It’s a Great Catch

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What’s for breakfast?

Campfire 2
This week’s Gospel is one of my favorite stories about Jesus in the Bible.  One reason is obvious.  Jesus rose from the dead and appears to the Apostles and disciples numerous times proving that he definitely has risen.

Talking to kids and teens at classes this week, I talked about what this story says to me about not only Jesus, but myself.  What does God want us to know about him?

As I began the story with Peter and the disciples in the boat approaching shore, a couple of things came to mind that I may not have thought about before!

A night of exhaustion and discouragement for disciples that are reeling from the loss of their rabbi leads to an extraordinary event.  A man they don’t recognize who seems to taunt them by highlighting their failure to catch any fish asks them if they caught anything to eat.  Then he says, “Throw your net over the right side of the boat.”

I asked the kids and teens if they thought fish slept.  Have they ever gone fishing?  Maybe half had said that they had been fishing.  I recalled all of the times that I fished with my Dad and brother who are quite expert and experienced with this pastime.  I have eaten all kinds of caught fish that have been cleaned and descaled.  Yuck! Many times, I would hear stories of how the fish were congregating in just a few areas on the lake.  A good fisherman knows where those prime spots are.

Of course, fish don’t sleep.  The kids thought that idea was funny.  Peter and his friends had worked all night by the light of the moon.  This was their job, their livelihood.  How discouraging and exhausting it must have been to arrive at shore with nothing to show for it!

I could identify with the experience of failure.  And there was nothing for breakfast.  They didn’t catch anything.  They would go home hungry.

The man on the shore says to throw your net over the right side.  Did they believe him?  How many times have I known that God is asking me to keep going and to try again?  So they did it.  They tried another time.  I wondered aloud why Jesus said to put the net over the right side.  Had they been fishing on the left side?  Why?  I asked the teens if they realized that ‘right’ has two meanings.  It could mean the direction or correct.  Had they been fishing on the wrong side?  Was the right side the right way to fish?  Was Jesus telling us that we have tried over and over again to do it our way?  Maybe we should try it his way now.  The Priest at our Family Mass talked about how we need to follow God’s will.

Jesus promises that if we throw out our ‘net’ like he asks, we may find a net that’s overflowing.  As the kids guessed at what happens next, they thought the net would break.  The net doesn’t tear or break under the weight of 153 large fish.   We often think we won’t be able to do it.  We think that our net will break or we don’t have the best ‘net’ for the task.  God promises to strengthen our net.  If we trust him, he will help us.

So Peter and the disciples find out that if they try again, their efforts will pay off.  They recognize Jesus in this miracle.  He then offers to make them breakfast!

So as I ended our reflection, I asked the kids to give me three things they learned from this story, I explained why I thought the breakfast was the best part.

Jesus is waiting on shore to make you breakfast.  I asked about the meal that he wants to give us now.  Among their guesses was the revelation of the Eucharist that we receive during the Mass.  I pointed to the altar table.  We are invited to this table for a meal that Jesus has prepared for us.  Are we coming to the table?  Jesus gives us himself in this extraordinary bread at every Mass.  He’s hoping that after our long journey out in the world doing the things we need to do. that he asks us to do, we will get the nourishment that we need.

Why would we miss it?

Gone Fishing_Bass

Stay tuned for more………

My little dove…

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The dove of peace I hold in my hands…doves-free-1250932

Today, on the Feast of the Mother of God and the World Day of Peace, Fr. Browning read the first Eucharistic Prayer as I knelt during Mass.  In it, he said, “he took it in his holy and venerable hands.”  Jesus blessed and broke the bread.  Jesus took the bread in his holy and venerable hands.  I could see him.  I could see his hands.  I was captivated by his holy and venerable hands as he raised the bread and gave it to those around him.
We receive Christ in our hands not long after this.  I thought how precious is this faith that I would hold in my hands.  I thought of this faith and saw a little bird in my hands.  Later when I reflected on this moment which seemed outside of time, I realized that this reminds me of my favorite Scripture and the song that I sang to my children:  Isaiah 49.  “Would a mother forget her baby or a woman the child within her womb, yet even if these forget, yes, even if these forget, I will never forget my own.”  God promised he would never forget me.  And I have the image of Mary holding her precious little baby in a lowly stable delighting in this miracle of life.
Parents hold there child’s heart and spirit in their hands like a little bird.
We hold our faith like that little bird, like a baby swaddled, tender and mild.
This year, why not have mercy on yourself and others.
Look to each person and even yourself as that little bird that needs food, a nest, and protection until it’s ready to fly.  This is faith.  It is trust in someone greater than ourselves.
We hold Christ in in our hands
He holds us in his hands
We hold others in our hands
And peace takes flight.
We all could use a little benefit of the doubt and another chance (maybe a hundred) to become the person we know we could be.
On this day, the World Day of Peace, in the wake of a baby born to change the world, resolve to think peace and be peace. This is a resolution you can keep!
Peace and good will to everyone!  Happy new year!

Give til it hurts?

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What do you have?

Sometimes God is asking so much of us.  It might be like the widow who uses the last of her flour and oil to feed Elijah.  Or the widow who puts her last 2 cents in the collection basket.  It is really hard to put that much trust in God.  We need to trust that God will give us everything we need.  That happened for the widow Elijah met.  She had enough flour and oil to eat for a year!

Elijah and the Widow

Think about the Our Father the next time you say it.  Do you trust that you will have daily bread?  What can you donate that someone else really needs?

Based on Scriptures for Sunday, November 8, 2015

1 KGS 17:10-16

MK 12:38-44

Blessed are the merciful

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Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Mt 5:1-12

Beatitudes 4

Pope Francis asks us to concentrate on being merciful as we begin the Year of Mercy on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception .

Take the challenge to do one of the Corporal Works of Mercy every week!  You can probably start at
home and then branch out!  I bet you could do one of these a day.  Visiting someone in prison or burying the dead is probably not one that you can do.  You could pray for someone who has died.  You could even send a card to someone you know is sick or check on people who live alone.  Check with your parents if you are under 18.  They probably have a few ideas!  The point is:  Think about it and then do SOMETHING!

Works of Mercy

The bucket

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My grace is sufficient for you and daily bread…
Sometimes I think that my bucket is almost too deep for God to fill with grace. Its not that he doesn’t want to give it to me but maybe I need too much!  How am I going to fill it?
Will God fill up the bucket no matter the size? Of course, He told me He would in Scripture (2Pt 1:3). I think that He tells me in so many other ways, too. My heart seems to know and understand that there is more to it then just the problem of the bucket.
I find it interesting that God would have a bucket list. Teresa Tomeo even wrote a book called God’s Bucket List.
 
Have you every thought about what God desires in his heart, not for Himself, but for you?  What are the things that will bring you happiness and peace?
So what about the bucket? What does your bucket look like? Is it a wooden pail reminiscent of the kind used for a deep well that you might find in the country. Or is it the bucket that is shiny and new, made of metal? Where did the bucket come from and who gave it to me anyway?
If God gave me the bucket wouldn’t it make sense then that He would also give me the desire to fill it up? If he promised that His grace would be sufficient, then He should fill it up! Are we born with a bucket the size the grand canyon? Some days, I am sure that it’s huge! And then I get impatient.  One more lesson in trust.  One more reminder to ask God for my daily bread.
God promised that He has just the right amount to fill all the needs in your bucket. Ask him to fill it up.
But don’t forget to ask him to help you carry it!  Is grace heavy?  I don’t think so.  Grace is a gift from God to make our burdens lighter.
beach_bucketIt’s the stuff I put in the bucket that is heavy.
What’s in your bucket?  What do you want to put in it?  What do you want to take out?
2 cor 12:9-10
Jesus, I trust in you!

Got life? Get the Bread of Life

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John 6 is as controversial today as it was when Jesus walked the Earth.  Did He mean it or didn’t He?  Was the bread really just a metaphor (Jn 6:51-58)?  In the verses that follow, Jesus assures us, as we grumble amongst ourselves, that He is quite serious.

Spoiler alert:  When Jesus asks the Twelve (Apostles) if they want to leave Him, too, Peter says, “To whom shall we go?” (Jn 6:60-69)  They stay.

 “Master, to whom shall we go? 

You have the words of eternal life.

We have come to believe

and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Faith can be tough.  You have a choice.  Should I stay or should I go?  Do I believe?  I believe Jesus was serious.  I would not give up the opportunity to receive the Bread of Life.  Where in this world will you find eternal life?  Or receive the gifts God wants to give you?

bread

Want life?

Jesus says he is the Bread of Life.

How can you get this bread?

Jesus is waiting for you at Mass in the Eucharist.

Real food and drink.

Be fed by the Word and the Eucharist.

Don’t forget that He gave us this bread, Himself, so that we could have eternal life!

What are you waiting for?

It’s all about the bread…

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What is so special about bread? Jesus is the Bread of Life and explains more in the Gospel this week. (John 6)  Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life.  Wouldn’t you be like, what?  He says it’s not like the manna they got in the dessert.  You can get bread anywhere (just pick a store).  Maybe you have a favorite kind.  You love the way it smells as it browns in the toaster.  You cover it with butter or jelly.  And it’s not only chewy but melts sweetly in your mouth.  Can you smell it?  Can you taste it?

Warm BreadJesus says that He is the Bread of Life.  Totally different.  Not like any other bread!  So will you miss it?  Are you too busy to go to Mass?  This is the Bread for the journey.  Make this a power week!  Fuel up!

Another take:

St. Paul tells us to be imitators of God and a fragrant aroma. (Eph 4)  Another metaphor.  Empty all your anger, shouting and bitterness.  Clean house.  Be kind, compassionate and forgiving.  How can you be a breath of fresh air this week?

How can you be like Jesus and bring life?