Month: July 2015
As we continue our journey from John’s point of view in Chapter 6, Jesus creates another miracle!
Jesus feeds everyone in John 6. Did you put yourself in the story? Are you Philip? How will you pay for all that food?
Or, are you Andrew? Andrew knew a boy that had 5 loaves and 2 fishes but believes it’s not enough. Over and over I get the same message in Scripture. Look. Do I see what is going on around me? We hear a lot about helping others and feeding the poor. Take another look at this Scripture. The Apostles need help. Jesus asks them to find the food. How can I help? What can I do? You see, I need help, too. What does God want me to do? How often do I think, “It’s not enough.” Or worse, “I am not enough.” I don’t have what it takes. What can I do? I am nobody. Think beyond the food idea. Maybe someone around me needs an encouraging word. I wish I had a million dollars or could solve world hunger. That problem is too big for me to solve. There are so many smaller needs I could solve for my family and friends. I could smile at a stranger. I could help the person in the grocery store find the item they are looking for. That has actually happened to me. It’s amazing what can happen when you look friendly. Give it a try!
This boy offers all that he has and Jesus transforms his meager provision of food into something much greater. Are you the boy who offers all that he has? Even our small gifts or talents can be used by God to change the world. Being a person who smiles is a talent that we can all obtain. What can you do this week to make a difference in someone’s life? Are you waiting for a miracle? Maybe, God is waiting for you to help Him make another miracle happen. Yes, you!
Readings for Sunday 7-26-15
A week ago I read the Sunday Readings for July 19 that focused on Christ’s peace and this was my summary:
St. Paul says Christ is our peace. He will bring us together. We all have access to the Holy Spirit! We are brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. How can you make peace? Mark tells us how Jesus said we can be ready for being peacemakers and going out into the world. Jesus said, “Come to a deserted place and rest.” Interesting that He said, ‘Come’ not just ‘Go.’ He will go with you. And, you will find rest. So, we can do our best today. And then, rest up for tomorrow. Be sure to find your own retreat time!
What I really love about reading and reflecting on Scripture is that I always see something different if I really look. Contemplating the meaning of Scripture changes from day to day and year to year. Today as I heard the Readings proclaimed, the first reading from Jeremiah stood out like a flashing road sign.
“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter.” Today that jumped out. When I talk to teens about what the Scriptures can mean to them, being a shepherd is a great topic. You may be able to relate, too. Have you ever thought of yourself as a shepherd? Just think about the basic idea of a shepherd: leading and guiding. We are shepherds of our friends. We can lead them well and raise the bar. Or, we can lead them astray. Today, that could mean gossip, bullying, drinking and drugs or just being negative. Are we lifting people’s spirits? Are we bringing hope and peace?
A big shocker to teens is that you can be an ‘accessory to sin’. Most of us relate an ‘accessory’ to a crime. You can go to jail for helping someone commit a crime even if you didn’t do it. Same goes for sin. You are in big trouble with ‘the guy upstairs’ if you lead someone to sin. This is probably what I would have said to a class this week.
That reading was followed by Psalm 23. It contains the explanation of what our Good Shepherd does for us. It’s our example for being a shepherd to those around us as well.
So, regroup. How can you be a better shepherd today and tomorrow? Examine your conscience. Is your barometer working properly? Twelve Step programs tell us to do an inventory. Take stock. What can you change? Take one small step toward a brighter future. Then read the first paragraph again. Retreat and regroup. Rest and then start again tomorrow! – Mrs. D
Are you a prophet? Are you spreading the Good News? Not an easy job. Amos (7:12-15) says he was not a prophet but a shepherd. God told him to ‘Go’. It wasn’t enough to be a prophet but he needed to lead and guide, too.
St. Paul tells the Ephesians (1:3-14) and us too, that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and has chosen us to be holy. He always seems to be encouraging us. St. Paul reminds us that we should put on the armor of God in Chapter 6 of Ephesians. He tries to explain what he means with an analogy his audience would be familiar with. You have what you need to step up to the plate (using an analogy you might be more familiar with). You can hit it out of the park! You just need the bat, correct stance and a clear head.
In the Gospel, Jesus sends the Apostles out to heal others. He says not to worry about whether anyone listens. I thought about the example of shaking the dust off of your feet. You may not have experienced walking in sandals for a long distance and collecting dust on your feet and shoes. Maybe you have? Dusting could be wiping home plate clean. You need to keep your perspective. You won’t always get a home run but whether you are the runner or the ump you should be able to see the plate.
Have you ever seen someone slide into home plate? The dust flies. They pray they don’t get tagged out before touching the plate. Their heart is beating fast. They are taking a chance, but they have hope. If they timed it right and the other team’s player throws a bit off, they have got it! Some of us know that feeling of a school assignment or job task that gets put off to the last minute. You need to power through and get it done. You pray for the home run and a job well done!
A few things in the Gospel stood out to me. ‘Don’t take anything with you but you’re walking stick and sandals.’ Depending on God for everything you need takes a very strong faith – trust. My first thought was that a walking stick is like a crutch. Most of us think having a crutch is a bad thing or a sign of weakness. We are supposed to be able to stand ‘on our own two feet.’ But God tells us over and over that we need someone or something to lean on in order to get through this life. A walking stick helps you make it over rough terrain and climb mountains. It gives you balance and strength. Why not use YOUR walking stick?
For us, a walking stick may be a friend, a priest or spiritual director, a spouse, a parent or your Bible. I can’t imagine going anywhere without grace and what better place to get filled up for the journey than the Eucharist at Mass. Fed by the Word and Body, we can make it. God promised us.
So remember, when you are called to lead, we don’t need to take anything with us because God has giving us what we need. We can change the world and people’s lives with just a word. Jesus is sending you! Are you ready? Do you have your walking stick and sandals?
~ Readings for Sunday, July 12, 2015
Yesterday’s Reading contains my favorite Scripture passage. It has kept me going for many years!
* but he [God] said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,* in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.* 2Cor 12:9-10
If you read Chapter 11 on, you can see how Paul, against all odds, not only overcomes but boasts of his weakness. He is not a proud man. He tells us of all his struggles only to show us that we can do it too. So when you are feeling down or overwhelmed, remember that being weak has a bonus – the power of Christ. Make a little room so that you can be filled with grace. A little goes a long way.