Tag Archives: Gospel

You’re Embarrassing Me!


fr bill

 

Jesus. Get off the cross. You’re embarrassing me!

A friend of mine lived in the country. He had kids and they were growing up and one of his daughters got involved in ranching. Raising cattle. She was just getting started in this work and she was put in charge of moving a herd of cattle.
She asked her father to help because he was an experienced rider and he was also a veterinarian. And he was her Dad.

Moving the herd happened in the dark of night, just before dawn. A dozen or so riders had instructions from this young woman and the move began. They walked or trotted their horses by the edge of the herd to keep them together and going at a speed they could control.

My friend’s horse was trotting along fine, then tripped and flung my friend down a slope onto his back. He called out for help and a couple of riders came by. He was trying to tell if he was hurt, and his daughter rode up.

She leaned down from her horse and scolded him in a whisper. “Dad. Get up. You’re embarrassing me!”

I love that story. That girl had so much on her mind and wanted this job to go well so badly that when her father got thrown from his horse she could only think about how it would affect the job.

When St Peter heard Jesus say that He would be killed for what He was doing, Peter said, “No!”. In one way Peter said, “Be quiet, Jesus, You’re embarrassing me.” Peter was saying “I want things to go this way: more success, bigger crowds. Don’t talk of failure.”

What do we do when things go wrong? What do we do when there’s pain? How about when suffering goes from short term to long term? God wants us to deal with suffering. It’s a part of life. When we think we can control our lives, we make sure suffering is not part of it. Suffering makes us look bad. It ruins our image. It feels awful.

What do we do?

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a psychologist who worked with dying people. She came up with an understanding of how people cope with having an illness that will probably end in death. Death is the biggest way of all that things go wrong. Most of us see it as the worst thing that will happen. The biggest embarrassment.

There are five stages people go through when things go terribly wrong. To keep this short, I will say only the first and the last. The first is denial. “No! This is not happening!” The last one is acceptance. As Jesus put it, “Not My will, Father, but Yours be done.”

Any time things go wrong we can bet our first reaction is “No!”. If we are believers, if we pray, and ask for help, that begins to change. We’ll get to “Your will, not mine be done.”

There’s a reason to accept suffering, any kind. Some day we’ll have to accept death. In the mean time we have to accept things like where we were born, how we were treated as children, what we look like, the traffic is, our jobs, our health, you name it.

What do we see when we look in the mirror? Do we see our failures? Blemishes? The ways we’re not good enough?

What do we feel when we enter a room full of people? Unworthy? That we have to hide who we are or what we did? That our jobs aren’t good enough or our kids aren’t bright enough or our bank accounts aren’t big enough?

If we feel that kind of embarrassment about ourselves, we try to hide. Or we look for something to cover it. Some pleasure. Some fantasy. We drink, we spend, we judge others. Anything to make us feel less embarrassed about who we are.

These things that deny the pain, that distract or cover over our unhappiness actually do work. The world is filled with ways of denying reality. They do take away the pain.

What they don’t do — what they cannot do — is heal us. Denial never heals. Never. It only conceals.

God wants healing for us. Healing comes with acceptance. Healing comes when we accept reality as it is, not as we’d like it to be. As soon as I can accept my life as it is, I find freedom. The things I was afraid of lose power.

We all can spend a lot of time and energy covering up our embarrassment. We hope people will like us, and include us and respect us.

Hasn’t that been what some people in the Church did when the sins of priests were reported? Deny. Hide. Don’t families do the same with the things they don’t want known? Businesses? Yup. Everybody does it.

There’s a saying in Italian: “bella figura”. It means “beautiful face”. When we put the preservation of the beautiful face above the truth, we lie. We deny. “Dad, you’re embarrassing me.”

There was nothing beautiful about Jesus on the cross. Nothing. Horrible to look at. Horrible, but three days later, He rose. He filled the world with glory. It’s the glory that comes from acceptance. From trust and honesty.

When we face reality instead of denying it, we pass through suffering into freedom. At first the truth embarrasses us. Then it sets us free.

Via Fr. Bill Murphy

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Be Holy – “Gaudete et Exsultate”


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This coming Monday, April 9, the Holy See Press Office will release Pope Francis’s  “Gaudete et Exsultate” (Rejoice and be glad) which is his Apostolic Exhortation on holiness, at noon. News came today HERE, via the Holy See.

I ask those who subscribe to my blog to read Gaudete et Exsultate themselves in detail. Ponder it. Pray before, during and after reading it. Do not be conformed to reading it from anyplace other than the original source. Do not feel comfortable reading it from anyone’s point of view, other than your own. Meaning, don’t allow the media to tell you what they think it says and means. Read it from where you are in life. If you are disturbed internally by reading it, ask our Lord in prayer, why. Seek a remedy that is in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ask how you can grow to not be disturbed and accept the things you need to change within. Knock on our Lords door through prayer without ceasing, but we must repent. The word repent is a verb, which describes action needed on our part. ““Do whatever he tells you.”, becomes very clear.

The birth pains of holiness within a soul begin with the interior desire for Truth. ” “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. Matt 7:7

Repent and believe in the gospel.

 

 

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Palm Sunday 2017


Palm Sunday

How can one make this Holy Week, truly Holy?

Welcome our Lord into your heart and keep Him there for this upcoming week, and strive to keep Him there forever. Grow in faith. Hold on to the conversion of heart He is offering you.

Receive the Sacrament of Confession which returns your soul to the state it was in the day you were baptized. A clean and beautiful temple to receive our Lord.

Attend Holy Mass and pay attention. Listen to every word, participate when you are to participate. Sing when you are to sing. Listen intently to what is being read. Follow with your heart as the Priest speaks. Forget distractions seeing to pull you away from our Lord.

Receive our Lord in the Eucharist. Speak to Him when you do receive Him.

Pray more this week. Try praying the entire Rosary daily, or add praying Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours). Just speak to our Lord in all ways, in all instances, at every moment you are awake. Be aware at all times that He is truly with you in what you are doing and INVITE Him in to your activities, like you would invite your best friend. Try Lectio Divina, “Divine Reading” – Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us.

You can also pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Reflect on the Gospels of this week. Stations of the Cross is a beautiful reflection on how great our Lord suffered for us. Try to attend Daily Mass every day this week. Especially during the Easter Triduum, “The Easter Vigil is the “Mother of All Vigils.” If you can’t attend daily Holy Mass, look for it on EWTN, or any other Catholic TV station via the internet. You can find it online, for rebroadcasts any time of day.

The Easter Triduum:

  • Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday)
  • Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
  • Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord

Don’t forget that Easter does not end after you have your family meal together Sunday after attending Holy Mass. Easter has just begun. Come Monday, while everyone returns back to work, and lent done, Easter has just begun and is not over until the coming of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost Sunday. We often forget that after our Lords Resurrection, many things took place and Easter lasts for FIFTY days after Easter Sunday.

Divine Mercy Sunday is the Sunday following Easter Sunday. The Divine Mercy Novena begins on Good Friday at 3:00 PM, the hour our Lord gave Him self for us.

This is the season we are to look forward to. The great celebration that comes from repenting, turning away from the old self and putting on the new man, working with our Lord to live as He has called us. Let Him into your heart. Let Him roll away the stone in your heart and live with Him in His peace and joy. Leave the tomb of self behind. Allow yourself this week, to be crucified with Him and therefore, rise with Him.

Keeping you all in my prayers, praying you “Be not afraid” and “Follow Him”. “Be holy”.

 

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Leaving The Bucket Behind


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Leaving the bucket behind, for me, is leaving everything I had and wanted, and accepting all of Him. Following Him. His Truth. As my testimony, leaves me thirsty for more of Him. His, is Life giving water, which one never thirsts again. Its not what I do, but what He continues to do.

The question for me is no longer, do you believe because of what our Lord has done for me, rather, will you believe because of what He says and does,  and are you willing to allow Him to do everything for you? There must be a willingness in the soul, to answer as our Holy Mother did so, to our Lord, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”. A moment for the soul to surrender to the will of God.

“Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.” – John 4:41-42

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Water Into Wine


turning-water-into-wine

“The mother of Jesus said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Jesus ordered the jars to be filled with water, and it turned into wine.”

I awoke this morning, pondering the Wedding at Cana. Just pondering….

We are baptized with water. Just as our Lord commanded that the empty jars be filled with water. The empty jar is our body. The water and wine, our souls. Over the course of our life, we become like wine. If we lead a life of bitterness and sin, it affects the taste of the wine that is produced. If we lead a life in Christ, we continue on His path, we become sweeter with His word. “Joy”.

The world is a bitter place. If we are left in our bitterness, it adheres to our souls and if you have ever tasted very bitter or dry wine, then you know what I am talking about. “The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it” Matthew 27:34

When we adhere to the faith, we receive the sacraments and truly live a holy life, we feed on the Word of God, we consume Him and become obedient to Him, our lives become sweeter and the bitterness of the world simply dissolves. Remember the old saying, you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar? When wine turns to vinegar it becomes tart, sour, acidic, harsh.

When wine becomes wine, tasty and palatable, it is corked and saved to be enjoyed at a later date. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 Through confession, the impurities or the bitterness is removed, cleansing the wine into a fragrant bouquet again. Only our Lord can do that… “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

“I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances.” Ezekiel 36:25-27

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Spiritually Blind


Today’s gospel of Jesus healing the blind man was a blatant reminder of my conversion. The spiritual blindness I shared with the actual blind man in this account is stunning.

I can’t help but go into detail….

Gospel, Mark 8:22-26

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought to him a blind man whom they begged him to touch.

23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Then, putting spittle on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked, ‘Can you see anything?’

24 The man, who was beginning to see, replied, ‘I can see people; they look like trees as they walk around.’

25 Then he laid his hands on the man’s eyes again and he saw clearly; he was cured, and he could see everything plainly and distinctly.

26 And Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’

When I hear these words, I see the “Village” as being the world. Or the worldliness of souls. The evil, the sin the decay of the heart. In order to cure the man, Jesus had to take him OUT of the village. The laying of hands and the spittle is an outward sign of what is needed to cure the sick. That tiny amount of spittle, is actually a tsunami of grace from God. When He asked the man “Can you see anything” and the blind man was could only see people as trees, it meant that he did not have his full vision and could not yet understand what Jesus was doing to him.

During this time of my conversion, I was very confused. Having been in the world and understanding things as I did , the wrong way for so long, I could not grasp the reality of what the Holy Spirit was doing to me. I had not yet received the gifts needed to attain understanding. It had only been the first wave of grace and along with it came the test, being, was I going to be worth His time to do this for me. He knew the answer, but I did not. I needed to grow in faith in order to receive the next wave.

“Then he laid his hands on the man’s eyes again and he saw clearly;”

This is the wave of gifts from the Holy Spirit that keep you focused on our Lord. The desire to do His will and let everything you once knew vanish. The giving up of ones self for the sake of the Truth..
When we get to Jesus telling the man, ” And Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’ I can identify with this being a warning. Our Lord had just cleaned this man up and did not want him to fall back into the sinful world. There was nothing worth seeing with his “New Eyes” yet. He needed to grow further in faith and trust in the Lord in order to battle the evil he would be soon seeing when he HAD to go back into the village.

Once your eyes are opened wide, the things you used to do before your conversion become very troublesome. You no longer find comfort in the world you once knew, but can only find comfort in what is good.

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Pruning The Branches


From desolation, comes new growth. Ever seen a vineyard after the harvest, just after all the vines have been pruned back? It’s a sure sign winter is coming. The entire field looks desolate. No greenery, all the fruit has been picked and sent to market or been pressed into wine. The same goes with how our Lord prunes us back. Sometimes He has to cut us all the way back to the spur, in order for a new shoot to emerge in the spring. What He is doing is removing everything in our souls that do not belong there in the first place. Causing the survival instinct to kick in (Fear of the Lord), and grow again, in a different way. A way which will produce the fruit, or good works, which we were intended to produce. Although it seems painful as we go through the dryness, God always assures us, he is in the field, constantly watching and nurturing his little plants.

Throughout the winter, the soul looks at what it used to be and realizes it no longer is that fruitless plant. It is only a pruned stick, but alive, as it is still attached even in the smallest amount, to the true vine.This is repentance. It does not cry for what it was, but rather looks to the spring to bud anew. Desolation in great or small amounts, is not a death sentence from God but rather His tender loving hand, forming the now tiny branch to do what it was intended to do. To grow where He needs it to grow rather than still a wild vine trying to choke out the branches that do produce the sweetest fruit.

Jesus said:
‘I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit
he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already,
by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine,
neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine,
you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty;
for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers;
these branches are collected and thrown on the fire,
and they are burnt.
If you remain in me
and my words remain in you,
you may ask what you will
and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit,
and then you will be my disciples.’
John 15:1-8

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