Reflections to Consider
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Next Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday and it is God’s wish that all people follow the Son—Our Good Shepherd together as one flock. In that spirit, I want to make this point clear. We must all respect religion—all religion. No matter what a person’s religion may be or even if they lack a religious belief, they are still a child of God and that makes them a member of the flock even if they do not realize it or reject it.
I am Catholic and my religious profession is Catholic, but I mean no disrespect to another person’s religion. By way of our free will, it is our God given right to profess our faith or lack of faith as we so choose. For that reason, I try not to draw too hard of a line in my commentaries although there are times when I must. An example of such a time is whenever I am commenting on the Sacrament of Confession which most Non-Catholics reject and too many Catholics fail to practice. Nevertheless, when Judgment Day comes, God will not say to one that they may not enter the Kingdom because they are not Catholic, likewise, there will be Catholics who will be denied entry into the Kingdom.
There is a difference between faith and religion but that is a subject for another commentary on another day. But plain and simple, faith is what we believe and religion is the way that we choose to profess what we believe.
What matters to God is our faith. God wants us to believe. We hear this in many different ways throughout all of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. Faith is an essential key. Without faith, one cannot believe and without belief, there can be no eternal happiness in heaven.
On the 5th and 6th days of 33 Days to Morning Glory which is a do-it-yourself personal retreat in preperation for Marian Consecration, the author who is Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC makes the point that we should give everything to Mary. That means absolutely everything including our prayers. Fr. Gaitley makes the point that Mary will distribute them where they are most needed and will not forget us or leave us without being blessed in the end. This may seem hard to accept on the surface without putting all of your faith in Mary but that is exactly what we should do. No, we should not worship Mary. She is not God. But yes, we should put our faith in Mary. Consider this: Jesus emptied Himself completely for our sake so that we could be saved. Therefore, it only makes since that we empty ourselves to Jesus through Mary because she is the Mediatrix of all Grace. We must never forget that all good things come from God but they come through Mary because the Son came into this life through her.
My real self is not the person I see looking back at me when I look into the mirror.
My real self is not who I think I am or try to be.
My real sel is not who others say that I am.
Truth is, I don't know my real self!
My real self is only what I am and who I am in God's eyes.
Nothing more and nothing less.
Inspired by daily reflection and prayer for March 16 in the book "Every Day Is a Gift" by Rev. Frederick Schroeder
I was watching Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song, a PBS documentary by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and I was moved by a quote from an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) bishop, Benjamin T. Turner, in the 1800's. Bishop Turner said, "Lord have mercy on any race of people who do not see themselves as made in the image of God." His point was that whatever your race, you should see God as being from that race. Bishop Turner came under fire for that opinion and making that statement but I say consider this: Mary, the mother of Jesus, has made many apparitions over the years all around the world and she has often times appeared to people as being from their race. Why would Mary be so diverse in her apparitions if Bishop Tanner was wrong? After all, God made all of us and Scripture tells us that He made us in His image. Scripture does not discriminate and that makes any image that we can conceive of our Creator valid no matter what the race and no matter if it is our race or that of another.
This morning while praying, I was reminded of a reflection I made 3 years ago on 2/22/2018. In that reflection, I asked the question, "Why P.U.S.H.? Why Pray Until Something Happens?"
Today, I ask this question: Why should we have to ask God for anything more than once? Those of us with faith know that nothing is beyond God. We also know that if we ask, we will receive. God, the Son promised as much. Matthew 7:7 So why do we have to P.U.S.H.?
The answer is in my insperation for my reflection on 2/22/2028. It is so that we keep our minds focused on God. It is also so that we remember that He is the only One who can fix our problems because we can do nothing without Him. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that over and over again so we must Pray Until Something Happens.
God works in His own time. We cannot rush Him and He delivers when our faith is without question!
Interesting that this reflection would come to me the day before we hear Mark's account of the Healing of the Leper, the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Mark 1:40-45 The leper's faith was so strong that he knew that he would be healed even before he asked.
We failed to pay attention to the warning signs.
We failed to do something about the obvious.
Now our nation is faced with a terrible situation.
Why? Because to many of us have become complacent.
That is one of the weapons that the devil uses against us.
It is the reason why we are facing these terrible times
filled with pandemics, hatred, racism and violence.
We still need you Martin.
Martin Luther King, Pray for us. Amen.
In light of this week's events, we must call on Our Lady of America.
O Mary, Our Lady of America,
Help us through these most difficult and dark days,
Help us learn how to be more understanding of each other,
Help us to learn how to be more loving toward each other,
Help us learn how to put an end to hatred and racism,
Help all members of the new administration to carry out their duties with respect
and in the best interests of all people and not just a select few.
It is said that this too shall pass.
Indeed it shall but only by God's grace.
O Mary, Our Lady of America,
Intercede for us so that God's grace may come upon us,
Help us receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit
so that we may accept God's grace when it comes.
We ask these things in your Son's Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.
I heard a wonderful homily this morning and one of the points that the priest made was that the Magi with their persistence teach us to never give up. I want to add something to that.
The Magi also teach us not to give into the evil one. I must say that for the Magi, the evil one was Herod, but for us in this day and time, the evil one is Trump. Like the evil one, Trump does nothing but lie and cause divisiveness, racism and hatred.
Wear the mask!
Wash your hands!
Maintain social distancing!
Pray for our leadership!
Get the vaccine!
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176
The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.
Death is a fact of life.
But there can be no
peace with death if
there is no peace
God does not look for the perfect.
God looks for the imperfect.
What does that mean?
It means that God
looks for you and me.
It means that God
looks for everyone.
none of us ar perfect.
This reflection inspired by a homily I heard this morning by Fr. Sy Paterka.