Follow Br Jack by Email

Monday, February 27, 2017

Expectations for Disciples

"Peter began to say to Jesus, 'We have given up everything and followed you.'" Mk 10:28

It is natural to complain from time to time about the treatment we receive from God, and it is good to express this in prayer. Unless we learn how to speak of our disappointment to God as if to a good friend, and to search more deeply within ourselves and our relationships for a fuller understanding and acceptance of our own faults and gifts, we will never really know the depths of God's love.

More often than not, our hurts and complaints about life and our relationships are reflections of unmet expectations. We expect our friends and God to be there when we need them in ways we understand or determine, and often we want our friends and God to take away our suffering and free us from ourselves as if my magic. In truth, this is not good for us, nor is it good when we try to do it for others. Real friends accompany and support, they don't try to fix us. Neither does God, because in our struggle to pray through life with faith, we learn who we really are and hope returns.

Today, try not to complain. Be grateful for those who walk with you in faith.

How do you manage your unmet expectations of God?





Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sell Everything!

As Lent nears, I want to suggest two readings. The first is a new biography of Dorothy Day by her youngest granddaughter, Kate Hennessy, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CO3489Y/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 and the second is an article in America Magazine, A life of service is never easy. Having autism can make it even harder by Gus Hardy.
http://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/02/15/life-service-never-easy-having-autism-can-make-it-even-harder

"Go, sell what you have and give to the poor." Mk 10:21

The severity of Jesus' demand that we renounce all our possessions can be overwhelming, especially when we read it out of context. The best scholars of the bible always remind us that when we ask God for the strength to let go, to renounce everything for God, God gives us back what we need to live well and serve others. While God's challenge is daunting, it is also necessary. Belief demands that we learn to trust God with our entire lives despite the cost.

When trying to listen to the God who demands everything from us, it is also important to remember that most of us have more than we could ever use or need, and it is our fear and pride that causes us to worry about whether we have enough or how others see us. Rather than let go to simplify our lives, we acquire more and more ideas, stuff and baggage. Jesus might sound harsh, but his message is clear. Don't be afraid to give God everything. The reward is a Gospel freedom beyond anything we could imagine.

Today, recommit yourself to a Gospel life no matter the cost.

Which of your possessions or ideas are most difficult to renounce?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Living Simply Makes Us Rich

"Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?" Mt 6:26

Jesus continually surprises his disciples. Just as they get comfortable with the direction he is taking, he turns a corner and turns their world upside down, reminding them that he has no place to lay his head. Are the disciples willing to become  nomads and follow Jesus into  the wilderness? What a challenge?

In claiming his identity as a pilgrim and an itinerant preacher, Jesus promises us that like the God of the Hebrew scriptures he will follow his flock anywhere and everywhere. Though he makes few demands, he is always imploring us to live like him, without family or wealth, but full of hope and compassion. God will guide us and care for us, he insists, but we have to trust. The emptiness of having nothing in Christ is a fullness beyond compare. Clinging to nothing, we have everything. The faith to believe this is the test we all face.

Today, empty yourself of everything that gets in the way of loving God and neighbor.

Have you known the glory of feeling rich even when you have nothing?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Like Children

“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Mk 10: 14-15

Today's Gospel offers us a great challenge. Like children we need to be open spirited, engaged, and contemplative. Faith is Jesus in not a set of rules we need to obey, but a new way of living that demands we be open spirited and engaged with life as it is, not as we want it to be.

Believing in a God who is always with us, something that is very natural for a child, allows us to believe that faith well lived can change the world. When people encounter Christians who have a zest for life and a commitment to all people, especially those without a voice, they listen. Some even want to know more.

Today, let your imagination, like a child playing a game, roam with delight.



What about children most speaks to you of the Gospel?