Monday, December 30, 2013

Walk in His Way in 2014

Friends of Faith:
Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. Ps 128: 1

I often wonder what my life would be like if I could, in my humanity, completely live this one single Psalm, this one line of scripture.
I often wonder what ALL our lives, our community and our world would be like if we ALL could truly, completely, walk in His way—if evil and temptation, society and deception never entered our lives.

And Sunday, this Psalm was followed by the beginning of my favorite “to be” readings, a reading I continually strive to live better. Another reading that makes me wonder if….

Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:12-21
I know that to live this sacred reading completely seems “idealistic,” difficult and virtually impossible for mere human beings.

But we aren’t “just” human… Through our baptism we are God’s children. And God makes all things possible. Possible to try, possible to hope, possible to forgive, possible to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient, for it is what HE calls us to do.
And then the peace of Christ will control our hearts.

It is possible to hope and to pray that everyone we love will join us in faith, because God makes possible the gift of faith to everyone. And he gives everyone the free will to open their hearts and eyes to be taught by example through the peace and joy surrounding us in our own lives.
So have the courage to mentor, teach, and if necessary admonish and ultimately seek forgiveness for those who sell God and their faith short.

Heavenly Father, In the name of Jesus, I give thanks to You in all that I do. I yearn for and seek patience with those who seem to discount Your goodness. Give me compassion and kindness in abundance for those who are unaware of Your gifts in their lives. May the joy, the peace and the hope I have been given as a gift bring others to seek You, to know You and to Love You. Thank you for the gift of faith which controls my heart and helps me to walk in Your way. Amen.
Be thankful and let the peace of Christ dwell in you richly. And may God grant you an abundance of faith and forgiveness to share with others.

May your lives be blessed by Your resolve to Walk in His Way in 2014.
Happy New Year,

Monday, December 23, 2013

Let the Lord Enter "Inn"

Friends of Faith:
Our family is looking forward to the arrival of Sara, Luke, Colby and Karolina today from Colorado. They were traveling last night despite snowy roads as anxious to get here as we are to have them arrive. Andy is home and Kristy, Tyler and Avery will be back tomorrow morning.

I spent the day yesterday decorating so that I could see eyes sparkle in glee, making kolaches for Colby & Karolina’s tummies and wrapping gifts in anticipation of their unwrapping on Christmas morning. I want them to “feel” my love by meeting their every need.
“Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.” Ps 24: 5-6

Our blessing just like Christ’s blessing is seeing each others faces. All they (and we) really want are our hugs that say “I love you” and their presence in our house. They are the present themselves, and none of the things that I have been doing in anticipation of their coming speak as loudly as our thoughts, anticipation, or the time we will spend together and the joy their presence will bring.
It isn’t the gifts, or the kolaches, or the glittering lights that really make the kids and the grandkids happy. It is the time I spend with them and the fact that I thought enough ABOUT them to get ready for them,  that want to be “inn” my space. That is what truly says “I love you.”

So how do we prepare, how do we anticipate allowing and making our home, our heart, our life worthy of Christ’s coming? How do we anticipate and prepare to accept the ultimate love that the true king, Jesus Christ, presents to us?
Do we truly seek to know those we love so that we can do what is best for them? Do we listen to and know our spouses, family, and friends worries, cares and dreams?

And if I truly understood and believed that a king was coming to my house today what would I do to get ready? How would I prepare myself? Would my house, my heart anticipate his coming? Would I make room for the king “at the inn?” What actions would I do to “clean” my home (my heart, my life)? What “jobs” (kolaches/gifts) would be important enough to take the time to seek and to finish?
It isn’t about the instant gratification of the “feeling” of all of the goods “things” I can give someone I love but about the fact that I love them enough to do be ready and waiting for them.  The fact that I would do anything and everything possible FOR them is what really expresses the love I have for them.

So am I ready to do the same with Christ Jesus? Am I willing to set aside just 10, 15, or 30 minutes today, tomorrow and every day to prepare, in the same manner, with the same thoughts of showing love, for the coming of the King of Glory?
I often wonder what would happen to the world if every person would take SOME time to let Christ Enter In. If all of us had more than one fleeting thought and took the time to really pray and to really spend time worshiping HIM—as much time as we do training and educating ourselves about our careers, favorite team, attending sporting and shopping events, or coaching a game or a fellow employee.

What if we spent the same amount of time learning about God’s plan for marriage, attending a bible study, listening to a Christian CD or music or mentoring a young adult—with the thought that this is how GOD wants  me to get ready for His coming, how God sees my face, my true self?

Heavenly Father: My hope today is that Christ will truly be my reason for the season. And that I will prepare to let the Lord enter by making room at the real “inn” -- my heart. Thank you for all of the gifts you have given to me—so that I may do with them for others. May I be open to your call and always preparing and ready to do your will. Amen.
God won’t come in if we don’t ask. He is only the king if we make him so.
Let the Lord enter!
May the true Spirit of Christmas enter your “inn” this week,

Monday, December 16, 2013

What did you Go Out to See?

Friends of Faith:
What did you go out to see?

“When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written
: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. Mt 11: 2-11

John the Baptist told the people that Jesus was coming, but the people thought Jesus would come as a king, as a ruler, who wore fancy clothes and lived in a royal palace. They were looking for someone who would give them the physical things they desired.

Instead Jesus came in much more common clothes, as a much more common person and with a gift of giving to all who asked for him in faith, eternal and everlasting love. And he gave us a gift of love that served without any expectation and that if we accepted would give us eternal life, eternal joy.

So what is it that I am looking for, searching for or expecting to find? And what is it that I have overlooked?

Am I looking for happiness provided by fun, entertainment, or personal pleasure? Or am I looking for eternal joy found by simply being in God’s presence? My most requested and fulfilling gift is to be able to attend mass together as a family on Christmas morning.

Am I looking for someone to serve me, or am I looking to give a gift of service?It truly is better to give than to receive.

Am I looking for presents, or am I looking for presence? I have always been happier with a pile of family than with a pile of gifts under the tree.

And do I look for the fleeting happiness created by others outside of me? Or do I look for the joy of Christ within me to share with those around me?

Heavenly Father, As we await the arrival of your most royal package, Your heavenly son, keep Your loving arms are wrapped around me. Help me to see You in those who seek and those who offer Your presence in my life. Thank you for the gift of a guiding star to light my way. Amen.

The truly great gifts are not those wrapped in glitter and bows, but those wrapped in blankets who travel the distance to be with us.

What are you going out to see? Search for the gifts of love, joy, hope and peace offered by Jesus Christ.

And accept his is our greatest present,


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Hope

Friends of Faith:
Like little children trying to be good for the Christmas Santa, the preparations of Advent symbolically guide us to become ready for the Christmas Jesus.

I hope that the rewards of the coming of Christ will be searched for every day.
I hope that every Christmas light illuminating our home represents a life being touched by my presence.

I hope that instead of BUYING gifts for those whose needs are already met I will recognize those that truly have a physical need  and those that desire to feel the gift of Christ’s presence.
I hope that my desire to be in Christ’s presence receives as much time as accomplishing the rest of my Christmas lists.

I hope that putting aside family differences, forgiving, and being forgiven will not just happen on these days of Advent and at Christmas gatherings but all year round.
I hope that I live my life in the service of love; by trying to become better not just during the season of Advent, but by getting ready for the coming of Christ in the Christmas of every day.

“Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Mt 10: 6-8
God’s hope for us isn’t just for this season, but for eternity. It is a hope without cost, just like the best gifts are those without cost—love, hope, joy, and peace.

Heavenly Father, You are all that is Good. Thank you for the gift of life, the gift of truth, and the gift of forgiveness. May I succeed in fulfilling a childlike goodness by sharing these gifts with others. Help me to prepare this Advent season to give these gifts away just as Your Son gave away His entire being for us. Amen.
There’s no greater time of Hope than in the season of Advent. And God’s promise is that our hope will be fulfilled by the coming of His son, Christ Jesus.

Live those hopes as fervently as a child in waiting for the “Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Monday, December 2, 2013


Women of Faith:

They say two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Both evils were created by humans—by our sin, and as a human way to give back to a human “king.”

But God had a much better plan for us, so He gave us a second chance, an “Advent-ure.” He gave us the chance to renew our eternal LIFE by giving us His son, Jesus, who by His own life redeemed our sins. And He asks us to give back to Him, the almighty King, our STEWARDSHIP—a return of Christ’s example—a portion of the gifts He gave us in this lifetime: our time, talent and treasure.

Just as we celebrate Advent to prepare for Christmas, God’s second chance for us includes a lifetime of “Advent-ure,” a time of preparation and reparation. A second chance to choose Him: by our faith, our trust, and our hope and a second chance to choose to live by Christ’s example of love for God and love for each other.

‘In days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many people’s shall come and say: “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.”’ Is 2:2-3

God planned our “adventures” as a preparation for His coming. He gave us the TIME to climb towards Him to the truth Christ revealed through His Church; the TALENT to stream towards the truth of His instruction; and the TREASURES to walk along His path in the Adventure of life.

He wrote a plan in the Holy words of Scripture. And he gave us the Church (Spirit) to guide us and the Eucharist (food) to sustain us during this adventure.

In true“Advent-ure” we await the birth of His living example, Jesus.

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. ….Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. …So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Mt 24: 37-44

It is not enough to live this adventure just in the weeks leading up to Christmas (as in Noah’s time). My faithful choice means I cannot wait until I “feel” I have the time or it is convenient, but that I must continually prepare and live ready as if every tomorrow will be Christmas, the coming of the flood, and the coming of Jesus the Christ.

And I must constantly be alert to the dangers and the unexpected lures that try to pull me off His path and away from His plan, His hopes and His desires for me to live with Him eternally. I must be as ready today for Christ, as I am every tomorrow into the future.

Life is an adventure—a time of preparation. Life here on earth will have an unknown end. But God’s eternal life has a promise that says: “Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” Rom 13: 11-14

Advent, the adventure, this preparation time on earth, is about preparing to put on the Lord Jesus Christ eternally: bearing our sacrifices and putting on the armor of Christ. Adventure is not about being happy or living for our own selfish desires or through our own making, adventure is about rejoicing that we have God with us on this journey.

Adventure is about loving each other (in service) and living that adventure in joy (rejoicing in holiness and peace) of our many blessings. Advent is living in the sure knowledge that Christ can be found in the center of our lives—all the time! Because God is good, all the time!

Heavenly Father: You graciously give both Your son and Your Church to show me how to live the “Advent-ure” of life. You have promised Your mercy and Your everlasting love to all who have faith, to all who are ready. Help me to prepare for Your coming by honoring your commands and by not being caught off guard when You arrive. I place my trust in the Advent of your promises. Amen.

Prepare, Be ready, and Live the “Adventure” in Christ’s peace, love and joy.