Unfailing Love

The Shepherd and Guardian of our Souls – First Reading of the Solemnity of Christ the King

The Shepherd and Guardian of our Souls – First Reading of the Solemnity of Christ the King

Jesus is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. In him, in his living presence with us even now, all the affirmations of Psalm 23 become incarnate and are fulfilled. The Lord Jesus is our Shepherd and we shall not want. Jesus makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters. Jesus restores our soul. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus is with us, comforting us with his rod and staff. And, because of him, we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This is no wishful thinking; it is the experience and sure hope of untold multitudes of those who, over the last two thousand years, have heard and recognized the Shepherd’s voice and followed Him.

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A Hope That Doesn’t Disappoint – Second Reading for the Solemnity of All Souls

A Hope That Doesn’t Disappoint – Second Reading for the Solemnity of All Souls

There is something truly powerful about reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness when we least feel it, or being determined to have an “attitude of gratitude” for God’s blessings even when they seem scarce. It is neither escapism nor the power of positive thinking. It is simply reminding ourselves that the deepest reality of all is God and His love for us. It is only as we do this that we grow stronger in our hope.

Whatever it takes, hold on to hope for “Those who trust in Him will not be disappointed.” (Isaiah 49:23)

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Not Fair – First Reading of the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Not Fair – First Reading of the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Fairness would only demand that the wicked are punished and the righteous rewarded, each for their own behavior. However, with God, “if the wicked should turn away from all their sin… and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live.”(v. 21) Not only is he not unfair, he is gracious, merciful, and forgiving. As he says in the last verse of this chapter, “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord. Turn then, and live”(v.32)

…God not fair? Of course he is! Fair and more. God is love.”

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What Wondrous Love – Gospel for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

What Wondrous Love – Gospel for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

We must begin with wonder and awe, such as that captured beautifully in the Great American Folk Hymn we all know so well:

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

And then we must order our lives wholly and completely to the humility we see exemplified in Christ’s work on the cross, and the love that is poured out through it. After all, if God has not spared his most precious Son out of love for us, is there anything he won’t do for us? (Romans 8:31-32) And is there anything that we should ever withhold from him? God’s love revealed on the Cross was the basis of Paul’s confident hope in the face of “hardship, distress, persecution, famine nakedness, peril or the sword” that “nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Should it not be ours as well?

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Embracing the Cross – Gospel for the Twenty Second Week in Ordinary Time

Embracing the Cross – Gospel for the Twenty Second Week in Ordinary Time

…Peter out of love wants Jesus to avoid the cross; Jesus out of love calls Peter to follow him to the cross:

“There are times when fond love seeks to deflect us from the perils of the path of God; but the real love is not the love which holds the knight at home, but the love that sends him out to obey the commandments of the chivalry which is given, not to make life easy, but to make life great” (Barclay 149)

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Determined to Hope – First Reading of the Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Determined to Hope – First Reading of the Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah’s call was indeed difficult, and there was not a prophet in all of Israel who was clearer in expressing the pain and the weight of grief he experienced as a result of that call. But his obedience to that call was no mere resolution to a life of suffering at the hands of cruel God who would use Jeremiah at his own expense. It was an obedience ultimately founded on the determination to continue hoping in the great faithfulness and the steadfast love of the Lord who never fails to provide new mercies every morning to those who will seek him.

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The Source of All Things – Second Reading of the Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Source of All Things – Second Reading of the Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are told that if we seek our own well-being and order or lives to suit our own bald ambitions, we will find life to the fullest, but in fact the contrary is true. Not only do we have no right to jealously guard our possessions against the wellbeing of others or the glory of God (for we are but stewards), but experience shows that those who do so end up living a diminished, fear-filled existence. They are the Gollums of the world. Life itself can only be found to the fullest when it is surrendered in trust to the God from whom it comes, for He is the Lord of Life. The same Lord who came that we might have life and have it in abundance also said that those who love their life will lose it and called each of His followers to take up their cross and follow Him.

Indeed, it is only through the cross that we have the hope of sharing in His divine life.

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Undaunted Hope – Gospel Reading for the Twentieth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Undaunted Hope – Gospel Reading for the Twentieth Sunday In Ordinary Time

We all know from personal experience what it is like to go through trials in which our faith is tested and our prayers seem to be met with either silence or rejection by God. Can we, however, respond as she in the midst of these trials? Will we choose to persist in determined hope in his unfailing love or will we allow the silence to drown out this hope? And are we willing to humble ourselves before Jesus in our supplication? Or are our prayers infested with pride and entitlement? Make no mistake, her persistence had nothing to do with entitlement and everything to do with her deep hope in His love and mercy. And that hope was not disappointed.

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An Enduring Love, an Irrevocable Call – Second Reading for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

An Enduring Love, an Irrevocable Call – Second Reading for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I love how Paul’s extraordinary heart and mind pour through these words. You can almost see a little twinkle in his eye as he writes “life from the dead”, for is that not the very hope on which Christianity is founded: that death is no longer the final enemy and has been ultimately defeated through Christ’s own sacrificial death and resurrection? “Death, where is thy sting? Grave where is thy victory?” he writes elsewhere tauntingly.

Death, in the end, is no match for the redeeming power and love our Lord.

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Hope In the Midst of the Storm – Gospel Reading for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hope In the Midst of the Storm – Gospel Reading for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

It is difficult for any of us to keep our eyes trained on Christ in the midst of the storm. In truth, we cannot do so in our own strength. But by His grace we can trust that even when we fail to do so perfectly, the same hand that was immediately stretched out to Peter the moment he cried for help will also be stretched out to us. May we also become that hand of love and grace for others in the midst of their storms.

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