The recent murder of Father Jacques Hamel is too horrible to imagine. How it happened is contained in an article from the UK’s Mirror. Let us pray for our world and ask for Fr. Hamel’s intercession, for he is a martyr who now is with God.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.”
Let’s be real. It’s awesome to be at an all-inclusive resort, a five star hotel, or a top restaurant, and be catered to like you were royalty, people bending over backwards to make sure you are happy.
No matter who you are and no matter the simplicity you have been able to create in your life, being pampered is a wonderful experience.
But Jesus taught us, “Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be the servant, (Mark 10:43).”
Can you and I bring that pampering experience and service mentality into our daily lives when interacting with others? Imagine a world where everyone desired to serve one another with the same vigor of those in a great hotel.
Imagine politicians that truly sought to be servants. Imagine a world where neighbors were always genuinely concerned about the needs of those who lived around them.
We are called to this stewardship way of life because we truly are our brother and sister’s keeper. We have been given gifts by God to enrich the lives of those around us for His greater glory. If we seek to transform our world into the one we are imagining, we must begin somewhere. We must begin with ourselves. The world will be transformed, one servant at a time.
My father would always say to me when I was growing up, “Whatever is mine is yours.” He was always very generous toward me, and if I am being truthful, probably spoiled me. We were not a rich family by any measure, but I never really wanted for anything. If I asked, I received.
In Luke 11, Jesus tells us our heavenly Father is similar to my father, but God is profoundly more generous. However, I am not sure many of us really believe that.
When growing up we ask our earthly parents for all sorts of things, some requests being large but many being small. My own three children ask me for things all the time. If God is more generous with me than I am with my own three children, how come I find myself mostly asking God for things when all my other options have run out or my back is against the wall? We make deals with God in our moment of despair or fear, but when things were great we asked for little or sometimes nothing at all.
We need God and his generosity 365 days a year. Better than that, God wants us to ask for things and learn to rely on him. There is no strength in walking in this world alone.
God wants to be the source of all our strength. That is one reason why at every hour of the day, somewhere in the world, Mass is being celebrated and his children are receiving him in the Holy Eucharist. If God can become Man, die and rise again, and then humble himself in the elements of bread and wine to be close to you, do you not think he will respond to your everyday simple requests?
May God’s generosity flow to you in great abundance for His love knows no limits.
Today’s Gospel has Jesus telling us the parable of the sower. This story has so many implications and important themes for a modern world. It would seem that too many have uncultivated hearts where the seed of the Good News falls on rocky soil and bears no growth. Also, too often we spend our lives planting seeds where little or no growth is possible.
I am attending the Gallup Strengths Summit in Omaha for the next couple days. It is the first gathering of trained Gallup Strengths coaches, with coaches coming from all around the world. To spend time with people who have a similar passion for helping others unlock the potential of the gifts and talents that God has given them is truly a blessing.
Years ago, when I began working with the StrengthsFinder assessment in my parish, the primary goal was never to get more people to do more stuff for the church. It was always to help people uncover the unique and wonderful person that God created, or as Matthew Kelly might say, to become the best version of themselves.
I believe that the Church has a responsibility to help people realize their gifts and talents, and then subsequently, their God-given potential. A fruit of these efforts is that a parish can easily become more vibrant with more people sharing the load and giving off themselves freely. But at the end of the day, understanding your giftedness is a pathway to a stronger relationship with your Creator, and that really is the MAIN THING.
In your parish, church, or house of worship, do you have a process by which people can uncover their gifts? So many people want to give of themselves, but they are not always aware of what they have to give. If those in your communities and congregations can’t find out about their unique gifts and talents in your hands, where else can they go? Why should they go anywhere else?
If you need advice or help starting a strengths ministry in your faith community, feel free to contact me. I would love to help.
When we realize we are going to have company, my family and I swing into motion with a frenzy.
- No dust shall be present for our guests.
- The bathrooms shall be spotless and toilets worthy of the name “throne.”
- We must run at top speed to the store for an endless supply of refreshments and snacks to greet our distinguished guests.
We never want to be seen as bad hosts and, of course the real reason for all the commotion, we never want to be seen in our natural habitat of messy rooms and barren kitchens.
But what is real hospitality that encourages good stewardship and helps people feel a sense of belonging?
In the Gospel of Luke, Mary knew. Martha was so busy preparing and serving, while Mary simply sat with Jesus and listened to him. This is not to say that she did not prepare for her guest by making a proper place for gathering. But when a guest is already received, true hospitality begins with being present to them and engaging them.
Part of the message of this story is that we all need to pause and listen to the Good News that Jesus preaches, but we can also learn a lesson about good hospitality.
How many times have we been more concerned with appearances and outward things than what we have inside each of us to share?
- Christian hospitality calls for the Jesus in me to meet with the Jesus in you.
- We are called to be fully present to one another, with no distractions of technology or the world standing in our way.
This is choosing “the better part.” For what does it profit a man if he has a spotless home with the best technology available to man, but loses a conversation with his brother or sister to the game on television?
I was reading about all the speculation occurring over Presidential running mates and a vision of a license plate entered into my mind: “God is My Co-Pilot.” I am sure you have seen these, although I have to admit they do not seem to be as prevalent today as they were twenty years ago.
The plate is an interesting statement, kind of tongue-in-cheek to some. I don’t believe that Donald or Hillary will be choosing God as their running mate, but I would like to believe that whoever leads our country at least has some reliance on God.
But some days, I’m not sure.
From a Christian point-of-view, “God is My Co-Pilot” simply doesn’t say enough about our experience as sons and daughters of God living in community. It does, however, speak to the reality that we work hand-in-hand with God in this world.
The words of St. Teresa of Avila echo this idea—“Christ has no body now but yours.” But “God is My Co-Pilot” speaks only about a relationship of two–you and God. The true Body of Christ is not made up of you and God, it is made up of us and God.
This is a point that is more important than many seem to realize. We live in a time where excessive cults of personality and extreme individualism have led us to where we think ONE PERSON will save the day or make all the difference. Unfortunately, this will never be true in our world or in our Church.
Our world needs Jesus more than ever. Our world needs healing. And no single man or woman will be enough to make all the difference. No candidate will really be able to save the day. No individual follower of Jesus, even with God by their side, will change the tide.
Our hope can only rest in a people who work together as one, with the claim that GOD IS OUR CO-PILOT.
In light of the events of last week, I wanted to share with you a call by the Knights of Columbus for a novena for peace starting this Thursday. You certainly do not need to be a Knight to pray and I believe there is always great power in the combined prayer of many. The text of their request is as follows: (more…)
What does it mean to give of yourself completely, without reservation, without fear, and without a concern for the cost? Should it matter if the person who needs us is unlike us in skin color, religion, or nationality?
What does real mercy look like?
Jesus answered these questions beautifully in perhaps the greatest of the stewardship parables, the story of the Good Samaritan. Here a Judean traveler has been attacked, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. Others see him, but the cost to them to stop and help is too great. It is a Samaritan, one who is despised by most in the area, that stops and he gives of his time, talent, and treasure to help the poor victim. (more…)