Devotional Thought for the Day:
24 The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, “Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don’t plant and gather crops where you haven’t scattered seed. 25 I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin!”
26 The master of the servant told him, “You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don’t plant and gather crops where I haven’t scattered seed. 27 You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it.”
28 Then the master said, “Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! †29 Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don’t have anything. 30 You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.” Mt 25:24-30 CEV
Omnia possibilia sunt credenti—“All things are possible for him who believes.” The words are Christ’s. How is it that you don’t say to him with the Apostles: Adauge nobis fidem!—“Increase my faith!”
St Josemaria quotes Jesus, all things are possible, and before we consider the rest of the context our mind is spinning with the possibilities. A home, good friends, a job that is fulfilling, a cure for cancer. Okay, perhaps a moment thinking about winning the lottery or moving to Tahiti (or in my case Ossipee, N.H.) I would want to believe that most of us would use our superpowers for good, and for the good of others, those whom we care about.
But if we take these words of Jesus, and apply them in his parable of the three servants, I wonder how we stand. Are we using what God has entrusted with, specifically in regards to all things being possible, for the greatest possible miracles? Are we depending on His promise to do what people say can’t be done?
And what is that, exactly? What would have the greatest return, given what God has invested in us?
Most of us don’t have God giving us 10,000 or even 1000 gold pieces to create more revenue by investing wisely. But what God gives us to invest is Himself, His love, His mercy, His comfort, the revelation that we dwell in His presence.
How will we use these things, how will we invest them, knowing that all things are possible?
Will we simply sit back, content in our own redemption? We we live a life that is safe, that doesn’t risk what we have? Or will we take a risk, will we try and reach out to those who need to know the mercy and love we have been given? Do we play it safe with the mysteries of God, or do we invest it, knowing that God will amaze us as He redeems and reconciles and heals people?
Wouldn’t the greatest return on investment be the relationship that seemed the least likely to be reconciled? Isn’t that the message of the cross – the worst of wretches (you and I ) given a new life… and the promise of being with Jesus… forever!
As I write this, I can feel some people getting a bit defensive, or wondering whether this is an attempt to motivate you to share your faith, to reach out to your adversaries, using guilt or fear.
Oddly enough, it was that fear and guilt that paralyzed the worthless servant.
The other servants, well they knew a different master, the Master who entrusted to them His treasure so that they could invest it. It is the heart of the very gospel to realize the love of God which would love us, and empower us to share that love with those who are broken. They trusted the Master, more than they trusted themselves, and if He believed in them, He would care for them, and make it work
So who will you invest God’s treasure in today, knowing the return is not up to but rather guaranteed by scripture…..
Lord, increase our faith… in You! And help us invest Your treasure in others! AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought for our seemingly broken days…
Then Moses answered, “What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?” Matthew 4:1 HCSB
15 “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”
17 And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-19 HCSB
216 With God’s grace, you have to tackle and carry out the impossible… because anybody can do what is possible.
I sit here, just finishing my devotional time up, having done the reading, having prayed, and now I try to put what I’ve read into some kind of concrete summation. After that Iw ill try and write a sermon, but to be honest, it is going to be a struggle.
Even writing this is, as I try to think, what will people hear tomorrow, what might they read in this, that will help them know God’s love, know God’s mercy, know His comfort.
Tomorrow is the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Church year, a day when we look at Christ’s second coming, not from the point of judgment, but from the point of the promises given to us in Baptism being fully seen, fully revealed, fully experienced. it supposed to be a joyous celebration, yet my heart will struggle, caught up in what it should be, versus where we are, in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death.
It seems impossible, and I understand how Moses felt, trying to find reasons to no go back to Egypt, to the place of suffering. How will they believe?
And yet, it is the very thing I need to preach, the lesson in my gospel reading this morning, the promise that this valley is not unending, the promise backed up in the very confession of Peter, “you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
There is a lot to unpack in that confession, from Jesus unique role as the Son of God, to what it means to be the Messiah, the One anointed by God to save God’s people. All of God’s people, those the Spirit calls and gathers.
Because of His work, the gates of Hell have been shattered, that the bondage of sin has been cut, that we, in the midst of the shadow of death, can have hope.
God is with us, the promise is complete, even though we don’t see it fully…yet.
That is why we are reminded by Josemaria that we can tackle and carry out the impossible, a reminder I need today, and tomorrow. For it is in knowing God’s grace in the middle of the impossibility, that we realize He is working through us, with us, and it is His word that will make a difference.
That’s what I have to count on tomorrow, and every day until we see the reality of Christ the King is clearly visible. For He is coming, and His Spirit is here, comforting us, reminding us that He is with us, that we aren’t alone.
And because of that, the impossible is not. For we walk with Him. And somehow, others will know this, because our words and lives will testify to His presence.
Lord, have mercy on us. AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 940-942). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
15 Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15 (NJB)
23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24 (NLT)
929 Don’t forget that we will be more convincing the more convinced we are. (1)
I’ve had a task to do, that I am not looking forward to handling. Simply put, there are things we are called to do as believers that are impossible.
This is one of those.
The temptation is to really on our own wisdom, our own strength. To force the issue, to pretend we are God, that all things can be fixed, with the “if only” caveat. That caveat justifies failure, it allows us to walk away without having to admit the failure. It allows us to walk away without feeling disappointment.
That caveat is the seed of our defeat, just like a prenuptial agreement is a danger sign in a marriage, because it leaves open the room for failure, and nearly guarantees it will happen. It puts the success or failure somewhere besides making us responsible for it, and therefore leaves out the one crucial ingredient for success. The one ingredient? Oh, you want to know what it is?
Jesus makes it known in the 2nd quote above. If you believe, if you trust in God, if you know His heart well enough to base your life on it, even risk your life on it.
To which the man cries out a Kyrie Eleison – Lord have mercy – help me when I cannot trust.
Depend on Him. That sounds simple, but it isn’t. We have to know His desire, we have to understand the effort God will put into keeping his promises. We have to realize the depth of His love. We have to know it – deeply in order to trust in it, even as this man had to trust that Jesus could heal his son.
It isn’t easy – but we can pray, we can communicate our need for something to booster our faith, we can admit we need His help – even to trust.
But when we do, patience comes naturally, peace flows, the impossible seems be have cracks of God’s probability shine through. We realize we can wait for it to happen, we realize that God will make all things work for good, we realize the power of mercy and forgiveness.
And we trust in His presence to make all the difference, and it does.
For He has promised – and He is faithful.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 3775-3776). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Occasionally in the life of a pastor (or priest for my RCC friends) you come across a situation that is so far beyond what you’ve been taught to deal with in seminary or pastor’s conferences. Your heart and soul twists and turns as you think about how you will deal with it, and how in the world the situation will be seen in the promise we share with everyone else….
“We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. 29 Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the first among many believers. 30 And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.”
Romans 8:28-30 (TEV)
The situations we find ourselves in have nothing glorious, nothing good it seems, and we are hard pressed to not consider the situation “unredeemable”.
Yet we have a God, who in that passage promises redemption, for H has called us to Him, He has set us apart – and He will make it right. We have the challenge of trusting Him in that, to rest assured that He is God, and that He can do what we consider impossible, including redeeming that which seems unredeemable. Forgiving and making right that which seems to dark, too evil, and causes to much despair.
He has promised to make it right, to make it good. ( I can’t but help hear that as “guuuuuuddd’ as in Jim Carrey and Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty”
So it figures, as I face a situation that isn’t completely unredeemable, but still weighs heavily on my mind… at the end of my devotions I come across this:
218 Get rid of that human prudence which makes you so very cautious, so—sorry to be so blunt!—cowardly. Let us not be narrow-minded. Let us not be infantile men or women, who are nearsighted and lack a supernatural breadth of vision…! Could we be working for ourselves? Of course not! Well then, let us say quite fearlessly: Dearest Jesus, we are working for you, and… are you going to deny us the material means we need? You know full well how worthless we are; still, I would not treat a servant working for me in that way… Therefore, we hope and are sure you will give us all we need to be able to serve you. (1)
And He will, He has promised. The situation will be resolved – by Him, not by us, though perhaps through us. THough there are times where we have to cry, “Lord, I believe, but help me in my unbelief!”
We have to remember – we’ve asked – “Lord have mercy” – now let us act trusting He has!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 944-951). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Discussion/Devotional thought for this day…
We each have them, people in our lives who are challenging to be around, yet we are not just called to be around them, but to love as well.
Matter of fact, we would consider it down-right impossible to love, and when we get to the part of the Lord’s prayer that says. forgive us our sins as we forgive… our hearts and throats get a lump in them. Never mind when the pastor quotes 1 John 4 in a sermon,
4:20 Anyone who says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20 (NJB)
The strength to love these, who are often the least of, (not that they think they are.. but as those unloved.. they are!) has to be something that is generated by supernatural means, our own hearts are too fragile, our wills to weak. One of my favorite authors puts it this way… it will take sacrifice, it will take.. incredible love.. the kind that we barely even know, the will to sacrifice we’ve only begun to comprehend…
One of my favorite authors puts it this way…
“Haven’t you gone against your own preference, your whims, some time, in something? You must realise that the One who asks you is nailed to a Cross, suffering in all his senses and faculties, with a crown of thorns on his head… for you.” (Escriva,)
We all, at sometime in our lives, have found the discipline, the will to accomplish something – a school project, a athletic endeavor, an attempt to learn something new..
This will take more concentration though, and concentration on the One who asks you to love, to love as completely as He does… and did. For we know the result.. the blessing isn’t just peace between your adversary and yourself, but within the family of God. It is looking to Him, finding our inspiration, our power, the love we need….
then, transformed by His love…
you can love… even the unlovable…
for they aren’t you know – the one who loved you from the cross… loves them as well!
Lord Have mercy we cry… and we know.. He has!