I passed by Jesus and kept on walking

I am in Paris right now on business for my community.  I do not have much time for touristy things but I have managed to take a few walks for exercise.  One of the things that has struck  me is the number of men and women wrapped in rags sitting on the side walks begging.  I have yet to see anyone putting money in their cups.  People walk by seemingly oblivious to their presence.  I walked by one man and felt a stab of conscience; I passed a second and then feeling some guilt went back and gave him  a dollar and then proceeded to walk past a third.  It started to rain but I had a clean, warm room waiting for me.  Where would all of these men and women go?

The Scriptures keep tugging at my conscience.  I passed by Jesus – several times and kept on going.  What did Jesus say to those who did not feed the hungry:  depart from, me!  The above happened yesterday but I keep thinking about my actions – or lack of action.  The issue of poverty, in this case so many people sitting on the Streets begging, haunts me.  The injustices in our world are so overwhelming, and I feel so impotent in the face of it all.

Forgive me, Jesus, for passing you by.  May I have th courage to do my little part in not passing you by again;

Posted in Christian Faith, General Interests, Human behavior, Jesus, Spirituality, The mystery of suffering, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

no such things as accidents in life

For the past five days, I have been travelling outside the United States on business for my community.  Today I met a man with some serious faith questions. It seemed like an accident that I was in the right place at the right time, and that I was able to be of help.  BUT was it an accident or was it Divine Providence?  I do not believe in accidents; I believe in the Providence of God at work in our lives. Somehow, in some way that I do not understand life is lived under the umbrella of the Providence of God.  Nothing happens in life independent of the Providence of God.  Of course, faith is needed to see this.  Without faith, we are confronted with mere chance or determinism.  With faith, we are confronted with the mystery of a God who loves us and cares for us. 

Posted in Christian Faith, General Interests, Spirituality, stories, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the gift of passion

Today is Pentecost Sunday.  We remember, celebrate and give thanks for the gift of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the first group of followers of Jesus.  Our first reading from Acts 2:1-11 tells us that, “…there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.  Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.  And they were filled with the Holy Spirit…”

The Holy Spirit is the giver of gifts.  The Holy spirit gives us the gifts of patience, kindness, perseverance, faith, fortitude, courage…every virtue we need to live and grow in the Christian life.  One of the most important gifts that the Holy Spirit gives us is the gift of passion.  Passion – that is a love and excitement for the person of Jesus and the enthusiasm and conviction to live by His teachings.  I believe that what is often lacking in Western Christianity is passion.  We sometimes seem lethargic and routine as regards our faith.  If we had the passion and commitment of a crowd of fans attending a football game, we could set the world on fire. Instead we often come across as having a fatigued faith.  No wonder many find our services boring and our teachings unconvincing.

Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for all of the gifts that we need to become the best people – the best Christians – that we can be.  Let us pray for the gift of passion that sets us on fire with love and excitement for Jesus and His teachings.

Posted in Christian Faith, General Interests, Holy Spirit, Spirituality, Today's Scripture Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

remain in my love

In today’s Gospel, John 15:9-17, Jesus offers us a powerful challenge:  “Remain in my love.”

Jesus says that He loves us and that He wants us to remain in a loving relationship with Him.  I know that I do.  I suspect that you do also.  But it’s not that easy.  Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love…” We know that it is a daily challenge to live according to the teachings of Jesus.  And Jesus is very specific:  “This is my commandment:  love one another as I love you.”  If we want to remain in a loving relationship with Jesus, we must love one another.  There is no vagueness in Jesus’ teachings.  And to emphasize it, Jesus says a second time, “…love one another!”

But what does it mean to love one another.  Jesus is not talking about a romantic love or some kind of warm, fuzzy feelings nor is He talking about closing our eyes to injustices or evil behavior.  The best definition of loving another that I have ever come across is this:  Love is a conscious choice that I make for the good of another. I don’t have to like another person, but I choose to love him/her.  I pray for the other.  I desist from saying or doing anything that will hurt another.  I do what I can to help the other.  I give myself for the other as Jesus has given Himself for me.  Difficult!  Done imperfectly!  But I work at it, asking the Holy Spirit to be with me.  And as I struggle with choices to love the other, I, in fact, remain in His love.  I not only remain in a loving relationship with Him, but I grow in that relationship.

Posted in Christian Faith, General Interests, Jesus, Spirituality, Today's Scripture Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the most important question ever!

Today’s Gospel, John 21:15-19, presents us with the most important question ever – and the most important response ever!

Jesus says to Simon Peter:  “… do you love me more than these?”  And Peter responds, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus says to him, “Feed my lambs.”  Then Jesus asks Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter answers Him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus says to him, “Tend my sheep.” And Jesus says to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  Peter is distressed and says to Jesus, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”  Jesus says to him, “Feed my sheep…”

Each and every day of our lives, Jesus asks us in so many different ways, “Do you love me?”  This is the most important of all questions and our response is the most important of all responses:  Do we love Him?  And if we say Yes then that response has to be translated into action:  Feed my sheep!  Each day we are called upon in so many different ways to translate our profession of love for Jesus into action.

Posted in Addictive behavior, Aging, Bereavement, Christian Faith, Easter, General Interests, Jesus, Spirituality, Today's Scripture Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment