Nov 13th & Ready For The Big Surprise?

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

What can nature teach us about the return of the Lord Jesus on the day of final judgment at the end of the world? Jesus quoted a familiar proverb to his audience: Where the body is, there the eagles (or vultures) will be gathered together (Luke 17:37). Eagles, like vultures, are attracted to carrion – the carcass of dying or dead animals. The Book of Job describes the eagle spying out its prey from afar (Job 39:29). The eagles swoop to catch their prey when the conditions are right, especially if the prey is exposed and vulnerable to a surprise attack. Severely weakened or dying prey have no chance of warding off forces that can destroy and kill.

Sign of the gathering eagles and vultures
What’s the point of this analogy? When the day of God’s final judgment and vindication comes, the scene and location will be obvious to all.  Those who have rejected God and refused to believe in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ will perish on the day of judgment – just like the beasts of prey who are cut off from the land of the living. The Lord Jesus will vindicate those who have believed in him and he will reward them with everlasting joy and happiness in his kingdom. The return of the Lord Jesus at the close of this present age is certain, but the time is unknown. The Day of the Lord’s judgment and final verdict will come swiftly and unexpectedly. Jesus warns his listeners to not be caught off guard when that day arrives. It will surely come in God’s good time!

Those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord will enter his everlasting kingdom
What does Jesus mean when he says that one person will be taken and another left? God judges everyone individually on how each person has  responded to his gracious mercy and invitation to accept his Son as Lord and Ruler over all. The Lord Jesus gives us personal freedom to accept or reject him as Lord and Savior. We are free to live as citizens of his kingdom or to choose for the kingdom of darkness that stands in opposition to God and his rule. No one can pass off their personal responsibility to someone else – no matter how close the ties may be in this present life. We will each have to give an account to the Judge of All for how we have accepted or rejected him as our lord and savior.

The good news is that the Lord Jesus freely offers each one of us the grace, strength, and help we need to turn to him to receive pardon for our sins and healing for our minds and hearts so we can embrace his good will for our lives and find the way to our heavenly Father’s home. The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in his wisdom, truth, and love. The Holy Spirit helps us to turn away from sin and rebellion and to embrace God’s way of love, righteousness (moral goodness), and holiness.

The Lord’s warning of judgment is motivated by his love for each one of us. He does not desire the death of any one (Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11). He bids us to choose for life rather than death – for goodness and righteousness rather than sin and evil (Deuteronomy 30:19). The Lord’s ‘Day of Judgment’ will bring terror and disaster for those who have not heeded his warning or who have refused his gracious help. The Day of the Lord’s Return will be a cause for great joy and vindication for those who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus.

The choices we make now – for or against Christ – will either lead us on the path of life or death – heaven or hell
God’s Day of Judgment is a cause for great joy and reward for those who have waited with patient hope and longing for the Lord Jesus to return again in glory and power. The people in Noah’s time ignored the Lord’s warning of judgment because their hearts were hardened and they were rebellious towards God. When the great flood swept over the earth, they missed the boat, literally! Whose boat or safety net are you staking your life on – the world’s life-raft to short-lived success and happiness or to the indestructible Ark of God whose foundation is Jesus Christ and his victorious cross? Those whose hope is firmly anchored in heaven will not be disappointed when the day of final judgment comes. They rejoice even now that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20) and they look with eager longing for the day when they will see the Lord face to face (Revelation 22:4). Is your hope firmly placed in the Lord Jesus and his return in glory?

“Lord Jesus Christ, I place all my hope in you because you have redeemed the world by your death on the cross and by your victory over the grave. Help me to never lose sight of the goal of heaven that I may live each day in joyful anticipation of your return in glory.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

READY FOR THE BIG SURPRISE?

“It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” —Luke 17:30

The end of the world will be like the time of Noah insofar as most people will be oblivious to their imminent destruction (Lk 17:27; see also Lk 17:28-29).

The end of the world will not only be surprising but quick. There will be no time to do anything at the last minute (Lk 17:31).

The only way to be ready for the end of the world and for Jesus’ final coming is to lose our lives for love of Jesus (Lk 17:33). We do this by deciding to live no longer for ourselves but for Jesus (2 Cor 5:15). We must decide to deny our very selves, take up Jesus’ cross each day, and be disciples of Jesus (Lk 9:23). When we have chosen to do His will rather than “our own thing” (see Mt 26:39), we have been crucified with Christ. Then it is no longer we who live but Christ that lives in us (Gal 2:19-20). Only when we are in Christ and He in us are we ready for Christ at the end of the world.

Christ is coming when we least expect Him (Lk 12:40). He will come “with the suddenness of pains overtaking a woman in labor, and there will be no escape” (1 Thes 5:3). If you are living in Christ and He in you, you are ready. Therefore, cry out “Maranatha!” “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rv 22:20) today — even now!

Prayer: Father, I want to be ready. Promise: “From the greatness and the beauty of created things their original Author, by analogy, is seen.” —Wis 13:5 Praise: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini gave up her dream of evangelizing China and instead obeyed God by working with the poor in the United States.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 12th & Wise Up

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

What can lightning tell us about the coming of the Lord and his kingdom? The Jews is Jesus’ time were watching in great anticipation for some sign which would indicate when the Messiah would appear to establish the kingdom of God. The Pharisees’ question on this matter was intended to test Jesus since they did not accept him as the Messiah. Jesus surprised them with the answer that the kingdom or reign of God was already here! Jesus spoke of the coming of God’s kingdom as both a present event and an event which would be manifested at the end of time.

The Day of Judgment and God’s final verdict
The “Day of the Lord” was understood in the Old Testament as the time when God would manifest his glory and power and overthrow the enemies of his people, Israel. The prophet Amos declared that the “Day” also meant judgment for Israel as well as the nations (Amos 5:18-20). The prophet Joel proclaimed that at this “Day” those who truly repented would be saved, while those who remained enemies of the Lord, whether Jew or Gentile, would be punished (see Joel 2).

Image of lightning and the sudden appearance of Christ on Judgment Day
Why did Jesus associate lightning with the “Day of the Lord”? In the arid climate of Palestine, storms were infrequent and seasonal. They often appeared suddenly or unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere, covering everything in thick darkness. With little or no warning lightning filled the sky with its piercing flashes of flaming light. Its power struck terror and awe in those who tried to flee from its presence. Jesus warned the Pharisees that the “Son of man” (a title for the Messiah given in the Book of Daniel 7:13-15) would come in like manner, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, on the clouds of heaven to bring God’s judgment on the “Day of the Lord”. No special sign will be needed to announce his appearance. Nor will his presence and power be veiled or hidden, but all will recognize him as clearly as the lightning in the sky.

Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead
Jesus identified himself with the “Day of the Lord.” “Son of man” was understood as a Messianic title for the one who would come not only to establish God’s kingdom but who would come as Judge of the living as well as the dead. Jesus points to his second coming when he will return to complete the work of restoration and final judgment. While we do not know the time of his return, we will not mistake it when it happens. It will be apparent to all, both believers and non-believers as well.

When the Pharisees asked Jesus what sign would indicate the “Day of the Lord”, Jesus replied that only one sign would point to that day and that sign was Jesus himself. Jesus surprised the Jews of his time by announcing that God’s kingdom was already present among them in his very person – the Son of God sent from the Father to redeem the world from sin and corruption.

Our hope is anchored in God’s kingdom – not the passing kingdoms of this present world
In the Lord Jesus we see both  the power and the glory of God’s kingdom. His divine power overthrew the powers of darkness (the kingdom of Satan and all who opposed God’s rule) and sin (which corrupts and enslaves the human mind, heart, and will to the forces of evil and wrongdoing). Jesus knew that the only way to victory was through the cross. On that cross he defeated death and canceled the debt of our sins. The victory of his cross opens the way for us to live as sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness (moral goodness). Is your hope and future securely anchored to God’s heavenly kingdom?

“Lord Jesus Christ, may your kingdom come and my your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Be the Ruler of my heart and the Master of my life that I may always live in the freedom of your love and truth.”

 

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

WISE UP

“Passing into holy souls from age to age, [Wisdom] produces friends of God and prophets. For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.” —Wisdom 7:27-28

To be “friends of God and prophets,” we must be wise (Wis 7:27). To live in God’s love (Jn 15:10), we must be wise (Wis 7:28). To defeat wickedness rather than be defeated by it, we must be wise (Wis 7:30). Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah and His people would have “a spirit of wisdom” (Is 11:2). Christ crucified is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24).

Are you wise? Fools often think they are wise. Therefore, to prove we are wise we need more than our opinion or the opinions of other fools. A telltale sign of wisdom is our readiness for the end of the world, Jesus’ final coming, and Judgment Day. For example, the five wise virgins were wise because they were always ready for the Bridegroom’s return (Mt 25:1ff).

Are you ready for Jesus’ return? Are you crying out with the Christians of the last twenty centuries “Maranatha!” (“Come, Lord Jesus!”) (Rv 22:20)? If you are ready for Jesus’ return now, you are probably wise in most other areas of your life. If you are not ready for Jesus’ return now, you are probably foolish in many other ways. However, you can repent and give your life to Jesus. Then you will change from a damned fool to a wise man or woman. Wise up.

Prayer: Father, “give me Wisdom, the attendant at Your throne, and reject me not from among Your children” (Wis 9:4). Promise: “The reign of God is already in your midst. [Jesus] said to the disciples: ‘A time will come when you will long to see one day of the Son of Man but will not see it.’ ” —Lk 17:21-22 Praise: St. Josaphat was quoted that he was “ready to die for the holy union” of the Church.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 11th & To Lead Or Not To Lead

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

What can adversity teach us about the blessing of thanksgiving and the healing power of love and mercy? The Book of Proverbs states: A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17). When adversity strikes you find out who truly is your brother, sister, and friend. The Gospel records an unusual encounter between two peoples who had been divided for centuries. The Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another even though Samaria was located in the central part of Judaea. Both peoples were openly hostile whenever their paths crossed. In this gospel narrative we see one rare exception – a Samaritan leper in company with nine Jewish lepers. Sometimes adversity forces people to drop their barriers or to forget their prejudices. When this band of Jewish and Samaritan lepers saw Jesus they made a bold request. They didn’t ask for healing, but instead asked for mercy.

Mercy is heartfelt sorrow at another’s misfortune
The word mercy literally means “sorrowful at heart”. But mercy is something more than compassion, or heartfelt sorrow at another’s misfortune. Compassion empathizes with the sufferer. But mercy goes further – it removes suffering. A merciful person shares in another’s misfortune and suffering as if it were his or her own. And such a person will do everything in his or her power to dispel that misery.

Mercy is also connected with justice. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), a great teacher and scripture scholar, said that mercy “does not destroy justice, but is a certain kind of fulfillment of justice. ..Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; (and) justice without mercy is cruelty.” Pardon without repentance negates justice.

God’s mercy brings healing of mind, heart, and body
So what is the significance of these ten lepers asking for mercy? They know they are in need of healing, not just physical, but spiritual healing as well. They approach Jesus with contrition and faith because they believe that he can release the burden of guilt and suffering and make restoration of body and soul possible. Their request for mercy is both a plea for pardon and release from suffering. Jesus gives mercy to all who ask with faith and contrition.

Why did only one leper out of ten return to show gratitude? Gratefulness, another word which expresses gratitude of heart and a thankful disposition, is related to grace – which means the release of loveliness. Gratitude is the homage of the heart which responds with graciousness in expressing an act of thanksgiving. The Samaritan approached Jesus reverently and gave praise to God.

Ingratitude leads to lack of love and kindness, and intolerance towards others
If we do not recognize and appreciate the mercy and help shown to us we will be ungrateful and unkind towards others. Ingratitude is forgetfulness or a poor return for kindness received. Ingratitude easily leads to lack of charity and intolerance towards others, as well as to other vices, such as complaining, grumbling, discontentment, pride, and presumption. How often have we been ungrateful to our parents, pastors, teachers, and neighbors? Do you express gratitude to God for his abundant help and mercy towards you and are you gracious, kind, and merciful towards your neighbor in their time of need and support?

“Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your loving kindness and mercy. Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving, and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me to count my blessings with a grateful heart and to give thanks in all circumstances.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

TO LEAD OR NOT TO LEAD

“For those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.”—Wisdom 6:8

Leaders in God’s kingdom have been entrusted with much, thus much will be required of them (see Lk 12:48). Those in power are mightily put to the test and scrutinized rigorously (Wis 6:6, 8; see also Jas 3:1). In addition to God’s scrutiny, leaders are also opposed by the world, the flesh, and the devil (see 1 Jn 2:16). A natural question to ask is “Why would anyone become a leader in the Kingdom of God?”

Avoiding God’s call to receive power is not an option. When those whom the Lord has gifted refuse His call to leadership, God’s sheep are thrown to the wolves (see Jgs 9:6-15Acts 20:29Mt 10:16). Refusing to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit “out of fear” or laziness (Mt 25:25) draws a condemnation from the Lord far more stern than that scrutiny given a leader who sincerely tries to lead well (see Mt 25:24-30). We are commanded not to stifle the power and gifts of the Spirit God gives to His leaders (1 Thes 5:19), lest we hand over His people to the tyranny of Satan.

God plans to raise up many leaders to break open the path (Mi 2:13) and set the captives free (Is 61:1ffLk 4:18ff). God didn’t pour out the Holy Spirit so we would remain fearfully locked in the upper room (Acts 2:1), but rather so that His leaders would use the gifts of the Spirit for the common good (1 Cor 12:7).

The decision to lead is made out of self-sacrificing love. Christ’s love impels us to accept His call (2 Cor 5:14). Our hearts burn with love for the Lord and the people He places on our hearts (Lk 24:32). We grow weary of resisting His call; we cannot endure it if we don’t respond to His call with our whole life (Jer 20:9). God is calling you. How will you respond to Him?

Prayer: Lord, I trust in Your mercy and believe that You will give me all I need to lead. Reap a harvest of faith through me. Promise: “Your faith has been your salvation.” —Lk 17:19 Praise: St. Martin answered the call to leadership by moving from paganism to become a bishop.   (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 10th & Thank GOD!

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Are you ready to give the Lord your best, regardless of what it might cost you? Perhaps we are like the laborer in Jesus’ parable who expected special favor and reward for going the extra mile? How unfair for the master to compel his servant to give more than what was expected! Don’t we love to assert our rights: “I will give only what is required and no more!” But who can satisfy the claims of love?

We are called to serve God and neighborselflessly and generously
Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God’s servants, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve”(Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one’s country or one’s family when special needs arise. Likewise, God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is his due. And he gladly accepts the  free-will offering of our lives to him and to his service. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the act of self-giving. True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless.

The love of God compels us to give our best
How can we love others selflessly and unconditionally? Scripture tells us that God himself is love (1 John 4:16) – he is the author of life and the source of all true relationships of love and friendship. He created us in love for love, and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives whatever is good for the sake of another (Romans 5:5). If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).

God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves others generously. He is ever ready to work in and through us for his glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outmatch God in doing good and showing love. God loves us without measure. Does the love of God compel you to give your best?

“Lord Jesus, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for you. May I generously pour out my life in loving service for you and for others, just as you have so generously poured yourself out in love for me.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

THANK GOD!

“Would he be grateful to the servant who was only carrying out his orders?” —Luke 17:9

In this month of November, we think of thanksgiving and realize that Thanksgiving is not just a day but a way of life forever. “Give thanks to God the Father always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:20).

Do we understand who is supposed to be thanking Whom? The message of today’s Gospel reading is that any lack of thanksgiving may be more than an oversight. Possibly we think we are lords who should be thanked, rather than slaves (see Lk 17:10) and Samaritans and foreigners (see Lk 17:16-18) who should give thanks. When we give God thanks, we acknowledge Him as not only our Source of blessings but primarily as our Lord. When we give thanks, we acknowledge gratefully that we are lowly handmaids and slaves of the Lord (see Lk 1:38). Therefore, giving thanks is not merely being polite, but having faith in the Lord, loving Him with all our hearts, and serving Him in privileged submission.

If you prayed all day, would you think you’ve done God a favor? When you go to Church, do you think you deserve a pat on the back? If you gave a lot of money to the Lord’s work, are you being generous or merely just? “Say, ‘We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty’ ” (Lk 17:10).

Prayer: Father, may the fear of You be the beginning of giving thanks to You. Promise: “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.” —Wis 3:1 Praise: Pope St. Leo used his giftedness of combining the practical with the spiritual to lead the Church through troubled times.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 9th & Consumed By Love For The Church

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What can keep us from the presence of God? Jesus’ dramatic cleansing of the temple was seen by his disciples as a prophetic sign of God’s action. The temple was understood as the dwelling place of God among his people. When God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt, he brought them through the sea, and finally to Mount Sinai where he made a covenant with them and gave them a new way of life embodied in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). God gave Moses instruction for worship and for making the Tabernacle, or Tent of Meeting, which was later replaced by the Temple at Jerusalem. The New Testament tells us that these “serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary” – God’s Temple in heaven (Hebrews 8:5). Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is also a prophetic sign of what he wants to do with each of us. He ever seeks to cleanse us of sin and make us living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19). Do you want to be holy as God is holy?

Jesus burns with zeal for his Father’s house
Jesus referred to the temple as his Father’s house which was being made into a “house of trade” (John 2:16) or “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). That is why he used physical force to expel the money-chargers. The prophecy of Malachi foretold the coming of the Lord unexpectedly to his Temple to “purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord” (Malachi 3:1-4). Jesus’ disciples recalled the prophetic words from Psalm 69: “Zeal for your house will consume me” (Psalm 69:9). This was understood as a prophecy describing the Messiah. Here the disciples saw more clearly Jesus as the Messiah who burned with zeal for the house of God.

The Jewish authorities, however, wanted proof that Jesus had divine authority to act as he did. They demanded a sign from God to prove Jesus right, otherwise, they would treat him as an imposter and a usurper of their authority. Jesus replied that the sign God would give would be Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews did not understand that the temple Jesus referred to was his own body. The “tent of his body” had to be destroyed to open the way to the presence of God for us.

The Lord Jesus makes us temples of the Holy Spirit
Through his death and resurrection, Jesus not only reconciles us with God, he fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes us temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God’s word enlightens our minds and purifies our hearts that we may offer God fitting worship and enjoy his presence both now and forever. Do you burn with zeal for the Lord’s house?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you open wide the door of your Father’s house and you bid us to enter confidently that we may worship in spirit and truth. Help me to draw near to your throne of mercy with gratitude and joy.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

CONSUMED BY LOVE FOR THE CHURCH

The angel “brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water flowing out.” —Ezekiel 47:1

From the Church flow the living waters which will change our culture of death into a civilization of love and life and “renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30).

For the Church to fully exercise her authority and power, she must be “built as an edifice of spirit, into a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pt 2:5). “In Him you are being built into this temple, to become a dwelling place for God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:22). Everyone “must be careful how he builds” (1 Cor 3:10).

For the Church to be built up, bring Jesus to the world, and make every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:5), she must be cleansed as Jesus cleansed the Temple (see Jn 2:15ff).

Let zeal for God’s Church consume us (Jn 2:17Ps 69:10). Let us cleanse the Church by first repenting of our sins in and against the Church. Let us build up the Church, especially by forming small Christian communities. Then we will see the Church exalted as the body of Christ (e.g. Eph 1:22-23), the bride of Christ (e.g. Rv 22:17), the pillar and bulwark of truth (1 Tm 3:15), ” ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people He claims for His own to proclaim the glorious works’ of the One Who called you from darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pt 2:9). Love the Church as Christ loves the Church. Give yourself up for her (Eph 5:25).

Prayer: Father, may zeal for Your Church consume me. Promise: “Are you not aware that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” —1 Cor 3:16 Praise: Alleluia! Jesus is the Cornerstone, and the Church is His pillar and bulwark of truth. Praise our Lord forever!
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 8th & Money Matters

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

What is true religion and devotion to God? Jesus warns his disciples against the wrong kind of religion. In his denunciation of the scribes (the religious experts of his day), he warns against three things: seeking to promote and draw attention to oneself rather than looking for ways to lift up and encourage others; seeking honor, favors, and privileges for oneself rather than selfless service and generous giving for the welfare of others; and thirdly, attempting to use one’s position and status (even a religious position) for self-advancement and personal gain.

True religion is relating rightly to God and to one’s neighbor with love, honor, and respect. The Lord Jesus puts his Holy Spirit within us so that we may be filled with the joy of his presence, the joy of true worship, and the joy of selfless giving and loving care for others. True reverence for God frees the heart to give liberally, both to bring greater glory and honor to God and to love and serve one’s neighbor with a generous spirit and merciful heart. Ask the Lord Jesus to fill you with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of his great love and care for you, and his desire to work in and through you for his glory and for the good of  many others.

Love doesn’t calculate
Jesus taught his disciples a dramatic lesson in giving freely and generously with unreserved love. True love that is given without reservation or condition doesn’t calculate or hold back – it spends lavishly and gives generously! Jesus drove this point home to his disciples while sitting in the temple and observing people offering their tithes. Jesus praised a poor widow who gave the smallest of coins in contrast with the rich who gave greater sums. How can someone in poverty give more than someone who has plenty? Jesus’ answer is very simple – love that is pure and generous is more precious than gold and silver!

Give with a gracious and generous heart
Jesus taught that real giving must come from the heart – the inner core of our being that freely chooses to share and give what we have and not hold anything back. A gift that is given unwillingly, with a grudge, or for mere display loses its value. But a gift given out of love, with a spirit of generosity and goodness is invaluable. The amount or size of the gift doesn’t matter as much as the cost to the giver. The poor widow could have kept one of her coins for herself, but instead she wholeheartedly (and maybe even daringly or recklessly) gave away all she had! Jesus praised someone who gave barely a penny – how insignificant a sum – because it was everything she had, her whole living.

What we have to offer might look small and not worth much, but if we put all we have at the Lord’s disposal, no matter how insignificant it may seem, then God can do with it and with us what is beyond our reckoning. The Lord takes the little we have to offer and he multiplies it for his glory and the good of others. Do you know the joy and freedom of giving generously (liberally) and unreservedly from the heart to God and to neighbor?

“Lord Jesus, all that I have is yours because your love surpasses all that I could hope for or desire. Take my life, my possessions, my time, and all that I have and use them as you desire for your glory.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

MONEY MATTERS

Jesus “called His disciples over and told them: ‘I want you to observe that this poor widow contributed more than all the others who donated to the treasury.’ ” —Mark 12:43

What if you and your country are in a major financial crisis? You have enough for one more meal, and after that you expect to starve to death (see 1 Kgs 17:12). What should you do? You should give the little that you have (1 Kgs 17:13) to the poor and thereby to the Lord (see Mt 25:40). After the widow of Zarephath did this, “she was able to eat for a year, and [Elijah] and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the Lord had foretold through Elijah” (1 Kgs 17:15-16).

Suppose you love God with all your heart and soul. You would like to express your love in a monetary way, but you have only a penny. What should you do? Give the penny to the Church. In this way, you will contribute “more than all the others,” for “they gave from their surplus wealth,” but you gave from your want, all that you “had to live on” (Mk 12:43-44).

You wish you could have your sins wiped away; then give alms (Lk 11:41). You want God to entrust you with greater responsibilities. You want to be responsible in managing the money and possessions God has given you (Lk 16:10). You’d like to root major problems out of your life. Then repent of the love of money (1 Tm 6:10).

Money and possessions matter — not accumulating them but distributing them as good and faithful stewards of the Lord (Mt 25:21). Trust and obey the Lord.

Prayer: Father, I accept You as Lord of “my” money and possessions. Promise: “Christ was offered up once to take away the sins of many; He will appear a second time not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him.” —Heb 9:28 Praise: Praise Jesus, “the Resurrection and the Life” (Jn 11:25), Lord of All. Alleluia!
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 7th & Tests For Trust

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What does “tainted money” (or “unrighteous mammon”) have to do with heavenly treasure and eternal life? Jesus exhorts his disciples to be like the shrewd steward who used money generously to make friends and win for himself a secure and happy future (see the parable of the dishonest steward in Luke 16:1-9). Generous giving is connected with alms-giving – the sharing of our financial and material resources with those in need (Luke 12:33). Those who receive alms become your friends because you are merciful to them in their time of need, just as God is merciful to you in your need for his forgiveness and help.

The rabbis had a saying, “The rich help the poor in this world, but the poor help the rich in the world to come.” Ambrose, a 4th century bishop commenting on the parable of the rich fool who tore down his barns to build bigger ones to store his goods. said: The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever. The true treasure which lasts is the treasure stored up for us in heaven. God richly rewards those who give generously from the heart to help those in need.

True generosity does not impoverish – but enriches – the giver
What is the enemy of generosity? It’s greed, the excessive desire for personal gain and security. However, we do not need to be afraid for true generosity does not impoverish the giver, but enriches that person a hundredfold! Generosity expands the soul – but greed contracts it. God is generous and superabundant in lavishing his gifts upon us. We can never outmatch God in generosity. He has given us the best of gifts in sending us his only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who offered up his life for us on the cross. The Father also offers us the gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the fruit of peace, joy, patience, kindness, love, and self-control (Galatians 5:22) – and many other blessings as well. Everything we have is an outright gift of God. Do you know the joy and freedom of blessing others with the gifts and resources God has given to you?

What controls or rules your life?
Jesus concludes his parable with a lesson on what controls or rules our lives. Who is the master (or ruler) in charge of your life? Our “master” is that which governs our thought-life, shapes our ideals, and controls the desires of the heart and the values we choose to live by. We can be ruled by many different things – the love of money or possessions, the power of position, the glamor of wealth and prestige, the driving force of unruly passions and addictions. Ultimately the choice boils down to two: God and “mammon”. What is mammon? “Mammon” stands for “material wealth or possessions” or whatever tends to “control our appetites and desires.”

When a number of the religious leaders heard Jesus’ parable they reacted with scorn (Luke 16:14). Jesus spoke to the condition of their hearts – they were lovers of money (Luke 16:14). Love of money and wealth crowd out love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes clear that our heart must either be possessed by God’s love or our heart will be possessed by the love of something else.

The Lord alone can satisfy our desires and give us generous hearts
There is one Master alone who has the power to set us free from greed and possessiveness. That Master is the Lord Jesus Christ who died to set us free and who rose to give us new abundant life. The Lord Jesus invites us to make him the Master and Lord of our lives. He alone can satisfy the desires of our heart and transform us in his love through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our money, time, and possessions are precious resources and gifts from God. We can guard them jealously for ourselves alone or allow the love of the Lord to guide us in making good use of them for the benefit of others – especially those in need – and for the work of the Lord in advancing his kingdom. Ask the Lord to fill your heart with a spirit of generosity and joy in sharing what you have with others.

“Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love burn in my heart that I may be wholly devoted to you above all else. Free me from greed and attachment to material things that I may be generous in using the gifts and resources you give me for your glory and for the good of my neighbor.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

TESTS FOR TRUST

“If you can trust a man…” —Luke 16:10

You are a child of God. You are very important to God. He wants to give you awesome responsibilities and make your life very special. Before the Lord will give you a world-changing life, however, He needs to trust you. No one should be given great responsibilities if they are not trustworthy. Can the Lord trust you?

On American money is written “In God We Trust.” Does the Lord have written on His money “In Sally I trust” or “In George I trust”? Can God trust you? “If you can trust a man in little things, you can also trust him in greater” (Lk 16:10). “If you cannot be trusted with elusive wealth, who will trust you with lasting?” (Lk 16:11)

The Israelites wandered in the desert forty years. They couldn’t be trusted to enter the promised land. When the Lord told them not to save the manna for the next day and not to try to gather it on the sabbath, many of them disobeyed the Lord (Ex 16:4, 20, 27). They couldn’t be trusted. Do we obey the Lord by tithing, giving alms, and not going into debt? (Rm 13:8) Can the Lord trust us to follow His directions or do we do our own thing?

When you see your money and possessions, look at them as questions on a test. Answer the questions correctly by obeying God. Don’t flunk out of a life of greatness. Be trustworthy.

Prayer: Father, I trust in You. May I give You reason to trust in me. Promise: “They were my fellow workers in the service of Christ Jesus and even risked their lives for the sake of mine.” —Rm 16:3-4 Praise: Janet cries before the crucifix. She never wants to take for granted how much Jesus loves her.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 6th & The Sacraments Of Initiative

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Do you make good use of your money and possessions? Jesus seemed to praise a steward (a manager entrusted with his master’s goods) who misused his employer’s money. What did the steward do that made Jesus praise him? The steward was responsible for managing his wealthy landowner’s property. The steward very likely overcharged his master’s tenants for their use of the land and kept more than his fair share of the profit. When the landowner discovered the steward’s dishonest practice he immediately removed him from his job, leaving him penniless and ashamed to beg or do manual work.

The necessity of prudent foresight to avert disaster
Before news of his dismissal became public knowledge, the shrewd steward struck a deal with his master’s debtors. In discounting their debts he probably was giving up his generous commission. Such a deal won him great favor with the debtors. Since the steward acted as the landowner’s agent, such a deal made his master look very generous and forgiving towards those who owned him money. Surely everyone would praise such a generous landowner as the town hero! Since the master could not undo the steward’s cancellation of the debts without losing face and making his debtors resent him, he praised the steward for outwitting him and making him appear as a generous and merciful landowner.

Jesus obviously thought that the example of a very clever steward would be a perfect illustration for a spiritual lesson about God and how God treats those who belong to his kingdom. What’s the point of Jesus’ parable? The dishonest steward is commended not for mishandling his master’s wealth, but for his shrewd provision in averting personal disaster and in securing his future livelihood. The original meaning of “shrewdness” is “foresight”. A shrewd person grasps a critical situation with resolution, foresight, and the determination to avoid serious loss or disaster.

Faith and prudent foresight can save us from moral and spiritual disaster
Jesus is concerned here with something more critical than a financial or economic crisis. His concern is that we avert spiritual crisis and personal moral disaster through the exercise of faith and foresight. If Christians would only expend as much foresight and energy to spiritual matters, which have eternal consequences, as they do to earthly matters which have temporal consequences, then they would be truly better off, both in this life and in the age to come.

God loves good stewardship and generosity
Ambrose, a 4th century bishop said: The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever. True wealth consists not in what we keep but in what we give away. Possessions are a great responsibility. The Lord expects us to use them honestly and responsibly and to put them at his service and the service of others. We belong to God and all that we have is his as well. He expects us to make a good return on what he gives us.

God loves generosity and he gives liberally to those who share his gifts with others. The Pharisees, however, had little room for God or others in their hearts. The Gospel says they were lovers of money (Luke 16:14). Love of money and wealth crowd out love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes clear that our hearts must either be possessed by God’s love or our hearts will be possessed by the love of something else. What do you most treasure in your heart?

“Lord Jesus, all that I have is a gift from you. May I love you freely and generously with all that I possess. Help me to be a wise and faithful steward of the resources you put at my disposal, including the use of my time, money, and possessions.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATIVE

“The worldly take more initiative than the other-worldly when it comes to dealing with their own kind.” —Luke 16:8“Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guard the city, in vain does the guard keep vigil” (Ps 127:1). “It is the Lord’s blessing that brings wealth, and no effort can substitute for it” (Prv 10:22). No matter how hard we try, we cannot make the works of God happen. “It is God Who, in His good will toward you, begets in you any measure of desire or achievement” (Phil 2:13).

Some people infer from this that Christians should not take initiative in building God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. However, the Lord didn’t tell us to take no initiative but rather to not think that our initiative is the cause of His works.

The Lord wants His people to take more initiative than “the movers and the shakers” of this world (see Lk 16:8). Like the early Church and the Church throughout the centuries, we are to take bold initiatives for God’s kingdom. The Church teaches: “The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church” (Catechism, 899). We Christians are a people of strong initiative, for we follow God Who initiates everything good (Jas 1:17). He does this because He is Love (1 Jn 4:16). We do this because “the love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14).

Prayer: Father, may zeal for Your house consume me (Jn 2:17). Promise: “They who received no word of Him will see Him, and they who have never heard will understand.” —Rm 15:21 Praise: Michael took the initiative and began a prayer texting ministry.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 5th & Jesus Is Lord?

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Do you ever feel resentful or get upset when someone else gets treated better than you think they deserve? The scribes and Pharisees took great offense at Jesus because he went out of his way to meet with sinners and he treated them like they were his friends. The Pharisees had strict regulations about how they were to keep away from sinners, lest they incur ritual defilement. They were not to entrust money to sinners or have any business dealings with them, nor trust them with a secret, nor entrust orphans to their care, nor accompany them on a journey, nor give their daughter in marriage to any of their sons, nor invite them as guests or be their guests.

Do you judge others with mercy or disdain – with kindness or harshness?
The Pharisees were shocked when they saw Jesus freely meeting with sinners and even going to their homes to eat with them. Many sinners and outcasts of society were drawn to Jesus to hear himspeak about the mercy of God and the offer of new life and friendship in the kingdom of God. When the Pharisees began to question Jesus’ motive and practice of associating with sinners and outcasts, Jesus responded by giving them two parables about a lost sheep and a lost coin to challenge their way of judging sinners and shunning contact with them.

Finding and restoring what has been lost
What is the point of Jesus’ story about a lost sheep and a lost coin? In Jesus’ time shepherds normally counted their sheep at the end of the day to make sure all were accounted for. Since sheep by their very nature are very social, an isolated sheep can quickly become bewildered and even neurotic. The shepherd’s grief and anxiety is turned to joy when he finds the lost sheep and restores it to the fold.

The housewife who lost a coin faced something of an economic disaster, since the value of the coin would be equivalent to her husband’s daily wage. What would she say to her husband when he returned home from work? They were poor and would suffer greatly because of the loss. Her grief and anxiety turn to joy when she finds the coin.

Bringing the lost to the community of faith
Both the shepherd and the housewife “search until what they have lost is found.” Their persistence pays off. They both instinctively share their joy with the whole community. The poor are particularly good at sharing in one another’s sorrows and joys. What was new in Jesus’ teaching was the insistence that sinners must be sought out and not merely mourned for. God does not rejoice in the loss of anyone, but desires that all be saved and restored to fellowship with him. That is why the whole community of heaven rejoices when one sinner is found and restored to fellowship with God.  Seekers of the lost are much needed today. Do you persistently pray and seek after those you know who have lost their way to God?

“Lord Jesus, let your light dispel the darkness that what is lost may be found and restored. Let your light shine through me that others may see your truth and love and find hope and peace in you. May I never doubt your love nor take for granted the mercy you have shown to me. Fill me with your transforming love that I may be merciful as you are merciful.”

 

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

JESUS IS LORD?

“Both in life and in death we are the Lord’s.” —Romans 14:8

“While we live we are responsible to the Lord” (Rm 14:8). Jesus is “Lord of both the dead and the living” (Rm 14:9). To be saved, we must recognize “the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pt 2:20), “believe in the Lord Jesus” (Acts 16:31), and confess with our “lips that Jesus is Lord” (Rm 10:9).

However, we can deceive ourselves about being under the lordship of Jesus. Jesus said: “None of those who cry out, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven” (see Mt 7:21). For example, if we judge others’ character, we are acting as if we are the lord rather than being under the Lord (Rm 14:10). Moreover, if we belong to the Lord, we have the heart of the Lord for the lost. Jesus ate with and died for tax collectors and sinners to lead them to salvation (see Lk 15:1ff). If we don’t seek out the lost sheep, have we accepted the Shepherd of the sheep as our Lord? (see Lk 15:3ff)

Ask the Holy Spirit to overcome the spirit of deception and show you whether you have accepted Jesus as Lord on His terms, for “no one can say: ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3).

Prayer: Father, may I want to be a martyr for You. Promise: “I tell you, there will be the same kind of joy before the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” —Lk 15:10 Praise: Charlie accepted the “hard teachings” of Jesus (see Jn 6:60) and his faith came alive.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Nov 4th & Good To The Last Drop

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Why does Jesus say we must ‘hate’ our families and even ourselves? The expression ‘to hate’ often meant to ‘prefer less’. Jesus used strong language to make clear that nothing should take precedence or first place over God. God our heavenly Father created us in his image and likeness to be his sons and daughters. He has put us first in his love and concern for our welfare. Our love for him is a response to his exceeding love for us. True love is costly because it is willing to sacrifice all for the sake of the beloved. God sacrificed his Son for our sake and for our salvation. God proved his love for us by sending his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who offered up his life for us as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

The cost of discipleship
Jesus willingly embraced the cross, not only out of obedience to his Father’s will, but out of a merciful love for each one of us in order to set us free from sin, Satan, and death. Jesus knew that the cross was the Father’s way for him to achieve victory and glory for our sake. He counted the cost and said ‘yes’ to his Father’s will. We, too, must ‘count the cost’ and be ready to follow the Lord Jesus in the way of the cross if we want to share in his glory and victory.

What is the ‘way of the cross’ for you and me? It means that when my will crosses with God’s will, then his will must be done. The way of the cross involves sacrifice, the sacrifice of laying down my life each and every day for Jesus’ sake. What makes such sacrifice possible and “sweet” for us is the love of God poured out for us in the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). We can never give more than God. He always gives us more than we can expect or imagine. Do you allow the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with the love of God?

The wise plan ahead to avert failure and shame
What do the twin parables of the tower builder and a ruler on a war campaign have in common? Both men risk serious loss if they don’t carefully plan ahead. In a shame and honor culture people want at all costs to avoid being mocked by their community for failing to complete a task which they have begun in earnest. This double parable echoes the instruction of Proverbs: “By wisdom a house is built” and “by wise guidance you can wage a war” to ensure victory (Proverbs 24:3-6).

In Jesus’ time every landowner who could afford it walled in his orchard as a protection from intruders who might steal or destroy his produce. A tower was usually built in a corner of the wall and a guard posted especially during harvest time when thieves would likely try to make off with the goods. Starting a building-project, like a watchtower, and leaving it unfinished because of poor planning would invite the scorn of the whole village. Likewise a king who decided to wage a war against an opponent who was much stronger, would be considered foolish if he did not come up with a plan that had a decent chance of success. Counting the cost and investing wisely are necessary conditions for making a good return.

We must count the cost if we want to invest in God’s kingdom
Jesus tells his would-be disciples that they, too, must count the cost if they want to succeed as his disciples. Jesus assures success for those willing to pay the price. All it cost is everything we have – the entirety of our lives and all we possess! What does Jesus have to offer that’s worth giving up everything else? More than we can imagine! Jesus offers the gift of an abundant joy-filled life and the promise of everlasting peace and happiness with God for ever. (See the parable of the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great pricein Matthew 13:44-45).

It’s natural to ask what will it require or cost before a commitment to invest in something of great value. Jesus was utterly honest and spared no words to tell his disciples that it would cost them dearly to follow after him and to invest in his heavenly kingdom. There can be no room for compromise or concession with God and his kingdom. We either give our lives over to him entirely or we keep them for ourselves. Paul the Apostle says, “We are not our own. We were bought with a price” ( 1 Corinthians 6:19b,20). That price is the precious blood of Jesus Christ shed for us upon the cross to redeem us from slavery to sin and death.

Who do you love first – above all else?
The love of God compels us to choose who or what will be first in our lives. To place any relationship or any possession above God is a form of idolatry. Jesus challenges his disciples to examine what they love first and foremost. Jesus’ way to glory and power is opposite the world’s way of glory, power, and success. The choice is ours, but the Lord does not leave us alone if we choose to follow him. Does the love of Christ compel you to put God first in all you do (see 2 Corinthians 5)?

“Lord Jesus, may your love transform me that I may truly desire nothing more than life with you. May you always be first in my thoughts and intentions, and in my words and actions.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

GOOD TO THE LAST DROP

“If any man comes to Me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be My disciple.” —Luke 14:26, JB

It takes everything we’ve got to live the Christian life. If we don’t make our relationship with Jesus our “all in all” (see Lk 14:26), if we don’t take up His cross daily (Lk 14:27; 9:23), if we don’t renounce all our possessions (Lk 14:33), we will not have what it takes to build the tower (Lk 14:28), fight the war (Lk 14:31), or run the race of the Christian life (2 Tm 4:7). If we successfully complete the Christian life, we will have crossed the finish line with nothing to spare. It takes every ounce of strength, every second of time, and our last penny — all that we have. “Our God is a consuming Fire” (Heb 12:29). If we give anything less than everything, we will fall short of what is necessary to obtain the kingdom of God (Mt 13:44-46).

Therefore, amazed that the Lord would accept our little “everythings,” let us pour out our lives “like a libation” (see 2 Tm 4:6). Let us love Jesus as He loves us — with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength, and with all our minds (Lk 10:27). With great joy and thanksgiving, let us give the Lord our “all”; constantly, daily, till our dying day. Let us drain our lives to the last drop in imitation of Jesus, Who poured out His blood and life for love of us.

Prayer: Father, use me and use me up. Promise: “Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another. He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” —Rm 13:8 Praise: St. Charles poured himself out like a libation by ministering to thousands during times of famine.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements