Preparing for Sunday
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Preparing for Sunday

A Rainbow for All of Us

by George Miller on 02/18/18

First Sunday of Lent: Feb 18, 2018

Genesis… The consequences of our sins can be the virtual rains in our lives. And though God may allow these rains to be our warning signs, his everlasting love and covenant to protect us from further consequence can be shown by their limits: his symbolic rainbow for us.  

The more we pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” the less we'll have to contend with consequential rains caused by our sinfulness. 

I Peter… We’ve all experienced suffering when we’ve been affected by the actions or statements of unrighteous people; things said or done to us that are offensive or harmful. 

However, may we always keep in mind that these little sufferings are merely small ways in which we can experience a bit of the far more severe suffering that Christ endured in order to give us his gift of salvation. 

It would bode well for us to imitate Christ’s responses of love to the unrighteous ones of his time, and do the same for our unrighteous contemporaries. 

If we could each think of one unrighteous person in our lives to pray for this week, or even do a kind deed for, perhaps our example might lead him or her a little closer to God.

Mark… Though we may never be tempted by the devil with the same magnitude as Jesus was in the desert, the bigger the threat we are to the devil as God’s active disciples, the more enticing his temptations will be to lure us into his fold.  

However difficult our struggles are against temptation, let us always recall the sign of God’s rainbow as his covenant of love and protection from the evil one. 

The story of Noah and the flood reminds us that our faith can give us the power and confidence to be “lead away from temptation and delivered from evil” at all times.

Cross the Line to the Outcasts

by George Miller on 02/12/18

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Feb 11, 2018

Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46... 1 Cor 10:31-11:1... Mk 1:40-45

 

 

Leviticus… In the same way lepers were declared unclean and separated from the community to avoid spreading their disease, we often find physical, mental and social outcasts today who’ve been separated from the mainstream to avoid their “disease” being spread.

 

Heartless and uncaring people today often authorize themselves to declare “modern day lepers” unclean, but with a different attitude than Moses and Aaron had who were authorized to do so from God. 

 

As followers of Christ, we should always be conscious of how we treat outcasts, not only the physically and mentally challenged, but also those who don’t seem to measure up to our personal standards: people with values, beliefs and world views different from ours.

 

Corinthians… When we step out of ourselves and reach out to others for their benefit instead of ours, it’s all for God’s glory as Paul suggests. To be an imitator of Paul, as he is of Christ, we just need to be less offensive and disdainful to those we don’t always welcome into our fold.

 

May we always strive to please everyone, within or outside our boundaries of acceptance, with Christ-like love and compassion. Our more receptive attitudes can brighten their lives and perhaps their faith as well.

 

Mark… Could we give others in need the same kind of love and attention that Jesus gave to the leper? Jesus crossed the line, according to the laws of purity at the time, by physically touching the leper and making himself unclean. 

 

Would we be willing to cross the line to get more involved with our modern day outcasts and risk being considered “one of them” by our peers?

 

Have there been ministries to which we’ve said “no” in the past because they were too much of a stretch for us? Is it time to take a risk into uncharted waters? 

Called to Slavery

by George Miller on 02/12/18

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time... Feb 4th, 2018
Job 7:1-4, 6-7... 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23... Mark 1:29-39

 

Job… Two different kinds of slavery are shown in this week’s readings. With Job, it’s his faith and patient endurance to sit and wait quietly for God’s response to his state of devastating loss and restless misery.

 

To accept one’s state when it is not pleasing, productive or fulfilling; and believe that it’s all for God’s purpose requires an inner strength in which we can admire in Job. And though we may never be called to as severe of this kind slavery as Job was, we may one day be called to serve our Lord in some other displeasing way; and be required to be still, listen, and ready to act for his purpose.

 

Corinthians…  Paul, like Jesus who says in the Gospel that he “must move on and preach to more nearby villages,” was a man of achievement with an urgency and compulsion to preach the Gospel. And by making himself free to all and opening himself up to all, he became a slave to all for the sake and greater glory of God’s word.

 

In both Job’s and Paul’s cases, they were called to slavery; in different ways, but all for God’s glory. And whatever virtues we might admire that we see in God’s slaves, may it have a positive impact on our faith and future actions as well.

 

When we are compelled to cheerfully give of ourselves to others Paul did, our results can flourish. But if we give by force or out of a sense of pressure or obligation, our lack of generosity will show and our results will be diminished.

 

God loves a cheerful giver. So let us ask ourselves what it is that we could pour ourselves into for his glory, as Paul and obviously Jesus did on a regular basis. If we’ve found it, let us be grateful and take action upon it.

 

If not, let us pray for the clarity of vision and purpose to seeking that form of slavery where we can apply the special gifts that our Lord has bestowed on each of us.

Time Is Short. Abandon Yourselves to God

by George Miller on 02/11/18

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time:  Jan 21, 2018

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 ... 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 ... Mark 1:14-20

 

 

In the Gospel, the Galilean fishermen had to make a quick decision whether to follow Christ, or go on about their lives without him.

In our first reading, the Ninevites had to repent and abandon their sinful ways to avoid being destroyed in forty days.

And in our second reading, Paul urges the Corinthians, while there’s still time, to abandon their attachments to this world and live more inwardly in the age to come. Time was short for them as it is for us right now.

Jonah… Though Jonah obeyed God to deliver his message of Nineveh’s likely destruction, it was never in his heart to do it. Like many Jews who hated the Assyrians, Jonah was reluctant to help them be redeemed of their sinfulness.

Have we been a Jonah at times in our lives? What keeps us from doing something we believe God is calling us to do? What were the times in our lives when we were reluctant to help sinful people whom we didn't think deserved God's mercy?

May we always pray for the strength not to have the smallness of vision, like Jonah, to wish ill on those we don’t like or whom we perceive as enemies.

Where God used a heartless messenger in Jonah to pull off a miracle of getting obstinate people to turn from their evil ways, we also may be called one day to go where we’re uncomfortable or unwilling to do God’s work.

Corinthians… It is far more common to heed this message of St. Paul’s as we age closer to our final days. To have a “holy indifference” to our world of today and inwardly live in the age to come is absurd to those who are too attached to the world’s temporary treasures and pleasures.

So let us pray for them and for ourselves, to see world’s many opportunities to serve and glorify our Lord, and use the world as oil for the wheels of obedience instead of as fuel for lust.

No matter what state of life we are in; married or alone, young or old, happy or sad, in pastures green or brown; may we always remember that the world is a temporary show and will soon be gone forever, and treasure the hope of our magnificent life to come under the wing of our mighty Savior.

With a short reading as this, there’s plenty of time to patiently transfer your feelings of this reality to your listeners.

Listen, Follow and Obey

by George Miller on 02/11/18

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) Jan 14, 2018

1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19… 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20… John 1:35-42

 

Samuel… In the day when prophecy and divine revelation were rare, much due to an environment spurred by Eli’s corrupt sons, it’s no wonder that Samuel wasn’t aware of God’s calling to him at first.

 

What about us today? How cognizant might we be of God’s calling to us in a modern-day world where prophecy and divine revelation are subjugated by the enemy. May we always pray for a keener awareness of God’s calling to us, and seek the comfort and conviction of his call when we sense it.

 

By patiently and quietly waiting for God’s call through his Holy Scriptures, we can learn to be composed in readiness to hear his voice and pick up on the subtle signs that point our way to doors of opportunity.

 

Corinthians… Though our attitudes toward sexual sin may not be as indifferent as those of the Corinthians, we must remain aware that it always resides in our bodies, and flight from any circumstance that leads to it is our only avoidance.

 

Christ paid the price to have us become part of his body. If we sin sexually with another person, we are also joining Christ with that person in the wrong way. So let us continually strive to preserve our body’s moral purity. Let us sustain ourselves as temples of the Holy Spirit rather than of Satan, and raise our temple’s “curb appeal” by our wholesome attitudes and behaviors.

 

John… “Come, and you will see.” When we hear God’s call and say, “I’m all in,” all the self-centered pursuits and paths we’ve been taking on our own will seem insignificant by comparison. And when we can “stay with him” as the disciples did: “move in” with him 24/7 as a permanent resident of his household, our lives can take a massive thrust forward for the better.

 

And like Andrew, who was so enthused to share his discovery of Jesus the Messiah, may we also maintain that same spirit of sharing so that others can “come and see.”

 

 

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