Monday, April 29, 2013

Made New by THE Magic Words

Friends of Faith:

I would love to be made new—to wipe away all of my flaws, all of my imperfections, all of the little things I don’t like about myself, what I have said or what I have done over time, to have every relationship I have ever made, be made “new.”

But wait, I have been made new by God and I continue to have the opportunity to be made new over and over again by Christ being made present within me if I can say three simple magic words—I’m Sorry, Please, and Thank You. The same holds true for our relationships with others.
“Behold, I make all things new.” Rev 21: 5a

I was first made new in baptism: cleansed by the water; and in confirmation when I asked to be made new by the Spirit. Our parents Please for what they wanted most for us and then our own Please for what we most desire.
And I am given the opportunity to be made new each time I ask for reconciliation (I’m sorry) or celebrate the Eucharist (Thank You) —because I truly believe that Christ is present and he will make me a new person and give me a new opportunity to be more like him in my daily life.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirstwhoever eats of me shall not die.” John 6: 35
My slate can be wiped clean and the hunger, the emptiness inside of me, can be filled if I have a desire, a faith, that Christ does make all things new by my I’m sorry, my please, and my thank you.

Our human imperfections make us hungry and wanting. And it is these same imperfections that make us search for fulfillment of the deepest needs within us.
But the longer I put off saying I’m sorry, please and thank you, the harder my heart gets. And the farther I am from the source, the more difficult it is to see and ask for what is really necessary to be make any relationship new and to understand what truly fills, or has created, the emptiness within me.

To be renewed in Christ is what conversion means. It is what we are called to do. It is our purpose and our ultimate fulfillment here on earth.
The difficult, and sometimes seemingly impossible duty and task, is to live as Jesus did and to be “new” in Him. Just as we are to imitate Christ in his teachings to us, so were we taught by our parents to imitate him in those very first words they taught us: I’m sorry, please and thank you.

So what do I do to be made new in my relationship with God and with others?
I must ASK to be forgiven (to SAY I’m sorry)—first of all to God, and then of those I have hurt. I strive for humility and compassion.

I must ASK to get fed (Please)—fed by the Eucharist as often as possible. And I must patiently allow others to serve me.
I must remember to say Thank You to God for giving me His Son as my daily bread and to gratefully say thank you to others when they serve me.

Heavenly Father, You are the fulfillment of life. It is in You I am made new. I am sorry for the times I try to fix it myself. Help me to understand that the same desire you have for me is the same desire I have to fill the hunger within me. Thank You for giving us Your son to wipe away all of our failures. Amen.

Please (come into my life), Thank You (for giving me life) and I’m sorry (for taking what I have for granted).
These first words when said out loud to God (and to others) will ultimately make those relationships new.

Become new in Christ,

Monday, April 22, 2013


Friends of Faith:

"My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they never perish." (John 10:27-28)
What does it take to hear the voice of God? Courage!

Am I afraid to seek God’s truth? Am I afraid to listen to God’s truth, or am I afraid to act on God’s truth when I find it? Or do I have the courage to respond to this gift of the Spirit?
I need courage to stand up and be a faithful Christian: to know him, to love him and to serve him. It takes courage to hear his voice, to follow his voice and to serve Him, by putting Him ahead of me.

And it takes even greater courage to lead others back into the fold of the sanctuary of God’s flock, to lead by example and speak up for His righteousness.
“Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.” Psalm 96:6

Nothing in this world is easy. Individually, there are always challenges and conflicts to do what is right (to follow the commandments).
But what is not from God is from the devil, so until we have the courage to turn to God, to resist what is easy (or looks easy, or a way to “happy”) we will remain an easy target for evil.

And as a society it takes each of us as individuals to change and to have courage:  to choose to forgive instead of becoming angry; to choose to seek God in church on Sunday morning instead of sleeping in or attending a ball game; and to speak the truth instead of being politically correct.
Courage means making a choice FOR God—listening for, hearing and answering His voice.

Heavenly Father, Your flock is blessed with the beauty of Your sanctuary. Help me to have the strength to bear the sufferings of difficult choices. Help me to listen to Your voice. Give me the courage to seek Your truth. Give me the courage to share Your truth. Allow me to find the strength and beauty of Your sanctuary. Amen.
We are all his sheep. He knows us and we know His voice, but we must courageously listen. Will we have the courage to choose Him? Or will we choose the easy way out?

He is waiting for us to follow Him.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Amen! It's D-Day!

Friends of Faith:
Amen! It’s D Day! That’s what my family calls April 15, the end of tax season.  I think the “D” meant “it is done.”

But while I think they thought there joy was in the end (a done) to mom’s endless hours of work and my being “done” with tax returns, I think it was much more the joy of a beginning, that they had me back as a full time family member. I know there was a sense of gratefulness on Stan’s part that my stress level would be lower and I’m sure a sense of relief that he no longer had to be both dad and mom when there was a kid emergency, or something a little out of the ordinary needed done around the house. And I’m sure the kids were happy that mom was back cooking “real” meals and that the laundry seemed to end up in the drawers a little more often without their help.
So, how is D-Day like an Amen? Does D-Day mean an Amen that ends or an Amen that begins? Is it for heaven, or for earth, for what is done, or for what is being done?

“I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.” The four living creatures answered, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshipped. Rev 5: 11-14
Amen means to solemnly affirm. When I say Amen I say, “I believe.”  And if I say “I believe” than I believe saying Amen isn’t about saying “It is done,” but rather it says “I’ll do it!”

I am not worthy, unless, and until, I truly believe. And being worthy means I must do everything for God.
My beliefs, my Amen’s, give me what God promised me when he was slain—heavenly “power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and gloryevery blessing.” All of these blessings are gifts I receive because of his death on the cross, but I must BEGIN by believing. And I affirm my belief by doing as I profess to believe.

I say Amen at the end of every prayer, every Our Father, every prayer of thanksgiving, every prayer of request.
Do I really believe that what I have received is a gift? How am I using the gifts he has given me?

Do I really believe that God can grant me every request, or do I try to take control and make my own destiny? Do I let God work in my life, or do I forget to ask him for his help, or ignore his answers and listen to societies “everyone is doing it?”
I say Amen each time I take the Eucharist—do I really believe? Do I go out and do something with that belief? Do I live each day as if I believe Christ is really present within me?

“I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master, nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. Jn 13: 15-17
Heavenly Father, You are my Amen. Make every day D-day, my day to DO your will. Thank you for the gift of faith. Help me to follow your influence and to have the wisdom to discern what is Your will. Help me to have the courage and strength to stand against what society wants me to say an unholy amen to. “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.” Amen!!!!

Every day is D-Day, discernment day, God’s “to do” day. Every day is a day to do something with what we say we believe. Am I? Are you?
Amen! Believe! Do! It’s D-Day!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Unfinished Business

Friends of Faith:

Don’t you wish you could say that the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, the cooking and/or dieting, the reading, the taking care of and praying for kids, the “to do” list was completely done—finished.
But some jobs are just never finished. There always seems to be another shirt dirtied, another meal to be fed, another closet to be cleaned, another “to do” added on the list and regardless of their ages a child (or parent) who needs prayers.

These are just a few of the unfinished jobs we encounter on a daily basis. But what are some of things we don’t recognize in our lives which are unfinished and might require our attention?
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. Lk 24: 13-15

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.  While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Lk 24: 35-38
Christ died, Christ rose, and Christ keeps coming back. His passion that we should be saved and that we should recognize him will never be finished.

He was spit upon, unrecognized, unrealized, and doubted. And yet he continues to work to heal us, to justify us, to forgive us, because we are “unfinished sinners.”
“And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Lk 24: 3-31

“Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.” Jn 21: 13-14
He was recognized in the breaking of the bread. He has given us everlasting, unending food, His body and blood. He FINISHES for us the cooking, if we will accept and eat.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
Mk 16: 14-15
He gave us THE never ending mission: to go out into the world and proclaim Him to EVERY creature. He has FINISHED the “to do” list. Are we doing the mission he commanded of us? Are we serving each other, or do we expect Him (and/or others) to do it for us?

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Jn 20: 21-23
And he gave us His divine, and never ending, mercy of forgiveness and reconciliation. The same apostles he commissioned on Holy Thursday as the first Christian priests, he commissioned to forgive our sins. He FINISHES the ultimate cleaning, the cleaning of our souls. All we have to do is ask. It is our ultimate “unfinished.”

Are we humble enough to ask (and accept) his forgiveness thru the Sacrament of Reconciliation, thru the priests who he gave the authority to forgive sins? Do we ASK or do we think we can forgive ourselves? He has offered for us the ultimate “finish.”
Our unfinished business is to EAT the food he provides; to SERVE His mission of spreading His word and serving others in His image; and to CLEAN our souls by His mercy. He gives us food. He modeled our mission. He gives us His mercy. Only thru Him is it finished. “It is finished.” Jn 19:30

Risen and all Glorious Lord, May I be humbled by Your presence in all You have created so I could rise with you. Help me to place Your mission above what I think is my “unfinished” business. Forgive me for the times I do not ask for Your forgiveness and try to do it on my own. May I be blessed with the Peace you so readily offered as you gave Your life for me. Amen.
Three times Christ’s presence was denied (we sin). Three times he offers us “Peace” (mercy and healing). Each time he was recognized by the bread he broke. Do we receive the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation as often as possible so that we can be finished thru Him?

My business to come to full understanding and full repentance will never be finished because I am a human sinner. But with God all things are possible.
Put Christ at the top of your “to do” list. Make Him your mission. Let Him help you finish!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Roll Away the Stone

Friends of Faith:
HE has RISEN! The stone has been rolled away!

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Lk 24: 2
Have we allowed Jesus to roll away the stone from our tomb?

What is the stone that keeps God from entering our tomb?
Is our stone an addiction to work, food, alcoholism, drugs, arguments (with our spouse, etc..), pornography, lying, stealing,  manipulation…..? Are we too proud to let God enter our lives?

What fear keeps us in our tomb and hidden behind the “self” God created us to be?
I believe in the miracle of the Resurrection. I believe if I ask for Jesus’ help he can roll away any stone in my life, allowing me to exit sin and rise to a new life. I believe that His death on the cross and His forgiveness are the miracle designed to set me free me from the bondage of the sins that hold me back from the peace and joy he created for us in the Garden of Eden.

Am I humble enough to let go of my pride and ask for His help and His forgiveness? Will I accept the sufferings in my life as an imitation of His suffering for us on the cross? Will I help to roll away the stones in other people’s lives by forgiving them as He forgave me?
Sometimes being an ordinary sinner is easier than dying to our selfish desires and being transformed into the extraordinary person God has called me to be, His daughter(son), filled with God’s grace. It is much easier to stay behind the stone than it is to roll it away.

“Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” Col 3: 1-4
Are we afraid that that by spending time with those who know us best our true self will come out?

Jesus: You paid a debt You didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay. Roll away the stone that keeps me in the tomb of my own sin. Raise me to living the life You desire for each of your children. Teach me the way to follow the example of Your cross and to die to myself by willingly and patiently serving others as You served me. Give me the courage to avoid temptation and forgive me for my sins. Help me to forgive those who hurt me so that they too can be forgiven (Forgive us our trespasses AS I forgive those who trespass against me). Amen.                   
Do I truly believe that He changed our world for us when he allowed himself to do God’s will and when he stepped out from behind the stone?

Will I step out of my comfort zones and do what God desires me to do? Will I answer His call? Will I live as if I believe?  Do I believe that Christ can roll away ANY stone in my life?
Roll away the stones of fear, unbelief and unforgiveness,