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Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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5/8/18 6:33 P
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Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


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5/8/18 1:35 P
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A Light in the Darkness
Tuesday, May 8

“When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.”

Being a prison guard was a tough and dirty job. Paul and Silas were placed in an inner prison with their ankles shackled. You can close your eyes and picture the dark and dirty place, where the prisoners considered the worst of the worst were kept. No sanitation, no light, no food, the stench alone would have been enough to scramble our modern sensitivities.

The reason the guards went to such lengths? Because if the prisoners escaped, the guards were likely to receive a severe punishment; perhaps even paying with a public death of their own. Rather than endure the embarrassment and humiliation, this guard quickly considers suicide the moment he thinks he failed at his assigned task.

We can image him, standing in the dark following the earthquake, wondering what happened, what cost he would have to pay.

Yet, when Paul calls to him, the guard immediately calls for light and falls at Paul’s feet asking, “What must I do to be saved?”

How many people do we know who are standing in the dark, wondering what is happening and ready to draw their own swords rather than face the humiliation they think is ahead? How many are facing their own earthquake in the dark and are waiting for a voice to call out?

Paul simply calls out to the jailer, “We are all here.” The jailer drops his sword, calls for a light and looks for his salvation. So many times we want to be the light to someone else. Our intentions are good but the minute we try to be the light in the dark, our ego gets all involved and we decide we know exactly what help someone else needs. We get frustrated when our solution doesn’t fit their problem.

Sometimes, like Paul, we just need to call out that we are here. We just need to let others know that we are waiting for them in the darkness, whatever their darkness may be. Sometimes we don’t need to do, we just need to be, be present in the dark. Once they know they are not alone, they find the voice to call for The Light that shines even in the darkest darkness.

This is part of the joy of being in a community of believers. We can encourage one another to listen, really listen. We can practice being present to one another and then use those skills to be present with others. We can pray together and ask for the grace to simply accompany those we meet on the journey. If there is help we can provide, the Holy Spirit will guide us. If not, at least for that amount of time, whoever we are ministering to is able to experience being heard.

The bonus is we get to experience the joy that comes with listening, with just letting people know that we are here, ready to help when they need it. It is amazing how often that is enough! We may get left feeling like, “But I didn’t do anything!” Yet, we did, we did what Jesus did, we met another person and were present to them, honoring their inherent dignity and reflecting the light on how they are made in the image and likeness of God. The first step is to be like St. Paul and say in the darkness, “We are all here.”


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


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5/6/18 9:50 A
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Dearly Beloved
Sunday, May 6

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In today’s Second Reading, we are called beloved. Whenever I am called beloved in Scripture, my heart automatically melts. It is within this word that I am rooted in the truth of who I am. I am dearly loved by a God Who is Love. Today’s Gospel reading recalls Jesus’ words for us to remain in this love. The challenging part of our faith is that we have to commit ourselves over and over again to remaining there.

In my 6th grade class, we have covered the topic of sin, mortal and venial. We learned together that venial sin weakens our relationship with God, while mortal sin severs and breaks that relationship.

I picked my 6th grader student, Kailien, to sit before me in his chair. His chair was facing me perfectly. I explained to the class that this a demonstration of what sin does to our relationship with God. I explained that in this context we’re going to pretend that I am “God”. Kailien was sitting before me. We could see one another clearly, we could read one another’s body language, and facial expressions. We could be in full communication and conversation. I told Kailien that he committed a venial sin and he had to move his chair to the right. We could still see one another and communicate, but we were not perfectly facing one another. Kailien continued to experience sin and his chair turned more and more away from me. He could still see me out of his peripheral vision but lost the ability to see me as clearly as before. Our relationship has weakened. Lastly, Kailien experienced a mortal sin. He turned his chair completely from me. His back was to me and he could no longer see me at all.

This is what happens when we sin- when we miss the mark. We turn ever so slightly or sometimes, drastically from His gaze. We choose to no longer remain there- to remain in His love. Although Kailien could not see me when he turned his chair, I could still see him. No matter what we do and how we might turn our chairs in life- still he calls us beloved, still, he can see us completely and he looks at us with immense love. Still, we are beloved.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” When we recognize the reality that our identity lies in being “beloved”, we will remain there. Our identity doesn’t lie in what grades we get, the cleanliness of our home, or the car we drive. Our identity lies in this fact- we are a beloved son or daughter of God. Love is what we are made for as human beings. Love is of God and meant to be shared. If we are truly experiencing God’s love in our own lives, we will love others correctly. “To will the Good of the other”, this is what it means to love. When we love we freely choose the best for another person- we choose Heaven for them. When we are truly loving God and the people around us, it’s impossible to break His commandments.

Today, let’s take a moment to be truly honest with ourselves. Which commandment do we struggle with most? Who are we not loving when we sin? Can we see Him or is our chair turned away? Do we need the Sacrament of Confession to receive and remain in His love again?

Today, let’s remain in His love by freely choosing the best for those around us. Today, let us remember our true identity.

You, my friend, are called beloved. Please never forget that unshakable truth.

You are dearly dearly loved.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


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5/3/18 12:47 P
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A Deeper Relationship
Thursday, May 3

As Catholics, we strive to live in a manner that will grant us entrance into God’s Kingdom of Eternal Glory, but how do we do that? It goes far beyond holding the door open for strangers and going to Mass every Sunday. It goes far beyond baptizing your children and praying before meals. Quite honestly, the idea of working towards heaven can be daunting, as it feels as though only perfection can truly guarantee entrance. Yet it is not perfection that God expects from us, but a deep relationship with him.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us two foundational sentences with which to guide our spiritual lives. First, Jesus says that he is “the way and the truth and the life,” giving us our first clue on how to get to heaven. We are humans, and as we see from the first chapter of Genesis, we are not perfect in nature. Second, he says that whatever we ask in his name, he will do (John 14:14). As I mentioned, God does not expect perfection. What he wants is for us to truly know and love him, and he will listen.

How great is that? How great is our God that he chose not only choose to allow us free will, but to allow us to have a personal relationship with him? He allows us to have conversations with him where we can thank him, ask him for help, and just tell him about our days. Plus, we know our voices don’t just fall on deaf ears. Even when we don’t think he is listening, it may just be that we are the ones that must stop and listen. With this kind of relationship, one so eternally forgiving and loving, why would we not want to deepen our relationship?

Jesus is the way we should live, because he lived as a human like you and me, walking the tightrope between good and evil. His way is one of hardships and giving your life in order to receive everlasting life. Jesus is the truth because He is the Son of God who came to earth in order that we may have a deeper connection with our creator. It is through having a relationship with our Lord that we are able to know the truth, to know peace, and to know love. Jesus is the life because it is only through Christ that we are able to come to the Father and, therefore, come to know everlasting life.

If Jesus is the way and the truth and the life, then why are we not following his example? Why have we allowed ourselves to stray from the path, to believe the lies, to stay stagnant in our spiritual growth? God is not asking us to be perfect, but we shouldn’t just stop trying. Brothers and sisters, this is my reminder to you that we are given the gift of communication with our Father as a means to grow closer to God and gain entrance to his ultimate home for us. So today, let’s begin that conversation with someone that is always willing to listen:

God of light and all that is good, You have given us the gift of prayer as a way to lift our voices to you, so that you may fully know the content of our hearts and minds. We ask that you shine your light on our path when we lose our way. We ask that you shine your light on the truth when we find the lies so convincing. We ask that you shine your light so that we may grow in our relationship with you. We ask all of this through God our Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


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5/2/18 11:27 A
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Divine Pruning
Wednesday, May 2

Does anyone else want to just cringe after hearing about all the pruning happening in today’s Gospel? “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”

It makes me think of taking out splinters or porcupine quills or cactus spines! Ouch!! I know I have vices and shortcomings but I am comfortable with them and I would rather not change. I mean I’m not THAT bad of a person, right?

But Jesus doesn’t want us to be “good enough”, He wants to perfect us. So splinter by splinter, quill by quill and spine by spine, He wears down our excuses, our faults and our shortcomings with His love and guides us along the way to salvation.

The deeper we allow ourselves to delve into this passage, the more beautiful it becomes: “Remain in me as I remain in you… If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” What a comfort, what a joy, what a relief to remain in God! To remain in His loving embrace, His gentle guidance, His hopeful promise!

When my wife was 24, she had a near-death experience on the operating table during an appendectomy. Her heart stopped and her soul hovered over her body in the room for an instant before seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and the silhouette of our beloved Lord. She felt such an indescribable peace, love and joy that she wanted to stay there forever, yet an instant later, her heart was shocked and her soul returned to his body. She experienced, if only for a split second, what it meant to remain in God. And we have the opportunity to do the same with our decisions, our attitudes and our ministries each and every day.

Today we honor St. Athanasius, a man who understood what it meant to remain in God. He was sent to exile many times and endured much persecution because of His unwillingness to believe the Arian heresy. He defended the divinity of Jesus, remaining in His truth, no matter what human suffering it caused. What a great example for us!

So I would like to invite each of you today to allow Jesus to prune and perfect you, no matter how painful it may be, and to remain always in His everlasting love.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


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