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Saturday, August 1, 2020

     “What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.’” (Mt 21: 28-32)

     How is it that the tax collectors and harlots “went to work” in the Lord’s “vineyard,” after believing J...

Thursday, July 30, 2020

     “’In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’” (Mt 6: 9-13)

     Every time I pray as the Lord taught us to pray, in the “manner” demonstrated by Him above, I pray not only for myself, but also for the rest of “us.” Who are “we”? “We” are everyone who is a child of God; anyone whose “Father” is God. If I love my neighbor “as I love myself” (Mk 12: 31), then I am no less concerned about his/her “daily bread,” and “forgiveness,” and “deliverance from the evil o...

Thursday, June 18, 2020

  “And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Save, Lord; we are perishing.’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O (you) of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the people marveled, saying, ‘Who / What kind (of man) is this (Ποταπός ἐστιν οὗτος), that even winds and sea obey him?’” (Mt 8: 23-27)

     The word of our Lord Jesus Christ can “work” or “do” things for us that we can’t do for ourselves. And it is through this “working” of His word in our lives, when we replace fear with even a “little” faith, that we begin to “marvel” and recognize “Who” He is; a Po...

Monday, February 10, 2020

     “I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock,...

Sunday, February 9, 2020

     “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with/by himself (πρὸς ἑαυτὸν), ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.’” (Lk 18: 9-14)

     The...

Friday, February 7, 2020

     “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women (τὰς τοιαύτας). What do you say about her?’ This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus look...

Thursday, February 6, 2020

     “And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray.’ And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.’ And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what you will.’ And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed...

Saturday, January 27, 2018

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with/by himself (πρὸς ἑαυτὸν), ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.’” (Lk 18: 9-14)

The Pharisee is very much “with” o...

Monday, November 6, 2017

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” (James 5: 16)

I know we like to say, these days, that we send our “thoughts” as well as our prayers, to those who have suffered some loss or tragedy. I just heard this phrase, “We send our thoughts and prayers,” in connection with the recent mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. But let me say this out loud, even if it’s not all that PC: It’s pretty cheap to send “thoughts,” because they come and go whether we like it or not, whereas “prayers” take a bit of work. And mind you, I’m saying this mainly to myself, because I know that when I say that I send my “thoughts” as well as my prayers, I often neglect the second pa...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Lk 11: 9-13)

I was recently asked whether the “success” of our prayers depends upon our “righteousness.” No, as the Lord explains above. “Success” in prayer, as Christ understands it, is reception of the Holy Spirit, i.e., commun...

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