Monday, October 23, 2017

The Gift You Are (John Denver)

  Imagine a month of Sundays, each one a cloudy day. 
Imagine the moment the sun came shining through. 
Imagine that ray of sunshine as you. 
Remember your darkest hour with dawn still far away. 
Remember the way you longed for morning’s light, 
And think of yourself as a candle in the night. 
Make believe this is the first day, everything all brand new. 
Make believe that the sun is your own lucky star, 
And then understand the kind of gift you are. 
The gift you are, like the very first breath of spring. 
The gift you are, all the joy that love can bring. 
The gift you are, all of our dreams come true. 
The gift you are, the gift of you. 
You are the promise of all the ages, you are the Prodigal Son. 
You are the vision of prophets and sages, you are the only one. 
Dream of a bright tomorrow; 
Know that your dream will come true. 
Carry your dream in a sparkling crystal jar, 
Then you will know the kind of gift you are. 


To hear John Denver perform The Gift You Are, click on the video below.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A giving heart (Victor Hugo)

 The spirit is enriched by what it receives, the heart by what it gives.

  L’esprit s’enrichit de ce qu’il reçoit,
le cœur de ce qu’il donne.

--Victor Hugo

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, October 22, 2017: Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God...

Do we give the best of ourselves to God? 

   When, in Matthew’s Gospel the Herodians and Pharisees gang up on Jesus, asking him, Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar, or not?, Jesus knows that their question is meant to trip him up.  It is also profoundly misguided.  In actuality, the Pharisees and Herodians have themselves invested in the Roman empire, the very empire they seek a messiah to save them from; in so doing, they have lost sight of the essential question, which is, what does God ask of you?  Repay to God what belongs to God, Jesus says.  In other words, make of your life a blessing; do no malicious acts.  Make your life itself a tribute to God before all else.  Coins are of little interest when compared with God’s currency, a currency the men confronting Jesus simply do not understand.

   We are made by God to be stewards of the gifts God gives us.  Even the foreign king Cyrus, in the Book of Isaiah, allows God to work through him, God’s anointed, sending the Israelites home so that they might rebuild the temple where they can pray to God on Cyrus’ behalf.  Our bodies, our very lives, are God’s gifts; Psalm 96 reminds us that we must return those gifts, transformed, back to God:  Bring gifts, and enter his courts.  We must therefore ask ourselves daily, What gifts has God invested me with, that I might best serve him?  Yet service to God is not without cost:  the Thessalonians have engaged in a true work of faith and labor of love to maintain their Christian community, and Paul commends them on their endurance and persistent hope.  They have put their gifts to the service of God; they have invested their entire lives in proclaiming God’s kingdom.

   Our treasure is not money; our treasure is our very selves.  If our lives are God’s gift to us, then our goal must be to take that gift and put it to service, proclaiming the kingdom of God.  These are our first fruits, the best we have to give – to return to the generous, awesome and wondrous God who gifts us with life. 

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pray as though... (St. Augustine)

Pray as though everything depended on God. 
Work as though everything depended on you. 

--St. Augustine                         

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

All that is, all that will be, all we have is each other (JJ Grey)

 He never missed a day of work, always had a kind word 
Four buttons on a worn out shirt, but neatly cleaned and pressed 
He couldn’t read or write,  
but never failed to see a sight or hear a sound, 
A triumph in this life to watch it all go by – with a smile. 
All that is, all that will be, all we have is each other 
His son died young, his daughter as deaf as stone 
His castle a shotgun house, an easy chair his throne 
He’d work from day to night  
and in the evening he’d feel its bite of pain 
But every sunrise he’d greet it all with open arms and love – 
for all that is. 

All that is, all that will be, all we have is each other  
Many thought him simple, but so few see the truth 
So loud we live that we can’t feel the glory anymore 
And then I heard he died but all I could feel was the joy, oh the joy 
All that is, all that has been, all we have is each other 
All that is, all that will be, all we have is each other 

You know it’s not a shame, no, it’s not a shame 
To be loved in this life, and to love in this life… 

To hear The Ballad of Larry Webb performed by JJ Grey, click on the video below:

Monday, October 16, 2017

The grace of God (Eugene O'Neill)

 Man is born broken.  
 He lives by mending.  
 The grace of God is the glue.

 --Eugene O’Neill 
(born October 16, 1888) 

 Image source :  A bowl repaired using the Japanese art of kintsugi, whereby cracks are filled with gold --  the object is more valuable because it has been broken.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Kindness (Naomi Shibab Nye)

  Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know  
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

--Naomi Shihab Nye            

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fear and faith (Mitch Albom)

 What we give 
to fear, 
we take away 
from faith. 

 --Mitch Albom 

Quotation source:  
Busted Halo, 7/6/2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, October 15, 2017: The Lord is my shepherd...

How often do we recognize our dependence on God? 

   When, in Psalm 23, the psalmist acknowledges that the Lord is his shepherd, he is demonstrating a proper disposition towards God and towards life.  The psalmist recognizes his need to be led, his need to look to the one who is leading him, God the shepherd, and to rely upon that shepherd to bring him to verdant pastures and restful waters, to both nourishment and peace, far from a place of fear.  The prophet Isaiah likewise encourages the people of Israel to look to God for protection, to acknowledge their need for God’s action in their lives, for God has promised them not only deliverance from fear – he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples – but also a bountiful feast of victory.  The people of Israel have but to open to God’s presence to receive the very best God has to offer, Isaiah insists:  rich food and choice wines.  In his Letter to the Philippians, Paul similarly acknowledges all the God has done for him in his recognition that the Lord has been with him throughout all of his ministry:  I can do all things with him who strengthens me, he says.  Paul hopes the Philippians have a like appreciation for their need for Jesus’ presence in their lives, and will be generous in an ongoing way to their neighbors.

   At the time of its writing, Matthew’s Gospel could not help but reflect recent events in Jerusalem, most notable among them the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.  In his parable of the guests who refused to come to the wedding feast, Jesus, speaking to the chief priests and elders, wants this group to change, to be transformed by his presence among them, yet they refuse.  Forgetting that they need God, they also forget to serve one another; they are without a wedding garment, without the repentance and good deeds necessary to recognizing the shepherd among them, that they might fully live the life to which they are called.  Their faith is not revealed in the life they live, nor in their good deeds; it is mere lip service to the law, and therefore not worthy to come to the feast prepared for the chosen.

   We too are called to transformation, called to invest our very selves in living life fully, called to open both to God and to those around us.  We must be ready to walk through the dark valley without fear, acknowledging with every confidence that God our shepherd will bring us through, providing for us abundantly, that we might live untroubled, at peace, close to those restful waters of life, fully invested in others, that we might be fully invested in God.

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