Monday, August 19, 2019

August 25, 2019 The Lord’s Loving Discipline




Reading I:
 
Isaiah 66:18-21

Psalm: 117

Reading II: 
Hebrews
12:5-7, 11-13

Gospel: 
Luke 13:22-30



In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus traveling toward Jerusalem where He will soon be paying the ultimate price for our redemption on the cross. While teaching and preaching to people, He is aware that this will be His last opportunity, in His human form, to impress upon them the importance of 
taking His words seriously if they wish to join Him in heaven when they die. Just associating with Him will not be sufficient to gain a heavenly reward.

The second reading, the Epistle (letter) to the Hebrews, reflects upon the ideas in Proverbs 3:11-12 in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). The unknown author (possibly Priscilla or Barnabas) says: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by Him, for whom the Lord loves, He disciplines.”  The writer notes that discipline can seem painful, but its fruits are peace and holiness.

In his preaching, Jesus calls for faith in Him, repentance for sin, and observance of His Commandments, especially his commandment of love. Jesus has designed a special path for us to follow to lead us to our heavenly home with Him. He asks that His followers make a firm commitment to follow that path so that when they knock on Heaven’s Door, it will be opened for them.

Jesus said of Himself: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The more we spend time with Jesus in Bible study and prayer, the more we learn about Him and how to live our own lives.

I have a favorite story called The Great Stone Face, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is about a little boy, named Earnest, who lived by the White Mountains in New Hampshire where there was a formation on the side of a mountain which resembled a man’s strong, benevolent face.

There was a prediction that someday a man with a face resembling this stone face would come and help the little town. For years, people waited and sometimes mistakenly thought that the man had come, only to be disappointed. Little Earnest in the meantime used to study the face regularly and grew into a young man. Finally, his resemblance to the Great Stone Face became recognized.

I had the privilege of seeing the “Old Man of the Mountain” image on the side of the mountain before it had to be taken down because it was posing a danger of pieces falling and injuring people. It always reminded me that if we study Jesus on a regular basis, we can end up resembling Him.

Most of us at one time or another have been asked by a well-meaning person: “Are you saved?”  Expecting a “Yes” or “No” answer, they are often surprised when a Catholic responds, “I am trying to live a good Christian life, and Jesus will be my judge.” While we know that Jesus understands our weaknesses and is very merciful, still He expects us to take His words seriously and do the very best we can.

 Reflection Question:  How can I make time to regularly study Jesus in the Bible so that I can develop a personal relationship with Him, and then grow to become like Him?


Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
La Disciplina Amorosa del Señor


En el Evangelio de hoy, encontramos a Jesús viajando hacia Jerusalén, donde pronto pagará el precio máximo por nuestra redención en la cruz. Mientras enseña y predica a las personas, es consciente de que esta será su última oportunidad, en su forma humana, para inculcarles la importancia de tomar sus palabras en serio si desean unirse a Él en el cielo cuando mueran. Solo asociarse con Él no será suficiente para obtener una recompensa celestial.

La segunda lectura, la Epístol (carta) a los Hebreos,  reflexiona sobre las ideas en Proverbios 3: 11-12 en las Escrituras Hebreas (Antiguo Testamento). The unknown author (possibly Priscilla or Barnabas) says: Hijo mío, no desdeñes la disciplina del Señor ni te desanimes cuando sea reprendido por Él, a quien el Señor ama, Él disciplina”.  El escritor señala que la disciplina puede parecer dolorosa, pero sus frutos son la paz y la santidad.

En su predicación, Jesús pide fe en él, arrepentimiento por el pecado y observancia de sus mandamientos, especialmente su mandamiento de amor. Jesús ha diseñado un camino especial que debemos seguir para llevarnos a nuestro hogar celestial con Él. Pide que sus seguidores se comprometan firmemente a seguir ese camino para que cuando llamen a Heaven's Door se les abra.

Jesús dijo de sí mismo: “Yo soy el camino, la verdad y la vida”. Cuanto más tiempo pasamos con Jesús en el estudio de la Biblia y la oración, más aprendemos acerca de Él y cómo vivir nuestras propias vidas.

Tengo una historia favorita llamada La Gran Cara de Piedra, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Se trata de un niño pequeño, llamado Ernesto, que vivía junto a las Montañas Blancas en New Hampshire, donde había una formación en la ladera de una montaña que se parecía al rostro fuerte y benevolente de un hombre.

Había una predicción de que algún día un hombre con una cara similar a esta cara de piedra vendría y ayudaría a la pequeña ciudad. Durante años, la gente esperó y, a veces, erróneamente pensó que el hombre había venido, solo para decepcionarse. Mientras tanto, Little Earnest solía estudiar la cara regularmente y se convirtió en un hombre joven. Finalmente, su parecido con el Gran Rostro de Piedra fue reconocido.

Tuve el privilegio de ver esta imagen en la ladera de la montaña antes de tener que desmontarla porque representaba el peligro de que se cayeran piezas e hirieran a las personas. Siempre me recordó que si estudiamos a Jesús regularmente, podemos terminar pareciéndonos a Él.

La mayoría de nosotros en un momento u otro nos ha preguntado una persona bien intencionada: “¿Estás salvado?” Esperando una respuesta de “Sí” o “No” a menudo se sorprenden cuando un católico responde: “Estoy tratando de vivir una buena vida cristiana, y Jesús será mi juez”. Si bien sabemos que Jesús entiende nuestras debilidades y es muy misericordioso, todavía espera que tomemos sus palabras en serio y hagamos lo mejor que podamos.

 Pregunta de Reflexión:   ¿Cómo puedo hacer tiempo para estudiar regularmente a Jesús en la Biblia para poder desarrollar una relación personal con Él y luego llegar a ser como Él?


Comments:
Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
Do you have a few quiet moments with your cup of coffee or tea, when you might think about this week’s menu or draft a memo? Could you start these quiet moments with a brief review of that day’s scriptural readings or with a psalm? You can find the daily readings on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; this site has audio versions – they will read the scripture to you. Do you have some sacred songs on your playlist? Do you have a few favorite hymns? Can you spend a few minutes thinking about some of the special meanings a phrase or refrain has for you? God has given us 24 hours today; can we give Him a few extra minutes?

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
I have mentioned before how very much I cherish my morning time alone with the Lord, my “Jesus and Java time” as I like to refer to it. My day starts around 4:00 am, and it always goes much better when I start the day nourished with reflection on His Word. My Type A personality drives me to cling to schedules, and sometimes it is obsessive. But when it comes to creating space to optimize my prayer time, my routine grounds me. What works for me is to set aside a specific time and place each day, to have my Bible and devotionals in place, and to set my intention every time I begin.
My kitchen table is the meeting spot where I connect with Jesus each morning. It is quiet, comfortable, and I find that sitting upright in a hard-back chair keeps me focused and alert. My Bible and daily devotionals remain on the table just fingertips away. My intention is to hear the message, relevant word or phrase that God wants me to hear for that day. My day is off to a gentle, peaceful start…and then my morning commute begins. During my drive to work, I play a CD of the Rosary that keeps me prayerful as I navigate through the morning rush hour. Instead of cussing at those aggressive drivers that cut me off, pass me by or plant themselves firmly on my bumper, I assail them with a Hail Mary. Now take that and have a blessed day you maniac!
The morning readings often come to mind during the day, and, as a result of long-term adherence to this spiritual practice, I am more conscious of Christ’s Presence in my life and in the world. Conversation with the Lord, while driving to work, performing tasks at the office, carrying out household chores and errands, and any activity in which I am involved, is comfortable. I ask Jesus how He would like me to handle situations. This practice helps me to respond respectfully and responsibly to people and circumstances. My desire is to be more Christ-like in all my interactions.
Episcopal priest Matthew Fox writes: “There is something in everyone …that waits, listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and if you cannot hear it, you will never find whatever it is for which you are searching.”  I believe this to be true and regard the process of waiting and listening as moving toward becoming the person I was created to be. For me, entering into solitude is a necessity if I am to quiet the chatter in my mind long enough to allow for connecting with and befriending Spirit who will guide me ever closer to Jesus and to my
true self.

Monday, August 12, 2019

August 18, 2019 Challenges of Jesus

August 18, 2019   Challenges of Jesus - Year C

Reading I: 
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10

Psalm:  40

Readings II:  Hebrews 12:1-4

Gospel:  Luke 12:49-53

Are you ever surprised that sometimes when you look at a situation, yet another person sees the same thing, but interprets it very differently from you? Well, this is not something new.

Jesus, Himself, had that same experience. In the Gospel of John (7:41). Jesus was preaching to some people who were so impressed that they believed Him to be long-awaited Messiah. Others in the group did not believe that He could be the Christ because He came from Galilee, and they argued that He was supposed to come from Bethlehem.

When Jesus cured a blind man on the Sabbath (Jn 9:16), some claimed that if He wouldn’t observe the Sabbath, He couldn’t be from God. On the other hand, other people believed that He had to be of God to be able to perform the miracle. 

In spite of the fact that Jesus’ mission was to bring about a Kingdom of His Father, characterized by unity and love, He experienced discord. Jesus strove to be a unifier. His message was one of love. It must have been so painful for Him to have Himself, His preaching and compassion misunderstood. 

Jesus expressed His grief in the following words: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you. How often have I longed to gather your children as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings and you refused.” (Mt 3:37) When I had the privilege of sitting on a rock in the Garden of Gethsemane overlooking Jerusalem, those words came to me and touched me deeply.

Division can be very painful. Today, devout parents who brought up their children with faith grieve when those children turn away from their faith. The pain of seeing their beloved grandchildren deprived of what is so important for their long-term happiness is difficult to witness.

There is a normal tendency for teens and young adults to assert their independence in a variety of ways. I can recall when I was in high school that I decided that I would not be a Catholic just because my parents were. I read books on apologetics (defending the faith) which led me to embrace the faith personally. Of course, the Holy Spirit also was guiding me.

However, today there is also the disillusionment from scandals related to clergy misconduct and some peoples’ sense that they do not need God. Sometimes, they are brought back to faith when they mature and realize the weakness of human nature and/or they have hardships which make them turn back to God for help.

What can we do? In the meantime, we are to love them, pray for them, and give them the example of a truly faith-filled person. A favorite prayer of mine is “Lord, into your hands I commend __________’s spirit.”

 Reflection Question:  Is there someone who is struggling with faith issues for whom you can pray or offer help?


Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Desafíos de Jesús


¿Alguna vez te sorprende que a veces cuando miras una situación, otra persona ve lo mismo, pero lo interpreta de manera muy diferente a ti? Bueno, esto no es algo nuevo.

Jesús mismo tuvo esa misma experiencia. En el Evangelio de Juan (7:41). Jesús estaba predicando a algunas personas que estaban tan impresionadas que creían que era el Mesías tan esperado. Otros en el grupo no creían que Él podría ser el Cristo porque vino de Galilea y argumentaron que se suponía que debía venir de Belén.

Cuando Jesús curó a un ciego en sábado (Jn 9:16), algunos afirmaron que si no observaba el sábado, no podría ser de Dios. Por otro lado, otras personas creían que tenía que ser de Dios para poder realizar el milagro.

A pesar de que la misión de Jesús era lograr un Reino de su Padre, caracterizado por la unidad y el amor, experimentó discordia. Jesús se esforzó por ser unificador.  Su mensaje fue de amor. Debe haber sido tan doloroso para Él haberse entendido mal, su predicación y compasión.

Jesús expresó su dolor en las siguientes palabras: Jerusalén, Jerusalén, tú que matas a los profetas y apedreas a los que te son enviados. “Cuántas veces he anhelado reunir a tus hijos cuando una gallina junta sus polluelos bajo sus alas y tú te niegas”. (Mt 3:37) Cuando tuve el privilegio de sentarme en una roca en el Jardín de Getsemaní con vista a Jerusalén, esas palabras me llegaron y me conmovieron profundamente.

La división puede ser muy dolorosa. Hoy, los padres devotos que criaron a sus hijos con fe se afligen cuando esos niños se alejan de su fe. Es difícil presenciar el dolor de ver a sus queridos nietos privados de lo que es tan importante para su felicidad a largo plazo.

Hay una tendencia normal para que los adolescentes y adultos jóvenes afirmen su independencia de varias maneras. Puedo recordar cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria que decidí que no sería católica solo porque mis padres lo eran. Leí libros sobre apologética (defender la fe) que me llevaron a abrazar la fe personalmente. Por supuesto, el Espíritu Santo también me estaba guiando.

Sin embargo, hoy también existe la desilusión de los escándalos relacionados con la mala conducta del clero y la sensación de algunas personas de que no necesitan a Dios. A veces, vuelven a la fe cuando maduran y se dan cuenta de la debilidad de la naturaleza humana y / o tienen dificultades que los hacen volver a Dios en busca de ayuda.

¿Qué podemos hacer? Mientras tanto, debemos amarlos, orar por ellos y darles el ejemplo de una persona verdaderamente llena de fe. Una de mis oraciones favoritas es Señor, en tus manos encomiendo el espíritu de __________”.

 Pregunta de Reflexión:  ¿Hay alguien que está luchando con problemas de fe por los cuales puede orar u ofrecer ayuda?


Comments:
Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
We can always pray for family and friends without giving God details of specific needs – He knows already. We just need to ask God to help them. We can assist those struggling with faith issues by being a good example of what a “faith-filled” person is/ does. Strengthen our own personal faith so that it shines like a lighthouse, radiating God’s love and mercy. If someone asks you a question about faith, listen to what and how they ask. Answer their question and guide them from what they know and feel to knowing God’s love and feeling God’s mercy.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
I really appreciate the prayer you shared with us. I am one of the grieving parents you mention whose children have turned away from the faith.  Thus, I will name each of my sons in commending their spirits to Our Lord. What I find uplifting about this prayer is that I release my control of the outcome, trusting that God will meet the unique needs of each person for whom I pray. I include my mother, knowing that God knows my concern for her health and ease of daily living. I name my estranged sister hoping for healing and connection.  It is a wonderful prayer to whisper for all those for whom I have promised to pray. I am finding this aspiration very freeing to recite when I am feeling aversion toward leaders who abuse their status and make decisions that put the lives of innocent victims at risk.  I experience greater inner peace when, instead of complaining about someone or getting worked up about an issue, I offer that person or cause in prayer to Our Lord who loves us all unconditionally. 
In his recent series entitled, “Black Women Mystics,” Richard Rohr highlighted the writings of Dr. Diana L. Hayes, the first African American woman to earn a Pontifical Doctorate in Theology. Dr. Hayes writes, “This is our calling as Christian faithful: to recognize the Christ in everyone. And to reach out a hand of hope, to speak a word of love, to sing a song of happiness, to share a tear of joy or pain, to speak a word of praise, to murmur a prayer, to stand together against those forces that would divide us, isolate us, and block our flow toward home.”
Dr. Hayes cites Micah 6:8 as the basis for her belief: 
       You have been told…what is good
       And what the Lord requires of you:
       Only to do the right and to love goodness,
       And to walk humbly with your God.
As I journey through life, troubled by the appearance of darkness, and dismayed at the incomprehensible acts we commit against one another, it is easy to get drawn into the negative energy that surrounds me. It is, therefore, good to recall the Scripture passage from Micah often, knowing my peace depends on my ability to keep my focus on Christ’s Light and Love. Centered in Christ’s love, I am able to resist the temptation to react to the ill behaviors of others and recognize within them the suffering Christ. From a place of compassion, I commend their Spirit to the Lord, our true Source of hope and healing.
Imagine how lovely the global landscape would be if all Christians embraced and embodied the call to “recognize the Christ in everyone.”

Monday, August 5, 2019

August 11, 2019 - Stewardship

August 11, 2019  -  Good Stewards 

Reading I:  
Wisdom 18:6-9

Psalm:  33

Reading II:  Hebrews
11:1-2, 8-19

Gospel:  Luke
12:32-48

In today’s Gospel, Luke presents Jesus teaching his disciples about being good stewards. In the parable, the master returns from a wedding and is happy to find that his servants have been good stewards. They have taken care of his properties in the way he wished.  In fact, he is so delighted with their stewardship that he prepares a banquet for them and serves them himself.

Jesus reminds his listeners that they do not know when the second coming of the Master (Jesus) will be. He urges them to be prepared for that coming by being good stewards of all the gifts he has given them.

The thought of stewardship always reminds me of  St. Katharine Drexel and her family.  Katharine's father, Francis Anthony Drexel, was a devout Catholic who became a rich Philadelphia banker.  He considered himself as a steward of the wealth he had accumulated. He believed he was to use it for his family and those in need.  Often missionaries to the Indians would come to ask assistance for the needs of the people on their missions.

Mr. Drexel’s wife, Emma Bouvier Drexel, was also very devout and had the same belief that she was to use money to help those in need. At a time when the slaves had recently been freed, it was difficult for them to find jobs because of lack of education and opportunities.

Each week, Emma with the assistance of the children: Elizabeth, Katharine and Louise, welcomed needy people at their door. They distributed food, clothing, rent money, etc. to those in need.

Both parents wanted their children to be sensitive to the needs of the poor. Mr. Drexel took the young women to see the Indian missions and meet the people in person.  Mrs. Drexel had the children converse with those coming to the door so that they would recognize them as human beings like themselves who had just come on hard times.  The result was that as adult women they each continued to reach out to people in need.

In fact when St. Katharine took the three vows of a religious: poverty, chastity and obedience, she added a fourth personal vow to be the “Mother and Servant of the Indian and Colored Peoples.” She also founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to help her minister primarily, but not exclusively, among the Indian and Black peoples. The ultimate goal was that all be united as children of one heavenly Father.

Most of us are not wealthy. However, we all have something to contribute to the good of others.  Some have time to visit the elderly, the lonely, the sick and/or those in prison. Others have talents which can help others. I have heard of people giving haircuts to homeless people. We hear of people fixing buildings, etc. on the missions and in low-income areas. We have people cooking meals for those in need. Finally, there are some who do have the money to contribute to many good causes.

Whether our treasure is in time, or talent, or money, when we share with our brothers and sisters, we are good stewards of the gifts that our Father has entrusted to us for the good of all. 

 Reflection Question:  Which of the Lord’s gifts might I use to help a brother or sister this week?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Good Stewards

En el Evangelio de hoy, Lucas presenta a Jesús enseñando a sus discípulos acerca de ser buenos mayordomos. En la parábola, el maestro regresa de una boda y está feliz de descubrir que sus sirvientes han sido buenos mayordomos. Se han ocupado de sus propiedades de la manera que él deseaba. De hecho, él está tan encantado con su mayordomía que prepara un banquete para ellos y los sirve él mismo.

Jesús les recuerda a sus oyentes que no saben cuándo será la segunda venida del Maestro (Jesús). Los insta a estar preparados para esa venida siendo buenos administradores de todos los regalos que les ha dado.

La idea de la mayordomía siempre me recuerda a Santa Katharine Drexel y su familia. El padre de Katharine, Francis Anthony Drexel, era un católico devoto que se convirtió en un rico banquero de Filadelfia. Se consideraba un administrador de la riqueza que había acumulado. Él creía que debía usarlo para su familia y los necesitados. A menudo, los misioneros de los indios venían a pedir ayuda para las necesidades de las personas en sus misiones.

La esposa del Sr. Drexel, Emma Bouvier Drexel, también era muy devota y tenía la misma creencia de que debía usar el dinero para ayudar a los necesitados. En un momento en que los esclavos habían sido liberados recientemente, les resultaba difícil encontrar trabajo debido a la falta de educación y oportunidades.

Cada semana, Emma, ​​con la ayuda de los niños: Elizabeth, Katharine y Louise, dieron la bienvenida a las personas necesitadas en su puerta. Distribuyeron comida, ropa, renta, etc. a los necesitados.

Ambos padres querían que sus hijos fueran sensibles a las necesidades de los pobres. El Sr. Drexel llevó a las jóvenes a ver las misiones indias y conocer a las personas en persona. La Sra. Drexel hizo que los niños conversaran con los que venían a la puerta para que los reconocieran como seres humanos como ellos que acababan de pasar por momentos difíciles. El resultado fue que, como mujeres adultas, cada una de ellas continuó llegando a las personas necesitadas.


De hecho, cuando Santa Catalina tomó los tres votos de un religioso: pobreza, castidad y obediencia, agregó un cuarto voto personal para ser la “Madre y Sierva de los Pueblos Indios y de Color”. También fundó las Hermanas del Santísimo Sacramento para ayudarla a ministrar principalmente, pero no exclusivamente, entre los pueblos indios y negros. El objetivo final era que todos se unieran como hijos de un Padre celestial.

La mayoría de nosotros no somos ricos. Sin embargo, todos tenemos algo que contribuir al bien de los demás. Algunos tienen tiempo para visitar a los ancianos, los solitarios, los enfermos y / o los encarcelados. Otros tienen talentos que pueden ayudar a otros. He oído hablar de personas que cortan el cabello a personas sin hogar. Oímos de personas arreglando edificios, etc. en las misiones y en áreas de bajos ingresos. Tenemos personas preparando comidas para los necesitados. Finalmente, hay algunos que tienen el dinero para contribuir a muchas buenas causas.

Ya sea que nuestro tesoro sea a tiempo, o talento o dinero, cuando compartimos con nuestros hermanos y hermanas, somos buenos administradores de los dones que nuestro Padre nos ha confiado para el bien de todos.

 Pregunta de Reflexíon:  ¿Cuál de los dones del Señor podría usar para ayudar a un hermano o hermana esta semana?


Comments:
Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
What are the gifts the Lord has given me?  I have a voice – I can call a shut-in or relative with whom I have not spoken in a long time. Can you knit? This summer’s heat does not cry out for a scarf or hat or lap robe (the air conditioning might warrant the last). But we could make these small items in readiness for clothing drives that happen in the fall and winter. Are you going food shopping this week? Could you purchase an extra box of cereal for a food drive? We don’t have to feed thousands as Our Lord did on a mountainside; we can help one person or one family with a small gift of food as part of a food drive.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
Deborah Rexrode, an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA, wrote the following statement regarding the challenges of stewardship as it applies to the church, “Stewardship should be a part of everything we do throughout all the seasons of our ministries… It is a spiritual discipline and a way of living that helps us to manage what God has entrusted to us and to teach others the true joy of giving as a response to God’s generosity. We are called to be good stewards of all that we have: stewards of time, stewards of gifts, stewards of resources, stewards of relationships, stewards of ministry, stewards of the knowledge of God, stewards of the people in our community of faith, stewards of the mysteries of God.”
Deborah developed her thoughts in alignment with the seasons of the year, which led me to think about stewardship in light of the seasons of life. By changing the phrase ‘seasons of our ministries,’ to the ‘seasons of our life,’ we have a doable guide for following Jesus’ call to Stewardship. 
I must confess that I am still growing in my sense of stewardship. I struggle with being generous with my treasure, time and talents.  When I view Stewardship as a big-ticket item, I shy away from doing anything. I hide behind excuses - there is just not enough time, my resources are limited, and my talents are puny. However, pondered in light of Deborah’s expansive definition, I am able to truthfully acknowledge my status (busy life, budget-conscious, trying to discern the talents through which I can serve) and look for smaller ways I can contribute to Jesus’ call to live a lifestyle of Stewardship. For starters, I can stop grumbling about how tired and time-deprived I am as a result of all the moving activities I am involved in with mom’s house cleanout and relocation. I can simply offer this season of caregiving up to the Lord. I might not be able to end the plight of the beggars outside the places I shop or the roads I travel, but I can offer a dollar, a smile and a sincere, “God Bless You.” I can pick-up someone’s trash (minus my critical judgment of their fitness as a human being) and say “thank you” to the Lord for the gift of our beautiful earth. These small actions, performed with awareness and gratitude for life itself, help me become more God-centered and less self-centered. 
In the season of my childhood, the slogan of the household was, “It’s every man for himself.” We were a family that erected tall fences as barriers to keep others out. I can remember that I shared NOTHING! You touch my toy and I’ll knock you out!  Small wonder I had no friends. I was sad and lonely. Fortunately, I outgrew that season. It certainly influenced my parenting style when I entered the season of parenthood.  No doubt the messages we receive from our parents as children have an impact on how we interpret the world in which we live. A spirit of giving instills sharing and openness; while the habit of holding tightly produces fearfulness and isolation. We see this in large scale today as countries zealously defend their borders, deaf to the cries of the suffering people calling for compassion.
When I retire and begin still another new season of life, I hope to contribute time to my community without the restraints I currently impose on myself.  For today, I will look for smaller-scale opportunities to be a conscientious steward of all God’s gifts.

Monday, July 29, 2019

August 4, 2019 _ Treasures in Heaven

August 4, 2019  Treasures in Heaven  - Year C


Reading I:   Ecclesiastes
1:2, 2:21-23

Psalm:  90

Reading II:  Colossians 3:
1-5, 9-11

Gospel: 
Luke 12:13-21


In today’s Gospel of Luke, we hear Jesus teaching his followers about the foolishness of being greedy. He tells a parable (a story to teach a lesson) about a rich farmer who is doing well and has barns totally filled. He decides to tear down his barns and build larger ones to hold more grain and other possessions. 

Then he says to himself: “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”  However, God says to him, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

What are some other reasons that focus on making large amounts of money, hoarding things, or seeking after fame or popularity is foolish? First, our life here is short. If we spend our time and energies on such things, we will miss out on the important things asked of us by our Creator: to love Him, our neighbor, and ourselves.

Today, it seems as if we are being encouraged to focus on worldly things. In particular, I recall the TV program called ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.’ That came into my mind one day as I was walking through a park with a little girl who looked up at me and asked: “Would you like to be rich and famous?” When I responded that I was not interested in that, she remained quiet. That response probably surprised her since wealth and prestige seemed to be what people desire.

In Matthew’s Gospel, he lists the teachings of Jesus in a meaningful way. Regarding the pursuit of riches, he says:
       
       Do not store up riches for yourselves where on earth, where 
       moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. 
       Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths 
       and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and 
       steal.  For your heart will always be where your riches are.                                                                                              — Matthew 6:19

Matthew vividly describes the Final Judgment. Jesus is pictured as a King on his throne. People of all nations are gathered before Him. He separates them into two groups. On His right, He puts the righteous and says: “Come you are blessed by my Father!  Come and possess the Kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you cared for me; in prison and you visited me.’

The righteous will respond by asking when they came to the aid of the King.  His reply will be: ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels!  I was hungry, but you would not feed me, thirsty…, I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.’ These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life.”   
                                       — Matthew 25:34-46


 Reflection Question:   Which work of mercy to you feel called to perform this coming week?


Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Tesoros en el Cielo

Jesús enseñando a sus seguidores acerca de la insensatez de ser codicioso. Él cuenta una parábola (una historia para enseñar una lección) sobre un granjero rico que está bien y tiene graneros totalmente llenos. Decide derribar sus graneros y construir otros más grandes para contener más granos y otras posesiones.

Entonces se dice a sí mismo: Ahora, en cuanto a ti, tienes muchas cosas buenas almacenadas durante muchos años, descansa, come, bebe, ¡sé feliz!  Sin embargo, Dios le dice:Tonto, esta noche tu vida te será exigida; y las cosas que has preparado, ¿a quién van a pertenecer?

¿Cuáles son algunas otras razones que se centran en hacer grandes cantidades de dinero, acaparar cosas o buscar fama o popularidad es una tontería? Primero, nuestra vida aquí es corta. Si dedicamos nuestro tiempo y energía a tales cosas, perderemos las cosas importantes que nos pide nuestro Creador: amarlo a Él, a nuestro prójimo y a nosotros mismos.

Hoy en día, parece que estamos siendo alentados a enfocarnos en cosas mundanas. En particular, recuerdo el programa de televisión llamado Estilos de vida de los ricos y famosos’. Eso me vino a la mente un día mientras caminaba por un parque con una niña que me miró y me preguntó: ¿Te gustaría ser rico y famoso? Cuando respondí que no estaba interesada en eso, ella se quedó callada. Esa respuesta probablemente la sorprendió ya que la riqueza y el prestigio parecían ser lo que la gente deseaba.

En el Evangelio de Mateo, él enumera las enseñanzas de Jesús de una manera significativa. Respecto a la búsqueda de riquezas, dice:

       No se acumulen riquezas para ustedes mismos donde en la tierra, donde
       las polillas y el óxido destruyen, y los ladrones entran y roban.
       En su lugar, acumule riquezas para ustedes en el cielo, donde las polillas
       y el óxido no puede destruir, y los ladrones no pueden entrar y
       robar. Porque tu corazón siempre estará donde están tus riquezas.                                                                                            — Mateo 6:19

Mateo describe vívidamente el Juicio Final. Jesús es representado como un rey en su trono. La gente de todas las naciones están reunidas delante de él. Los separa en dos grupos. A su derecha, Él pone a los justos y dice:¡Ven, eres bendecido por mi Padre! Ven y posee el Reino que ha sido preparado para ti desde la creación del mundo. Tuve hambre y me alimentaste, sed y me diste de beber; Fui forastero y me recibiste en tus casas, desnudo y me vestiste; Yo estaba enferma, y ​​tu cuidaste de mi; En la cárcel y tú me visitaste’.

Los justos responderán preguntando cuándo acudieron en ayuda del rey. Su respuesta será: Te digo, siempre que hiciste esto por uno de los menos importantes de estos hermanos míos, ¡lo hiciste por mí!’

Entonces dirá a los de su izquierda: “¡Fuera de mí, tú que estás bajo la maldición de Dios! ¡Fuera el fuego eterno que ha sido preparado para el diablo y sus ángeles! Tenía hambre, pero no me darías de comer, sed ... te digo que siempre que te niegues a ayudar a uno de los menos importantes, me niegas a ayudarme. "Estos, entonces, serán enviados al castigo eterno, pero los justos irán a la vida eterna”.
                                       Mateo 25:34-46


 Pregunta de Reflexión:   ¿Qué trabajo de misericordia te sientes llamado a realizar esta próxima semana?


Comments:
Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
Mother Katharine said that “There is nothing little in what is done for God.” An “act of mercy” can be something as small as calling or sending a cheery card to an elderly or infirm neighbor. Returning a shopping cart to the store or to the nearest “cart lot” for a woman who has just placed her child and her groceries in her car is a simple act of mercy.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
Last Sunday my mother, her neighbor, and I went to brunch at the retirement community into which she will soon be moving. A resident named Betsy joined us at the table. After I got mom’s food plated, I headed to the buffet table to select my food. I saw Betsy struggling to balance plates on the seat of her Rollator, and I asked if I could help her. She gratefully accepted. Once we settled in at our table, I asked Betsy to tell us something about herself. Her response was a real fork dropper as she replied, “I am a Holocaust Survivor.” She certainly had our attention. Betsy’s story is one of pain, abuse, starvation, loss and triumph.
The Nazis invaded Amsterdam when Betsy was four years old. She spent the next 5 years in hiding and in encampments, gaining freedom when she was ten years old. She “missed out” on childhood, and up to that time, she had never been to school.  Betsy knew excruciating hunger. Death and devastation were etched in her mind, heart, and soul. In spite of all that horror, she made the decision to greet each day with thanks and the wonder of being alive.  Her entire family was executed in Auschwitz.  Betsy related details of atrocities that tore at my heart. 
A network of farmers hid Betsy and her family, shared their meager food rations and offered moral support.  As she spoke, I thought of how those brave individuals, who were primarily Christians, fulfilled the works of mercy and were Good Samaritans to their Jewish brethren.  The Nazis threatened to burn down their farms if the farmers were harboring Jews.  Yet, the network remained active. The farmers were willing to lay down their lives and their livelihoods to protect their neighbors.
Betsy’s story reminded me of Anne Frank’s story. Anne and her family were hidden for two years before being discovered and transported to death camps.  I also thought of Corrie ten Boom who hid hundreds of Jews in her family home to protect them from arrest by the Nazis. When their activities were discovered, the entire ten Boom family was deported to concentration camps. The ten Boom’s were ardent Christians; their faith inspired them to serve their community, and while imprisoned Corrie and her sister, Betsy, spent evenings in the concentration camp sharing Scripture stories with their fellow Jewish inmates.  Corrie was the only family member to survive.  Her family paid the ultimate price to shelter and nourish Christ’s brothers and sisters.
As for Betsy, when the war ended, she was placed in a United States sponsored shelter where she received her grade school education. She excelled in her studies and was, likewise, sponsored for high school. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in teaching. She enjoyed a career as a college professor, engaging students and professors alike as she shared personal experiences of the Holocaust. She pledged to keep her story alive so that no one forgets the consequences of hate. As we were getting ready to go, Betsy grasped my hand and shared with me that she was feeling great sadness. Her husband had suffered a stroke twelve days prior and was not making much progress. There were days when he did not even recognize her.  I promised to pray for his recovery. She thanked me. The connection that results from such an exchange is nothing short of divine.
Betsy’s story stays with me. I can only hope that fear would not prevent me from acting in a Christ-like manner. The work of mercy I feel called to do this week is to recognize the suffering Christ in all those who call out for help and to take appropriate steps to alleviate their pain. I yearn to hear the words of Jesus, “Come possess the Kingdom.” 

Monday, July 22, 2019

July 28, 2019 ~ All Children of One Father - God

July 28, 2019



Reading I: 
Genesis 18:20-32

Psalm:  138

Reading II: 
Colossians 2:12-14

Gospel: 
Luke 11:1-13


In today’s Gospel of Luke, we hear the disciples asking Jesus how to pray.  He responds, “When you pray, say:
         
             Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
             Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins
             for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not
             subject us to the final test.”

(We are usually more familiar with the translation of Matthew, but the basic meaning is the same.) 

Jesus also tells them: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened o you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Since God is our loving Father, He does respond to us but not always in the way we want. We often wonder why He does not give us what we ask. Maybe this will help:
   
Imagine that you are in your kitchen and a two-year-old boy asks you for a shiny knife on the table. You probably would not give the child the knife because he might hurt himself or someone else. However, he is angry with you and screaming. What would you do?  
You might offer him something that would not hurt him or you might give him a healthy snack or distract him some other way. You would respond to him in the way that is best even though he does not understand at the time. When he is older he will understand.

The sister of a friend of mine had three children and was stricken with multiple sclerosis. Her father and sister decided to take her to Lourdes in France where Our Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette Soubirous and left healing waters where many people are cured. Of course, we all prayed for a miracle. However, in spite of all the effort and expense to take her to Lourdes, she was never cured.  Maybe the Lord was giving her a spiritual gift, like a deeper trust. We do not know why the cure was withheld from her. However, today, they are all with the Lord and can now understand.

We become so accustomed to saying the “Our Father” that it can become routine. This is such a rich prayer that taking the time to reflect on each word is of great value, e.g. “Our Father,” the Father of all Native peoples, Caucasian people, African people, Chinese people, Hispanic people, Semitic people, straight people, gay, lesbian and bisexual people, handicapped people, Protestant people, Muslim people, Catholic people, atheists, agnostics, etc.

Try slowing down to experience the depth of the prayer’s meaning.

  Reflection Question:   
What word or phrase in the “Our Father” is striking you most at this time?  Explain.



Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Todos Los Hijos de un Padre - Dios

En el Evangelio de Lucas de hoy, escuchamos a los discípulos preguntando a Jesús cómo orar. El responde, Cuando ores, di:
           
             Padre, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino.
             Danos cada día nuestro pan de cada día y perdona nuestros pecados.
             porque nosotros mismos perdonamos a todos en deuda con nosotros,
             y no lo hacemos 
someternos a la prueba final.

(Usualmente estamos más familiarizados con la traducción de Mateo, pero el significado básico es el mismo.

Jesús también les dice: Pregunta y recibirás; Busca y encontraras; Llama y se te abrirá la puerta. Por cada uno que pide, recibe; y el que busca, encuentra; y al que toca, se abrirá la puerta”.

Como Dios es nuestro Padre amoroso, Él nos responde, pero no siempre de la manera que queremos. A menudo nos preguntamos por qué Él no nos da lo que pedimos. Tal vez esto ayude:
      
Imagina que estás en tu cocina y un niño de dos años te pide un cuchillo brillante en la mesa. Probablemente no le darías el cuchillo al niño porque podría lastimarse a sí mismo oa otra persona. Sin embargo, él está enojado contigo y gritando. ¿Qué harías?
Puede ofrecerle algo que no le haga daño o puede darle una merienda saludable o distraerlo de otra manera. Le responderías de la manera que sea mejor, aunque él no lo comprenda en ese momento. Cuando sea mayor lo entenderá.

La hermana de una amiga mía tuvo tres hijos y sufrió esclerosis múltiple. Su padre y su hermana decidieron llevarla a Lourdes en Francia, donde Nuestra Santísima Madre se apareció a Bernadette Soubirous y dejó aguas curativas donde muchas personas se curan. Por supuesto, todos oramos por un milagro. Sin embargo, a pesar de todo el esfuerzo y los gastos para llevarla a Lourdes, nunca se curó. Tal vez el Señor le estaba dando un don espiritual, como una confianza más profunda. No sabemos por qué se le negó la cura. Sin embargo, hoy, todos están con el Señor y ahora pueden entender.

Nos acostumbramos tanto a decir “Nuestro Padre” que puede convertirse en una rutina. Esta es una oración tan rica que tomarse el tiempo para reflexionar sobre cada palabra es de gran valor, por ejemplo. Padre Nuestro”, el padre de todos los pueblos indígenas, caucásicos, africanos, chinos, hispanos, semitas, heterosexuales, gays, lesbianas y bisexuales, discapacitados, protestantes, musulmanes, católicos, ateos. , agnósticos, etc.

Intenta reducir la velocidad para experimentar la profundidad del significado de la oración.

  Pregunta de Reflexión:   
¿Qué palabra o frase en el "Padre Nuestro" te está golpeando más en este momento? Explique.

Comments:
Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
“Give us this day our daily bread.”  Jesus did not ask for the week’s menu, only for what was needed for “this day.” Following up on the mindfulness of Martha and Mary, we can be mindful of “one day at a time,” and not worry about things to come (or not to come). Focusing on the present, we can ease the stress we often place on ourselves when we fret about the unknown future. With less stress, we have more energy to be the person God wants us to be.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
“Give us this day our daily bread.” This petition profoundly humbles, stirs, and challenges me. I am aware that I am expressing my dependency on God for my daily existence, and I am most grateful for the abundant blessings that are mine to enjoy. At the same time, I feel discontent when I say these words, often prayed in the comfort of my kitchen, where many recipes and a well-stocked pantry surround me as I look forward to preparing meals for the days ahead. I stumble over the word “our” because most of the people included in that pronoun are impoverished and hungry and would give anything for daily bread. 

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Is my prayer for another’s daily bread adequate? Bread is meant to be shared, but how can I get bread into the mouths of my starving brothers and sisters living in places where there is no bread? I am overwhelmed by the daily requests for funds that I receive in the mail.  Do my charitable contributions aimed at feeding starving children in Yemen, Syria, South Sudan even make a difference?  I am angry that such injustice exists. Jesus fed the crowds through the incredible miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.  Today, we have enough food to feed everyone. Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality, not scarcity.  The gripping reality is that many of the root causes of poverty and injustice are man-made.  How can we influence misguided leaders and governments to accept the responsibility to end poverty and hunger by investing in programs that will support sustainable livelihoods and improved social protection? In asking these questions, I confess my own participation in this human condition as I recall times I ignored a hungry person begging for food or failed to sign a petition, calling for actions that could contribute to a better standard of living for a poor community.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” How do we define bread?  For what do we hunger? I observe many hungers around me. Within my family, I see hungers for health, direction, human connection, and healing. On the streets of the city, people are dying, hungry for freedom from addictions, neglect, fear, hopelessness, loneliness, poverty, discrimination and hatred. Stories of suffering immigrants tell of multitudes that are hungry for validation, liberty, and the chance for a better life.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” I realize that this musing has taken the tone of venting. There is so much work to be done in the Lord’s harvest that I often forget that Jesus is in the midst of it all.  As I follow my inner wisdom and pause, I find the comfort I seek; my prayers do matter.  Pope Francis states that Jesus teaches us to ask the Father for daily bread. “Christian prayer starts from reality, from the heart and from the flesh of people that live in need, or who share the condition of those that don’t have what is necessary to live. The bread that a Christian asks for in prayer if not “my” but ‘our” bread. It’s how Jesus wants it. He teaches us to ask it, not only for ourselves but for the entire brotherhood of the world. This prayer contains an attitude of empathy and solidarity…I’ll pray to God until their prayer is heard. This is how Jesus educated His community, His Church to bring to God the needs of all: ‘We are all your children, O Father, have mercy on us!’”
“Give us this day our daily bread,” and so it is. Amen

Monday, July 15, 2019

July 21, 2019 - Life in Balance

July 21, 2019  -  Martha and Mary

Reading I:  
Genesis 18:1-10a

Psalm:   15

Reading II:  Colossians 1:24-28

Gospel:  Luke 10:38-42  

This Sunday’s Gospel describes a visit of Jesus with his friends, Martha and Mary. Martha, the perfect hostess, immediately hurries about trying to make Jesus comfortable and feed him.  In the meantime, her sister Mary is sitting with Jesus listening to him and asking him questions.

Martha becomes upset with Mary and asks Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” Jesus responds, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Was Jesus favoring Mary above Martha at this time? I don’t think so. How could he not appreciate the hospitality of Martha? I think He is trying to tell her that she needs balance in her life. It is so easy to get so caught up in activity, even good works, that the most important things can be neglected.

We are all called to have a close, intimate relationship with our God. That requires communicating with Him on a regular basis. Jesus shows us an example of how to do this, by going off by Himself to pray privately to His Father, despite His busy life.

The story about Martha and Mary reminds me of a visit I had with an elderly relative. He was sitting in the living room, listening to music. In the meantime, his only daughter, who had a large family of her own to care for and was working full-time, was busily cleaning the house. Although he appreciated her taking care of the house since his wife had passed away,  he wistfully confided in me that he wished she would do less cleaning and sit down to listen to music with him for a while.

I also remember the parents of a student of mine who were very active in parish ministries. When they realized that they were not giving enough time to their four children and their own relationship, they decided to withdraw from some of their ministries. They chose to put more balance into their lives for the sake of their family.

I am sure the Lord wants us to help one another, but he also wants us to give quality time to Him. He had to strongly defend Mary’s actions because she was being criticized. However, Jesus wants us to follow the example of both Martha and Mary, and to live a balanced life.

 Reflection Question:   How can I maintain a balanced life? Do I need to change anything?



Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
La Vida en Equilibrio

El Evangelio de este domingo describe una visita de Jesús con sus amigos, Marta y María. Martha, la anfitriona perfecta, se apresura inmediatamente a tratar de hacer que Jesús se sienta cómodo y lo alimente. Mientras tanto, su hermana María está sentada con Jesús, escuchándole y haciéndole preguntas.

Martha se enoja con María y le pregunta a Jesús: “Señor, ¿no te importa que mi hermana me haya dejado sola para servir? Dile que me ayude”. Jesús responde, “Martha, Martha, estás ansiosa y preocupada por muchas cosas. Hay necesidad de una sola cosa. María ha elegido la mejor parte y no se la quitarán.”

¿Estaba Jesús favoreciendo a María por encima de Marta en este momento? No lo creo. ¿Cómo no podía apreciar la hospitalidad de Martha?  Creo que él está tratando de decirle que ella necesita equilibrio en su vida. Es tan fácil involucrarse tanto en la actividad, incluso en las buenas obras, que se pueden descuidar las cosas más importantes.

Todos estamos llamados a tener una relación cercana e íntima con nuestro Dios. Eso requiere comunicarse con Él regularmente. Jesús nos muestra un ejemplo de cómo hacer esto, yéndose a orar en privado a su Padre, a pesar de su vida ocupada.

La historia sobre Martha y Mary me recuerda una visita que hice con un pariente anciano. Estaba sentado en la sala de estar, escuchando música. Mientras tanto, su única hija, que tenía una gran familia propia a la que atender y trabajaba a tiempo completo, estaba limpiando la casa. Aunque apreciaba que ella se ocupara de la casa desde que falleció su esposa, confió en mí con nostalgia que deseaba que ella hiciera menos limpieza y se sentara a escuchar música con él por un tiempo.

También recuerdo a los padres de un estudiante mío que era muy activo en los ministerios parroquiales. Cuando se dieron cuenta de que no estaban dando suficiente tiempo a sus cuatro hijos y su propia relación, decidieron retirarse de algunos de sus ministerios. Eligieron poner más equilibrio en sus vidas por el bien de su familia.

Estoy seguro de que el Señor quiere que nos ayudemos unos a otros, pero también quiere que le demos tiempo de calidad. Tuvo que defender con firmeza las acciones de Mary porque estaba siendo criticada. Sin embargo, Jesús quiere que sigamos el ejemplo de Marta y María y que vivamos una vida equilibrada.

 Pregunta de Reflexíon:   ¿Cómo puedo mantener una vida equilibrada? ¿Necesito cambiar algo?


Comments:
Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
St. Katharine wrote to herself, “Am I crowding the Holy Spirit, God, from my mind by 10,000 useless thoughts?? Don’t.” One way of avoiding this “crowding” is to live in the present moment. By focusing on the present moment, we can do what we have to do with complete concentration. Whether we are praying, working, singing or knitting, we can do just that. Staying in the present moment will enable us to balance all the demands on our time. Maybe if Martha had stayed focused on preparing the meal, she would not have been jealous of Mary’s imagined “laziness” while listening to Jesus. One hopes Mary helped with the clean-up after the meal!

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
Lately, my “Martha” moments have outpaced my “Mary” time spent alone with the Lord, and I am definitely feeling the disharmony. My mother, who recently celebrated her eighty-ninth birthday, decided it was time to sell her house and move into a retirement community. While I applaud her decision, it has resulted in two months of unprecedented busyness. She has lived in the house for fifty-eight years and has accumulated a lot of “treasures” over those years.  She put a deposit on her dream apartment and signed a promissory note that the balance due on her entrance fee would be paid within ninety days.  I am extremely anxious about that commitment because we do not have the house ready to be put up for sale, and the promised funds will come from the sale of the house. I am trying to move quickly to avoid taking a loan and paying interest, but mom needs to take the time to release her attachment to beloved items. Coupled with her physical limitations, progress is slower than I anticipated.  Regrettably, my stress and fatigue levels have resulted in my missing far too many Morning Prayer times spent in quiet with the Lord. Hitting that snooze button a time or two too many, has resulted in lateness for work as well. I place a very high value on promptness, and these “off times” are definite indicators that I am out of balance. 
I believe that the Lord is sending me reminders to get back on track. A recent Guide Post reflection depicted Jesus as a caretaker, pointing out that the disciples followed him everywhere and depended on Him for everything. There were sick people pulling on his garments asking for healing, and there were other people who came to Jesus seeking healing of others… We get the picture.  Jesus was a very busy guy. However, He performed His ministerial duties perfectly. He was fully present to His teaching, preaching and healing, so much so that He even restored life to the dead.  In spite of all the demands, Jesus used His time perfectly.  Jesus was able to do all those things because He had His priorities in order. God came first, always. Everything else followed. 
I regard that meditation as a message from the Lord reminding me to trust that I will receive the energy I need to accomplish my daily tasks if I am steadfast in my Morning Prayer practice. Like Jesus, I can engage in conversation with the Father anytime during the day asking for what I need, be it patience, perseverance, understanding – anything I find myself lacking. 
So many of us serve as caretakers.  It is easy to be thrown off balance by the demands and frustrations of daily life.  When overwhelm is running the show, we need to pause and remember that God is always present, always caring. Taking the time to pray and talk to God, and to offer up our service as prayer to Him, will help restore us to wholeness and peace and return joy to our spirit. 
I close with one caretaker’s prayer, taken from Guidepost, “Strength and Grace,” June/July 2019 booklet.
“Father, Your Son was a caregiver for all of His life. May He be my example, my hope, and my strength every day.  For Jesus’ sake, I pray.”\