Monday, November 28, 2011

"You Can't White Knuckle Life Alone"

Although we will be viewing and discussing the last of the four installments of It's A Wonderful Life, the Gospel assigned for the Second Sunday in Advent is from  Mark 1:1-8.

Our readings in the weeks leading up to Advent focused on our need for preparedness and vigilence. In keeping with those readings and discussions, this last module of our movie raises some interesting questions about George Bailey. For all of his "goodness," was his self-reliance really a form of arrogance? Did he ever learn to lean on others for support as he attempted to solve the problems of the town on his own? Was he a man of faith? I look  forward to viewing the movie and discussing these with you all tomorrow night.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

…You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake"

Hi All,
Matthew's reminder for vigilance and preparedness continues as Mark (Mark 13:24-37) implores us to keep awake--for you do not know when the master of the house will come.
For me, this reading's impact is more fully appreciated  by reflecting back on last Sunday's Gospel, Matthew 25:31-46. Who is the master? How will we know him?  Matthew answers:
Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, `Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'
Look forward to seeing you all next Wednesday, 11/30/11.
Happy Thanksgiving,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

If I were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?

In Matthew 25: 31-46 we are called to serve Christ by serving the poorest among us. Last night our understanding of this Gospel was enhanced by discussing it as part of a “continuum,” which began with Jesus teaching that “On these two (great) commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:34-46); the need to be prepared (Matthew 25:1-13), and to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and take risks (Matthew 25: 14-30) if we are to serve God.
A line from Mitch Albom’s book Have a Little Faith which the Men’s Group is currently reading, “ can’t see Jesus from the sidewalk,” reminds us that we know God through Jesus and we know Jesus through each other.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world,  so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.  St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Readings for Wednesday Evening 11/16/11

Hi All,
Our Gospel readings for tomorrow night are from Matthew 25:31-46. This is the reading for the last Sunday after Pentecost and "Christ the King."
Look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Our will or His

...but how do we know?
John Powell suggests that God has in our regard, a general and a specific will. The general suggests to live our lives in a loving way to glorify God by using all our gifts to the full, while the specific, is a call to do something which is very definite.

“There have been quite a few times when I have felt the winds of God’s grace in the sails of my small boat. Sometimes these graces have moved me in pleasant and sunlit directions. At other times the requested acts of love were born in the darkness of struggle and suffering. There have been springtimes and there have been long cold winters of struggle for survival. God has come to me at times with the purest kindness, at times with the most affirming encouragement, and at other times with bold frightening challenges. I think that all of us have to watch and pray, to be ready to say “yes” when God’s language is concrete and his request is specific-“yes” in the sunlit springtimes and “yes’ in the darkness of winter nights.”
(John Powell, S.J., The Christian Vision, The Truth That Sets Us Free, p147)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This is What I Get for Praying!

Last night we saw George Bailey's world come apart. Faced with financial diaster, prison and disgrace, he does eventually pray for God's help. Our spirited discussion raised questions that characterized George as diametrically opposed to one another.
Some believed that while he was a good person, he was not a spirtual man and that he used his being a "vicitm" of circumstance to promote his image as the town's hero, and  not unlike the foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, he was not prepared for his "day of reckoning."
Others believed that, to the contrary, George's life of self-sacrifice was in keeping with the "second" of the Two Greatest Commandments, and despite his not appearing to be a particularly relgious man, he was in fact spritual. In some ways, not unlke Jesus, this ordinary man had an extraordinary life.
What do you think?

The question was raised is it possible to love your neighbor as yourself and not love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, in other words, can the two commandments exist on their own individually.What do you think?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"If You're Up There Show Me The Way"

Our Gospel (Matthew 25:14-30) readings for Wednesday 11/9/11can be found on the Lecionary page attached

However, in the interest of time we agreed to limit our discussion in order to view and discuss the 3rd module of "It's a Wonderful Life." That said the third servant's desire to play it safe and not take risks are an interesting segue to this Jesus Goes to the Movies segment:
To whom or what do we turn when we think we are at the "end of our rope?" By now George know that his hopes and dreams will never be realized. Don't ask him in these scenes if it's a wonderful life.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

What are we waiting for and where do we get the oil?

The Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, reminds us to be prepared and to be vigilant. However, as we discussed last night, perhaps the greatest lesson for us was not that the “foolish virgins” fell asleep, but that they squandered their most precious resource, the “light” (of the Holy Spirit). Peter Woods (The Listening Hermit) tells us that “The worst mistake I could possibly make is to forget that the Kingdom of Heaven is right here and now, and that the light from the flickering lamp of faith is all that is required for us to watch and wait.” Those who recognize the Bridegroom, keep enough oil in their lamps by keeping the Two Greatest Commandments and living in the spirit of the Beatitudes. 

Is there a discipleship/stewardship message here?
Is there an Advent message here?

Preach the Gospel always... If necessary, use words. (St. Francis of Assisi)