Monthly Archives: May 2016

He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, “They will respect my son.”
(Mark 12:6)

Lord, you sent the prophets and they were ignored or persecuted. Finally, you sent your Son, and he was crucified. Those to whom the parable of the vineyard owner and tenant was addressed did not respect you, my Jesus. They scattered when you rebuked them.

Do I respect you? You have given me this life to tend. Do I regard it as mine? Do I give you gladly what is due to you, or do I try to hang on to my pleasures and treasures? You mean for me to use and enjoy what you provide and to acknowledge that it is yours. Take whatever I don’t need, whatever distracts me from you.

How can I respect and obey you today, Lord? So far, I have no commitments. It is Memorial Day, when we remember those who died for our country. Let me honor them and thank them for their sacrifice. Let me remember, too, all who live and die for you. I thank you for everything and everyone you will send. I commend to you all my brothers and sisters. Take me out of myself so that I may serve.

For as often as you eat the bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
(1 Corinthians: 26)

They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
(Luke 9:17)

Yes, Lord, we proclaim your death – and we profess your resurrection. If you had not died, we would not be ransomed from our sin. If you had not risen, we would not know that you are God. When we eat and drink, we know you and become one with your Body and Blood. We wait for you to come in you glory, but meanwhile we have you in the Eucharist.

The thousands who ate the bread you provided while they listened to you were satisfied for the moment. We partake of your eternal Sacrifice and our souls are sanctified. Let us never forget that you dwell within us. Keep me centered in your presence today.

As he was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him and said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you the authority to do them?”
(Mark 11:27-28)

The question of the officials was not a request for information, but a challenge to your works, my Jesus. What were “these things”? You had entered Jerusalem, thrown out the money lenders, and healed the sick. They resented and feared you. They could not answer your question because of the political implications. It was appearances that mattered to them, not truth. Since they didn’t want to know your answer, you withheld it.

If the truth is in me, I will speak it, no matter what the consequences. You have shown us your authority. Let me profess it in all I do and say.

When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.
(Mark 11:25)

Once again, Lord, your timing impresses me. I read this passage during Week One of the Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, which focuses on sin and forgiveness. Today, I considered the account in Genesis of the first sins, those of Adam and Eve and Cain. You punished them but you did not destroy them. The promise of forgiveness hovers over the story.

Please show me whom I need to forgive and whom, in addition to you, I have offended.

And many rebuked him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
(Luke 10:48)

Like Bartimeus, Lord, I want to see. I know that you will hear me, and I will keep calling to you, no matter how many want to silence me. Please give me the courage to cry out to you.

Once you healed Bartimeus, you told him to go on, but he followed you. It is you that I long to see, my Jesus, and you that I will follow. Keep me in your company; lead me where you will.

As I receive your Body and Blood at Mass today and then carry you to others, let me keep you in my heart. Let me be outwardly silent in respect for the gift of the Eucharist but inwardly invoking you. Bless our little group and keep us together. Bless all those for whom I promised to pray, and remember anyone I forget. Bless those who try to silence me and try to prevent me from serving you. Bless, especially, those whom I have judged.

But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
(Mark 10:43-44)

How can I serve today, Lord? Whom can I serve? Others will be helping me, delivering groceries and cleaning the apartment. Let me show my gratitude.

I will spend the day indoors, but there are neighbors who would welcome a phone call. Help me to forget myself and reach out. Tomorrow, if it pleases you, I will serve more actively. Please give me the strength to go to Mass with some of my neighbors and bring the Eucharist to others. Help us all to keep our little group going.

But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.
(Mark 10:31)

Lord, you illustrated this statement in the parable of the workers in the vineyard. (Matthew 20:1-16) The last to be hired were paid first, but all received the same amount. Does it matter whether we are first or last, then? If we are members of your Mystical Body, and you are the head, there is no rank among us. We are all connected with you and with each other. And there is no time in eternity.

This weekend, I learned that someone who was just ahead of me at one point in my earthly life has preceded me into Eternal Life. It is fitting, but if she had been younger than I, it would still be fitting. When I see her again there will be no first or last.

I cannot stop thinking of her; so please take whatever pain, discomfort or hardships I experience today as my prayer for her.

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
(Mark 10:21)

You look at the rich man, my Jesus, and love him. You see that he is sincere in his quest for eternal life. What does he see in your gaze? He recognizes your goodness, but you direct all goodness to the Father. Because you love him, you point out what he needs, the one thing he lacks. Yet that one thing contradicts everything he has set out to achieve, except, of course for the one thing he asked of you.

I picture him, his jaw dropping at such a drastic step. He would be stripped bare, powerless, vulnerable, forced to trust someone besides himself. I like to think that he just needed more time. He went away sad, unable to surrender, but you would not give up on him. Perhaps he came back. Maybe if he had focused on your final words, “then come, follow me,” he would have had more courage.

Am I sad about losing my strength, my status, my popularity, even (I sometimes feel) my ability to serve? Do I resent the toll that age and infirmity take? Do I trust you enough to believe that it is my very weakness that makes me strong? I do believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. I know that you will show me ways to let go today. Please give me whatever I need to do so gracefully.

[The Spirit] will glorify me because he will take from me 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 for you.
(John 16:14-15)

Lord, I will not understand this mystery until I am united with the Love that flows through three Persons, distinct and yet inseparable, that comprise you, our one God. Human logic cannot grasp it and yet you declare it to us.

Father, Creator, you wove me in my mother’s womb. You breathe life into me.

Son, Redeemer, Jesus Christ, you teach, guide, and save me.

Spirit of Truth, your breath enlightens and empowers me. You are the Love that flows through the Father and Son and into me.

Divine Trinity, keep me whole in you.

When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
(Mark 10:14)

My Jesus, we have seen you angry with the Pharisees, the money changers, and even your disciples. In this passage, Mark uses the word “indignant,” from the Latin for “unworthy.” It is unworthy of us as Christians to turn away children.

Just a short time ago, you had told them that to receive a child was to receive you. How quickly they forget.

How quickly we forget, still. To embrace a child is easy for me, but please remind me that we are all children. Do I brush aside those who interfere with my plans or activities? What is more important, what I am doing or whom I encounter? You do not send anyone into my path without a purpose. Whether or not I understand that purpose, let me respond kindly.

The football team that I once followed was known for “nickel and diming,” i.e. gaining yardage in small increments. My life is made up of details, interruptions, distractions, and chance encounters. I may get where I am heading, if it be your will, but now I am exactly where you want me to be. Please help me to see your will in whatever you send.

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing before the gates.
(James 5:9)

What is meant by “standing before the gates” in this passage, Lord? You are the judge. You are the gate. We enter through you, and you decide if and when we can pass through. If you were not merciful, who could be saved, for when have we not complained about one another?

My Jesus, you asked the Father to forgive those who crucified you. Stephen said, “Do not hold this sin against them.” If I am persecuted for my faith, let me thank you for the opportunity to follow you. If I am attacked for personal reasons, please help me to remember that hurt feelings stem from pride. Only with your grace can I overcome my tendency to complain, but you can do everything.

“May creatures be nothing to me and I nothing to them.” St. Therese of Lisieux.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.
(Mark 9:44)
Attachments bind us to sin as closely as our limbs are bound to our body. It is not the hand that causes sin, but the attraction to worldly temptations. How can I detach myself, Lord? What is keeping me from loving and serving you more completely?

Why do I get angry and impatient? I am attached to a plan, and I see interruptions as obstacles. It is not the plan that matters. It is just a path to a goal. If I am walking along a path and meet others on the way, do I shout at them for interfering? I am on a public path; it does not belong to me. How could I resent those who share it? Their immediate goals may be different from mine, but we are all searching. Whether or not we know it, we are looking for you. It is our nature to seek the ultimate good, the ultimate truth, the ultimate love.

Please help me to give up my rushing, my craving for logic and my restlessness. Let me stop and greet whomever you send. Let me invite all to travel with me a stretch of the road. Let me help them over logs, around puddles, and through briers, and let me graciously accept their help. I will not forget my destination while I enjoy their company. With you, there is no time, only now. Why do I think it is so important, then? Let me cut off my preoccupation with time.

There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.
(Mark 9:39-40)

My Lord, you do not limit your power to those who were with your Son every day. Already, you are assuring the disciples that the Spirit is available to all who do good in the name of Jesus. If we believe in you, you work through all of us.

You have sent so many into my life to heal and teach me. They step out of your way and let you work through them. Please help me to do the same.

Today, you inspired my friend to take me to get a pyx. You enable another to provide transportation. Because of their faith and generosity, we can receive you in the Eucharist.

We are all your instruments. I give you thanks now and we will give you thanks as a community tomorrow. Please give us whatever we need to worship and glorify you. Let me spend tonight and tomorrow morning in prayer and preparation.

Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
(Mark 9:36-37)

Mark’s Gospel is moving so fast. Peter, John and James have just witnessed your transfiguration, my Jesus. They were dumbstruck and yet ready to remain their forever. They realized that you are, indeed, the Messiah but were perplexed that Isaiah was supposed to come first. You answered them that he already had. When they joined the other disciples, a commotion had broken out over a demon they could not expel. Giving a lesson in faith, you healed the possessed boy and proceeded to Capernaum, presumably to the house of Peter.

Perhaps it was one of Peter’s children whom you drew to yourself in order to demonstrate the importance of being last. You knew that they had been discussing who would be greatest in your kingdom, and they must have realized how you would have reacted to that argument. They did not want to tell you. Instead of simply admonishing them, you gave them a concrete example.

A child had no rights, no possessions, no status, and not even any identity outside of his family. By receiving someone who has nothing to give, we receive you, who give us everything.

Jesus said, “‘if you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief.”
(Mark 9:23-24)

How many times I have prayed the words of this father, Lord. Faith is a gift, but to be open to it takes prayer and work. Do I believe sincerely enough to trust that all things are possible? How can I live more fully in faith?
Today’s “Daily Disconnect” recounts the words of St. John of the Cross: “God lives in some as though in his own house, commanding and ruling everything…” Can I step back and let you rule my soul? I am a guest now in a household, and yet I bristle when I cannot find space for myself. How controlling I am! How can I learn to let you take charge? I will try harder to listen instead of reacting, to wait for your direction.