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Saturday, December 1, 2018

God's Eternal Covenant

"The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah."  Jer 33:14

Sometimes we watch too closely, pay attention to too many details and get ourselves in trouble. Not only to do we miss the forest for the trees, we get increasingly anxious about things we can’t control.  Parents sending their children to school for the first time often do this, and it can happen to me when to help a friend work his way through a troubling or difficult personal situation.  Both situations, while understandable and for some unavoidable, remind us of something wise people have said for a long time: Look but don’t stare.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us not to worry too much about what we have or don't have. Rather, he reminds us that God will be more just to the Israelites by helping them remain faithful to the covenant, and God will surely do the same for us.

Today, imitate God by looking at yourself and others without staring.

What situations cause you to obsess about matters you cannot control?

Friday, November 30, 2018

No Excuses

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” Lk 21:36

Today is the last day of the liturgical year and a good time to make a simple review of our faith life. Four actions ought to mark the life of a faith filled Catholic and we can reflect on them through a series of questions. Have we been faithful to God and the community of believers by gathering regular for prayer and worship, especially on Sundays? Have we taken time to reflect on the mysteries of faith, especially as they are articulated in Scripture? Have we celebrated God's gifts with joy and gratitude? Have we served others as if they were Christ? 

Coming together regularly, studying and praying about God's care for us and serving those most in need are visible signs that God matters in our lives and that we want to witness to God's mercy before others. For most of us the only way we preach is through our actions. We can talk about faith all day, but if we never act on it, we are, as Paul reminds us, noisy gongs and a clanging cymbals. We make a lot of noise but don't do anything for others but annoy them.

Today, be honest with yourself and God. Make no excuses for your faults. Ask to begin again.

Which dimension of our faith life most attracts and empowers you?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

St Andrew, the Apostle

"For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved." Rom 10:9

Salvation, Paul reminds us, is more than simple belief in God. We must tell others about God's goodness to all of humankind. We must announce the graciousness of God with power and conviction. St Andrew did this so intently that he was martyred for his faith.


Peter's brother, Andrew hears the invitation of Jesus to follow him and does not hesitate. He leaves everything to be a disciple of the Lord. Even when he was being martyred he asked to be crucified on an X shaped cross because he did not think he was worthy of being crucified in the same way Jesus was.

When we learn to speak honestly, courageously and naturally about the great gift of our faith, our discipleship is deepened and our witness becomes more powerful.

Today, Confess Jesus as Lord and Savior.

What are your biggest hurdles on the road to salvati

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Seeing God in All that Is

"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves." Lk 21:26

What are the great and wonderful works of God that move you most forcefully to fear or contemplation and transformation?

For some, every earthquake, or hurricane is a sign of God's wrath and they warn anyone who will listen that the end of the world is near.  But for others, creation, even when its force is overwhelming, fills them with wonder and awe. St. Francis of Assisi might be the patron saint of these believers. Francis not only praises sun, moon, fire and water, he calls them his sisters and brothers. Gratitude for creation is the ground of Francis' unique spiritual path while disregard of God's creation is the root of sin.

Taking time each day to thank God for all God has done and does can help us grow in the spiritual life. Grateful people exude a joy that both lifts others' spirits and gently challenges them to conversion.

Today, praise God for God's wonderful works.

What most moves you to wonder and awe?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Commit to the Spirit

"Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking." Lk 21:14

Jesus makes a pretty big promise to his disciples, assuring them, even though they lack education or in many cases the ability to read of write, that the Holy Spirit will teach them what to say. While this might be the occasion for some of us to think we don't have to prepare a homily or a presentation on faith, there is no basis for this kind of thinking. Jesus is referring to those times when we are attacked unexpectedly and without provocation, not to the ordinary diligence we need to use to present our faith clearly and with passion.

Rather, the Lord wants us to trust in the Spirit of God to guide, direct, and challenge us everyday, and to realize that this is an essential dimension of our faith and its practice. Without this trust, we can only rely on ourselves or expert opinion, and no matter how knowledgeable we or our advisors might be, our insight will be insufficient.

Today, consciously commit yourself to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Have you experienced the Holy Spirit's strength and direction in your life?

Monday, November 26, 2018

Trust the Lord

"See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.' Do not follow them!" Lk 21:7

When we are in dark or difficult circumstances, we often look for almost anything or anyone to distract us. We watch too much television or waste time on the computer, hoping for some respite from the ache we feel inside. All of this is natural and understandable, but spiritually unhealthy.

The people portrayed as following Jesus in the gospels might also be falling into this trap.  Like people everywhere who have lost their jobs or cannot make sense our of their family's life, they look to Jesus for an escape.

Authentic hope is not rooted in the avoidance of the feelings that can torment us when we are in crisis, but in the letting go of our struggles so that we can know the Lord more deeply and trust in his wisdom more completely. God has promised to be with us in the dark as well as the light, and it is our response to Gods' commitment that can make all the difference.

Today, enter a dark corner of your life and look for God.

What do you do when your life is falling apart?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Giving Away God's Luxurious Love

"When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury." Lk 21:1

That everyone has something to give others is self evident to most of us. What is not obvious, however, is that our gifts, in a gospel context, are not for ourselves.  Each of us has been gifted by God for the sake of others.  We are part of a community, we are the body of Christ, and as a community of faith we can only be ourselves and function well when all the parts are playing their proper role.

The gospel today reminds us that there is no reason to fear. We should give from our substance, not just our excess. God is with us, will protect us and challenges us to trust no matter how anxious we might be about having enough for ourselves. When we not only share our money and property but our ideas, our creativity, and our lives, we live the fullness of the Gospel.

Today, rejoice in the luxury of God's love. Then give it away to whomever needs it.

Who has shared her or his "wealth" with you when you were most in need?