Monday June 30, 2008

First Reading: Amos 2:6-10, 13-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 50
Gospel: 8:18-22

Brothers and sisters, I apologize for taking the past few days off. I hope that your daily scripture readings and reflections went well.

My old football coach used to always say during practice, "If this were easy, everybody would be doing it." It is amazing that we as humans know that the real way to succeed and to earn something is through hard work and sacrifice (of course there are the rare exceptions to this rule). I learned from football that if I wanted to have a successful game on Friday night, I had to put in the work during the week. This has been an important attitude that I have carried with me ever since. Of course there are the times in my life that I have tried to cut corners and not put in the work, but this has never ended in me accomplishing my goal. In fact, this instant success approach never really got me anywhere, and it usually brought a slew of other problems with it. But the times that I did work hard and sacrifice, I usually accomplished my goal, and even if I didn't, I was still able to walk with my head up knowing that I did the right thing and worked hard.

In the gospel today, Jesus is teaching his disciples this same concept. He is telling his disciples that being a follower will not be easy. in fact not only will it not be easy, but no matter what you need to put Christ first. The one disciple asks to go and bury his father, Jesus tells him "Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead." Does this give you an idea of what should be top on our priority list? It sure does for me.

Not only do we need to make Christ the center of our lives and our number one priority, but it is going to be difficult. A life with Christ is not easy, and remember nothing worth working for is rarely easy. When we are having trouble staying on track or feel as though we are going to veer from the path, we need to keep our eyes on the prize - which is eternal life with God in Heaven! Is there anything worth working towards that is higher than that...I don't think so! Remember, our lives here on earth are a temporary residence, God has something so much bigger in store for you and me, but we cannot be tied down to these earthly things and troubles, we must follow Him, no matter where it leads and how hard it is.

Whenever you are going through something tough, what is it that you think of? Do you have a "my rotten luck" attitude or a "attitude of gratitude" through any situation? Have you ever thought of looking to the lives of the Saints who have suffered and given their lives freely for our faith? Do you pray for guidance, strength and fortitude from the Holy Spirit during times of pain and suffering?

Lord Jesus, you are the source of all that is good and right. Fill us with your spirit and show us how we can serve you this day. Lord give us the strength and courage to persevere in faith and to follow you no matter what. Lord Jesus we ask this all through your name as we pray, Amen.


Friday June 27, 2008

First Reading: 2 Kings 25:1-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 137
Gospel: Matthew 8:1-4

TGIF brothers and sisters, may the peace of the Lord be with you today!

Are you hurting? Do you suffer from something that causes so much pain in your life? Is there an emotional wound that you have not been able to get over or seemed to heal? I think we have all been there and are there now. There are things in our lives that we go through that seem so unbearable, and seem as though they will never end. We try a lot of quick fixes, a pill here and gadget there, but none of them really seem to bring us peace, or make the pain go away. so when we are hurting, how do we make the pain go away? How do we find joy in the midst of suffering?

The leper in today's gospel shows us how. "Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean." This is what the leper said to Jesus, that's it! He realized the healing power of Jesus and asked him to be healed. You know what is even more amazing about this are the leper's words. He says, "Lord, if you wish...", not only did he recognize the awesome healing power of Jesus (which many of us often seem to forget), but he also left it in the hands of Jesus, he did not demand or negotiate, he said lord if you want to heal me I know you can, but it is your choice. And how does Jesus respond to this request? He responds; "I will do it. Be made clean." No "I can", or "I should", or "If you insist", no he says "I will." Do you get the sense that God wants to be there to help us?

There are so many times in my life when I do not ask for God's help or guidance, usually because I think that I can handle it or that the problem or situation is too small. This is why I need reminders like this that say hey, no problem or situation is too big or too small for God, he wants to help, you just need to recognize and ask. I have personally experienced the healing power that Christ offers. I know that no matter how great the pain, he can and will heal it. I pray that we can all continue to give our pain and suffering to him. There is no medication or surgery in the world that can heal as Jesus does. Just remember, ask him, and "he will."

Is there something that you are going through either emotionally or physically that you need to pray about. How can we have the faith of the leper in today's gospel and totally trust in Christ and in his ways?

Father in heaven, we thank you and give you praise for your love and mercy. We ask that your will, not our own, to be done, and we pray for your guidance in all of our decisions no matter how big or small. We ask this all through your name as we pray, Amen.


Thursday June 26, 2008

First Reading: 2 Kings 24:8-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 79
Matthew 7:21-29

Brothers and Sisters, I pray that your day is off to a great start.

In today's gospel, we see the examples of a wise man and that of a fool. The wise man builds his house on a solid foundation of rock. Nothing can seem to bring that house down, it has a solid foundation. The fool built his house upon the sand, and it was easily destroyed as soon as any bad weather came. Now, I am no construction worker or anything, but it would seem pretty obvious to me that building your house upon sand is not just going to work (I have many ruined sand castles to prove it). Now naturally Jesus was not simply telling people good real estate tips, he was giving them an important life lesson. While looking at a person building something in the sand may seem obvious to us, it may not be so obvious to us when we are looking at our lives. Spending all your time at work, is that helping to build a solid foundation of faith? Is watching that rated R movie helping to bring you closer to God? Is sleeping in every Sunday instead of going to mass helping you become a better person? I am sure that we can come up with a list of things that may make us look more like the fool instead of the wise man, what is keeping you from being like the wise man?

Building our lives "on the sand" may bring temporary shelter and happiness, but it won't last. That is why we need to build a solid foundation on the life and teachings of Christ. What are you building your foundation on? Is you faith a solid foundation of rock or is it loose and unstable like the sand?

Father in heaven, we thank you and give you praise for your many blessings in our lives. We pray Lord that you will send us your spirit to reveal to us how we can have a solid foundation of faith in you. Lord, increase our faith, and guide to you light. We ask this all through your name. Amen.


Wednesday June 25, 2008

First Reading: 2 Kings 22:8-13, 23:1-3
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119
Gospel: Matthew 7:15-20

All praise and glory be to our Father above!

Two things really struck me from the readings today that I would like to share with you.

The first thing is in the second book of kings the last part of the reading says "And all the people stood as participants in the covenant." Hmmm...very interesting...it does not say that the people stood and watched the covenant take place, no the stood as participants! Our faith is not a "spectators sport" it is something that we need to participate in. I once heard a priest say that being catholic is not a noun or a nationality...it is a verb. At the last supper, Jesus said that "this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. (Luke 22:20)" What are you doing to be and active participant in the new covenant with Christ? How can you make sure that being Catholic isn't just a description, but it is what you do?

The other thing that really struck me was in the gospel Jesus talks about being wary of false prophets and "knowing a tree by its fruit." Are the people that you are following in your life leading you closer to God or farther away? I think that it is importation to look at our relationships and lifestyles and see who and what we are surrounding ourselves with. We know "good fruit" when we see it, that is the easy part. It is the letting go of our previous ways that is the difficult part. Are you looking at the things in your life everyday and asking "Is this leading me closer to God?" Once you recognize the "good and the bad fruit", what will you do to either increase the goodness or decrease the evil?

Father above, you know all things, and you know what we need. Send us your spirit to help us see the things that we need and that are of you. Help us to let go and cast away those things that are not of you and that do not lead us to you. Father in heaven, we ask this all through your name. Amen.


Monday June 23, 2008

First Reading: 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 60
Gospel: Matthew 7:1-5

I have always enjoyed today's gospel. In it Jesus says "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?" I always seem to get amusing mental images after reading it. I would always hope that if I have a wooden beam in my eye that someone would tell me. While this example may seem a little absurd, it is certainly a common practice in our lives. When it comes to judging others, it is far easier to notice any sort of fault or blemish that they may have. It is amazing to me that at times we may be doing everything in our lives wrong and not notice it or try to fix it, but we will make every effort to tell someone else how they are wrong or are not doing something correct.

Jesus gives us pretty clear instructions on how to deal with this, he simply says "remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye." As always a simple answer, not always an easy task. Before we can really look at someone else and try and help them, we must first look inside and make our selves vulnerable to Christ and ask him to help us change and heal. He is not saying that you must be perfect in order to help your brother or sister, but you must be able to see clearly.

Humbling moments and sacrifice can help us to see more clearly. Do you see moments of humility and moments that you are wrong as a curse or a blessing? How can you begin to take a more in depth look inside today to begin to get the "wooden beam" out of your eye?

Lord Jesus, we thank you now and always for the blessings in our lives. Give us wisdom and the strength to let go of our pride in order to see more clearly. May we go about our day working and serving for your glory. Lord we pray this day for all those who are hurting and go without knowing you. We ask this all in your name, Amen.


Sunday June 22, 2008

First Reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 69
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-15
Gospel: Matthew 10:26-33

Praise the Lord above for this beautiful Sunday he have given us!

How amazing is God? Sometimes I try and think about all the things that he has done for me and how he is working in my life, and it usually makes my head hurt because I am just completely amazed. I realize that my little brain cannot fully comprehend all that he is and all that he does and can do. In the gospel today, Jesus tells us how much we are worth and how much we mean to the Father. He even goes on to say "Even all the hairs on your head are counted." Wow, now that is a Father that really loves us! I think of how God knows everything, so he really doesn't need to count the hairs on our head, but I think that Jesus is saying that God has been and always will be active in our lives. He was active in creating us, he gave us each talents and strengths that we should use everyday to give him glory.

Do you have a talent or gift that the Lord has given that you could share with others? Do you have incredible patience, perhaps you should try volunteer coaching? Do you have the gift of a beautiful voice, perhaps you could join the choir? Perhaps you are a good listener, maybe you should volunteer at a nursing home. How are you using the gifts that God has given you? Not sure what your gifts are or the best way to serve him? Then ask him in prayer. After all he is the creator, he knows all about you, he even took the time to count all the hairs on your head.

Lord Jesus, we thank you and give you praise for the gifts of our lives. We ask that you reveal your plan for us and how we can best serve you. We pray for the strength and guidance as we go about this day. give us the courage to stand up for our faith and to proclaim the good news. Jesus, let us not deny you before others, but rather acknowledge you before others no matter what the circumstance. Heavenly Father, we thank you all that we have and all that we are, and we give you all the glory. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.


June 21, 2008

Reading 1
2 Chr 24:17-25
Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 89:4-5, 29-30, 31-32, 33-34
Matthew 6:24-34

In the Gospel Jesus says "No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other." I see a lot of people in life trying to "serve two masters." Whether that be money, objects, lifestyles, or other people; they are usually choosing something (sometimes many things) instead of choosing God. This comes from being devoted to earthly things more than heavenly things. I know that when I first felt the calling to follow Christ, I struggled for a while "trying to serve two masters." I really felt called to follow Christ and to serve him, but my partying lifestyle seemed pretty important to me as well. For a while, I thought that I could make these two worlds fit together, but I soon came to realize that this mixing of lifestyles was not working. If it is one thing that I have learned is that trying to serve two masters may work for a little bit, but eventually these two worlds clash, and an important choice must be made.

So what do we do when we are conflicted and we are not sure who to serve? I think that Jesus gives us the simplest answer (and at times one that can seem very hard) he says in verse 33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness..." I think that when we are conflicted about something, we should ask ourselves "are we seeking first what God wants for me, or am I seeking what I want and what this world tells me is right?"

We are faced with many difficult choices everyday, what will you do to ensure that you are seeking his kingdom first? How will you ensure the master that you serve is our heavenly Father?

Lord, we thank you and give you praise for all that we have and all that we are. You are good to us at all times and you always give us what we need. Lord we know that we are put on this earth to know you, love you, and to serve you. Strengthen us throughout our day, fill us with your spirit so that we might only seek your kingdom first. We ask this all through Jesus Christ as we pray. Amen.


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