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Sunday readings for June 30th, 2019.

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Five years ago my wife and I did a ten year anniversary trip to Europe, without our children (bless their hearts). We spent eleven glorious days in Florence, Italy and Paris, France. We ate incredible food, drank delicious wine, saw beautiful art, prayed in breathtakingly inspiring churches, and held hands more than we had in the previous ten years combined. About day four my wife started to miss our kids, but it wasn’t until day nine or so that I uttered, “I’m kinda looking forward to going home.”  

As wonderful as travel is, we humans seem to find such comfort in going home. In the midst of busy schedules there is something wholesome and heart warming when my family gets a night just to stay home and be together. I’m a pretty outgoing guy, but as I get older, I seem to appreciate more when my plans get cancelled I just have to stay home. 

In the gospel Jesus is denied entry into a Samaritan town. The disciples ask if he wants them to call down fire and destroy the town (can they do that?!?). Jesus rebukes them and eventually  responds to a follower stating his dedication, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” One way to read this is that Jesus is saying he doesn’t have a home. In so many ways this makes sense, Jesus is exercising his earthly ministry as an itinerant preacher. Jesus doesn’t stay in any one place for very long, but continues to heal, preach, and drive out demons on his way to Jerusalem and the cross.

Yet, I think it is wrong to say Jesus doesn’t have any place he calls home. Jesus finds his home in his mission. If Jesus’ mission is bringing God into the hearts of humans and bringing humans into the very heart of God, then whenever and wherever Jesus is seeking to fulfill this mission is home. 

Moreover, home for Jesus is the perfect unity of the Trinity. Jesus doesn’t have a home where he can rest his head because Jesus himself isn’t a building where he eats and sleeps. Jesus himself is home. 

If we want to follow Jesus like the eager disciple who exclaims, “I will follow you wherever you go,” then we must consider having the same home as Jesus. If disciples seek to imitate the master, then as disciples, we must seek to find our home in the mission of Jesus and the Church, not in a particular building. If we want to be like Christ, we must look for our home in the heart of God. 

Live It: Go to church 1 extra time this week. If you have an adoration chapel, pop in there. If not, just head into your main worship space.  Sit in a chair or pew, close your eyes, take 5 deep breaths, and then pray, “Lord make me at home in your heart and in your mission.” Repeat as necessary.  

 

3 ways to find Peace.

Sunday Readings for June 9th, 2019.

Last Wednesday was a good day. I worked out in the morning, prayed morning prayer, jordan-wozniak-256456-unsplashgot a tremendous amount of work done, met a friend for lunch, spent time with my children and wife, hit golf balls, cut the lawn while listening to an inspiring podcast, and watched my St. Louis Blues win a Stanley Cup Finals game while sipping a cold beverage. It wasn’t my perfect day, but it was pretty darn awesome. And yet I woke up the next day with a lump of anxiety lodged in my gut. 

I examined careful the rest of the week, but found not a single anxiety producing plan. I examined my conscious to make sure I wasn’t carrying some hidden sin that was pricking my anxious heart. I didn’t but I made a point to plan a Confession time just in case. I even bravely asked my wife if everything was okay, just in case she knew. Nothing. Everything was good. The sun was shining, and I couldn’t find the cause of my fretting. So I went back to reading the news (oops). 

I don’t know about you, but for me, even on my very best days, I can feel pretty anxious. Some of my worries can easily be attributed to a source, and other times I can’t quite identify why I’m worried. Truth be told, when I can’t identify the source of worry, it is usually because I am reading the news or paying too much attention to social media, or am taking on other people’s concerns. It’s almost as if I find comfort in worry in some weird way.

In the gospel this weekend, Jesus offers his disciples Peace. In fact, twice Jesus says, “Peace be with you,” to his disciples. With this Peace Jesus calls them to continue his mission of preaching the gospel and trying to save the world. Then Jesus literally breaths his Spirit into them and gives them authority to do this mission. 

Jesus wants to offer you and I that same Peace. I need it. I want it. Most of the time, I live in such a way that I deny it. Rather than receive the Peace that Jesus offers me, I try to distract myself from my daily stress and, in turn, only stress myself out more. 

If we want to receive and accept the Peace Jesus offers us, what must we do? I think there are 3 steps that will help us know the Peace of Christ. 

  1. Get Quiet – Find a small period of silence in each day. Turn off the car stereo. Hide your phone in a drawer. Turn off your TV. How can we find peace when our day is filled with noise? Maybe even make a news or information fast – don’t read the news or look at social media for 3 days or a week. See if you find some peace.
  2. Receive the Holy Spirit – Jesus Christ offers us the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity (like literally God) to be our guide, helper, and dynamic catalyst. The Holy Spirit will help us find peace if we ask. Invite the Holy Spirit into your life and then ask the Holy Spirit for peace. 
  3. Go on Mission – There could be loads of reasons why we don’t have peace, but one reason could be is that we aren’t doing what we are meant to be doing. Maybe we’re stuck in someway that isn’t God’s will. We are all called to help other know Jesus. Ask a friend how they are doing. Invite someone to Church with you. Start a Bible study or book club. Go on Mission and you might just find peace. 

LIVE IT: Choose one of the three steps above and give it a try. Or be bold and go for all three. Peace! 

Oprah and Purpose

February 4th Sunday Readings.

I don’t hate Oprah. I don’t know her personally and I’m not a disciple of her lifestyle 1*LrhFwqqUEA4Dk4wAerERngempire. The most I’ve encountered Oprah in the last year is when she essentially reported on California mudslides from her backyard and then she told the world she probably wasn’t going to run for president. Maybe I’m not the best kind of person to comment on her but here you go.

Oprah is a tremendous guru. Her ability to lead others, curate a world view, and pass along a particular lifestyle is nearly unmatched. I don’t follow her or know what she says, but even I have had a passing interest in her “favorite things” and her book list because they usually contain something that would make the kind of life I lead more interesting, easy, or fun. Oprah’s purpose is help others lead a comfortable life.

In the gospel this Sunday, we hear Jesus say, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” Jesus states that his purpose is to preach. What Jesus is preaching is the good news that God loves us so much he would do anything to bring us back into intimate relationship. Jesus’ ultimate act of preaching was his death on the cross and his resurrection. In his death and resurrection, Jesus doesn’t just tells us that God loves us, Jesus preaches that to die for other is love. Through the resurrection, Jesus teaches that the only way to live is to die. Jesus’ purpose is to preach that if we die to self and follow him, we will be saved from death itself.

Oprah and other gurus teach their followers how to live. Jesus teaches us how to die. Jesus teaches us how to die to self and that only in dying to self can we truly live and truly love. Jesus teaches us how to love and how to receive the perfect love of God. This is an entirely different mission than any other guru.

What is your purpose? Who do you receive your mission from? Everyday we wake up and make the decision between whether we want to live for self or die to self. Everyday we wake up and reset our purpose, our mission. Jesus’ mission wasn’t to help us live a comfortable life, but to help us survive death. That same mission, to preach the good news, Jesus left for the Church – to you and me. Will you make Jesus’ mission your mission? What is your purpose?

LIVE IT:
Are you living on purpose? Take 5 minutes and quick write a short statement of your purpose in life. Don’t over think it. Then examines your life up and against that purpose statement. What needs to change?