Reflections to Consider
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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.
Joy to the world! Peace on earth and goodwill among men!
We always think of these wishes in a human and worldly way. But that thinking is just wishful thinking. It is however a very good prayer. Nothing wrong with asking for peace, especially the peace of Christ.
The thing is that Christ came to save the world and light up the way for us so that we can be with Him in heaven. That is the real Joy to the World and Peace on Earth and Goodwill among Men. That is what we should celebrate with the Nativity of Our Lord.
Mary wants us to remember!
I went to the National Shrine of the Miraculous Medal for Mass on 12/8/2020, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In his homily, the priest addressed this question: Why did Mary instruct St Laboure to have the invocation on the Miraculous Medal begin with these words, "O Mary conceived without sin?" He said that Mary cherished the blessing of being conceived without sin more than any other blessing. I believe that is true because being conceived without sin was the only way that she could be blessed by being the Mother of Jesus.
But I also believe that there is another reason. I have commented many times that I believe that Genesis 3:15 is the most important verse in Scripture. I refer to Genesis 3:15 quite often and as it relates to Father's question, the answer is that Mary's Immaculate Conception is the fulfillment of the promise made by God. In Genesis 3"15, God promised Mary to the world and told the world that she would be the mother of His Son. Mary wants us to remember that with her Miraculous Medal.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Inspiration for this commentary
taken from St. Mother Teresa's
Marian consecration in the
33 Days to Morning Glory - A
Do-It-Yourself Retreat by
Fr Michael E Gaitley, MIC
When Jesus said, "I thirst" while on the cross, He was not asking for a drink. That is to say that He was not wanting wine or anything else to quinch His human thirst.
No, Jesus was thirsting for us. Jesus wanted so much for us to understand and appreciate the fact that he was about to take His last physical breath because of His love for us. He wanted us to know and understand that when it was all said and done, that our resurrection would be available only because of His sacrifice and His defeat over death.
Jesus wanted us to love Him as much as He loves us or at least Jesus wanted us to be sincere in giving all of the love that we can in our humanity. That means that Jesus wanted to be number one in our hearts and without any equal. Jesus still wants that from us and will never stop wanting that. Jesus also deserves no less.
Jesus said, "I thirst" and Jesus will always thirst because Jesus wants to be with us and Jesus wants us to long to be with Him more than anything else that we can even begin to concieve.
Jesus wants us to love and thirst for Him as much as He loves and thirsts for us. That is not an easy thing for us to do but Jesus wants us to at least try.
"I am able to love you as if you and I were the only ones in the universe."
- from Jesus Calling, 9/29
Imagine that! I get to have Jesus all to myself! It does not get any better than that. Jesus is all mine. Its just Him and me. What a beautiful blessing and it is all mine!
Selfish? Not at all. Everyone gets to enjoy that very same blessing and only those who refuse it fail to experience it.
"The human mind is the pinnacle of My creation, but so few use it for its primary purpose--knowing Me."
- from Jesus Calling 9/29
In order to use our minds for their primary purpose, we must learn to make everything that exists in this world and in this life secondary to achieving an eternal life in God's Kingdom. That is the only way that we will get to know Jesus.
9/7/2020 A reflection on "Jesus Calling," 9/6/2020
Without our free will, there is no life.
We go to heaven because of our faith and our choosing to be with God.
Without that choice, there is no heaven.
Therefore, without a free will, there can be no heaven.
Without heaven, there is no life.
That is why our greatest gift is our free will.
This human life is nothing more than our God-given opportunity to use our free will wisely.
"We cannot comprehend the power that a pure soul has over God.
It is not the soul that does God's will, but God Who does the soul's will." -- St. John Vianney
Whatever happens to us will be the result of a decision that we make. If we decide, deep down in our soul, to be with God in heaven, He will take us there.
We want change but we do not like change or to change because human change is too flawed.
The only change worth experiencing is change that comes from God!
Don't Think: Just Follow!
A herd of sheep will follow the shepherd by choice without even giving it a thought. OK, one may argue that they really follow the shepherd by instinct. One of the Merriam-Webster online dictionary definitions for instinct is: “…to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason.” Interesting. Maybe sheep have more since than some of us. After all, if sheep can follow their shepherd without involving reason, why can’t all of mankind follow Christ who is our Good Shepherd whether we acknowledge Him as that or not. Jesus does not give it a thought. Jesus shepherds us because He loves us. We should follow Him out of our love for Him and faith in Him—without even giving it a thought!
Inspiration for today"s thought came from the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, cycle b, 4/22/2018, John 10:11-18
There Is Life After Death
We live in this world so everything that we do is done in this world. Even though, many of us are fully aware and believe that there is heaven and hell, we think and plan everything for this world. When we plan for what will happen when we die, we think and plan for what will happen in this world—we write a will.
Everything is for this world because we are too short sighted in our thinking to see beyond that which is right in front of us. If we cannot see it or hear it or taste it or touch it or at least smell it, we are not prepared to believe that it exists. But there is much more to our existence than what we experience in this world—this life.
God is very persistent throughout all of Scripture in trying to make us understand and believe that there is so much more ahead—something more valuable, more magnificent and so much more full of joy and peace than our human minds can even begin to conceive.
Elijah prayed over the widow’s son asking God to put the breath of life back into the son. God heard Elijah’s prayer and granted his request. Elijah carried the son to his mother and said, “See, your son is alive.”
We could take this event in Scripture and have many countless discussions on different topics of what God’s message is here. For now, I just want to make one point—there is life after death. We should be no less eager to prepare ourselves for that life than we are in preparing that which we consider to be most important in this life. If we do nothing to prepare for the next life, we will not have a next life—heaven. Instead, we will have a second death—hell.
Inspiration for today’s thought came from 1 Kings 17:20-23 as printed in the monthly publication of Give Us This Day for March 12, 2018.
Who Can You Count on the Most?
So, think about it. Who can you count on the most? Is it your mother…your spouse or significant other…your child…your best friend? Is it someone else whom you place the greatest of trust in like a pastor or advisor? The answer is that there is no one on earth who you can always count on at all times, no matter what. No! You have to go beyond this life and into the next in order to fine the One and only One who you can count on the most at all times. That One is God, Almighty!
Inspiration for today’s thought came from Psalm 37:23-24
23 The valiant one whose steps are guided by the LORD, who will delight in his way, 24 May stumble, but he will never fall, for the LORD holds his hand.
There Is Only One
To Count On!
Take a look at what is going on in the world today. It is so very depressing. It just seems that everything is wrong. Politics in our country and around the world is completely messed up. So many people can’t seem to figure out what sex they are. Too many people have no respect for sex at all. Too few people have any respect for others. Too few people respect life. By the way, if you are going to declare yourself to be Pro Life, then you should be in total support of any and all programs and ideas that better the living. What is this insane idea that we cannot afford funding entitlement programs as we really should?
Try practicing the Corporal Works of Mercy. As soon as you take a look at them, you will begin to see that as a society which is supposed to be the leader of the free world, we are doing virtually everything wrong.
In order to do more things right, we need to spend more time paying attention to God. He is the only One who can save us from the chaos that the evil one has brought down on us. God is trying to get our attention. Consider the weather and global warming for example. Yes, God is talking to us and we should listen because He is the only one that we can count on.
The inspiration for today’s thought came from the paraphrase of Psalm 12:8 in the Morning Prayers for 2/23/2018 in the book “Give Us This Day”—“It is you, O LORD, who will keep us safe, and protect us forever from this generation.”
Why Pray Until Something Happens?
Why should we continue to PUSH? Is it because God is proud and vain and narcissistic?
How can we even consider such terrible things? How can we even conceive such terrible things? Oh, how the evil one takes over our minds filling them with his evil lies.
The truth is that the more we pray, the more our minds are filled with thoughts of God. The more that God is on our minds, the less that evil thoughts even have a chance to be in our minds. That is when our minds are open to God. That is when our hearts will open up to God. That is when God can and will bring us to Him.
The inspiration for today’s thought came from the book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young--devotion for 2/22/2018—“Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength…The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually…Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive.”
Wear the mask!
Wash your hands!
Maintain social distancing!
Pray for our leadership!
Get the vaccine!
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.
I have a saying:
If it ain't God's way,
it ain't gonna work.
It cannot be God's way
if we do not include
God in it!
A thought for
Divine Mercy Sunday
God gave each of us a free will.
Faith does not work
without a free will.
This is because to have faith or to not have faith is a choice.
Therefore, to live in faith,
we must use our free will wisely.
We must choose
to believe in God
in order to have faith in God.
We must have faith in God
in order to receive God's mercy.
I should not wonder
how and why other people
can be so broken.
I should wonder
how and why
I am so broken.
Then, I should pray
that God still takes me in
so that I can become
Lord give me the strength
to take your grace
as freely as You
are willing to give it.