Monthly Archives: July 2016

When one door is closed…

door-closed-w-little-boyI always love hearing the Gospel reading that was read in yesterday’s mass about Jesus telling us to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9). It is always encouraging to me to hear those words. I’ve always asked a lot of questions and been a big dreamer, even as a child  and especially as an adult (I think that’s why I made a pretty good news reporter years ago!) Yet sometimes, I think I put limits on my asking, seeking, knocking, forgetting that my God is a limitless, all-powerful God who can move mountains if so inclined. And I stay bound in the “chains” I create…self-imposed limits of anxiety, worry, frustration, doubt. Often, I ask once or knock on one door and then, given no immediate answer, I stop knocking, figuring God has enough to worry about, forgetting there may be another door, or to just knock one more time. Yet in the same Gospel reading of Luke in Chapter 11, Jesus also tells us the parable of the man who knocks on his friend’s door asking for bread for another friend who has arrived at his house after a journey, having nothing to give him. The “friend” inside the house doesn’t answer…at first…denying his request. Jesus is portraying God as this “friend,” and goes further to say, “…if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of the friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” Of course God is our best friend…and may deny us the first time. Does that mean we should keep asking/seeking/knocking? Absolutely, according to Jesus. In fact, in the same Gospel chapter, He even gives us the “Our Father” prayer just in case we can’t find the words! And if it’s God’s will, and for our good, and according to His plan, perhaps, in His timing, we shall receive! So let’s pray today we don’t limit ourselves in our asking and that we never give up seeking and knocking!

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Freedom…and Responsibility…to Choose

2016Are you voting in this the 2016 presidential election, or are you already so fed up with politics and the two presidential candidates that you have decided not to bother voting at all? As the Republican National Convention kicks off today in Cleveland, I personally know several people who have already given up on the election in frustration because their candidates aren’t in the running, or they don’t like either of the two who are, or they somehow think it’s a ‘done deal’ – and are not bothering to watch any more media coverage or take any more interest. And I’m reminded of the quote by British philosopher (and supporter of the American Revolution) Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I am also reminded of Jesus’ parable of the bags of gold about the “good and faithful servant,” who took action with the money entrusted to him by investing it and was rewarded, versus the “wicked, lazy servant” who hid the money in the ground and was punished. (Matt 25:14-28). Yes, the political coverage has been so intense for so long that it is easy to feel overwhelmed, jaded, sometimes numb to it. But I challenge you to not hide your head in the sand, but to continue to pray for God to guide your heart in this election, to pray for His Will for America, and to invest, to act, to choose, to use your freedom to be responsible and pay attention to the issues and then to vote. My book The Peace Maker is being republished in September; it is a contemporary political suspense novel based on the story of David and Abigail in the First Book of Samuel about a modern-day US Presidential election much like the one we’re facing today with issues of right to life, stem-cell research, peace in the Middle East and more. The issues, it seems, never go away…we just need to keep fighting for what’s right in God’s eyes and to remember that we are good men and women who need to do something, even if it’s simply to make our voices heard.

 

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Love Thy “Neighbor”

cropped-different-skin-color-hands“And who is my neighbor?” That’s the question the scholar asked Jesus in the Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37)  And that’s the question I think we all must ask ourselves every day. Who is the “neighbor” today who needs my help? Is it a coworker who I don’t particularly like, who’s annoying, but who looks like he or she could use some cheering up? Is it the family member living alone in a senior center who I haven’t seen in ages? Is it a former friend from whom I have turned away who is waiting for me to forgive? Is it the person who’s different from me – who has a different skin color, religion, nationality or social status – but needs a helping hand? For the prophet Jonah, it was the sinners in Nineveh he was called by God to warn to repent; in my new book, The Runaway Prophet based on the Book of Jonah,  the main character Rory Justice is likewise called by his retired FBI father to go out and help the people in Las Vegas…people totally unlike him…prostitutes, addicts, gang members and more.  Of course he doesn’t want to go. I wouldn’t want to go either. Sometimes it’s hard to look beyond the neighbors we regularly see, we wish to see – to really look at the ones we don’t want to see – the poor girl or guy of a different skin color in tattered clothes begging for help in the street. It’s so much easier to keep to ourselves, to walk the other way, like the priest and Levite in the parable did, like Jonah and Rory did, like we all do at times. But you may be the only face of God someone sees today, the only Bible passage someone “reads” today. Today I pray God will open my eyes and help me be less judgmental and more compassionate when it comes to helping others, to truly be a “good Samaritan.” I pray I can love the “neighbor” I least want to love.

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