Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Reflection: 16:13-19

The Chair of Peter, Apostle, Feast - Matthew 16:13-19

Matthew writes: “Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi with his disciples.”  As they were walking along, Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some believe that you are John the Baptist.  Others believe you are Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”  

Jesus was not satisfied with answers the disciples gave.  He looked at his disciples and asked, “Who do you say that I am?”  It’s not surprising that Simon was the one who answered this question.  He looked directly at Jesus and said from the depths of his soul: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  

Today Jesus will ask each of us this question.  He will look at me and say, “Kris, who do you say that I am?”  He also will look at you and ask, “Who do you say that I am?”  I wonder how we will respond to this question?  Will we be silent for a time as we search our minds and hearts for the answer to Jesus’ question?  Will we respond to Him from the depths of our hearts and proclaim that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the Living God?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reflection: Mark 9:30-37

Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples were traveling through Galilee.  He was teaching his disciples and he said to them: “The Son of Man will be handed over and will be killed.  Three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”  His disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying to them.  Would what he foretold really come true?  How could that be?  Jesus was a great teacher and rabbi and they hesitated to question him about this.

They arrived in Capernaum and when they were settled in the house where they were staying, Jesus asked His disciples: “What were you arguing about during our journey?”  The disciples were silent and embarrassed.  The topic of their conversation had been “who was the greatest disciple.”  Most likely, they knew that Jesus would not approve of their conversation.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever wishes to be first shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Jesus then called a little child over to him and said to the disciples: “Whoever receives one child in my name, receives me; whoever receives me, receives the One who sent me.”

Power and renown!  In our world, this is what many people long for and strive for! Think of all the movie stars, rock singers, models, and political candidates who vie for publicity, power, and fame.  Do they actually believe that these will bring them true happiness or are they simply caught up in the world’s values?  Jesus wants us to find our happiness and security in Him, not in fame or fortune.

Naturally, we all want others think well of us.  In and of itself, this is not bad.  However, we get into trouble when we are driven to look good or to achieve so that we gain status, honor, or esteem.  We believe that people will approve of us and of what we have accomplished.

Today I invite you to take some time and ask yourself: How important is power and admiration to me? Do I hope other people admire me? Or am I content to live my life as well as I can and not need approval from others.

There is no guile in young children. They simply are who they are. They trust. They love. They enjoy life. And yet we adults often consider them immature. And in many ways they are. Yet, they can be a great example to us of what truly is important in life. Today observe a child. Imitate a child. You may have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Reflection: Mark 9:14-29

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 9:14-29

In today’s reading, a man brought his son, who was possessed by a mute spirit, to Jesus.  The man had asked Jesus’ disciples to drive the spirit out, but the men were unable to do so.  When Jesus heard this, he said, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you”?  He then told the father to bring his son to Him. When the spirits saw Jesus, they immediately threw the boy into convulsions.  The child fell to the ground and he began to foam at the mouth.  Jesus asked the father some questions about his son.  Finally the father said to Jesus: “If you can do anything, please have compassion on us.  Please help him!”

Jesus quietly said to the father, “’If you can!’ Everything is possible to those who have faith.” The father immediately cried out: “I do believe; help my unbelief.”  Much to the crowd’s amazement, Jesus drew the unclean spirit out of the boy and pulled the boy to his feet.

What is the healing you desire?  It may be for you, for someone you love, or it might be for our broken and hurting world.   If you are uncertain that Jesus will answer your prayer, cry out to Him: “I do believe; help my unbelief!”  It may be helpful to repeat this phrase throughout the day or even throughout the week.  Trust that Jesus is healing you, your loved one, and our world even if you do not see the healing.  Healing is very different than a miraculous cure.  Healing takes time.  Be patient!  Trust!  Be attentive to small changes in your life or in the person you want Jesus to heal.  You will experience healing changes. Trust Jesus!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reflection: Matthew 5:38-48

The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 5:38-48

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus surprises the crowds with these words: “You have heard the commandment, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’”  However what I say to you is: “Offer no resistance to any type of injury. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn and offer him/her your other cheek.  Or if someone takes you to court over you shirt, give him your coat as well.”  Then Jesus gives other examples.  

“You have heard the commandment: love your countryman and pray for your persecutors.  This will prove that you are children of God.  After all, the sun rises on the bad and the good and rains on the just and the unjust.”  

Jesus always hopes that we will act without limits on our love and our forgiveness.  Often, this seems impossible to do; yet if we pray and strive to have an open heart, eventually we will be able to forgive the individual and hopefully develop a healthier relationship with him or her.  The ball is in your court!  What will you choose to do?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Reflection: Mark 9:2-13

Saturday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 9:2-13

The gospel for today is Mark’s account of the Transfiguration.  Jesus decided to take Peter, James and John up to a mountain.  When they arrived at the top of the mountain, Jesus was transformed before them and His clothing became dazzling white.  Then Elijah and Moses appeared and they began to converse with Jesus.   

After a time, Peter spoke to Jesus and said: “Rabbi, how good it is for us to be here!  We will erect three booths for you on this mountain, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  Peter did not know what else to say, for he and all the disciples were filled with awe.  Then a cloud came and overshadowed them.  A voice spoke from the cloud saying: “This is my Son, my beloved.  Listen to him.”  Then the disciples realized that no one else was with them– only Jesus.   

The disciples knew that Jesus was an extraordinary teacher; however to have Moses and Elijah appear and converse with Jesus must have astounded them!  Moses and Elijah were two of the most important prophets in the Old Testament; yet they saw these prophets and heard Jesus converse with them like they were old friends.

Why were the disciples so astounded?  After all, not long ago on the Feast of the Epiphany, Jesus’ identity had been revealed to them; yet once again they are astounded by this revelation!  I suspect that many of us react in a similar way when we experience an unusual happening in our lives; typically we also need to take time to absorb an unexpected or unusual reality.  However, the most important words in this Gospel are the words that were spoken from the cloud:  “This is my Son, my beloved.  Listen to him.”   This is our call for today and every day.  We are to attend to Jesus’ presence in our lives and listen for His voice.  Today Jesus will come to us; however, if we are not awake or attentive we will miss him.  What a loss that would be!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Reflection: Mark 8:34-9:1

Friday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 8:34-9:1

Today Jesus summoned the crowd and his disciples and said to them: “Anyone who wishes to come after me must deny their very self, take up the cross, and follow in my footsteps.” Jesus then asked a series of questions.  Jesus hoped his listeners would realize what it required for a person to truly “follow Him”.  It is not an easy route: there are many challenges, losses and gains if we wish to become a true follower of Jesus.   

Today I invite you to take 5-10 minutes and ask yourself: What are the challenges in my life that are related to my faith or my beliefs?  Am I a true and faithful follower of Jesus in my daily life?  Or am I simply a “Sunday” follower of Jesus?  We may “profess” to be Christian; however, it is how we live our daily lives that is the true test of our Christianity.