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Archive for the 'Encouragement' Category

KNOW YOUR GIFT

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

The Mass readings for 11-7-17 have a lot to say. The first one was Romans 12:5-16. It’s a recipe for Christian community. Verses 6-8 speak of the so-called motivational gifts. Every Christian has one dominant gift. It’s the thing we’re best at. It’s the thing that comes easiest to us. It’s the thing we enjoy the most. That’s the area where we should devote most of our time and efforts. That’s how we will contribute most effectively to the Body of Christ.

Our primary gift area may be prophecy. People with that gift are good at speaking the truth, whether popular or not, whether politically correct or not. We need those people. We need to hear them. Some have the motive gift of Christian service. They really love to serve, and they’re good at it. We need them. Some people have the motive gift of teaching. They love studying the word of God and teaching it. They make great teachers and we benefit from their teaching. Some have the gift of exhortation. They always seem to know the right thing to say. They encourage us, support us and build us up. They make good counselors. Some have the gift of giving. They love to give. They’re extremely generous. God often blesses such people with great financial resources so they can use this gift to the fullest. Some have the gift of giving aid. They love to help people who are going through difficult situations. They provide great comfort.  Some have the motive gift of mercy. They manifest God’s love and forgiveness. They show great sympathy and empathy. A Christian community functions best when there are people with each of the motive gifts serving in their particular gift area.

The problem in many churches is that you have a few people trying to do everything. They’re trying to do things that are not within their motive gift area. They’re not really very good at those things and they don’t really enjoy doing them. Meanwhile, there are people in the congregation whose motive gifts are not being used. They would love to minister in those areas and the congregation would greatly benefit from it.

As you read today’s first reading I would encourage you to ask yourself what your motive gift is. Better yet, ask God. Then, seek opportunities to minister in those areas.

The Gospel was Luke 14:15-24. You’ve been invited to the kingdom of God. It’s the most important invitation you’ll ever receive. Make sure you accept it. Some people refuse the invitation. Some ignore it. Some make excuses. But what could be more important than going to heaven? It’s more important than anything on earth. This is the one banquet we can’t afford to miss.

Walk on Water

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 14:22-36.  It’s the story of Peter walking on the water.  I love the image because I can relate to it.  There was a time in my life when I was sort of sinking, but like Peter I cried out “Lord save me”.  Jesus reached out his hand and saved me.  He came into my heart and became my Lord and Savior.  He gave me the gift of eternal life.  As Psalm 40:2 puts it “He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”  Maybe you’ve had a similar experience of the love of God.  I hope so.

Sometimes we’re going along in life and everything seems fine.  But then we hit a bump in the road and we start sinking.  Our faith is challenged.  We may start to doubt.  We may start to fear.  Has that ever happened to you?  Maybe you’re in such a situation now.  Like Peter we can always cry out “Lord save me.”  Jesus will respond as he responded to Peter.  He will reach out his hand and pull us back up.

The Responsorial for today is Psalm 51: 3-7, 12-13.  It ties in somewhat with the Gospel reading because it’s a Psalm of confession and repentance.  That’s what we need to do to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Afflicted but not Crushed

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Today’s Mass readings are very reassuring.  2 Corinthians 4:7-15 tells us that in this lifetime we may be afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and even struck down; but we’ll never be crushed, driven to despair, forsaken or destroyed.  Why?  Because we carry the transcendent power of God within us.  In him and through him we are able to overcome every obstacle.  The life of Jesus is manifested within us.  He who raised Jesus will raise us also and bring us into his presence.  Wow!  That’s good news for these perplexing times isn’t it?

The responsorial is Psalm 126: 1-6.  It’s a prayer for God’s favor.  But also read Psalm 125.  It’s very encouraging.  It assures us that those who trust in the Lord will never be moved.  They will abide forever.  The Lord surrounds his people on all sides.  Those who turn aside and follow crooked ways will be led away with evildoers.  But the scepter of wickedness will never rest upon the land allotted to the righteous. So trust in the Lord.  May our land be righteous so the scepter of wickedness will never rest upon it.  May we never follow crooked ways.

The Gospel reading was Matthew 20:20-28.  Jesus came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as our ransom.  The price for our salvation has been paid.  All we have to do is accept it and receive it.