Monday, March 28, 2011

Knock, Knock

Friends in Faith:

“Knock, Knock.

Who’s There?


No way.”

“Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Lk 4:24-30

I was always bad at “knock, knock” jokes, but that’s what this bible reading reminded me of—how many times has someone been at my door, but because I knew them I didn’t listen to their truth. They were not an expert.

How many times have I sought advice from an expert? Gone miles, waited for some “lightening strike,” some so called expert, to tell me what I was waiting and wanting to hear.

Yet, Jesus, had been telling me all along thru someone sent with His Spirit what is right, what is good, what is the truth—well you get the picture.

Deacon Joe may profess not to be holy—as he is human; but by his vocation, God has given Him the grace to be His messenger. The comment that he made yesterday about our culture struck me as very prophetic: “If we fill up on the culture, we will be poisoned. But if we fill up on the “living water, Christ Jesus” we will be made clean. And we will live as God intended.”

Heavenly Father, I believe You are in the least of us. I believe You send me Your message in those I know so that I won’t have to wait til I have time to seek an expert. Help me to trust. Help me to discern. Help me to seek Your Truth. Help me to open the door to You. Thank you for the wisdom You share thru Your simple yet brave messengers. Fill me with “living water.” Amen.

So, am I opening the door to the loudest experts in culture, saying “come in” to those who tell me it is right because “everyone is doing it,” are they the experts? Or is Jesus gently knocking, in the quiet, deepest recesses of my soul, telling me in whispers, sending me an expert each week by asking me to attend church, and to be filled with “living water.” He is here, everyday, at my door. He is asking me to let Him in, He is in someone I know.

Which “knock, knock” am I answering?


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Living Water: A Theology of the Body Lenten Reflection


"The water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life"

Life, good. Death, bad.

Talk about a bottom line....from Genesis to Revelation, its speaks to the core of every commandment, covenant, prophecy, poem, doctrine or story. God is Life and being made in His "image and likeness", we too have been given a choice to share in Life as our inheritance. But that's where it gets sticky...Life is a gift. We must ask for it and then receive it. It can't be grasped, re-engineered or "self-made".

Being human means being in constant need. While Lent is a time for us to return to a keener sense of our true needs (versus the many counterfeits) we also come to a keener sense that our needs - those things that truly give us Life - only come from God. Drink, food, even shelter have their earthly attractions, but in the end none truly satisfy our physical needs. Love, security, identity and peace each have their earthly attractions, but in the end none truly satisfy our spiritual needs. Every earthly attraction has its promise of satisfaction, but it always fades. Invariably, a need returns demanding our attention.

But what has God offered us from "the beginning"? Life. Superabundant Life. If only we would choose Him - as the one source for true satisfaction - He will provide us water from a rock or a well, but really for the greater purpose of drawing out our thirst for Him as the Living Water. He will give us our daily bread from the heavens like any good Father, but with the greater purpose of giving us a hunger for the Living Bread from Heaven. God grants us many kinds of love with each other, but only so we may hear His proposal for an eternal union with Him who is Love - the only Love that satisfies.

Pope Benedict XVI has said we have lost our taste for God. The woman at the well shows us how to restore it: listen for the voice of the Lord right at the place of our needs. Come to the truth of who we are - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and reveal the whole truth of ourselves to Him. Then, He will reveal Himself to us and fill us with "water" that will become in us "a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Only in this spiritual nakedness - without shame - before God, can we enter into this communion with Him.
Life, good. Eternal life, very good.
By Damon Owens, TOB Institute

Monday, March 21, 2011

Auto Pilot

Women of Faith:

I dream of the day when I can get in my car, hit auto pilot, and get where I want to go. I see technology, good and bad, in every area of my life. But just as much as I wish for some parts of technology to make my life easier, I also cringe when I see someone make a decision based totally on what the computer told them. And I pray that some technology would never have even been invented.

Technology brings me clients who have allowed a program to prepare their taxes. They have relied on “the program” to decide which questions need asked, and which answers are right; and then are surprised to receive a letter from another computer telling them that the questions they were asked or the answers they gave were incorrect.

I rely on a GPS unit, and then get upset when I get lost in a city I don’t know. I seldom carry a map these days, and I’m even too busy to plan an alternative route using “MapQuest” in case the GPS fails. And it’s too scary to ask an actual person in the neighborhood where some business or activity is located.

I get frustrated when a computer chip in my car shuts it down in the middle of nowhere and a gifted mechanic like Stan is forced to take it to a machine to be “reset.”

And I am brought to my knees in sorrow for the technical part of medicine which thru birth control and abortion, are allowed to “plan” when and which children will bring love into our world.

There is nothing beautiful about technology. There is no love in any of the decisions made by it. And yet our world relies on it more and more, content to be on “auto pilot.”

I don’t find joy, love, peace or comfort when I am on “auto pilot,” when I am bored from staring at a computer all day, or from merely putting numbers into the “right” places.

I find joy, peace, comfort and love when I see the first robin, or when a deer and its babies are standing in the middle of the road. I am energized and ready for change when the first green grass of spring appears. I am awed by the first glimpse of the mountains each time we travel to see the kids and approach Denver.

I get excited when I know which question to ask so that I can save a client a few dollars, or put their mind at ease when I answer a question they’re not even sure how to ask. I feel warmth and comfort in the giggles of a child who has found some treasure in the pile of rocks outside my door, or when Colby or Karolina reach out for a Grandma hug or to blow me a kiss. And I feel love in a friends’ handwritten thank you, or Stan’s eyes as we connect across a crowded room.

And yes I am reminded that it is God who created each of these awe inspiring, energizing, precious beings in my life and my mind to understand and care about them. Not technology, but nature.

‘Thus says the LORD: Stand beside the earliest roads, ask the pathways of old, which is the way to good, and walk it; thus you will find rest for your souls. But they said, "We will not walk it."’ Jeremiah 6:16

Dear God, I praise Your every creation, Your every awe inspiring mountain, Your genius in creating the seasons which force me out of “auto pilot.” Help to remind me to embrace the obstacles that force me to change course and draw nearer to You. Bless each of us with the wisdom to use technology for Your glory and not to walk our path, but to follow Your path. Thank you for allowing me to feel Your heavenly arms, to see Your creatures, and to share Your love. Help me to find rest. Amen.

In all things great and small, God created them all.

May you be blessed not with “auto steer” but with the grace to embrace and follow God’s path and to treasure the gifts He has given us,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Least Ones

Women of Faith:

We often hear from the pulpit at Lent, that it is more important to do something for someone than it is to give up something we do.

Yet, not only do we have a difficult time giving up our time and belongings, but we have a difficult time recognizing who truly needs us. Who is the “least” amongst us?

And to remember that when we “do” even the smallest act of kindness or charity for someone who is truly in need that we may be looking at Jesus, because He is everywhere, in each person we meet, in each person we know, but especially in the “least” among us.

“…And he will separate them one from another, ….
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, …. thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you …
“‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, ….
“Then they will answer and say ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Mt 25:31-46

I think of this reading each time I see the beggar on the street corner. I think of this reading when I drive by someone who appears homeless and fail to extend a helping hand, or to even say “Hi!” I think of this reading each time I pass by the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas and each time I pass up one of those jars in the grocery store.

And I know I have crossed the street and walked on the other sidewalk just so I didn’t have to walk past the beggar, yet alone offer my “pocket” change: change which I will spend for something frivolous, or stick in a piggy bank forever. Change which had I given it, I would never even miss it, change which would not have even been a sacrifice.

And yes, sometimes the cash will be squandered, and yes, sometimes I may be “taken” but the chances are that the beggar is just “out of luck” or maybe even put in my path just so Jesus can see how I will do with this message. How am I to know, and why should I be the judge of this person? Who is the Least of my brothers?

Dear God: Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. They are my guide book. Forgive me for the times when I ignore your words, when I ignore You on the street corner. Help me to always see you in the least of my brothers. Help me to sacrifice my time to those who “bother” me when I am “too” busy. Help me to pay attention to those who are “least;” those suffering from homelessness, from depression, who seem a little strange to me. Protect me from anyone who might have wrong motives and allow me to give up some small part of myself to see YOU in the least. Amen.

So, if you are looking for a Lenten sacrifice: volunteer in a soup kitchen; go visit someone you know in the nursing home, send a card to a friend who you have been ignoring; clean out a closet and give away something nice—not the leftovers; or maybe even hand the beggar on the street corner your “pocket” change.

Lent is a time to go into the desert with Christ. We give our materialistic culture 325 days a year. Let’s give Jesus these forty days to walk with Him and to change ourselves to be more like Him. It only takes 21 days to create a habit so it is a great time to let God create “new” habits in us, to do something outside our “comfort zone.” It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, or a lot of money. We might even be doing that something for someone we know because at times we are all one of “the least.”

And remember: Jesus walked with the “least” of our brothers. Jesus was treated as the “least of our brothers.”

Blessings on each of the least,

Monday, March 7, 2011


Women of Faith:

I go thru my each day with the complexities of life: choosing which obligation on my calendar I should fulfill in which order; explaining the complexities of the law of the government as I prepare taxes; figuring out how and when to pay the bills; challenging myself with a long list of tasks to do and people to see.

I am trying to put into balance work and money, home and family, social and friends and God.

And when I choose God over everything else as I did this weekend: spending time at CEW (Christian Experience Weekend), with Fr. Patrick, and spending time with my family, I keep hearing a very SIMPLE message: Truth and Trust; Seek and Know; Follow, love and Serve. He will provide.

Even the words associated with the peace and joy God brings to my life are less complex. Trust, Hope, Truth and Love.

Why do we make it so complicated?

• Fr. Patrick said, “Let Go, and Let Him in.”
• Fr. Corapi says: “In the end: there is heaven, or there is hell.”
• Matthew Kelly says, “Silence.”
• CEW’s message is Trust and Action: Let Go and Let God.
• And God’s message is Love. He promises to provide “our daily bread.”

Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Mt 7:7-12

Our mission and goal is simple: heaven. Our instructions: the ten commandments. Our path: His Word.

Why do we seek more than we need? Why do we try to carry ourselves? Why do we insist on tearing apart the message? Why has life become so complicated?
Because we are human and we are sinners. We are choosing to follow societal norms and laws made by people, instead of seeking and listening to God’s answers.

Dear God: Praise be Your word passed down to us thru the years, written and spoken, the bible and Church tradition. Help me to simplify my life. Help me to make my choices by following your commandments. I am sorry for the times I have chosen to feel good by choosing society complexities over Your simplicity. Thank you for the Fr. Patrick’s, the Fr. Corapi’s, the Matthew Kelly’s, and the CEW experience which serve to remind me to keep it simple. Amen.

Blessings! And Keep It Simple.