Monday, September 26, 2011

good works

Recently it seems like I have been hearing the same thing over and over again.

All Jesus wanted us to do was love others.
Jesus just wants us to do good works like he did.
As long as you are a good person, you don't need all the 'stories' from the bible.
I seem to be hearing these kinds of messages everywhere. And then I read Matthew 25:34-36. 
Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'
This passage seems to be saying that it is your good works that get you into heaven.  He says nothing about their dogma or what their theory of God is.  They did good works so they are blessed.
So what does this mean?  It doesn't matter if we believe in God?  It doesn't matter if we pray or participate in mass?  It doesn't matter if we are Christian?  As long as we love and serve others we are all set?

Well I know that this is not exactly true so I had to read farther.  I started reading "Credo for Today" by Pope Benedict XVI.  He does stress the importance of love.  In his first chapter he states that love is enough.  but then he goes on to explain that we alone as humans can not love perfectly and will always fall short.  

This is why we need faith.

Dear Lord, Help me to love and serve others but never loose sight of you.

Joining up with Jen in the Soli Deo Gloria link up.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Loving your neighbor

As Christians we all know that we love God.  We pray to God, we worship God, we serve God and we love God.

We know we are also called to love our neighbor.  We are called to do both, love God and love our neighbor. 

This morning homily was based on the gospel reading from Matthew 21: 28-32.  The deacon discussed the fact that the chief priests where more interested in keeping the laws of the Lord then showing compassion for the people.  They saw their first priority as loving God but Jesus teaches us to show compasion and love for our neighbors as well.  

So which should we place first in our lives?  My deacon stated it very simply 

"We cannot love God without loving our neighbor"

We don't choose one or the other.  If we are showing hate or cruelty to our neighbor we are not loving God.  It is that simple. 

This means that even when our neighbor is sinning or acting in a way that hurts God we must still love them.  This is something that is very hard to do when we are trying to love God.  

Dear Lord, Help me to love all my neighbors regardless of their actions or beliefs.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Psalm 33 :10-11

Psalm 33:10-11
The Lord foils the plan of nations,
frustrates the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the Lord stands forever,
wise designs through all generations.

Things are constantly changing.  Our nation's leadership changes every few years with the results of the elections.  The entire governments of many countries change.  Society's view on many moral and social issues have changed over the past decades.  The structure of my family has changed over the past few years as me and my siblings grow up and moved away from home.  My day to day life has changed over the past few years as I graduated college, got a job and got married.  Each year the seasons change bringing about the end of summer and the start of a new school year.  

Everything is changing.  

But one thing always stays the same, the Lord.

We know that the love of the Lord and his teachings will stand forever.  The teachings of the Catholic Church will stand forever.  Not because they are stubborn and unwilling to adapt for new times but because they are wise and perfect for all generations.  The teachings of Jesus are not meant to be changed to fit with the current times but to withstand the changing generations.  They are meant to be a steadfast truth through changing generations.  Amid all the changing that we experience in our world, our nation, our family and within ourselves it is comforting to know that one thing will always stay the same.

It is amazing to think that such a plan could be created that would be so perfect as to withstand the true test of time.

Dear Lord, Help those who are struggling with change to find comfort in the unchanging love of the Lord.

Joining up with Jen in the Soli Deo Gloria link up.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today's first reading was about forgiveness:
Sirach 28: 2
Forgive your neighbor's injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.

The gospel was also about forgiveness:
Matthew 18: 21-23
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. 

We also pray about forgiveness every time we pray the Lord's prayer
"And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us."

My priest started off mass by remembering in a special way those who lost their lives 10 years ago and then he stated that by coincidence today's reading were to be about forgiveness.  This seems to me like a perfect theme for today's readings and for our lives today.

We know that we are supposed to forgive those who sin against us.  
We know this is what the Lord teaches us to do.

But what is forgiveness?  
I know a lot of things that forgiveness is not.  It does not mean that you have to forget about what they did.  It does not mean that you condone their action.  It does not mean that you have to reconcile with them or like them.

So what does it mean to forgive?

I know that when I have an argument with my husband I always for give him but I also try to forget about and move past the disagreement and we reconcile with each other.  In this sense I know what forgiveness is but I feel that that this more then just forgiveness.  This is not the kind of forgiveness that the Lord teaches us to give to all those who sin against us.
What about those who caused so many people so much pain and suffering 10 years ago?  I know I am supposed to forgive them but this does not mean that I have to forget about what they did.  This does not mean that I have to reconcile with them.  I can say that I forgive them but I'm not sure what that means.  

Does anyone have any suggestions about what it means to truly forgive your enemies?  

I will try to read more about this and write a follow up post so but I would also love to hear your ideas. 

Dear Lord,  I pray for those who lost their lives 10 years ago; the victims, the rescuers and the attackers and all their families and friend's who's lives will never be the same.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making time

It seems like my past few days have been on fast-forward and I don't have enough time to get done what I need to get done let alone what I would like to get done.  This situation always seems to leave very little time for prayer.  In times like these I have to remember what I friend of mine always says

Make time for God and he will make time for everything else.

This is so important for us to remember as other less important events seem to take over our lives.

Dear Lord, Help me to make time for you.

Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria