JESUS IN SCRIPTURE HAVE FAITH IN ME; WITH ME NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

MATTHEW 14:25-36 JESUS WALKS ON THE SEA

During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.

At once (Jesus) spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.

But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

REFLECTION:
It was early morning before daybreak…before the light….on top of that a figure appeared like a ghost….unexpected….their boat rocked in the storm of nature….and their spirits rocked with lack of faith….at once to calm them Jesus cautions them Do not be afraid It is I….nothing to be afraid of with Jesus… Jesus is the light…the light of the world

Peter, the bold and audacious one, is willing to take a chance…”if it is really you, Jesus tell me to command me to come on the water”….for a brief instance Peter remembers nothing is impossible with God…but Peter became frightened by the wind and lost his footing….Save me Lord (because my faith has failed me)…immediately Jesus stretches out his hand to save Peter…

How many fears I have…how little trust in Jesus…how far do I have to sink before I cry out, Lord, save me…I hear in the silence of my soul…Oh you of little faith…”Come to me you who are labored and burdened”…with Jesus anything is possible…no real harm will come to me…unless I separate myself from Jesus…

SILENT PRAYER


MARK 10:46-52 LORD, THAT I MAY SEE!

As he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.”

He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

REFLECTION:
Blind Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus to have pity on him….have mercy on him…show compassion to him…help him…how much we are like Bartimaeus crying out in our needs…why, because Jesus is the only true healer whether he solves our problem right then or not…we are no longer alone in our suffering and we know in God’s time, all will be resolved for the better…

many following Jesus rebuked Bartimaeus…don’t bother the Master…how many times are we rebuked by friends about our faith in prayer…or told by a non believer there is no God because if there was a God He wouldn’t let you suffer…nonsense God allows suffering for many reasons…sometimes it is to get our attention…sometimes He has something better and greater in store

immediately at Jesus’ summons, “Call him,” Bartimaeus threw off his cloak and went to Him. Jesus asks “What do you want me to do for you “…not because Jesus didn’t know…but Jesus wanted Bartimaeus to name it….because of his faith, “Your faith has saved you”…

Bartimaeus sees clearly and immediately follows Jesus on the way…Jesus knows what I need before I ask…but He waits to hear it from my own lips…Lord, that I might see clearly to follow you on the way…

SILENT PRAYER

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JESUS IN SCRIPTURE THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND

COMMENTARY
In my last post in the series, JESUS IN SCRIPTURE, I included Jesus rebuking the sea. Some will say that Jesus never says, I am God, literally in the New Testament and it would be true. But we Christians are smarter than that and know what Jewish people knew back then. God alone in Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) was master of the wind and sea. God’s manifestation of Himself, whether it be at the Red Sea, the flood in the time of Noah or saving Jonah in the belly of a whale it was clear to the Jewish people, only God controlled the wind and sea. In rebuking the sea, Jesus reveals He is Divine as well as human.

Today’s readings and reflections deal with another aspect of Jewish belief found in Hebrew Scriptures. That belief is, only God can forgive sins. When Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or Divine. When the Luminous mysteries of the rosary were added to the rosary by Saint John Paul II, I was always bothered by audio rosaries using Jesus curing of the paralytic as the reflection for the third mystery, Jesus proclaims the kingdom of heaven.

I have been pondering for some time “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Does it mean God is literally present in the midst of his people? Does it mean we are restored to original state of union with God in the Garden of Eden? Does it mean we are saved from sins and death?

My working belief is when Jesus proclaims the kingdom of heaven is at hand is that the long awaited Savior and Messiah has arrived in the person of Jesus. He is in control of our destiny which is union with God in heaven forever and ever. Jesus is our gateway. He has the key and will unlock the gate on Easter Sunday.

JESUS IN SCRIPTURE

MARK 2:1-12 JESUS HEALS THE PARALYTIC
“When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.

Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, Why does this man speak that way?* He is blaspheming.

Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”— he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”

He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

REFLECTION:
When Jesus returned to his home in Capernaum a great crowd assembled outside…Jesus’ renown words and deeds attracted so many no more could fit inside…what was it that attracted them to Jesus…what attracts me to Jesus…If CNN announced that Jesus will be at my parish church at 8:30 on Sunday would I come…Jesus is truly present at every church at every Mass in the Real Presence of the Eucharist and all are invited…do I come follow him as the disciples did…

The paralytic would never have reached Jesus without the help of friends…do I support others by my faith and witness…do I assist others in need of healing by my prayers and actions…so many needs…one messiah and healer…when Jesus saw their faith He said, “Child your sins are forgiven.”…whose faith did he see…Jesus might assume the paralytic was seeking healing but we know for sure he saw the faith and effort of his friends to bring him to Jesus…

According to Hebrew Scriptures only God can forgive sins so Jesus was accused of blasphemy by the Scribes…Jesus healed this paralytic despite what others would say…do I bear witness to the faith even in the face of persecution…Jesus answered the Scribes, But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”— he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone…in Jesus’ own words referring to himself as Son of Man of the prophet Daniel, “I saw the Son of Man come and take his place on the throne” (Daniel 7:13) …He,Jesus, had the power to forgive sins a power reserved only to God..Jesus left the crowd astounded and in awe of His authority from the Father…are we still in awe by the Gospel story…Why not???

SILENT PRAYER


LUKE 8:43-48 DAUGHTER, YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU; GO IN PEACE

A woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years, who had spent her whole livelihood on doctors and was unable to be cured by anyone, came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak.

Immediately her bleeding stopped. Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” Peter said, “Master, the crowds are pushing and pressing in upon you.” But Jesus said, “Someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me.”

The woman came forward, trembling. Falling down before him, she explained in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

REFLECTION:
A woman with a blood disorder approaches Jesus…was the healing of disease the only reason?..I think no,t as long as she had this disorder she was considered ‘unclean” isolated from her community and denied access to worship God in the temple…she was certainly suffering physically and spiritually…she is in need of healing…

The promised Messiah would be a Healer, “Behold, your God will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.” (Isaiah 35:4-6)

Who touched me?, ..Jesus asks…there was a great crowd pushing and shoving to reach Jesus..but something special occurred…someone in faith specifically touched Him in need… Someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me…when the woman confessed in faith it was she, Jesus said, “Daughter your faith has saved you, go in peace…similar words of absolution from the priest in sacrament of reconciliation….how I desire to hear those words of healing…

Do I reach out to Jesus in need…often???. Jesus is a healer…he can’t help himself…Jesus calls out to me…Child, when you give me your wounds you give me the joy of being your Savior…Come without delay…there is nothing I cannot forgive and heal…Come forth…touch me…and see…

SILENT PRAYER
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JESUS IN SCRIPTURE PUBLIC LIFE MIRACLE WORKER

 

JOHN 2:1-11 THE WEDDING AT CANA
There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew).
The headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

REFLECTION:
Mary, Jesus, and his disciples were invited to this wedding banquet. Must have been a pretty big affair to run out of wine…wedding celebrations lasted days back then and preparations were made…Could it be that it was not an accident but Divine Providence…Jesus addresses his mother as Women. Is He insulting her of course not! Could it be the title Women represented all mankind in need….Seek and you will find…Mary had no doubt her request would be answered; she told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”.Mary did not know what her Son would do, but she trusted Him. Do we trust Jesus to answer our prayers…

My hour has not yet come“…God’s time is not our time…Jesus had not yet begun his public ministry…but then who can turn down a mother’s request….Jesus discerned this as a sign from his Father that it was time to let the rest of us in on the Good News..Jesus performed this first of His signs and revealed His glory… and so the disciples began to believe in Him…the kingdom of heaven is at hand…what are our expectations,,..what are the signs of Jesus’ intervention in my life…look closely… give thanks…

 

SILENT PRAYER


MARK 4:35-41 JESUS REBUKES THE SEA

On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side of the lake.”

Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.

They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”

The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

REFLECTION:

Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee with his disciple…He was exhausted from all the teaching He had done to the multitudes, worn out emotionally too with the needs of the people and demands placed on him for healing…. Jesus fell asleep in the back of the creaky old fisherman boat. Afierce storm came up that terrified his disciples. Jesus must have really been tired since it didn’t awaken him or else He wasn’t worried by nature’s unpredictability.

So often storms come into our lives…We feel all alone…frightened…how long do I thrash about in the storm by myself…am I able to make the storm go away by myself…do I invite Jesus into the eye of the storm…He is my refuge, my only refuge…his disciples (fishermen) were afraid in the boat and woke Jesus..Jesus saw and heard their fear…He rebuked the wind and told the sea to Be still…the wind ceased and the sea became calm…Why child are you so terrified…I am with you…Be still and know that I am God….can we respond Yes, Lord, I trust you!

SILENT PRAYER

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JESUS IN SCRIPTURE JESUS IS TEMPTED AND JESUS REVEALS HIMSELF AS MESSIAH

LUKE 4:1-13 JESUS IS TEMPTED IN THE DESERT

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone…'” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve…'” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and: ‘With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'”

Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

REFLECTION:
Like us in every way but sin, Jesus is tempted in the desert….temptations are similar to what we face every day…tempted to pleasure the flesh…tempted to pride that we are in control…and tempted to power to rule the world…

.we too are tempted in the desert of our souls…do I fortify myself like Jesus with prayer and fasting…fasting means much more than not eating food…do I fast from making judgments…do I fast from anger, from unkind thoughts and words…. do I deny myself and choose God’s holy will over mine… do I seek power and glory for myself…or give all glory to God who is all Good and provider of all…

SILENT PRAYER
Lord God, thank you for all your gifts. Teach me to be humble and to be grateful to you and share my gifts with others for the love of your Son, Jesus Christ who is my Savior!

LUKE 4:16-21 THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went, according to his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

REFLECTION:
Jesus goes to his hometown to pray…He is also chooses his hometown to make a very important announcement…how will the crowd respond…He is given a scroll of Isaiah that prophecies the Messiah will come and set justice on the earth…Jesus proclaims, I am He…today this prophecy is fulfilled…

Jesus has announced his arrival in his hometown…they reject him because they think they know him by what he does…not who He says He is…the stage is set for Jesus to reveal himself and the Father to the world through his disciples and his church…Will I accept Jesus for who He is…or will I make him into something I want to Him to be…Are we seekers of the Truth or someone who makes up his own Truth…

SILENT PRAYER
Lord Jesus, you have shown me who you are in Sacred Scripture and in so many other ways through your inspirations to prayer and in my neighbor who is sometimes the one receiving your love through me as an instrument of your peace and sometimes sharing your love with me with their kindness and care for me. Open my eyes…let me see your activity in my life and in the world…

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JESUS IN SCRIPTURE IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD

As we approach the birth of Our Lord, I am beginning a series of posts entitled JESUS IN SCRIPTURE that will continue throughout 2018. “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Jesus,” according to St. Jerome, Biblical Scholar in 4th century who translated Bible into Latin. (Latin Vulgate)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;

the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it… JOHN 1:1-12

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him, he gave power to become children of God…

REFLECTION:
He was in the beginning…Jesus is the Word made flesh…the Word Incarnate….God becomes man…Through Him comes Life….And this Life is the Light of the World ….the world is dark since the Fall…darkness cannot keep out the Light….those who choose Light become children of the Light….and testify to the Light…and become children of God…all in heaven and on earth await in anticipation for the Incarnation…the word made flesh…how do I await my Savior and Lord….

INTRODUCTION TO JESUS’ PUBLIC MINISTRY

Not much is known about Jesus’ child hood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood in his home town of Nazareth. We do know the Holy family were all devout Jews honoring and worshiping God according to Jewish practices, especially holy days like Passover, Feast of tabernacles, Pentecost and the like.

Mary and Joseph would have provided for their family in traditional roles of feeding and caring for their child. In his human nature Jesus would be learning and not taking any “divine” short cuts as he assisted his earthly adopted father, Joseph, in his carpentry trade.

We know from before and after Jesus began his public ministry he was a devout man of prayer and worship and a student of scripture. Not only did Jesus grow in earthly wisdom but his intimacy with His Father grew spiritually as he prepared to fulfill his heavenly Father’s mission.

Jesus’s coming on the public scene is foretold by John the Baptist, a distant cousin of Jesus who leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Now they meet once again. While Jesus has no need of baptism of repentance for he has no sin to repent, he presents himself to John and says, “Let it be for now.” Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan foreshadows the baptism of water and Spirit that later will cleanse men of their sins. “Behold the Lamb of God!”

JESUS BEGINS HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY

MARK 1:1-11 THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
John (the) Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins…

(JOHN 1:26-32) The next day John (the) Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”… (MATTHEW 3:14-17) After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened…the Spirit of God descended like a dove… And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

REFLECTION:
John proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins….John prepares the way for the Christ….Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…Jesus is the sacrificial lamb who will sacrifice himself for us that our sins may be forgiven…repent and believe in the Gospel…the sinless one takes on the sins of the world…the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus, full of grace….The Father affirms…”This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased…
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