Monday, October 19, 2020

True Treasure

 Luke 12:13-21

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

The fight with greed and the insatiable desire for more material goods weaves its way through our history and never seems to end. We never seem to be satisfied.  Jesus is clear on this:  "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist in possessions." Easier said than done, as the parable illustrates. Would that we worked with the same energy to become rich in what matters to God as we do for earthly treasures. Giving our lives for others in small ways or in big, as did the North American Martyrs, whose Memorial is today, in acts of loving service, and in generous sharing of ourselves, we can build up true treasure.  May God and those who have done this before us help us to put this way of "treasure building" into action today!

Bro. Rene

 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Giving God and Ceasar Their Due

 

Matthew 22: 15-21

Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[ to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

While cleverly answering the Pharisees, Jesus also gives us the proper perspective for living in this world but not being a slave to it.  "Repay to Caesar what is Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." How often do we muddle our accounts, usually short-changing God, and succumb to the pressures of materialism, "political correctness", social rejection or our own self-inflicted fears? The restrictions imposed on us by the Covid Virus, the lies and manipulations of the US presidential election campaigns challenge us and even impede us from making sound decisions. Jesus gives us the proper formula to follow. Let us put our trust in its time-honored truth.

Bro.  Rene

 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Trust In The Spirit

“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

These words of Jesus, though a warning of the challenges that waited for his disciples, are still valid in today's confused and tumultuous world, where disagreement, political division, the pandemic and a disconnection from God make the persecutions of old seem like "a piece of cake."  Like St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose memorial we celebrate today, we need to stand fast and live out this gospel passage. Trusting in the Holy Spirit and remaining faithful, even in these days, are essential and will see us through the worst of times. A simple solution, but as challenging as the era in which we live. May we take heart in knowing that men like St. Ignatius saw the "bright side" of their brutal martyrdom, and  have given us the convincing example, that we can follow. 

St.Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us who may be faltering and need your example and God's grace to make it through this "vale of tears."

Bro Rene

 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Eliminate Fear

Luke 12: 1-7

Warnings and Encouragements

12 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

At this time of Corona Virus fears and hateful political exchange, this teaching of Jesus hits the nail on the head. If God so protects the sparrows, how much more does he protect us, especially from the faults  hidden to us but so evident to others? Yes, we too can hide behind "the hypocrisy of the Pharisees" either knowingly or not, but we need to be on guard, and not let our fears hold us back from living in the light. Let  us pray and act as children of the light and not be hampered by our fears or those sown by the Evil One.

Bro. Rene

Thursday, October 15, 2020

What Do You Want of Me?

 (Note: We diverge this morning from our usual format for a taste of this poetic poem/prayer of St. Teresa of Avila, a mystic and yet practical spiritual guide, as we daily try to deepen our personal prayer and reflection.

Loving the Wisdom of God

I am yours and born for you.

What do you want of me?

Majestic and Sovereign,

Unending Wisdom,

Kindness pleasing to my soul; 

God sublime, one Being Good,

Behold this one so vile,

Singing of her love to you:

What do you want of me?

Yours, you made me,

Yours, you saved me,

Yours, you awaited me,

Yours, I did not stray.

What do you want of me?

Look at me, Sweet Love

Sweet Love, look at me,

What do you want of me?

 Simply take some time to let this prayer come from the heart.

Bro Rene

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Fulfilling the Law

4“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

As we read these "woes" , even though they make reference to some practices no longer used, the basic idea is that we can get sidetracked in minutiae and miss the real point. Fulfilling obligations for their own sake while missing out on being just to our neighbor and loving of God and neighbor, does not "cut it" with Jesus.  Placing burdens on others without helping them carry them is not fulfilling the Law.  Jesus was very direct with the Pharisees.  What would he say to us? 

Bro. Rene

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Solution Is Closer Than We Think

 

Jesus confronts an Expert of the Law

37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Most of the time the solution to a problem is much simpler than we think. Here, Jesus attacks the core of the problem, that which lies within:  "greed and wickedness".  If all it takes is almsgiving to eliminate these vices, what are we waiting for?  Almsgiving, provided it is not just "surface giving," but from the heart, can have a purging and healing effect on the vices that bloom within.  When we are generous to the poor, may our generosity come from our hearts not just our wallets.

Bro. Rene