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Showing posts with the label faith

Under the Fig Tree, Jesus Asks a Question

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In today’s Gospel (John 1:45-51), Jesus is in the process of recruiting his twelve Apostles. Jesus called Philip to follow, who in turn went to Nathanael to tell him about Jesus. Nathanael, the skeptic, doubted anything good could come from Nazareth. Yet, Philip persuaded Nathanael to come and meet Jesus. When the two met, Jesus commented about something that no one else would know. “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” (John 1:48)Nathanael’s response to this comment is revelatory: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.” (John 1:49) I have always wondered how Nathanael came to such a conclusion, such a leap of faith. It can only be explained as a revelation of Truth. Jesus retorts back to Nathanael. “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?” (John 1:50)Under the Fig Tree“Under the Fig Tree” is a sign of messianic peace. Therefore, Nathanael comes from a place of peace. He finds his Peace in the Messiah, Jesus, who he…

Jesus Asks: Why Did You Doubt?

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Today we hear the famous Gospel reading of Jesus walking on water (Matt 14:22-36). When Peter hears Jesus telling them not to be afraid, that it is Him, Peter replies, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Matt 14:28). Jesus tells Peter to come out to meet Him and Peter does just that. However, Peter sees how strong the wind is blowing, and he begins to sink in the water. What does Jesus say in response to that? “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” What was Peter’s Problem? Why do you think Peter made such a comment, if he did not have the faith needed to follow through on Jesus’ command? Sometimes, we think we have enough faith to weather a storm, only to learn, when faced with adversity, that we are weak. We doubt the efficacy of the saving power of God. Faith is a mysterious thing. We do not know how much faith we have until it is put to the test. Why did you doubt? When was the last time your faith was put to the test? How did you do? I must admit tha…

Memorial of Saint Martha

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Today is the memorial of Saint Martha, a saint that I can easily relate to, as we are much alike. Now, you cannot call me a saint. However, we both share the same desire to complete our chores. We have priorities. And yet, like Martha, I tend to let those priorities get in the way of the better part; that of listening to Jesus. Martha, the Worry Wart As we read in the Gospel passage from Luke, Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, was always concerned with the chores and serving: Martha “had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha burdened with much serving, came to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’ The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her’” (Luke 10:39-42). Like Martha, I fixate on the daily to-do list. I s…

How God Called Me in the Confessional

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Three years ago, this past weekend, I went to confession and experienced something I never thought would happen. As I finished my confession, I told the Pastor that my husband and I were transferring to his Parish. I said that I would call him the following week to see where I might best fit from a volunteer perspective. And — that is the moment when God called me! God Called Me So, with a long line waiting outside of the Confessional, the Pastor proceeded to ask me about myself. I told him what I did in the past as a volunteer, and what I do now, as an adjunct professor of Theology, and then it came – boom! “You know, I just had my RCIA Coordinator tell me that he is moving, and I’ll need a new RCIA Coordinator. Would you like to do that?” Here I am sitting in the Confessional, technically talking to Christ (along with the pastor). How could I say no? Up to that point, my only participation with the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) was as a sponsor (for about three mont…

The Beatitudes Serve Us Well

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Where the Ten Commandments tell us, for the most part, what not to do, the Beatitudes tell us how to live in a Christ-like manner. They highlight all the good virtues that we should possess. The Beatitudes serve us well. Virtues Associated with the BeatitudesHumility: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:3). Caring/Compassion: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matt 5:4). Meekness: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land” (Matt 5:5). Justice: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” (Matt 5:6). Mercy: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matt 5:7). Piety:  “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God (Matt 5:8). Peace: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” (Matt 5:9). Faith: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:10). Our Path on the…

Keep the Faith! Have Hope!

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With only being able to attend Church services online, does this weakens one’s faith? Or, does this cause us to look deeper to keep the faith? Perhaps you might like to chime in, by using the comments section to share the impact of online services on you and your loved ones. I know for myself, that I crave the Eucharist, and will no longer take it for granted. I truly miss receiving Jesus weekly. Since I cannot receive the Real Presence in the Eucharist, I now look for other ways to keep the faith, in addition to attending Mass via online services. Keep the Faith: Read Scripture Although I cannot currently receive the Eucharist, God can nourish me with His Word. Reading scripture, more often, engages me in deep discussions with God.  And that is a good thing! Pray More Often I find myself praying more often, since there are so many people and causes that need prayers. Again, this engages me in... Read more...

A Packet Of Faith Please

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A PACKET OF FAITH PLEASE AVAILABLE IN SMALL, REGULAR OR LARGE SIZE CLICK HERE

Changing My Daily Prayers

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I read David Torkington's "The Resolution to end all Resolutions" and started a new prayer routine three years ago.

My starting point was Lauds and Vespers from Liturgy of the hours. Don't be too impressed. Lauds was recognizable after my adaptation. But I reduce Vespers to something I could reliably remember, late in the day.

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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…

'In giving us faith, the Lord has given us what is most precious in life.' Sunday Reflections, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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Syro-Malabar Catholic Wedding [Wikipedia]

Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
GospelLuke 13:22-30 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition, Canada)
Jesus[ went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, ‘Lord, will only a few be saved?’ He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, “Lord, open to us”, then in reply he will say to you, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!” There will be weeping and…

The Rich Young Man - A Story About Trust

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In today’s Gospel from Matthew, we hear the story about the rich young man. It starts with the rich young man asking Jesus, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” (Matt 19:16) Jesus quips in reply, “Why do you ask me about the good?” (Matt 19:17) What are we to make of this quip of Jesus? Especially when Jesus follows up with, “There is only One who is good.” (Matt 19: 17). It’s almost as if Jesus is telling the rich young man, “Don’t ask me, because only God is good.” Is Jesus saying that only the Father is good, and that He is not? On the contrary! This is a glint of insight into the mystery of the Trinity, where One God consists of Three Persons. It is true that only God is all good. For the rest of us, we all have flaws, except for Jesus. He is perfect in both His Divine and human natures. Jesus is good, because Jesus is God. The Rich Young Man Just Doesn’t Get It So, what does it take to be good? Jesus tells us to follow the Ten Commandments, and beyond that to surr…

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…

Feast of Saint Thomas, the Apostle

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With today being the Feast of Saint Thomas, the Apostle, we read from the Gospel of John, regarding Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles, post His resurrection. It is Easter Sunday evening, and the Apostles tell Thomas, (who had not been present) that Jesus appeared to them. Thomas tells them in oh, so many words, “you’re nuts.” He refuses to believe their audacious comment. Fast forward one week later, when all the Apostles were present behind locked doors, and Jesus appears to them. Revelation I find this Gospel passage quite revealing of God’s omnipresence. One week earlier, when Saint Thomas heard the audacious comments from his fellow Apostles, he responded to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). When Saint Thomas made this comment, Jesus was not physically present. There had been no interaction between the Apostles and Jesus since Easter Sunday night, for any of the other Apostles to inform Jesus o…

Feeling Lost? Find Faith!

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As a Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) Coordinator, I work with people who search for a deeper relationship with Christ.  Some come from other faiths, and others come to my program having never been baptized. When I hear their stories, I hear a common theme; a search for truth. Those that come from the Protestant denominations, come with questions that their former pastors/preachers cannot answer. The unbaptized appear like a clean slate; open to learning how to develop a relationship with Jesus. What is everyone’s goal? To find faith! If you are feeling lost, then look for the gift of faith in your own heart. God infused within you, at birth, the capability to believe in Him, along with a desire to know and love Him.  He also gifted you with reason and an intellect that He expects you to use to come to know the Truth. Where can you find the Truth? You will find it in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Faith in Sacred Scripture Sacred Scripture is the inspired Word of…

Jesus Asks: Do You Believe Me Now?

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In today’s Gospel, from John 16:29-33, we witness Jesus having a discussion with His Apostles. I love this passage because of the Apostle’s presumption of understanding. They think that they know all there is to know. What they do know is that Jesus came from God, and they think that is all there is to know. Yet, Jesus tries to tell them otherwise, by first asking a question: Do you believe me now? (John 16:31). For it is through faith, that we find full understanding of God. Oh, how I can relate to the Apostles! I can’t tell you the number of times that I think I have it all figured out, only to learn later that God thinks otherwise. As with the Apostles in their day, we, too, need to come to grips with the fact that we don’t know everything. Only God is omniscient. Only God can see the future. Yet, even with the Apostle’s inadequate, or incomplete understanding, Jesus is patient.  He enlightens the Apostles by ... Read more...

Trusting in God Can Be a Challenge

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Trusting in God can be a challenge. I know, I’m living proof! I’ve been struggling with living up to a vow that I made to God to allow Him to do with me as He pleases. As I retired from a career in banking, back in 2011, to pursue education and work related to evangelization, I gave my life to God. Yet, the bills need to be paid. So how does one ascertain how to live up to the vow and pay the bills? During Lent, I sought solace to this conundrum in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. For my penance, the priest asked me to read anything from the Gospel of Luke. Since we were near Holy Week, I thought I would read the Passion Narrative. My Challenge to Trusting in God Before I started to read, I chatted with God, letting Him know that I was having difficulty ascertaining His will for me. How am I supposed to know for certain that I am pursuing my career path in accordance with His will? I struggle in knowing that what I do each day is what He wants from me, given the challenges that come …

Waiting for a Miracle - Book Review

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Waiting for a Miracle, by Cyndi Peterson, M.D. is a story of faith, conversion of heart and a mother’s love, all wrapped up in one page-turning true story. Cyndi Peterson is a dermatologist, married to a pediatrician. She is a lukewarm Catholic, going through the motions. Too busy with the demands of the world, Cyndi paid little attention to faith and a relationship with Jesus. That is, until one day when that nagging emptiness became a bit much to take. To squelch the nagging feeling, Cyndi begins to sneak around trying to learn more about Jesus. She attends events at her Church, reads books and does some soul-searching. As Cyndi’s faith begins to blossom, we see a conversion of heart. She begins to place more trust in Jesus. Cyndi learns that she is pregnant and looks forward to the birth of her fourth child. However, when her little girl Kelly is born, we learn of Kelly’s debilitating situation that would break any mother’s heart. Yet, Cyndi finds hope and trust as a result of a tr…

Jesus Didn’t Stay Dead

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We relive events from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday in close to real time.

Our Lord was arrested Thursday night. The Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod had questioned Jesus by Friday morning....

...By Friday evening, Jesus was dead....

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Lent starts March 6 this year. It's a time for abstinence, prayer and penance, among other things, which is why we've got rules about Fridays and fish.

Following "fish" rules to the letter, I could splurge on lobster thermidor each Friday. I won't. The household can't afford it, for one thing. For another, gourmet dining isn't what Lent is about.

I'll talk about fish, fasting and my goals for Lent. Briefly.

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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...