Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sunday Gospel Reflection, February 3, 2019: I shall show you a still more excellent way...

How do you discern God’s will?

  It isn’t easy to discern the will of God in our lives.  When the prophet Jeremiah is sent by God to deliver a message no one wants to hear, the people are unwilling to listen, let alone discern whether or not Jeremiah is the prophet they need to hear:  They will fight against you, God says.  But God encourages Jeremiah, reassuring him that God loved him into existence – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you – and that Jeremiah has discerned God’s call rightly, the call to use the gifts God has given him to serve the people, even if the people are too stubborn to hear him.  Psalm 71 reminds us that God is our rock and our fortress. Moreover, God knows what we are capable of because he created each of us with a purpose:  You have taught me from my youth, the psalmist says, On you I depend from birth. With God’s help, we learn to grow in faith, entering always ever further into relationship with God, and thereby learning to hear God when God speaks to us.  We can learn, with practice, to discern.

  Like the people of Jeremiah’s time, the people of Nazareth are not open to discernment.  When, in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells them fairly clearly that he is the Messiah, the anointed one, they don’t really listen, let alone discern – instead, they doubt, which impedes their ability to discern that God is present among them in the person of Jesus, the Christ who came to reveal the depth of God’s love for his people.  Indeed, they drive him out of the town!  Whatever their gifts might be, those gifts do not allow the people of Nazareth to receive the insights they need to see the Messiah before them.  They do not listen; they do not hear.  They have failed their gifts; they have fallen short in discernment.

  How do we discern if we are using our gifts for good or for vainglory?  Paul tells the Corinthians that love that is patient and kind is at the core of discernment; if there is no love, the Corinthians’ gifts are useless because alone they cannot see clearly; they see only indistinctly, as in a mirror.  Yet we must work to discern together, to listen to the truths others reveal to us, to expand each other’s vision out of love for God’s truth.  It is our life journey to understand the gifts God has bestowed upon us; it is our life journey to discern, daily, even hour by hour, what God’s will is in our lives.  Together, trusting that we are known by God from the womb, listening with love, we can model our own love on God’s love and discern, as best as humanly possible, God’s will.

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet (Amy Grant)

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

When I feel afraid,
Think I’ve lost my way,
Still you’re there right beside me.
And nothing will I fear
As long as you are near.
Please be near me to the end.


I will not forget
Your love for me and yet
My heart forever is wandering.
Jesus, be my guide,
And hold me to your side.
I will love you to the end.
Nothing will I fear
As long as you are near.
Please be near me to the end.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,
And a light unto my path.
You’re the light unto my path.

To hear Amy Grant perform her song Thy Word, click on the video below:

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

We are the Body of Christ (Fr. MIchael Cummins)

  Physically, the pains and traumas of life can lead us to disconnect from our bodies and even forget our bodies even as we live within our own skin.  In this scenario, we might be able to get by but this is far from the full experience and joy of life. When pain and trauma lead us to forget who we are and disconnect from the reality of being the Body of Christ, we – as Church – might also be able to get by in the world, but this also is far from the fullness of life that God intends for his people and through his people (his Body) in witness for the world.

  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jew or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of the one Spirit… Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.  (1 Cor. 12:12-13, 27).

  A tremendous joy is to be found in re-connecting and simply remembering our body.  Yes, we are the Body of Christ!

--Fr. Michael Cummins, Word on Fire

Image source: James Tissot, Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue / Jésus dans la synagogue déroule le livre, Brooklyn Museum (1886-1894)