The Word Will Not Be Void

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

March 3, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, as I pray with today’s readings, I ask myself two questions:

      • “What has God’s Word accomplished in me?”
      • “What does God’s Word yet want to accomplish in me?”

If you’re like me, you’re always thinking about what you haven’t done, still must do, wish you had done. 

STOP

Let’s STOP and praise our gracious God for the good accomplished through our lives. I know every one of you reading this blog is an amazingly good person. God has already done beautiful things through you. Thank God. Give God the glory.

Lyrics:

How can I say thanks
For the things You have done for me?
Things so undeserved,
Yet You gave to prove Your love for me;
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude.
All that I am and ever hope to be,
I owe it all to Thee.

To God be the glory,
To God be the glory,
To God be the glory
For the things He has done.

With His blood He has saved me,
With His power He has raised me;
To God be the glory
For the things He has done.

Just let me live my life,
Let it pleasing, Lord to Thee,
And if I gain any praise,
Let it go to Calvary.


And then ask to go on, to open up your heart, to see God’s next desire for your precious life.

waterfal

For my young readers, give your dynamism to God’s imagination for you. There are great and holy things around every corner! Trust! Ride the grace-filled wave! Do not be afraid! Be a waterfall for God’s Word.

 


wellJPGFor some of us, as we get older, we do not have the physical energy to DO all that we once did. But oh, my dears, we can now BE more wonderful for God because of the long accumulation of his generous grace. Be a Well for God’s Word! Sink into grace! Do not be afraid!

 


For thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.


How amazing that promise is! Trust it! Let the Word transform you every day of your life.

Let’s consciously pray for one another today as today’s Gospel encourages us:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Music:  So Will I – Hillsong

Ask and Receive

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 28, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, our readings are connected by two often oppositional themes: BARGAINING and TRUST.

The Genesis passage is a familiar story, mainly because “Mrs. Lot” later gets turned into a pillar of salt. But the beginning of the story, today’s reading, is all about Moses bargaining with God to spare the inhabitants of sinful Sodom and Gomorrah. 

The Divine conversation is painted in very human terms, a ping-pong match of “what if”s and “OK”s between Moses and God. Moses finally bargains God down to the hope of finding just ten good men in these depraved cities. And Moses trusts God to be merciful, a trust delivered in the salvation of Lot and his family.

In the second reading from Colossians, Paul reminds us of our own deliverance through baptism and sharing in the Resurrection of Christ. This is the infinite gift in which we put our hope and trust as believers.

Our Gospel reading from Luke opens with the Our Father, the ultimate prayer of trust. Jesus goes on to tell us that we can always trust God’s care for us.

Ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;

and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Jesus isn’t talking about magic, where we just say the word and automatically get what we imagined, or where we bargain with God as if we had something to offer. 

Lk11_12 Ask_Egg

Jesus is talking about that fundamental trust which believes in God’s faithfulness to us in all circumstances. He will not “hand us a serpent when we ask for an egg”. But it may be a very different “egg” (outcome) from the one we expected. Trust allows us to crack it open to find the unimagined grace inside.

Music: I Will Trust in You – Lauren Daigle

Time with the Beloved

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

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Today, in Mercy,  Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. His prayer is simple and direct, like talking to your Dad over a morning cup of coffee.

What about us? How do we pray?

Our first learned prayers are a lot like Jesus’s simple Our Father. We praise God, giving thanks, and asking for what we need.

Abba Father

Then we grow up and get sophisticated. We may begin to “say” or read prayers rather than use our own words. While such a practice can deepen our understanding of prayer, it places a layer between us and our conversation with God.

Sometimes others lead our prayer in the community of faith. This too can enrich us as we are inspired by a shared faith. But it is a little like trying to have a private conversation in an elevator.

Just as Jesus often went off in solitude to pray, this kind of prayer is our most intimate time with God – a time when God allows us to know God and ourselves in a deeper way. This sacred time alone with God may be spent in words, song, or the silence that speaks beyond words.

It is a time to be with the Beloved as we would our dearest, most faithful companion. We rest in the field of our experiences, letting them flow over God’s heart in tenderness. We listen with the ear of absolute trust to the secrets God tells us in the quiet.

Music: In His Presence – Sandi Patty

Demons

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071018.cfm

Today, in Mercy, Jesus cures a demoniac who is mute. 

In Jesus’ time, the connection between ordinary disease and demonical possession was quickly drawn – perhaps too quickly. As we read some of the Gospel cures, our modern understanding recognizes epilepsy, glaucoma, cataracts and mental illness in the people Jesus touched and healed. But two thousand years ago, these conditions were assigned to demons.

Demons

This doesn’t mean demons don’t exist. Remember the Gerasene miracle where Jesus cast demons into pigs who then threw themselves into the sea? Dramatic evidence that demons are real!

Demons are real in our world too, embodiments of the evil that is always competing for control of Creation, that is always resisting the supremacy of Goodness and Love.

These demons masquerade in various costumes of power, prestige and pleasure. But they are all eventually exposed as addictive, self-consuming and destructive.

How dangerous and deceptive these demons are! The word itself comes from the same Greek root as the word “genius”. And they do have a genius for rendering us:

  • blind to narcissistic motivations
  • crazed with exaggerated self-importance
  • crippled by deceptive rhetoric
  • mute in the face of systemic evil
  • deaf to the cries of the suffering
  • dead to the power of transforming Mercy in our own souls

Even as you read this list, faces and moments of history and current events are flashing before your eyes.  Circumstances in your own life, family and work suggest themselves. Bring these to your transforming prayer today. The touch of Jesus can deliver us from such demons. We pray for that touch in our own hearts and in our world.

Music: Our Father – Leontyne Price

 

Our Father

Thursday, June 21,2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062118.cfm

Today, in Mercy, our readings are a study in contrasts.  Our first reading from Sirach describes the fiery majesty of the prophet Elijah. Everything about Elijah was thunder and lightning.  He toppled kings and raised the dead, and generally cast a path of fire as he preached. At the end of his life, he passed into heaven in a chariot of flames.

The Gospel presents a Prophet of a gentler stripe – Jesus, who is teaching us how to pray.

Jesus says to pray simply, humbly, to ask for forgiveness, and freedom from temptation. He tells us to forgive others, avoid evil and be content with our daily bread.  No fiery chariots; no tumbling governments.  This gentle man will die in the agony of the cross.

No wonder those who hoped for a Messiah like Elijah were disappointed in Jesus.  No wonder we still struggle to understand the contradiction of the Cross.

However, Walter Brueggemann says this:  The crucifixion is

“the ultimate act of prophetic criticism
in which Jesus announces the end of a world of death…
and takes the death into his own person”.  

Still, the witness of Calvary would remain nothing but a contradiction without the transformative act of the Resurrection.

cross ressur

Through the combined witness of Good Friday and Easter, Jesus not only confronts the old order, he embraces and transforms it.  He takes to himself the same suffering and death that we all must face, but he shows us that it cannot destroy us. He proves that, ultimately, death has no power over those who believe in Him and in the Father Who has sent Him.

Indeed, the Our Father is a most powerful, prophetic prayer. It teaches us how to be in the presence of God even in the midst of our daily life. It shows us how to express our faith in God’s Kingdom even as we live in our earthly one.  It helps us to become a little more like gentle, powerful Jesus.

Music: Aramaic Our Father – in the orgs that Jesus likely used.