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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke (ἐπιτιμᾶν, criticize) him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind (φρονεῖς) not on divine things (τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ) but on human things (τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).’ He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Mk 8: 31-34)

Naturally, Peter did not want to see his beloved Teacher “undergo great suffering,” and “be killed.” He probably didn’t ev...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia…” (Gal 1: 11-17)

It’s always so s...

Saturday, October 28, 2017

No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him (more) will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” (Lk 8: 16-18)

It is important, the Lord is telling me here, not only “that” I hear His word, but “how” I hear it. Even when I don’t quite understand it, He calls me to patient and persistent exploration of His divine wisdom, in humble and prayerful teachability. “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed” to a heart mindful of God’s daily little revelations. Whoever “has” t...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment/condemnation (εἰς κρίσιν οὐκ ἔρχεται), but has passed (μεταβέβηκεν) from death to life.” (Jn 5: 24)

Here is the choice my Lord places before me: 1. I can ”come into judgment/condemnation,” which means sitting in my own “debt” or death-bringing guilt, without embracing God’s mercy and God’s way forward, or 2. I can “hear” His word and embrace faith, moving forward through the ups and downs, on the life-bringing way of the cross, in humble forgiveness of myself and others. Thus I can “pass from death to life,” walking through things in the light and lightness of God’s word.

Today let me choose life, asking the right kinds of questions. Let me ask God’s kinds of quest...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Now the parable is this (Jesus explains): The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on a rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience (ἐν ὑπομονῇ).” (Lk 8: 11-15)

Now let me rise up to the challenge, of having heard the “word of God,...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the Coming One (ὁ ἐρχόμενος), or shall we look for (προσδοκῶμεν) another?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense (σκανδαλισθῇ) at me.’” (Mt 11: 2-6)

Our Lord is, indeed, the “Coming One.” Unlike “other” lords or god-surrogates I may periodically choose to serve or “look for,” my true Lord is One Who “comes,” and is there for me, again and again, whenever I open up to Him and let Him do that. He doesn’t leave me empty or desolate, as does an unhealthy...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I can do nothing on my own (ἀπ᾽ἐμαυτοῦ); as I hear (καθὼς ἀκούω), I judge; and my judgment is just (δικαία), because I seek not my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” (Jn 5: 30)

“I hear,” (ἀκούω) says the Lord. He doesn’t only hear, however. He listens, like nobody else. In His profound, divine capacity truly to listen, He is perfectly “obedient” (ὑπήκοος, from the verb “ὑπ-ακούω,” meaning “to listen, give ear”) even unto death on the cross (Phil 2: 8). And this is what makes Christ’s judgment just.

As the God-Man reveals these awe-inspiring dynamics of divine “judgment” (κρίσις, literally, “crisis”), He is also teaching me something vital about our human “judgment,” discernment, and decision-making process: Specifically, that I should go about it not “on my own,” just in my o...

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