Today’s Thoughts: We hear in the Gospel (Mark 6: 1-6) about a town that doesn’t seem to have faith which perhaps gives us a little food for thought.
The people in Nazareth, Jesus' home town are so closed minded, so sure they know Jesus that they have very little faith. Their faith is so weak that the wonderful things Jesus does everywhere else could not happen in their town. They have put Jesus into a box and they are not open to the unpredictable answers, the unexplainable surprises and the unrelenting love that Jesus brings!
Our Gospel reminds us that faith is profoundly important but is not easy, that it takes work. We cannot always depend on what we know or see. History is helpful but at times can get in the way. We need to be open to the possibilities of something new. We need to keep working at our faith. We need to not give up hope because we never know when the grace of God will be in our midst and we do not want to miss it!
So today let us live out our faith, let us not fear, because God's kindness is everlasting and God's grace in always right around the corner!
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: In the Gospel (Mark 5: 21-43), today we heard about two women, one who is cured and the other who is brought back to life. The women in the Gospel story are different, one is just a child of twelve who faces death, and the other has lived many years but for the last twelve years has faced a great physical struggle. For one woman it is the faith of her family, in particular her father, that makes all the difference, for the other it is her own faith that makes the difference. This is what brings these women together, faith. Faith if lived out can give us the opportunity to be cured; faith can also give us life!
The focus of the Gospel is the thread of faith. The two women in our Gospel relied on faith to bring about comfort, relief and life. We, the community of faith, rely on the faith of those that journey with us, our own faith and the faith of those who have gone before us, "the cloud of witnesses" to keep us going, to support us on this journey of faith we call life.
Faith can be a comfort, faith is always a challenge but remember it can bring healing, it can bring support and it can bring life. Let us be faith filled people today and always so that we to can be a source of healing, comfort, support and life to all we meet!
Have a great Tuesday everyone!
"The mission of the Christian in the world is a mission for all, a mission of service, which excludes no-one; it requires great generosity and in particular the gaze and heart turned heavenward to invoke the Lord’s help. There is so much need for Christians who bear witness to the Gospel with joy in everyday life. The disciples, sent by Jesus, 'returned with joy'. When we do this, our heart fills with joy." (Pope Francis)
Today’s Thoughts: As I prayed with the Gospel (Mark 5:1-20) this morning a line from the Psalms came to me – “Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord!”
I find this Gospel to be a strange story. There are many layers to it: Jesus in foreign territory; the man who lives among the tombs; the unclean spirits named legion that are sent into the swine; the swine that throw themselves into the sea; the fear for the people so much so that they ask Jesus to leave and finally the man once possessed becoming a preacher of the Good News.
It seems that the possessed man in the story is the only one who can take comfort in Jesus. He has struggled all his life. He has been chained and broken out of the chains only to find little peace. It is only Jesus who can finally free him totally. I think we all have parts of ourselves that get possessed by the demons of life. Things that we cannot let go of that hurt us in a personal way and sometimes even hurt the people around us. We sometimes free ourselves only to be caught by them again. Perhaps like the man in the story it is only through Jesus that we can find comfort and hope.
Often as we live life we tell Jesus to move on, to leave, we do not want our life disrupted even if it not going so well. We like things the way they are even if our life a awash with struggles, chains, tombs and a lack of peace. Yet all of us have the opportunity to recognize Jesus in our life and become free of the things that possess us but first we need to overcome our fears and trust in God's presence. Trust that change can be good.
May we recognize Jesus passing by today and allow our hearts to find comfort and hope in his presence! Have a great Monday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: “I should like you to be free of anxieties.” (1 Corinthians 7:32) The opening words of the second reading today show St. Paul’s desire that we and the Corinthians should not give in to the anxieties of life. St. Paul knew that there were many things about life that could cause people to be anxious and thus struggle. He reminds the Corinthians and us that if we keep our focus on Christ we have a better chance of moving beyond the anxieties and struggles of life. We have a better chance of encountering the loving presence of God!
Jesus demonstrates exactly what St. Paul is talking about in the Gospel today (Mark 1: 21:28). Jesus vision is true. There isn’t any difference between his words and actions. What Jesus says can be seen in the way he acts. Jesus is able to navigate through life this way because of his relationship with the Father. He keeps his focus even when the unclean spirits of life challenge him.
Jesus’ power and authority come from his relationship with the Father. It is an unwavering relationship. It is an unrelenting relationship. It is a relationship not distracted by the world. It is a relationship ground in love.
We can be free of anxiety if we are willing to hear God’s voice and not let our hearts be hardened by the unclean spirits of the world. Jesus and St. Paul remind us that it is God’s voice and presence in our lives through which anxiety and struggle is replaced by comfort and love!
Have a great Sunday everyone and don’t forget to give a little time to God today!
Today’s Thoughts: The Gospel story today (Mark 4:35-41) reminds us that in the storms of life, when the waves rise and the surge comes Jesus is still with us in the boat on the journey. All we need is to have faith.
In the Gospels faith often makes all the difference. It can enable us to be healed. It can save us. Faith can make us part of the community again. Sometimes it is not just about our faith, but the faith of friends that can make all the difference. In our Gospel story today it is faith that not only can save but get us to the other side, in other words help us to grow in our journey.
God reminds us over and over again that he is not going anywhere. God is always with us never leaving us to face our perils alone. All we need is faith so that we can trust the God is with us, though often invisible or unapparent, God/Jesus is always in the boat helping us through the storms of life.
Have a great Saturday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: It is always nice to celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul and then to remember his two friends Timothy and Titus the next day. I think if I had ever married and had more than one son, I would have considered the names Timothy and Titus. My first-born son would have received the name Paul, there would have been no discussion about that!
Jesus talks about farming during his time in the Gospel today. The farmer goes out and plants the seed but then waits to see what happens. The farmer doesn't know why or how it happens there is a profound trust in God and hope that the seeds planted will produce a wonderful harvest.
Today we know, for the most part, the why and how of farming. There is a lot more science and technology that goes into farming these days, yet I cannot help but think there still needs to be trust in God.
The mustard seed is a wonderful image of God's Kingdom. Just think of the creation of a person, the tiny sperm and egg come together and begin to grow as one. This conception of the sperm and egg, this coming together, becomes a person growing each day within the womb. Then in nine or so months this person arrives and begins the journey of life outside the womb. God's Kingdom is made up of millions upon millions of people and trillions upon trillions of harvests. We sleep, we wake, and we wait. Day in and day out we see the many gifts of God's Kingdom, it is a wonderful harvest and yet like the farmers of Jesus' time we still don't know how or why it happens.
We don't know everything and the more we accept this fact the more we will encounter God's Kingdom each and every day we live. In the first reading from Paul's Second Letter to Timothy, Paul says to Timothy, "For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So, do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord...but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God." I love the first line of this section of the letter, "stir into flame the gift of God." In other words, be alive, be energized, be excited about the gift of your friendship with God. I have often thought this would be a good quote to begin each day with among others.
So, friends as we journey through life today, let us stir our gift from God into the flame of life and as we find ourselves amid the struggles of what the world suggests and what God suggests let us remember even though what God suggests might seem harder, not as glamorous, not as self-fulfilling the journey we make trusting in God will make all the difference!
Have a great Friday everyone.
Today’s Thoughts: Greetings everyone on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. It is a special day for me and one that I always celebrate I guess because I was blessed with the name Paul.
There are two choices today for the first reading, both for the Acts of the Apostles. In the first option from Chapter 22, Paul retells his experience on the road to Damascus and in the second option from Chapter 9 Luke is telling the same story. I could not help but smile a little as I considered the two options, they tell the same story but just a little differently. I thought of that game where someone starts off by whispering a story to the person next to them and it goes around the circle and the last person tells the story out loud and it is always a bit different.
Whether the stories are exactly alike, is not important, what is important, is what happen on that road to Damascus. Saul, as he was called then, soon to become Paul, has a change of heart, has a change of direction. He leaves that spot on the road a changed man, no longer a persecutor, now he is a preacher of the Good News. If anything, the story of Paul reminds us that people can change, that people can come to see life differently. It doesn't take violence, anger, insult or judgment to make them change. Sometimes all it takes is a different vision, a different perspective, a different way of seeing things. God gives Paul the opportunity to see things differently and he accepts the chance.
Paul put his original energy of faith to work with anger, resentment and violence, Jesus invited him to see things a different way. His energy did not go away it just got refocused in a positive life-giving way. He no longer walked in fear, anger and in judgment but he walked in the mercy of God and proclaimed the Good News and hope.
As we celebrate the gift of this new day, as we seek the sacredness and giftedness of life in our world, let us not live in fear, in anger, in violence, in judgment; let us live in the light and hope of the Good News. St. Paul walk with us, give us your energy to proclaim the mercy and Good News of God to the world!
Happy Feast Day to everyone with the name Paul and have a great Thursday everyone.
Today’s Thoughts: The Gospel (Mark 4: 1-20) reminds us that we have work to do. Jesus has given us the gift, but what do we do with the gift? Do we plant it and let it grow into a wonderful harvest of life that brings us to God or does the gift get wasted?
I have often used the parable of the Sower and the Seed in my preaching and the way I look at it is that in life there are four different kinds of soil, three of which do not allow the seed of God's Word, Grace and Presence to grow and one that does. I often image our hearts as the field, the soil and so a good question to ask is what condition our hearts are in? Is it good soil? Can God's Word, God's Grace, God's Presence grow there? Or is it the foot path, the rocky ground, the patch of weeds and thorns that will not allow God to grow?
Why might our hearts be like to foot path? Because we have been hurt at times in our life and we have hardened, we don't let God or others in? Why might our hearts be rocky ground? Well, because we are all sinners. The rocks, boulders and pebbles are our sins. Why might our hearts be clutters with thorns? Well, because the thorns are the things of my life that have become more important than God.
So, in order to have hearts full of good soil that produces a bountiful harvest we need to loosen up the hard places, move the rocks, boulders and pebbles and do some weeding. Then our hearts and our lives will truly be places where good things grow. Our hearts will be places that will bring to life the gift of Jesus!
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: Today's readings are all about God, especially the will of God. In the Second Letter of Samuel (2Sam. 6: 12b-15, 17-19) David has followed the will of God and in today’s reading we hear about David and the people bringing the Ark of the Covenant to its new home in the City of David and the ritual full of festivities and sacrifices. In the gospel (Mark 3: 31-35) Jesus invites us into his family, everyone who does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother. In other words, if we live out life as the person God has created us to be we are part of the family!
None of this is easy. Human nature is always calling us to the easiest, quickest, self-centered and most self-indulging way of life. Most of the time our human nature rubs up against God's way, tension is created, struggle ensues. It is almost never easy to do what Jesus would do, to do what God calls us to do, yet if we respond to God's call, God's will, we are part of the family. We have the support, the prayers, the energy, the faith, the hope, the love of others and the most important other is God!
As we journey through life today, as we find ourselves amid struggles between what the world suggests and what God suggests let us remember even though what God suggests might seem harder, not as glamorous, not as self-fulfilling it is the family we walk with that will make all the difference!
Have a great Tuesday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...