The Word of God

Daily Reflections


  • Tell Me Who You’re Looking For

    Reflection on Mass Reading for February 19, 2020

    “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.” There is a simple principle in psychology that basically asserts that if all you have as is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail. Clearly the meaning of this paradigm is that we tend to find what we expect to find in this life. In our First Reading, St. James issues a tri-fold way to approach life and more specifically, each other. 1. Be quick to hear, 2. slow to speak, and 3. slow to anger. With this in our spiritual field of dreams, we will find the peace we so desperately need and our hearts desire.

    “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call.” This approach to life continues into the New Testament as humbly ask the Father in Heaven to open our hearts and look for the good things in this life to see and discover. Among these are faith, hope, and love for God and for each other. Jesus in the Gospel takes this even one more step deeper: “Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, ‘Do you see anything?'” The man was clearly looking for healing, comfort and strength and someone to believe. He found his life’s quest. He found Jesus. Tell me who you are looking for and I’ll tell who you’ll find.

  • The Crown And Bread Of Life

    Reflection on Mass Reading for February 18, 2020

    “Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.” Before we become “high and mighty” and somehow judge anyone because of their incredible short-sightedness, take a breather: we do the same thing here in the twenty-first century. We, too, must combat the constant temptation of spiritual obesity right here, today in our very lives. We run to self-help books and “happy-meal” approaches to spirituality instead of thoughtfully feeding on the words of the Scriptures. We prefer entertainment rather than challenge. We want to play at our worship instead of truly thanking God for everything we have and take seriously the call to live a life of integrity.

    As long as there have been kitchens, restaurants and diners, we have all been inspired to eat healthier. Maybe less french fries and more salads, more water and less soda, less junk and more natural fare. And as long as we encountered the Lord among us, we have also been inspired to live a more authentic and loving life. We are destined to live a life that trusts Jesus with everything and seeks less and less to be mentally tickled, stimulus-stuffed and hypnotized by the slow beating drum of the world’s heartless and selfish messages. We are called upon this day from the Scriptures to eat more spiritually healthy food as often as humanly possible. “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” We must reconstruct not only what we place in our bodies but what we allow into the depth of our souls.

     

    “For food in a world where many walk in hunger; for faith in a world where many walk in fear. For friends in a world when many walk alone, Please Jesus, feed us with Your Eternal Food.” Amen.

  • Soft Hearts, Hard Feet

    Reflection on Mass Reading for February 17, 2020

    “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” The preceding experience which clearly caused Our Lord to sigh in what seems to be exasperation continues into our modern world. After all, we have seen as a human race during our relatively short stint upon this planet, there are many who seriously doubt the role and awesome power of the Creator. If put to those skeptics what it would take to believe in Christ, their response could sound something like this: “I would have to see Jesus do a miracle with my own eyes.” This sentiment is not uncommon. More than one person has held that he would believe in Jesus if he could see Him with his own eyes. Today’s passage, however, indicates that this is wishful thinking. If one’s heart is fully hardened against God, seeing Jesus Himself do a miracle will not be enough to cause belief. The response of Jesus to those who had seen His miracles is instructive. God will not do tricks for those who will believe, let alone those who have hardened their hearts against Him. Thus, Jesus told the Pharisees that they would get no sign from Him. If what they had seen did not convince them, nothing would.

    “But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.” Just as we may doubt from time to time in our faith life, we can never allow this unrelenting worry absorb our souls to extinguish the flame of faith and love in the hearts of so many who would otherwise be strong believers. What this clearly teaches us is that we must be open to the love of Jesus and starve our doubts every chance we get. Our feet and our resolve must be strong going forth into this wounded world knowing always that the Lord Jesus is always there for us.

    “God wants us to have soft hearts and hard feet. The trouble with so many of us is that we have hard hearts and soft feet.” Jackie Pullinger

  • Hard Words And Hard Hearts

    Reflection on Mass Reading for February 16, 2020

    “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna (Hell).” These words of Jesus we just heard are hard words to hear. They are hard to think about. They are hard to process. They are hard because Jesus is addressing lust and adultery that cause more emotional pain and hurt families perhaps more than just about anything else. Nobody wins when a family breaks apart under the horrible weight of painful pretense and broken dreams. Love is such a supreme and yes, even Divine gift, that any alteration or selfishness that enters such a relationship can have the most destructive consequences.

    “For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.” We all have endured some of these painful experiences, either directly or indirectly. Yet, it is precise because Jesus is speaking about these that we simply cannot ignore what he has to say. We live in a world that is broken, and we pick up knocks and bruises as we go through, and if Jesus has something to say about all that, we need to tune in. If Jesus had nothing to say about the things that cause us the most heartache, he’s not asking us to live in the real world when He calls us to follow him. Love, not lust is at the basis of our hearts. Truth, not lies is the very air our hearts and souls need to approach God and one another. When we give our hearts to Jesus we are asking Him to allow us to love the way He does. Completely. Unselfishly. Purely. This is why daily prayer and the Eucharist are absolutely necessary for this spiritual approach to our human existence. What Jesus clearly wants for us is not natural; it is supernatural and only then we will be happy in this life waiting for the one which is to come. “Shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the Word of Life.”

     

    “Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

  • Still Hungry

    Reflection on Mass Reading for February 15, 2020

    “They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.” What we can safely assume when we think of leftovers? Let us begin with our own collective experiences growing up in a family. Leftovers meant that while there was still food from another previous meal, good money-saving etiquette dictated that we eat what we have first before buying something more. It meant that we were not a wasteful family. It meant that there was more than the distinct possibility that some dishes actually tasted better after a day or two of marinating and bathing in sauces and gravies which made for the repeat even better than the premier. “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” It also powerfully suggested that somehow, someway we were all going to eat because the Lord Jesus was truly the head and constant guest of the family.

    “You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” Even the perennial presence of such overabundance of love and joy, our response to such memories was and is clear. We are to treat each other as members of the much larger family we know as Church and practice the same over-generous spirit with which the Lord God shows to us. That means first and foremost to obey God and all that He is given us to live, not just the food on the table, but also the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Such negligent behavior has always had disastrous effects: “We have sinned, we and our fathers; we have committed crimes; we have done wrong.” This mega-generous reveal can not be lost on any of us today. On that day in the Gospel, the leftovers barely filled vast bread baskets and over-flowing storage because there would literally be billions coming after that miracle to be fed and then finally to a place where there will be no more hunger or pain, just Jesus, who re-opened the gates of Paradise with His own life so that we could have life to the fullest. Here and now.

  • Seeing Is Believing

    Reflection on Mass Reading for February 14, 2020

    “I, the LORD, am your God who led you forth from the land of Egypt.” Some say that the eyes are the window to the soul in that we are able to reveal what is the very depths of our souls through them to others. When Jesus speaks of eyes and light, He means all people should keep their eyes on God because the eyes are the windows to the soul. Eyes should not focus on trash such as pornography, filth, or extravagant “over-the-top” lifestyles. This is what He means when He says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When Adam and Eve had ruined their near-perfect relationship with God, their eyes were opened to the truth of what they had done and how far they left the presence of God in so little time. We, the descendants of the original sin instigators, have been given the only solution to the human problem of hopelessness: “Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.”

    “Ephphatha!” The Gospel of ours today crown these thoughts with the most dramatic and marvelous scene by which Jesus approaches humanity figured in the person of a deaf man who had a speech impediment. The analogy should be clear. Humanity has an impediment and it is a closed heart and a closed mind. Jesus is the supreme and only solution-remedy to such a universal dilemma. Today, be especially open to the Lord working in your life today. You will hear His voice and speak His words: “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

    It is also St. Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy, red hearts, and romance. That’s what Valentine’s day is all about, right? Well, maybe not. The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn’t romantic at all—at least not in the traditional sense. St. Valentine was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudius who prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on this monarch’s skewed thinking that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because the married soldiers might be preoccupied with their wives or families if they died. Obviously the Church thought that marriage was sacred for their life and that it was to be encouraged. He then secretly began conducting secret Sacramental marriages despite the edict and the imminent danger to his life. That sad day did arrive as Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned, tortured and executed for performing marriage ceremonies against the direct command of the Emperor.

    Valentines are red today precisely because this priest shed his blood in the name of the sanctity and freedom it takes to love and be loved. This day has the deep potential of reminding us that there comes a time where we have to lay our life upon the line for what we believe. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we absolutely can achieve this—even to the point of death. We can even state more broadly that before we enter into any friendship that we hold valuable, especially romantic and marital love, we express wholeheartedly our dependence on God in order that we can love and love with the heart of Christ which will take us all the way into Heaven. Love—human love and sexuality is wonderful, and blessed by God—but it also exists under the shadow of the cross to remind us that unless we know what it means to sacrifice, we will never know what it means to love.

     

    “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Wisdom Derailed

    Reflection on Mass Reading for February 13, 2020

    There are too many around us who believe that having more access to more and more information actually produces much more knowledge and wisdom, but in all actuality, the opposite is true. Without proper focus, context and especially fidelity to truth, all this just makes for a rather muddied and opaque view of the world and takes us farther and farther away from wisdom. Such is the very unfortunate turn of events that is revealed in our First Reading today: “When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God, as the heart of his father David had been.” Solomon lost his focus and drifted away to the real source of what made him so wise and admired. Many things can cause that. In our First Reading, it seems to have been unhealthy influences from those closest around him. It may also have been the opulent and lavish lifestyle that surrounds monarchs of every age.

    The Gospel today reminds us that sometimes when we are in the most desperate throes of need and want, especially during difficult and or painful circumstances, our focus becomes quite improved as we saw with the woman who knew Jesus could help her and trusted that He would, in fact, do so if she just asked: “’ Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.’” This is great news for us all! We may often find ourselves “derailed’ from the path we truly wish to follow through all kinds of circumstances and we are likewise strengthened by the fact that the Lord loves us so much that He is always ready and willing to touch and heal us. Knowing this and living by these words truly makes us wise.

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