Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where two or three...

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Matthew 18:20

There is such comfort in that promise from Jesus, but there is also a great responsibility! Where two or three gather there is sometimes a tendency to gossip or say unkind thing about others, isn't there? It just dawned on me for the first time after so many readings of this Gospel, that, just as Jesus accompanies us as we gather in prayer, Jesus also accompanies us as we gather to share. So, what are we sharing?  Let's do a little self-check to make sure we're comfortable with Jesus hearing what we say to each other! And, speaking of gathering with two or three others, I am headed off to the SCL Mother House for an exciting gathering--a Teilhard de Chardin retreat culminating in the solar eclipse on Monday. I know, I can hardly believe it myself! I will get a chance to see dear friends, visit sacred spaces there at the Mother House in Kansas, and learn about the mysticism of Teilhard de Chardin...all fabulous gifts! I will return next week with newly gleaned wisdom (I hope and pray!)  Be careful watching the eclipse, Friends, I love you as friends and readers, but don't want you as clients! Love, heidi

Monday, August 14, 2017

Befriend the stranger...

"So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt."
Deuteronomy 10: 19

Moses reminds his people to love those in their midst who are strangers in their land. He reminds us, too. We are to love them as God loves them, and show that by feeding and clothing them (v. 18). We are not to throw rocks at them, kick them out, disparage them or make them feel unwelcome in any way. Why do we need reminders of this in the 21st century? Jesus was drawn to the outsider, the despised, those on the fringe. Jesus made them the heroes and heroines of his stories, to show us that we are all glorious in the eyes of God. So who are we to divide and align? Our saint today, St. Maximillian Kolbe, gave his life in love for others at Auschwitz. The lives he touched by giving of himself were likely not people of his own religion, country of origin, or culture. They were more than likely strangers to him before they were all imprisoned together. St. Maximillian served people who started out as strangers to him, and yet he sacrificed for them; in one case, he gave his own life for another. That is what Jesus said is the greatest sacrifice ever. Today, as we think about St. Maximillian Kolbe, what can we do to sacrifice for another? Let them cut into line in front of us?  Pay for someone's coffee or lunch behind us? Hold our tongue from gossip or unkind speech? Speak positive words of life to encourage others and lift them up? Let's go out of our way, today, Friends to be beacons of God's love to others...ALL others! Love, heidi

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bring our best!

"Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work."
2 Corinthians 9:8

Boy, that's a relief! There are times I really feel inadequate for the task at hand.  Even though I have done this kind of work (Blind Rehabilitation) for a long time, there are constantly new challenges and difficulties that just stump me. It's not a perfect learning curve where you get better at it the longer you do it. It sometimes seems the more I do it the less I know!  Anyway, faced with a powerful feeling of falling short, this reading reassures me that whatever I bring to the task, God multiplies. I don't have all the answers or perfect methods, but God can complete and fill in the gaps to help me serve others.  What I can bring is a heart for helping and desire to serve. God appreciates that and can pick up the ball from there.  Today, if we are challenged with a difficult task, let's not forget to call in our best resource! And let's not be daunted by what we feel we can't do or don't know. Let's bring our best to the job for God to multiply. Love, heidi

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Love bigger

"The fierceness of love invites, even insists, that we abandon any smallness of vision and embrace the new--the new idea or understanding, and most especially, the new person."
Sr. Pat Kozak, Give Us This Day

In her reflection on today's Gospel of Jesus and the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28), Sr. Pat reminds us that love always grows out, bigger, more inclusive. Love doesn't grow smaller, extended to fewer people. Love does not exclude. The Kingdom of God isn't an exclusive country club where just a few participate. Jesus seemed a bit taken aback by the Canaanite woman who insisted he reach beyond those he thought he came to serve. The faith of the woman stretched Jesus further, beyond just those of the Jewish faith. Can we stretch further today? Can we reach beyond our own comfort zones, extending our love further than just the folks we already love? Can we love further and further out from ourselves and our own little groups? Love is bigger than what we think. Love includes the new person, the new idea, the new understanding. Jesus recognized the woman's faith and praised it, "O woman, great is your faith!" (v. 28) Can we be open to God nudging us to love bigger?  Love, heidi

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jesus bending toward us

"But Jesus came and touched them, saying, 'Rise, and do not be afraid.'"
Matthew 17:7

I was touched when I pictured Jesus reaching down and touching the disciples during yesterday's Gospel, for remember they had fallen "prostrate and were very much afraid." (v. 6) It just goes to show us that Jesus meets us exactly where we are, whether it is flat on our faces, or upright but running away. Jesus tenderly and lovingly beckons us, reassures us and lifts us up to new heights. In today's Gospel on Pray-As-You-Go (they had a different one than here in the US), Jesus reassures the shivering disciples in the boat, "Be not afraid!" (Matthew 14:27) He meets the fearful fellows tossed around at sea and beckons them to relax, fear not, "It is I." Today as we go about our August Monday, there may be situations that send us reeling in fear. Or we may just have a normal Monday (which would be preferable to the folks "reeling from fear"!). However our day unfolds, let's remember Jesus who bends down to meet us, wherever we are, and touches us gently. "Be not afraid   It is I."  Love, heidi