As darkness falls on the day of the anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, I give thanks for God’s calling and His Grace that has sustained me as His own. The greatest part of being a priest is getting to know the people God has given to me to care for in these trying days. Also the greatest responsibility! Being able to say Mass, being able to visit the sick, to pray for them and with them, seeing those in need relieved, seeing those in torment lifted by the sacraments, these are what life in Christ is about. His grace freely given, His love all around us. May we travel further down His path together for the years to come. May God bless all of you.
SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION
Liturgically speaking we are hanging between the Ascension and Pentecost. Like the disciples, we know lots about Jesus. We may know Him intimately, even though we have never physically seen Him. We try to live lives that give glory to God, But…
Have we waited on God? Have we waited with anticipation for the working of the Holy Ghost? Or do we shy away from the power of the Spirit of God?
St Peter, in his Epistle this morning tells us that the end is at hand. We are to be sober, to watch and pray, he says. These words were true for Jesus’ band of men then and they are very important to us this morning. They, because the Kingdom depends on it, they because their salvation is wrapped up in it. For the same two reasons, we are to watch and pray. Next Sunday we commemorate the descent of the Holy Ghost. We need to prepare for that coming too.
Look at the patterns!
In the Old Testament there are many examples of God’s giving to the Israelites all that they needed to be prepared for the coming of Christ. He carried the nation as a mother carries her kids, so that they can become adults.
In the New Testament, Christ has come. He then prepared the disciples for the coming of the Holy Ghost. He also proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom, which is at the heart of the Good News. God’s reign, His love for us, which He exampled in Christ Jesus our Lord, is to be spread to all nations, peoples to the very ends of the earth.
At Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Ghost descended as a dove. Christ’s willingness to follow the preparation that John preached for preparation of the coming of the Lord, leads to the visible gift of both the Father and the Holy Ghost. At our baptism, we received that same sweet Spirit. At our confirmation, we again received that Spirit in a new and special way. We were given gifts in both events, as were the disciples at Pentecost. They were given with something in mind. Notice in Peter this morning that he says “Every man” hath received the gift.
At the important points in His ministry, Christ watched and prayed.
How do we prepare… Watch and pray!
If you want to know the gift you were given….. Watch and pray!
If you want to prepare for the coming of the Holy Ghost…. Watch and pray!
If you want to see the Kingdom in its full glory….watch and pray!
If you want to be ready for Christ’s return and the end of our life on earth….Watch and pray.
Watch and pray! Watch like the apostles who were to spend an hour with Christ in the Garden. Waiting, watching we are to slow down. We are to be moved by God. We need to stop the human knee jerk responses to do, do, do. Don’t just do something, stand there!!!! God must be the impetus for our actions. Watching and praying lets us slow down so we can hear the still, small voice. Praying we align our hearts, minds and souls with God’s will. God is the Gifter. We should trust Him to know the whys and wherefore of the gift. There is a pattern to the gifts. He gives enough gifts to each church body to accomplish His will therein. He has given us what we need to spread the Gospel to Marin. He has given us enough to love one another as we do so. Watch and pray! Let Him lead in our life.
If we watch and pray, Charity will be increased. We will love those that God has placed before us, family, friends, neighbors and those who find their way to our door.
Peter talks more about this in this morning’s epistle. The Spirit of God will enlighten us as to our gifts. The Spirit of God will bring us to a fuller Charity. The Spirit of God will put good words in our hearts and on our lips. When we watch and pray we will be good stewards of the gifts that were entrusted to us.
Our job this week is to just watch and pray. There is comfort in the simplicity of this act of will. This is all the preparation we need for next week and beyond. And that gives glory to God!
This week the Diocese of the Western States meets for its annual Synod. It will be good to see old friends, worship together, pray together and share our love for the Lord and His church. It is a time for encouragement, study and especially prayer, the cement that holds us to our Lord and the Body of Christ. It will be work and pleasure. Let us build up the Kingdom of God!
May the Incarnate Lord, who died and rose again, bless you this Easter Day. When you worship in the Morning, give special thanks for all He is doing in the lives of family and friends and those around you. We serve a living God. Don’t look for him among the dead. Go to church and receive His Body and Blood and be healed, being made whole by His grace. Then enjoy your family, basking in the Glory of our Savior!
We were in the crowd yesterday, having seen or heard of the Lord’s raising Lazarus from the dead. How joyful was the day, when he walked forth out of the tomb. A reminder, perhaps, that our Lord would do the same at the hand of His Father on Easter morn.
Ponder this week, where you are. By Good Friday most of the people, who were there Palm Sunday, are gone or in hiding, with a few exceptions. Are we gone or in the company of the exceptions? Do we stand up to be counted? The Master asks that of His disciples. The fear of being also crucified with Christ is sometimes a grave stumbling point for us. Will it hurt? Will we bleed like the Holy Martyrs?
Walk the Stations, after Maundy Thursday. The week is rich with story, True Story, Gospel. Christ has died, Christ has risen And Christ will come again in great glory. Let us be the ones who stand in the gap until that great day. He is a great Master and because of His love, we can stand with Him.
Come and worship the Living God this week, all week.
What thinkest thou?
Theme: Deliverance from our Enemies
The Lord’s Prayer… And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
How is your Lent going?
Have you been able to be faithful to your discipline? If so, then great. But if you are having trouble or have not chosen a discipline yet, then these words are for you. What is keeping you from it?
Today’s readings call us to focus on the spiritual battle. Jesus heals a man who is dumb! He is dumb because of a demon, an evil spirit, which has taken away his ability to speak. Think on this. The man is unable to say his prayers out loud, he is unable to make his will known, and he is set apart from the “faithful” folks because he “isn’t quite right.” He isn’t right with God or with man. He is under the spell of the evil one.
No one would touch this man as he is unclean spiritually. Jesus, who is the Son of God, can see the spiritual problem here and He heals the man of his spiritual malady. This seems to bother the folks watching. Some are amazed that He has the power to remove the spiritual impediment from the man. Others speculate on the HOW he does it. Did He call off the “dogs” as a crime boss calls off his minion when fear of harm has done the trick? Some think an evil leader is the one in control. They miss the whole point.
When in the Gospel Jesus speaks to those in the crowd about the possibility of Satan’s kingdom being divided and not being able to stand, he knows the truth. He knows that Satan is the “King” of this world. Satan has all the resources and power of the evil in it. He knows power stronger than Satan’s. He knows what happened to Him being tempted after the 40 days in the wilderness. He knows about the spiritual battle in Heaven between the good and bad angels. He also knows the result of the challenge in Eden. And thus He knows why He is standing on earth IFO these people.
He came to repair the relationship. We have no ability of our own to fix things. Only God, in His infinite love, power and mercy towards us, could fix things. He knows that God is stronger than Satan. He knows who wins in the end too.
As Christian men and women sitting in the pews this morning, we need to know a few things. We tend to avoid Satan. We know too well that he torments, seduces, hunts and destroys life, relationships, and we know we help him in this venture. When we continually think of our self, keep our selves at the very center of our thoughts and acts, we participate in the destruction of this world. We continue in the fall beyond Adam and Eve. We are enemies of God. By avoiding to think about evil, the power of the devil and the darkness, we can forget that we have no personal power over it. We will never come to a place where we think we need God’s help. Or else Adam and Eve would have been victorious. They were smart, but no longer innocent. We are to be innocent as children, wise as serpents. Instead people today tend to be smart, but without real wisdom and innocence. That is why this morning, we pray for God’s intervention and deliverance. We ask Him to deliver us from our enemies, both foreign and domestic, both outside and within us. When our eyes are focused on God, He will take care of our enemies and He will take care of us too.
Seeing a God that has unlimited power over evil, being able to remove it as in the gospel, seeing Jesus triumph over Satan in the wilderness, and knowing what happens in the end, we can come with confidence to God this morning. He has power over all that we fear. And all that Satan could do to us.
What must we do…
1. Keep our eyes on God, pure, single-minded
2. Have the desire to follow His commandments, desire to please him
3. Remember we have a spiritual relationship with Him and with each other.
If we just did these three simple things, then we would be living Kingdom lives, and we would be delivered from our enemies by God!
As we continue to meditate on Faith, the faith of the Canaanite woman from Sunday’s Gospel, are we to be as bold as she was?
According to Thomas Torrance, from Incarnation, the Person and Life of Christ, Faith may be defined as what happens to our reason when it encounters the nature and reality of God. We know much about the nature of God from the Early Father of the church and the theologians of the centuries that followed. The specific aspect of God’s nature that Christ demonstrates in this passage is that of Mercy. God’s mercy extends to those outside the Chosen People because of the faith of these folks, including the woman whose daughter has a spiritual malady.
God be merciful unto me! We have cried this in the past and may have need to cry it again! Like the woman, we know that Christ is real. We have evidence of this both in the Gospels, Sacred Writ, and in secular writings of the day. We also know the reality of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, because we have met Him in our dealings, pain, sorrow and the most joy filled days. We are to have a full relationship with Him, and through knowing Him, with His Father, our Father.
Our Lord taught us to pray: …And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil… These words are for us during Lent. Our faith leads us to be able to be bold in our cry unto God because we know the nature of God and because we know the reality of Him in Christ Jesus. The more time we spend in faith, the more we become like Christ. There is purity, a single-mindedness, which becomes part of us. Our fasting and prayer during Lent is to be our meat. When we are pure, we are more open to faith, hope and love.
This week, as we continue the fast, let us pray that our efforts toward being open to God will lead us to a richer understanding of His nature, as we read Sacred Scripture. We can then contemplate the Life of Christ, bringing Him to the forefront of our lives. In doing so, our faith will be fed.
Then we can be bold, knowing that we are not getting in God’s way, but instead participating in his Kingdom. May the lavishness of God fill your Lent with abundant grace.