The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 450

    Are You My Mother? is a story about a hatchling bird. His mother, thinking her egg will stay in her nest where she left it, leaves her egg alone and flies off to find food. The baby bird then hatches and does not understand where his mother is, so he goes to look for her. As he lacks the ability to fly, he walks, and in his search, he asks a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a cow if they are his mother, but none of them are. This quaint and well-known children’s story helps us remember the nearly same kind of question hurled at Jesus in the Gospel today. People thought that since the Virgin Mary and other close family members were asking for Him, Jesus would respond immediately; however, His response was nearly puzzling on first impressions: “He said to them in reply, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.'” We could repeat with the cute story the same question in an entirely different and mesmerizing context, “God, are you my mother, my brothers, sisters, family?” The answer, however, is as mystifying as it is clarifying: “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” You see, it is not the family tree replete with flesh and blood nuances and connections that brings us closer to God, but our fidelity to what He says and following what He does.

    “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” We all want family and seek security in one way or another. We need intimacy to discover our place in the world and make a healthy connection with others, especially with God. What is the foundation of such levels of relationship? Fidelity and obedience. We feel and exist closer to the Lord the more we follow Him and live in the light of His love, starting with our desire and success to forgive even the deepest of pains in this life, especially betrayal.
    Interestingly enough, the way the little short story ends and the way our own lives will find their conclusion is very similar. In the children’s book, the little bird dramatically returns to its nest just as his mother returns. The two are reunited, much to their delight, and the baby bird recounts to his mother the adventures he had looking for her. Imagine your homecoming to Jesus in Heaven and all the stories you’ll share as you spend a lifetime looking for Him, too.

    “Of course, God does not consider you hopeless. If He did, He would not be moving you to seek Him (and He obviously is). What is going on in you at present is simply the beginning of the treatment. Continue seeking with cheerful seriousness. Unless He wanted you, you would not be wanting Him.” C. S. Lewis

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 449

    “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.” With age, I hope I can see the world much more clearly. There are a good number of people that I love and cherish dearly. While there are a good many others who have seemingly dropped out of my life, there is a definite pattern that has emerged that deepens respect and admiration for all the people who have populated my life. I have loved them because they have shown me Jesus. Their ways of handling death, disappointment, fun, friends, and family have all slowly formed a clear picture of character that is unmistakably the mark of one who truly loves God. Imagine how the crowd in today’s Gospel must have felt when they heard that they must live their lives in the light of truth before the world! What goes through your mind?

    “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Today, no matter what you have to face or confront or carry, keep those words of Christ alive in your heart. Perhaps you could ask yourself, “Who do people see in me?” If we can honestly say that others have seen or heard the Lord in something we said or did, then we can sleep calmly and without fear.

    All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. 
    St.” Francis of Assisi

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 133

    It has been posited that there is no real justice on this side of Heaven. We can look at our human history to see a glimpse of that when we remember that slavery, Apartheid, and the horrible Holocaust were legal. Abortion is today a legal matter. With that in mind, we could conclude that legality is a matter of power rather than justice. This is why we begin our Reflection today by remembering and echoing the great cry for justice that is open to all of us: “Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near.” But how would we accomplish such a thing? The clue follows shortly today as well: “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

    To bring this discussion to more concrete terms, the Gospel of the day gives us such rich morsels to ponder, wonder, and then act: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.” The vineyard is clearly a metaphor for life in the Kingdom and where we should plant ourselves squarely in it. But there is some element of injustice there, isn’t there? The people who started out early in the morning received the same wage as those who worked just an hour. Does that seem fair? Of course not, IF this was a lesson in macroeconomics (which it is not). Remember, it is about the mysterious life in the Kingdom where not everyone has the same amount of talents, gifts, or even opportunities, yet everyone is accountable for what they do with what they have. Thus, jealousy and envy are vicious poisons that can kill the life of the Spirit in the one trying to follow Jesus. The wages at stake (even at the moment of Jesus’ first telling of the parable) are not actual daily wages for vineyard laborers but forgiveness, life, and salvation for believers. Seen like this, it really does not matter when a person receives them, whether early or late in life, as long as they do find them before the end of the day, the final call, death, that is. The key here is to get working in the Kingdom as soon as possible, no matter who is first, second, third, fourth, etc…

    Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:

    • I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
    • I shall fear only God.
    • I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
    • I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
    • I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”

    Mahatma Gandhi

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 448

    “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name.” What does it signify or suggest when we take a walk? First, we can safely assume that we need to get outside of our routine and even ourselves to achieve a fresh perspective on our lives and even cleanse the soul of any negative or destructive attitudes or thoughts. Secondly, we walked where it was safe and perhaps even invited someone we trusted and love to accompany us on the stroll. And finally, and by no means the end of possible answers, we knew that something good would come of this walk if only to find peace and comfort, even exercise. All this applies beautifully to the image of entering the gates of the Lord and ensuring that our deeds are worthy of light. This is what it means to live a healthy and holy life.

    “When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. ‘A sower went out to sow his seed.'” In the Gospel today, many people were “out for a walk,” and this time, they met Jesus. He told them a great, meaningful story about yet another person who went out on a walk, this time to sow seeds. Depending on where the seed landed determined the outcome. Here, again, is yet another wonderful image of life itself. We are all walking through many different situations and circumstances. What we do during these “life walks” and what we plant will determine not only how the day will end but also how each life will finish and be judged: “But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

    “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.” Vernon Howard

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 447

    “Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.” This Gospel passage is interesting because it is another mention in the Gospel of Luke where we hear about demonic possession. The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits which sought entry into everyone. Often, they did enter through food or drink. All illness was caused by them. The Egyptians believed there were thirty-six different parts of the human body, and any of them could be entered and controlled by one of these evil spirits. There were spirits of deafness, of dumbness, of fever; spirits that took a man’s sanity and wits away; spirits of lying and of deceit and of uncleanness. It was such demons that Jesus exorcised here.

    “Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.” However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for every one of us because every day is a challenge and struggle to live this life and walk this walk. We live in a world where darkness and terror can overcome us unless we hold the Light of Christ within us; we will indeed be swallowed up in despair. Thus, the battle of light and darkness is not just outside of us; it is also within us. And we have Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team.

    “Be careful when fighting against evil that you don’t become evil yourself.” Marty Rubin

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 643

    “I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” How can we say that someone who is a prisoner is actually in a good place? This would have to be determined by a number of factors, such as the prison itself, the prisoner, and, of course, the jailer. On this beautiful Tuesday, we have encountered such a mission of understanding and belief that will hopefully expand our notions of faith and to the awesome extent that Jesus loves us. “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience.” The word, “prison” has been defined in some circles as a state of confinement while awaiting trial. In many ways, we could stretch that meaning just a bit and see how life itself can be a sort of prison because we are confined in space and time, awaiting the final judgment of all that we have said and done while here on this earth. Thus, while we are “confined,” we have been given instructions while we are here. We are to be humble and gentle, and as much can be grasped, patient with as many as possible. “…bearing with one another through love.” If we see everyone in our lives as fellow prisoners, then we could find the strength and the power to love because we are all awaiting the same trial. That in and of itself will bring us to unity and peace: “…striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

    “Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” On this great Feast of St. Matthew, this particular phrase from the Gospel describes and determines the attitude of the “jailer” in our little analogy of this Reflection. God has placed us here on earth “in confinement,” and Jesus will come one day to lead us out of this existence to another, which is complete and eternal freedom. In the meantime, then, we are to concentrate on living, acting with, and living in mercy. Showing mercy to each other is indeed a pledge and promise that mercy will be shown to us.

    Teach me to feel another’s woe, To hide the fault I see;
    That mercy I to others show, That mercy show to me.
    Alexander Pope (from The Universal Prayer)

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 445

    “We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.” Unfortunately, many around us hear the refrains of hope and salvation that you and I hear but continue to go forward blindly. We must pray for each other constantly until that day that we all see clearly what Christianity and following Jesus really means and what greatness in Heaven and eternal life is just waiting for us. Today, you and I must be that voice, that speaker, to announce the Good News: Jesus Christ is Lord!

    “Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion.” Life has a lot to do with listening. Think of all the different sounds we hear every single day. We listen for important announcements and information that we deem pertinent to us. We also listen to the voices of those whom we love. So does God: What we hear during this great adventure following the Lord is the call to get real with our lives and with each other. There are many other voices shouting out at us all year long. Only one voice matters.

    “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia