Feast of the Archangels
You will see angels.
Everybody loves angels. The cherub is most popular, followed by the graceful feminine form, often carrying a harp. "Sweet" is the word, not "scary," as these angels must have been. Angels are often depicted as heavenly human beings with wings (or waiting for them, like Clarence in "It’s A Wonderful Life"). However, angels are their own species, messengers of the Lord (angel is from the Greek angelos, meaning "messenger"), and so powerful that when they rebel, they create Hell. Satan is an angel gone bad. It is Michael’s job to fight Satan for the souls of human beings. Gabriel is the angel who appears to Mary and announces the birth of Jesus. Raphael is associated with healing and appears in the Book of Tobit, and some attribute to him the stirring of the healing pool of Bethesda. Baby angels are cute, but these archangels testify to God’s awesome creation and can be called on to protect us in times of danger.
*Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, pray for us!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The one who is least among you is the greatest.
From the prophet Zechariah, we hear of the poignant dreams of refugees who want only to grow old watching their children play in the safe streets of their homeland. Today’s world includes many such exiles, and their dreams are much the same. Have we forgotten Jesus’ promise that as we welcome the stranger, so shall we be welcomed; as we regard the poor, so shall we be regarded? Or as Jesus says in today’s Gospel, "greatest" and "least" have a different meaning in the kingdom. Jesus, fear for the future makes us cautious and less generous to others.
*Be the Lord of our fear so that we might not disdain the least.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sometimes, I don't know how to pray. But I find that God will help me in this regard. He'll give me wisdom. When I feel uncertain with my motives, or requests, I say, "God, this is my heart on the matter, and I'd really like You to do this. But if You have other plans, far be it from me to get in the way. You've asked me to make my request known, and that's what I'm doing. But if what I'm asking for isn't a good gift, if the time isn't right, If I'm not ready to receive it, no problem. Your ways are higher than my ways,and Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. If you have different plans, we'll go your way." It takes courage to submit to God, but he blesses us when we do.
Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men. We find the widespread astonishment over Jesus’ powerful works juxtaposed with Jesus’ anxiety over a hard reality that he alone seems to grasp. His status as celebrity will give way as he is handed over to the authorities who will try and convict him and sentence him to an ignominious death. Jesus, anticipating the supreme act of love that he will offer at Calvary, bears the weight of this awful knowledge alone. Let us pray today especially for those who have no one to support them through their trials. *
*For all those whose suffering is compounded by loneliness, we pray.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
This life that you and I are living today is real life. This is not the teaser before the movie. This is not the pregame show. This is it. The Bible says the adventure of life was design to be experienced in community.
Don' think that if you wait long enough three close friends will show up in your porch, ring your doorbell and say, "Here we are. Let's do the rest of life together." It doesn't work that way. We each need to take initiative. If we want to make life work, we need to put together a personal development team. If we want to become all God has in mind for us to be, we need to surround ourselves with godly poeple who can challenge and encourage us, who can share life's joys and sorrows with us. If we only have one chance at life, why not do it the way God designed it? Why not link arms with some brothers and sisters and walk closely with them
Friday, September 25, 2009
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
Jesus was special. The crowds knew that. But for the most part, they underestimated him, speculating that he was perhaps John the Baptist returned from the dead or one of the prophets, maybe even the great Elijah. Curiously, when Peter accurately identifies Jesus as "the Messiah of God," Jesus tells the disciples to keep this knowledge secret. In time, they would understand the title more fully and the unspeakable suffering that Jesus would endure in bearing it. Revelation comes by God’s design, in God’s time. As we gratefully accept Jesus as the Christ, let us also humbly acknowledge that we have more to learn about his saving love and its implications for our lives.
*For openness and humility, we pray.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
And he kept trying to see him.
Herod can’t help but be fascinated by the Galilean miracle worker who is fast growing in fame. So what prevents him from seeing Jesus? Many gather around Jesus with hope for healing and with at least some openness that allows for faith, even love; but Herod is suspicious, fearful and probably jealous of Jesus.
His desire is motivated not by virtue but by self-interest. Like Herod, we may be trying, to no avail, to see Jesus — in the foreigner, the irritating colleague, the difficult relative, the crabby child. What prevents us from seeing him in others? Little good can be said of poor Herod, except this: He kept trying. Let us do likewise, but with eyes of faith, hope and love.
*For eyes that see Jesus in others, we pray.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.
Can we even imagine living so sparsely? Conditioned as we are by runaway consumption, swamped in our own stuff, this seems an impossible exhortation. Yet our difficulty with it only highlights our need for it. Indeed, more than our discipleship is at stake. The planet itself is endangered by our ever-growing hunger for more. We also suffer untold stress as we try to manage too many possessions. Let us strive to live more simply — relying fully on God — that we might become better stewards of creation and, in turn, grow in faithfulness to the Lord.
*For the grace to live simply that others may simply live, we pray.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.
We expect Jesus to turn away from the crowd in favor of his family. Instead, he seizes a teachable moment and delights the people, no doubt, by announcing that those who hear the word of God and act on it are his family.
Family provides us with an organic experience of intimacy and status that helps us to comprehend God’s love, to know ourselves as God’s beloved children. Yet this model may fail those who have not had healthy, loving experiences of family.
The meaning of honesty seems to have changed. An elemennts of grace once existed that help separate honesty from permission to insult.
Now honesty for some people means saying whatever in their minds regardless of whom it may hurt. These people preface their comments with " I hope you won't get mad at me." "Please don't think I'm being critical," " Don't mind if I'm honest," "I'll be candid with you," and then they insult you.
Honesty requires more thought than an insult. Most of us think faster than we can talk, so many ideas that flash in our minds never reach our tongues, Thank goodness!
People are able to act their best when they feel valued. Honesty in the form of insultor cricism wear downs confidence. If honesty means insensitive. Check your motivations. An honest insult may not be as honest as you think.
Posted by rinelle at 7:12 PM
The future requires openness to all spiritual knowledge. You may prefer one religion, but there are many paths to center and we need all the help we can get.
People who believe there is only one path limit themseleves. The find safety in spiritual rigidity. They memorize phrases and mindlessly repeat them confusing faith with obidience. They threaten damnation, they hurl insults in the name of God. They cannot feel the love of prophets they quote. They preach limits in the realm of unlimited.
The message of spirit throughout the world is the same. It is a message of love, tolerance, compassion, respect, optimism, and profound understanding of the meaning of community.
Posted by rinelle at 7:03 PM
Monday, September 21, 2009
Posted by rinelle at 7:05 PM
Friday, September 18, 2009
It is wonderful thing to live in a context of friends who provide us with stimulus,encouragement and challenge. This is the heart of community, for in such a context we can serve and be served and grow in our giftedness and responsiblity.
But there is a possible downside on this scenario. Within the context of friends, we can also feel the pressure of their expectations. There is nothing wrong with our friends knowing our strong points. And equally there is nothing wrong with our serving in ways that are consistent with our recognized abilities. But there is something wrong by being put in a box and with not being able to acknowledge that we are developing different priorities or concerns or to admit that our resources have run dry.
Within the community of friends we need to guard the gift of individual freedom so that we can all continue to grow beyond the expectation of others.
Posted by rinelle at 7:10 PM