Ghost Written Life

Getting back into the swing after a month off, I wrote but didn’t get this published before Sunday Jan. 28th. Take a read to see what caught my eye in this past Sunday’s readings. 

I have a friend who wrote a book in 31 days. My friend followed this schema to help him write a book efficiently. Every step of the way, my friend got to make decisions about the book. He named the main character, developed the world in which this character lived, conceived of every action and wrote every word that the main character spoke. My friend not only decided the big stuff, but the patrick-fore-381196little stuff too. Every word of the story was a decision. As author no one decided anything about this story other than him.

In our gospel this Sunday, Jesus teaches and those in the audience are astonished. They say that he teaches with authority unlike the scribes. The word authority has some funny baggage for us. When we hear the word authority, we likely think of an iron fisted, difficult, bossy-McBossy-pants.  But the root of authority is the Latin word “auctor” which means “originator.”  In this way, Jesus doesn’t teach as heavy handed demander of submission, but as originator and the writer of the teaching. His teaching isn’t something he is repeating from someone else. He is the origin of that teaching. Even when Jesus is quoting the Old Testament, Jesus is the Word that existed then and inspired those sacred writings.

The question we have to ask ourselves is who authors truth in our life. Are you the soul originator and authority in your life? Everyday we have choice to make. Am I the sole author or am I willing to give authorship of my life to Jesus Christ? If we believe God loves us more than we love ourselves, if we believe God knows us better than we know ourselves, why do we make decisions without first consulting Jesus? If you want to be happy and lead the best life you can lead, make God the author. Let God write every word of your life.

Live It:
Let God help you make 3 small decisions today. Pray for his help in making those small decisions and then make those decisions. See how inviting God into small matters helps to make him the author of larger matters.


The Good Word for February 1st

the-stacheHave you ever met someone who really commanded a room? I used to be in Boy Scouts and we had great adult leaders in our troop. One time we paired up for a campout with another troop and one of their adults was this old, grizzled, veteran leader with a huge, bushy red mustache. When he spoke everyone listened and trusted what he said to be true. When he asked us to build a fire or clean up or go get firewood, we immediately set to doing what he asked. This leader spoke with authority.

In the gospel today, Jesus confronts unclean spirits who have possessed a man. Immediately the spirits know who Jesus is – “The Holy One of God.” Then Jesus orders them out and frees the man. Those who saw Jesus heal this man are amazed and said, “What is this? A new teaching with authority.”

People who speak with authority usually do so because their actions back up their words. We listen to them because they walk the walk. Our gospel twice confirms that people think of Jesus as one who teaches and then acts with authority.

This simple story begs us to make a decision about Jesus.

Either Jesus teaches with authority or he does not. The question for us is whether or not we let Jesus have authority in our life. Do we listen to his words as if they carry final authority? Do we let Jesus “author” or write our lives? The people of Capernaum recognized the authority of Jesus’ teaching and actions. Will we?

Live It:
Pick 1 teaching of Jesus. Pray the words every morning and live it every day for one week.
Here are some examples of simple teaching:
Turn the other cheek – Matthew 5:39
Do not let your heart be troubled – John 14:1
Sell your belongings and give alms – Luke 12:33
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’ – Matthew 5:37
Love your enemies – Matthew 5:44
Ask – Matthew 7:7
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart – Matthew 22:37
You shall love your neighbor as yourself – Matthew 22:39