Trial

Hi everyone!  I’m currently trying a case in Baltimore County, so I won’t be able to post for the next few days.

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The Bread You Need

How much does God love us?  He loves us so much that he willingly makes himself small enough that we can receive him into our very being.

Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.

He will give rain for the seed
that you sow in the ground,
And the wheat that the soil produces
will be rich and abundant.
On that day your flock will be given pasture
and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows;
The oxen and the asses that till the ground
will eat silage tossed to them
with shovel and pitchfork.
Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall,
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.

The Eucharist gives eternal life.  Isn’t that what we all want?

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The End of the World

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His Mercy Endures Forever

I don’t know about you, but I need the mercy of God.  I need it bad.  I’ll need it today.  I’ll need it tonight and I’ll need it tomorrow.  I am a sinner.  Far too often I do the sinful things I don’t want to do and fail to do the good things that I want to do.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This gate is the LORD’s;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.

O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.

God is great and merciful.  He gives me love I haven’t earned, and forgives my transgressions though I don’t deserve forgiveness.

His mercy endures forever.

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Confess With Your Mouth

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Today’s challenge is to be bold in your Christian faith.  Every one of us should be spreading the gospel to every person we know and meet.  Jesus wants us to bring unbelievers to faith in him.  It’s a matter of eternal life or death.  Do we confess Jesus as our Lord and savior openly, or are we “secret” followers of Christ?

Brothers and sisters:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
The Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
As it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!
But not everyone has heeded the good news;
for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?
Thus faith comes from what is heard,
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
But I ask, did they not hear?
Certainly they did; for

Their voice has gone forth to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

Jesus is the best thing that can ever happen to us.  How selfish it would be if we keep the good news all to ourselves?

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With Arms Wide Open

What is it about us that causes us to lose our sense of wonder as we get older?  Do we just get too caught up in our rat race world, unable to separate ourselves from the pursuit of pleasure and possessions? How can we encounter the revelation of God when we expend all of our energies in worshiping ourselves?  We need to slow our lives down and experience the Lord like a child does, with arms wide open.

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Worship him with arms wide open.

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The Centurion and Jesus

In today’s gospel, Jesus encounters a Centurion (a Roman military leader) who asks Jesus to perform a miracle by healing his servant, who is gravely ill.  Jesus immediately indicates that he will go to the Centurion’s house to heal the servant.

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

The actions of both Jesus and the Centurion are shocking, to say  the least.  For a Roman soldier to seek out a Jewish rabbi for any non-official purpose must have surprised both his subordinates and Jesus’ followers.  What must have been even more shocking to the disciples was Jesus’ apparent willingness to go to the house of this unclean pagan. To enter the house of such an unworthy person was considered defilement.

Fortunately for both the Centurion and us, Jesus and his benevolent, healing love is not reserved only for those of us who are deemed to be “worthy.”  In fact, as Jesus so frequently reminds us, in his kingdom the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

As the season of Advent begins, let us reflect on the justice of this teaching.  Do we recognize in ourselves the healing of our hearts that must be submitted to God’s mercy? Can we see the necessity of his coming into the world as one of us?  Are we ready to truly be humble before God, and each other?

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