Friday, January 27, 2017

Sharing a Post: A song saves that lives

My blogging friend Victor at Time for Reflections has a beautiful post about a song that has saved many babies from abortion.

Today, on March for Life 2017 day, I thought it would be a very timely post to share with you.

Please pray for the unborn, and any mothers or fathers struggling with their decisions.

God Bless you, and thank you Victor for sharing this with us.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

What the Heck is Zebulun?

I love this weekend's Gospel where Jesus calls His first apostles.  I have always been impressed with the decisiveness that they dropped what they were doing to follow Him.  

But every now and then I remind myself to focus on all of the words in the Gospel, and every so often I dive into something I don't know a lot about. A word, person, or place that I just gloss over because they just become "words on paper" to me.

Matthew tells us that Jesus went to live in Capernaum, the region of Nebulun and Naphtali, and then quotes Isaiah who calls the people there "people who sit in darkness".  

I realized I knew something about Capernaum, but zilch about Nebulun and Naphtali.  

Well, to be accurate, I had forgotten everything I knew about Nebulun and Naphtali from the Old Testament.

So here is the brief overview ...

Nebulun and Naphtali were two of Jacob's twelve sons.  They settled into an area in northeast Israel.  Those areas and tribes were named after them, and the area became full of "pagans", and the Jewish laws and customs became diluted over time.  In fact the area was known as "full of darkness" for this reason, especially when compared to the holy city of Jerusalem.  They were also some of the first areas that faced attack from armies like the Assyrians. 

So the fact that Jesus chose this area to shine His light is quite significant.  He could have chosen the grand city of Jerusalem, with all its leaders and affluence.  But instead he chose the darkest of areas, and lived among the lowest of people.  (Also important to note, is that Jesus left the small conservative village of Nazareth to preach in the more populated and diverse crossroads of Capernaum.) His followers were people that, because of the Greek influence, were perhaps more open to new ideas.  But they were still looked down upon. 

But not by God.  

He showed them the Light before many others.  And in doing so, He gave them the chance to follow It.  

Which is how we arrive at the usual theme of this Gospel ... that seeing the Light is wonderful ... but not enough.  Peter, Andrew, James, and John took action. They followed Jesus, and helped Him bring Light to the poor, sick, forgotten, and hopeless.  

A nice reminder for all of us ... that our roles, too, include stepping out of our comfort zones and shining Christ's Light into the Zebuluns of this world.

God Bless you.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Transfer of Power

In case you have not seen a newspaper, or been on the world wide web at all, over the past year, we have a pretty significant transfer of power happening this week in the United States. 

That transfer, so far, has been ... not so smooth.  Both current and elect seem to be ridiculing one another at every turn, trying to bring the other down or at least keep public opinion on their side.

Which is why our deacon, this past weekend, reflected on St. John the Baptist.  He commented on how hard it must have been for John to decrease, while allowing Jesus to increase - even for someone as Holy as a Saint.

After all, John had many, many followers ... that came to him in the wilderness and praised him often.  

And yet, when our Savior arrived, John "transferred" quite seamlessly to Him ... and ended up dying alone.

It seems like such a sharp contrast to what is happening in the U.S. - and other parts of the world - and is something I probably take for granted without thinking about how hard it must have been for John.  

Please pray for peace in our world, and God Bless.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Random Musings from Christmas Season

As we celebrate the Epiphany, and close out the Christmas Season, there have been some random thoughts crossing my mind ...

We hear much about the shepherds and wise men visiting the baby Jesus.  But what about the relatives of Joseph in Bethlehem?  Did they spend time with the Holy Family?  Every day?  Did they clear space for them in their homes immediately?  Or did they think they were just crazy?  And how about the people of Bethlehem?  Surely they heard the commotion, and were told what was going on.  How many of them believed?  How many of them took the opportunity to gaze upon the Face of God?  And how many went about their merry way, oblivious to the Gift in their midst?

Speaking of the wise men ... and the star they followed ... I realized at Mass that today there are millions of stars that can lead to Jesus ... us.  The problem is some of us don't shine as brightly as we need to to get people to follow us.  

I wonder if anyone found it odd that one of the gifts from the wise men was myrrh.  Why give a child something that is more common for the dead?  (Although I am reminded of the saying that from the minute you are born you are constantly one step closer to death...)

What about Mary's family?  When did they receive news of Jesus' birth?  Did they make the journey to Bethlehem to visit Him?  

I imagined the birth of our Lord happening in today's day in age.  So many things would have been different.  For example, on the plus side, the world would have been able to watch His arrival because someone in Bethlehem would have captured it on their cell phone.  On the downside, social media probably would have made it very easy for Herod to find the Holy Family.  

I still can't believe how fortunate we are that God chose to come here in human form, and all of its constrictions, and suffer for us.  His love is incomprehensible. 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season.  God Bless you and your families.