Alleluia: Call to Discipleship

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
September 1, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings lead us to consider our call.

Lk5_11 leftJPG

The call to discipleship comes to us within the other calls of our life: the call to be a good parent, spouse, sibling, child. It comes in the call to be a moral, values-driven employer; an honest, hard-working employee; a supportive, engaged co-worker. Christ asks us to mirror him as neighbor, friend, colleague, and citizen.

In whatever skill or profession we practice, Christ asks us to exercise it as he would – to choose, judge and behave as he would.

In our Gospel, the first disciples are astonished at the miracle of the fishes. Like a lightening bolt, that astonishment transforms their world view. They now see Christ as the Center of their lives. They drop their nets on the seashore. They leave everything to follow him.

What is it that we must leave to make Christ the center of our lives? What nets are we caught in that keep us from freeing the call within us?

We are challenged by a world filled with the entanglements of greed, destructive power, aggression, bigotry, lies, and political & social pretense. How much have these infected the purity of our desire to follow Jesus?

Poetry: On St. Peter Casting Away His Nets at Our Saviour’s Call – Richard Crashaw

Thou hast the art on't Peter; and canst tell 
To cast thy Nets on all occasions well. 
When Christ calls, and thy Nets would have thee stay: 
To cast them well's to cast them quite away.

Music: Lord, You Have Come to the Seashore- Caesareo Gabarain

Lord, You have come to the seashore
Neither searching for…the rich nor the wise,…
desiring only…that I should follow
O Lord, with your eyes set upon me,
gently smiling, you have spoken my name;
all I longed for I have found by the water.
At your side, I will seek other shores.

Lord, see my goods, my possessions;
in my boat you find…no power, no wealth…
Will you accept then…my nets and labor?

Lord,…take my hands and direct them
Help me spend myself in seeking the lost,…
returning love for…the love you gave me.

Lord,…as I drift on the waters…
be the resting place…of my restless heart,…
my life’s companion,…my friend and refuge.

Alleluia: True Ministry

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
August 31, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, both Paul and Luke talk about ministry – our loving and merciful service to one another through prayer, word, and action.

LK4_18 good news

Paul says this ministry must be humble and mutual. This is because all the good that any of us does comes from God, not from us.

What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul?
Ministers through whom you became believers,
just as the Lord assigned each one.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who causes the growth.

Jesus shows us that our ministry must be immediate and practical, responding to the present needs of our sisters and brothers. You wouldn’t think Jesus had time to pay attention to Peter’s mother-in-law, but he did. Her need drew his ministry out of him.

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases
brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.

You will meet your own “Peter’s mother-in-law” today – someone whose apparent need touches your goodness. They may need a smile, an encouragement, an invitation or a gentle correction from you. They may come to you from a distance, in a request for service or funding. They may come in news story crying out for your prayers or civic action.

People can be poor in many ways.  Even the apparently free can be held captive by hidden burdens. Sometimes these burdens hide under a false bravado, impudence, indifference, or pride that make it difficult to pity their bearers. 

We will meet these people in our families, workplaces, schools and neighborhoods. 

Our response should reflect the humble and spontaneous Mercy and Love of Jesus who was always honest, respectful and kind. This is the ministry of every Christian because…

Music: Christ Has No Body Now But Yours ~ David Ogden

Poetry: The Woman – I wrote this poem about 30 years ago but I thought of it this morning when I reflected on Peter’s mother-in-law and her need for Jesus’s touch.

One bitter day in February
I sat inside a sunlit room,
offered you warm prayer and promises,
and she passed outside my window
dressed uncarefully against the wind,
steadied on a cane, though she was young.
She seemed searching for
a comfort, unavailable and undefined.

The wound of that impossibility
fell over her the way it falls
on every tender thing that cries
but is not gathered to a caring breast.
Suddenly she was a single
anguished seed of You,
fallen into all created things.

Re-entering prayer,
I wear the thought of her  
like old earth wears fresh rain.
I’ve misconstrued You,
Holy One, to whom I offer my heart
as if I were a yearning field,
Holy One, already ripe within
her barest, leanest yearning.

Alleluia: Breathe

Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
August 30, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we have an awesome first reading from Corinthians in which Paul assures us:

We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.

What joy to realize that God’s own Spirit dwells within us making us one with God, breath within Breath. We have that intimate comfort of knowing God as our dearest Friend, Confidant, and Lover.

Nothing in our lives falls outside God’s embrace and compassion. God’s kindness, graciousness and lavish mercy sustain and inspire us always to believe, to hope, and to love.

In thanksgiving, we pray today’s most fitting Psalm 145. remembering that in all things – yes, all things – Lavish mercy is waiting to embrace us.

Psalm 145 – Opening Heart – Rev. Christine Robinson

I exalt you, Holy One, and open my heart to you
by remembering your great love.
Your expansiveness made this beautiful world
in a universe too marvelous to understand.
Your desire created life, and you nurtured
that life with your spirit.
You cherish us all—and your prayer
in us is for our own flourishing.
You are gracious to us
slow to anger and full of kindness
You touch us with your love—speak to us
with your still, small voice, hold us when we fall.
You lift up those who are oppressed
by systems and circumstances.
You open your hand
and satisfy us.
You ask us to call on you—
and even when you seem far away, our
longings call us back to you.
Hear my cry, O God, for some days, it is all I have.

Music: Jeanne Cotter – With the Lord, There is Mercy

Alleluia: The Prophet

Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
Monday, August 29, 2022

John the Baptist – Caravaggio

Today’s Readings

Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who are persecuted
for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we commemorate the Passion of John the Baptist who, besides Mary, was the greatest saint embracing both the Old and the New Testaments.

When I was young, the memorial was simply referred to as “The Beheading of John the Baptist”. The term “passion” captures its meaning so much more clearly:

  • it inclines us to realize the similarities between John’s passion and death and that of Jesus.
  • it shifts the power of the event to John, who chose his fate by the courage of his witness, rather than to see Herod, the “beheader”, as the agent of the story.

John’s whole prophetic life was part of his “passion”. It inevitably led him to this ultimate confrontation with evil.

Walter Bruggemann, in his transformational book “The Prophetic Imagination” writes about prophets. He indicates that prophets emerge in the context of “totalism” – those paralyzing systems which attempt to control and dominate all freedom and possibility.

Totalism kills ideas, hope, freedom, choice, self-determination, and creativity for the sake of controlling reality for its own advantage. Totalism is the ultimate “abusive relationship“.

Brueggemann defines the prophet as one engaged in these three tasks:

  • the prophet is clear on the force and illegitimacy of the totalism.
  • the prophet pronounces the truth about the force of the totalism that contradicts the purpose of God.
  • the prophet articulates the alternative world that God has promised, and that God is actually creating within the chaos around us.

Every age requires prophets because every age is infected with “Herods” trying to thwart God’s reign of love, mercy, truth, freedom, and joy. In our own time, the poison of totalism is quite evident in those systems fueled by racism, militarism, financial duplicity, desecration of the earth, and the sad array of other ideologies that cripple humanity.

Today, as we pray with this great saint, may we be inspired to respond to our own prophetic call – to be prophetic signs of love, mutual reverence, joy, Gospel justice, holy encouragement and lavish mercy for our world.

Poetry: On Reason and Passion – Rabindranath Tagore

And the priestess spoke again and said: Speak to us of Reason and Passion.
     And he answered, saying:
     Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgement wage war against your passion and your appetite. 
     Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
     But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

     Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.
     If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
     For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
     Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
     And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

     I would have your consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
     Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

     Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields, and meadows—then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”
     And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky,—then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.”
     And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

Music: I think of this song by Simon and Garfunkel as the modern day song of John the Baptist.

Alleluia: Everyone’s Invited

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 28, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings share the common theme of humility, instructing us that the virtue is essential to our salvation.

Lk14_11 humbled

Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord,
and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.

Humility, of course, gets a bad rap in our dominating, “me” culture. We tend to think of humiliation, servitude, inelegance rather than the actual root of the word: humus -“of the earth”.

I was fascinated a few years ago by a small fracas arising from the unconsidered remarks of one of our Phillies baseball players. The team had been running hot and cold – with a little bit too much cold for some fans. The famous Philly “boos” had been flying. Frustrated with these, then outfielder Sean Rodriguez referred to the disgruntled fans as “entitled”. 


Uh oh! They didn’t like that. We prefer to think of ourselves as “deserving “, right?

Humility is that virtue which helps us realize that we are not “entitled” or “deserving” of anything over and above other human beings. It roots us in the respect for each other that refuses to rank the worth of other human beings. 

The social leverage that comes from wealth, power, and influence can beguile us. We become lost in a maze of stereotypes, rankings and prejudices which are the foundation of social injustice.

Do we ever hear among ourselves justifying phrases for our entitlement like these. Maybe the thoughts go unexpressed, but the attitude is unmistakably there:

  • well, I earned what I have
  • at least I paid for what I have
  • they” need to work if they want to have …(food, healthcare, housing…)
  • it’s their own fault for … (dropping out of school, taking drugs, ….)
  • that’s just the way it is in “those” countries. The people are …(lazy, stupid, violent …)
  • they” don’t need what I need. “They” are used to being … (poor, disabled, sick …)

And probably the most dangerous of all the phrases:

  • it’s not my problem
  • I’m not the one exiling, bombing, blocking, trafficking, enslaving “them”

Today’s readings enjoin us: it is my problem. My attitude, choices, vote, conversation, and lifestyle matter at the banquet of life we are all meant to share.

My intention to humbly join and rejoice with all Creation, to take a seat beside and never above my sister and brother – this is my only “entitlement” to the one banquet that matters.

When you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Prose – from Mary Oliver in Upstream (Penguin Press, 2016)

Understand from the first this certainty. Butterflies don’t write books, neither do lilies, or violets. Which doesn’t mean they don’t know, in their own way, what they are. That they don’t know they are alive – that they don’t feel, that action upon which all consciousness sits, lightly or heavily.

Humility is the prize of the leaf-world.
Vainglory is the bane of us, the humans.  

Sometimes the desire to be lost again, as long ago, comes over me like a vapor. With growth into adulthood, responsibilities claimed me, so many heavy coats. I didn’t choose them, I don’t fault them, but it took time to reject them. Now in the spring I kneel, I put my face into the packets of violets, the dampness, the freshness, the sense of ever-ness. Something is wrong, I know it, if I don’t keep my attention on eternity. May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful. May I stay forever in the stream. May I look down upon the windflower and the bull thistle and the coreopsis with the greatest respect. 

Music:  A Place at the Table – Lori True and Shirley Elena Murray

Alleluia: Restless Heart

Memorial of Saint Monica
Saturday, August 27, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray in the spirit of St. Monica, that generous, loving mother who never gave up on her wild and wayward son.

St. Monica – by Benozzo Gozzoli c. 1464

Monica was a stalwart example of the humble faith and gratitude Paul describes in our first reading. Monica knew that her entire being depended on God’s graciousness:

God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption…

Today’s Gospel, the insightful parable of the talents,  could very well capsulize Monica’s spirituality. For her, the foolish burier of the talents was her own son. He had been given amazing spiritual and natural gifts only to squander them in religious distortions and moral lassitude. Still she prayed, forgave, and encouraged Augustine until the light of grace dawned upon him.

Monica is such a powerful example for us. It’s hard to love that much and that long when there is no positive response to our hope and care. 

So many parents throughout the ages have shared Monica’s experience. So many family members and friends have agonized for their own beloveds who seemed lost in bad choices, addictions, or the other myriad forms of self-annihilation.

Let’s pray for one another today, especially for the “Monicas” among us who long for the spiritual wholeness of another to be healed and complete. May we/they be patient, honest, hopeful and loving. And may their own “talents” be multiplied and rewarded.

Prose: from Augustine’s autobiography about his mother Monica:

And now you stretched forth your hand from above
and drew up my soul out of that profound darkness
because my mother, your faithful one,
wept to you on my behalf more than mothers
are accustomed to weep
for the bodily deaths of their children.

Instead, she was fully confident that you
who had promised the whole would give her the rest,
and thus most calmly, and with a fully confident heart,
she replied to me that she believed, in Christ,
that before she died she would see me made whole in the faith.

Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book 1

Music: Augustine: The Way – Tony MacPherson

Alleluia: Wise or Foolish?

Friday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
August 26, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Alleluia, alleluia.
Be vigilant at all times and pray,
that you may have the strength 
to stand before your God.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings are full of dichotomies and contrasts to help us understand the Truth.

Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.

1 Corinthians 1: 20-21

The core of Paul’s eloquent lesson is this:
Worldly wisdom = foolishness 
Heavenly foolishness = true wisdom

Reading this passage, we might feel like we’re back in our Logic 101 class in college. But remember, Paul is preaching to a Greek audience, inheritors of Socratic and Aristotelian language. They would be fascinated and moved by Paul’s presentation style.

Us? Maybe not so much. We might prefer the storytelling technique Jesus used to get the same point across.

The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. 

Matthew 25:3-4

Jesus’s lesson:
Foolish virgins = no oil = can’t find Lord
Wise virgins = refreshed oil = find Lord easily

Our Alleluia Verse captures the essence of all our readings for us:

Pay attention to your spiritual life.

  • Keep the Light lit.
  • Don’t be fooled by the world’s false logic.
  • In Christ, we live by the true logic and light of the Cross and Resurrection 

Prose: Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel – The Logic of Faith: A Buddhist Approach to Finding Certainty Beyond Belief and Doubt

But if you are not careful, 
spirituality can quite easily allow you 
to bypass the human dilemma, 
because spirituality can be 
anything you want it to be, 
whereas faith will challenge you. 
It’s not so comfortable. 
It carries with it the undeniable tension 
between your search for security 
and the limits of your ability to know. 
Faith keeps your spiritual quest relevant 
and connected to the heart 
of the human predicament.

Music: Fool’s Wisdom – Malcolm and Alayna

Got myself some wisdom

From a leather-back book

Got myself a Savior

When I took a second look

Opened up the pages

And what did I find

A black and white portrait

Of a King Who’s a friend of mine

Funny how when you think you’re right

Everybody else must be wrong

Till someone with fool’s wisdom

Somehow comes along

His voice is strange and the words He said

I didn’t quite understand

Yet I knew that He was speaking right

By the leather-back book in His hand

Hey, hey

What a day

Fool’s wisdom

Hey, hey

What a day

Fool’s wisdom

Got myself some wisdom

From a leather-back book

Got myself a Savior

When I took a second look

Alleluia: Wake Up!

Thursday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
August 25, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Alleluia, alleluia.
Stay awake!  
For you do not know when the Lord will come.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings offer us beautiful blessings and vigorous encouragement for our spiritual lives. 

Paul begins his letter of instruction to the Corinthians with a stirring reminder of the spiritual gifts they have received:

… to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…

1 Corinthians 1:1

As we read these words, we open our hearts to allow Paul to speak to us who have received the same call and blessings as the Corinthians:

I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1: 2-4

Wow! What if we really believed that blessing? What if we lived our lives like the fortified, invigorated Christians Paul describes!

What if we really woke up to the graces we have received and lived a life that witnessed to them!

That kind of awakened living is what Jesus calls us to in the Gospel.

Jesus said
“Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: 
if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Lord will come.

Matthew 24: 42-44

We often relate this Gospel to the final coming of Christ at the end of time when we don’t want to be caught off guard. But there is a much more extensive call in this powerful parable.

The Spirit of God comes to us in every moment of our lives. It reaches out to us with every breath through which we share in God’s eternal cosmic Inspiration. Jesus invites us not to miss God’s Presence in each moment – not simply the last one in our earthly lives.

As our day passes – as our lives pass – there are no vacuums where God is absent. God is there even in darkness and suffering. God is there even in the mindless bliss that can render us unconscious of our blessings. 

Poetry: Psalm 145 – Opening Heart by Christine Robinson

Let us pray to be fully awake to God’s Presence as we pray today’s Responsorial Psalm as rendered by Pastor Robinson.

I exalt you, Holy One, and open my heart to you
by remembering your great love.
Your expansiveness made this beautiful world
in a universe too marvelous to understand.

Your desire created life, and you nurtured
that life with your spirit.
You cherish us all—and your prayer
in us is for our own flourishing.

You are gracious to us
slow to anger and full of kindness
You touch us with your love—speak to us
with your still, small voice, hold us when we fall.

You lift up those who are oppressed
by systems and circumstances.
You open your hand
and satisfy us.

You ask us to call on you—
and even when you seem far away, our
longings call us back to you.
Hear my cry, O God, for some days, it is all I have.

Music: Psalm 145: I Will Praise Your Name

Alleluia: The Fig Tree

Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
August 24, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Jn 1_48 fig

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of the Apostle Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel. As with many of the Apostles, little is known of Bartholomew’s life outside of a few Gospel stories. John’s Gospel tells the wonderful story of Nathaniel’s call by Christ.

The encounter is a very personal one. Jesus and Nathaniel share a conversation that must have impressed the other listeners because it was remembered and recounted word for word in the Gospel.

One exchange, in particular, carries deep significance for Nathaniel. Jesus says that there is no duplicity, or pretense, in Nathaniel. There is a transparency in him shared even with God. Nathaniel wonders out loud , “How do you know me?” Jesus answers, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”

Saint Bartholomew – El Greco

What was going on with Nathaniel under that fig tree? A moment of intense prayer, questioning, decision, doubt, hope? Whatever it was, Jesus had shared it, even at a distance. When Nathaniel realizes this, his faith in Jesus and vocation to follow Him are confirmed. Nathaniel professes, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Where are the fig trees in your life story — those moments when, looking back, you realize that God was with you even though seeming distant?

What have been the turning points in your faith, when you came out from under the shadow of a challenging experience, to the grateful amazement that God had accompanied you through it?

What are those pivotal, intimate moments when it was just you and God – those transparent moments that changed your life?

If you can’t recall any such moments, perhaps you are not giving yourself the time and space to let God reach you.

It might be time to seek out a “fig tree” – a place of spiritual solitude where you may speak honestly and directly to God about the most important things in your life. Open your heart, like Nathaniel, to hear what God already knows about you.

Poetry: The Banyan Tree – Rabindranath Tagore

O you shaggy-headed banyan tree
standing on the bank of the pond,
have you forgotten the little child,
like the birds that have
nested in your branches and left you?

Do you not remember
how he sat at the window
and wondered at
the tangle of your roots
plunged underground?

The women would come
to fill their jars in the pond,
and your huge black shadow
would wriggle on the water
like sleep struggling to wake up.

Sunlight danced on the ripples
like restless tiny shuttles
weaving golden tapestry
Two ducks swam by the weedy margin
above their shadows, and
the child would sit still and think.

He longed to be the wind
and blow through your resting branches,
to be your shadow and
lengthen with the day on the water,
to be a bird and perch
on your topmost twig, and to float like
those ducks among the weeds and shadows.

Forest Lake with Boy Fishing – Alfred Wahlberg

Music: The Memory of Trees – Enya (Some lyrical New Age music to listen to under your fig tree!)

Alleluia: Discerning Word

Tuesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
August 23, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jesus and Paul both get downright serious about true spiritual discernment — in other words,

“Stop the bull(ony)!

The passage from Thessalonians indicates that “conspiracy theories” are not just a sick modern phenomenon. Apparently some religious charlatans were trying to delude the neophyte Christian community with threats about the end of the world. Paul is adamant in his advice:

Do not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly,
or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,”
or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
Let no one deceive you in any way.

2 Thessolians 2:2

Jesus “woes” the Pharisees once again for a similar type of deluding behavior. For their own advancement, they impose minute religious entanglements which block the true purpose of the law:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.

Matthew 23:23

Jesus employs a great image to correct such delusions:

You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.

Matthew 23:25

In matters of faith, always look inside the cup for “justice, mercy and fidelity”. If instead you find “plunder and self-indulgences”, you can be sure it is not the word of God.

Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

Poetry: A Cup Story – Author Unknown

You are holding a cup of coffee when 
someone comes along and accidentally bumps you 
and shakes your arm, 
making you spill coffee everywhere.
Why did you spill the coffee?
Because someone bumped into you, right?
Wrong answer.
You spilled the coffee because coffee was in the cup.
If tea had been in it, you would have spilled tea.
Whatever is inside the cup is what will come out.
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you,
whatever is inside of you will come out. 
So each of us has to ask ourselves..... what's in my cup?
When life gets bumpy, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace, and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words, and reactions?
We choose what's in our cup!

Music: Inside of the Cup – Ernst Samuel