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Showing posts with the label Jesus Asks

"Are You Not Misled?" (Mark 12:24)

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In today’s Gospel from Mark 12:18-27, some Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, questioned Jesus. They asked about a woman, married to seven brothers, in successive order. As was the Jewish custom, as each brother died, the next brother, in line of succession, took her as his wife. The Sadducees wanted to know whose wife she would be in this so-called afterlife. Jesus, in his typical manner of responding to a question, posed a different question. “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God…As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’” (Mark 12:24, 26). Are You Not Misled? If Jesus were to ask you today, “are you not misled because you do not read scripture or understand the power of God,” how would you respond? Would Jesus be justified in accusing you of being misled? I think we could all lump our…

Road to Emmaus: Jesus Asks Several Questions

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In today’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus asks a series of three questions to two men on the Road to Emmaus: What are you discussing as you walk along? (Luke 24:17)What sort of things? (Luke 24:19)Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory? (Luke 24:26) Let’s unpack each question, one at a time, to see what Our Lord is trying to say to us. More Questions? What were the men discussing as Jesus approached them? They were discussing Christ’s death on the cross, saddened that who they thought would redeem the Jewish people, was now dead. Their hopes, dashed. It seems they lost faith in Jesus. Has that ever happened to you? Do you sometimes feel like God is nowhere near you and you are short on hope? Can you relate to these two men? Jesus rebounds with the second question, by asking them to clarify what sort of things they were discussing. He wants to hear from them directly. They recounted the past few day’s events, even mentioning that some of the w…

The Stoning: Has No One Condemned You?

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In today’s Gospel the Pharisees test Jesus. They bring to Him a woman accused of adultery. According to Mosaic law, such an offense results in the stoning of the woman. So, the Pharisees, looking to convict Jesus, put forth this quandary before Him. It is wrong to kill (a violation of the 5th Commandment), but it is also wrong to commit adultery (a violation of the 6th Commandment). Do two wrongs make it right? Rather than answering their implied question, Jesus starts writing in the sand. No biblical scholars ever  ascertained what Jesus wrote, but whatever it was, it caused everyone to depart, leaving Jesus alone with the woman. Jesus asks the woman, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10) Forgiven, Not Condemned The woman responded that no one condemned her. Jesus then responds to the woman, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and from now on do not sin anymore.” (John 8:11) It is here that Jesus shows us how to rectify a bad situation and not break a Commandment..…

Jesus Asks: What Have You Been Arguing About?

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In today’s Gospel reading, we see Jesus conduct an exorcism of an evil spirit from a young boy.  But, before He performs the exorcism, He takes note of the people arguing among themselves.  He asks the crowd, “What have you been arguing about?” (Mark 9:16). We’ll never know, because the father of the young man interrupts, asking Jesus to heal his son. Jesus finds more importance in the healing of the young man as compared to  the crowd’s argument with the scribes. He addresses the father’s plea and drops any discussion of His question. What Have You Been Arguing About? Imagine if Jesus came for the Second Coming and asked us what we have been arguing about? How would we respond? We would have to answer with the following: We’ve been arguing about the definition of truth. We each see things differently and fail to acknowledge facts and objective truth.There has been much argument in the political arena, with everyone taking sides, unwilling to listen to the other, and therefore, no prob…

Jesus Asks: Do You See Anything?

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In today’s Gospel reading, we learn of Jesus’ healing of a blind man. As Jesus cures the man, He asks him, “Do you see anything?” (Mark 8:23). The man’s sight begins to clear, but not completely. Jesus lays His hands on the man to complete the process. How often in our lives have we seen gradual healing, like this blind man? Do You See Anything? Last fall, while I recuperated from my ankle fusion, at first, all I saw was lots of recuperation time ahead (four months). But, as time progressed, I began to see the healing aspects take place. God sent people to me who shared their love with me (friends, neighbors, and family). That outpouring of love did something good for my heart. Then, God sent my priest to my home, near Christmas, to hear my confession (Since I couldn’t stand in line on any given Saturday, he came to me). That healed my soul. My Pastor’s actions touched me greatly, knowing how busy priests are at Christmastime. And all the while, throughout the entire four-month proces…

Why Does This Generation Seek a Sign?

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In today’s Gospel reading, the Pharisees test Jesus, by asking for signs from Heaven. With exasperation, Jesus retorts, “Why does this generation seek a sign?” (Mark 8:12). The Pharisees found Jesus’ previous miraculous acts insufficient proof of His divinity. In fact, they find Jesus to be suspiciously fraudulent.  Therefore, they seek human signs from someone who is both human and divine. They cannot understand the God-Man in their midst. The Pharisees can only see with their humanity and cannot fathom God in the flesh. Do You Seek a Sign? How often do you doubt the omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of God in your life? Do you seek a sign of God’s power when all seems lost? Or perhaps you question whether God could really know everything happening in everyone’s life, at every moment. Or maybe you find it unfathomable that God can be everywhere at once. When these doubts and questions come to mind, we act very much like the Pharisees and we seek a sign – a human sign, because…

Jesus Asks: Are You Without Understanding?

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In today’s Gospel from Mark we hear Jesus teach about the sinfulness of man coming from what is in the heart, not from what he eats. In accordance with Jewish law, certain foods had always been considered off limits and deemed “unclean.” Therefore, if a Jewish person ate an unclean food, then that person committed a sin. Yet, in this teaching, Jesus declares all foods clean. This is because it is not the food that we eat that separates us from God. Through Jesus’ teaching they gained an understanding of the causation of sin. For, it is our sin of words (our malicious speech, hatred, etc.) that make us move away from God. Jesus could understand why the Jewish people needed to hear this message. It directly contradicted what they practiced. However, once alone with the Disciples, Jesus noticed that they continued to question Him about this teaching. Jesus responded with a question: “Are even you likewise without understanding?” (Mark 7:18) Such a question makes you think that Jesus tho…

How Many Loaves and Fishes are Enough?

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In today’s Gospel, we hear about the loaves and the fishes; the miracle that Jesus performs to feed 4,000 people who sat with Jesus for several days. They are hungry. With compassion, Jesus asks his disciples, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish” (Matt 15:34). Seven loaves of bread and a few fish seem a paltry sum for feeding so many people. Yet, how many loaves are enough for Jesus? I say He could accomplish the same fete with just one loaf of bread, for He is God.  Jesus can do anything! Yet, the seven loaves and the few fish feed 4,000 men and an uncounted number of women and children, with seven baskets full of bread left over. God is good and generous! We All Need Some ‘Loaves and Fishes’ Moments This miracle is noted within the Bible to demonstrate to us that with God, all things are possible. Even the most unfathomable thing is possible for God, the source of all goodness. God knows what we need and will ... Read more...

How Prepared Are You to Enter Heaven?

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Do you place God first in your life? Today’s Gospel reading from Luke addresses this very question. In this Gospel reading we hear Jesus speaking with His disciples on the very topic of discipleship and what it takes to follow the Master. We learn what needs to be done to prepare ourselves to enter Heaven. In this Gospel reading Jesus asks two questions that need some interpretation: Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there enough for its completion? (Luke 14:28) Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing with twenty thousand troops? (Luke 14:31) Are You Prepared to Enter Heaven? You are a Disciple of Jesus, but are you prepared to enter Heaven? We interpret the questions from today’s Gospel by asking ourselves some additional questions. Like the person building the tower, or the king readying for battle, we need to…

Is Jesus a Judge and Arbitrator?

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In today’s Gospel reading, we read about the rich man and the bountiful harvest. The parable stems from a request, by a follower, asking Jesus to tell his brother to share an inheritance with him. Jesus retorts, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” (Luke 12:14). Jesus asks this question because He does not want to get in the middle of the squabble between the follower and his brother. Yet, Jesus never misses an opportunity to take such squabbles and turn them into a teaching moment. Ultimately, we all know that one day we will stand before Jesus, our Judge. In this life, we constantly ask Jesus to intervene in our affairs and arbitrate on our behalf. Therefore, we could all easily see Jesus as our judge and arbitrator. But, on this occasion, Jesus teaches us a different lesson. Judge and Arbitrator, or Savior and Redeemer? Life, a gift from God, is not an accumulation of possessions, but rather an accumulation of what matters to God. What we try to cling to in this…

Find Courage to Face Fear

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Fear does NOT come from God. Let’s make that clear, right up front. “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7). When we become afraid of something, it is because we lack trust in God; we feel alone and on our own. Throughout the Bible, God assures us that we need not be afraid. We can find courage in God’s own words and promises: Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice (Is 41:10). Find Courage to Face Fear When we find the courage to face fear, we can act upon our beliefs, regardless of persecution or criticism, because we know the Truth (God). We find that courage, by placing our trust in God. We, then, align our wills with God’s Will, with the goal of adhering to God’s Will in all things. God doesn’t want us to worry, or fear. So, we need to leave our worries and fears at the foot of His altar. In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter …

Feast of Saint Martha

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Today is the Feast of Saint Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary, and friend of Jesus. Martha always gets compared to her sister, Mary, for Martha was the diligent sister who attended to the household chores. Mary, on the other hand, cast those chores aside to sit at the feet of Jesus, whenever He spoke. From today’s passage, however, both women cast aside their chores to grieve the death of their brother, Lazarus. When Jesus arrives to visit with Martha and Mary, Jesus conducts an interchange with Martha that should enlighten the faith within us all. Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:23-26). Saint Martha and the Testimony of Faith On the heels of this major declaration, Jesus asks this piercing question: “Do you believe this?” (John…

Are You True Prophets of Christ? Or False Prophets?

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The quality of your deeds determines the goodness of the fruit that you produce for Christ. In today’s Gospel from Matt 7:15-20, we hear Jesus ask a tongue-in-cheek question. “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles” (Matt 7:16)? With this question, Jesus is warning us to be on watch for false prophets. How might we identify false prophets? We will know by their deeds, because good fruit cannot be borne from bad acts. Good fruit can only come from a good source. That is why grapes do not come from thornbushes. They come from the vine. Figs, associated with prosperity, well being and security (all good things) come from a fig tree; not a thistle. Both grape vines and fig trees require care, time and attention, as do our souls.  If we are to produce good fruit, as true prophets of Christ, then our words and deeds must be good. Jesus Asks if You are True Prophets of Christ If Jesus stood in front of you today and asked you if you produced good fruit, and thus would …

Jesus Asks: What is Your Name?

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In today’s Gospel from Mark, (Mark 5:1-20), I pondered why Jesus asked the demon, “What is your name?” (Mark 5:9). Why would Jesus ask such a question, when Jesus, as God, knows everything? And the demons know Jesus’ true identity! Well, what Jesus is really doing here, by asking the demon for his name, is turning the tables on the demon, “thus gaining power over the demon possessing the man.”1  The demon must respond to Jesus’ inquiry, because He must respond to God. By doing so, the demon reveals his name. Jesus doesn’t need to do the same in return, because He is God. Thus, Jesus exerts His power over the demon. This encounter from today’s Gospel reminds me of an incident that occurred to me, several years ago. At one Saturday evening Mass, I watched people as they received Communion. I saw a man place the consecrated host in his pocket and start walking for the door. As a trained Eucharistic minister, I knew what he did was wrong, because we are expected to consume the host immed…

The Importance of Fasting

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In today’s Gospel, from Mark 2:18-22, we see Jesus ask the people, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them” (Mark 2:19)?  He asks this question in response to an inquiry about why Jesus’ disciples are not conducting the proper fast. This question has many layers of understanding behind it. So, let’s first set the stage with some proper background information. This will help us better understand where this question stems from, and why fasting is important. In typical Jewish tradition, the Jews fasted on the Day of Atonement, asking forgiveness of sins. They would do this because they knew that sin separates us from God. Fasting reminds us of our need for food and for God, who provides all, to meet our needs. Thus, fasting brings us in touch with our need for God, who not only provides, but forgives our sins. What is Jesus Asking/Stating? Now, to understand Jesus’ question, we need to peel away the layers of the onion, so to speak... Read more...

Jesus Asks: What are You Thinking in Your Hearts?

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In Luke 5:22, Jesus asks the Pharisees, “What are you thinking in your hearts?” It is a rhetorical question, as Jesus knew quite well what the Pharisees were thinking; what the Pharisees believed. It is here, in the Gospel of Luke where we read of the historical event of Jesus physically healing the paralytic, and spiritually healing his friends. The room, in which Jesus was teaching, was so crowded that the paralytic’s friends could not get him inside. Yet, they knew that if they could somehow get their paralytic friend in front of Jesus that Jesus would heal him. Their faith in Jesus was great. So, the friends dropped the man into the room from the roof! “When He saw their faith, He said, ‘As for you, your sins are forgiven’”(Luke 5:20). Jesus knew that the Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as God, and that they believed only God can forgive sins. But, for the friends and the paralytic, they knew otherwise... Read more...

What Do You Want Jesus to Do For You?

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In today’s Gospel, we hear from the blind beggar, who begs Jesus to hear his plea. Jesus asks in response: What do you want me to do for you? (Luke 18:41) The beggar asks Jesus to cure him of his blindness. Jesus responds, “have sight; your faith has saved you” (Luke 18:42). So, the blind man now sees, and he sees through the eyes of faith. It is because of the man’s faith that he not only sees physically, but he also comes to understand spiritually that Jesus is Our Savior and Redeemer. Jesus Asks You This Question, Too! This is a hefty question to consider. If Jesus sat across from you today, and asked you the same question, how would you respond? Would you ask for money, power and/or fame? Would you want Him to solve your transient problems of the day? Perhaps you would ask for a physical cure of your own illness. Or maybe you would seek understanding, wisdom and knowledge of God. Whatever your need, God is ready to listen. However, I think... read more...

Do You Remember to Thank Jesus Daily?

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In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the ten lepers. Of the ten, only one Samaritan leper came back to thank Jesus for curing him. Jesus’ response was rather frank, and in the form of a series of questions: Ten were cleansed, were they not?Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God? (Luke 17:17-18) So, I’ll get right to the point, on this post. Are you more like the nine who failed to return to give thanks? Or, are you more like the one Samaritan leper because you thank Jesus routinely for His blessings? Maybe, you are somewhere along the spectrum between these two extremes. Thank Jesus Today Everything good that we have comes from God; from the... Read more...

Jesus' Mercy Abounds - Even on the Sabbath

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In today’s Gospel from Luke 13:10-17, we see Jesus confronting synagogue leaders. They accuse Jesus of curing the sick on the Sabbath, as if that was a bad thing. Why? Because the leaders of the synagogue believe that such activity constitutes work, and work was forbidden on the Sabbath. Therefore, they think Jesus violated Jewish law. They did not correlate Jesus’ action to Jesus’ mercy. Jesus’ Mercy Abounds With great hindsight, and two thousand years of scriptural interpretation, we can look at this passage, and quickly come to judgment that the synagogue leaders were wrong in their thought process. The mercy that Jesus bestowed upon the woman that day was an act of love for neighbor on Jesus’ part. Through Jesus’ teachings, we have been trained to “love our neighbor” and to perform acts of charity. In today’s Gospel passage Jesus teaches us how to treat others. In verses 15-16 Jesus attempts to address the synagogue leader’s concerns by asking: Does not each one of you on the sabb…

Jesus Asks: Are You the Faithful and Prudent Steward?

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In today’s Gospel, from Luke 12:39-48, we learn of the parable of the faithful and prudent steward. When the master is away, some stewards fulfill their responsibilities. The master deems such people as trustworthy and capable of performing more important tasks. Other servants use the opportunity to take advantage of their positions and treat the staff cruelly. We can apply this parable to how we act in the workplace when the boss is away on business. How trustworthy are we to faithfully fulfill our responsibilities? If Jesus were standing in front of you now, would He be able to declare you as a faithful and prudent steward of the gifts He has given to you? He has blessed you with prudence, courtesy, kindness and many other virtues. Do you make use of these gifts by always treating others fairly? Even when the boss is away? Or do you place little value on what God has blessed you with to do your job? Instead, you deem it too burdensome to care for, and cultivate God’s gifts. Being d…