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trustMonday, June 7, 2021

1 John 5:6-12

Making Liars of Ourselves

As we near the end of John’s first letter we might be shocked to hear what the apostle has to say to us. Let us encourage one another to hear God’s word and send it on.

Whoever does not believe God has made himself a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.

As we consider the testimony John gives to us we might be amazed to hear that God loves each of us. Let us encourage one another to enact God’s word and send it on.

And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in the Son.

As we begin to understand the breadth and depth and height of God’s love we might be humbled to realize that God comes among us as the human Christ to suffer as we suffer, to rejoice as we rejoice. Let us encourage one another to love God’s word and send it on.

Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever dos not possess the Son of God does not have life.

As we begin to fully take in all that John has related to us we might be amazed to understand that God loves us always, even when our actions do not reflect our words. Let us encourage one another to speak truth by living authentically rather than making liars of ourselves with all the great and little actions in our lives.

authenticityEnter the word authenticity in to the blog search bar and consider how easy it is to cease making liars of ourselves.


Image from: http://www.pammarketingnut.com/2011/05/are-authentic-social-relationships-over-rated/

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imagesCAYBROG0Sunday, June 6, 2021

1 John 5:1-5

Victory Over the World

We study John’s first letter and we see the logic in believing that our faith will help us to move away from the easy commandment the world gives us of taking care of self.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God . . .

We also feel the tug of faith based on Christ, the certainty of hope placed in God and the serenity of love found in the Spirit.

Everyone who loves the father also loves the one begotten by God . . .

Yet still we may struggle with how it is that this victory that John describes – and the victory we want to experience – takes place in us.

In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey God’s commandments . . .

We might look for certain answers to our many questions and ask for more solid information, but this negates the process that John describes of coming to know Christ through faith.

For the love of God is this, that we keep God’s commandments. God’s commandments are not burdensome . . .

If we fight against loving our enemies we must remember that the more we practice interceding for those who harm us the more we find ourselves awaking to God’s Law of Love.

For whoever is begotten by God conquers the world . . .

We need not struggle against exterior forces of darkness; rather, we struggle with our own reluctance to trust God . . . even a reluctance which seems to be founded on logic and prudence.

And the victory that conquers the world is our faith . . .

We need not look to others to find happiness and even serenity; rather, we need look only to ourselves and our willingness to love God in everyone we meet, even those who wish us harm.

Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

When we believe that we can find no victory in this world . . . perhaps we might reconsider what kind of victory we seek . . . and if our victory finds it foundation in Christ himself.


Enter the word victory into the blog search bar and consider what victory looks like to those who trust God.

Image from: http://www.pinterest.com/alannadueck/christian-quotes/

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Monday, May 24, 2021

Sunset-Sunrise-Clouds-Landscapes-Sun-1800x28801 John 2

Ideal and Real – Part IV: The New Commandment

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.

We look for new inspiration. We believe that if we had one more resource all would be well. We look to off-load our worries when all we need do is put them in God’s hands.

The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

All will be well if we can just get a raise. Everything will be fine if we can just someone to do what we want. We believe we will have no more worries if we can just arrange life as we want it while all the while abundant gifts are given us daily.

Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.

Our work environment would improve if cranky and controlling co-workers would go elsewhere. Family get-togethers would be so much better but for that person with whom we struggle.  Our worship community would be perfect if only the cranky believers would worship somewhere else . . . and all the while Christ walks among us. All the while the Spirit abides and calls us.  All the while we are children of the same creator who asks us to live in peaceful unity.

This is the new commandment the Apostle John relays to us. This is the new commandment Christ brings to us. This is the new commandment that unites the real and ideal.

Tomorrow, uniting day and night in prayer.


Image from: http://www.all-wallpapers.net/wallpaper/sunset-sunrise-clouds-landscapes-sun/

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1 john 2Saturday, May 22, 2021

1 John 2

Ideal and Real – Part II: Connecting

“The author sets forth the striking contrasts between light and darkness, Christians and the world, and truth and error to illustrate the threats and responsibilities of Christian life. The result is not one of theological argument but one of intense religious conviction expressed in simple truths. The letter is of particular value for its declaration of the humanity and divinity of Christ as an apostolic teaching and for its development of the intrinsic connection between Christian moral conduct and Christian doctrine”. (Senior 387)

When we find ourselves making strong theological arguments rather than listening with the heart of Christ, we know that we have strayed from John’s words. When we exhaust ourselves in heavy conflict we know that we have put Jesus’s Law of Love too far out of our reach. When we find ourselves grasping for complicated and high-flying arguments, we know that we have turned away from Jesus’ method of teaching in simple truths.

Words or battles are not important when we live The Law of Love; rather, it is the intrinsic connection we make between our Christian moral conduct and the doctrine we expound that is our measure.

Let us spend sometime today with verses 12 to 17 of 1 John 2, and examine why and how and if our battles draw connecting lines between our conduct. And let us spend time exploring truths we speak.

Tomorrow – Part III: Hostile Camps


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.387. Print.  

Adapted from a reflection written on Sunday, January 10, 2010.

Image from: http://www.slideshare.net/tay777/1-john-2

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Ascension Sunday, May 16, 2021birds-watercolor-painting-giclee-poster-gift-idea-two-sparrows-home-decor-joanna-szmerdt

Matthew 10:29-31

Every Hair

Jesus taught us, saying: Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than two sparrows”.

In this short citation of Jesus’ words, we learn all that we need to know about living life and about being watchful.

ONE: Nothing can be concealed from God. The Creator knows all that we think and do. The Creator understands our most secret motivations. Why do we try to hide anything we do or anything we think? Secrecy is futile in the kingdom.

Christ walks always with us, calling us forth in the name of the Creator. The Spirit remains in us, filling us with life eternal.

TWO: Nothing we do goes unnoted by God. The Creator marks both our pain and sorrow, our happiness and joy. Why do we persist in relying on our own small forces when we have the omnipotence and omniscience of the Creator buoying us up?  Reliance on self is meaningless in the kingdom.

Christ walks before and behind us, guiding and protecting in the name of the Creator. The Spirit hovers, abiding and consoling with love everlasting.

If God notes even the falling of a sparrow’s feather, how much can our anxiety and willfulness accomplish? How far will our stubbornness carry us in comparison with the power and strength of the Spirit?

If God numbers every hair on our heads, how much do we think we can hide what we do not like about ourselves?

How much will our separateness gain for us in comparison with the unity we have in God’s love? Secrecy and too much reliance on self will always be trumped by humility, generosity and love in the kingdom. Let us live as if we believe that God has numbered our every hair.


Image from: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/birds-watercolor-painting-giclee-poster-gift-idea-two-sparrows-home-decor-joanna-szmerdt.html?product=greeting-card

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paths 5Easter Thursday, April 8, 2021

Matthew 13:1-17

So Many Paths – Part III

Jesus says: “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, more will be taken away”.

Some lives are hidden journeys, following tracks laid down by unknown forces that pull us forward rapidly. We fly past dense underbrush that hides us from the openness of the world. We are enslaved to a strict pathway that does not allow for deviation in any way. Journeys like this seem pleasant and ordered but they eliminate the opportunity to make choices. We find that we have no freedom. When we realize that we have chosen a pathway that thinks for us and keeps us away from the fullness of creation, we find that we are missing out not only on risk and danger but on our own development. We begin to understand Jesus’ words when he says that those with more will prosper and those with little will fail. It dawns on us that these words do not refer to material goods but rather, to a life lived in fullness of heart versus a life lived with a narrowness of mind. A constricted, prescribed and confining journey brings with it its own punishment of more constriction; while open and generous pathways call us out of ourselves and ask us to stretch. Open and flexible journeys offer us a new prosperity of love, peace and fulfillment. We discover that as we move away from restriction to stretch beyond our comfort zones, we learn about the depth and breadth and beauty of our gifts.

paths 6“This is why I speak in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand’. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them”.

There are paths that bring us changes that are so sudden that at first we believe ourselves to be lost. Huge, impassable obstacles loom large before us and all we see is a roadblock. All we hear is chaos. When we look closely, however, to discern God’s plan and call, we notice alternative routes we had not previously seen. We hear precious words of advice and encouragement to which we had earlier been deaf. With this new discovery of trusting God, we also realize a life of eagerness, adventure and acumen. We become wiser. We hear better. We see further. We find endurance. We find that we can bear far more that we had imagined. We understand that we are loved far more than we had hoped. Our eyes see opportunity where before we had seen loss; our ears hear rejoicing where before we heard only dirges.

paths 14Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears because they hear. Many prophets and righteous people have longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Spaths 9ome journeys convince us that the world is made of two kinds of people: the good and the bad. We find ourselves believing the illusion that we can divide everyone and every idea into opposing camps or positions. And then we find ourselves either allying with the position we think is the safest and most suitable . . . or we struggle to achieve an impossible compromise that addresses none of the problems we find before us. This kind of living begins as an innocent attempt to simplify our journey, and it ends in a passage that is rigid, unforgiving and blind.

Tomorrow, So Many Paths – Part IV.


Images from: https://www.joe-ks.com/2012/amazing-paths

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Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021

Luke 19:41-44

Ercole de" Roberti: Destruction of Jerusalem

Ercole de’ Roberti: Destruction of Jerusalem

Recognizing the Messiah

We lament the world’s injustice. We search for wisdom in the prophets. We struggle to live the Word of the Gospel. We await a Messiah.

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes”.

Jerusalem is the celebrated site of God’s presence among the Jewish people – yet Jesus laments her blindness.

“For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides”. 

The holy Temple contains the Ark of the Covenant – yet Jesus predicts the day when all will be lost.

“They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation”.

The people of God cried out for a king. God answered their prayer. Yet they did not recognize that God already lived among them.

Let us decide to address the world’s injustice. Let us listen to the wisdom in the prophets. Let us determine to live out the truths of the Gospel. And let us choose to recognize the Messiah who dwells within.

On this Easter Sunday that holds so much promise after a year of pandemic fear and social unease, we acknowledge that although the Temple of Jerusalem fell, it rose again in the body of Christ. We recognize the wisdom of the prophecy of Amos. We celebrate the limitless mercy of the Messiah.


For a homily on this reading, click on the image above or go to: http://sothl.com/2011/08/28/sermon-luke-1941-44/

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Second Sunday in Lent, February 28, 2021

Psalm 94psalm-94-18-19[1]

Our Interior Law – Part IV

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We ask for wisdom so that we might discern your law that lives within each of us.

Blessed the one whom you instruct, O Lord, whom by your law you teach, giving them rest from evil days. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for peace in our turbulent days so that we must rest with you as we move through our days.

For the Lord will not cast off God’s people, nor abandon God’s inheritance; but judgment will be with justice, and all the upright of heart will follow it. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for integrity and uprightness so that we might live out the Gospel as Jesus teaches us.

When I say, “My foot is slipping,” your mercy, O Lord, sustains me; when cares abound within me, your comfort gladdens my soul. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for compassion and forgiveness so that we might live the love the Spirit inspires in each of us.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We tap into our interior law, knowing that it always leads us in the best direction, understanding that it flourishes at the best of God’s time, and believing that it nourishes and sustains each of us and all of us.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

Jesus says, “Do you not yet understand or comprehend?  Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”  They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”  (Mark 8:17-21)

God’s love is far greater than we can imagine and far more durable than we can believe.  And this is God’s law of love.  There is always love in abundance . . . forever. Blessed are those who see and hear. Blessed are those who allow God to soften hearts. Blessed are those who believe that God’s law lives within.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.


Image from: http://shareaverse.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/comfort-3/psalm-94-18-19/ 

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

circumcision-of-the-heart[1]Romans 2:25-29

Our Interior Law

Part III

True circumcision is not outward, in the flesh. Rather, one is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit, not the letter; his praise is not from human beings but from God.

In the early church argument erupted over whether or not the first non-Jewish Christians must first be circumcised in order to join the movement. Luke records much of this turmoil in Acts and we see a success convening of the first Church Council to sort out the problem the fledgling group faced. Peter puts an end to the petty bickering when he says: Who was I to be able to hinder God? God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too. (Acts 11:17-18)

Some of Jesus’ early followers wrap themselves in the safety of rules and regulations that are created to keep themselves and others in line. How do we turn away those who long to hear the Good News that kingdom-builders are meant to deliver?

Some of Jesus’ first adherents see the Mystical Body as a club or community organization to be tightly controlled. How do we allow the Spirit to move in and through us so that we might bring the freedom and joy of the kingdom to others?

Some of Jesus’ initial disciples worried over the details of God’s plan, believing themselves responsible for correcting all they believe is wrong with the world. How do we stifle the Spirit, misrepresent Jesus, and ignore God as we seek to be builders with Christ?

Who am I to be able to hinder God? 

As we reflect on our interior and outer laws, how and why we follow them, and how or if they match the Law of Love established by God through Jesus . . . let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit as we honestly answer the question Peter poses . . . Who are we to be able to hinder God?


For a deeper understanding of Circumcision of the Heart, click on the image above or go to: http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/v01-n06/circumcision

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