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Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Most Holy Trinity

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you." 2 Cor 13:13

God is a relationship.  We need to chew on this notion for a while. We might also say that God as Trinity is perfect love. Whatever we say, however, will be inadequate. When we are searching for ways to understand who God is, we can only speak analogously. We can say God is like something we know, a marriage for instance. When a man loves a woman and a woman loves a man unconditionally they create something new, and I don't necessarily mean a child. Whenever anyone loves another unconditionally and receives love unconditionally, something new emerges. In God, that someone is the Holy Spirit.

Too heady? Perhaps, but we are trying to get our heads around a mystery, and while words will always be inadequate, we must try. Simply put, we reflect the Trinity when we look at one another with awe and wonder, and allow this communion to proclaim the Good News. It is not so much what we say, but how we treat one another that witnesses to the glory of God as a communion of persons.

Today, pray that all your relationships will speak of God's presence and peace.

Whose love for you has been so unconditional that it led you to believe more deeply in God's unconditional love?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Two Small Coins

"He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood. Mk 12 40-44

A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins. A very, very small amount of money. (The small copper coin was called a ‘lepton’ and was the least valuable coin in circulation. The woman was only obliged to give one lepton but she gave two.) – Slide 3
Freebibleimages.org

Imagine what the leaders of the Jewish community thought when Jesus held up a poor widow as an example of authentic generosity.
Widows had no standing in the ancient world, and their lot was even worse if they had no sons. Ignored and forgotten by most, the woman about whom Jesus speaks remains faithful and generous, a fact that shamed the Jewish leaders and anyone else who reduced a person's value to property and wealth. Whenever we speak up on behalf of the voiceless, we follow Jesus.

Today, listen to someone who you usually ignore.



Who are the people in your neighborhood to whom no one listens?

Thursday, June 4, 2020

St Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

"Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation." 2 Pt 3:17

Being a missionary has always been difficult. One must leave the comfort and security of a culture, family and religious system that one knows, and enter a totally different world asking God to show you the path to integration and transformation. The best missionaries have always been the most attentive listeners, people who sense the goodness of the people to whom they have been sent. Knowing they are called, like St Paul, to discover the God who is already present in every culture and people, women and men missionaries live in gratitude and awe because of the God they encounter in the people to whom they have been sent.

St Boniface knew these challenges in spades. Sent to the German church that had lost its way, Boniface had to minister with compassion to an uneducated clergy and a community that was more interested in its own interpretation of the Gospel than the word preached by Jesus. Preaching reform and renewal, Boniface's influence was deep because he not only called people to reexamine their values, he also established houses of prayer throughout Germany. The church only prospers when it builds its catechesis and worship on a foundation of prayer.

Today, pray for those who face a daily martyrdom in their own homes.

Have you experienced faith in another cultural context? What was it like?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Back to Basics

"The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Mk 12 29-30

The scriptures are always trying to get us back to basics, to reclaim the foundational values of Jesus expressed in the New Testament. To do this well and with integrity we need to have spiritual practices that remind us each day about who we are and what we are to do in the world as Christians. It is one thing to say we love God and neighbor, but it is another thing all together to practice loving God and others through prayer and service.

Prayer is important because it is an exercise in which we acknowledge our total dependence on  God. Aware that living a faith filled life is a gift, we pause each day to honor the God who has given us faith and who sustains on our faith journey. Whether we recite a prayer we learned in childhood or ask in our own words for help to live the Gospel fully as disciples, we need to pray regularly. Just as a husband admits how important his wife is to his identity and well being, prayer helps us acknowledge that without God we are incomplete.

Today, express your love for God by quietly sitting in God's presence making yourself available for God's work.

What do you think are the most important spiritual practices in the life of a Christian?

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

St Charles Lwanga and Companions

"They seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully." Mk 12: 3-4

Charles Lwanga, a catechist who refused to renounce his faith even after seeing many of his Ugandan companions martyred, reminds us again of the power of God's grace. Despite being lured by King Mwanga into the royal court and promised real power over others, Charles would not deny  his faith. More, even after he was condemned to die, he continued to urge others to follow Christ.

Although it is sometimes forgotten or ignored by Catholics, Charles was killed along with nine Anglican young men who might not be called martyrs but certainly gave their lives for the Gospel, and deserved to be honored for their sacrifice. Although Charles is revered in Africa and throughout the world for his willingness to die for his beliefs, his life is also a good reminder to work together with other Christians for a just world. While we might disagree about how to speak of the Eucharist or the role of the Holy Father, we surely do agree about what it means to serve and cling God in the face of persecution.

Today, accept whatever suffering comes to you because of your commitment to the Gospel.

What do you most admire in people willing to give their lives for the faith?


Monday, June 1, 2020

Terror and Faith

"They came and woke him, saying, 'Lord, save us! We are perishing!' He said to them, 'Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?'”

Terror comes to all of us. Sometimes we forget that the Apostles were ordinary men hoping the Lord would rescue them from burdensome lives and free their nation from Roman occupation. When Jesus tried to help them see him for who he was, they either turned away or hoped their interpretation of what he was saying was flawed. No one wants to let in the ultimate terror, but that is exactly what Jesus demanded. When the Lord told them that he had to suffer and die, they assured him they would not allow anyone to harm him, not realizing that unless Jesus died they could not be saved. When, moreover, They realized they might have to face the same fate, their fear reached new heights.

Terror endured for the sake of God's reign saves us, and while it is natural to look for another path, we have only to ask God for the strength and integrity to endure and accept whatever will proclaim the coming of God's reign with power and transformation. Our only consolation in all that we must suffer is that the Lord will be at our side and give us resilience to persist through every trial with him as our guide.

Today, ask for the courage to face any terror that comes your way.

What strengths do you have to face the struggles of life as they unfold?

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Mary, Mother of the Church

"Standing by the cross was his mother." Jn 19:25

The fidelity of Mary to Jesus, especially during his suffering and death, has been a consolation to believers since the beginning of Christianity. While his closest friends abandon him at the moment of his most acute need, Mary does not, and her refusal to leave her son in his suffering challenges us to live our faith in a much more complete way.

At the same time, a less than careful understanding and appreciation of Mary's role in the story of our salvation, can be dangerous. Suffering in itself is not a good, and Mary's fidelity should not encourage any of us, but especially women, to accept abuse or unnecessary suffering. Jesus challenges the Pharisees and Sadducees at every turn when the lay heavy burdens of others and do nothing to help the confused and lost. Mary's courage is similar. Though she can do nothing to ease her son's suffering, she is not passive. She accepts her fate, but does not seek it.

Today, accept what you must, but work to change a society and church that sometimes idealizes the suffering of women.

Which women in your life most impress you with their endurance and fidelity?"St