Mary ~ The First Disciple

Mary ~ The First Disciple

Jesus’ first miracle was prompted by Mary, His mother, at the Wedding Feast at Cana. The wedding party ran out of wine and the party was far from over. In Jewish tradition, if a family ran out of food or wine at a party they’d be embarrassed and talked about for years to come. They would be shunned and avoided by their village, peers and family. No one would ever want to come to one of their parties ever again. Then Jesus came along.

John 2 v. 1-12

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Mary was perhaps asking Jesus for more than wine. She may have been asking Him to show himself, to start his ministry. Mary was not only Jesus’ first disciple but His best disciple, from the very beginning to the Cross, Mary walked with Jesus.

She said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”

Jesus says, “Fill the jars with water.”

They did exactly as He said. “They filled them to the brim.”

He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.”

So they took it.

The stone jars, holding 18-27 gallons of water, were not clay because they were used for Jewish ritual cleansing, hand washing and babies immersed in the jars of water to be cleaned yet the servants believed and followed directions filled these jars with water and saw it turn to wine. Six jars filled to the brim shows we can’t to begin to imagine God’s bounty.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew).

Mary led the servants and disciples to believe.

Mary interceded for the family, the bride and groom and still today intercedes for you and me. We can follow Mary’s example and grow closer to Jesus.

 

Prayer for Week Two

Lord, Help me to become a better disciple of yours.

I need to trust ~ believe and follow your directions.

To do what You say.

Mary, you set an example for believers today.

Thank you for interceding for me.

Help me to walk with Jesus.

img_1548-001

 

Advertisements

First Week of Advent 2016

First Week of Advent

I am attending a bible study during Advent this year. We are studying the Gospel of John, most likely written in the 90s of the first century. By this time, John may have thought, Matthew, Mark and Luke each have written a book about Jesus so why repeat stories besides I have a lot to tell of my own. In doing so, John’s gospel is very different. We are told his book is very literary and symbolic. John wants to show us, the reader how Jesus God is madly in love with each of us.

John’s Gospel has four parts:

  1. Prologue
  2. The Book of Signs
  3. The Book of Glory
  4. Epilogue: The Resurrection Appearance in Galilee

We read the Prologue and I have heard it even read it before but last night it sounded like music to me:

 The beginning– was the Word,

And the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him,

and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life,

and this life was the light of the human race,

the light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness has not overcome it.

I repeated it over and over:

Jesus is with God,

came from God and

is God.

Jesus was before time.

Jesus is the Light of the Mankind.

We could have stopped right there because I needed time to absorb how much God loves me. Jesus is not just nice guy, not just a rabbi, not just a miracle worker, not just a prophet; Jesus Christ is so much more. Jesus Christ is the One True God. God who took on flesh like us and became one of us out of pure love.

Thought for Week One:

Thank you Jesus for taking on human flesh.

Help me accept your invitation to open the door to my heart and let You in.

Let my words be; “Welcome come in and live in me.

sunrise-9-19-16

Beatitudes=Happiness

I learned something new today. The word, beatitudes comes from the Latin word

happiness. By nature, humans are made to yearn for happiness. It is written on our hearts.

In today’s media, we are told we can find happiness in material goods. Buy bigger, better, more expensive and we will find happiness.

Ads show us if we look younger, act younger or dress younger, we will find happiness.

We hear from the world around us if we are free, free to do what we want, when we want, how we want, without consequences we will find happiness.

Drink, eat and be merry and we will find happiness.

However, to find real happiness we need to turn to Jesus and follow in His footsteps. East to say but really, how do we do that every day in search of happiness?

If only we had a lesson plan or a how-to-manual to follow.

GOOD NEWS!

We do, Jesus gave us the beatitudes to live by. If we understand that the

Beatitudes=happiness we can read Luke’s Gospel like this:

Happiness is found for you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Happiness is found for you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.

Happiness is found for you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Happiness is found for you when people hate you, when they exclude you, insult you, and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

0825160648a

Kind Deeds

In the last couple of days, I have witnessed a couple of interesting events of life.

I was coming home on Riverfront St. when up ahead of me I saw a couple and two small children. I assumed, he was the dad, had one child holding hands and with a big smile, looked both ways and then ran across the street, both giggling, making it to the other side with a sense of great accomplishment. Next, the mom, I assumed, as I watched the same thing repeated, holding hands, mom and child, looking both ways, ran across the street reaching the other side, giggling as they reached their goal. They were not just running, they were running and living with great GLEE, joyfully reaching the other side, enjoying a warm summer day. As I came closer, I realized I recognized the family. They were my neighbors. The man a Vietnam vet. The woman, a year ahead of me in high school. They were not the parents, they were the grandparents of these little people. I continue to be amazed at what grandchildren can do for us, as grandparents, they bring us into a child’s joy and love of life. Their enthusiasm is infectious.  When we arte blessed with grandchildren:

We forget our aches and pains.

We sing to our hearts content and think we can sing.

We are accepted for who and what we are.

We are validated that we are smart.

We affirm we are fun.

We can tell a funny story.

They think we are pretty.

They love us unconditionally.

They our laps are just the right size.

As grandparents we are blessed.

Proverbs 17:6 – Children’s children are the crown of old men/women.

 

At Kwik Trip the other day, I was filling up my van when a man walked up to the young woman at the pump next to mine and said, “Have you checked the oil in your car lately?” Her reply, “Yes, I have. It is okay my car just makes that noise.”

“Okay I just thought, I would check because if a car is making that sound it usually means it’s a quart low.”

She said, “I know, I have had other people tell me that and when I had a mechanic look at it he can’t find anything wrong.”

“Okay, I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I wish someone would have told my son before he had to put a thousand dollars into his car and get it fixed.”

“Thank you for checking,” she said and went on filling her car with gas.

I couldn’t help myself when I added to the conversation, “Wow, that was really nice of you to care and offer your advice. Maybe I should start my car have you listen.”

He smiled and repeated, “I just wish my son had known what to do when he heard that noise.”

“Well it was still really nice of you to take the time and offer your knowledge.”

The gentleman walked away, nodded, smiled and said, “Have a good day.”

I finished pumping my gas and as I was going into the store, the same man was coming out. He looked at me and said, “You want to know why I really said something to that girl?”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because of the pink hair. I don’t mean to sound prejudice but when I saw her pink hair, I thought I bet she doesn’t know that noise is a bad sign. I couldn’t help myself…it was her pink hair.”

“It was still nice of you.”

We both went on our own ways but I was thinking about him and his comments. I still think it was a nice gesture, offering his fatherly advice to a young lady about a noise her car was making. If the reason was her pink hair, it would have just as easy to walk away and not say anything but he took the time to offer his advice, pink hair and all.

Still nice gentleman in my book. Wish I had noticed the pink hair!

Act of Mercy “You gave me drink when I was thirsty.”

The other day, one of those beasts of a hot and humid day, I witness something that is still running through my head.

I pulled into Kwik Trip to buy some milk. I noticed two men who looked hot, sweaty, carrying all their belongings in backpacks and old plastic bags. I jumped out of air-conditioned van and ran in, not thinking much more about them.

When I came back out and got in my car I was blessed to witness an act of mercy. A middle-aged, lady who looked to be as different as these two men followed me out. She was wearing a cute, clean, trendy summer dress, Hair washed and neatly styled . Running shoes didn’t match her not so long, lean legs but still a mover and shaker. She walked in front of my van looking like she had a purpose, (I put my window down not to miss anything) she went up to the two homeless men and from cradled in her arm, she handed each of them a bottle of Gatorade and said, “I thought, you might be able to use a cool drink today.”

The two men looked at each other in disbelief and softly said, “Thank you.” Like two little squirrels, they quickly stowed them way into their backpacks.

Without any other words exchanges both parties went along their way until I saw a black man walking into the store call out to the lady, “Nice job, lady.” Startled she turned, looked and said, “Excuse me?”

The man repeated, “That was really nice, Lady.”

She smiled and nodded.

Her simply noticing, taking the action to do something kind and it being witnessed by others started a ripple effect that I be its still moving along today, days later. I know it is with me.

 

th70N8SWGA

Our Father

 

This Sunday’s first reading was from Genesis 18 verse 20-32. Abrahams is in a deep discussion with God asking if he would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if there were 50, 45, 40, 30, 20 or even just 10 innocent people found to be in Sodom. Abraham and his Lord were walking along deep in conversation. Abraham dared to ask God question after question. He even asked God not to tire of his asking questions.

When was the last time we had such a talk with God like Abraham, the way friends do, open, honest, heartfelt discussion and listening to one another?

The Responsorial Psalm was: Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Today’s Gospel reading can be found in Luke 11 V 1-13. Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray. He teaches them the Our Father. Below are my thoughts and why I daily prayer the Our Father.

The Lord’s Prayer, What Are We Really Saying?

We know the Our Father by memory but do we say it by heart?  The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer many of us, no matter what faith we held in our hearts, as a child learned at our parents’ knee. Words like hallowed and trespassed may have sounded foreign or even strange but we learned these were Jesus’ words. The only prayer Jesus, himself, taught his disciples to pray

Our Father who art in Heaven hallowed be Thy name.”

Jesus told us to call upon God as father. In the garden of Olives, Jesus called out, “Abba.” Abba is an Aramaic word meaning: O Father, Daddy or Dearest. Jesus used this most intimate and child like expression of love to ask his father to remove the cup from him. Jesus says, “Our Father” meaning he is calling us, brothers and sisters, we tall have the same father. We begin by calling upon God as Father, our loving father, head of the family. Blessed be the very name, father.

The president of a large construction company was known for the open door policy he had with his children, they are able to call him any time during his workday and know they would be put through to him. He may have been in a board meeting or on another line doing business but he had time to listen to a child’s problem or concern.

Such is the case with our heavenly father. We need no appointment or meeting time. We only need to ask. God already knows what is on our minds and in our hearts.

“They kingdom come Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Haven.”

We proclaim God as our king and we pray that his kingdom comes into fulfillment here on Earth. Our duty here on Earth as Christians is to bring God’s kingdom into its fullness. To go be disciples of Jesus Christ, proclaiming the love of our father. We each can contribute a tiny piece to the puzzle or the big picture by touching those around us. We can reach out to the hurried irate drive, the unemployed man who is beating the payment looking for a new job or the irritated checkout clerk at the supermarket. These are people, God our father loves as much as he loves us.

“Give us our daily bread.”

We ask for not only our daily bread for our physical bodily needs of food and water but also for our spiritual bread that our soul relies on. Our daily bread is the blood and body of Christ received at Mass. Through God’s spiritual bread, we no longer need the material goods of this Earth. We learn to look beyond the material goods of this world and look to the everlasting goods of the next world.

“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

We ask for forgiveness for all our sins and acknowledge we are to forgive others who have wronged us. We need to be willing to show mercy to others who have hurt us and in turn, God will measure us by the same measuring stick we forgave others. In forgiving others God will show us His immeasurable mercy and love. Forgiving others is not an easy task but this is what God requests of us. Forgiving a co-worker who spread an untruth about you, a child who has said an unkind thing about you or the spouse who has hurt you, these are all people God can help us to forgive. To forgive them without so much as receiving an apology is truly, what we pray to have the ability to do.

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Asking to protect us from evil is our final request. We ask God to protect and keep us from sin so we may sin no more. Not only do we ask that we will not be temped but for help to stay clear of all evils of this world. By asking for God’s help we work to stay clear of putting other god’s of this world before the one and only God, our Father.

The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer that calls upon our Father in heaven to feed us spiritually and physically spare us from all evil and temptation and in return we will praise His holy name, forgive others who have harmed us and avoid all sin.

Morning, noon and night we need to ask for God’s mercy by invoking him by saying Our Father. . . .0508160922a.jpg

Holy Trinity Sunday

Sunday, we celebrated Most Holy Trinity Sunday. The readings were great!

  • Proverbs 8:22-31
  • Romans 5:1-5
  • John 16:12-15

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Reading 1 Prv 8:22-31

Thus says the wisdom of God: “The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water; before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet the earth and fields were not made, nor the first clods of the world. “When the Lord established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth; when he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

  1. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth! When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place — What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him? R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth! You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet: R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth! All sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas. R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Reading 2 Rom 5:1-5

Brothers and sisters: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Gospel Jn 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”

I have come to believe my God is an Artist and Creator foremost.

All I have to do is go for a drive and look at the country side, walk around my block and watch an ant carrying something bigger than him or look at my skin and wonder how God figured all I needed my skin to do.

My nursing classes never failed to amaze me in the wonder and awe of the human body and all its capabilities.

With camera in hand, I may have a lifetime and will never still be able to capture all the beauties of nature and the world around of me.

I recently read a quote that humbles me and I need to be reminded of: Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.

Sunday the readings came alive for me.

From Proverbs v8 the word wisdom is mention in the Old Testament wisdom was another word for the Holy Sprit. To read about the Holy Spirit there as the earth’s foundation, sea and the human race was formed. “Playing on the face of his earth and found delight in the human race.”

“When the Lord established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth; when he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race.”

Psalm 8 talks further about how wonderful our God is and of all the things God set in motion.

  1. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth! When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place — What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him? R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth! You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet:

Roman’s 5 talks about God has give us so much plus the Holy Spirit.

Knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

The Gospel of John 16 shares there is so much to tell us but yet we can’t bear it all but the Holy Spirit will be there for us to guide us every step along the way.

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.

I listened to Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s Homily and he spoke on the importance of the Sign of the Cross and our faith and belief in the Holy Trinity:

When we make the Sign of the Cross we are professing one God and three divine persons. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We know God the father and God the Son, Jesus became Incarnate, took on flesh, suffered and died for our salvation and we receive His invitation to discipleship through the following of the Holy Spirit. We touch our forehead or Mind asking for truth, our heart for grace to fill our heart and soul and our shoulders to remind us of the crosses we carry and join in Jesus’ suffering and to help others carry their through our acts of charity.

Our pastor, Father Tim Reker shared a story from Corrie ten Boom and I thought it was so fitting

“I’d like to close with an incident that Corrie ten Boom writes about in her book, The Hiding Place:  “When she was about eight years old, Corrie and her mother went to visit a neighboring family who had just lost a child to crib death.  She approached the crib and touched the dead child.  He was cold.  For the first time in her life, Corrie had touched death.  That evening the coldness was still with her and she could not fall asleep.  She began to cry.  Her father came into her room.  ‘Corrie,’ he said, ‘what’s the matter?’  She replied, ‘I touched the dead child today, and I know that one day you and Momma will die.  I will never be strong enough to let you go.’  ‘Oh, I see,’ said her father.  Then he continued, ‘Corrie, when we take the train to Amsterdam, do I give you your ticket while we are at home?’  ‘No,’ she said, ‘you give it to me just before we climb on the train, because you are afraid that if you give it earlier, I will lose it.’  ‘Exactly,’ said her father.  ‘Today you do not have the strength to face the challenges to come.  But your heavenly Father has already bought the ticket that you will need and is holding it for you.  When tragedy arrives, you will find the necessary strength.’”  (Slightly adapted from Smiga’s article in Living with Christ)”

Father Reker ended his homily with this and I quote, “It’s quite a love story that we have been invited to enter. The more we open our hearts and minds and souls to the Triune God, both in good times and challenging ones, the more ready we are to receive the graces freely given. We cannot earn God’s love, but we can accept it and allow God to shape and mold us into beloved children, who share this love generously with others. This mystery of one God in three Persons gives us so many reasons to celebrate and give thanks.

I couldn’t add anything to improve upon these thoughts so I will close saying I can’t start to pretend I understand nor will I ever understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity but I do give thanks to God for the blessings of the Holy Trinity in my life.

trinity1