Monday, October 31, 2016

Jesus does not wait (Fr. James Martin)

      Notice something important:  Jesus does not announce that he will visit Zacchaeus’ house after the tax collector makes his promise of restitution, but before.  Jesus does not wait until we are perfectly sinless before inviting us to join him.  And we should not wait till others are perfectly sinless before inviting them to join us.

   Sometimes, I admit, I am part of the crowd.  I am the one who thinks the other person cannot possibly change.  Like ‘everyone,’ I harden my heart to the possibility of conversion for others.  I have to remind myself never to close my heart to anyone.  If you run across a ‘chief of sinners,’ who are you to condemn him, if God is waiting to welcome him?

--Posted by Fr. James Martin on Facebook, November 20, 2012

Image source:  Egino Weinert, Jesus calls Zacchaeus

Saturday, October 29, 2016

No saint without a past (St. Augustine)

  There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.  

 --St. Augustine   

 Image source:  Fra Angelico, 
 The Conversion of St.  Augustine (15th c.)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sunday Gospel Reflection, October 30, 2016: Today I must stay at your house!

 God is pursuing you!  Are you prepared to invite him in? 

   From time immemorial, God is a God of covenant, characterized as gracious and merciful and kind, compassionate and faithful and holy, according to Psalm 145.  In our moments of failure, God offers support and encouragement; in our times of sin, the Book of Wisdom assures us, God has mercy on all and overlooks people’s sins that they may repent.  Why?  Because God seeks relationship with humankind; having created all, loving all things, God does all God can to help us past our sinfulness through the grace of repentance so that we might live with him always.

   The tax collector Zacchaeus certainly knows what it means to move past his sinfulness and into right relationship with Jesus.  In Luke's Gospel, Zacchaeus is drawn to Jesus; he even climbs a tree so he can see Jesus as he passes by.  But Jesus, to his surprise, seeks relationship with him; Jesus overlooks Zacchaeus’ past, pursuing him so that salvation can come to Zacchaeus’ house.  And Zacchaeus, for his part, is thrilled that Jesus is pursuing him; he is prepared to invite Jesus in and offer him every hospitality:  he receives Jesus with joy!

   God is pursuing us… but to what end?  Paul’s Second Letter toTimothy suggests that, from a position of right relationship with God, we show that we are worthy of his calling, ready to respond, to make every effort of faith, that God might be glorified.  God is unfolding God’s plan before our very eyes, pursuing a relationship with us, looking past our sin, loving us beyond all telling.  Are we prepared to respond and invite him in?

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source:  Wordle

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

No end to God's forgiveness (Jonathan Helser)

 In the beginning, You were singing 
In the end, You’ll still be singing over me 
In this moment, You’re right beside me 
You’re everywhere, You’re in the air that I breath 
You are an endless ocean 
A bottomless sea  
In my sin, You kept loving 
There’s no end to Your forgiveness and mercy 
Every morning You keep coming 
Waves of Your affection keep washing over me 


All those angels, they are swimming 
In this ocean and they still can find no shore 
Day and night, night and day 
They keep seeing new sides of Your face 

There’s no end to the affection You have for me… 

To hear this song performed by Jonathan David Helser,
click on the video below:
Image source
Video source

Monday, October 24, 2016

The God that rescues (Shannon Alder)

     My Christ says, Your job is to get off your self-righteous butt and start reaching out to difficult people, because my ministry wasn’t about a bunch of nice people getting together once a week to sing hymns and get a feel good message, that you may or may not apply, depending on your depth of anger for someone.  It is about caring for and helping the broken-hearted, the difficult, the hurt, the misunderstood, the repulsive, the wicked, and the liars.  It is about turning the other cheek when someone hurts you.  It is about loving one another and making amends.  It is allowing people as many chances as they need because God gives them endless chances. When you do this, then you will know me and you will know true happiness and peace.  Until then, you will never know who I really am.  You will always be just a fan or a Sunday-only warrior.  You will continue to represent who you are to the world, but not me.  I am the God that rescues.

--Shannon L. Alder
Image source
Quote source:  Goodreads

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Far from light (St. Augustine)

  Remember this.  When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold.  When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness.  This is also the case when people withdraw from God.

  --St. Augustine