Today’s Thoughts: Often in talks that I have given the subject gets around to images of God. One of the points that I make is that to me the images of God in the Old Testament are the images of our childhood and the images of God in the New Testament are the images of our adulthood. Now, I know that this is a very simplistic statement and that there are many theologians and scripture scholars who would very empathically disagree with my statement. However, in a general way I think what I say about the Old and New Testaments is true.
As I see it the God we encounter in the Old Testament is a superhero. He creates out of nothing. He separates seas. He wins battles. He is a bigger than life God. While the God we encounter is the New Testament is Jesus and the many wonderful images that he shares with us – a Father, a Good Shepherd, a forgiver of sins and so on.
Now with all of this said if we look at the images of God in our readings today – my theory is completely upside down! The superhero is from the New Testament and the intimate God is from the Old Testament. In our Gospel today, Jesus walks on water and in our reading from the First Book of Kings, God is a tiny whispering sound or in some translation the sound of silence.
The point of our readings today is that no matter how we encounter God, whether as a superhero or in an intimate conversation God is always there for us. Jesus is there for Peter and the other disciples even though their faith is not the best and God is there for Elijah even though he is struggling with his faith too.
If we are open to any kind of encounter with God we will always have the chance to walk way on the right path and stronger in our faith.
Have a blessed, holy, safe, and healthy Sunday everyone and don’t forget to give God a little time today because you never know when you will meet him along the way!
Today’s Thoughts: Faith is the focus of our readings today. In the first reading the Prophet Habakkuk questions God in faith. He wants to understand why things happen the way they do but ultimately, he trusts in his relationship and his journey with God.
In our Gospel today, we learn that faith is about going all in, loving with everything we have, and we see what happens when we are not faithful. Jesus becomes exasperated with the people and his disciples because of their lack of faith. The disciples are still not all in. They are still hedging their bets with Jesus and thus they struggled driving out the demon from the young boy.
Faith demands a commitment. We cannot be lukewarm, we cannot do just the minimum. Faith can be as small as a mustard seed, but we need to be all in with our whole heart, our whole soul and all our strength.
Have a blessed, holy, safe, and healthy Saturday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: The disciples left behind rather normal lives, fishing, collecting taxes, among other things and they did it all in order to follow Jesus. As we here in Matthew’s Gospel today now comes the hard part. The kingdom that Jesus speaks about will not be established by might but by sacrifice, compassion for other, suffering and death. Jesus is not a political or military leader. His power is not to take things by force. His way is not the way of the world. It is to die to self. It is to let go of what the world thinks is important. It is to grab onto a relationship with God and not let go.
Following Jesus and dying to self, letting go, is not an easy task. The cross presents itself to us daily in many different ways. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once put it “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
So, we are called today and every day to find that place deep within each one of us, where God is calling us, through the paschal mystery, into a relationship of love – and it is that relationship that holds the promise of a joyful, rich, and never-ending life in the kingdom.
Have a holy, blessed, safe, and healthy Friday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” (Thomas Merton)
I used these words from Thomas Merton not long ago in another one of my daily reflections, but I thought they spoke to our scriptures today on this Feast of the Transfiguration. We might not know how or why but by God’s grace our lives can be transformed into something wonderful if we are willing to embrace this moment with courage, faith and hope.
We also need to remember that on this day 75 years ago an atomic bomb was dropped and three days later another one was dropped. We live today in the hope that Jesus’ transfiguration will always remind us that, despite our human tendency toward acts of violence, hate, disrespect, racism, and death, our lives, the world, can be changed by God’s power to give new life!
Blessings on this Feast of the Transfiguration to everyone and please pray for an end to all war, violence and hate in our world.
Have a blessed, holy, safe, and healthy Thursday everyone.
Today’s Thoughts: “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, MC)
The Canaanite woman in our Gospel (Matt. 15:21-28) today is a woman of prayer. She puts herself in the hands of God. She is at God’s disposition and she knows it. But she remains persistent, she hears God’s voice deep in her heart and because of her faith her daughter is healed.
Will we have faith enough today to put ourselves in the hands of God? Will we have faith enough today to listen to God’s voice in our hearts? Will we have faith enough today to bring hope to those we love?
Have a blessed, holy. safe, and healthy Wednesday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: “People who know how to creatively break the rules also know why the rules were there in the first place.” (Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM) Perhaps this reflection by Fr. Rohr hits at the heart of what is taking place in the Gospel today. Jesus and his disciples come under attack from the so-called religious people of their time, who are challenging Jesus and particularly his disciple on how they are living out their faith.
But Jesus knows the rules. He knows that they are guides to living life not the be all and end all. When we place all our faith on rules and regulations, we are missing the point, we are missing the presence of God. Rituals and rules are present first and for most to help us on our journey of faith, they are not the be all and end all. They are tools to helps us. Sometimes they even get in the way. In the Gospel today, Jesus is challenging the religious leaders to reflect on their lives of faith. Faith is not doing all the prescribed rituals and action. Faith begins with what is in the heart. Faith is our living of life in the presence of God.
Jeremiah knew this well. In our first reading he continues to inspire the people to have hope. Yes, things seem hopeless, but faith is about trusting in God’s plan and God’s presence. We might not always understand that plan, we might not always feel that presence, but we are to always have hope!
Have a blessed, holy. safe, and healthy Tuesday everyone.
Today’s Thoughts: Friends in faith my reflection is going to be on the short side this morning as I have mass at 8:30 in a parish about 25 miles from here.
Our readings are interesting today in that they paint two vastly different pictures, yet have something especially important in common, God’s presence, grace, and investment in our life.
In our first reading from Jeremiah, we encounter Jeremiah struggling with the false prophet Hananiah. As the story unfolds it appears that the false prophet Hananiah wins, because he tells the people what they want to hear. However, Jeremiah remains faithful even though he is humiliated and striped of his importance as a prophet. God does not let Jeremiah down and in the end, because of Jeremiah’s faithfulness, the truth wins!
In our Gospel we have the familiar scene of Jesus walking on the water. The disciples find themselves struggling with the waves and wind as they journey across the sea in the middle of the night. Jesus comes walking toward them on the water. they think he is a ghost but then Jesus speaks to them and they recognize him. Peter in his usual impetuous way tests Jesus by asking if he too can walk on the water. Jesus invites him to come along on the journey. However, the wind and the waves, we might say the struggles of life make it hard for Peter to not doubt and he begins to sink. Jesus save the moment but reminds Peter that all he really needs is faith.
Faith plays an important role in our two stories today as it does everyday in life. Faith is our starting point each day that enables us to make our journey through life. Sometimes we encounter false prophet who tell us what we want to hear and sometimes we come face to face with the strong winds and wave that cause us to sink. Faith and the faithfulness of God are always there to rescue us, to save us, to support us on our journey. All we need to do is let go and let God!
Have a blessed, holy, safe, and healthy Monday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: All three of our readings today are rich. Isaiah invites us to great banquet. St. Paul reminds us that God is always for us, with us and Jesus does miraculous things with the little we have.
“Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers [and sisters], go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.” (Pope Francis)
Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he asked the disciples what they had when they were confronted with such a large crowd. Yes, the miracle of the loaves and fishes took place that day. Yes, Jesus took a few loaves and fishes and fed over five thousand people. But before he did it, he asked the disciple what they had. Jesus asked the disciple to give out what they had.
God always provides and most of the time it is through us. Often, we look at ourselves and think, “There is not much here! I certainly don’t have enough to satisfy the crowd!” But we do and as Pope Francis says, if we go and share, if we go and become the Body of Christ then great things will happen. Miraculous things will happen. The world will be fed!
The question for today is “What do we have?” The challenge is to “go and share!”
Have a blessed, holy, safe, and healthy Sunday everyone and don’t forget to give God a little time today!
Today’s Thoughts: Something to think about from Thomas Merton as you journey through the day. It is certainly something that Herod did not think about in our Gospel (Matt. 14:1-12) today!
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, and is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” (Thomas Merton)
Have a blessed, holy, safe, and healthy Saturday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: Sorry for being a little late this morning but I have been up since 2:30 am dealing with a leaking roof! Oh, the joys of being responsible for the care of a house…
The Gospel reading today focus on the human struggle, lack of faith. Often, we think we know what is right. We think we know what is best for ourselves and those around us. We think we know what God wants. Then someone comes along, like a Rosa Parks, a St. John XXIII, a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Thomas Merton, a St. Teresa of Calcutta, an Oscar Romero, a Pope Francis and they point us in a different direction, sometimes telling us we are headed down the wrong path, but always showing us just where God can be found.
We don’t like to be wrong and we are not always excited to have someone ruin our plans after all what do they know about us, about our life, about our faith. We might not put them to death like the Israelites often did to their prophets, but we reject their way of thinking, their insights, their spirits, the gift of their faith, hope and love. We call to mind tradition, dogma, or doctrine. We point to order, cost and what makes us comfortable. We at times dismiss them as misguided and unimportant or we point to their faults and failings.
When we do this like the people of Nazareth, we make it almost impossible for God to work in our lives. We make it impossible for the ordinary things in life to become extraordinary.
O God, in your great love keep us always open to the voices of your Word and strengthen our faith so we will always recognize your presence amongst us!
Friday blessings to all be well, safe, and healthy!
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...