Friday, March 23, 2018

Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 18:2-7, John 10:31-42


Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life. John 6:63, 68

Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 18:2-7, John 10:31-42

Jeremiah 20:10-13

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

Today You remind me that as long as You are with me I need be afraid of nothing. Jeremiah was hounded by those with power. They hated him because he spoke the truth. He made their sins public knowledge and condemned them for hiding their wickedness under a cloak of respectability.

This is what the Chief Priests, the temple authorities, the Pharisees and Scribes did. So did their ancestors before them; they too killed the prophets and the men of God sent to them to urge them to change their wicked ways or be destroyed.  

As we draw nearer to Passion Week we get a hint from passages in the Old Testament what You Yourself will have to suffer and endure. As the momentum gathered to put You to death there was constant plotting and strategies put in place to trap You. You had to be always on guard. You would not give Yourself into the hand of the Enemy until the hour had arrived.

Christians today are also called to suffer persecution for Your sake. They hate the Church for she is unshakable in the stance on Truth. She stands against the culture that denies sin and for this the world is prepared to destroy her faithful followers. However, we need never be afraid of those who can kill the body and after that can do no more. You proved this to be true in Your glorious Resurrection. May we sing Your praises Lord now and always.

Psalm 18:2-7

Dear Love, Beloved my soul,

I exult along with the Psalmist and sing along with him, "I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. Truly You are a faithful God for each time I called You when I was in trouble You hastened to help me. You keep me safe from the wiles of the enemy. I am constantly tempted to give in to concupiscence and if it were not for Your timely grace and help I would have been lost to You forever. 

I thank You Beloved for putting angels in charge of me lest I dash my foot against a stone. You know how weak I am. How easily I am tempted. How quickly I can fall from grace and this is why You stand guard around me and keep the enemy away from me. You know I cannot do it on my own. My Rock, my Beloved, my Fortress, my High Tower. Thank You.

John 10:31-42

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

The world has not changed in 20 centuries Beloved. Those who hate Truth will still pick up rocks to kill those whom they do not agree with. Those who will not align with them to call evil good, and lies truth. We have only to look at all the aberrations in our world that are touted as normal and how the world is doing its best to shove a square peg in a round hole. They get livid when the those who walk on the side of Truth refuse to cow down to them and their bluster.

You refused to back down from the Truth and Your enemies could do nothing to make You vulnerable and afraid. You simply walked through them and they could not lay a hand on You. 

Today You say something that our Protestant brethren would be wise to note. You say to the Jews 

"Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'? 
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set asidecan you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? 
If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."

Faith in God cannot be separated from the works that flow naturally from faith. Our works are signs that make our faith visible. The greatest work is that we love God above and before all and we love one another just as You loved us and lay down Your life for us.  This is the greatest work ever done and it won for us redemption and salvation. We make love visible by action.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Genesis 17:3-9, Psalm 105:4-9, John 8:51-59


If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts. Ps 95:8

Genesis 17:3-9, Psalm 105:4-9, John 8:51-59

Genesis 17:3-9

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

There is an attitude that we must always have when we approach our God. Our father in faith demonstrates this in the opening chapters of our salvation history. It speaks of how God chose a man from all the nations and made a covenant with him that would endure until the sun and the moon were no more.

God changed his name to Abraham to indicate his new mission, his new calling in the divine scheme of things. Once Abraham, in perfect obedience and faith was prepared to sacrifice the child of promise, the child of his old age, God intervened and stayed his hand against his child. God provided the animal for the sacrifice. Its blood would seal the covenant that God made with him and his descendants.

Every promise that God made with Abraham He fulfilled through the ensuing ages when He sent His only Son into the world to become the true Lamb of Sacrifice. Your Blood would take away the sins of the world and seal us in a Covenant of Love with the Triune God, an eternal Covenant that makes us adopted sons and daughters of God and partakers and sharers of Your inheritance which is nothing less than the Kingdom of God.

On our part, God invites us to respond to His awesome invitation. We can say yes of no. We can begin with a yes and then change our mind and walk away from Him. But what is certain my Beloved, is that God does not walk away from us. His Covenant is Eternal for it is You who are His Covenant with us. You are Emmanuel, God with us now and forever.

Psalm 105:4-9

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Dear Lord, Beloved of my soul,

How wonderfully reassuring it is to know that God our Father will remember the Covenant of Love He has made with us forever. Every time He looks at me He sees me covered in Your most Precious Blood. He sees that I am a part of Your Body, He looks at me and sees this little, insignificant, weak, powerless nothing and His tender compassion, mercy, and kindness, overflows for me. I could not save myself if my life depended on it and this is why He asked You to step in and save this wretched, miserable creature.

Thank You Father for Your Beloved Son, the Beloved of my soul who at Your will imprisons Himself in all the tabernacles of the world in order that we may look at Him and draw strength from Him.  We are called to love, and serve Him who came into the world to reveal Your love to us and to serve us. We have no excuse Father for not reaching our eternal destiny for You have showed us the Way, You have revealed the Truth and You have made it possible to have Life in and through the One whom You sent.

Thank You my Beloved. Stay with me or I will fall by the wayside and be trampled upon and lost, if You are not beside me every moment of every day that I am alive. Amen.

John 8:51-59

Dear Love, Beloved of my soul,

Because we are born in sin we are unable to believe. This was true of the Jews and it is true of anyone who has not been washed clean in the waters of Baptism and received the free gift of faith.  In the parable You narrated of the rich man and Lazarus Abraham tells him that even if someone were to return from the dead his brothers would not believe.

The Jews were a chosen race but they did not recognize the time of their redemption. Their rejection of You was necessary in order that the message of salvation could be preached to all nations, even to the ends of the earth. Even though You knew it all Beloved, yet their deliberate blindness to all the signs that pointed to the Truth of who You truly are would have hurt and surprised You as a Man. The Gospels tell us that You were bewildered at their lack of faith despite the miraculous wonders over nature, over the human condition, over evil spirits, and even over death.

Yet, Beloved, one can find an excuse for them - it was pretty hard for them to wrap their minds around the fact that here You stood before them. They knew Your personal history. They had preconceived ideas about how the Messiah would come among them. They perceive You as some upstart making tall claims about yourself although they could clearly see You were a mere man. Yet You claimed to know Abraham and You referred to Yourself as I AM. Every red flag went up in Your hearers minds and enraged them.

What is my excuse Beloved? I know different. I am baptized. I have received the free gift of faith. I have been instructed from my earliest years. I have been confirmed in the Holy Spirit. I receive Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion almost every day. So what is my excuse for not being the person I ought to be? Have mercy on me Lord and help me every step of the way from here to eternity because I am a sinner who will not make it on my own without Your help.