Cut it Down or Show Mercy?

02/28/2016

When you’re in trouble, when you cause trouble, you can still count on God’s mercy. My thoughts on tying these ideas to the Sunday readings for the Third Week of Lent. And a quick #dadupdate

Here’s the video:

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

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Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

05/29/2015

“I WANT IT!”

How many times have you been in a store and heard something like that? Probably a bratty little kid being coddled by Mommy or Daddy.

And we get annoyed.

And we know the little brat is going to get their way. Right?

Never stop asking. Never stop believing. Be persistent.

Well, somebody a lot cooler than us once said

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  –  Matthew 7:7

… so maybe the little brat is onto something.

We frequent the United Center on Chicago’s west side for a Blackhawks game or two every… now and then… and there are usually a handful of people lining the sidewalks asking for money, jingling some coins in a plastic cup, arm outstretched, maybe not asking but implying. Some of these folks appear needier than others.

But they all persist. They are not deterred by those who walk by without filling the cup.

A miserable beggar annoyed a lot of people who followed Jesus, too.

Bartimaeus, who we’re told was blind, sat by the roadside begging (Mark 10:46) as Jesus left Jericho. Many in the crowd told him to shut up. He was as annoying as the little brat squawking at Mommy in the grocery cart.

But the guy who is a lot cooler under duress than we are wasn’t perturbed by the whiny blind dude.

Jesus stopped and said “Call him.” – Mark 10:49a

Oh my God! He’s going to try to rationalize with the little brat!

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” – Mark 10:51a

I knew it. These brats always get what they want.

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” – Mark 10:51b

Persistence.

Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. – Mark 10:52

What do these little brats know that we don’t?

Probably nothing.

They’re just not afraid to ask.

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Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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God, Do You Really Understand?

05/05/2015

One of our friends — a rabid Blackhawks fan — had open heart surgery several weeks ago and started cardiac rehab.

Boom!

Out of the blue, he got seriously ill last week. It has been touch and go.

His girlfriend, Laura, has been keeping that agonizing vigil at his hospital bedside.

After Bill was hospitalized, Laura’s mom broke her hip. Her mom has been in ICU in a different hospital.

Laura had a painful knee injury not too long ago and has been convalescing.

Now she is the caregiver.

And being pulled in different directions.

Life has a way of getting in the way of our peace and happiness.

Just ask St. Paul and St. Barnabas and the other disciples who were sharing the Good News in Lystra.

… some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds.  They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. – Acts 14:19

That was the thanks Paul got for sharing the Good News.

Jesus tells the disciples in today’s Gospel

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27

Peace? God, how can we be at peace with all of the turmoil in our lives?

We can’t do it alone. We need our friends, definitely. But even they are not enough. In the dark emptiness of our most troubled thoughts, where our friends can’t go, we need more.

Life is not lived without suffering.

God sent an angel to ask an ordinary young lady to do an extraordinary thing.

He asked Mary to bear the burden of pregnancy, to give birth to His Son. To allow her offspring to be tortured, reviled, and killed. To bear our suffering and bring us peace.

There’s only one way out of this life. And it usually involves some sort of pain.

God knew that. And Jesus was His answer. Without the promise of eternal life, this life can seem like a cruel joke.

St. Faustina says in her diary (1570)

“… all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery…

… do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O Lord, (you) are acquainted with our misery through and through…”

Tuesdays and Fridays are traditionally the days we rosary-praying types reflect on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, when we recall Christ’s passion and death, from the Garden of Gethsemane to His crucifixion on Calvary.

To help me stay focused on saying the rosary as I go about my morning routine, I regularly listen to rosaries led by Father Patrick Peyton, who came to be known as “The Rosary Priest.” There is a wonderful YouTube version of the Sorrowful Mysteries in which Father Peyton chose the theme of Loneliness.

Jesus was very familiar with the temptations, hard choices, sufferings, and sorrows of human life. He knew abandonment in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Apostles couldn’t stay awake to pray with Jesus and when the soldiers came for Him, they fled. Jesus saw how the women along the long route to Calvary wept for him and in His weakness, He comforted them. And on Calvary, Jesus felt abandoned by His Father, yet he continued to pray.

Our road may not be as physically painful as the road to Calvary. Or it might. But there is a journey we all have to take to get to Heaven. Some of us will suffer for a long time. Some of us will suffer through the pain and suffering of a loved one, maybe more than one at the same time.

Some of us will suffer loss long before our life’s journey has ended. Loss hurts. Loss of a parent or a child. The pain of divorce or the end of a relationship. Financial hardship. Humiliation. Legal troubles. Unemployment. Feelings of inadequacy.

The list is long. Life isn’t perfect.

When we suffer, we ask friends and family to pray. Sometimes they’re available to physically comfort us. Or to sit and talk with us.

If they’re not, rely on prayer. Rely on Jesus. And yes, rely on Mary. Just as you would ask a friend to pray for you, why wouldn’t you ask the mother of Jesus to pray for you, to intercede on your behalf to her Son?

Mary has no divine power. But she has a special relationship with the Divine, doesn’t she?

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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What Have You Got to Lose?

04/22/2015

(I finished yesterday’s post on the way to the United Center in Chicago for the Blackhawks Stanley Cup playoff game against Nashville. Traffic was awful. I had plenty of red lights and stopped traffic to get it done.

I almost finished before I had to leave the house. But one thought needed to be clarified and I still had to “edit.”

I clarified the thought and tried to edit, but it was nigh impossible on the phone browser, so I made the executive decision to hit Publish. Someone much smarter than I once said “done is better than perfect.”

It’s a good thing I did. The game was intense and didn’t end until 1:20 AM. That minor detail presented its own set of issues today.)

Anyway, that’s besides the point. But it sure was fun. Go Hawks!

Now for today’s thought.

What have you got to lose?

St. Stephen (yesterday’s 3rd week of Easter reading) was stoned to death for calling out the shortcomings and failings of his Jewish brethren. Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 8:1b-8) follows Stephen’s death. After his friends bury him, the Apostles boldly preach about Jesus and have enough faith to heal people in His name.

Stephen’s loss — his earthly existence — was the gain of many. The number of believers was growing exponentially.

Today is a feast day for the Jesuits (Feast of Our Lady, Mother of the Society). EWTN’s Gospel was from John, the wedding feast at Cana.

Mary tells Jesus the hosts have run out of wine. Jesus tells her “my time has not yet come.” Mary simply trusts and tells the servants to listen to whatever Jesus tells them.

What does she have to lose?

In today’s Easter weekday Gospel (John 6:35-40), Jesus tells the crowds He is the Bread of Life. He tells them that whoever believes in Him will never thirst. Everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.

Do you believe?

Why not?

What have you got to lose?

What if I’m completely wrong? What if eternal life is bullhooey? What if we die and we turn to dust and that’s it? Do you get to take any of the spoils of this life with you?

Well, you could… but would it matter when you crumpled to dust?

Even if you go to heaven (better stated, when you go to heaven), you don’t get to take any of your ‘stuff’ with you there, either.

What if I’m right and there is a heaven? What have you got to lose by believing?

Jesus promises you He won’t reject you if you come to Him. He says that He cannot lose anything (or anyone) given to Him.

What have you got to gain?

I’ll let you contemplate and answer.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


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