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.

Promises of the Spirit

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

The Trinity

ANT. 1 The Lord says: “Turn away from sin and open your heart to the Gospel.”

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;

John 14:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God’s Plan in Action

God’s Plan

How wonderful it is my brothers and sisters that Jesus’s main concern for us was to promise yet another part of Himself to come to be with us once his mission was concluded. Here we are given the instruction which is the Trinity; the Father (God – Our Creator), Son ( Jesus – Our Savior & Teacher), and the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Truth – Our Helper, Comforter, Advocate, and Intercessor). For Jesus promised the Spirit of Truth, to dwell within us all the days of our lives. Jesus goes on and promises to never leave us fatherless (John 14:18) and therefore we are eternally one with Him. All of these things lead to a specific plan for our personal salvation, but for this plan to work God knew that we would all need His constant reminder, we would need to be empowered, equipped, and filled with His Holy presence for the entire length of our lives. God did this because He knows we are sinners, weak, impressionable, and are in need of His Divine Fruits. So, through Jesus Christ, God sent the Holy Spirit; The Spirit of Truth.

Spirit of Truth

12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

1 Corinthians 2:12 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

I remember as a child in Bible School on Sunday mornings one of the first ideas presented was the Trinity. At the time I was totally blown away of the idea that God is three beings all rolled up in one. I was told then that God had three distinct parts to Himself and this was first illustrated in the very first pages of the Old Testament (Genesis 1:26) “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Though the word ‘Trinity’ is not found within the Holy Bible it is constantly eluded to and when Jesus promised a Helper, Comforter, Advocate, and Intercessor, (depending which Bible you read), he was referring to the third part of God – The Holy Spirit. So, I say to you my brothers and sisters if indeed God is truth then the Holy Spirit which comes from God must also be the truth. Thus, as a teacher and a parent myself, I can see clearly that God in the delivery of His message through the mission and life of His son Jesus Christ, that in order to set the record straight the only place He, (being GOD), could have started and ended was through the Holy Spirit of Truth. Using this as your foundation let us explore the Gifts of the Holy Spirit whom God gave to mankind as a Holy Guide (John 16:13).

The Fruits of the Spirit

Fruit Of The Spirit is a painting by Amber Hadden 

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.

Galatians 5:16-17 (NRSVACE)

We live in conflict with ourselves every day and apart from this conflict, Jesus gave us hope through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In no short order is this a promise unkempt because if you look hard enough, peer through the haze of sin that envelopes our modern world, and are not afraid to lift up your faith as if it where a beckon of light I promise you that you will see the fruits of the spirit working in your life. So, what are these fruits? (Galatians 6:22) lists them in this order: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Self-Control. How wonderful these gifts are and how much they are modeled after Christ’s own attributes. Therefore, my brothers and sisters if you walk in the Spirit of Truth, live your life according to God’s plan, desiring nothing but the hidden wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:7) then you will have the benefit of knowing God’s truth. You by design will have a ‘Helper’ that will stand beside you, guiding every footfall, fighting against the works of the flesh (Galatians 6:19-21), and a ‘Comforter’ which again will guide you to all the gifts of the Spirit. Remember always the promise of (Acts 1:8) “Here’s the knowledge you need: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” ~ The Voice (Voice)

The Diversity of the Holy Spirit


Unity In Diversity

There are various gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. There are various operations, but it is the same God who operates all of them in all people.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (MEV)

Have you ever wondered why some people can sing while you couldn’t hold a tune in a bucket? Or why it is so that some people can write so beautifully making it look effortless but you couldn’t put two thoughts on a page? How about this, some people have the ability to talk up a storm, tell exciting stories, and hold everyone’s attention for hours on end and you couldn’t say a word that sounded intelligent enough to hold a conversation with fidelity? Why some people are funny and others aren’t? Why some are smart and others are not as smart? I think you get the idea… the point is that God gave every single person a set of gifts that belong solely to that individual alone. Some gifts may look similar but the application could be completely different. Trust me that is no accident. The shire diversity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as aligned to the list found in (Galatians 6:22) they are also uniquely distributed for the common good of all mankind. “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the many parts of that one body are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12). Therefore, I say to you my brothers and sisters, do not envy, covet, or allow jealousy into your hearts nor find yourself wanting what others have. Rather, live according to the plan God has laid out for you abiding in His will and in His Holy Spirit, sharing your gifts with the world as He intended for you to do. For always allow His best to be glorified through what you do for your brethern as diversity is the path to unity and I again promise you will see clearly the fruits of the Spirit work throughout your life. In this way, we are filled with the Holy Spirit which is gratifying, giving us purpose, and in this, we become closer to God Himself.

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A Poem for Teachers

When I look out upon my class I wonder,
When my students look back I wonder even more,
When I plan and deliver my lessons I can only pray,
When my students take their notes I can only pray harder,
When I give my class a test I often hope they studied,
When my class gets their results I often see a new lesson has been taught,
When I introduce a new concept I like to ask lots of questions, 
When my students finally understand that concept their eyes light up,
When the semester ends I am the most nervous for them, 
When my students finally prove successful I give it to God.

Authors Comments:

I thank God for constantly giving me the right words, the most powerful examples, and the truth of my subject area in an ever-evolving changing and exciting way. The very act of teaching is an affirmation of my relationship with God, my trust in God, and by serving God in the most sacred of ways that positively affect those I have the honor to teach. ~ Brother Brian March 23, 2019 P.S. Let me know what you think below.

Let Us Pray

Praying With Faith


ANT. 2 “I, the Lord, am coming to save you; ready I am near; soon I will free you from your sins.”

Lord Jesus, Word of God, surrendering the brightness of your glory you became man so that we may be raised from the dust to share your very being. May there be innumerable children of the Church to offer homage to your name from the rising of the sun to its setting.

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.

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The Cross which Saves us.

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.

Week of Awareness for Persecuted Christians 2017

Solidarity in Suffering

10 ‘”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:10 (NRSVACE)

On May 20, 2017, I wrote a post called ‘Hope for the Persecuted – China’s Christian Revival!’ where I wrote about how for centuries Christians have been persecuted for their faith. I introduced an author who had spent a lifetime writing about Christian persecution and the power of faith, prayer, and the overall price of discipleship. In that post and in all the research I conducted was introduced to the truth of ‘Cheap Grace’ as written by  Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (1937) The Cost of DiscipleshipI bring this topic back up because there are still modern day Christians being persecuted. Moreover, starting November 26, 2017 – December 2, 2017, many people from around the world are holding a ‘Week of Awareness for Persecuted Christians.’ Cheif among the organizations are the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Knights of Columbus (KofC) who are taking donations for Christians at Risk.

Corporal Works of Mercy

As Catholic Christians and as followers of Jesus Christ we the children of God are called to show mercy in various ways for those in need. Part of this is to help feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead, give alms to the poor, and I would add to this list we are also called to come together to support those who are suffering because of their faith. Our Christian brothers and sisters need you to take action and spread the word of the many thousands worldwide who are imprisoned, beaten, starved, tortured, and even put to death for their Christian beliefs. I call all of you my brothers and sisters to take action. There are a variety of ways to help those brothers and sister in Christ who are made to suffer for their – our beliefs!

Here are two links to get more information and to donate what you can to help stop the persecution.

Video: Click Here

Donate: Click Here

 

Action Center: Click Here

Donate: Click Here

I thank you all of you my brothers and sisters in advance for taking action in the above various ways.

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

Primary Goal: To Alway Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Ways to Communicate

As always, I humbly invite you to stay connected by sending me a message at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com, or by visiting Listening Faithfully Facebook page.

Don’t forget to become part of this awesome community by signing up at Listening Faithfully Community Page. In addition, I have started a new page where you can also visit me at fb.me/listeninfaith and send me messages at m.me/listeninfaith.

Finally, another means of direct communication os by sending me a tweet on Twitter at Brian Keith@Listeninfaith, or become a part of our spiritual group: Friends who Like Listening Faithfully…. “Let’s grow together as children of God” 

Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2017