Luke 2:19

So often the Lord places something on my heart and it just sits there, unused. At times I get a twinge in my heart that there is something that needs to be uncovered. I often refer to these things as boxes. I imagine a box with a thought topic written on it and inside is all the sub-thoughts associated with that topic. It isn’t until the box is empty that I feel like I’ve gotten to the bottom of the situation. There are times I ignore the giant box. This usually happens because God is calling me to change somethings. I tend to be a bit hardheaded and I avoid the boxes that will make me change my life.

That is until the box weighs too heavily and I have to take it to chapel. I love chapel, it’s a great place to unpack the boxes. It is in this space that I am able to reflect, meditate, pray, and read my way toward God. He allows us this space to get to know him better. Reflecting on the things he has placed within us helps us gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Our Lady had all these qualities because she reflected on these things in her heart all the time. She was completely focused and dedicated to the Lord. Each day she grew in wisdom because each day she was reflecting. Her entire life was a reflection.

She is a great example to us in so many ways. I pray today that we will become more reflective. I will try to stop ignoring the boxes that will cause me to change my life, instead make life a perpetual reflection. I wish to grow in my relationship with God and this can be done by living a contemplative life, like Mary.

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Matthew 5:19

In this Gospel, the Lord is telling us the importance of following the law. Jesus tells us that he did not come to abolish the law because it will still be necessary until heaven and earth pass away. Many of my brothers and sisters think that since Jesus has already died for our sins, there is no need to be under the law. We see here that this idea is incorrect…well sort of.

The reason many people feel this ways is because Romans 6:14b says that we don’t need to be under the law when we are under grace and the Spirit. The problem with that is that we are fallen creatures. None of us is operating fully under the Spirit, because if we were we would be perfect, we would never sin. I always think about the woman caught in adultery when I think about the idea of not reading the law. Jesus says, “He who is without sin shall cast the first stone.” Then everyone walks away because no one is perfect except the one who says, “Nor do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

I recently committed a sin. As I brought my sin to the foot of the cross, I asked the Lord for the grace “to go and sin no more.” He said to my heart, You must live in me, and I in you. Allow your mouth to be governed by my Spirit. I will not cause you to sin, but you must allow me the opportunity. Before you committed this sin, you paused. You wanted to obey me but you allowed your pride to get in the way. Pride is the root of all sin and it is only through taking delight in God’s laws that we humble ourselves before the judgment seat of Christ.

The law isn’t going anywhere. We must know it and live it. This is what the Lord is asking of us. When we are obeying the law without thought we must rejoice in the Holy Spirit because we are conforming ourselves to him. In moments of sin we must reflect on the laws given to us and bring them to the Mercy Seat and humbly ask our Lord for forgiveness and our Lady for guidance. As Christ forgives us, the Blessed Mother will allocate the graces to us that are necessary for our return to cooperation with the Holy Spirit. It is my prayer today that we will all seek joy in the Father’s laws and not feel confined by them, rather free to live in peace and joy with our Lord.

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Matthew 5:16

This Gospel is the similes of salt and light. Jesus tells us we are salt and that we must keep our flavor in order to stay useful. He says we are the light of a city on a high mountain. We are also a lamp that doesn’t belong under a bushel basket, rather on a lamp stand to illuminate the room. Finally he tells us that our light is for others to see and draw them closer to Christ. There are three distinct pieces of verse 16. First, our light must shine before others. Second, they may see our good deeds. Third, they will glorify our heavenly Father. Let’s break these down.

“Your light must shine before others.” To me this means don’t be shy. Sometimes when I first meet people I am a little quiet. Especially in groups of new people, I prefer to observe rather than converse. New places, situations, and people make me very nervous. Once I’m comfortable, I never stop talking. I’m very silly and I love to dance, sing, use accents, and just be goofy. God has given me a very high energy personality that many don’t see. I often put my light under a basket. Please be encouraged today that all the little quirks about your personality are gifts from your Creator. He gives them to you on purpose and for a purpose, so use them always. We should be who we are around all people, in all places, and through all situations. This is how we become authentic human beings. Don’t change who you are based on the things or people around you.

“That they may see your good deeds.” Don’t be boastful. The risk I tend to run when it comes to this, is I sometimes end up like the Pharisees praying out loud for others to hear and calling attention to myself when I do something good. But we still have to recognize that we need to do some good things for others to see. There is a balance between healing the lame in the name of Christ and not telling your left hand what right hand is doing. The key is to find that balance. While looking for it in many real life situations I have come up with a few questions to ask myself. Who am I doing this for? If I am doing something for Jesus, truly for Jesus, then it is a good thing and should be done. If I am doing it for someone else, then why am I doing it for them? Sometimes I do things for people that seem like they need a little extra sparkle in their day. Sometimes I do things for myself. In these cases I’m putting on a show of kindness for my own vanity. These moments need to be snuffed out quickly. The second question I ask myself is, does Jesus want this? Sometimes when we do things for others, it can still be a bad thing. Asking myself whether or not something would please the Lord makes me humble, puts Christ in my heart and helps me to discern his will. All that we do needs to include the Lord and at times he wants people to see what we are doing to call others to him.

God uses the acts of love and service we do for others to draw us and them closer to him. Think about some of the people that have had an impact on you spiritually, they probably were loving and serving neighbor in a way that you saw Christ. All that we do should glorify God and eventually people will start to wonder where your joy, hope, and peace come from. These are the perfect opportunities to share how the love of Jesus has transformed your life. After sharing, God may be doing a work in their heart that will call them closer to him. It is essential that people see us glorifying God so they, too, can come to know, honor, and serve him.

My prayer for us today is that we will be the light that shines. Don’t be afraid of the person God has made you to be. Instead, allow the gifts he has given you to flourish and grow so that they may bear fruit in others. Imagine yourself as the sun shining on a fruit bush. Your light does not depend on if the plants need you or not. In the same way who you are is not dependent on the people around you. Rather, the light of the sun is dependent upon its Creator as you are dependent upon your Creator. The plants see the sun and grow strong and bear fruit. Your witness must allow others to grow strong in light and begin to bear fruit. It is through living in, with, and for the Lord each day that we glorify him.

Matthew 5:12

This Gospel is the Beatitudes. I love the Beatitudes because they are a good way to determine a life in the service of the Lord or if we are serving ourselves. To be honest, I’m usually serving myself, but it’s nice to have a gauge. The question I asked today in prayer was, how do we get to heaven.

We see in verse 12 that our reward will be great in heaven, but how do we get there? The Beatitudes are our answer. We must be poor in spirit, mourn, meek, we must hunger and thirst for righteousness, we must be merciful, clean of heart, a peacemaker, and be persecuted for the sake of righteousness. In more practical terms what does this mean? It goes back to the two Great Commandments of loving God and neighbor. We get to heaven through love.

I see in this passage that I am to rejoice when I’m persecuted and be glad when I mourn. These things don’t sound like fun, but the truth is, that is how we love. I should rejoice when I’m being persecuted because that shows my test of faith. Is my love for God strong enough to face difficult situations? I must be glad while mourning because it means that I have united my heart to a brother or sister in need. Is my love for others strong enough to support and love them through difficult times?

Every moment the Lord is drawing us closer to him and in moments of trial our faith is tested. Will we have the patience to endure these temporary trials because we know this is not the end? In light of eternity should this be a big deal? We must use every opportunity given to us to serve God and love one another, not only that, but also find the joy in everything because we have hope. My prayer for us today is that we will draw closer to heaven and one another through love.

Mark 14:24

This Gospel is the Last Supper. The disciples go into the city to prepare the Passover feast, then Jesus eats his final meal with his friends. It is during this final meal that two sacraments are instituted. First is Holy Orders second is the Eucharist. Today I’d like to write about the Eucharist.

God is merciful. There are many adjectives to describe who God is and mercy always makes the list. Of course we see this in the life and Passion of Christ. For God so loved the world that he sent his only son. Because I love the Old Testament and seeing how God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, let’s look at Genesis and the story of The Fall. If you’ll notice, at the end of chapter 2 we see Adam and Eve naked together. After the fall, God gives Adam and Eve the gift of sex as a foretaste of the bliss of heaven. They have been kicked out of the Garden of Eden where they could walk with God and if it isn’t for his mercy they would never have a taste of what his love was like ever again. It is in his mercy that they, and we, have this gift.

In the same way at the Last Supper we see Jesus’ mercy over flow into the chalice of salvation. After we sin and fall short of the glory of God, he literally pours his mercy into us through the Holy Eucharist. Each time we sin we go to our Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation then we go to him in the Sacrament of the Eucharist where he gives us a taste of what heaven will be like. Our Lord wills for us to be united with him. This has been his desire from the beginning and it wasn’t until after the fall that we became aware of what it means to be away from him. Luckily, our Father is love and he is mercy and he pulls us back to him time and time again. He grants us many gifts even though we are so unworthy of them, but that is what love is, giving all you are to those who may fall short of reciprocating.

My prayer for us today is to accept the gifts he gives out of his abundant mercy. May we always recognize them as ways to get us back to him. Let us draw closer to him and be mindful of the tastes of heaven that he gives to us while we are on earth.

Mark 12:44

This Gospel tells of the poor widow dropping a few coins quietly into the collection basket in the synagogues. Many others contributed but she was noticed by Jesus because she had nothing. He called his disciples over to tell them that her offering is worth more because it is all she has while the others only give some of what they have.

I have heard and red a lot about the poor widow. We should all gibe the way she does, with humble hands giving all that we have. ALL that we have. It wasn’t until today that I noticed Christ’s words, “her whole livelihood.” It also wasn’t until today that I considered the Lord talking about something other than money.

Obviously in this story he is talking about money, but what other areas of our lives can this apply to? I’m listening to a Lighthouse Catholic Media CD by Father Larry Richards where he explains that God’s will for us is to be with him but we also have to will to be with him. And when both parties will to be together, we snap our fingers twice and BAM there we are with God. Ummmm….not exactly. The way we get to be  with him is for our will to be God’s will, his applies to our income, our vocations, and our free time. Every moment we have the opportunity to do the will of our Father in heaven. The question is, will we?

Jesus has asked me to do something I don’t want to do. I am doing it, but with a reluctant heart. I know this is what he wants for me and I know that my life is meant to be in service of him. But I also know that he wants to me to do it joyfully and out of a pure heart. I want to be doing something else. I have been spending the last few weeks in prayer asking the Lord when I will be able to leave this situation he has put me in. The problem with this is that I am not giving my livelihood to him. He doesn’t ask me to do his will while I kick and scream. He doesn’t ask me to follow him halfway. He wants me to jump with both feet into this task he has given me and not keep one foot out for what may be. I must give up my livelihood to follow him with a joyful heart because it is in doing the will of God that we find peace.

My prayer today is that we will all give up our livelihood to Christ. I pray that we will offer him our hearts, minds, bodies, hopes, and dreams to do his will with joy and gladness.

Mark 12:37

In this Gospel we are reminded that the Messiah was to be a descendant of King David. We see from Matthew 1 that Jesus is indeed a descendant of David. Because he was to be a son of David, the Jews expected the Messiah to come as an earthy king and a great warrior like David. The Christ was to come and rescue the Jewish people from their oppression. In verse 37, Christ quotes Psalm 110 and points out that the Messiah is to be more than David his father, to rank higher than King David.

This opens us to the question of who Jesus is. Many of us, including the Jews of the New Testament, have a very limited idea of the Christ. One of the things that was thought was that the Messiah would come to save the Jewish people from the Romans. Jesus says at the Last Supper that his blood is being shed for many. This makes me think about who do people say Jesus is and who do I think Jesus is.

Secular America will say he was a great man, other religions may call him a great prophet. I call him King and Father. Jesus ranks higher than David because he existed before David, the Word was with God from the beginning. Jesus is king of all the universe and has a love for all people, not just Catholics, not just Christians. Jesus died on the cross for every single human being that has ever existed and will ever exist. Who Jesus is, is not dependent upon who anyone says he is.

By his grace we have received the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ as Peter did. Now, it is our responsibility to help others come to know him. Jesus is king of all the universe, my prayer is that we will spread his message throughout his entire world, not just stay with those who are of the same mind that we are. Instead, let us go to all of creation baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.