in!) whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.”

I can hear the Sadducees thinking to themselves, “Gotcha!  There’s no way you can get out of this one!”

Because the Sadducees had used scripture when describing the scenario to Jesus, He decides to use scripture in his response to them.

“That the dead will rise

even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,

when he called out ‘Lord,’

the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;

and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,

for to him all are alive.”

God is the God of the living and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still alive!

There is life after the death of our earthly bodies We have received salvation because of Christ’s faithfulness to us.  Our responsibility now is to remain faithful to God and believe in his Word and promises. You and I will never die if we live in Christ.

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Love for Everyone and Every Thing

November 1st, 2010 by admin

In this week’s reading from Wisdom (11:22-12:2) we hear many wonderful things about God. I especially like this line describing God: “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. In today’s, language we might say, “it’s all good!”

John Welshons has written extensively on many subjects including the subjects of grieving and death. On the topic of anger which often arises whenever there is loss of any kind, John writes, “But in point of fact, at some level, whenever we are angry about anything, we are really angry at God. We are really saying, ‘If I were God, I wouldn’t have put me in this situation.’” He goes on to say, “It’s all part of assuming that the Universe is filled with mistakes. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a perfection to it all.” John’s teaching aligns beautifully with the quotation from Wisdom. There is a perfection to it all because God has created it all!

In this week’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-10), we hear about a wealthy man and chief tax collector named Zacchaeus. In those times, tax collectors were considered to be especially dreadful people because they had gone to work for the Romans and were collecting taxes that would in no way benefit the local community. In addition, tax collectors were also known to pocket some of the collected taxes for themselves prior to making the payment to Rome.

Zacchaeus so wanted to see this man Jesus that when he heard that Jesus was coming his way, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus he called to him, “Come down quickly for today I must stay at your house.” Jesus wants to stay at the home of the chief tax collector??? What do you think the crowd thought of Jesus’ asking the chief tax collector to be his host? The people grumbled, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” Don’t you love the way they (and we judge) people? As if you and I do not sin or that Zacchaeus’ sins are worse than yours or mine!

Jesus loved everyone – including sinners – and we’re asked to do the same thing.

The other message that I received today is that if Jesus loved Zacchaeus and was willing to stay at his house, I’m very confident that you and I are worthy of Jesus’ love – despite our sins.

Zacchaeus, like all sinners, was used to being rejected by people and he was immediately accepted and embraced by Jesus. Have you ever felt unconditional love from someone? Have you ever given it to anyone? Upon feeling Jesus’ love, Zacchaeus was instantly transformed. He immediately said to Jesus, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” Jesus never asked Zacchaeus to do this. Was it Jesus’ love that inspired him to be so generous?

We know that Jesus loved the sinful Zacchaeus because he says, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Zacchaeus was seeking Jesus. I wonder if Zacchaeus thought that he was lost or didn’t realize it until feeling Jesus’ tremendous love?

Are you feeling a little lost? Do you ever feel like something is missing from your life? Jesus is still seeking us with His unconditional Love and will invite us home whenever we’re ready. Like Zacchaeus, we might have to give up some parts of our life in order to make room for Jesus. When we receive Jesus’ love, we might also be overwhelmed and filled with tremendous generosity and gratitude!

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Humility is Good!

October 25th, 2010 by admin

Last week we talked about the importance of persistent prayer.  This week’s readings help us with creating the proper attitude for life and for prayer – humility.

In the reading from Sirach (34:12-14, 16-18), there is beautifully comforting language to ease our minds and souls. “The Lord is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.”  In a world that seems to show partiality to the rich, beautiful and popular, we can take comfort in knowing that God sees us as equals. You and I are always valuable in God’s eyes.

For those of us who sometimes question whether or not our prayers are heard, we’re told that, “the prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay.”  Yes, God listens to our prayers. Yes, we receive a response. We may not always like the response we receive, but we will get a response. When talking and praying to God, we’re seeking higher counsel.  Isn’t it a good thing when we receive what’s best for us even when it’s different from what we were seeking?

Paul’s letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18) gives us the language of an athlete to have us feel confident in our faith.  Paul writes to Timothy that, “I have competed well; I have finished the race: I have kept the faith.”  Paul knows that he’s approaching his death and feels like a runner who know that she gave it all for 26.2 miles.  What a great feeling it is to go through life knowing that you’ve always done your best. We are not perfect, but we lived life as well as we could in constant communication with God.

Paul goes on to say that, “From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.”  Again, the athlete is ready to receive the crown of righteousness (the laurel wreath awarded to athletes) after running the faith-filled raced called life.  And he tells us that we can do the same exact thing! Let God’s Word live in your heart and let it be on your lips. Stay connected to God every day with prayer. Be an active member of the Body of Christ in each encounter with others on a daily basis as you serve others with your gifts.

Have you longed for his appearance? Prayer, meditation and scripture reading are ways to unite with God and invite God into you life each and every day.

For those of us who are living fear-based lives, Paul closes out today’s reading with an uplifting prayer of hope, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.”  With that belief running our lives, what can we possibly be afraid of? That line is exactly why our faith overcomes fear.

Our instruction on prayer is continued in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 18:9-14) when he instructs us to pray with humility in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

Many of us are like the Pharisee in this parable in that we think that we’re leading pretty good Christian lives.  The Pharisee prays, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity–greedy, dishonest, adulterous– or even like this tax collector.”  Instead of admitting his sins and imperfection and humbly asking for God’s help, he compares himself with others and really likes what he sees.

The Pharisee goes on to fill-God-in on what a great person he is, “I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.”  See how great I am God!  Look at how wonderful I am!  For those of us who pray, fast and tithe, we might see our reflection in the words of the Pharisee.

The tax collector sets the example of humility by praying, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”  He has the faith and humility to know that he can be forgiven for his very real sins. He knows that he is far from perfect and is dependent upon God for the strength to persevere and the power to improve.

So what’s the message from Luke? Pray, fast, tithe, serve and remain humble. Remember that Salvation is God’s free gift to us.

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Let’s choose humility.

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Pray, Proclaim and Persist

October 17th, 2010 by admin
Saint Paul’s letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:14-4:2) is truly inspiring! In his letter, Paul is encouraging Timothy to remain faithful to what he’s learned in the sacred scriptures. Paul tells us that,

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Daily reading of the scriptures helps us to remain familiar with God’s teachings so that we can be completely prepared to serve and assist others in being fully engaged members of the Body of Christ on earth.

Paul also charges each of us to “proclaim the word with persistence whether it is convenient or inconvenient.”

I think that one of the best ways that we can proclaim the word is to live each moment of our life as walking, talking examples of Christ-like living – at home and at work. The world will know that we are Christians by our love for one another!

In Luke’s Gospel (Luke 18:1-8) Jesus tells his disciples a parable on the necessity of frequent and persistent prayer. In the parable, Jesus uses an unsympathetic judge who has no choice but to respect the wishes of a widow who is relentless in her quest for justice.

If an unjust judge is capable of responding justly to the widow, our faith tells us that our fair and loving God is always listening with a compassionate ear to our prayers. Jesus is asking us to not just pray, but to be persistent with our prayers.. He wants us to pray for our earthly concerns and to stay especially focused on our heavenly pursuits.

Prayer is our continuous lifeline to God. We can endeavor to live every aspect of our faith-filled life connected to God by praying for guidance and strength in every aspect of our day – work, family, exercise, health, interaction with others, etc.

God is always reliably listening to our prayers, but Jesus questions how many of us will be as faithful by asking, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Let today’s readings be a loud and clear call for each of us to remain united with God mentally, spiritually and physically.

God, please make me an instrument of your peace and assist me in remaining faithfully connected to you throughout this day and for every day of my life on earth.

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Remembering Gratitude

October 12th, 2010 by admin

In this week’s first reading from the second Book of Kings (2 Kings 5:14-17), Naaman, an army commander for a foreign king is miraculously healed from his leprosy after being advised by Elisha to “plunge into the Jordan seven times.” As a result of being healed of his leprosy, Naaman shows tremendous gratitude to Elisha and professes his conversion of faith. Naaman proclaims his conversion of heart by telling Elisha, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”

It took a physical miracle for Naaman to believe in the God of Israel. Do you and I believe based upon our faith or are we looking for physical miracles before we believe?

Paul (2 Timothy 2:8-13) tells us of his willingness to suffer like a criminal so that he can continue to remind us of his gospel. He says, “Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David.”  Even shortly after Jesus’ resurrection he still had to devote his life to remind the early believers of what had happened.

Why does Paul do this?  So that each of us can “obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus” and join Paul to be “together with eternal glory.”   Paul goes on to say:

If we have died with him

we shall also live with him;

if we persevere

we shall also reign with him.

But if we deny him

he will deny us.

If we are unfaithful

he remains faithful,

for he cannot deny himself.

The scripture that says, “To whom much is given, much is expected” means many things. For those of us who have received Jesus’ message about how to love and serve God and each other, we’re expected to live that way. We’re no longer living in blindness. We’ve received  light and life directly from God’s only Son.  We also know that Jesus died to atone for the sins that were committed in the past and that we’re still committing today. We’re to connect with Jesus as he instructed.  He is the vine and we are the branches.  He is our source of life and salvation. When disconnected from the vine, we’re separated from our source of life.  As Paul said above, “But if we deny him he will deny us.” Why would we deny him when we know how good he is and how strong and good we can be when connected to him?

Luke’s gospel instructs us and reminds us about gratitude. In this passage (Luke 17: 11-19), Jesus cures 10 lepers from their disease.  Unlike Naaman, these 10 lepers believed in Jesus. They were specifically asking Jesus for assistance by calling out, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”  Once Jesus cures all 10 from their leprosy, nine of them kept on walking away and only one of them returned to Jesus to say “thank you.”

At the heart of Christianity is the belief that Jesus suffered and died for each of us. Through him we’ve received the gift of salvation.  How often do we say “thank you” for this gift? Are we like the Samaritan who returns to fall at the feet of Jesus in gratitude or are we more like the other nine lepers who’ve received a miraculous gift and failed to acknowledge it?

Jesus tells the Samaritan who returned in gratitude, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”  All ten received the cure from their leprosy.  Nine lepers failed to show gratitude and were not assured of the profound healing he promised the Samaritan: salvation.

Stay connected to Jesus the source of our life and salvation on a daily basis in grateful service to others, in prayer and in meditation on how to faithfully live God’s love.

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Keeping Faith Alive

October 4th, 2010 by admin

If you could use some words to assist you in reviving or rekindling your faith, this week’s readings are a great place to start.

Books like The Secret  and The Law of Attraction have promoted the use of affirmations in order to manifest our goals. According to God, the identical process works with our long-term heavenly goal. In the reading from the Book of the Prophet Habakkuk (1:2-3;2:2-4), God responds to Habakkuk’s cry for help when his faith is weakening with the following response: “Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.” Like many of us today, Habakkuk is challenging God because he can’t understand why there is so much violence and misery in the world and why God just seems to allow all of this suffering.

God asks Habakkuk to write down the vision of the promise of deliverance because even several thousands of years ago, it was believed that putting beliefs into writing helped them to manifest.  The first step is to put beliefs into writing. The second step is to affirm them daily.  I utilize this practice every day. When reading scripture, I’ll write down specific verses on 3 X 5 index cards so that I can easily repeat them several times a day until they’re committed to memory. This practice allows me to solidify God’s words deeply into the recesses of my mind and soul.

In Paul’s Letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14), he’s reminding Timothy and each of us to “stir into flame” the faith that we’ve embraced.  Faith is like every other discipline in that it’s a “use it or lose it” proposition. It’s one thing to profess Christianity. It’s another thing to live it in action and to internalize the words that Jesus left with us.  Paul reminds us that the power of the Holy Spirit within us is not a “spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. It’s this daily building up of our faith which gives us the strength to persevere through each of life’s challenges and obstacles. Exercising our faith  muscles is a daily practice.

Are you fully embracing all of the Holy Spirit’s power, love and self-control?

Luke’s gospel (Luke 17:5-10) gives Jesus’ response to the apostles’ request to “increase our faith”: “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”  Do you believe Jesus?  What would happen if we really believed that with the power of faith and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us that nothing is impossible?

Jesus goes on to tell the apostles that faith also comes with the responsibility to not just believe but to serve God and each other in action. Faith requires our willingness to love, forgive and repent.

Faith is a tremendous living gift from God. Once we’ve received this gift of life, it’s our responsibility to open it, work with it, nourish it and practice it on a daily basis to keep it fresh and healthy. Faith is the true source of everlasting life that dwells within.

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Opportunities to Be Christ Today

September 26th, 2010 by admin

This weekend’s readings get us focused on our opportunities each and every day to be Christ in our homes, neighborhoods and workplace. In Luke’s Gospel (16: 19-31), Jesus tells a parable to the pharisees of the rich man who is  clothed in fine garments who dines sumptuously every day. The rich man ignores the poor man – Lazarus –  who is lying at his door covered in sores.

Upon the rich man’s death he ended up in the netherworld. In the parable, Lazarus ended up in what appears to be heaven by the side of Abraham.

The rich man who is now on the other side – hot and hungry – asks Abraham to, “send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.”  Abraham responds by basically saying that you led the life of a rich fat cat on earth and ignored Lazarus and the poor who were in your presence each and every day.  You missed your opportunities  to enter the kingdom of God when you chose to deliberately ignore the needy who were in your presence. Lazarus on the other hand led a very difficult life on earth and is now living a comfortable life with me.

Even after being told by Abraham about his fate, the rich man shows tremendous compassion for others by begging Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers of what will happen if they continue leading selfish lives.  Abraham’s response is one that I’ve written down on a 3 X 5 card so that I can memorize the language, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

Remember, that it was Jesus who was telling this story and in the parable her was referring to Lazarus rising from the dead to return to earth.  Jesus did go on to die and rise from the dead and many of us today are not persuaded by his resurrection.

Jesus came to earth. He died to atone for every sin ever committed. He rose from the dead and lived among his disciples.

He gave us a commandment that is easy to remember and implement, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples.”

How would Jesus love Lazarus?

There is nothing wrong with money or being rich.  It’s when we’re selfish with our resources and ignore the sick and poor  when we’re off the target that Jesus has set for us.

Show love and compassion to everyone on earth today.  Live for ever in eternity with God.  That sounds like a great plan to me!

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