Come to Me…

Accept the Yoke of the Lord!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Risen Hand of Christ: Saint Thomas’ Church

Ant. 1 ‘Let us go to God’s house with rejoicing.’

28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 Modern English Version (MEV)

Personal Invitation From God!

Glass Overflowing – The Narrow Gate

How exciting it is to have the one true living God personally invite us sinners to come to him for rest. ‘Come to me…’ no matter how you look at it these three words boil down to a glorious invitation! A personal, one-on-one sit down with God! These three words I think are the most powerful words Jesus spoke during his early ministry and they resonated with all those who had heard him say it, and by word of mouth these three simple but powerful words brought thousands of people to him from all over Judea. Moreover, these words reverberate through history to you and me… calling millions to come to him! So I say to you my brothers and sisters how exciting it is to be given a personal invitation by our one true living God, made man, who spoke the word from the Holy Spirit to come to Him!

The Labor of Living!

Pixabay

Ant. 2 ‘Awake from your sleep, rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’

29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:29 Modern English Version (MEV)

In the time of Christ, the political scene was filled with external pressures mainly coming from Rome who ruled Galilee with an iron fist. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great suppressed the jews with heavy taxation which heavily burdened the common people who worried daily for their most basic of needs. The Pharisees too under Herod’s thumb worried about the physical structure of their house of warship turning God’s temple into a profit center all for the glory of Rome. In this way, the leaders lusted after power and wealth to stay in power with Rome instead of looking to their God and obeying His commandments. The leaders of Judaea sold their souls yet again to Satan for nothing more than personal pleasure and power exacting a terrible yoke upon the people. So when Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all you who labor…’ he was inviting the downtrodden, the overtaxed, and the commoners who thirsted after relief from the harsh cruel world of which they lived in. When Jesus said, ‘Come to me all you who are heavily burdened…’ He was speaking directly the sick, mentally and physically tired, and he was calling the people of Israel to come and find rest. The people of two thousand years ago were no different than those of us today. We too live in a world where the extremely wealthy rule over the common people with an iron fist. The 1% pass laws which drain the common people’s pockets and they make promises they do not keep. We too hear the Lord’s voice calling to us, inviting us to his rest. But more than that my brothers and sisters, Jesus is offering a different type of yoke, one that brings us into the most awesome personal relationship with him, and under this yoke, He is personally inviting us to learn His ways, to walk in His footsteps, and to find the very grace of God. You will not find a more generous, loving, merciful, and peaceful offer in this chaotic world. For Jesus is the giver of peace, 27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27), for I promise you, my brothers and sisters that God’s peace is absolute, ‘And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:7). Jesus is inviting us to let Him deal with our worries, our pains, our heartache. He is offering to help us through the labor of living. The question is – will you take Him at His word, will you accept His most generous invitation?

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Let Us Pray

Ant. 3 ‘So great was God’s love for us that when we were dead because of our sins, he brought us to life in Christ Jesus.’

Father of peace, we are joyful in your Word, your Son Jesus Christ, who reconciles us to you. Let us hasten toward Easter with the eagerness of faith and love.

We ask this through your our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever and ever. Amen Alleluia.

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The Cross of the Lord

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

Brother Brian
Knights of Columbus

Copyright ©2019 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

Peace I Leave With You…

The Spirit of Fear, God, therefore, did not give to humanity.

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK II

CANTICLE OF MARY – Antiphon “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them, says the Lord.”

7 “God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid. He gave us a spirit of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

Dear brothers and sisters, listen for the truth in these trying times of which we live is under attack at every turn! You only have to watch the nightly news channels, the doom, and gloom reporting about the lies and misconduct of those in power, people who have decided to take it upon themselves to commit horrible crimes leaving in their wake pain and heartbreak. But, I would like to reassure you that there is still a lot of good news to be had in all of this daily chaos. Simply put God did not put into our hearts the spirit of fear, no… flawed people do that. They do it in their words laced with the selfish intent of maintaining control over those around them. They do it in their selfish actions and unreasonable deep-seated misguided beliefs that are transferred from one to another like a plague. I have known people who have prided themselves on the fact that they were hard to get along with; I used my nice voice on that comment. Moreover, I have known people that have boasted… yes you heard me… boasted that they can be argumentative, pushy, rude, and admit they have a bad attitude and that they don’t care who they hurt. They wear these bad attitudes like a badge – a badge of honor! Remember my brothers and sisters, “God gave us a spirit of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)  

Practical Application

In reflection, I think we all need to get back to the basics by looking at some examples that inhabit our sinful world for the purpose of striking fear into our hearts! From there I promise to serve as a guide in looking at ways we can overcome our individual personal fears which plague us daily; finding the right source –  knowing where to turn for relief and rejuvenation.

World-Wide Societal Examples of Fear Driven Agendas

Slavery of all kinds around the world, racism, sexism, as well as economic, religious, and cultural oppression. The idea that human beings allow the spread of lies, resentments, crushed and fearful hearts, as well as the condoning of acts of social deviance, in all do not come from God, but rather the human race.

Reflection Question:

“Have you ever been put into a situation that put real debilitating fear into your heart? Was that situation manifested by a flawed human being or by our loving, forgiving, perfect God?”

Think about this for a moment before answering. Take time to examine it fully. I would wager that 100% of the time it was a man-made dangerous and careless action that snowballed out of control. Perhaps it was an accident or maybe due to unforeseen events. Then look around you in your town, city, neighborhood, and state and if you look deep enough for every so-called innocent accident created by man there are at least a hundred events that affect your life which had been planned and executed diligently and deliberately with fidelity over a long period of time that does real evil in our world. Crimes which tear families apart, suppress fathers rights, discriminate against the weakest and most vulnerable of us, that being our children. Actions by people in power at all levels and even by individuals who seek to maintain control over their children and make a convincing argument which leads to alienation of the child’s biological father or mother. I am talking about things in this world so evil that it causes permanent damage to our hearts, minds, and souls. All of which was not condoned or given to us by God, but perpetrated unto us by members of our own human race! From start to finish evil allowed to live in our world by the heinous actions of yes… our own brothers and sisters! Done with malice and purpose to drive fear into those who only see the effects and are innocent of the long-range plan. But take heart my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, for it is this fear mongering which kicks up the fears from within, stirs the insecurities passed down by family members, or maybe close friends, certainly the nightly news can wear thin on our sensibilities. Ignoring them, using sarcasm, comedy,  or worse in the attempts of shutting them out only puts a band-aid on your problems at that singular moment. These fears are real and valid and stock us during the day and at night when we are awake and in our dreams.  Know that the fears of our world if allowed into our hearts take hold and grow becoming your new unwanted reality and begin to shape your life in ways you could have never possibly imagined. It is these fears which hold you back and until you find a way to free yourself from those fears will then and only then your eyes be truly opened. (John 8:32)   Now, think about your life and ask yourself were did these fears come from then when you arrive at the true answer do not sit back and do nothing, but rather give them all to God. For I tell you from experience that God gave us power and love and self-control. The power to stand up and let our true feelings be heard loud and clear. God gave us love so that the message we preach is given with sincerity and kindness which allows for forgiveness and reconciliation.  Self-control to know when to talk and when to be quiet, when to help and when to be still.

Turn To God!

4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23:4 Modern English Version (MEV)

In the depths of your fear know that God protects you, God comforts you, and God walks by your side. In that what reason is there to fear? When you think your parents, brothers or sisters, husband or wife or a friend may not support you, or when you think you will be deserted know that God is with you and in that knowledge you are never deserted, left alone, unprotected, and when a person slams a door closed in your face God is there ready to open a new and better door! What is there to fear in the face of such unjudging love? I can’t tell you how many times in my life people have closed the door in my face without rim or reason. I can’t begin to express the uncertainty of not having any income, or even worse yet to have money taken from my bank account because falsehoods had been propagated against me which left me almost without a home, car or food and without any recourse to spend precious time with my only child. Imagine the evil it takes to tell a parent they can never see their only child at no fault to that parent! What gets me is the unfairness of it all!  On the other hand, God never left me and put good people in my life which took wonderful care of me. That my brothers and sisters is the very nature of our God, always walking by our side bringing us to glorious victory! Jesus says we must have confidence in our faith, and God has given us many perfect examples that are powerful and tangible so that we might have that confidence in Him. (Mark 5:36)   When life gets you down don’t allow pity to fill your heart rather say this instead; 13 “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13)   Say it with confidence, my brothers and sisters, because I testify before you that it is true, God does indeed hold your hand and walks with you through all kinds of mayhem, hoopla, and chaos! Finding comfort in the Lord is the starting point for reclaiming the real you, the one He is molding into a more perfect version! (Jeremiah 29:11)

LET US PRAY!

MY HEART SHALL NOT FEAR – Psalm 27

Psalm of David

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Ant. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 MEV

Remember to also pray for all the victims of Sexual Misconduct within the Catholic Church, we all pray: (Month of September 2018) The Prays of Contrition & Reconciliation.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then feel free to email me at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com with your request. Remember you’re never alone.

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

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Where Peace Begins

Peace Left by Jesus

27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

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Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to never be able to find peace in their lives? Have you ever wondered why they are always sower towards others, nothing is ever fair or just in their eyes, and they seem to enjoy this self-inflicted agony? I’ve known people like this. I’ve seen how they imitate happiness but it never lasts for long. Things that have happened in their lives are never their fault because it’s easier to blame others. Responsibility for their own actions is a foreign idea and never seems to apply to them. So why the misery, why the drama, why do they run so far and fast from peace?

Self-Worth vs. God’s Peace

11 “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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To understand this behavior we first must understand why the human race ignores God’s ministry of Peace. At this point, it would be all too easy to say that we are all sinners. Yes, that is part of it, but not the whole picture. Rather we must dig deeper and look for that character flaw that some people exploit more so than others called self-worth. It works like this, many people have lived hard lives, as children they are subjected to crappie things that are at the first outside of their control. The craziness of their lives become addicting, much like a drug. The older they get the more they are told how worthless they are until they begin to believe it. At some point, they begin to expect the bad in life, and they chose to ignore the good. This becomes a routine of bad choices that cascade one after another. Now logically speaking they know they should strive for peace in their life, but they are their own worst enemy as the choices they make repeals peace. These broken people believe that they do not deserve to be happy as every attempt fails. So they ignore that singular voice within their hearts and run away not feeling good enough to receive God’s peace. They run and hide because the cannot believe that God has a plan for them that includes happiness and peace here on Earth. They cannot believe that God wants to take control!  But I say to you my brothers and sisters who are broken, God wants to instill his plan into your heart and take all the bad and turn it into good which glories His love for you!

Remember that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”

Every time I read this I feel at peace. Why? Because I believe with all my heart and soul that God’s peace is everlasting. I believe blindly in the idea that Jesus really said that.  I believe that Jesus is real and loved us so much that he would die to give us a chance at receiving that everlasting peace.

So, why can people like me believe and other people just can’t quite make that leap of faith? Because they believe they do not deserve God’s love, because they expect nothing but the bad in life. The difference is I do not expect to be saved rather I hope to be saved according to God’s word. Whereas, the broken person dwells in the expectation that bad is all they can hope for, which leaves them without hope of salvation. Thus, if you give in to hopelessness then you in truth shackle your life to this world and to the expectations of a life mired in sin! You give up on the hope God has for you, the salvation he won for you, and the everlasting peace he left in your care.

Conversion

19 “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,” ~ Acts 3:19 (NABRE)

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Again, logically speaking the only way out of this hopelessness is to be converted! This means you must die to your sins and be reborn in the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ! Scary sounding… right? Well to the nonbeliever it is the scariest thing they will ever do. Ok, so how do you convert someone who is broken?  Believe me, when I say it’s easier said than done, but it begins with being the example in every aspect of your life, teaching that God’s grace can be found in everything be it in the good or bad things of this world. Yes, being the example by living your faith, practicing what you preach, do what you say, believe with all your heart, mind, and soul in the words and promises of God. To be a witness to others who need help in believing, who need you to be their a road map to faith, and a guide to those broken down and beaten by this world who expect nothing but bad and show them kindness, love, and mercy. Conversion doesn’t happen overnight, rather it takes time for people to hear, then reacts to God’s call. But know God is calling and He is using you to make that connection!

There is hope, there is love, there is mercy, and there is peace in this world. But the peace we all should strive for is the peace of salvation in the Lord, Jesus Christ!

Amen.

My brothers and sisters, if you enjoyed this message today then I invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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