Saturday, September 16, 2017

Told by its Fruit

There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. For every tree can be told by its own fruit: 
Luke 6:43

Jesus is teaching his disciples how we exhibit in our lives what resides in our hearts. It's a law, like gravity, affecting everyone.

For a tree to be sound it needs to be well fed and well grounded. The analogy is obvious. Shallow roots lead to a crash in the first storm.

My grounding comes from the Church, from reading the daily readings, from spending time with God such as now.  This time is essential for my nourishment,for me to thrive and produce good fruit.

My daughter Rebekah (shout out) relies on my nurturing her roots while she's at home so that when she leaves she continues to search out nourishment for the good fruit she has experienced. What have I done to nurture her today?

Lord Jesus, help me provide good fruit for my daughter, so her heart in turn may be full of good.
Little Flower, please pray for us. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It's Personal

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Feast

Alleluia, alleluia! We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your cross you have redeemed the world. Alleluia!


Today's Gospel Acclamation is taken from the Good Friday liturgy for veneration of the Cross.

In my early Catholic years I found the veneration of the Cross a bit weird. Our priest was very particular about us approaching the Cross in "stockinged feet" (he was Irish) before kissing it.

Now I find this one of the most moving events of Holy Week.

What's changed?

It's become personal. I guess I've come to realise what a sublime representation of God's love for me the Cross of Christ is. I can now say God loved me so much that he gave his only son that I may not perish but have eternal life.

The Cross has become a throne on which sits Love. How can I not bend the knee before it and acclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Lord Jesus, your love for me drove you to become humbler yet and accept death, death on a Cross. I adore you and praise you for by your Cross you have redeemed the world.

Saint John of the Cross, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My Own Fulfilment

Make sure that no one traps you and deprives you of your freedom by some second-hand, empty, rational philosophy based on the principles of this world instead of on Christ. In his body lives the fullness of divinity, and in him you too find your own fulfilment,
Col.2:8-10

Saint Paul warns the Church at Colisia to be ready when worldly philosophies come to seduce them from their true faith in Christ.

Nothing has changed in two thousand years. The second-hand empty, rational philosophies are still here. Oh the beautiful fulfilment that is found in Christ. No longer do I have to work hard at defending the empty principles based on this world. That was exhausting.

In Christ I find my own fulfilment and that is more, much more than enough for me today.

Lord Jesus. In you I live and move and have my being. Thank you for the wonderful gift of my faith in you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Push and Pull

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made;
Lk.5:8,9

Jesus has just finished teaching the crowds from Peter's boat and tells him to put into the deep again and fish. Reluctantly Peter does, only to be overwhelmed by the size of his catch. Peter recognises Jesus is from God and is gripped by fear. Jesus' divinity highlights Peter's destitution. Peter pushes Jesus away in fear. Jesus calls Peter forward in love.

I have times when my spiritual destitution  makes me push Jesus away. How could he love me knowing what I have thought or done. Yet the more I push the more he pulls, just like with Peter.

The sacrament of Confession is a good place to experience the pull of Jesus. It's been a few weeks....

Lord Jesus, the more I say "leave me Lord" the more you pursue me. Your love is beyond understanding.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Intercession

At sunset all those who had friends suffering from diseases of one kind or another brought them to him, and laying his hands on each he cured them.
Lk.4:40

Jesus has just healed Simon's mother in law and word has spread. Friends of the sick and the possessed have brought them to Jesus for healing and deliverance.

The disciples interceded for Peter's mother in law. Friends of the sick interceded for them. In both cases Jesus responded and worked miracles in the lives of the suffering. Jesus works powerfully through intercession.

We were recently approached by a man in our parish who is friends with another who has just learnt he has advanced lung cancer. A non-smoker, this came out of the blue and is a shock to him and his family. We were asked to pray for the sick man and so went to his a home and did so.

It's still early days but we are continuing to ask for a miracle. Today's Gospel is a timely reminder that Jesus loves working through the prayer of friends.

Lord Jesus we lift up Vincent again to you and ask that you heal him of his cancer. We ask for a peace beyond understanding for Doris and the children as they travel with Vincent through the valley of the shadow of death.
Little Flower please pray for us.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mana

And his teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority.
Lk.4:32

Jesus is teaching in Capernaum at the start of his public ministry. The people had never heard anything like him. His authority stood out and above anyone they had encountered.

In New Zealand we have a Maori word for what Jesus displayed to the people here. Mana.

Mana (noun) - prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma.

I have experienced people with mana. And it is an experience, you don't just meet these people. You experience them. It was the experience of Jesus that so impressed the people. It also impressed demons, as shown when the demon in today's Gospel fled at Jesus' rebuke.

This mana, this spiritual power and charisma is available to me today. How? By plugging into Jesus' mana. His power and charisma can work through me to bring about God's Kingdom here on earth. What a joy...

Lord Jesus, without you I can do nothing. With you I can move mountains. Be my power source today that you may be glorified.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Investment

‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them....
Mt.25:14

Jesus is giving his disciples instruction on what the end of time will be like when God's kingdom is finally and fully established.  In this example his parable focuses on the bringing to account what we have done with the abilities we have been given.

I play the guitar... poorly. I call myself a "hit and hope" guitarist. I hit it and hope it sounds alright. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. However, despite my mediocre playing, I use my guitar when leading Children's Liturgay at Mass. The children don't care about my skill level. They like the fun that it brings to the lesson.

I guess I have other skills that I'm more coy about, especially in adult company. Fear of performing badly can stop me using them at all.  Today's Gospel reminds me that any talents I have are not just for me. I'm expected to invest them for the benefit of God's kingdom.  The promise is that I will then share in my masters happiness on judgement day.

Jesus, thank you for the gifts that I have been given. Give me courage to invest them for a return that gives you glory.
Saint Thomas Moore, pray for me.