Master Became a Slave

May 12, 2022

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” (John 13:16-20)

The master became a slave. God served men. We can only bow in humble adoration knowing that our all-powerful God came to earth to serve us. Time and time again Christ gives his disciples an example of their own mission: to serve others. Love God by serving others; live like Jesus by humbly submitting to God’s will. This is the essence of Christianity: to live a life of humble service with all people, especially with those we find it most difficult to serve. One word captures it: charity.

Christ invites us to serve. Being a servant to others is not easy, because it means we have to be humble. It was not easy for Christ either, but he had a motivation: to love and save us. Serving is a blessing –– even in those situations when our passions flare up and we would like to justify ourselves –– because we can love. Love transforms our world; it transforms hearts and allows the grace of God to touch the depths of the soul. If we have love for souls as our motivation to serve, every opportunity we have to live as servants becomes a blessing, a blessing to live like the Master who came to serve and not be served and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Source: https://www.epriest.com/reflections/view/732

Light and Darkness

May 11, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.(John 12:44-50)

LIGHT and DARKNESS: When I think back on some of the times in my life that I have been afraid, quite a few of those memories involve darkness: being in the basement as a small boy when someone turned the lights off, camping at night when a storm rolled in, and feeling my way through a dark haunted house.

I can just as easily remember that it was the introduction of light that eased my fear. Lights flipped on in the basement. The morning light breaking through at the end of the storm. A door opening at the end of the hallway of the haunted house. Light almost immediately made things better.

In John’s Gospel today we hear that Jesus came into the world as light. He came to break up the darkness, the fear, that can rule our lives.

A plant will “reach out” and grow toward the light. As disciples of Jesus we have that same opportunity. We simply need to reach out of the darkness toward the light of Jesus Christ.

Hand of the Lord

May 10, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.(Acts 11:19-26)

HAND OF THE LORD: Today’s first reading details the continued efforts to proclaim the Lord Jesus not only to Jews, but to Gentiles as well. The disciples were having success: The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Those lacking faith tend to blame Jesus when times are tough and credit themselves when things are going well.

Faith-filled people recognize that any success they enjoy is made possible by the presence of Jesus in their lives. They understand that the hand of the Lord is with them.

The Gate

May 9, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved…” (John 10:1-10)

THE GATE: Fenced-in areas generally only have one gate. It is possible to get in the fenced area by other means. You could climb over the fence. You could dig your way in, burrowing under the fence. With proper wire cutters, you could cut a hole in the fence and climb through.

But none of those alternatives would be the right way, the appropriate way. They would be shortcuts. There is only one correct way and that is the gate.

We recognize that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, but sometimes Jesus’ way is challenging. We just want to take the easy way, and we look for shortcuts. Ultimately, it gets us nowhere.

Jesus, the gate, is the only source of salvation.

He Knows Us

May 8, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father… (John 10:11-18)

HE KNOWS US: There is great comfort when someone really knows us, isn’t there? Don’t we relish those times when we are around people with whom we can really be ourselves? We do not need to offer any pretense; we can be genuine.

There are not many people with whom we feel safe enough to truly be ourselves. That’s because the “real” us comes with baggage. We are broken, sinful people. We are hesitant to show our vulnerability to others.

However, God knows us, and He knows all of our imperfections. He loves us and accepts us with all of our baggage.

We should find comfort in that, just as sheep find comfort in knowing the shepherd is nearby.

This is Difficult

May 7, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is difficult; who can accept it?” and later, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him. (John 6:60-69)

THIS IS DIFFICULT: Jesus had just told his disciples that He was the bread of life, and only those who eat of the bread can gain eternal life. Their response: They were challenged by what they heard and many walked away.

Does this sound like our faith life? Are we part-time disciples?

Being a follower of Jesus Christ when things are going well is pretty easy. Just like it is easier to cheer for the hometown team when the team is winning. When the losses start mounting, our support for the team begins to wane.

If we jump on and off our faith bandwagon, our faith will never gain the momentum needed for growth. It will be stagnant and empty, with no depth. If we want our faith life to grow and develop, we need to be all in – in good times and bad.

If Jesus’ teachings are difficult for us to understand, we need to seek greater understanding, not reject the teachings. If we are struggling with something in our lives, we need to turn toward Jesus, not away from Him. If our prayer lives are unsatisfying, we need to look for ways to bring new life to our prayer, not stop praying.

Being all in means staying committed to Jesus and to our faith. It is the more difficult path at times, but has the greater pay-off in the end.

Scales

May 6, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase that emerges from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. (Acts 9:1-20)

SCALES: Today’s first reading recounts the most famous conversion story in history, that of Saul of Tarsus, who would become Paul. He was one of the most brutal persecutors of the early Christians. Knocked to the ground by a flash of light and blinded for three days, Saul is told by Ananias, “Jesus appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight.

Pretty dramatic stuff. So dramatic that it may be difficult to connect to our lives — flashes of light, almost overnight conversion from hated persecutor to loving proclaimer of the Word, blind one minute and sighted the next. Where are we in this grand tale?

Unfortunately, we are often blind to the loving message of Jesus Christ. The scales covering our eyes are self-applied. We are blinded by our own selfishness. We are blinded by greed, desire, self-centeredness. We are our own worst enemy.

But like Saul, we are offered the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we accept this gift and open ourselves up to the love of Jesus Christ, the scales fall from our eyes.

Get Up!

May 5, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase that emerges from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.” So he got up and set out. (Acts 8:26-40)

GET UP: Philip did as he was told and ended up spreading the Gospel message to an Ethiopian eunuch, and eventually baptizing him.

Do you ever find yourself somewhere, or in some odd situation, and you’re unsure how you got there?

I am normally a quiet, reserved person – a definite introvert. Yet I once found myself in a deep spiritual conversation with a stranger on a plane. The very first time I went out with a group to feed the homeless, I spent time holding hands and praying with a cocaine addict. A parishioner sat down for a cup of coffee with me and ended up pouring out his heart about his struggling marriage and lackluster faith life.

My guess is that these type of things happen to you, too.

Not sure if it is the work of angels coming to us in our sleep, but God does put us in some unusual situations. In so doing, He hopes we will be open to the people we meet and stretch our comfort zone. He hopes we will take the opportunity to evangelize.

We are an apostolic people. “Apostle” means one who is sent. Sometimes we go willingly like Philip; other times we may need a little push.

Mercy

May 4, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase that emerges from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

“Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment.” (Acts 8:1-8)

MERCY: Wait, is this the same Saul who becomes Paul? Paul, one of the greatest evangelists? Responsible for personally converting thousands upon thousands to the faith? Writer of over half of the New Testament? Yes, it is the same Saul.

Peter was our first pope. Wasn’t that the same Peter to whom Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan?” The same Peter who denied he even knew Jesus on three separate occasions? Yes, the same Peter.

Simple message: We have a loving and merciful God. There is nothing we could ever do to make God love us less.

Anything

May 3, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase that emerges from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it. (John 14:6-14)

ANYTHING: These words from Jesus should bring us much comfort. We can count on Him. He will always be there for us.

As a father of four, and speaking for my wife as well, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our children. They are grown now and can fend for themselves, but it does not change the fact that they are our children. If any one of them ever needs us, we will drop everything and go to them. They know we will always be there for them. I hope that knowledge brings comfort to them.

That is the comfort Jesus provides for us. If you need something, just ask. Reach out and He will be there for you. Trust in Him.