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Archive for the tag “Faith”

Lent 2016…….changes

What IS this time of lent?  What IS it for? Why?

Changes.

We are called to change.  You could call it a calling, a whisper, a sign, the Holy Spirit – a change in the wind.   We recently have experienced this change, call it a calling, we call it an opportunity.  An opportunity, in the end to help provide for our family.  With this opportunity comes a lot of changes.  One of those changes has already challenged us in our faith.  We are finding ourselves changing parishes, priests, dioceses and feeling a bit lost currently.  Not lost for the love of our faith.  Even though the catholic faith is universal in the liturgy and the whole mass, it does feel different; different priest, different bulletin, different songs.

So our challenge is this change.  Let’s focus on making a difference in our changes this year.

Since we went to Rome this past year and we were less than ten feet from Pope Francis, I feel we are close friends, so I am going to use his favorite phrase and say “Pray for us”.

 

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The Basics

I was sitting at my favorite bar talking to the bartender.   He is taking some college courses right now so I asked him how he was liking it,  “It’s boring”  “Why do I have to take these basic english and business math classes again that I took in high school?”  So I ask what his major is, “General Business”.    I’ll take another beer and here’s my advice to you.

Learn the basics.   The three R’s;  Reading, Riting and Rithmatic.  (maybe our elected politicians should be tested on the basics….)

These things you will carry throughout your life. You are giving me change back from my bar tab, learn how to count it backwards without the use of a computer.  You need to add four beers to my tab, how much is that?    I would like to leave a 20% tip, would you add that on my bill please.  Are you able to read the pamphlet of information on the drugs you about to take?   Can you write down directions for me?  Now I know that there are other things or lessons that we should learn, that will enhance our lives.   But let’s be honest here and say we need these everything tools first.  These MUST be in ingrained in our memory first.

Acquire some skills.   Everyone one of us has the ability to learn some type of skill.   What skills do you possess?  Maybe you are mechanically inclined and like to take things apart and put them together (mechanic, engineer, carpenter, welder, chef ).    In today’s world it is so easy to learn a new skill, all you need to do is YouTube it and someone has made a video showing you how to do it.  (See where learning the basics comes in handy here).

Have Faith.   You need to have faith, trust and love.   Have faith that you already possess all of these, you were born with them.  All you need to do is find them.   Have faith in your family that they are raising you the best they know how.  Have trust in your teachers and leaders that they are doing the best they can for you.  Love your family, your friends, your neighbors and even love those you hate to the best of your ability.  What I mean is not to seek revenge but extend a hand when they need help.   For most of our kind acts we do not need to exchange words, our works will suffice and send a more significant message of love, faith and trust to those who need it.

That’s my advice – take it for what it’s worth.   I’ll take another in honor of my brother.

2015 Lent Day 35

Today’s Readings

I once took a job that I thought would be pretty exciting, decent pay and challenging.  Two days into the job it was not what I thought.   With the long hours I saw my decent pay dwindling.   Then the final straw was put on when, on a Friday they told me I had to work on that Saturday  – no thanks!   I had turned down some other jobs for that job and now I was trying to back track to those jobs to see if they were still open – nope.   Oh boy, not a good time to complain about not having a job.

The people were just freed from Egypt’s reign and abuse.  They had been wandering the wilderness for some time now and start to complain about God and Moses.  Oh boy, not a good time to complain about being freed.

Sometimes the path that God leads us on seems like the wrong one.  If His voice is clear to you along your journey then stay on the path.  If it seems muddled or confusing, seek guidance, pray, look for other signs.  But have faith that the Lord is with you!

2015 Lent Day 32

Today’s Readings

March madness is all around us.  We pick our teams based on their record, RPI, BPI, FBI and grade point averages. We discount those teams that we have never heard of and we have to do a little research.     The problem with making logical picks is we discount what those teams possess in their heart and soul to thrive.

People discounted from where Jesus was from as well.

“What good could come out of Nazereth?”

“Isn’t he the carpenters son?”

“This is the Christ?”

But blessed be those who believed with their heart and soul!!!   For it is by their faith that they passed down to each generation that we believe that this IS the Christ that is among us even today!!

 

 

2015 Lent Day 28

Today’s Readings

“Do you want to be well?”   How many of us refuse help?   Somebody wants to lend us a hand and we refuse, why?  Because we can handle it, because we don’t want any charity, because we did this to ourselves we can get ourselves out it, because of pride.

Good thing this crippled man did not refuse Christ, not even knowing He was Christ.   This cripple accepted charity, accepted the command of   “take your mat and walk”.    After all faith is believing without seeing as well as believing without any reservations.

Why are you so unbelieving?  Why do you doubt that their is a creator?  Why do we doubt so many who saw these miracles happen before their eyes?

Have faith, have hope.    Take up your mat and walk.

 

2015 Lent Day 27

Today’s Readings

I was visiting with an elderly friend of mine recently.  We go to the same parish and the thought occurred to them that, since I am a convert, that I am more spiritual than they are.   I disagreed with them about that and mentioned that they regularly attend mass, are with their family consistently and do good in all other areas of life.   We started talking about what my wife and I teach for the Church and they said “see you are more spiritual”.   More knowledge is not spiritual and gut feelings is not more knowledgeable.   So because you can quote book, chapter and verse does not make you a more “spiritual” person, you are good at memorization.

The pharisees thought they were more spiritual than everyone else because they adhered to the law of Moses.   But then along comes Jesus and is present not to abolish the laws but to fulfill them.   And to the father who believes his child will be healed because Jesus told him so, that is spiritual.

2015 Lent Fourth Sunday

Today’s Readings

We always appreciate help when we don’t ask for it.   Sometimes the helper is overzealous and actually hinders the process, but we do like the help.

In today’s readings the blind man was not seeking out Jesus, unlike others that we have heard of before.   It was actually the disciples having a debate and asking for clarification with Jesus.  And the miracle begins, Jesus spits in the ground.   Now if I was blind and I heard, well you know the sound,  of someone spitting, I guess I might be concerned.   No, the blind man was not – maybe he was deaf as to what what was happening or actually, did not care.   And then Jesus applies a goop on your eyes, but you do not know it is actually Jesus – you may think it is just a disciple or some one else.   This is faith.  This is trust.

Then when the pharisees starts to question him, he starts to believe even more.  Then when Jesus asks him – he believes in Christ.

It may take some steps of faith for you to believe that Christ is effecting your sight or life.  Have patience and faith.

2015 Lent Day 2

Funny how things seem to work. We call it coincidence, luck, fate and even take credit ourselves for planning it out.

Today’s readings remind me of the guy who asked Jesus “How do I get to heaven?”   Do you remember that story?

Sometimes we don’t always believe what we hear or see,  why?   Are we that skeptical of a person?  Have we been taught not to trust anyone?  Always check your math twice.  Proofread your blog before you post.  Double check the lock, lights, oven, fireplace etc.   We have been so entrenched with these thoughts that when someone tells us “How” to do something right we not only question them we question ourselves as to why should we believe them.   How do I know they are telling the truth?  Let me ask you this question then – how do you know the truth from the not true if you don’t know the truth?

When Jesus told the man to “go sell everything and follow me”  it was hard for him to believe, after all he work hard for his possessions, his reputation, his “kingdom” if you will.   And to be told to drop it, sell it and to follow Jesus.  It’s hard to recognize the truth when you don’t know what it looks like.

It takes faith to follow the unseen and Jesus was quick to point that out when He could.

Todays Readings

Why I am catholic…….faith works

The aged old question:    Which came first  –  the chicken?   or the egg?

We still ask this question today.  Some spend their entire life asking this question.  And those that are considered experts still have no answer.   It reminds me of Stephen Hawking and his theories of explaining how the world was created.  His latest conclusion is or was that (this is my understanding,  I am not a physicist) two universes came together then pulled apart and that vacuum created the earth.   Okay – where did these two universes come from?

Faith alone will save you.  This is one of the reasons that protestants say the faith alone saves.  True.  Faith will save you.  But the fact that your reception of God’s grace and you believing in His word is the works involved for your faith to have developed.   The grace and mercy of God is there for us to receive.  We can not have faith without this openness to receive that grace, mercy and love of God.   I think that some faiths get hung up on the word “works”.   That the word implies that we have to work at it.   Well it does, but it also means about your spirit “works”.  The “works” of your spirit, the “works” of your heart and mind being opened to the word of God.   Is this not “works” as well as the phyisical “works”.   We associate “works” with the phyisical labor of love and charity.   We donate our money and time to charities to show our “works” of mercy.   We show our “works” at our own church by volunteering to be teachers, ushers and musicians for all to see.   We show our “works” to the government once a year by totalling up the dollars that we gave to those in need.   And we have faith in those who receive that they will use it for that purpose of helping and not for their own gain.   We have faith in Stop Signs and we see the works in action when everyone stops.  We see faith works in those who accept the Lord into their heart and soul.  Not only by saying the words but believing them and the action taken to receive the grace, mercy and love of God – that takes work.  The reception of this free gift is not easy.   Remember what happened in John 6 – Jesus said to them ” “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”  many would not receive this gift, many do not receive this gift today because it takes work to understand.  It takes effort to open your heart.  It takes faith,  and faith works!!

Learn more of what the catholic church teaches and go to straight to  the catechism of the catholic church (it should be hyper-linked).

Remember the teachings of the church is actually two-fold.   1. The inspired word of God – The Bible    2. The traditions/teachings of the faith passed down from the Apostles and Jesus  (go back and count how many times the Bible states – “taught”, “preached”, or “oral” teachings.  Also in the gospel according to John -“Jesus did many things that all the books in the world can not hold”)

Why I am catholic ……. Easter Time

We are now in Easter Time.    Some of us are still in amazement that Christ has risen!

Luke 24:13-35

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma′us, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cle′opas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, 29 but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us[b] while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

We have two guys walking home after the crucificition.  They may have been in town for business and got caught up with trials etc. and hung around.   It appears they are on the fence as to if they believe what they have been told.   They did however go to the tomb and did not see Jesus there, in the tomb.   They must of saw Him hang on the cross as well and listen to stories and deeds that Jesus said and did.   Afterall they, themselves and HOPED that Jesus was the one.   They were hoping for redeemption.   Then on the third day, they lost their faith.   They gave up hope!  They gave up hope like a team who is behind by 10 and gives up hope with one minute to go!  They gave up hope and started to head home so they could waller in their misery.

Has this ever happened to you?   We all (okay – maybe just me) like to waller in our misery and we try to pull others into the mud puddle with us.   Then, out of the blue, comes the happy happy happy person that you want to slap-up-side the head!  Here Jesus just happens to join the two pitiful merchants and teaches them about what the prophets had been telling them.  Now, in my mind, Jesus did not whip out the Torah or scrolls of scripture, nor did He teach in a way of rattling off verse after verse (i.e. In Genesis chapter 1 verse 1….etc.).   He spoke and taught so they could understand.  He had developed a dialogue with them that they readily devoured.   He left them wanting more, so much so that they invited Him to enter under their roof.
Then, when Jesus was at the table, “he took the bread and blessed, and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened” 

We have this miracle happen at every mass!!

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