Today’s Thoughts: Perhaps today’s thought or focus might be the response from today’s responsorial psalm, “Remember the marvels the Lord has done.” Certainly, the two readings, the continuing story of Joseph and his family and Jesus’ sending of the twelve remind us of some of the marvels that God has done over the centuries.
However, more importantly for us today it might not be a bad idea to pause and just remember of the marvels of God in our own life. We all have experienced wonderful, awesome, and marvelous things in our life, things that if we stop and think about can tell us about God’s presence in our life. Take a few moments sometime today and think about your life, remember the marvelous things God has done for you, children, spouses, friends, experiences, occasions and moments that mean something special to you. Think of the wonderful and awesome places you have been and the people who journeyed there with you.
Yes, God has done marvelous things for us and sometimes it is good to stop, remember and give thanks for them!
Have a great Thursday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: “A [person] knows when he [or she] has found his [or her] vocation when he [or she] stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.” (Thomas Merton) I think this is a good quote for our Gospel reading today. The 12 apostles (Matt. 10:1-7) begin to live today and in doing so they find out what God has in store for them.
Isn’t this true for all of us? In living we uncover, we find, we experience, we become who God calls us to be. A verse from John’s Gospel came to mind as I reflected upon today’s Gospel, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” (John 15:16). The twelve were chosen by Jesus and in the Gospel today they take their first steps in living out that call, they bring the gift of God to the people that they encounter.
The challenge today for us is – Are we living out our call? And what gifts are we offering the world today?
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: I have a couple of thoughts about our readings today. First off, I think we have all been where Jesus seems to be today. It might take place within family, friends, the place where we work, the neighborhood or our faith community, but we have been in those situations when we look at people and their struggles and our “hearts go out to them!” We see them overwhelmed by life and we wonder how they will survive, how they will make it. At times we even feel helpless because the struggle, the problem, the issue just seems so overwhelming.
In the midst of Jesus’ ministry, even though he is healing everyone in sight he looks around and it is overwhelming. He sees the struggles of life, of health, of emotions, of faith. How these people going to make it?” He wonders. His heart goes out to them!
However, Jesus also sees a great harvest. He sees possibilities; he sees gifts, talents, abilities. He sees hope and a future, but he knows people cannot do it alone the whole community must work at it. Sometimes we think this passage just refers to vocations. If we just get enough priests everything will be fine. Vocations are only a piece of the challenge that Jesus presents to us today. The challenge is for the whole community to be involved. The whole community needs to work together to bring in the harvest, not just a so called chosen few.
The harvest of faith, hope and love is the responsibility of the community. We are in this journey of life together and we all have something to add, to give so that the full rich harvest of God’s presence can be realized and made present.
Have a great Tuesday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: The verse from the responsorial psalm seems to capture the essence of our readings today, “In you, my God, I place my trust.” In the Gospel, (Matt. 9:18-26), we witness God’s graciousness and mercy through Jesus. It is a graciousness and mercy that comes about because of the faith of two people, who place their trust in God, the official and the woman. Both the official and the woman have unconditional faith, unrelenting faith and trust in God. Even though his daughter is dead the official still searches out Jesus. He knows that even in death an encounter with Jesus can mean life. The woman who has struggled with health issues for many years just wants to touch Jesus’ clothing that simple action will make all the difference.
These faith filled people teach us the value, the gift of unconditional, unrelenting faith and trust in God. They teach us that when we place our trust in God wonderful things, sometimes even impossible things happen, both encounter God’s graciousness and mercy!
Today we are challenged not pass up any opportunity to encounter a place, a person, an experience that will help us to know of God’s active presence in our life, to know God’s graciousness and mercy. Let us be people of unconditional, unrelenting faith and trust in God so that as we journey through life there is always the possibility for wonderful if not impossible things to happen.
Have a great Monday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: In order to get a better grasp of our first reading today from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we have to consider the importance of the Temple in Jerusalem. This building complex was the dwelling place of God and the central reminder of God’s fidelity. It was the foremost symbol of Israel as God’s Chosen People. They were what the Temple said they were. It became the celebration place for their identity, their history and their future.
In our first reading we are listening to verses from the final chapter of Isaiah. It is a complicated and lengthy series of poems, oracles, threats, history and songs of comfort and support. What we encounter today is one such oracle calling out hope and rebirth to the nation Israel.
The Temple has been rebuilt after exile and so the identity of the nation is reborn. The verse immediately before our reading, pictures God in a conception/birth posture which leads to the maternal rejoicing of our reading.
The Temple itself is in a maternal posture giving birth and consoling nourishment. The presence of God is again a blessing for all, who like young children, sit on their mother’s lap and are comforted with the motherly gestures of faithful love. Those who find life and strength from such nourishment will live their lives as faithful children in service to their loving God.
In our Gospel we hear what we might call a “pep talk” or a coach’s half time speech by Jesus. As Moses selected seventy elders to guide and govern his people, so Luke images Jesus as a Moses, sending out seventy-two disciples to make known his coming. Jesus’ challenge to them is that they are to depend on nothing nor anybody, but on the Spirit with which Jesus sends them. We hear of their joyous return and excited report of all they had done and seen.
Jesus receives their report and reminds them that what they experienced was a direct result of their relationship with God. They belong to God and are dependent on him for their identity. In other words, they cannot go it alone. They must let go and let God.
Jesus is the “kingdom of God” which is close at hand. The ones sent are how that “kingdom” will be handed on. They will see and do great things, but even greater are the works that will be done through them without their knowing it.
Today, we are how the “kingdom of God” gets handed on. Like Jesus’ disciples we too must be dependent on God so that great things can happen. However, at times we struggle. At times we think we can go it alone after all.
Often, we want our own identities. We want to create our own kingdoms which are of hands and for ourselves. We can go down this road, but it is the road to ruin. Even in the independence we celebrated last Thursday, God is present. We might say that God is always be laboring to free us from our independence. God is always reminding us that what we have is not our doing but God’s doing. If we remain faithful, if we remain dependent even greater are the works that can be done!
Have a blessed Sunday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: In today’s gospel Jesus presents himself to his disciples, and to us, as our bridegroom. Jesus says he desires to relate to them, and to us, as a bridegroom relates to a bride!
This is quite an invitation to intimacy and in thinking about it, one might feel a little uncomfortable. To be honest with you, I am much more comfortable focusing on Jesus as savior, shepherd and friend -- our way, our truth our life. I am comfortable acknowledging Jesus as savior of humanity, and for saving me as part of the human race.
But it is sometimes scary when Jesus reveals what he desires from us individually, that is, when he invites us to be with him in the most intimate human relationship, that of a bridegroom and bride. This invitation can seem overwhelming because intimacy ask so much more of us perhaps more than we want to give.
But Jesus is honest with us and his disciples. He asserts that he does not want us simply to “patch up” our former relationship with God -- patching up old cloth and old wineskins doesn’t work. Jesus invites us to a new relationship, new cloth, new wineskins.
Can he really mean it? What do we do now? Can we accept the invitation?
But what Jesus asks Jesus gives. We can only pray for the grace to remove our resistance and to allow Jesus to draw us into this spousal intimacy.
Lord, teach us how to let you be our bridegroom and speak to us of peace!
Have a great Saturday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: Whenever I hear or read today’s Gospel (Matt. 9:9-13) I think of all those times when people, often times leaders, especially religious leaders, refuse to attend something, a graduation, dinner, fundraising event or some other gathering because a certain person is going to be there or be honored. Often the objection centers on an issue like abortion, contraception or some other political/faith issue. I am sure those who protest the presence of this person have good reasons; reasons often intensified by some others who believe it would bring scandal to attend.
Yet, Jesus often sat, talked, ate and was found in the company of public sinners and people at odds with the faith community. Situations that the religious leaders of his time thought were bringing scandal. Jesus’ statement to the Pharisees today seems to indicate that these are the very people he came to encounter and help. Why is that not the same today? Why are we not willing to be present to people who need help today? Do we not trust God’s presence? Do we not trust that people can change? Do we think that people cannot be affected by what we bring to a moment though faith? Must people always believe first before we are willing to talk to them or be in their presence? Do we really not value our own witness of faith?
Jesus did not convert every person he met. He did not change the attitudes, the opinions or the actions of every person he encountered. Jesus simply was willing to listen, to share, to be present to and to treat all people as God’s children. He was willing to break bread, to share a meal and hope that through the encounter a person’s heart might change.
I realize that none of us are Jesus, however if we are his disciples so let us humbly follow in his footsteps and trust in our faith, in our witness to the Gospel?
Have a great Friday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: Happy Fourth of July everyone! Many blessings on your holiday. I hope it will be a good one and that whatever you do today or wherever you go it will be a day of fun laughter, family, friends, peace and safety. Enjoy your holiday!
“When God is going to do something wonderful, [God] always starts with a hardship; when God is going to do something amazing, [God] starts with an impossibility.” (Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith)
In some ways, I think both our readings today speak to Anne Lamott’s thoughts about God. The story of Abraham told by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, (Gen. 22: 1b-19) has always been an intriguing one. I was thinking this morning of all the parents I have encountered in my life and I would have to stay 99% of them would have found God’s request troubling if not impossible. But as Lamott says, if God is going to do something amazing and or wonderful God starts with hardship and the impossible. It was certainly a hardship for Abraham and maybe if you think about it from a parent’s perspective it was an impossibility. Yet, that is where God started and from Abraham’s faithfulness and trust something wonderful and amazing unfolded.
We might look at the Gospel (Matt. 9:1-8) in the same way. Jesus seemly, at least for the scribes, starts with an impossibility, forgiving sins which lead to another impossibility the healing of a paralytic. Yet from these two seemly impossible actions the hardship of sinfulness and a physical disability are taken away, in other words something amazing and wonderful takes place.
The key to both of our stories is faith and faithfulness, Abraham’s faith, the paralytic and his friends’ faith and God’s faithfulness. Perhaps was we journey, through this day all parents should give pause to look at their children and realize by having them God has tested your faithfulness, may the hardships and the impossibilities of watching them grow be the very faith and hopefulness of amazement and wonder.
Have a great Thursday and a Happy and safe 4th of July everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: I have always felt that over the centuries, St. Thomas the Apostle has gotten a bad rap. If we look at the Gospel stories especially those situated around the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus it seems that everyone doubts, and everyone needs to see, taste, touch, hear or smell Jesus before they believe!
Perhaps, St. John includes this little story about Thomas just to remind us that everyone doubts, and everyone need the sacramental experience of Jesus to keep us going on the right path. In celebrating St. Thomas today, we are reminded that there is no cheap grace. Faith is a struggle, doubt is around every corner, with reason to wonder and question often making an appearance. We only prevail; we only remain faithful because of grace, grace that was born out of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. It is not cheap grace, but grace grounded in the marks of struggle and love.
I have a favorite quote by Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ that I visit often; “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, [humankind] will have discovered fire.” Perhaps our story of Thomas today reminds us of what we all want to discover and when we touch, taste, smell, see or hear it we too can say, “My Lord and my God!”
Today let us not be unbelieving but by the grace of God let us believe!
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: In our Gospel, we have the familiar story of Jesus calming the storm. The storm is a place where we all have been; those times when things are going along just fine and then something happens, the winds and storm clouds of life overwhelm us.
Sure, there are always a few bumps in the road but that is to be expected in the living of life but we have got things under control. As I said above, then it happens, all hell breaks loose and we are hanging on for dear life. All our planning, all our preparations, all our good intentions seem to go right out the window. We are now hanging on by our finger tips any moment life will come crashing down on us. We followed our plan. We did all the right things. Why is this happening to us? Our life is simply out of control and we are doomed!
“Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Why are we terrified? Have we lost faith? Have we lost faith in God, faith in others, faith in ourselves? Have we forgotten all the hard work we have put into life? Are we unwilling to trust ourselves any more just because a storm has entered our life? Are we really that fragile? Have we forgotten to trust who has brought us to this moment?
Storms in life are fearful moments. They seem to take control away from us, if we really ever had it. They bring to the surface all kinds of doubt from the dark reaches of our hearts. They scare us and sometimes make us think the worst. They take us out of our comfort zone. Yet, we are reminded today that no matter what, we never face the storms of life alone. Paraphrasing the words of Thomas Merton’s famous prayer, “We should not fear because God is always with us and will never leave us to face our storms alone.”
On this lazy summer day whether we find ourselves in the midst of a calm day, looking at a horizon full of storm clouds or right in the middle of an all-out storm, let us have faith in God, faith in those important in our life and faith in ourselves so that no matter what this day brings our faith will see us through.
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...