All Things New!

Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 19, 2019

Click here for today’s readings

Today, in Mercy, our readings celebrate the New Creation given us in Jesus Christ.

Rev_ new

Acts describes the continuing whirlwind journey of Paul and Barnabas. They buzz all over the Mediterranean basin, carrying the Good News to Jews and Gentiles. Their work and enthusiasm teach us what the word “apostolic” truly signifies- reaching out to all people with the message of Jesus. Paul and Barnabas return home jubilant, 

… reporting what God had done with them
and how God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

In our second reading, John, the visionary and poet, has another kind of door opened for him. His vision is of a New Creation, joined with God in a covenant of love. God renews the promise once made to Abraham, this time embodied in the gift of Jesus Christ to all humanity:

Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.

In our Gospel, Jesus tells us once again how it is that we become part of this New Creation:

I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.

All of these glorious images may help us see our life in God through new eyes. Perhaps there are a few half-closed doors in our lives that need to be oiled with the grace of renewal. Simply recognizing these in prayer, in God’s presence, is a step toward a New Creation of our hearts and spirits. We are so beloved of God! Let us open our hearts to that renewing love.

Music: Stars Go Dim – Heaven on Earth (This will wake you up!🤗)

God, Face to Face

Saturday, December 1, 2018

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turin
Section of the Shroud of Turin

Today, in Mercy, we come to the end of our readings from Revelation.  They have been challenging, to say the least.

The passage from Luke’s Gospel today is just as confronting.  These are not easy times.

Our prayer over these past few days has led us to deeper understanding of this hard truth: life as we know it will be transformed and we will be judged at the transformation.

But hopefully our reflections have also assured us that the Master and Judge of Life is the same merciful God who forgave and healed the sinful and suffering.

By our faithfulness to this merciful God, we will be redeemed. Revelation puts it this way:

The servants of God
will look upon his face,
and his name
will be on their foreheads.

When a person is filled with goodness (or evil), we often say it is “written all over her face”.  So it is with those who love and long for God and for God’s peaceable kingdom.

God will recognize us at the judgment because our hope and desire for God are written all over our face. And God’s love for us will be written all over that Divine Countenance.

Music: The Face of God – Karen Drucker

What Is Your Heart-Season?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112418.cfm

Today, in Mercy, our readings are challenging. 

Revelation, a very complex book of the Bible, uses symbols, prophecies and allegorical references to make its point. There are huge bodies of scholarship written in the attempt to interpret these passages. Our Gospel has Jesus describing what it will be like in heaven – when our human perceptions will be erased and we will finally be absorbed into God’s understanding.

These are BIG thoughts and my mind, at least, needs some more manageable inspirations for my morning prayer. 😉 So here’s how I prayed with these readings today.

Lit yr flowerJPG

What both passages share are continual references to time – past, present and future. They reference then-time, now-time, and to-be-time. These passages, and others in Scripture like them, talk about time like this:

  • “in the days before”
  • “in the days after”
  • “in the day of”

So what is this day, November 24th, for me? How is God revealing Love to me in this, my time? 

Today is still among “the days after” Thanksgiving. The lingering familial and community blessings of Thursday continue to bless my prayer.

However, it is also among “the days before” the next big events of my life. So my prayer includes a petition for new and continued blessings.

And, most importantly, today is “a day of”. I ask God to help me see and receive the graces of this present moment – not to miss them because I am looking only back or forward. Let me look God square in the eye on this day, which is the only place that I can really find the God Who is always Now.

The entire liturgical year is built on this understanding of time. 

  • Advent and Lent are “the days before”, the days of preparation, anticipation, imagining, creating, hoping.
  • The feasts like Christmas, Easter and Pentecost are “the days of”, days of celebrating, loving, being with.
  • The various Octaves are “the days after”, days of remembering, thanking, appreciating, understanding, mourning, forgiving and savoring

lit yr

Where are you today in the times of your life? It may be in a very different place from what is printed on the calendar. The events of our lives create their own personal liturgies. No matter where that happens to be, let us meet God there with full and open hearts.

 

Music: God of All My Days – Casting Crowns

 

Come Down into God’s Arms

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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Today in Mercy, the author of Revelation says some pretty tough stuff in the name of God!

To the Church at Sardis:
You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

To the Church at Laodicea:
Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.

As most of us know from experience, it’s never really easy to accept negative feedback.  But, couched in gentle, encouraging tones, it can be accepted and acted on. John of Patmos, author of Revelation, missed that lesson in coaching techniques! 

How effective his words were with the under-performing churches is a matter left to history.

zaccheus

But in our Gospel, Jesus’s inclusive, forgiving words to Zaccheus proved very effective.  Jesus doesn’t even address any shortcomings (not to make a pun) in Zaccheus.

He just says, “Come down from your tree.  I’m coming to your house for dinner.” In other words, I’m coming into your life — now what’s your response?

Zaccheus is radically changed by Jesus’s lavish mercy. He responds,

“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”

Today, we pray to have a simple, trusting faith. Sometimes, like Zaccheus, we get ourselves “up a tree”, all twisted and stretching to find God in our lives. And all the time, God has been walking straight down the path of our heart, smiling at our efforts, planning to stay with us tonight, tomorrow and forever.

Music: Zaccheus – Medical Mission Sisters

Listen for Angels

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052918.cfm

1Pet 1_12 Angels

Today, in Mercy, we begin reading Peter’s first epistle. Addressed to Christians dispersed through Asia Minor, the letter reminds them of the revelations of the prophets passed down to them and ultimately realized in in the Person of Christ. Peter instructs these early Christians to persevere in trials because they are now the bearers of this continuing divine revelation.

Today, we are the agents in that evolving revelation of the mystery of salvation. How we live as Christians opens the world’s insight into God’s Mercy and Love. Our testing ground is not a Roman persecution. It is a prevailing culture of death and degradation of the human person. This culture mesmerizes and poisons us to the point that we fail to see the glorious mysteries revealing themselves in our lives.

Peter says that even the angels long to look into these glorious mysteries. And yet, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been given that blessing. It deserves our continual, grateful and responsive attention.

Listen for the angels circling your life today, singing “Look, the glory of God is here!” – in a child’s smile, a beloved’s hand, a gentle sunset, a raging storm – a call to mercy, justice, forgiveness, or generosity.

Music: Emanuel ~ Tim Manion

Even though this is an Advent/Christmas hymn, it captures the gift of revelation in Christ announced to us by the songs of angels. A lovely hymn.