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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Watch!

Mark 13: 33 - 37

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Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore -- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning -- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch."

Reflection:

The Lord cautions us against falling asleep in our work. We can fall asleep when we become complacent, or comfortable. We must make sure that we are always listening to the wee small voice of the Spirit calling us to advance the Kingdom in our part of the vineyard. We must be cautious not to put parish ministries on autopilot or to decide that it is just too much work to commence new evangelization or catechetical programs.

The Lord has a great plan for us and expectations that when He returns He will find us working. We work for the Master of the house – in His house. We should watch and work until He returns!

6:30 am pst

Saturday, November 29, 2008

You Lack One Thing

Mark 10: 17 - 21

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And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: `Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth." And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

Reflection:

The man in today’s Gospel has been fastidious in following all of the ‘rules’ in seeking eternal life. It seems that he is particularly focused on observing the commandments having never violated these in his adult life. But Jesus wants more than rule-followers. He wants our complete focus. The young man has divided his life – one part of it for God and the other part for accumulation and enjoyment of his wealth.

In our own lives, and ministries, and parishes we sometimes see a lack of integration. One part of the ministry is for the Lord while another part is for our agenda, our purpose, our goals. As pastors, staff, ministry leaders, and parishioners, we must always check with Christ to make sure that we are working for Him, with Him, and in Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Then we can store up treasure in heaven and truly follow Our Lord.

5:56 am pst

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Kingdom of God is Near

Luke 21: 29 - 33

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And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Reflection:

God is working through us in our ministry and our apostolate.  We need to pay attention so that we will see the signs of His work.  Just as a new leaf appears as a very small bud - sometimes indistinguishable without focus and examination, just so the fruit of His work through us.

Sometimes parish life and ministry can appear to be fruitless and without life.  But upon closer reflection (and with patience) we see the flowering and spark of the Holy Spirit.  For those of us suffering in the 'winter-time' of ministry we pray.  Keep hope as the Lord has promised that His words will not pass away.

7:06 am pst

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turn Back and Give Thanks

Luke 17: 11 - 19

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On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Sama'ria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."

Reflection:

In today's Gospel, 10 people are healed and only one gives thanks.  10 were cleansed and given a chance at new life and only one returned to thank Him who had given them the gift.  We recognize this in our own world.  People who have been saved by Jesus seem to be oblivious to the eternal gift they have received.

How about us?  Are we ready to return to the Lord and fall on our face in thanks for the blessings we have received?  First, we are thankful for the gift of Jesus and the gift of eternal life.  And we should be thankful for our vocation, our ministry, for those put in our lives who we minister to and who minister to us.  For our health and our intelligence and for our family and friends.  For the gift of faith and the opportunity to serve the Lord.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice!

6:41 am pst

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Time to Bear Testimony

Luke 21: 12 - 19

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But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.

You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.


Reflection:

We have all had a difficult situation before where we realized that they people we were speaking to did not agree with what we were saying.  There is always the temptation to temper our words or to backtrack on the full impact of our message.  In the context of church and church teaching, there can be no equivocation.  We must preach and act as the Lord has ordained us to do.

Sometimes the people who strongly oppose us are parishioners, staff members, or ministry leaders.  This is very difficult and causes us to rethink our beliefs.  On one hand, this is good as the Holy Spirit may be communicating to us through these folks.  However, if we are teaching in communion with the Magisterium we need to stand strong and preach the truth: 'In season and out of season'.

Pastors have a canonical responsibilty "to preach the Word of God in its entirety to every person" living within the parish.  He has given you a mouth and wisdom - you must preach the truth.

6:05 am pst

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nation against Nation

Luke 21: 5 - 11

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And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, "As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?" And he said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!' and, `The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

Reflection:

Our Lord warns about the inevitability of conflict in our lives.  "Nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom" will be commonplace.  In some of our parishes we see conflict and even war between parishioners and groups.  This is not from Christ - who is the Prince of Peace.

In your role in the parish are you a sign of conflict or peace.  As Pastor, do you allow the Holy Spirit to work through parishioners and staff guiding you to His Will?  As an important staff member, do you support the Pastor and his decisions?  As a part of the lay ministry in the parish do you carry out your role in peace without an agenda of your own?

Our parishes should be models of the kingdom on earth.  We should live as the early disciples did as described in the Book of Acts: "They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.  And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved."

6:45 am pst

Monday, November 24, 2008

Widow's Mite

Luke 21: 1 - 4

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He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. and he said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had."

Reflection:

Many times we fail to see that our small contributions are sometimes our greatest contributions.  When we greet someone who comes to the parish with a smile and genuine joy, we make them feel welcome and part of the family of Christ.  When we take the time to return all phone calls we help people to feel important.  When we don't rush through our tasks with those visiting the parish we have time to listen to their needs, their fears, and their problems.  When we do these small things then we can be Christ for other people - then we can give of ourselves.  We will have given out of our poverty and we will have given more than ever before!

5:23 am pst


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