Hometown Blues

Readings for Friday July 31, 2009

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, priest

First Reading: Leviticus 23:1,4-11,15-16,27,34-37
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 81
Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, "Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house." And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. (Matt 13:54-58)

I have to tell you, coming from personal experience, this passage has spoken out to me quite a bit. Now, I am not saying that I am a prophet who returned home to be rejected by his hometown, but I do know the feeling of having people look at you differently. I remember after my conversion, I began to act, talk and think differently differently (thanks be to God!). It confused my family and my friends quite a bit, they began saying things like "well who do you think you are?" or "you can't say that, you were the same way not long ago." It was very hard being around family and friends, because I did feel rejected because of my new beliefs, and to be honest it still is. It was once I read these words by Jesus that all of this began to make sense to me: "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house."

Now, I would be lying if I said that things are not hard anymore, because it still is difficult to be around family and friends, but at least now they are sure where I stand. I stand by Christ, not the world. And as difficult as it may make previous close relationships, I realize what my priorities need to be, Christ first. When dealing with the world, even those parts of the world that we are most connected to, we must always keep in mind our top priority. If we keep God at the center of our life and truly live out the virtues and the life that we are meant to, we may just find some of those naysayers coming around and experiencing their own conversion. We should never underestimate the powerful witness that our lives can be to others.

May we always remember that we are here on earth to please God, not other people.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are good and just and we trust in you with all that we are. Lord may our lives be the free-will offering that is pleasing to you and that helps us store up treasures in your kingdom. We pray for all those in need of conversion, and for all of those who are in need of a change of heart, may they be brought to your love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Being picked

Readings for Thursday July 30, 2009

First Reading: Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 84
Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53

"The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth." (Matt 13:47-50)

I don't know about you, but I still remember those embarrassing moments in gym class where I would be the last one picked for a game. I mean, really, how humiliating is that? Nobody likes being picked last, it seems as though nobody wants you at all on their team, or that you are the worst player in the class. However, something did dawn on me today, even though there were times when I was picked last, the fact is that I was still picked. An even worse scenario would have been someone saying that they don't want me at all. It would have been much worse to not have been picked and to not have been able to play the game that everyone else was playing. I guess when you put it in perspective, being picked last isn't such a bad thing after all.

Today we hear that the kingdom of heaven is like a net cast out that catches all types of fish. The good ones are kept, and the bad ones are thrown away. I can tell you with all certainty that when the day and time comes for Jesus to come back, I do not care if I am the last one picked or not, all I care about is being picked. I want to make it to heaven, that is where I want to spend the rest of eternity. But in order to do that, I must be willing to give up everything for Him in this world. I must pick up my cross and follow Him every moment where ever He leads me. I must make Him first in my life, and I must love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Only after dedicating my life to Him may I then be picked.

So when it comes to heaven, it doesn't matter what order we are picked in, it only matters that we are picked . . . much better than the alternative.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, help us to be all that you created us to be. Lord you are our God and we are your people, help us to follow you where ever you lead us to. We praise you Lord for all that we have and all that we are. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


He is everything

Readings for Wednesday July 29, 2009

Memorial of Saint Martha

First Reading: Exodus 34:29-35
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 99
Gospel: John 11:19-27

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” (John 11:23-27)

Today we honor and remember Saint Martha, that busy body who certainly came a long way since the last encounter that we know of with Jesus. Before she was so concerned about working and serving (see Luke 10:38-42) that she did not stop to take time to be with Jesus and listen to Him. She certainly learned her lesson from there, but in today's gospel Martha is hit with another lesson.

In the midst of her mourning, Martha who hears that Jesus is coming forgets about everything and rushes to Him. She tells Him that if He had been there her brother would still be living, but even after still submits to God's will. Jesus goes on the tell her that her brother will live, of course Martha's response is to say "oh yes, yes, I understand about the whole resurrection thing, I know he will live after that." This is the point at which Jesus lays another lesson down on her, He says; "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me me will never die." Jesus tells her that that He is everything, life and resurrection, and it is our belief in Him that will give us the everlasting life that we seek.

Jesus finally asks Martha, "Do you believe this?" He is here asking us the same question, do we believe this? If we truly do, do we say this to Him, do we live our lives in a way that says we believe in the life given by our Lord? From there on out, Martha believed in the life that Jesus gave and continues to offer to us, let us take her example and believe in our hearts in the power and the everlasting life that Jesus wants to give to us.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, increase our faith and help our unbelief. Jesus, we know that you came into this world to give us new life, freeing us from the bondage of sin, you offer us love and mercy even though we are not worthy. Lord, you are good all the time, help us to live the good life that you plan for us. We pray for all those who are tied down by the things of this world, help them to be set free by your truth. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Tuesday July 28, 2009

First Reading: Exodus 33:7-11,34:5-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 103
Gospel: Matthew 13:31-35

Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. (Matt 13:36-37)

I am always amazed at the curiosity of children, they seem to never stop asking questions. They are just so curious about the world and how things work, they are always looking for answers and explanations. It seems as parents and role models of children that we have our work cut out for us in having to constantly come up with explanations for them. I know that some days after being around kids all day, you are kind of mentally exhausted and you are really tired of explaining things, but it seems as though they are never really done asking questions. Perhaps kids give us a brief insight into our own relationship with God.

I know that I am constantly asking God for answers in my life. Many times I want to know what is going to happen, how things work, why something has happened, and what things mean. It seems as though I am always asking God for explanations, much like the disciples in today's gospel. The good news is that unlike parents or other role models in kids lives, God does have all of the answers that we need. He has an explanation for why something has happened in our lives, He has an answer for how something works, He is willing to tell us what will happen (see your bible), and He doesn't mind helping us understand what things mean. The thing is that we need to be like children, we need to be constantly asking God for answers, we need to be seeking God's explanations for our lives; after all who better than the creator of the heavens and of the earth, of all that is seen and unseen to provide the answers that we seek. Kids not only teach us that we should be asking lots of questions and seeking explanations, but we should also be open to the answers we get. Most of the time when I give kids an explanation they usually do not argue, they may seek further explanation, but overall they are open to the answers. We too need to be open to the answers that God gives us, and we must be patient enough to wait for those answers.

Let us be true children of God, let us always turn to Him when we seem puzzled and bogged down in this world. Let us turn to our Creator for the answers and explanations that we seek, for from the Lord will come truth, and we must remember that it is His truth that will set us free.

"Those who have ears ought to hear."

Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day, Lord you are our one holy God who is rich in love and mercy. Lord, help reveal your truth to us when we struggle to make sense of things. Lord help us to accept your will not matter what happens and even when we do not understand. Lord you know what is best for us and we trust in you completely. We pray for all of our brothers and sisters who have fallen away, may they be brought back to your love and peace. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Monday July 27, 2009

First Reading: Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 106
Gospel: Matthew 13:31-35

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.” (Matt 13:31-32)

In today's gospel we hear more parables from Christ. Do you think the people listening to Him just kept scratching their heads thinking, "what is he talking about?" I am sure most people were confused as they came to see the messiah, not to get botany or cooking lessons. But as is typical, God is woven into the lessons, not always the most clearly, but He is in there. These parables say something very important about how God works in our lives: It may not always seem apparent, but He is there. Many times we are unaware of the fact that God is there, or that He is working in our lives, we may be scratching our own heads thinking, "where is He" or "what is He doing?" His ways are not always the most clear to us, but we must remember that He knows exactly what He is doing, and even though we may not understand what is going on, we must still follow and trust.

The parables today discuss the growth of the smallest of seeds and the leavening of bread. May we always remember these parables which tell us where our homes truly are and how we must go out and impact this world for the good.

May Christ continue to strengthen us and guide us on this journey.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, strengthen us and give us courage to follow you in this world. Lord, you are our God, you love us and protect us like no other. Lord lead us home to you, for a life without you is no life at all. God, you are good all the time, forgive us the times when we turn from you. We pray for all of our priests and their ministries. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Brothers and Sisters,

I want to write and apologize for my lack of posting. I have recently gotten a new job (very exciting especially in this tough economy) doing something in which I am very passionate about. As of last week my family and I have had the pleasure of moving to a new city and doing all of that fun unpacking stuff. We will also have limited internet capabilities until next week, so until then there will not be any postings; but I pray that each of you are still doing the daily readings and still praying through God's word each and every day. Please pray for us as we continue to settle into our new home and as I begin my new job.

Also, if any of you are currently experiencing unemployment or difficulties finding a job, please feel free to email me (jimmieadavis@gmail.com), my wife and I would be more than happy to add you to our prayer list. Sometimes it helps to talk to those who have been in these situations. I completely understand the frustration and disappointment of today's job market; but I also know the trust and growth that can come about during this time.

May God bless all of you and your families!


Turn to the Lord

Readings for Tuesday July 14, 2009

Memorial of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, virgin

First Reading: Exodus 2:1-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 69
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-24

Pharaoh, too, heard of the affair and sought to put Moses to death. But Moses fled from him and stayed in the land of Midian. (Exodus 2:15)

In today's first reading we hear of Moses and how after slaying the Egyptian, became fearful of all those who knew. Moses, when confronted with such an accusation, did what most of us would do; he ran. Most of us are not good with conflict and in difficult times, the easiest thing to do is to just run away from your problems. But as that may seem like the easy situation at the time, our undealt with problems always seem to have a way of creeping back into our lives.

A wise decision to make when faced with conflict would be to heed the words of the psalmist, "Turn to the Lord in your time of need, and you will live." When faced with conflict or any sort of difficulties we must take them to the Lord, it is by doing this that we will be able to draw closer to Him and to truly find our life. In taking our problems to God, we will also gain greater clarity and direction on our issues. So many times we take our problems and issues to everyone else but God. We seem more than happy to take our problems to family, friends, neighbors, strangers off the street, various talk show hosts, reality TV, etc. While we will turn to everyone in the world, we seem to fail to realize that it is the creator of heaven and of earth that is really going to help us figure things out.

Like Moses, we can try to run away if we wish, but eventually we will find that there is nothing else that can save us except by turning to Him who waits for us; patiently waiting to give us the great gift of life.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we praise you and thank you for all that we have and all that we are. Lord, help us to always turn to you in our time of need and surrender to you. Lord, help us also to always give you thanks at all times and for all that you bless us with. Lord Jesus, we praise you for your saving grace and for your great love and mercy for us. Help us to follow you no matter how big a cross we must carry and no matter where you lead us. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Terms and Conditions

Readings for Monday July 13, 2009

First Reading: Exodus 1:8-14,22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 124
Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-38)

In today's gospel we are told the conditions of discipleship. We are told that if we love any thing more than Christ then we are not worthy of Him. We are also told that we must take up our cross daily and follow Him, and that those who lose their life for His sake will be worthy. While we read these words and we think, "okay, that makes sense I think I can do that." But these is a very big difference between understanding these words and actually living them out.

Christ says, "whoever love father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." This means loving God first and foremost in our lives, but while we may say that we love God most, our actions and works may not reflect this. I can tell you that this is a very hard passage to read, being a new father the line about loving son or daughter more than Him definitely catches my eye. I love my baby girl very much, and she certainly is a very big priority in my life, but in my mind always I must make a conscious choice to not put her or my wife in front of God. My wife and I have both talked about the importance of loving God first, and we always want to make sure that we are supporting each other in this task. However, I also know that when I make the choice to love God first, my love for my wife and child do not go away, in fact by loving God first I am given grace to love them more and to love them better ... as Christ does.

By choosing to follow Christ first, we must remember that we are not giving anything up, but rather we are gaining. The decision to live out these conditions of discipleship involves a real love of God and a choice to sacrifice everyday for Him. Yes it will be hard and very difficult, but it is by His way that we can truly find our lives.

May we all continue to say yes to these conditions each moment of our lives.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, we know that it is by following you that we can gain eternal life, Lord give us the strength and courage to follow you know matter what. Lord, help us to not hold back anything from you so that we might love you with all that we have and all that we are. Lord, you are love yourself, help us to love as you call us to. We pray for our missionaries and all of their great work. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Job Description

Readings for Friday July 10, 2009

First Reading: Genesis 46:1-7,28-30
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 37
Gospel: Matthew 10:16-23

You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes." (Matthew 10:22-23)

Imagine that you are in a job interview, and the interviewer begins telling you about the job. He begins telling you that in this job you will need to sacrifice a great deal, people will hate you, men will hand you over to authorities for punishment, you will be persecuted, scourging may be a regular part of your day, and the people closest to you may betray you all because of this job. Then the interviewer says, "how does this all sound to you, are you still interested in the job?" How many of us would be eager to accept such a task? I don't imagine many of us taking a job such as this. This is just the job however that Christ has in store for us. Yes, it will be extremely hard, but if we will just trust in Him and endure to the end, then we know that the compensation for this job is well worth the risks that it will take.

In the first readings today, God asked Jacob to trust in Him and go to Egypt, and Jacob obeyed. Today, God is asking us to trust in Him and follow Him wherever He leads us. He is warning us ahead of time that things will be challenging and difficult, but if we can push through until the end, we will have an eternal reward in heaven.

So, are you still interested in the job?

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord Jesus, we know that following you is difficult, and we pray for the strength and courage to follow you wherever you lead. Lord, help increase our faith as we go out amongst the wolves of this world, help us to persevere and to live radically for you. Lord you are our God and we aer your people, help send you spirit down so that we might allow the fruits of the spirit to manifest in our lives. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


His perfect plan

Readings for Thursday July 9, 2009

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs

First Reading: Genesis 44:18-21,23-29;45:1-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105
Gospel: Matthew 10:7-15

"Come closer to me," he told his brothers. When they had done so, he said: "I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you." (Genesis 45:4-5)

In today's first reading we read about Joseph finally revealing himself to his brothers (and talk about and example of compassion and forgiveness!). Joseph had every reason to get back at these guys, after all they were the ones who were always jealous of him as a child, sold him into Egypt where he had to spend some time in prison, and separated his from his family. Obviously, Joseph's situation drastically improved thanks to God, he was now one of the most powerful men in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Having all this power and influence, it would not have taken much for Joseph to have his brothers locked away for the rest of their lives for what they did to him. But Joseph, being wise and merciful, was faithful and realized that God had a plan for him, even though it was different than the life he probably thought than he would have. Joseph is granted the wisdom to see that God sent him to Egypt to save lives, not to condemn or take away life.

Joseph gives us a great model to follow, to realize that all of our circumstances are a part of God's perfect plan. While there may be times when we are going through a difficult situation that may not seem fair at all, we must trust that there is a reason for it. Many times when something happens to us that seems devastating, we just simply do not understand or feel as though there is any justice in the world; but we must remember at these times who is in control. Joseph was wise enough to look back on his life and his current situation to realize that God had him on a path, the right path. By following God and trusting in His plan, our reactions to our situations can be very different. We will no longer see misfortunes and tragedies as curses or bad luck, but rather all a part of God's perfect plan.

Today, let us be thankful to God for our lives and remember all that He has blessed us with.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, we know that you have nothing but love and mercy for us, help us to always trust in you and your ways. Lord, we praise you for all that you have done in our lives and all that you will continue to do. Lord, help us to seek your will and to follow your plan instead of ours. We pray for all those who have a hard heart and have somethings or someone in their life which they are having trouble forgiving; Lord help them to find the peace necessary to forgive and to turn to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lost Sheep

Readings for Wednesday July 8, 2009

First Reading: 41:55-57,42:5-7,17-24
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33
Gospel: Matthew 10:1-7

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" (Matthew 10:5-7)

In today's gospel we see a listing of the twelve disciples along with instructions from Christ for them to not go into pagan or Samaritan areas, but rather go after the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." Jesus' instructions make it clear that He has a strong interest in His own people, and that He wants them to hear the good news and to know that the Kingdom is at hand. While many of the Jews did not believe that He was the messiah; and while Christ knew of their hardness of heart and their stubbornness, He still felt it necessary to begin working on His own people first before spreading the gospel to the gentiles. Christ is the good shepherd, who goes and calls back all of His lost sheep and seeks to bring them back to His care.

These instructions are just as important for us today. While it is important for us to go out and spread the gospel to those who do not know Christ, it is just as important for us to make sure that we are helping and calling back the lost sheep within our own church. Think about in your parish, how many people are just going through the motions and are just very idle in their faith? We all know people who maybe come to Sunday mass once in a while, or maybe they don't even go at all. How many people do we know that are Catholic by association but live a very worldly life? It is these lost sheep that we need to somehow connect with and get them excited about their faith. We need to find someway to lead these people back to the faith that will give them new life and help them find their original purpose for living.

As followers of Christ, we have a duty and a mission just like the disciples did. We need to share the good news to all those we can, and we need to work to call back the lost sheep in our churches.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord we thank you and praise you for our lives and all that we have. Lord, help us to spread your name and your word in this world, help us the be the light in the darkness. Lord, many of our brothers and sisters have fallen away, give us the wisdom and courage to help bring them back. We pray for all of our youth, for their dignity and for their formation in the faith. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Good Shepherd

Readings for Tuesday July 7, 2009

First Reading: Genesis 32:23-33
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 17
Gospel: Matthew 9:32-38

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:35-36)

In today's gospel we see Jesus performing many miracles and proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom. What is also amazing in today's gospel is seeing the love and mercy that Jesus has for us. It says, "at the sight of the crowds, His heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." Jesus does not ignore the people or turn a deaf ear to them, instead He sees their struggles and their pains, He hears their prayers and knows their misfortunes. Christ also does the same with us. There are many times in life when we feel alone, abandoned, afraid, or that no one hears us; but this is not true. Christ is always there, rejoicing with us in our blessings, and sharing our tears in our pains and sorrows. Christ is the good shepherd, He has and will always step up when needed because of His great love and mercy.

Today, let us also reflect on the words of Psalm 23 to understand more of how God is our good and faithful shepherd, and how His love and mercy reign in our lives:
"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me;
you guide me me along the right path for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.
You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come."

Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, you are our rock and our strength, help us to put all of our trust in you and to rely on you at all times. Lord we are weak, but you are mighty and strong, Lord our strength lies in you. Lord, give us courage to face the obstacles in our day, help us to give you all glory and honor for all we do. We pray for all of our priests and for their ministries. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Sure Thing

Readings for Monday July 6, 2009

First Reading: Genesis 28:10-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 91
Gospel: Matthew 9:18-26

Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you." (Gen 28:15)

How many times in your life have you ever found a sure thing? In our world, this is pretty rare, in fact we are typically taking chances on everything. If you play the lottery, you only have about 1 chance in 40 million to win. If you get married, there is only a 50% chance that the marriage will not end in divorce. Even if you buy the car with the highest safety features, there is still a chance of getting into a serious accident. The truth is that there are no guarantees and not many sure things in our world; but there is one sure thing that we can always count on, and that is God.

God is always a sure thing, He never lets us down and He always keeps His promises to us. It doesn't matter who you are or what you have done in your life, God is there for you. He even assured Jacob today in the first reading, and Jacob wasn't exactly living the most honest life. God doesn't concern Himself with the odds or chances, because nothing is impossible for Him. The creator of heaven and earth can make anything happen, and can even help us in what may seem like impossible situations.

In this world of uncertainty, let us always take comfort in our one sure thing; that He is with us, and He will protect us wherever we go.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and give you praise for all that we are and all that we have. Lord, help us to never doubt and to always have faith in your love and mercy for us. Lord, you are our awesome God who is always in control, help us to have a humble heart that is surrendered to you always. Lord, we pray for all of our priests, and for all those in need of conversion We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Friday July 3, 2009

Feast of Saint Thomas, apostle

First Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 117
Gospel: John 20:24-29

You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:19-22)

One of the things that always drives me nuts is when I am traveling somewhere and all of a sudden I hit a bunch of traffic all because of construction. This usually seems to occur when I am going to work, on my way to a meeting, or traveling out of town. While at the time I am certainly annoyed, you won't hear a single peep out of me when the construction is all finished. It is because afterwards the road or highway is now new and improved. The roads are smoother, lanes are wider, and fresh new paint clearly marks each lane. Many times when things cause interference or obstacles in our lives, we do not think about how when it is over we will come out better, we simply only think of how things are getting in our way right now.

Right now, the Lord is building all of us up, and He is working to make us all the persons that we were created to be. As Saint Paul says in today's first reading, "in Him you are also being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." Right now, the Lord is doing construction on all of us. We may be resistant to this construction at times, for it may be causing some delays to our own plans; or even some frustration at the process of building itself. But we must remember that God's plan is perfect, our plans are full of flaws and missteps. God may be building us up in areas that are unexpected or in areas that we believe are perfectly fine; but remember like the road construction that we see all around, we too will come out new and improved.

Let us have no fear about our own construction, for we are all being built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ, the capstone. Let us all humble ourselves and allow God to continue to build us up into the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, from which the Spirit's gifts might flow freely through us.

Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, soften us, like hardened clay that we might become exactly how you created us. Lord, form us around your son Jesus, so that we might be built upon the solid foundation of our Savior. Lord, help us to believe without seeing and to trust in you plan always. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


God sees our faith

Readings for Thursday July 2, 2009

First Reading: Genesis 22:1-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 115
Gospel: Matthew 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:1-2)

We know how amazing and awesome God is. Although we are also aware that He knows and sees everything, do we always act and think as though He is watching? In today's gospel reading, Jesus heals a man who is paralyzed, but this is only after it says, "when Jesus saw their faith." We also see in the first reading Abraham was following God's instructions and was ready to sacrifice his son Isaac, but God seeing how devoted Abraham was stopped him and provided the sacrifice. In both of these cases, God saw the faith that man had and blessed them for their faith.

In the readings for today, we see men who were blessed for showing their faithfulness to God. Many times we think, "well I have been faithful and I have done good works, where are my blessings?" But we must understand and trust that God's blessings do not come in our time, they come in His time. The man who was paralyzed did receive physical healing, but it was his spiritual healing that was the true blessing. Abraham never did get to see his great number of descendants while on earth, but he still trusted in God enough to go along with His plan. We must remember, that we are not working for any sort of earthly rewards, we are working towards the great gift of eternal life in heaven, that is the true blessing. We must be sure that we are faithful in heart and in mind, as well in our good works. We should always be working towards His glory and not our own; and it should not be out of fear, but rather love of our Lord.

We must remember that God is not like some parent who turns their head or leaves the room giving us a window of opportunity to do wrong without their knowledge. God is everywhere, and He knows and sees everything. So the question that we must ask ourselves is, does God sees our faith in everything we are doing, or does He see us carrying out our own will?

Today, let us reflect on the words of St Paul to the Colossians, "Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ." (Col 3:23-24)

Father above we thank you for the gift of this day. God, you are our Lord and master, increase our faith so that we may always do what is please to you. Please place in us a servants heart, so that we may always be faithful and obedient to you in all matters. Lord, we seek to know and love you more while in this earth. We pray for all our brothers and sisters who are blinded to your love and mercy, may their eyes be opened and may they find comfort in your love. We pray for all of our priest and for their ministries. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


the Lord hears our cries

Readings for Wednesday July 1, 2009

First Reading: Genesis 21:5, 8-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34
Gospel: Matthew 8:28-34

So she put the child down under a shrub, and then went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away; for she said to herself, "Let me not watch to see the child die." As she sat opposite Ishmael, he began to cry. God heard the boy's cry, and God's messenger called to Hagar from heaven: "What is the matter, Hagar? Don't be afraid; God has heard the boy's cry in this plight of his. Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink. God was with the boy as he grew up. (Genesis 21:15-20)

In today's first reading, it seems as though Hagar is in a hopeless situation. Forced to leave her home and the father of her child and now she is wandering around in the wilderness without water, and to top it off her son Ishmael is crying. Talk about a rough day. It is clear that from her words, Hagar has begun to lose hope, but in His great mercy the Lord sends His messenger down to give her words of comfort. The Lord also takes care of their physical needs by showing her a well of water. I am sure that from this event that Hagar became certain that she could put her trust in the Lord.

How many times do we just lose hope? It seems as though it is a constant cycle that we go through in our lives. Tragedy occurs and then we lose hope, but then God hears our prayers and helps us through the situation, and we learn once again that we can trust God. This just seems like a cycle that we repeat too many times in our lives. We must remember that no matter what is going on that we need to put all of our trust in the Lord. For He is good and merciful, He will always look after our needs. Think back to all the times that you have prayed to God, and how many times He has given you exactly what you needed. It may not be what you had wanted or exactly what you prayed for, but it is what you needed. God does not forget about us or only get to us when it is convenient, He is always there for us no matter what time of the day we can call on Him for the comfort we need.

The next time that we are in a hopeless situation, let us remember the words of Jesus: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (Matt 11:28-30)

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Help us to make this day all it was meant to be. Lord, help us to be the sons and daughters that we were created to be. Lord, we praise you for the gift of our lives and for all that you bless us with. Help to always be thankful and come to trust in you in our time of need. We pray for all of our priests, that they may be strengthened in their ministry and faithful in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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