Sunday, May 18, 2014

Homily for Today


My brothers and sisters in Christ, during today's Second Reading from The First Letter of Peter, you have all heard it said that "You are a royal priesthood." [1 Pet. 2:9] What does it mean that "You are a royal priesthood"? To understand the meaning of this title, it is necessary to review the meaning of each word individually and then combined together.

The first word "royal" is associated with the highest rank that is found in society. If you were a prince or a princess, you would be considered of royal blood. But if you were the king or the queen, you would enjoy the highest title in society, being equal to the president or the prime minister of a nation. Therefore, to have the word "royal" associated with your name, it would mean that somehow, you are related to a king or a queen.

The word priesthood is traced to the descendants of Levi, the third son of Jacob by Lia. The whole tribe of Levi by the command of God was set apart for the service of the sanctuary. Therefore in the apportionment of the land of Chanaan, the tribe of Levi received no tribal territory [Jos. 13]. In lieu of land they received the tithes and also four cities with suburban pasture lands from each of the other tribes of Israel. As most of their duties required a man's full strength, the Levites usually entered active service at 30. At the exodus from Egypt the male descendants of Levi from a month old and upward numbered 22,000. In the journey through the wilderness the number of the Levites from 30 years up to 50 years, the year of superannuation, was 8580. [Numb. 4]

In Exodus 40:12-5, we read that God commanded Moses to set Aaron and his sons apart and to anoint them so that they may serve Him as priests, going from generation to generation. Their anointing would admit them to a perpetual priesthood. From this, we learn that those who belonged to the priesthood, a class that had been set apart in society, had been personally chosen by God to serve Him in a perpetual priesthood.

When combining both words, "royal" and "priesthood," we learn that those who possess that title are persons of royal blood who have been personally chosen by God to serve Him in a perpetual priesthood that enjoys a different status in society.

Turning to the Gospel of John, we learn that Jesus commanded the Sacrament of Baptism as a condition to being admitted into the Kingdom of God. He said, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." [Jn. 3:5] Turning to the First Letter of John, we read that the seed of God abides in those who are born of God. [1 Jn. 3:9]

From this additional knowledge we learn that those who have been baptized and admitted into the mystical Body of Christ that forms the spiritual Kingdom of God on earth, their royal blood is traced to the seed of God.

I am sure that everyone will agree that as children belong to the human genus, kittens belong to the cats genus and puppies belong to the dog genus. Equally those who have answered their Divine calling through faith in Jesus and who have been baptized, they have become royal priests who belong to the genus of God. Since their existence had a beginning and they do not possess the Divine power of the Lord that is manifested through the Holy Spirit, they cannot be called gods. Their reception into the Divine genus comes from having been adopted as children of God through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He freely bestows on His children us in the Beloved. [Eph. 1:5-6]

Therefore, those who belong to the royal priesthood, they enjoy a greater status than that of a worldly king or a worldly queen. Their status is raised to that of a heavenly gods. Is it not written, "I say, 'You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you.'" [Ps. 82:6; Jn. 10:34]

With this understanding of the royal priesthood, it is now easier to understand the part of the Second Reading that said, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." [1 Pet. 2:9]

Now someone may claim that the written Word regarding the children of the Most High being gods may have been said to the Jewish nation that was God's chosen people. On that subject, St. Paul tells us, "So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumblings salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!" [Rom. 11:11-12]

Through the stumbling of God's first chosen nation, the door was opened to all, that they may become part of God's elect, no matter their age, their race, their education, their culture or their nation. The Body of Christ is a unity that transcends all social barriers and distinctions. As the first chosen people of God was a "priestly kingdom and a holy nation" [Ex. 19:6; Mal. 3:17] the present Body of Christ is a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. Through faith in Jesus and the Sacrament of Baptism, Christians are set apart and dedicated to the sacred order of things in the service of God. This is the mysterious beauty of the royal priesthood to which every Catholic belongs.

During today's First Reading, [Acts 6:1-7] we heard an account of the days when the royal priesthood was being established. More specifically, it was about the Hellenists, the Jewish people who only spoke "Greek." During this early phase of the founding of the Church, the widows of the Hellenists were being neglected in the daily distribution of the food. [Acts 6:1] This concern was brought to the attention of the twelve apostles. Consequently everyone gathered to review the concern. At that time, the apostles expressed that it was not right for them to neglect the prayers and preaching in order to ensure everyone has sufficient food. [Acts 6:2, 4] To resolve the problem, it was commanded that seven men of good standing be chosen, those who are full of the Spirit and wisdom. [Acts 6:3] And so it was done, Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Permenas, and Nicolaus, a convert of Antioch, were chosen.

From this account, it is revealed that God did not discriminate in His calling of members for the royal priesthood. The Apostles were Jewish. The Hellenists, although Jewish, only spoke Greek. And Nicolaus was a convert from Antioch. The language or residential area of the believers did not matter. As we heard, being of one mind, they solved their problem to ensure that the needs of all were being met without discrimination. This is what Christian love is all about. This is what the Catholic faith is all about, the best interest of Church, an open door policy to all who believe and a unity of mind.

Today's reading from the Gospel of John [Jn. 14:1-12] made reference to Jesus being "the way, and the truth, and the life." [Jn. 14:6] In other words, the way to find the truth and life as a royal priest is through Jesus. For their is only one Mediator between God and mankind. [1 Tim. 2:5]

Among other sayings, Jesus made a statement that has often been interpreted to mean that all Churches are equal. That saying was, "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" [Jn. 14:2] Those who have misinterpreted this passage have made the claim that all are called and belong to the royal priesthood, be they Catholic or not, be they baptized or not, having the Sacraments or not, having faith in Jesus Christ as the one Saviour or believing in a human prophet. Indeed, all are called, but not all necessarily belong to the royal priesthood.

When Jesus made this statement, it was to emphasize to His disciples that they should not worry when He will be gone. They will not be forgotten. Jesus made reference to two things, (1) there being many dwelling places in the Father's house, and (2) preparing a place for the apostles. These two references cannot be separated because they complement each other in understanding what Jesus was saying to them.

Prior to the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb on the Holy Cross, the disciples did not have a place in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God had not been established as of yet. Their place was established after Jesus, the first fruit of those who died, glorious resurrected [1 Cor. 15:20] and established His Kingdom in Heaven and on earth. On the day of Pentecost, when the Lord Jesus breath the Holy Spirit upon His disciples [Acts 2:4] He prepared a place for His disciples in His Kingdom. As the Holy Spirit made His indwelling in each and everyone of the disciples, a place was prepared for them when their bodies became Temples of God. [1 Cor. 3:16]

In the Gospel of Luke, we find the Words of Jesus where He affirmed that the Kingdom of God is within the Christians. "And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come? he answered them, and said: 'The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say: Behold here, or behold there. For lo, the kingdom of God is within you.'" [Latin Vulgate: Lk. 17:20-1]

So when Jesus said that there were many dwelling places in the Father's house, He was telling the truth. We know that there is Heaven and there is purgatory. And then there are the thousands and thousands of Temples that are found in all the royal priests of the past, present and future Body of Christ. When Jesus made reference to going to prepare a place for the apostles, it was a reference to the sending of the Holy Spirit. It was a reference to preparing a Temple within the apostles for the Holy Spirit to make His indwelling in each and everyone of them.

In conclusion, to have been called as members of the royal priesthood of God is a very special and free blessing that is undeserved because of our sinful nature. This week, let us reflect on this blessing of being a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and god's own people. In thanksgiving, let us proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. [1 Pet. 4:9]

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Reading 1 acts 6:1-7

As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Responsorial Psalm ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19

R/ (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R/ Alleluia.

reading 2 1 pt 2:4-9

Beloved:
Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it says in Scripture:
Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone, chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame
.
Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone
, and
A stone that will make people stumble,
and a rock that will make them fall
.
They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.

You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Gospel jn 14:1-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”

Daily Prayer

Sunday, May 18, 2014
I am in the Father and the Father is in me.


Father, I do not understand you.
You are transcendent,
and yet you dwell in the human heart.
You are all-powerful,
and yet you reveal yourself
most often in my weak
and feeble moments.
You are maddeningly silent,
and yet you speak to me
in so many ways.
You are completely unknowable,
and yet your Son, Jesus,
has revealed you.

And when I see Jesus,
when I recognize in faith
that he is in you
and you are in him,
I know that he is showing me
something very true about you.

Father, I think Jesus
shows me, in part,
that you are direct and courageous
about building the Kingdom.
He shows me that you
have little patience
with pretension and status,
and that you can get
livid with rage over hypocrisy.
Jesus shows me that you want
our sicknesses to be healed,
our hungers to be fed,
our sins to be forgiven,
and our sorrows turned to joy.
Jesus shows me that
you are not afraid
of being a servant so that we
might learn to love
and serve one another.
Jesus reveals you
as a passionate lover
who loves us enough to die for us,
and who wants us to share
in your very life.

Father, thank you for
giving me a share in your life.
Thank you for Jesus.
Amen.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Homily for Today

My brothers and sisters in Christ, "The Lord has risen indeed!" [Lk. 24:34] Yes, He has risen! Because "if there were no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and [our] faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that He raised Christ - whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, [our] faith is futile and [we] are still in [our] sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died." [1 Cor. 15:12-20]

During today's First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, [Acts 2:14, 22-8] we heard that Peter stood up among the eleven on the day of Pentecost. [Acts 2:24] As the highest authority of the Catholic Church, [Acts 5:20, 11:18, 17:22, 25:18, 27:21] as the first Pope, he affirmed that Jesus had been raised, He who had been handed over to those who crucified Him outside of the law according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. God had raised Jesus up, having freed Him from death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. [Acts 2:24]

Speaking to the people of Judea and all who lived in Jerusalem, St. Peter quoted the words of king David in Psalm 16, "I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence." [Acts 2:25-8; Ps. 16:8-11]

What was the purpose of Peter's message to those within hearing distance? It was a call to penance and conversion. On behalf of God, it was a message of love, mercy and forgiveness. Addressing some of those who had killed Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, Peter expressed that the Lord would forgive them if they had a change of heart. God would welcome as His children all those who would embrace the truth, believing that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah and Saviour. The first public speech of the first Pope was a Divine message of love that called sinner to experience an inner transformation. Why an inner transformation? It was for the grace of God to draw the sinners towards their salvation through Jesus Christ.

Today's Second Reading from the First Letter of Peter [1 Pet. 1:17-21] echoes the spiritual knowledge, understanding and wisdom that Saint Peter received by the grace of God. To him was given an in-depth perception of the redemptive plan of God. Writing to the Gentile Christians [1 Pet. 1:14, 18, 2:9-10, 4:3-4] who lived in the northern and eastern part of Asia Minor, Saint Peter urges them to be faithful to their calling, reminding them that they are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation." [1 Pet. 2:9]

The Gentile believers were reminded that if they invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, then they should live in reverent fear during the time of their exile. Their conduct should shine in obedience. The believers were reminded that they were ransomed from the fruitless way of their ancestors, not by gold or silver, but by the precious Blood of Christ, the perfect Blood that was without defect or blemish.

Their justification was given to them as a free gift by the grace of God. [Rom. 3:24]

The life of every creature is his blood. A creature without blood is a lifeless creature. Jesus entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption." [Heb. 9:12] He gave up every drop of His precious Blood and His life so that we may have life through Him. "In Him we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." [Eph. 1:7]

Before creation, God foreknew that sin would enter the world. He also foreknew that Christ would redeem mankind. This knowledge has now been revealed to the world at the end of the ages for our sake. You make ask, "What does it mean that it has been revealed at the end of the ages?" The "ages" represent time frames. The first age consisted of the time frame prior to the existence of all things. The second age consisted of the time frame when God created everything except man. The third age consisted of the time frame from the days of Adam to Abraham. The fourth age consisted of the time frame between the days of Abraham and Jesus, those being the days of the First Covenant of the Law. The final age is the present age. It is the days of the New and Last Covenant of grace. After this final age shall come the glorious return of Jesus to judge the living and the dead.

Through Jesus, we have come to set our faith and hope on God. For we know that the almighty God who raised Jesus from the dead and gave Him glory, in the most Holy Name of His Son, we shall also be raised from the dead and glorified according to our deeds. "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." [Dan. 12:3]

During today's Gospel Reading, [Lk. 24:13-35] we heard of the two disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. We also heard that during their walk, their eyes were kept from recognizing the Lord. [Lk. 24:16] But later that day, when Jesus was at the table with them, He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. [Lk. 24:30] At that moment, the eyes of the disciples were opened and they recognized Jesus just before He vanished from their sight. [Lk. 24:31] From this event it is understood that while participating in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the disciples were suddenly able to perceive a deeper understanding of revelation.

This heavenly blessing parallels the gift of God that is given to those who partake in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist on a regular basis while striving for spiritual growth during their daily personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, "the Lord has risen indeed." [Lk. 24:34] When we arrive to the full realization of the in-depth meaning of the glorious Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we can do nothing else but allow ourselves to be drawn to the heart of Jesus in our own personal daily relationship with Him. As the disciples of Jesus were touched by His presence, we too can be touched by His Presence in the Holy Eucharist.

To experience spiritual growth, we must desire a personal daily relationship with the Lord. Afterwards, we must respond to the grace of God that is drawing us towards Him. Once the commitment has been made to respond to the grace of God that has touched our hearts, we must implement a daily life of prayers, spiritual reflections and moments of praising the Lord. Consequently, we must persevere in our spiritual lives while awaiting for the love of God to touch us in awe. Some may be immediately touched. Others may have their faith tested for awhile to see if they will persevere. That means that they may not be touched immediately, having to wait a long or possibly longer period of time as God sees fit. But in the end, the wait shall be worth it. For there is no greater joy than to be touched by the love of the risen Lord.

Third Sunday of Easter

Reading 1 acts 2:14, 22-33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
You who are Israelites, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:
I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence
.

“My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
and poured him forth, as you see and hear.”

Responsorial Psalm ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R/ (11a) Lord, you will show us the path of life.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R/ Lord, you will show us the path of life.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R/ Lord, you will show us the path of life.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R/ Lord, you will show us the path of life.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R/ Lord, you will show us the path of life.
or:
R/ Alleluia.

reading 2 1 pt 1:17-21

Beloved:
If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially
according to each one’s works,
conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning,
realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
handed on by your ancestors,
not with perishable things like silver or gold
but with the precious blood of Christ
as of a spotless unblemished lamb.

He was known before the foundation of the world
but revealed in the final time for you,
who through him believe in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.

Gospel lk 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

A Prayer for Today

Sunday, May 4, 2014
But they urged him, “Stay with us…”

Thank you, Jesus,
for never giving up on me,
no matter how many times
I appear to have given up on you.

No matter how many times
I’ve faced disappointment,
no matter how often dreams
have gone unfulfilled
and prayers unanswered,
no matter how often
I have--like these two
disciples--started to turn
and walk away from you
with the sad words “I was hoping…”
caught in my throat,
you show up somewhere
along the road and begin
to bring me back.

I will not recognize you right away.
Sometimes all I will see
is a person who needs my help
or a person reaching
out to help me,
or a person needing forgiveness,
or a person whose
infuriating action calls me to give
either my best or worst in return,
or someone whose
compassion touches me
to my depths of my soul.
Whoever it is, it will be you
reminding me that self-giving love—
dying to self for the sake of others—
is the only road that leads to life.

Help me to respond, Lord;
Just as these disciples
offered you hospitality,
help me to reach out
to you in whatever form
you come to me
so that I too might
always recognize you
in the bread you bless,
the bread you break,
the Bread you are,
and the Bread
you call me to be.
Amen.

Prayer

Lord God, I come from dust and to dust I shall return. You, however, existed before all time, and every creature takes its being from you. ...