Monday, December 11, 2017

Bringing Others to Jesus

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Luke 5:17-26

Have you ever been paralyzed? This could be physical, emotional, or spiritual paralyzation. I think many of us have been paralyzed at some time or another. We know the agony that comes with desiring to do something but not being able to will ourselves to do it. So there we sit, stuck in a rut or flat on a mat, waiting for something or someone to heal us.

Do you know someone who is paralyzed right now? Again, this could be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Do you know someone who is depressed and cannot lift themselves out of the darkness? Do you know someone who is deep in debt and cannot find his or her way out? Do you know someone one who has left the Faith and now wonders if God even exists? Do you know someone who has just been through surgery or is going to go through surgery and is losing hope, is becoming paralyzed by the fear of what life will be like tomorrow? Do you know someone who is paralyzed?  Are you paralyzed?

In today's Gospel we are given specific instructions on what to do with our paralyzed friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers. We are to bring them to Jesus. This doesn't necessarily mean bringing them physically into the Church building or asking them to accept Christ into their heart as Lord and King. This means to bring them before the Divine Physician in prayer. Like the friends of the paralyzed man in the Gospel - "they sought to bring him in and lay him before Jesus." By interceding for those we love who are paralyzed we are placing them before Jesus.

However, we should also be prepared for obstacles in our intercessory prayer. The men in the Gospel faced what appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle.  Jesus was inside a building that was filled and surrounded by people. Yet, they found a way to "lift him up" even higher so that they might place him before the Lord.

What about you?  Are you the one who is paralyzed by fear, stress, anxiety, worry, finances, family, etc?  If so, ask for help.  Ask others, ask me, to pray for you.  Ask us to lift you up and place you before Jesus.  We are not told the disposition of the paralyzed person in the Gospel.  Was he telling his friends to stop?  Was he excited?  Was he embarrassed?  It could have been any number of feelings or emotions that he experienced.  Don't be afraid, ask for help.  Ask for prayers.  We are all in this together, we are here to help one another.  Only the devil wants you to feel that you are alone, unloved, unwanted, or unworthy. 

As we draw closer to Christmas, let us seek those in our life who are paralyzed in some form and let us work to bring them before the Lord. Let us lift them up in prayer and let us pray that we may all hear the words of Christ, "Your sins are forgiven, rise, take up your mat and go home." And when we are healed or when our neighbor is healed let us also follow the example of the formerly paralyzed man and go "home, glorifying God!"

"A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.” 
― Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community


* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

Monday, December 04, 2017

Only Say the Word!

*The 2017 Online Advent Scripture Study is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these days of Advent we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.

Monday of the First Week of Advent - Matthew 8:5-11

"The prayer of the righteous man has great power in its effects." - James 5:16

This story, in the eighth chapter of Matthew's Gospel, is meant to show us both the authority of Jesus and the necessity of faith. Since Jesus' address in the synagogue in chapter 3 all the way through chapter 7, Jesus has been teaching. Chapter 7 ends with this verse, "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes." This leads us to understand that the scribes were teaching in the name of Moses whereas Jesus is teaching of His own authority. In fact, He often says, "you have heard it said...but I say."

Matthew then moves on to show us that Jesus' authority is not contained merely in His teaching alone. He shows us that His words have the power to change hearts but also the power to heal. Sometimes His words are accompanied by a touch or an action as with the leper at the beginning of chapter 8. At other times, like in today's Gospel, it is His word alone that heals.

However, these healings, and His words, come as His response to the faith of the person being healed or to the faith of one interceding for another.

The centurion is interceding on behalf of his servant. This tells us that the centurion was a man with compassion. He had a heart for his fellow man. He did not treat his servant as a possession but as a human person with worth. We can even guess that he loved this servant by the efforts he puts forth to approach Jesus and ask for the healing. The centurion certainly didn't approach Jesus under cover of darkness and he didn't hide his faith that Jesus was someone special, "Lord, I am not worthy."

The centurion, as a man in authority, also recognized the authority of Jesus. He recognizes the fact that if his own words have such power over those under his authority, how much more power resides in the words of this Jesus of Nazareth!

My favorite quote from this passage is, "When Jesus heard him, he marveled..." I pray that during this season of Advent my faith may increase and the Lord will "marvel" at my prayers as well. Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed, only say the word and my loved ones will be healed, only say the word and this world will be healed.

Who, during this Advent season, can you bring to Christ in prayer? Who do you know that may be sick, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and is need of the healing power of Christ? Is it a relative? A friend? A politician? Is it the mailman? Is it the teen you saw at the mall this weekend? Is it someone you heard about on the news, a blog, or in the paper? Do you know someone that you are reasonably sure has no one to pray for them?

Be the centurion for that person over the next four weeks. During this time of Advent bring this person each day to Jesus in prayer. Trust in his healing power with the faith of that centurion and you too will amaze Jesus. Wouldn't that be a nice gift to give the King!


* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

The 1st Sunday of Advent 2017





*The 2017 Online Advent Scripture Study is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these days of Advent we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.


Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

Not too many distractions today.  Excited to begin this study and to embrace the season of Advent.  I did have to write down some items that need attended to that threatened to derail my prayer time - work, finances, kids.


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  Even if you've read them hundreds of times before, read them again, and again. Read the readings at least twice, three times is better.  I've found it helpful to write down words or phrases that stick out to me during my time of reading.  I'll also jot down ideas that pop into my head from the readings.

Words or Phrases that Jumped Out
Isaiah - "Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways and harden our hearts so we fear you not....all our good deeds are polluted rags...Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways!"

1 Corinthians - "He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Mark - ...each with his own work....watch


Step #3 - Join the Story

  • Why does God let us wander and allow us to harden our hearts?
  • Will the Lord meet me doing right?
  • Am I watching for the Lord?  Am I ready or am I watching the things of the world?
  • I want the Lord to keep me firm to the end!
  • Am I a gatekeeper?  At home?  Work? Community?  As such do I have more responsibility?

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God


To be completely honest, I've been struggling a good deal with my faith lately.  I find myself struggling with nearly everything.  It's as though I'm running a race with my feet shackled and can't get ahead.  I feel as though so often I am going through the motions, that I'm asleep at the wheel, not watching.  I know all about Christ but I don't know Him!  I want a deeper, more genuine faith.

Today's readings and last night's Confession have given me tremendous hope.  These readings don't make me so much fear the return of the Lord but look forward with anxious anticipation.  The Lord allows me to wander because He loves me and has given me that freedom.  How much deeper do I love Him now that I see the error of my ways.

I found the passage "each to his own work" interesting and started asking what my work really is here in this life.  Whenever I've asked this question over the years the answer is always the same.  I know deep in my heart what that work is but I put it off, I find distractions.  I can no longer do that.  I recently read a quote from Michelangelo that supposedly came from his lips on his death bed, "have offended God and Mankind, by not having worked at my Art as I should have."  I feel the same way when I look at my "own work".  I pray I will no longer offend either from this moment forward!

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during this Advent study.  Thank you for coming to save us.  Thank you for your promised return.  Thank you for these perfect readings at this time.


* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

Friday, December 01, 2017

2017 Advent Scripture Study Details and Resources

I told you it would fly by and now we are just hours away from the beginning of Advent and our 2017 Advent Scripture Study.

Please feel free to join us and invite others to do so.  Think of it as a group Bible study with some of your closest friends.  We gather each day with a cup of coffee, read the readings for the day, and then discuss.  We share our thoughts on the passages, insights, prayer requests, encouragements, and more.

Below you will find some updated information to help make this year's study the best yet.





Facebook Group Page - This where a majority of participants will be sharing.  If you don't have a Facebook account or would rather not be on Facebook during Advent, feel free to read and comment each day on our daily blog postings here.







United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - This is one of the easiest places to find the readings for each day during Advent.  If you will be using a mobile device, you may also consider using the Laudate App or another Bible App.



4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations (paperback) - It's not too late to order the book if you so desire.  We can usually ship it out the same day you order.  This book provides a method for meditation each day.  It also includes workbook and journal pages for 31 days.

4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations(Amazon Kindle) - This is the book above in it's basic format without the journaling and workbook pages.  This is a great option to use with the 4 Simple Steps Worksheet.  (It will be FREE on Amazon Kindle December 2nd & 3rd, 2017, just for this study)

4 Simple Steps Worksheet - This is the 4 Simple Steps in one-page worksheet format.  It's a free download so you can print as many as you like or just print one and use a notebook to journal in.

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...


Thursday, November 30, 2017

St. Andrew and the Baptism of Jesus


Thursday November 30th, 2017

Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle & Martyr

In a few days we will begin our 2017 Advent Scripture Study.  Many of us will be using The 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations as a guide, journal, and framework for our daily study.  I've used this method for many years and have gained great insight and fruits from it.  I hope you will consider joining us for the study.  Details are below this meditation.

Today is the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle and brother of St. Peter.  In my book Rosary Meditations for Real Life I have a section that is devoted to viewing the 20 mysteries of the rosary through the eyes of different participants in those mysteries.  The Joyful Mysteries are seen through the eyes of St. Joseph.  The Sorrowful Mysteries are seen through the eyes of St. John.  The Glorious Mysteries are seen through the eyes of the Blessed Mother.

For the Luminous Mysteries I elected to view them through the eyes of various people.  Below you will find the First Luminous Mystery, The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, as seen through the eyes of St. Andrew whose Feast we celebrate today.  If you enjoy this brief meditation on this mystery, I invite you to download the entire set of Luminous Mysteries for free from our website.  It is delivered in a easy to use tri-fold PDF pamphlet.  Here you will see the Luminous Mysteries through the eyes of a servant at the wedding in Cana, a leper listening to Jesus' words of blessing, St. James with Jesus on the mountain, and even Judas at the Last Supper.  Copying and sharing is encouraged.

The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan as seen by St. Andrew

I had been going to listen to John for a few months. I listened every time I had a free moment. My brother thought I was crazy and couldn’t understand why anyone would listen to a crazy preacher instead of fishing. 

John had been preaching about repentance for as long as anyone could remember. He had also been preaching about this person who was to come after him yet this person was before him. The story didn’t make much sense at the time. 

I was there when John baptized Jesus. John was standing in the Jordan as usual with the water flowing just above his knees. He was quite a sight with the camel hair cloak and long beard blowing in the wind. It reminded me of Moses preparing to part the Red Sea. 

As Jesus approached, time appeared to stand still. The sky was clear and there was not a sound to be heard. The river looked like glass with John frozen in its midst. Then I heard John say in a voice that seemed to echo throughout creation, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. Jesus entered the river and was baptized by John. My friend and I decided to follow Jesus to find where He was staying. He noticed us following and recognized us from the river and said, “come, and see”.  (based on John 1: 35-39)

2017 Advent Scripture Study Details and Information

Click here..

If you want to join the Facebook Group

If you want to get the 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations

If you want to download the free 4 Simple Steps Worksheet

If you'd like to visit the our website and blog

Thank you and please pray for us!



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The End is Near, No Really...

Tuesday November 28th, 2017
(Last Tuesday of Ordinary Time)

Luke 21:5-11

I have a melancholic temperament so this time of the liturgical year is my favorite. The readings are all about the end. They speak to us of the final act and the return of Our Lord. Not only do I like the readings because they are filled with a WCSS's dreams but it helps me get my focus back to living every moment as if it were my last.

At the beginning of today's Gospel folks are admiring the Temple. From all historic accounts it really was something to be admired. Jesus here shows us His melancholic side and says, "All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down." This must have been a shock to His hearers. It would be like me saying the same thing about a major city. In fact, it must have been such a shock that it was one of the things that stuck with them, because they all high-tailed it out of town when Rome destroyed the city as He had predicted.

However, I think the Gospel message goes deeper than a prophecy and deeper than a great real estate tip. You and I can look up from our computer screen right now and basically repeat the words of Christ, "all that I see here - the days will come when it will all be gone." This will be the case for either one of two reasons: our personal death or the return of Christ. Either option leads us to a face to face encounter with the Almighty. So our thought process should probably be one of working towards detachment. If option #1 arises, I hope I'm not on my death bed dreading the loss of all my worldly goods. If it's option #2, I hope that I'm not clinging to my ipod while the trumpet blasts are going. You and I must be ready at a moments notice to meet the Lord. This is something to keep in mind especially if we have unrepented sin upon our souls!

As for the rest of the Gospel, again we have two choices. We can either live in fear of the end and constantly dread its beginning or we can live as though the end is very near, which it is, and not be concerned by "wars and rumors of wars" for those too will pass away.

FROM THE SAINTS - “Precisely because we cannot predict the moment, we must be ready at all moments.” – C.S. Lewis


* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

Monday, November 27, 2017

Giving God My Leftovers


Monday November 27th, 2017 (The Last Week of Ordinary Time)

Luke 21:1-4

"And what I have leftover, I give unto you O Lord!"

Of course I would never pray that privately or out loud. Yet, that is often the way I live. I often give the Lord leftovers. I give money that I can part with. I give my time in prayer when I can fit it in. I seek to help others when I am not busy with my own cares. Leftovers.

What if I did that with my other personal relationships? What would my life be like if I gave my family the money I have leftover after spending all that I wanted to spend? How would my children behave if I gave them the time I had leftover after doing all that I want to do first? What would my marriage look like if I helped my wife with household chores only after I completed my pet projects?

In today's Gospel Jesus shows me two ways of living my life. I can be like the "wealthy" and give from my abundance, what I have extra, leftovers. Or, I can be like the "poor widow" and give what I have from my heart even sacrificing my own needs and desires out of love for God and others.

In this Gospel, Jesus is not looking at the amount given but the heart behind it. He tells me that the widow gave more, not because of the amount, but because she gave with a generous heart. She made a sacrifice out of love for God whereas the others gave leftovers.

Lord, help me to keep the leftovers for myself and give You and others the best of my time, talent, and treasure. Show me this day one opportunity for me to have leftovers and give the best to others in my life - friends, family, co-workers, and strangers. Give me the grace to give from my needs and not from what I have leftover!

FROM THE SAINTS - "The Lord does not look at the amount offered but at the affection with which it is offered." - Saint John Chrysostom


* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...


Bringing Others to Jesus