For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.

What is your call in life?  What is my call in life?  As a Christian man (and woman), our call should be the same.  We are to bring the good news of Christ – the He became man, dwelt among us, cured the sick, forgave the sinner, was crucified and hung on the Cross for expiation of our sins, died for us, rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God.  Pretty simple stuff eh.  If only.  Today we celebrate how coming into the Light of Christ is so powerful and can literally change the world.  Today Mother Church celebrates the Conversion of Paul the Apostle.

Saul was a fierce man AGAINST the new WAY…

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.

But then the light of Christ surrounded him…

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

Saul gave himself fully to his conversion.  Paul received the light of Christ and went on to preach the Good NEWS…

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

We have ALL been called to that same conversion.  I believe that is the point of our Gospel this morning, taken from the conclusion of Mark’s Gospel – the Good News.  And as you’ll see, it isn’t just Mark that ends his Gospel in this manner, but Matthew, Luke and John too…

from Mark:  Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.

from Matthew:  Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 h Go, therefore,* and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  20 i teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.* And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” 

from Luke:  Then he led them [out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them.51 As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven .52 They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,d 53 and they were continually in the temple praising God.

from JohnThen he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”28* q Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”29 * Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?r Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Conclusion.*30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book. s31 But these are written that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.t

Do something great for our Lord today – proclaim His Good News to anyone and everyone.  Blessed are you who have not seen and believe.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Have mercy on me, O God; have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. In the shadow of your wings I take refuge, till harm pass by.

Today’s responsorial psalm really hit home for me.  I have been praying for a number of close family and friends who now battle daily with cancer.  In addition to that, a couple of priests whom we know are facing the death of their fathers.  I have learned that in times of stress, in times of sorrow the best place to turn is to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and our heavenly Father.  They are the source and summit of all graces.  Today and everyday I will offer a pray for those I know who are facing their illness’ and death and pray that they too look to our Triune God to pull them through.

Psalm 57

1 For the director. Do not destroy.* A miktam of David, when he fled from Saul into a cave.a

I

2 Have mercy on me, God,

have mercy on me.

In you I seek refuge.

In the shadow of your wings* I seek refuge

till harm pass by.b

3 I call to God Most High,

to God who provides for me.

4 May God send help from heaven to save me,

shame those who trample upon me.

May God send fidelity and mercy.

Selah

5 I must lie down in the midst of lions

hungry for human prey.c

Their teeth are spears and arrows;

their tongue, a sharpened sword.d

6 Be exalted over the heavens, God;

may your glory appear above all the earth.e

II

7 They have set a trap for my feet;

my soul is bowed down;

They have dug a pit before me.

May they fall into it themselves!f

Selah

8 My heart is steadfast, God,

my heart is steadfast.

I will sing and chant praise.g

9 Awake, my soul;

awake, lyre and harp!

I will wake the dawn.*h

10 I will praise you among the peoples, Lord;

I will chant your praise among the nations.i

11 For your mercy towers to the heavens;

your faithfulness reaches to the skies.j

12 Exalt yourself over the heavens, God;

may your glory appear above all the earth.

Do something great for our Lord today, join me in my prayer for my friends and family; join in prayer for your friends and family.  Pray that God’s will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

Today is a very somber day for many of us…

Jan 22, 1973 · Roe v. Wade was a landmark legal decision issued on January 22, 1973, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the United States.

It was hard to swallow as a 8 year old and its still a bitter pill to swallow 47 years later.  I’m not going to use this post today to offer arguments that will sway those who support this law; I would rather use this post as a way for those who read this post to spend some quiet time reflecting on this law – whether you are for it or against it.  Follow this link here to find a day full of Scripture readings that are offered for us to read and reflect on.  If you do two of these an hour, it will be a nice way to quietly spend the day thinking about God – the Creator of Life and the Author of Love.

Do something great for our Lord today – spend some quiet time in awe of His love for you; in awe of His love for us; in awe of His love for the innocent.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

From Jeremiah 1:

4 The word of the LORD came to me:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

before you were born I dedicated you,

a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.

This blog is basically based on my thoughts as I wake up each morning and reflect on life in general.  I try to tie in the days scripture readings to show that the word of God is living and effective even to this day.  Today won’t be my thoughts, but the thoughts of those who God chose to write to us and inspire us in the Holy Bible.  I found them rather profound this morning.  I am attaching various quotes from both Today’s Readings and the alternate readings for St. Agnes.

“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.

“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.

Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.

Remain in my love, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

If you read my post yesterday, you see that I know many people who are battling cancer.  I know many of you know many more people who are fighting this battle for life too.  If you know someone or you are the person who is in this fight, I’m going to post a site here that you can hyperlink to if you so desire.  The site is called Cancer Companions.  This site was started by Karen Tripp.  It just so happens that the name Tripp is my daughter’s married name.  Coincidence? Nope, because the site was founded by my daughter’s mother in law.  They have an annual event coming up called 30 Days of Cancer Prayer that will start on January 26th.  For those of you who are battling this illness and for those of you who are supporting a loved one in the battle, you may find some comfort and help with these 30 days of prayer.  Don’t miss the live webcast on January 26th.

Do something great for our Lord today – find His words to be living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

 

To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

As the promise of each new year rolls around, we are excited about the promise of what the future can bring for us.  And sometimes with that excitement, we can experience challenges too.  Sometimes those challenges can be daunting.  With that in mind, I want to ask that you pray for the following people who are now facing some daunting challenges.  I will only use first names for this in order to protect their privacy  I ask that you not only pray the person but for their families as well.  The response psalm this morning tells us that the upright will be shown the saving power of God.  I can assure the people on this list are the definition of upright – there are no “cragle’s” on this list.

David – Cancer; Jeff – Cancer; Marc – Cancer; Ellen – Cancer; Jackie – Cancer; John – Type 1 Diabetes; Sandy – Cancer; Cheri – Cancer; Teresa – Cancer.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

And I ask you to pray for the following couples who are expecting children in the near future…

Jerome and Megan – #2

Cecilia and Garrett – #1

Tim and Taylor – #1

Joseph and Logan – #2

Lord Jesus, I lovingly pray for this sweet hope
that I keep within my womb.
You have granted me the immense gift
of a tiny little life,
living in my own life,
and I humbly thank you for choosing me
as an instrument of your love.
In this sweet waiting,
help me to live in a constant attitude
of self-surrender to your will.

Grant me a motherly heart that is pure,
steadfast and generous.
I hand over to you my own concerns;
any anxious fears that may come,
my own wishes for the little person
that I still have no knowledge of.
Grant that it may be born healthy in body,
keep far from it every peril to its soul.

Mary, you have known
the ineffable joy of a holy motherhood;
give me a heart that can transmit an ardent, living
faith.
Sanctify my waiting,
bless this joyful hope that is in me,
grant that the fruit of my womb
may open out in virtue
and in holiness through your working
with that of your divine Son.

Amen.

Dear Lord! Fill our parents with Thy choicest blessings;
enrich their souls with Thy holy grace;
grant that they may faithfully
and constantly guard that likeness to Thy union with Thy Church,
which Thou didst imprint upon them on their wedding day.
Fill them with Thy spirit of holy fear,
which is the beginning of wisdom;
inspire them to impart it to their children.
May they ever walk in the way of Thy commandments,
and may we their children be their joy on earth
and their crown of glory in heaven.
Finally, Lord God, grant that both our father and mother
may attain to extreme old age
and enjoy continuous health in mind and body.
May they give Thee abundant thanks
because Thou bast bestowed upon them the great gift of parenthood.

Do something great for our Lord today – offer up your prayers for those in need.  Be that channel of peace and a source of strength they will need in the challenges they are facing.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if you wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Jesus was known to drop “a line” or two throughout the Gospels.  Today is a good example.  “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.”  Jesus just had the perfect touch of sometimes overstating the obvious to prove a point to those who couldn’t see His vision.  You might say He was the first Caption Obvious.  I think a lot of people try to be that way, but unlike Christ, we haven’t perfected the perfect method of delivering that one line.  I am the perfect example of this.

Sometimes my wit and my humor don’t accomplish the goal I had in mind when the “joke” comes to mind, which is to make people laugh.  Laughter is good.  Maybe it’s in the way I deliver the joke.  My first example goes back years ago when I was working in Decatur, IL.  Whenever there was a birthday, a wedding or even when someone was sick, I would write a rhymy poem, start with a sentimental statement and turn it into a crass little one-liner.  I would hand make the card and everyone in the office would sign it and then we would give it to the person whose birthday, wedding, etc. it was.  People in the office loved it and looked forward to getting those cards – they even nicked -named them “Jerrymarks”.  Then came the card that ended all of this.  Someone had been sick for a couple of days and wasn’t in the office, so the request came for a “jerrymark”.  I wrote on the front of the card “We understand you’re not feeling well these days…“.  On the inside was written “So I guess you want us to feel sorry for you...”  Everyone signed it; we put it in an envelope and her best friend from the office brought it to her.  All was going to be right in the world, the card that everyone signed would be just the touch of love that she needed to boost her spirits and get her back to work.  Two problems.  First, she was in the hospital (and not at home) which we didn’t know.  Second, she in the hospital for a nervous breakdown, which we didn’t know.  What was meant to be a sign of love, albeit a sarcastic one, was unfortunately not received that way.  When she finally came back to work a few weeks later, I apologized and she graciously accepted the apology.  I’ve not written a card like that since.

The last example i will offer happened the day after my son Jerome’s wedding.  Sarah and I were having breakfast at the Kolache Factory after 7:30 AM Mass and our daughter Cecilia was with us.  She had just found out that her husband Garrett’s family came over on the Mayflower.  Wow, that’s a coincidence because the Dorhauer line can be traced back to John Howland – who came over on the Mayflower.  Well it turns out that her husband Garrett’s family can be traced back to none other than John Howland too – what a small world we live in.  So I came up with some elaborate text message and immediately sent it to my brothers, sister and Aunt about how what a dark day it was…to make a long story short, it was sarcastic joke about divorce and cousins marrying  cousins that was laughed at by my brothers but was not received well by my sister and especially my Aunt.  Again, I apologized to both, they have both graciously forgiven me.

So is there a point to all of this?  Yes.  Sometimes humor can be a bad thing.  While others laugh, there can be others who are hurt and hurt deeply.  Last night, my wife came to me with those 7 words I’ve come to accept as a key role to my vocation as a father and as a husband.  7 simple and yet, profound words.  “You need to talk to your son.”  Turns out, I was the perfect one to talk to my son last night because I paved the path that he was walking on.  Another long story short, he posted a comment on instagram that was meant to be humorous only as some took as such.  But there were many other who did not, so I shared with him my wisdom about being careful, especially when it comes to family, about doing that.  Hopefully this incident will end peacefully.

Do something great for our Lord today – don’t quit your day job to become a stand-up comedian.  Pray that we can all be like St. Francis…

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.  

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Brothers and sisters: Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.

Today we celebrate and remember St. Anthony.  Not knowing the story behind St. Anthony, I did a little research online and found a rather interesting article that explains who he is and how he served the Lord.  I thought you might find it interesting too…here is that link.  I always wonder how Holy Mother Church decides on the readings to use for the Mass when remember the life of a saint…not today, after reading about the life of St. Anthony and what is was that spoke to him to make the changes in his life he made, the readings used for the Memorial Mass were quite obvious.

So the question for all of us this morning is what are we willing to do for God and His mission?  St. Anthony was called to leave everything behind and dedicate himself to a life of self-sacrifice and prayer.  That was St. Anthony’s call…that doesn’t necessarily make it mine or yours.  We all have God given talents.  We are all called to love one another as God loves us.  How do we marry those two callings together then is the question?  What talent do I have that will show the love of God, the love of neighbor to those in need?

Let me quote from a movie you would have never guessed I could have used to tie into today’s readings…City Slickers.

Curly:
Do you know what the secret of life is? [points index finger skyward] This.

Mitch:
Your finger?

Curly:
One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch:
But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly:
[smiles and points his finger at Mitch] That’s what you have to find out.

Do something great for our Lord today – find your “one” thing that God is calling you to do for Him and do it to the best of your ability.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase, I must decrease.

Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.