Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 1/21

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When did Mary begin to recognize and understand who her son was? We picture Mary with Jesus in her arms but how did she relate to Jesus the teenager, Jesus the young man, Jesus the adult? When did she begin to understand the angel's message of who her son would be?  When did she begin to see where Jesus' preaching would lead him? How did Mary come to understand that she was the Mother of the Son of God? 

Perhaps she began to see more clearly the relationship she shared with Jesus at the wedding feast at Cana. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." (And) Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come."  His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."

Mother Mary,

   why did you bring the problem with the wine to Jesus? 

What did you expect him to do?

What had you already seen and heard
   that led you to trust that he could help?

      that he would help?

When he told you his hour had not yet come,
   did you know the hour of which he spoke?

Did you know the suffering that hour would bring him?
Did you know of the suffering that would be yours
   when his time came to pass?

So simply and confidently you told the servers,
"Do whatever he tells you..."

Help me to have that same simple confidence 
   in your son and in his love for me...

Teach me to trust in him as you did...

You told your son they'd run out of wine,
   will you tell him when I run dry?

When I run out of joy?
      of trust?  of faith?  of hope? 

Help me to trust, as you did, 
   that he will supply whatever I truly need...

You told the servants to do whatever he asked of them...

Help me do freely and willingly whatever he asks of me,

   trusting in his grace and help...

He turned the water into wine!
Your son, my brother, turned water into wine!

Ask him, please, to make a fine, a choice wine
   of the plain and sometimes muddied waters 
      coursing through my daily life...

Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of us all,
   intercede for us with your Son
      in the everyday Cana of our lives...

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
   pray for us...

Jesus, Son of God,
   change the waters of our lives
      into the wine of your peace and joy...


Twelve Days 2012

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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 1/19

I saw someone having his car jump-started today -
   it's that time of year!
Sometimes I feel like my own personal battery has run down
   and my "engine" just won't turn over.
Do you sometimes feel the same?
Time to pause and pray...

I need a jump-start, Lord,
and I'm calling on you for road service....

Seems like my ignition switch is burned out -
my engine won't turn over...

I need energy
where I have none...

Without your power
I'm powerless...

I need your grace
where I've lost my connection...

I need your juice
to spark me to life...

I need your drive
to get me going again...

I need you, Lord!

I need your energy and power,
your juice, your spark and drive
to jump-start my spirit
from its idle, listless lethargy
back to life, movement and get-up-and-go!

Hook up the cables of prayer
and connect me to your Spirit's current...

Reconnect me with your word and truth,
with your heart's most vital voltage...

Jump-start my soul
and charge me with your power, Lord:
get me going once again to travel your path
and do your will...



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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 1/18

Looks like this weekend you're gonna dump
the season's first real snow in our front yards, Lord,
and (oh, my!) the hype, the anxiety and the preparations
are already full steam ahead!

Truth be told, the forecast turns my head, too.
I wonder,
"How much? How deep? How heavy or light?
When will it start?  When will it end?
What do I need to shop for?
What needs to happen before it begins?
What will be canceled?  What will be postponed?
Who will plow and who will shovel?"

And all this in anticipation of 8 inches of snow:
snow that may not fall;
snow that may instead be rain;
snow that may be but a dusting;
snow that no doubt soon will melt away... 

help me ponder, pay attention to and prepare
for things in my life so much more important
than the forecast of eight inches of snow...

Help me ponder, pay attention to and prepare
for how you may call and lead me to follow you
this weekend and in the year ahead...

Help me ponder, pay attention to and prepare
to make whatever choices and decisions
weigh upon my mind and heart...

Help me ponder, pay attention to and prepare
to respond in healthy ways
to the needs of those around me and the demands they make
on my heart and on my time...

Help me ponder, pay attention to and prepare
to deepen my faith, my life of prayer,
my trust in your, my confidence in your help...

Help me ponder, pay attention to and prepare
for the day when you will call me home
and I'll stand not in eight inches of snow
but on the threshold of eternity,
hoping and praying for your mercy and your love...



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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 1/17

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Let my doubts be for me a gift, Lord,
   leading me into deeper faith...
Let my doubts help and teach me
   to take absolutely nothing for granted...

Let my doubts prod and push me
    to probe until I find the truth....

Let doubt be as a two-edged sword,
   piercing through to wisdom's heart...

Let all my doubts be resolved, Lord:
   in belief, in trust and most all, in you...



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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 1/15

Got a friend, Lord,
   who's carrying a heavy load,
   her plate's full of cares and concerns,
   aches and pains, troubles and fear...

So, I'm praying, Lord...

   Could you slow things down for her,
      even just a little, in the days ahead?

   Could you fill in the potholes and smooth the bumps
      on the path she's walking?

   Could you make her life a little less complicated
      - and a whole lot simpler?

   Could you gently heal her pain
      and give her peace of mind?

   Could you help her catch a break
      from discouragement and distress?

   Could you take at least a few things off
      her full and overflowing plate?

   Could you let her catch a glimpse of you
      standing by her side?

   Could you give her the time and space she needs
      to take a deep breath, sit back and relax
         and find a little peace?

   Could you relieve her many doubts
      and refresh her faith in you?

   Could you bless her tender, wounded heart
      with healing and compassion?

Got a friend, Lord,
   who's carrying a heavy load,
her plate's full of cares and concerns,
   aches and pains, troubles and fear...

Help her see and take your hand, Lord,
   help her find and know
      your presence and your peace,
      your strength and your healing,
      your mercy and your grace...



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Monday Morning Offering: 1/14

Morning Coffee: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

This morning, Lord, I want to offer you
all the interruptions in my schedule,
in my plans, in my day, in my week -
in my life!

I offer you the bumps along the way each day
that throw me off balance,
that leave me unsure of my path
and mistrusting my own steps...

Help me take the bumps with grace, Lord:
use them to get my attention,
to keep me alert,
to pull me out of my ruts...

I offer you the unexpected phone calls
and the knocks on my door,
the fresh demands on time already scheduled,
the faces and voices that interrupt my plans to do
what I thought I was supposed to do...

Help me understand that you're in charge here, Lord,
and that you know better than I
where and when and how I might best serve you -
and that your view of my day is wider, deeper, greater,
clearer than my own...

I offer you the interruptions that distract me, Lord:
especially the little, annoying ones
distratcting me from more important tasks...

Make me patient - even grateful -
for the ways you turn my head,
whisper in my ear, take me by the hand
turning me away from what I'm doing
to someone else, another task,
a moment filled with a grace, a blessing
my impatience would keep me from finding...

And I offer, too, the bigger twists and turns
that my life takes over months and years:
when an unexpected circumstance begins to shape my life;
when unwanted work becomes my daily job;
when my heart's desire is put on hold -
and I, Lord, don't know why...

Help me to accept the moment at hand,
remembering that in all things you are present,
that no matter where my road may lead me
you'll never hesitate to interrupt your day
to walk my path with me...

When the unanticipated hovers like a cloud, Lord,
show me the silver lining
and let your light shine through with promise,
hope and warmth...

Give me the grace of acceptance,
to live my life a day at a time,
an hour at a time,
trusting that in every moment
you are there...

Open my heart wide, Lord,
to all whose paths cross mine:
let nothing keep me from meeting you
in every one, in every place, in every situation
on my schedule, by interruption
- or by the grace of your surprise!



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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 1/13

I'm always on your mind, Lord,
but too often, I forget you...

You never turn away from me
though I ignore and snub you...

You offer me your arms' embrace
though I resist your reach...

You're at the end of every road
on which I run away...

You make your home within me
though I've locked and shut my door...

You listen to my every word
though silent I may be...

You come to mend my brokenness
when I would nurse my wounds...

You empty out your self for me,
so filled up with self-pity...

You never fail to pardon me
each time I fail your word...

You never give up loving me
though I give up on love...

Your mercy's deeper than my sins
when deep in sin I feel I'm lost...

Your grace is always there for me
when from your grace I fall...

Without you I have nothing, Lord,
and all I have is yours...



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Homily for January 13

Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Scriptures for today's Mass

Here, on the shores of the Jordan River, the baby born in Bethlehem,
now a full-grown man, takes up the work he came to do
and receives his Father’s blessing and the Holy Spirit’s strength.

He receives his Father’s blessing:
You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased…

Who among us hasn’t longed for and appreciated
our own father’s and mother’s blessing?
Who hasn’t hoped for, waited for, looked for
some word, some sign, some gesture
of our parents’ acceptance, approval and validation, of their love?

Perhaps, sadly, some of us have known the desire for such a blessing
but haven’t experienced its realization.

Indeed, a parent’s blessing
might be the greatest gift a parent can offer
after having given a child the gift of life itself.

And who among us doesn’t long for God’s blessing on our lives?
God’s acceptance of us, approval of us, validation of us:
some word, some sign, some gesture of God’s love for us?

Who wouldn’t want clouds to part and the skies above to open up
and to hear a voice say from heaven say,
You are my beloved daughter, You are my beloved son,
with you I am well pleased...

Each of us needs and wants to know that we are loved
by our parents, our families, our friends and colleagues
and each us needs and wants to know
that our very being is something pleasing to God.

It’s so clear from today’s scripture that Jesus,
fully divine and yet also so fully human,
that Jesus, the Son of God, was in need of this very same blessing,
this blessed assurance of being loved by his Father.

Here at the Jordan, with the Father’s blessing and the Spirit’s strength
Jesus shoulders the work that will be his
- and takes on the suffering it will bring.

The import of this riverside scene is the revelation
of who Jesus is in relationship to God
and it makes possible everything that will follow after.

And in a real way, the same is true for you and me.
My deepest life, your deepest life doesn’t begin, can’t truly begin
until we come to understand who we are – in relationship to God.

- It’s primarily my relationship to God
(not to my parents, my spouse, my family, my children or my friends)
but rather my relationship to God
that ultimately defines who I am as a human being.

- It’s my relationship to God,
(not my talents, not my job, not my wealth)
but rather my relationship to God that gives my life its fullest meaning.

- It’s my relationship with God
(not my dreams and plans, not my education and career path)
but rather my relationship with God that will reveal
my life’s greatest purpose.

- My relationship with God
is the most important relationship I’ll ever have in life: bar none.

This feast of the Baptism of the Lord,
coming as it does at the beginning of a new year,
is a golden opportunity for each of us to review:
our relationship with God.

In God’s eyes: you and I are good; we are pleasing to God.
Along with Christ, we are God’s beloved.
No, we’re not perfect – not even close -
but God delights in each of us in spite of our faults.

You see, with God – love comes first. Love comes first…
And when we fail that love,
when we reject that love, when we abuse or ignore that love
what comes second from God is - mercy.

First there is love - then there is mercy.

• Before I came to be, God loved me.

• When I came into the world with all my assets and liabilities
– God loved me.

• Before God looks at my faults and failures – he loves me.

• Before God judges me – he loves me

• And after God judges me – he loves me.

• With God, love always comes first - because God IS love.

All the pain and brokenness, all the sin in the world
all the sin in my life and yours, comes, in one way or another,
from our not believing, not accepting, from our doubting
that we are loved by God.

So very many people doubt that they are lovable - at all;
doubt that they are loved by others; doubt that God loves them.

When we doubt that we are loved it’s then
that we begin to trip, stumble, fall and, often, end up
“looking for love in all the wrong places."

Every one of us needs the assurance of the Father’s blessing,
which God the Father withholds from no one.
God offers each of us that blessing to help us live and love
as fully and deeply as God intends and desires us to live and love.

And we are called to love and bless one another in the same way.

Before we get to know others, we are called to love them -
even before we know them.

After we’ve come to know their assets and liabilities,
we are called to love them.

Before we label others, we are called to love them.

Before we judge others, we are called to love them.

Love always comes first because the God who loves us - is love.

It’s precisely in this way
love is now the law.
Love is the law: we are bound to love one another.

The greatest of God’s laws is that we love God
and love one another as God has loved us;
the greatest law is that I always prefer God and my neighbor
to my own wants and desire.
With God, love always comes first – that’s the law.

Today’s feast brings us far from the warmth of the manger scene
and invites us to stand in the cold waters of the Jordan with Jesus
and to hear that voice from the heavens say to each of us:
You are my beloved son, You are my beloved daughter,
You are my beloved people: with you I am well pleased…

And if you’re sitting there right now, thinking,
“Well, maybe God says that to others, but not to me...”
- listen again
because God says that to every single one of us every day of our lives,
beginning with the moment we came to be - in our mother’s womb.
Since that moment God has been telling each of us,
over and over again:
You are my beloved ... with you I am well pleased...

If I fail to hear such words from God in my heart, in my prayer,
then perhaps 2019 is a year for me to work
on the most important relationship in my life:
my relationship with God.

And if you still doubt that voice and its word of love is for you
-then don’t doubt the blessed assurance of this table
on which is laid for us the love for which we hunger
in the blessing of the Eucharist.

For here, at the table of the Sacrament,
in the Bread and Cup of his Body and Blood,
the Lord says to each of us,
Come, sit at my table: I’ve saved a place for you,
you are my beloved, with you I am well pleased…


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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 1/12

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I won't know all the stories and worries,
   the pain and problems, the hardships and heartaches
      filling the hearts of those whose paths cross mine today...

Nor will others know the problems and predicaments,
   the fears and foreboding my own heart carries,
      hidden deep within...

So, help us, Lord,
   be as gentle and patient with one another today,
        as you are with us, day in and day out...


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