Group photo
Author:
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
12/27/17 7:26 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

FEAST OF SAINT JOHN

JOHN 20:1A, 2-8

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
"They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him."
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.

Friends, today we celebrate the feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist. St. John is, of course, a spiritual master, but he is a literary master as well. We can see his skill throughout his Gospel, but perhaps especially in the stories dealing with the resurrected Jesus. We can find them in the 20th and 21st chapters of his Gospel. Our passage for today is from chapter 20, and it contains, in short compass, the whole of Christianity, if we have the eyes to see it.

"On the evening of that first day of the week…" Easter Sunday is the new creation day. On the first creation day, God had said, "Let there be light," and now, on Easter day, the one who said, "I am the light of the world" has returned from the dead. And this means that everything has changed, and everything has been recreated.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
12/2/17 4:05 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, December 2, 2017

34TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

LUKE 21:34-36

Gospel Luke 21:34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man."

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus urges us to watch and pray as we await his coming again. In one sense, Christianity is a religion of fulfillment (the Lord has come), but in another sense, it is a religion of waiting, for we expect the second coming of Jesus in the fullness of his power.

We wait and watch and keep vigil. And this is difficult. But what we all know is that great things take time. For example, when a woman becomes pregnant, she has to wait nine long months before the baby is ready.

"How long does this analysis take?" a woman once asked Carl Jung. "Just as long as it takes," came the answer. Gestation, growth, healing—during any of these processes, the very worst thing one can do is to pick at it, to force it, to make it operate according to our private timetables.

That’s why Jesus calls us to "be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength…to stand before the Son of Man."

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/27/17 12:39 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, November 27, 2017

34TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

LUKE 21:1-4

Gospel LK 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, "I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

Friends, today's Gospel tells of the poor widow who gave her last penny to the Temple treasury. Her behavior makes us consider our possessiveness. What do we tell ourselves all the time? That we're not happy because we don't have all the things that we should have or that we want to have. What follows from this is that life becomes a constant quest to get, to acquire, to attain possessions.

Do you remember the parable about the foolish rich man? When his barns were filled with all his possessions, he decided to tear them down and build bigger ones. Why is he a fool? Because (and I want you to repeat this to yourself as I say it) you have everything you need right now to be happy.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/26/17 3:57 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, November 26, 2017

THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

MATTHEW 25:31-46

Gospel MT 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?'
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.'
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."

Friends, our Gospel today is the scene of the Last Judgment. We hear that the specifics are a matter of love concretely expressed: "For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me." And we know the famous connection that Jesus makes: "Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me."

There is something awful about the specificity of these demands. This is not love in the abstract, having affection for "humanity." It is caring for that person who is homeless, for that person who is ill, for that person who is in prison.

We do not take our money, our social status, our worldly power into the next world; but we do take the quality of our love. You might consider doing an examination of conscience at the end of each day, and use as your criteria this passage. Perhaps put it up on your wall or post it next to your bed so that you see it before you go to sleep.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/25/17 3:08 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, November 25, 2017

33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

LUKE 20:27-40

Gospel LK 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
"Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her."
Jesus said to them,
"The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called 'Lord'
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive."
Some of the scribes said in reply,
"Teacher, you have answered well."
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

Friends, today's Gospel reports a conversation Jesus had with some of the Sadducees, who held that there is no life after death. We could practically hear their speech on the lips of secularists today. But Jesus is having none of it. The dead shall indeed rise, he says. Otherwise, how could Moses have spoken of God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all of whom were long dead by Moses' time? But their risen existence, though in continuity, even bodily continuity, with what has gone before, will be transformed, transfigured, raised up.

Those who hold to the resurrection of the body are those who are most effective at working for justice and peace in this world. If you are a complete materialist and secularist, you hold that everything and everybody, in the end, just fades away. But if you believe in the resurrection of the body, then everything in this world is destined for redemption. Everything matters.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/19/17 4:07 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, November 19, 2017

33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

MATTHEW 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
'Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
'Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.'
His master said to him in reply, 'You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'"

Friends, today's Gospel gives us the challenging parable of the talents. A man goes on a journey, but before leaving he entrusts his money to three of his servants. To one he gives five talents, to a second, two, and to a third, one.

The first man trades with the five talents. The second does the same, and both receive a rich return on their investment. The third man cautiously buries his talent. When the owner returns, he praises the first two servants and gives them greater responsibilities, but the third man he upbraids.

Jesus loved to use examples drawn from the world of business. And he especially liked this dynamic of investment as a model of the spiritual life. The reason is clear, and I've said it to you often. God exists in gift form. Therefore, if you want his life in you, you have to learn to give it away. Think of the talents as everything that we've received from God—life, breath, being, powers. Because they come from God, they are meant to become gifts. If you cling to them, in the manner of the third servant, they don't grow; in fact, they wither away.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/18/17 4:54 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, November 18, 2017

32ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

LUKE 18:1-8

Gospel LK 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, "There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'"
The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

Friends, today's Gospel exhorts us to pray with persistence. This command is everywhere in the Bible. We see it in Abraham's steady petition on behalf of the people of Sodom. We see it in today's account of the persistent widow. We hear it in Jesus' extraordinary teaching: "Knock and the door shall be opened to you; seek and you will find; ask and it will be given to you."

One reason that we don't receive what we want through prayer is that we give up too easily. What could be behind this rule of prayer? Augustine said that God sometimes delays in giving us what we want because he wants our hearts to expand. The more ardently we desire something, the more ready we are when it comes, the more we treasure it. The very act of asking persistently is accomplishing something spiritually important. So, when the Lord seems slow to answer your prayer, never give up.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/13/17 7:10 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, November 13, 2017

MEMORIAL OF SAINT FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI

LUKE 17:1-6

Gospel LK 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples,
"Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,'
you should forgive him."

And the Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

Friends, in today's Gospel we hear Jesus speak about faith. Faith is powerful, for it is a link to the reality of God, the power that made and sustains the cosmos. Sometimes, the power of faith is manifested in spectacular and immediately obvious ways. For example, there is a long tradition of faith healing, stretching back to Jesus himself and through many of the saints. There is also the power of prayer. When some people ask in a spirit of trust, really believing that what they are asking for will happen, it happens.

But, more often than not, the power of faith manifests itself in the courage to face trauma, sickness, even the terror of death. It is the confidence that we are being guided and cared for, even when that guidance and care are not immediately apparent.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/12/17 9:59 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, November 12, 2017

32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Gospel MT 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
'Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.'
But the wise ones replied,
'No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.'
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!'
But he said in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.'
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour."

MATTHEW 25:1-13

Friends, our Gospel today is the parable that compares the kingdom of heaven with “ten virgins who with their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom.” This is an image borrowed from the customs of the time. The bridesmaids would wait for the groom and, upon his appearance, would accompany him.

Well, this is the Christian community, waiting for Christ the groom to arrive. Did Jesus tell this parable because he knew that his Church would be in for a long period of waiting?

We are wise in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis, if we educate ourselves in the faith, if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, if we become people of love. We are foolish in our waiting if we neglect these things.

And here is one of the hardest truths of this parable: the divine life, so cultivated, cannot simply be shared with another at the last minute. The wise virgins are not being difficult and self-absorbed when they tell their friends that they can’t help them. A saint can’t simply infuse his life into another; it just doesn’t work that way.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/6/17 9:56 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, November 6, 2017

31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

LUKE 14:12-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
He said to the host who invited him,
"When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus gives us an extraordinary command to consider the weakest and most vulnerable in our society: "When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind." This is one of his central concerns throughout the Gospels. Foreigners, strangers, widows, orphans, the poor—if these weak people are ignored, God will become angry.

God's passion not only runs right through the Biblical tradition, but it comes roaring up into the social teaching of the Catholic Church: "If you have two coats in your closet, one belongs to you; the other belongs to the man who has no coat."

Let us not forget the poor and marginalized today.


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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
11/4/17 2:06 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, November 4, 2017

MEMORIAL OF SAINT CHARLES BORROMEO

LUKE 14:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
I ask, then, has God rejected his people?
Of course not!
For I too am a child of Israel, a descendant of Abraham,
of the tribe of Benjamin.
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.
Do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah,
how he pleads with God against Israel?

Hence I ask, did they stumble so as to fall?
Of course not!
But through their transgression
salvation has come to the Gentiles,
so as to make them jealous.
Now if their transgression is enrichment for the world,
and if their diminished number is enrichment for the Gentiles,
how much more their full number.

I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers and sisters,
so that you will not become wise in your own estimation:
a hardening has come upon Israel in part,
until the full number of the Gentiles comes in,
and thus all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

The deliverer will come out of Zion,
he will turn away godlessness from Jacob;
and this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.

In respect to the Gospel, they are enemies on your account;
but in respect to election,
they are beloved because of the patriarch.
For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

Friends, our Gospel today is the famous passage from Luke's Gospel dealing with honor at a banquet. Jesus has been invited to the home of a prominent person, one of the "leading Pharisees," and he notices how people jockey carefully for position, status, prominence.

Who will notice me? Who can I impress? And Jesus puts his finger on the most desperate scenario for an egotist. Trying as hard as he can to be noticed, he gets noticed but for all the wrong reasons! His egotistic games backfire dreadfully, as everyone sees him reduced to embarrassment. So what's the solution? Stop playing the game. Take the lowest place on purpose. Opt out.

Another strategy is suggested at the end of the parable. It's also a strategy of non-cooperation with evil. I'll have a dinner for people, but only so that they can pay me back with another dinner. So opt out! Don't play. Invite people to a party who have no capacity whatsoever to invite you in return. "Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you."

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/30/17 3:11 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, October 30, 2017

30TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 13:10-17

Cure of a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath.*
10
He was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
11
And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
12
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
13
He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
14
But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
15
* The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?
16
* This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”
17
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

Friends, today’s Gospel gives us a wonderful story Jesus of performing a miracle, something he still does today. I want to draw your attention to an extraordinary book by Protestant scholar Craig Keener titled Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts. The most surprising section of the book contains his reports of some of the millions of miracles that come, even today, from all over the world.

I’ll relay to you just one case from Keener’s book. Ed Wilkinson’s 8-year-old son was found to have two holes in his heart. Surgery was scheduled and, while he was waiting, Ed prayed, but he was struggling with doubts. When his son asked whether he was going to die, his father was honest with him.

Ed’s pastor decided to hold a prayer service for the boy, during which hundreds gathered to pray for his recovery. The day of the surgery arrived, and Ed was told the surgery would take four to six hours. After about a half hour, the surgeon entered the waiting area, and Ed feared for the worst. Instead, the doctor had inexplicable news: there were no holes in the boy’s heart. They had simply closed up.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/29/17 9:17 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, October 29, 2017

30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE A

MATTHEW 22:34-40

The Greatest Commandment.*
34
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together,
35
and one of them [a scholar of the law]* tested him by asking,
36
“Teacher,* which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
37
He said to him,* “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39
The second is like it:* You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40
* The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Friends, our Gospel for today puts us on very holy ground, since it features the Word of God himself telling us what stands at the heart of the law. The Pharisees pose, as a kind of game, the following question: “Which commandment is the greatest?” It was a favorite exercise of the rabbis to seek out the “canon within the canon,” the law that somehow clarified the whole of the law.

So Jesus gives his famous answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s finally about love, and the love of God and neighbor are inextricably bound to one another. If we follow the law, but don’t love, we’re wasting our time. If we love God, but hate our neighbors, we’re wasting our time.

Why are the two loves so tightly connected? Because Jesus is not just God. He is the God-man, the one in whom divinity and humanity come together. Therefore, it’s impossible to love him as God without loving the humanity that he’s created and embraced.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/28/17 10:10 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, October 28, 2017

FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, YEAR I

LUKE 6:12-16

The Mission of the Twelve.*
12
In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer* to God.
13
When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve,* whom he also named apostles:
14
Simon, whom he named Peter,* and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
15
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot,*
16
and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot,* who became a traitor.

Friends, today's Gospel recounts Jesus selecting and appointing the Apostles. Bible scholar and theologian N.T. Wright has explained why Jesus commissioned twelve disciples as Apostles.

Wright tells us that when a first-century Jew spoke of the arrival of God's kingdom, he was taken to mean something very specific. He was announcing that the Temple was going to be restored, that the proper worship of Yahweh would be obtained, that the enemies of Israel would be dealt with and that, above all, the tribes of the Lord would be gathered and, through them, the tribes of the world.

Recall the great vision from the second chapter of Isaiah: "The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain.… All nations shall stream toward it." This is why Jesus chose twelve disciples, evocative of the twelve tribes. They would be the prototype and the catalyst for the gathering of Israel and hence the gathering of everyone. They would be the fundamental community and sign of unity.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/26/17 5:42 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, October 26, 2017

29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 12:49-53

Jesus: A Cause of Division.*

49
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!
50
* There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
51
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
52
From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three;
53
a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Friends, the statement of Jesus that we have in the Gospel for today is frightening: “I have come to cast a fire upon the earth; how I wish it were already kindled.” He’s throwing fire down, much like the God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

Okay, so how do we make sense of all this? I thought the angels on Christmas morning said that he had come as the Prince of Peace? Jesus is the Incarnation of the God who is nothing but love, but this enfleshment takes place in the midst of a fallen, sinful world. Therefore, it will appear as something threatening, strange, off-putting.

The world, on the Biblical reading, is a dysfunctional family. When Jesus comes, he necessarily comes as a breaker of the peace, as a threat to the dysfunctional family. Now we can begin to understand that strange language about setting three against two and two against three.

This is why Jesus wants to cast a consuming fire on the earth. He wants to burn away all that is opposed to God’s desire for us. He has to clear the ground before something new can be built. Is this utterly painful? YES!

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/22/17 1:38 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE A

MATTHEW 22:15-21

Paying Taxes to the Emperor.*
15
Then the Pharisees* went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech.
16
They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians,* saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status.
17
* Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
18
Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?
19
* Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin.
20
He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
21
They replied, “Caesar’s.”* At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
22
When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away.

Friends, in our Gospel Pharisees try to catch Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. Jesus deftly escapes from the trap with one of his famous one-liners: “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Clever, but much more than merely clever. In some ways, it is the implicit resolution of this very vexing problem.

We should not read this one-liner as though there is a clearly demarcated political realm that belongs to the Caesars of the world and a clearly demarcated spiritual realm that belongs to God. And we certainly shouldn’t read it in the modern mode—that the public arena belongs to politics, while religion is relegated to the private dimension.

No, this won’t do, precisely because God is God. Not a being in or above the world, not one reality among many; God is the sheer act of being itself, which necessarily pervades, influences, grounds, and has to do with everything, even as he transcends everything in creation.

God is the deepest source and inspiration for everything in life, from sports to law to the arts to science and medicine. God is love itself. Everything comes from God and returns to God.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/21/17 4:19 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, October 21, 2017

28TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 12:8-12

8
I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
9
But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.
Sayings About the Holy Spirit.*
10
“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say.
12
For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus tells us how to deal with persecution. When does the Church stop being persecuted? When the Lord returns, and not before.

From the earliest days until the present, the community of Jesus Christ has been the focus of the world's violence. The Church will announce, until the end of time, that the old world is passing away, that a new world of love, nonviolence, and life is emerging. This announcement always infuriates the world of sin. Always. The twentieth century was the bloodiest on record—and the one with the most martyrs.

Here's Jesus' encouragement: "When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say."

What do we do in the meantime? We maintain a detachment from the world that is passing away, our eyes fixed on the world that will never end. And we speak. Confidently, boldly, provocatively. The message of the Gospel, the dying and rising of the Lord.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/20/17 5:45 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, October 20, 2017

28TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 12:1-7

The Leaven of the Pharisees.*
1
Meanwhile, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot.a He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees.

Courage Under Persecution.*
2
“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.c
3
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.
4
I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more.
5
I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna;* yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
6
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?* Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
7
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus deals with our fears. What is the greatest fear that we have? Undoubtedly, the fear of losing our own lives; we fear the death of the body. Jesus is telling us not to worry about those paper tigers that can only affect the body and its goods.

All of the body's goods come to nothing compared to the supreme good of life with God. Therefore God alone should we truly fear—doing his will should be our exclusive concern.

Let me state this more positively. When I am in love with God, when I am "fearing" him above all things, I am rooted in a power that transcends space and time, a power that governs the universe in its entirety, a power that is greater than life and death.

More to it, this power knows me intimately and guides me according to his purposes: "Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid." Because of this I have nothing to fear from anything or anybody here below.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/14/17 1:53 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, October 14, 2017

27TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 11:27-28

True Blessedness.*

27
While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”
28
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Friends, our Gospel blesses those who hear the word of God and observe it. In this regard, I would like to speak about the response of the Polish people to the word proclaimed by St. John Paul II. The power of the Polish Communist state, and behind that the power of the Soviet Union, is what John Paul faced at the beginning of the 1980s. But he was practiced in the art of facing down oppressive political forces, having grown up under Nazism and Communism.

He spoke of God, of human rights, of the dignity of the individual—frightening at every turn, his handlers worried about diplomatic repercussions. As he spoke, the crowds got bigger and more enthusiastic. This went beyond mere Polish nationalism. At one gathering, the millions of people began to chant "We want God! We want God!" over and over for fifteen minutes.

There was no controlling this power, born of the confidence that God's love is more powerful than any of the weapons of the empires of the world, from crosses to nuclear bombs. This is, of course, why Communist officialdom tried vehemently to stop John Paul II. But there is no chaining the Word of God!

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/13/17 3:08 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, October 13, 2017

27TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 11:15-26

Jesus and Beelzebul.
14
He was driving out a demon [that was] mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute person spoke and the crowds were amazed.
15
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”
16
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
17
But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.
18
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
19
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people* drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
20
But if it is by the finger of God that [I] drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe.
22
But when one stronger* than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils.
23
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters

The Return of the Unclean Spirit.

24
“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
25
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
26
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first.”

Friends, in today's Gospel we learn of a person possessed by a demon. Jesus meets the man and drives out the demon, but then is immediately accused of being in league with Satan. Some of the witnesses said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons."

Jesus' response is wonderful in its logic and laconicism: "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?"

The demonic power is always one of scattering. It breaks up communion. But Jesus, as always, is the voice of communio, of one bringing things back together.

Think back to Jesus' feeding of the five thousand. Facing a large, hungry crowd, his disciples beg him to "dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus answers, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves."

Whatever drives the Church apart is an echo of this "dismiss the crowds" impulse, and a reminder of the demonic tendency to divide. In times of trial and threat, this is a very common instinct. We blame, attack, break up, and disperse. But Jesus is right: "There is no need for them to go away."

And today he says, "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/12/17 10:02 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, October 12, 2017

27TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 11:5-13

Further Teachings on Prayer.
5
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’
7
and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’
8
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

The Answer to Prayer.

9
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
10
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11
What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?
12
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
13
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit* to those who ask him?”

Friends, our Gospel today is about prayer and the power of prayer. This excerpt from Luke is filled with wisdom in regard to the proper attitude of prayer. What is prayer, and how should we pray? Prayer is intimate communion and conversation with God. Judging from Jesus’ own life, prayer is something that we ought to do often, especially at key moments of our lives.

Well, how should we pray? What does it look like? You have to pray with faith. Have you noticed how Jesus, time and again, says to people before working a miracle, “Do you believe I can do this?” Can you hear the simple faith in this astonishing line of Jesus: “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.”

And today he says, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/11/17 7:01 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

27TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 11:1-14

The Lord’s Prayer.
1
* He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”*
2
* He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3
Give us each day our daily bread*
4
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”
Further Teachings on Prayer.
5
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’
7
and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’
8
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

The Answer to Prayer.

9
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
10
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11
What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?
12
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
13
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit* to those who ask him?”

Friends, our Gospel for today gives us an opportunity to reflect on the great prayer that Jesus taught us. Think how this prayer links us to all of the great figures in Christian history, from Peter and Paul to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, right up to the present day.

A desire to pray is planted deep within us. This just means the desire to speak to God and to listen to him. Keep in mind that prayer is not designed to change God's mind or to tell God something he doesn't know. God isn't like a big city boss or a reluctant pasha whom we have to persuade. He is rather the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things—though they might not always be what we want.

Can you see how this prayer rightly orders us? We must put God's holy name first; we must strive to do his will in all things and at all times; we must be strengthened by spiritual food or we will fall; we must be agents of forgiveness; we must be able to withstand the dark powers.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/9/17 7:03 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, October 9, 2017

27TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I

LUKE 10:25-37

The Greatest Commandment.
25
* There was a scholar of the law* who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
27
He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
28
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
29
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30
Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
31
* A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
32
Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
33
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.
34
He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.
35
The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’
36
Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
37
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Friends, our Gospel today is one of the best-known of Jesus' parables, the story of the Good Samaritan. Every story, parable, illustration, exhortation is, at the end of the day, a picture of the Lord.

In one of the great windows of Chartres Cathedral there is an intertwining of two stories, the account of the Fall of Mankind and the parable of the Good Samaritan. This reflects a connection that was made by the church fathers. The Good Samaritan is a symbol of Jesus, himself, in his role as savior of the world.

Now our task is to be other Christs. "Which of these three was neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers? The one who treated him with compassion". Jesus says to him, "Go and do the same."

We spend our lives now looking for those people stranded by the road, victimized by sin. We don't walk by, indifferent to them, but rather we do what Jesus did. Even those who are our natural enemies, even those who frighten us. And we bring the Church's power to bear, pouring in the oil and wine of compassion, communicating the power of Christ's cross.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/8/17 9:42 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, October 8, 2017

27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE A

MATTHEW 21:33-43

The Parable of the Tenants.*
33
“Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,* put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
34
When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants* to the tenants to obtain his produce.
35
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned.
36
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way.
37
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
38
* But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
39
* They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
41
They answered* him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
42
* Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes’?
43
* Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.

Friends, just before his passion and death, Jesus tells the striking story that is our Gospel for today. The fertile vineyard stands for Israel, his chosen people. But it could be broadened out to include the world. What do we learn from this beautiful image? That God has made for his people a place where they can find rest, enjoyment, good work.

We—Israel, the Church, the world—are not the owners of this vineyard; we are tenants. One of the most fundamental spiritual mistakes we can make is to think that we own the world. We are tenants, entrusted with the responsibility of caring for it, but everything that we have and are is on loan. Our lives are not about us.

Christ is God's judgment. We are all under his judgment. In the measure that we kill him, refuse to listen to him, we place our tenancy in jeopardy. And so the great question that arises from this reading: "how am I using the gifts that God gave me for God's purposes? My money? My time? My talents? My creativity? My relationships?" All is for God, and thus all is under God's judgment.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/7/17 11:53 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, October 7, 2017

MEMORIAL OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY, YEAR I

LUKE 10:17-24

Return of the Seventy-two.
17
The seventy[-two] returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
18
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning* from the sky.
19
Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.
20
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Praise of the Father.
21
At that very moment he rejoiced [in] the holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.* Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.

22
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

The Privileges of Discipleship.
23
Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
24
For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus calls his disciples and us "childlike": "Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike". How so? Children don't know how to dissemble, how to be one way and act another. "Kids say the darndest things," because they don't know how to hide the truth of their reactions.

In this, they are like stars or flowers or animals, things that are what they are, unambiguously. The challenge of the spiritual life is to realize what God wants us to be and thereby come to the same simplicity and directness in our existence. To find out what is in line with the deepest grain of our being.

Let me put this another way: children haven't yet learned how to look at themselves. Why can a child immerse himself so eagerly and thoroughly in what he is doing? Because he can lose himself; because he is not looking at himself, conscious of the reactions, expectations, and approval of those around him. The best moments in life occur when we lose the ego, lose ourselves in the world and just are as God wants us to be.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/4/17 7:00 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Wednesday, October 4, 2017


MEMORIAL OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, YEAR I

LUKE 9:57-62

The Would-be Followers of Jesus.*
57
As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
59
And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “[Lord,] let me go first and bury my father.”
60
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.* But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
62
[To him] Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Friends, our Gospel for today is an especially good exemplification of the principle of detachment. When Jesus is the unambiguous center of your life, then everything else finds its place around him, in relation to him. And anything that would assert itself and take his position must be resisted wholeheartedly as an idol and a temptation.



We watch as Jesus clarifies for his disciples how a number of worldly goods fall away, once he is recognized as Lord. I want to look closely at one of these. As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem, a man approaches him and says, "I will follow you wherever you go". And Jesus makes the laconic remark, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head". One of the things, quite naturally, that we savor is home, a place to stay, a nest, a man-cave. There is just something uniquely awful about being displaced, about starting all over. We all want a place to lay our heads.



But if Jesus is first in our lives, then we cannot absolutize this good thing. We have to be willing to follow him wherever he wants us to go.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/2/17 11:46 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, October 2, 2017

MEMORIAL OF THE GUARDIAN ANGELS, YEAR I
MATTHEW 18:1-5, 10

The Greatest in the Kingdom.
1
At that time the disciples* approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2
He called a child over, placed it in their midst,
3
and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,* you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
4
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5
* And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

Friends, today we celebrate the memorial of our Guardian Angels. Why does God send these spiritual messengers to help us? Well, Aquinas says that each of us, due to our fallible nature, have been assigned a heavenly guide. Is all of this just speculation and conjecture?

One of my favorite stories about angels this one: two relatively inexperienced pilots found themselves lost on a foggy day. Though they tried desperately to make contact with an airport, they were incapable of doing so. One of them then prayed for protection.

In time, a voice crackled onto the radio. The speaker identified himself as a controller from a small airport. Through very precise instructions, he guided the two pilots through the fog to a landing-strip at that airport.

Once they had arrived to their astonishment they discovered that the airport was closed and that there was no one on duty. A bizarre coincidence? A happy accident? Or perhaps a sign that we are being protected by powers at a higher pitch of ontological perfection. As you know, stories such as this come out of the woodwork once people are given the opportunity to share them.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
10/1/17 10:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, October 1, 2017

26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE A
MATTHEW 21:28-32

The Parable of the Two Sons.*
28
“What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
29
He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
30
The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
31
* Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.
32
* When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.

Friends, today’s Gospel gives us the parable of the two sons, which Jesus uses as a comment on the Pharisees rejection of John the Baptist: “When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did”.

Various people come to the Baptist and ask what they must do in order to be more pleasing to God. And he gives them very concrete instruction. To tax collectors, he says, “Don’t take more than you should”. To soldiers, he says, “Don’t extort and bully people and don’t expect more in pay than you deserve”. To those who have much, he says, “Share what you have with those who have less”. In other words, he urges the basic works of justice.

Like his religious and philosophical colleagues, the Baptist assumes here that this moral reform in the direction of justice can be undertaken through our own efforts.

But when people suggest that he, the Baptist, might be the Messiah, he emphatically clarifies the matter. The last and greatest of the prophets says, “There is one coming who is mightier than I. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals”.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/30/17 8:40 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, September 30, 2017

MEMORIAL OF SAINT JEROME, YEAR I
LUKE 9:43B-45

43
And all were astonished by the majesty of God.

The Second Prediction of the Passion.

While they were all amazed at his every deed, he said to his disciples,
44
“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”
45
But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus predicts his being handed over to men, that is, his crucifixion. Here is the point I want to make: we are meant to see on that cross our own ugliness. What brings Jesus to the cross? Stupidity, anger, mistrust, institutional injustice, betrayal, denial, unspeakable cruelty, fear. St. Peter puts it with disquieting laconicism: the author of Life came and you killed him. In the light of the cross, all of the vermin are revealed. This is why we speak of the cross as God's judgment on the world.

So far so awful. But we can't stop telling the story at this point. Dante and every other spiritual master know that the only way up is down. When we live unaware of our sins, we will never make spiritual progress. So we need the light, however painful it is. Then we can begin to rise. Once Dante makes it all the way to the center of Hell, he suddenly finds himself climbing out.

On the cross of Jesus, we meet our own sin. But we also meet the divine mercy which has taken that sin upon himself in order to swallow it up.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/29/17 9:59 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, September 29, 2017

FEAST OF SAINTS MICHAEL, GABRIEL, AND RAPHAEL, ARCHANGELS, YEAR I

JOHN 1:47-51

47
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite.* There is no duplicity in him.”
48
* Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
49
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God;* you are the King of Israel.”
50
Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?* You will see greater things than this.”
51
And he said to him, “Amen, amen,* I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Meditating on these angels can tell us a great deal about the priesthood. For they exemplify the three fundamental tasks of the priest: healer, fighter, and evangelizer.

Raphael is a healer; consult the book of Tobit for the details. Michael is a fighter. When Satan dares to claim equality with God, Michael speaks his name, Mich-a-el, Who is like God? And this is his victory. And Gabriel is the great messenger angel, the one who announces the Incarnation to a young maiden of Nazareth.

Perhaps more than ever today, people are suffering with what the hymn calls "sin-sick souls". The great salve for all of these wounds is Jesus Christ. But who will bring this salve to a hurting world? This is why Christ raises up priests. Just think of the racism, the hatred, and the injustice that reign everywhere. Who will fight? This is why Christ raises up priests, as new Michaels.

Finally, Jesus is a preacher. He is, after all, the Word of God made flesh. Therefore, we shouldn't be surprised that the Word comes forth from him with unique power.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/25/17 2:50 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, September 25, 2017

25TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I
LUKE 8:16-18

The Parable of the Lamp.
16
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.
17
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
18
Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”
Jesus and His Family.

Friends, today's Gospel is the parable of the lamp, which placed on a lampstand gives light to all. Light obviously isn't for itself. Rather, we see things by it. It illuminates things upon which it shines.

We are light by which people around us come to see what is worth seeing. By the very quality and integrity of our lives, we shed light, illumining what is beautiful and revealing what is ugly. The clear implication is that without vibrant Christians the world is a much worse place. Let me illustrate this principle with an example. One of the most painful truths of the last century is that the weakness of Christian witness allows some of the worst elements in society to flourish.

Think of the rise of the evil powers that created WWII. Christianity had become so weak, so uncompelling, so attenuated that great evil was allowed to flourish. Yes indeed there were a handful of powerful Christian resisters, but let's face it: the overwhelmingly vast majority of Christians either supported Hitler or remained in silence, either out of fear or indifference.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/24/17 10:32 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, September 24, 2017

25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE A
MATTHEW 20:1-16A

The Workers in the Vineyard.*
1
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
3
Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4
* and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’
5
So they went off. [And] he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
6
Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
7
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
8
* When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
9
When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage.
10
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage.
11
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner,
12
saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
13
He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you.* Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
14
* Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
15
[Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’
16
* Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Friends, the parable that Jesus tells in today's Gospel is one of the most unnerving, disturbing and confounding of all. We know the outline of the story well: a landowner goes out to hire workers for his field, hiring some first thing in the morning and then others at different times during the day. Then, at the close of work, he pays each the same wage.

I would like to offer two reflections on this puzzling story. First, we should remember that God's ways are not our ways. Does this story represent an undermining of justice? No, rather, a showing forth of the justice that flows from God's vision of things.

Here's a second perspective: We sinners are very susceptible to a reward-centered understanding of our relationship to God. Tit for tat. I do this; then you better do that. But this is very juvenile, very primitive.

We've been invited to work in the vineyard of the Lord. That is the greatest privilege imaginable, to participate in the Lord's work. Why are we fussing about rewards? And how liberating this is! I don't have to spend my life worrying and comparing. I can live.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/23/17 4:07 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, September 23, 2017

MEMORIAL OF SAINT PIUS OF PIETRELCINA (PADRE PIO), YEAR I
LUKE 8:4-15

The Parable of the Sower.
4
* When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to him, he spoke in a parable.*
5
“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up.
6
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture.
7
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
8
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.” After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”
The Purpose of the Parables.
9
Then his disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be.
10
He answered, “Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that ‘they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.’
The Parable of the Sower Explained.*
11
“This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God.
12
Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved.
13
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial.
14
As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit.
15
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.

Friends, today's Gospel gives us the parable of the sower. I want to say something about the seed that falls on the path, because it reveals an obstacle to our efforts at religious education.

One of the blocks of receiving the seed is lack of understanding, lack of education in the ways of the Spirit. Israel was the extensive and complex preparation for the reception of the Word. The fundamentals have to be in place before the word can be accepted. What a prophetic word to our time!

A recent study shows that Catholics are second only to Jews in the ineffectiveness of passing on their religious tradition and heritage. A recent poll concerning religious attitudes in America shows that most Americans favor a radical tolerance in regard to religious beliefs. It also shows that there was a shocking ignorance in regard to belief systems, dogmas, and the history of one's religion.

There's nothing in the world wrong with tolerance, but it can sometimes be a cover for indifference. One belief is as good as another. Do we accept that kind of thinking in regard to politics? Religious education programs are falling far behind what they should be.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/22/17 8:45 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, September 22, 2017

24TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR I
LUKE 8:1-3

Galilean Women Follow Jesus.*
1
Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.a Accompanying him were the Twelve
2
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
3
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Friends, our Gospel today celebrates the female disciples of Jesus. One of the principal marks of Jesus' teaching is the overturning of social conventions. In service of what he calls the Kingdom of God, God's way of ordering the world, he says and does all sorts of outrageous things.

And one of the most striking and surprising of Jesus' moves is a radical inclusion of women. He allows women into his inner circle (practically unheard of for a rabbi). He speaks publicly to the woman at the well. He engages the Syro-Phoenician woman. He forgives the woman caught in adultery. Also, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women.

Luke, who told this story, was a companion of Paul, and his Gospel reflects many of Paul's themes. Paul famously says, "in Christ, there is no slave or free, no Jew or Greek, no male or female". This was very radical stuff in those times, for these were some of the most basic social divisions of the ancient world. Free men were a lot better off than slaves, Jews had huge advantages over Greeks, and males were seen as superior to females. But not anymore, not in light of the Kingdom of God that Jesus announces.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/18/17 11:51 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, September 18, 2017

24th Week in Ordinary TIme, Year I

The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave.
1
* When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum.*
2
A centurion* there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him.
3
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
4
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him,
5
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
6
And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.*
7
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.
8
For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
10
When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

Luke 7:1-10

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus is amazed at a Roman centurion's faith: "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith, remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.

Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God. Faith is openness to what God will reveal, do, and invite. It should be obvious that in dealing with the infinite, all-powerful person who is God, we are never in control.

One of the most fundamental statements of faith is this: your life is not about you. You're not in control. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God's great design. To believe this in your bones and act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to "a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine." Even a tiny bit of faith makes an extraordinary difference.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/16/17 3:59 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Memorial of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, Year I

Luke 6:43-49

A Tree Known by Its Fruit.c
43
* “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
44
For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
45
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus speaks about laying the right foundation for your life. Someone who comes to me, Jesus says, who "listens to my words and acts on them is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well-built."

This is the heart of it: if you are rooted in God, then you can withstand anything, precisely because you are linked to that power that is creating the cosmos. You will be blessed at that deepest place, and nothing can finally touch you.

But the one who does not take Jesus' words to heart, "is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river bursts against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed."

When the inevitable trials come, the life built on pleasure, money, power, or fame will give way. So the question is a simple one: Where do you stand? How goes it with your heart? On what, precisely, is the whole of your life built?

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/15/17 7:33 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, September 15, 2017

Memorial Of Our Lady of Sorrows, Year I

John 19:25-27

25
* Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
26
When Jesus saw his mother* and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
27
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Friends, today we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. In our Gospel Jesus entrusts care of his mother to St. John. We can see some background for this profound action in The Passion of the Christ, the most provocative and popular religious movie in decades. What I would like to do is simply highlight a theme from the movie that especially struck me when I saw it.

The theme that I would like to emphasize is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. We are compelled to see the scenes through her eyes. Early in Luke's Gospel, we are told that Mary "contemplated these things, reflecting on them in her heart." She is the theologian par excellence, the one who understands. When she sees Jesus being led away, she weeps and then she says "Amen."

In scene after scene, we watch her spiritual comprehension. The wonderful scene where she is marked with the Blood of her Son is especially evocative. And then the Pieta depiction at the very end, where we see Mary's role: to present the sacrifice of her Son to us and for us.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/14/17 9:42 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Feast Of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Year I

John 3:13-17

13
No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
14
And just as Moses lifted up* the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15
* so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

16
For God so loved the world that he gave* his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
17
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn* the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Friends, today we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. How strange this feast would have sounded to someone in the ancient world! The triumph of the cross! It would have been analogous to someone speaking today of the triumph of the electric chair or the exaltation of the noose.



The cross terrified people in Greco-Roman times, and that was the point. The cross was state-sponsored terrorism, a form of capital punishment reserved for those who had in the most egregious ways undermined the authority of the Roman state.

So why in the heck are we celebrating the cross's triumph? There is only one possible explanation, and that is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. All the attempts to soft-pedal and explain away the resurrection are ruled out by this feast. If Jesus was a victim of that terrible cross tout court, then we should all go home.

Once they had taken in the experience of the resurrection, the first Christians turned with rapt attention to the cross, convinced that in it they would find something decisive. Somehow, in the strange providence of God, that cross was ingredient in the very process by which God would save the world.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/10/17 4:17 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, September 10, 2017

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 18:15-20

A Brother Who Sins.*
15
“If your brother* sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
16
* If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
17
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.* If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
18
* Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19
* Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
20
* For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”


Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus tells us to speak directly to a person who has offended us. I know it is exceptionally difficult, but going to the person directly is both productive and spiritually up-lifting. It has at least a fighting chance of accomplishing something, and it confirms you in love.

Suppose the person blows you off, even lashes out at you. You are then encouraged to bring "one or two others" into the conversation. Perhaps the person will see the point and get over his defensiveness.

Now suppose he doesn't listen even to this group? Then tell your church. Today, we might say the pastor and his team or perhaps some of the leading families in the parish. Suppose he doesn't listen even to the church? Then the Lord recommends ongoing compassion and prayer: "treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." But remember how Jesus relates in love to Gentiles and tax collectors. Finally, the wonderful word on prayer: "wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them." Pray together with one or two others for the conversion of a sinner.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/9/17 11:16 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, September 9, 2017

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Year I

Luke 6:1-5

Debates About the Sabbath.
1
While he was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
2
Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
3
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those [who were] with him were hungry?
4
[How] he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,* which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions.”
5
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as violating the sacred command to rest on the seventh day. For example, he often cures on the Sabbath, much to the dismay of the protectors of Jewish law.

And then in today's Gospel, after his disciples pick grain on the Sabbath, Jesus declares himself "Lord of the Sabbath." It's hard to express how breathtaking this claim would be for a first-century Jew to make. Yahweh alone could be assigned the title "Lord of the Sabbath," so what is Jesus implying?

In short, he is claiming that he is above their rituals, even perhaps the defining practice of pious Jews, because he is the Lord. Thus the rules must be placed in subordination to the kingdom of God, the kingdom that the Lord Jesus is ushering in even here and now.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/7/17 8:57 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, September 7, 2017

22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Luke 5:1-11

The Call of Simon the Fisherman.*
1
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
2
He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
3
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
4
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
5
Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”
6
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.
7
They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking.
8
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
9
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him,
10
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
11
When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything* and followed him.

Friends, today's Gospel gives us the story of the miraculous draught of fishes. In many ways, the whole of the spiritual life can be read off of this piece.

Without being invited, Jesus simply gets into the fisherman's boat. This is to insinuate himself in the most direct way into Simon's life. And without further ado, he begins to give orders, first asking Simon to put out from the shore and then to go out into the deep. This represents the invasion of grace. The single most important decision that you will ever make is this: Will you cooperate with Jesus once he decides to get into your boat?

In many ways, everything else in your life is secondary, is commentary. When the Lord Jesus Christ gets into your boat, he will always lead you to the depths. Duc in altum, as St. John Paul II loved to quote. More dangerous? Yes. More exciting? Yes.

Now mind you, the depths we're talking about here are spiritual depths. The excitement we're talking about is the true excitement that comes from spiritual transformation. The depths have nothing to do with what the world considers important or exciting.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/6/17 10:21 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Luke 4:38-44

The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law.
38
After he left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.* Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her.
39
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.
Other Healings.
40
At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
41
* And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Messiah.
Jesus Leaves Capernaum.
42
* At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
43
But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
44
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.


Friends, in our Gospel we see Jesus in action. He is always hurrying from place to place, on the go. Today Luke gives us a sort of "day in the life" of Jesus. And it is quite a day! Our Gospel opens just after the dramatic expulsion of a demon in the Capernaum synagogue. And after entering the house of Simon, Jesus cures Peter's mother-in-law and then the entire town comes to his door. He spends the whole evening curing presumably hundreds who were variously afflicted.

In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, in an attempt to make Jesus more palatable to rationalists and "realists," theologians put great stress on Jesus' preaching, especially his ethical teaching.

But this is not the Jesus that Luke presents. Rather, he is a healer. Soter, rendered in Latin as Salvator, which just means "the bearer of the salus" or health. Jesus is portrayed as a healer, a savior. In him, divinity and humanity have come together; in him, the divine life and divine power are breaking through. God's deepest intentions for his beloved creatures appears—what God plans for us in the Kingdom to come is now historically anticipated.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/4/17 9:46 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, September 4, 2017

22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Luke 4:16-30

The Rejection at Nazareth.*
16
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
17
and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
18
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,*
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.m
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

20
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.
21
He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”*
22
And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
23
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”*
24
And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
25
* Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
26
* It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
27
Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
28
When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.
29
They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
30
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

Friends, in our Gospel for today Jesus reads from Isaiah a prophecy dealing with the Messianic transformation of the world. And then he declares it fulfilled, precisely in him. The audience initially is positive. And then we see why they are so favorable: "They also asked, 'Isn't this the son of Joseph?'" Undoubtedly, they are thinking: well, if this man is the Messiah, and he's a local boy, we will benefit enormously! As Tip O'Neill said, "all politics is local."

But Jesus commences to throw them for a loop. He invokes two uneasy stories from the Old Testament tradition, the first dealing with Elijah. During a drought Elijah is sent, not to an Israelite, but to a widow from Sidon, a foreigner. And the second deals with Elisha, who cleanses from leprosy, not an Israelite, but Naaman the Syrian.

At these key moments in its history, God attends to the needs of the other nations and not the needs of Israel. He is reminding them that Israel existed for the sake of the other nations.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/3/17 4:04 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, September 3, 2017

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 16:21-27

The First Prediction of the Passion.*
21
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he* must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.
22
* Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
23
He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
The Conditions of Discipleship.*
24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,* take up his cross, and follow me.
25
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.*
26
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
27
* For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.

Friends, last week we heard the great Gospel describing Peter's confession. Because he says correctly who Jesus is, he is declared rock, the firm ground upon which the Church shall be built. And just moments later—it is our Gospel for today—he is told that he is a Satan, a stumbling block, thinking not as God thinks but as men think. What accounts for this rather remarkable reversal?

In the Gospel it's always relatively simple: he doesn't get the cross. The entire momentum of the life of Jesus is toward the cross. All sorts of forces are trying to keep him from it—some out of self-interest, some out of genuine concern. But they all have this in common: they don't get it, they don't get him.

So Peter, probably out of genuine love for Jesus, urges him away from the passion: "Heaven forbid that such things should happen to you, Lord." Having correctly confessed who Jesus is, Peter promptly forgets what that entails. Being the Son of God, he thought, meant power and lordship, not ignominy and death.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
9/2/17 12:18 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, September 2, 2017

21st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents.*
14
“It will be as when a man who was going on a journey* called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
15
To one he gave five talents;* to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately
16
the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five.
17
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
18
* But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.
19
After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
20
The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five.* He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’
21
d His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’
22
[Then] the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’
23
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’
24
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter;
25
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’
26
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!* So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter?
27
Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
28
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
29
* For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
30
* And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

Friends, today's Gospel gives us the challenging parable of the talents. A man goes on a journey, but before leaving he entrusts his money to three of his servants. To one he gives five talents, to a second, two and to a third, one.

The first man trades with the five talents. The second does the same, and both receive a rich return on their investment. The third man cautiously buries his talent. When the owner returns, he praises the first two servants and gives them greater responsibilities, but the third man he upbraids.

Jesus loved to use examples drawn from the world of business. And he especially liked this dynamic of investment as a model of the spiritual life. The reason is clear, and I've said it to you often. God exists in gift form. Therefore, if you want his life in you, you have to learn to give it away. Think of the talents as everything that we've received from God—life, breath, being, and powers. Because they come from God, they are meant to become gifts. If you cling to them, in the manner of the third servant, they don't grow; in fact, they wither away.

Edited by: RHOOK20047 at: 9/2/2017 (12:21)
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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/31/17 6:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, August 31, 2017

21st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 24:42-51

42
* Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
43
Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.
44
So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
The Faithful or the Unfaithful Servant.*
45
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?*
46
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
47
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
48
* But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’
49
and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards,
50
the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
51
and will punish him severely* and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.


Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus urges us to be ready for his second coming. It reminds me of John the Baptist preparing us: "Make ready the way of the Lord, clear him a straight path." He is saying that his job is to prepare for the mighty coming of the Lord. A change is coming, a revolution is on the way, a disaster (the destruction of the old) is about to happen. Prepare the way of the Lord.

And what is the manner of preparation? It is a baptism of repentance. Baptism—an immersion in water—reminded first century Jews of the exodus, passing through the Red Sea, leaving the ways of slavery behind.

And repentance (metanoia), going beyond the mind that you have. How our minds are conditioned by the fallen world! How our expectations are shaped, stunted by what has gone before. The world of Tiberius and Pilate and Herod and Caiaphas has shaped our imagination. It's time, John is saying, for a new mind, a new set of eyes, a new kind of expectation. God is about to act!

Be ready!

Edited by: RHOOK20047 at: 9/2/2017 (12:19)
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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/31/17 6:48 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, August 31, 2017

21st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 24:42-51

42
* Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
43
Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.
44
So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
The Faithful or the Unfaithful Servant.*
45
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?*
46
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
47
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
48
* But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’
49
and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards,
50
the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
51
and will punish him severely* and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.


Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus urges us to be ready for his second coming. It reminds me of John the Baptist preparing us: "Make ready the way of the Lord, clear him a straight path." He is saying that his job is to prepare for the mighty coming of the Lord. A change is coming, a revolution is on the way, a disaster (the destruction of the old) is about to happen. Prepare the way of the Lord.

And what is the manner of preparation? It is a baptism of repentance. Baptism—an immersion in water—reminded first century Jews of the exodus, passing through the Red Sea, leaving the ways of slavery behind.

And repentance (metanoia), going beyond the mind that you have. How our minds are conditioned by the fallen world! How our expectations are shaped, stunted by what has gone before. The world of Tiberius and Pilate and Herod and Caiaphas has shaped our imagination. It's time, John is saying, for a new mind, a new set of eyes, a new kind of expectation. God is about to act!

Be ready!

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/29/17 9:39 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Passion of Saint John the Baptist, Year I

Mark 6:17-29

The Death of John the Baptist.*
17
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
18
John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
19
Herodias* harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
20
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
21
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
22
Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
23
He even swore [many things] to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”
24
She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
25
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
26
The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.
27
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
28
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
29
When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Friends, today's Gospel tells of the death of John the Baptist. Herod had arrested John, from whom Jesus had sought baptism, and put him to death. The arrest and death of John the Baptist were signals for Jesus.

Immediately after the arrest Jesus withdraws to Galilee and commences his own ministry of preaching and healing. Are these two events just coincidentally related? Hardly. Jesus read the arrest of John as a kind of signal that he was to begin.

We must remember that Jesus, like any Jew of his time, would have read the world through the lens of the Sacred Scriptures. They were the interpretive framework for everything. It was a commonplace of the Prophets and the Psalms and parts of the Torah that the era of the Messiah would be preceded by a time of tribulation, when the opponents of God would rise up to counter God's purposes.

Jesus saw this in the arrest of John. This great national figure, this prophet to Israel, was arrested and eventually killed by the enemies of God—and he took it as a signal that his own Messianic work should begin.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/28/17 2:00 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, August 28, 2017

Memorial Of Saint Augustine, Year I

Monday, August 28, 2017

Matthew 23:13-22

13
* “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven* before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.
[14]
*
15
* “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.
16
* “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
17
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred?
18
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
19
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
20
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
21
one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it;
22
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.


Friends, on this feast day of St. Augustine, we reflect on the development of Catholic teaching. In one very real sense, the Father speaks all he can possibly speak in his Son, rightly called the Logos. There is no more to be revealed, no more to be said, than what is expressed in Jesus. Nevertheless, the fullness of that revelation unfolds only over space and time, much the way that a seed unfolds very gradually into a mighty oak.

A lively mind takes an idea, turns it over, considers it, looks at it from various viewpoints, questions it. Then, in lively conversation, that mind throws the idea to another mind, who performs a similar set of operations.

This “play of lively minds” goes on over the centuries. St. John throwing the idea of the Incarnation to St. Polycarp, who threw it to St. Irenaeus, who threw it to Origen, who threw it to Augustine, who passed it to Thomas Aquinas, who shared it with Robert Bellarmine, who spoke it to John Henry Newman and others, who have given it to us.

Now who guarantees that this process moves forward? The answer is the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised to the Church.


Friends, on this feast day of St. Augustine, we reflect on the development of Catholic teaching. In one very real sense, the Father speaks all he can possibly speak in his Son, rightly called the Logos. There is no more to be revealed, no more to be said, than what is expressed in Jesus. Nevertheless, the fullness of that revelation unfolds only over space and time, much the way that a seed unfolds very gradually into a mighty oak.

A lively mind takes an idea, turns it over, considers it, looks at it from various viewpoints, questions it. Then, in lively conversation, that mind throws the idea to another mind, who performs a similar set of operations.

This “play of lively minds” goes on over the centuries. St. John throwing the idea of the Incarnation to St. Polycarp, who threw it to St. Irenaeus, who threw it to Origen, who threw it to Augustine, who passed it to Thomas Aquinas, who shared it with Robert Bellarmine, who spoke it to John Henry Newman and others, who have given it to us.

Now who guarantees that this process moves forward? The answer is the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised to the Church.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/27/17 1:10 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, August 27, 2017

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 16:13-20

Peter’s Confession About Jesus.*
13
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi* he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist,* others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16
* Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood* has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
18
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
19
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
20
* Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.


Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus asks his disciples that devastating question: "But who do you say that I am?" But the disciples don't speak. Are they afraid? Perhaps. Finally Simon Peter speaks: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." You are the Meshiach, the anointed one, the long-awaited savior, but more to it, you are the Son of God, not just a human hero. This is the mystical faith that stands at the heart of Christianity. To hold this Petrine faith is to be a Christian; to deny it is to deny Christianity.

And then those amazing words of Jesus: "Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." This insight did not come from Simon's own intelligent speculation. It came from above, through grace, from God. And this is why Peter is a rock.

The Church is built, not on a worldly foundation of any kind, but on a mystical foundation, born of Peter's faith in the revealing God. The Church is neither democratic nor aristocratic—it is charismatic. And this is where its power comes from.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/26/17 1:32 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply


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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/26/17 1:22 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, August 26, 2017

20th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 23:1-12

Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees.
1
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples,
2
* saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
3
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.
4
They tie up heavy burdens* [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.
5
* All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
6
* They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
7
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
8
* As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
9
Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven.
10
Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah.
11
The greatest among you must be your servant.
12
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


Friends, our Gospel for today focuses on the pitfalls and ideals of religious leadership. This is a week when priests, ministers, and preachers have to preach to themselves. Jesus turns his sharp eye and withering critique on the many ways that religious leaders fall into corruption.

It is hard to miss the practical application of these texts to our troubled time, a period when clerical corruption and misconduct has been vividly on display. Jesus makes a distinction of capital importance. "The scribes and Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all the things they tell you." The Lord reminds us that they do sit legitimately in teaching offices and that their teaching should be, accordingly, respected.

In the fourth century, St. Augustine faced the challenge of the Donatists. They claimed that only pure and morally upright priests could legitimately dispense the sacraments. Augustine said, no, the personal evil of a minister does not compromise the validity of what he does sacramentally.

This principle is of great significance. Augustine says in imitation of Christ, there can be evil men who do and teach the works of God.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/23/17 7:02 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

20th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 20:1-16

The Workers in the Vineyard.*
1
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
3
Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4
* and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’
5
So they went off. [And] he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
6
Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
7
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
8
* When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
9
When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage.
10
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage.
11
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner,
12
saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
13
He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you.* Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
14
* Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
15
[Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’
16
* Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


Friends, our Gospel today is the story of a landowner goes out to hire workers for his field, hiring some the first thing in the morning and then others at different times during the day. Then he pays each the same wage. Why should those who have worked only an hour be paid the same as those who have slaved in the hot sun all day? Is the landowner really being unfair?

Perhaps he intuited just how miserable a day those hired last had spent. Perhaps he knew that they were poorer, more desperate, less gifted. Maybe he knew what they needed was a bit more encouragement.

Here's a second perspective on this mysterious story. We sinners are very susceptible to a reward-centered understanding of our relationship to God. Tit for tat. I do this; then you better do that. But this is very juvenile.

We've been invited to work in the vineyard of the Lord. That is the greatest privilege imaginable, to participate in the Lord's work of saving the world. Why are we fussing about rewards? And how liberating this is! I don't have to spend my life fussing and spying and worrying and comparing. I can live.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/22/17 7:15 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Your daily Gospel reflection...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Year I

Matthew 19:23-30

23
* Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
24
Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25
* When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?”
26
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
27
m Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?”
28
* Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.
30
* But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

Friends, today we celebrate the Queenship of Mary. Mary, Queen Mary, was the definitive bearer of the divine presence, the Ark of the Covenant par excellence. When she visited her cousin Elizabeth, the infant John the Baptist leapt in his mother's womb, doing his own version of David's dance before the Ark.

The Queen Mother—like all of the monarchs of Israel—is a fighter. Israel frequently brought the Ark into battle with them. Most famously, the priests parade around the city of Jericho bearing the Ark, just before the walls came tumbling down.

The Queenship of Mary is not a sentimental feast. Whenever biblical people spoke of kings or queens, they were speaking of warriors. The question for us is, which side are we on? Those trained in the Jesuit spiritual tradition know of the "two standards" meditation, which compels us to make the simple choice: in which army do you serve?

We fight, of course, not with the puny weapons of the world, but with the weapons of the Spirit, by God we fight. So don't just honor and acknowledge the Queenship of Mary; get in her army.


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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/21/17 3:09 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, August 21, 2017

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Year I

Matthew 19:16-22

The Rich Young Man.*
16
Now someone approached him and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”*
17
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good.* If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18
* He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness;
19
honor your father and your mother’; and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20
* The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
21
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect,* go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23

Friends, today's Gospel is the story of the rich young man. The rich young man has a deep desire to share in everlasting life. He is hungry for the infinite good of the spirit. He knows what he wants, and he knows where to find it. Jesus is the infinite Good that the souls wants. He is God's own self made flesh.

If you want to live in friendship with God, there are certain things that you must cut out of your life. Friendship with God means a life of love; therefore, those things that egregiously violate love have to be eliminated.

Jesus looks at him with love and says, "There is one thing more you must do. Go and sell what you have and give it to the poor; you will have treasure in heaven. After that come follow me." God is nothing but love, straight through, and therefore the life of friendship with him, in the richest sense, is a life of total love, self-forgetting love.

But at this point, the young man tragically balks. The spiritual life, at the highest pitch, is about giving your life away, and this is why his many possessions are a problem.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/20/17 5:24 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, August 20, 2017

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 15:21-28

The Canaanite Woman’s Faith.*
21
Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
22
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
23
But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
24
* He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
26
He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children* and throw it to the dogs.”
27
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
28
Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith!* Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Friends, a long tradition stresses the perseverance of the Canaanite woman we meet in today's Gospel. Augustine says that we pray in order to expand our will to accept what God is going to give us. Another reading shows how the woman exemplifies the proper attitude toward God, a combination of humility and boldness, of deference and defiance. We are creatures and God is God; nevertheless, God invites us into intimacy with him.

But I want to emphasize the reading conditioned by the "other." The Old Testament speaks insistently of the "stranger, the widow, and the orphan." The ethical life, in a Biblical framework, is about the press of these people upon us. They press upon us even when we would greatly prefer them just to go away.

We the Church are the body of Christ. And so people come to us demanding food, sustenance, friendship, love, shelter, liberation. Often we are tempted to do what Jesus does initially and what the disciples do: tell them to back off. We are overloaded, busy, preoccupied. We can't be bothered.

But the whole of the Christian life consists in remembering the suffering and need of the annoying other.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
ELIZACG9's Photo ELIZACG9 SparkPoints: (192,750)
Fitness Minutes: (59,954)
Posts: 21,196
8/17/17 11:48 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


Total SparkPoints: 192,750
150,000
162,499
174,999
187,499
199,999
SparkPoints Level 21
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/17/17 7:42 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, August 17, 2017

19th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 18:21-19:1

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.*
21
n Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
22
* Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
23
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
24
* When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
25
Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.
26
* At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
27
Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.
28
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount.* He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’
29
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
30
But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.
31
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
32
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
33
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’
34
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.*
35
* So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

Friends, I love the parable that Jesus tells in our Gospel for today. I love it because it is so strange and so puzzling. The protagonist is a real scoundrel has been caught red-handed lining his own pockets, taking advantage of the man who had hired him. So he acts. He calls in his master's debtors and then cooks the books.

Jesus' comment indicates that something in the way this man acts is a model for the way we ought to act to save our spiritual situation. What is it?

First of all, he has a very realistic appreciation of the danger he is in. Christians, the Gospels are filled with warnings about our sin and about the possibility of losing what God so wants to give us.

Secondly, once he has sized up his situation, he thinks and he acts. Do you remember the old Catholic Action principle: see, judge, and act? This is what he does. Now the strategy he chooses is immoral, and Jesus is not telling us to emulate that dimension of it. But I think he wants us to admire the canniness, the savvy, the energy that the man puts into his project.



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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/14/17 11:49 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, August 14, 2017

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Year I

Matthew 17:22-27

The Second Prediction of the Passion.*
22
As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
23
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief.
Payment of the Temple Tax.*
24
l When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax* approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
25
“Yes,” he said.* When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?”
26
* When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt.
27
But that we may not offend them,* go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”

Friends, today we celebrate the memorial of Maximilian Kolbe, the great saint of Auschwitz. A prisoner from Fr. Kolbe's barracks escaped, and in retaliation, the Nazi guards picked out ten other prisoners at random for execution. When one of those chosen broke down in tears, protesting that he was the father of a family, Kolbe stepped forward and said "I am a Catholic priest; take me and spare this man."

Priests are called "father," because they are life-givers in the spiritual order. Spiritual fathers protect their children; they teach them; they are there for them. At the limit, they even give their lives for them, and that's what we see in today's great saint.

Jesus gathered around himself a band of apostles whom he shaped according to his own mind and heart and whom he subsequently sent on mission. Priests, down through the centuries—from Augustine and Aquinas, to Francis Xavier and John Henry Newman, to John Paul II and your own pastor—are the descendants of those first friends and apprentices of the Lord. They have been needed in every age, and they are needed today, for the Kingdom of Heaven must be proclaimed, the poor must be served, God must be worshipped, and the sacraments must be administered.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/13/17 10:15 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, August 13, 2017

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 14:22-33

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he 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 Peter,
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."

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus comes to his disciples walking on the sea. And he came at the darkest time of the night when they found themselves isolated and in danger.

God's mastery of the sea is a Biblical commonplace. The spirit of the Lord hovered over the surface of the waters in Genesis; in Exodus, God splits the Red Sea in two. In the book of the prophet Isaiah, God is described as having conquered the monsters of the deep.

The water—especially the stormy water—represents all of the cosmic powers that oppose themselves to God, all those spiritual and physical forces that threaten the Church, most especially death itself. In walking on the water, Jesus shows that he is the master of all of these forces, that his power and authority are greater.

Paul says, "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." John says concerning Christ, "I have conquered the world."

And so Jesus comes to his Church precisely when it is threatened. "Behold, I am with you always, even until the close of the age." The Lord accompanies his Church, coming to it and subduing the evil forces that surround it.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/12/17 2:22 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, August 12, 2017

18th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 17:14-20

The Healing of a Boy with a Demon.*
14
When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him,
15
and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic* and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water.
16
I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17
Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse* generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.”
18
Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him,* and from that hour the boy was cured.
19
Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”
20
* He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Friends, today in our Gospel we meet a boy driven mad by a demon and the disciples could not heal him. They asked Jesus why they had failed, and he said, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

In all circumstances, you have to pray with faith. Have you noticed how Jesus, time and again, says to people before working a miracle, "Do you believe I can do this?" Once, Matthew tells us, Jesus was unable to perform many miracles because he was met with so little faith among the people.

Lots of people today, especially in the healing ministry, seem able to reproduce what Jesus did, precisely because of the purity of their faith. Is part of our problem simply a lack of faith? We allow our skepticism to get the better of us; we're just a little embarrassed by asking God for things, or we're convinced that he is a distant power only vaguely connected to our lives. But God is far greater than that.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/11/17 7:10 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, August 11, 2017

Memorial of Saint Clare, Year I

Matthew 16:24-28

The Conditions of Discipleship.*
24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,* take up his cross, and follow me.
25
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.*
26
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
27
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.
28
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Friends, in our Gospel for today Jesus outlines the cost of becoming his disciple: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." We have a very antiseptic view of the cross, for we have seen it for so long as a religious symbol.

But for the first nine centuries or so of the Christian dispensation, artists didn't depict the cross, for it was just too brutal. Say what you want about the violence in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, it probably came as close as any work of art to showing the reality of a Roman crucifixion.

But here's the point: we are meant to see on that cross, not simply a violent display, but rather our own ugliness. What brought Jesus to the cross? Stupidity, anger, mistrust, institutional injustice, betrayal of a friend, denial, unspeakable cruelty, scapegoating, and fear. In other words, all of our dysfunction is revealed on that cross. In the light of the cross, no one can say the popular philosophy of our times, "I'm okay and you're okay." This is why we speak of the cross as God's judgment on the world.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/7/17 2:57 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, August 7, 2017

Matthew 14:13-21

The Return of the Twelve and the Feeding of the Five Thousand.*
13
When Jesus heard of it, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
14
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
15
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
16
[Jesus] said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
17
But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
18
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
19
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking* the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
20
They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over*—twelve wicker baskets full.
21
Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

Friends, our Gospel today tells about the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus instructs the crowd to recline, and they do so on the grass. Taking the loaves and dried fish, Jesus makes a meal that satisfies the enormous crowd. They are hungry, tired, worn out from their exertions, and Jesus gives them sustenance for the day.

For Thomas Aquinas, the great metaphor for the Eucharist is sustenance, food for the journey. The Eucharist is daily food, sustenance for the journey, nourishment to get us through the day to day. How effective would we be if we never ate, or ate only on special occasions and in a festive environment? Not very. So, in the spiritual life, we must eat and drink or we will not have strength.

Is this just meant in some vague symbolic way? No, rather in a vividly analogical way. For just as the body needs physical nourishment, the spirit needs spiritual nourishment and there is no getting around this law.

Now think of how many Catholics are absent from the Mass and the Eucharist and Confession or even daily prayer. This spiritual malnourishment is the number one problem facing our Church.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/6/17 12:59 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, August 6, 2017

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Cycle A

Matthew 17:1-9

The Transfiguration of Jesus.*
1
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.*
2
* And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
3
* And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.
4
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents* here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,* then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
6
* When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.
7
But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”
8
And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

The Coming of Elijah.*
9
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision* to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Friends, today we celebrate the Transfiguration of Lord. I would like to place this event and story within their clearly Jewish and Biblical framework. The transfiguration takes place on a mountain, and this immediately places it in relation to the Old Testament. The law is given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, and Elijah challenges the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel. Mountains are places of encounter with God.

So, in the New Testament, Jesus gives his law on a mountain: the Sermon on the Mount; he dies on Mt. Calvary, and, in a climactic moment in his public life, he brings three of his disciples to the top of a mountain—and there he is transfigured before them.

What is especially being stressed here is the manner in which Jesus represents the fulfillment of the Old Testament revelation, economically symbolized by the two figures with whom he converses: Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophets. When a Jew of Jesus' time would speak of the Scriptures, he would use a shorthand: the law and the prophets. So in speaking to Moses and Elijah, in the glory of the transfiguration, Jesus signals that he brings them to their proper fulfillment.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/5/17 12:19 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, August 5, 2017

17th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 14:1-12

Herod’s Opinion of Jesus.
1
* At that time Herod the tetrarch* heard of the reputation of Jesus
2
and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”

The Death of John the Baptist.
3
Now Herod had arrested John, bound [him], and put him in prison on account of Herodias,* the wife of his brother Philip,
4
for John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
5
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they regarded him as a prophet.
6
But at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod
7
so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
8
Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
9
The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given,
10
and he had John beheaded in the prison.
11
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.
12
His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.


Friends, today's Gospel tells of the death of John the Baptist. Herod had arrested John, from whom Jesus had sought baptism, and put him to death. The arrest and death of John the Baptist were signals for Jesus.

Jesus immediately after the arrest withdraws to Galilee and then commences his own ministry of preaching and healing. Are these two events just coincidentally related? Hardly. Jesus read the arrest of John as a kind of signal that he was to begin.

We must remember that Jesus, like any Jew of his time, would have read the world through the lens of the Sacred Scriptures. They were the interpretive framework for everything. It was a commonplace of the prophets and the psalms and parts of the Torah that the era of the Messiah would be preceded by a time of tribulation, when the opponents of God would rise up to counter God's purposes.

Jesus saw this in the arrest of John. This great national figure, this prophet to Israel, was arrested and eventually killed by the enemies of God—and he took it as a signal that his own Messianic work should begin.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/3/17 6:21 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, August 3, 2017

17th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 13:47-53

47
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.
48
When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.
49
Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
50
and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Treasures New and Old.
51
“Do you understand* all these things?” They answered, “Yes.”
52
* And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”
53
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus presents two more parables on the kingdom of heaven. In the first parable, we hear that "the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea…." Here the kingdom of heaven is coming for us. This is an eschatological image of the kingdom, God's final rounding up of the world at the end of time. When will it come? We don't know. But we must be ready! And being ready means being in accord with the rule of God.

Then the second parable: "Every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old." Jesus knew that his ministry and teaching were, to a large extent, in continuity with what came before him.

At the same time, he knew that his preaching and person did represent something new and unprecedented. So, those learned in the kingdom of God love traditions, the heritage of faith. And those learned in the kingdom also know that the Spirit is doing new things. Therefore, we have to be open to what he might want to show us.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
8/1/17 9:01 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Tuesday, August 1

The Explanation of the Parable of the Weeds.

36
Then, dismissing the crowds,* he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37
* He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
38
the field is the world,* the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one,
39
and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age,* and the harvesters are angels.
40
Just as weeds are collected and burned [up] with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.
41
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom* all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
42
They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
43
* Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.

Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Year I

Matthew 13:36-43

Friends, our Gospel today is the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God sows his good seed, his word, his love and compassion, but his project is met with opposition. And the evil is such that it insinuates itself right into the very fabric of the good.

In classical theology, we speak of evil as a privatio boni, a privation of the good, meaning that evil is always and everywhere parasitic on the good. Just as a parasite is living off of the healthy body (and thereby weakening it), so moral evil lives off of the good soul, the good society, the good Church (and thereby weakens them).

What is the result? That it is exceptionally difficult to extricate the evil from the good without damaging the good. That's why it is extremely difficult—and often counter-productive—to go after these evils with a crusading spirit.

To be sure, there are certain evils that simply have to be addressed—right now, no questions, no hesitations. But there are other evils (and they really are evil) that are best left alone for the time being, lest more damage is done in the process of extricating them.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/31/17 2:45 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, July 31, 2017

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Year I

Matthew 13:31-35

The Parable of the Mustard Seed.*
31
h He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.
32
* It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”
The Parable of the Yeast.
33
He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast* that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

The Use of Parables.
34
* All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables,
35
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:*
“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation [of the world].”

Friends, in our Gospel Jesus tells us that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea. What is being communicated here is something simple: faith is power. When our lives are aligned to God we become the conduits of enormous power.

Attachments block us and break this flow. An attachment is anything you don't need but which you cannot live without. This idea is central to the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola. What are the attachments that block the divine power from flowing through us? In most cases it is some form of wealth, pleasure, honor, or power.

Love what Jesus loved on the cross; and despise what he despised. This is the direction we get from St. Thomas Aquinas. Reorienting our priorities to align with Christ on the cross is the key to a spiritually successful life, and to the unleashing of divine power.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/30/17 3:02 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, July 30, 2017

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 13:44-52

More Parables.*
44
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,* which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.
46
When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
47
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.
48
When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.
49
Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
50
and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Treasures New and Old.
51
“Do you understand* all these things?” They answered, “Yes.”
52
* And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”
53
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

Friends, our Gospel for today includes several of Jesus' better-known parables. I'd like to comment on this one: "Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls..."

What does this tell us? That there is often something interruptive about the Kingdom of God. It is a breakthrough, a radical change, a surprise.

Once we find the pearl, everything else must go. We must "sell" all of our other preoccupations and concerns, all those things and people that we once put in the center of our lives. They must go. There is something uncompromising to what Jesus is getting at.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/29/17 4:10 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, July 29, 2017

Memorial of Saint Martha, Year I
John 11:19-27

19
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.
20
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home.
21
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
22
[But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”
23
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.”
24
Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”
25
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
26
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27
* l She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

Friends, today's Gospel is the story of Martha and Mary. I'd like to offer a fresh take on this famous little story. One of the principal marks of Jesus' teaching and ministry is the overturning of social conventions. And one of the most striking and surprising of Jesus' moves was a radical inclusion of women.



While the typical women's work was going on, men would sit out in the main room of the residence and talk. If a prominent rabbi or Pharisee were present, the men would sit at his feet and listen to his words.

Now we can see why Mary's attitude was so offensive to Martha and probably to everyone else in the room. Martha wasn't simply mad that Mary was giving her more work to do; she was mad that Mary had the gall to assume the stance of a man, to take up her position in the men's space.

In his response to Martha's complaint, Jesus signals more than a preference for listening over acting; he invites a woman into full participation in the life of discipleship. "Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/28/17 11:09 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, July 28, 2017

16th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 13:18-23

The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower.*
18
“Hear then the parable of the sower.
19
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.
20
The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
21
But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.
22
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.
23
But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus explains the parable of the sower. Let's study each part of his explanation.

The seed sown on the path is "the one who hears the word without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown." This means we might end up blocked from God because we lack education in the ways of the Spirit.

The seed sown on rocky ground is "the one who receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time." When difficulties and persecutions arrive, he loses confidence.

"The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit." Some people hear the word, but then they are unable to maintain their focus and sense of prioritization.

So from these sad cases we can construe the nature of good soil. When we understand the faith, when we take the time to read theology, to study the Scripture; when we persevere, discipline ourselves, and practice the faith; when we have our priorities straight, then the seed will take root in us. And it will bear fruit thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/25/17 7:05 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Feast of Saint James, Year I

Matthew 20:20-28

The Request of James and John.*
20
Then the mother* of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
21
He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
22
Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking.* Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.”
23
He replied, “My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left [, this] is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
24
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers.
25
But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
26
But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
27
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
28
f Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom* for many.”

Friends, today in our Gospel the mother of James and John asks Jesus on their behalf for high places of authority in his kingdom. Ah, there is the voice of ambition. Some people don't care at all about money or power or pleasure—but they care passionately about honor. A lot of people can identify with James and John. They want to go places, they want to be movers and shakers in society. Perhaps a number of people reading this reflection are filled with these emotions.

But Jesus turns the tables on them: "You do not know what you are asking." He is indeed a King and he will indeed rule Israel, but his crown will be made of thorns and his throne will be a Roman instrument of torture.

And so he tries to clarify: "Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" The key to honor in the Kingdom of God is to drink the cup of suffering, the willingness to suffer out of love, to give one's life away as a gift. Look at the lives of the saints. It is not about aggrandizing the ego, but emptying it out.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/23/17 4:20 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, July 23, 2017

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 13:24-43

The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat.
24
He proposed another parable to them.* “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
25
While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds* all through the wheat, and then went off.
26
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
27
The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’
28
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them.
30
Let them grow together until harvest;* then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed.*
31
He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.
32
* It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’

The Parable of the Yeast.
33
He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast* that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” The Use of Parables.
34
* All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables,
35
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:*
“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation [of the world].”
The Explanation of the Parable of the Weeds.
36
Then, dismissing the crowds,* he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37
* He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
38
the field is the world,* the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one,
39
and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age,* and the harvesters are angels.
40
Just as weeds are collected and burned [up] with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.
41
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom* all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
42
They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
43
* Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.

Friends, our Gospel today is the parable of the weeds among the wheat. God's word creates the Church, the community of those who strive to build up the Kingdom. But this Church is never absolutely pure and untrammeled, for God's ways are opposed by a spiritual power, an enemy. His task is to sow weeds among the wheat—clandestinely, quietly, unobtrusively.

This sort of coming-together of good and evil is to be expected. The Church will always be a place of saints and sinners, and the sinners will often look like saints. The enemy of the Church, who never rests, ensures it.

When we discover evil, it is always very tempting to go after it with both fists, to take it out. But the warning of the Master here is extremely important. Sometimes, our zeal can lead to far greater problems, precisely because of the way evil is related to the good.

So what should we do? Let them grow side-by-side for the time being. At the end, at harvest time, the Master will separate them out.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/22/17 5:22 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, July 22, 2017

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, Year I

John 20:1-2, 11-18

The Empty Tomb.*
1
On the first day of the week,a Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark,* and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
2
So she ran* and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

The Appearance to Mary of Magdala.*
11
But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.f And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
12
and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been.
13
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”
14
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.
15
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”
16
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”* which means Teacher.
17
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,* for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18
Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.
Friends, today we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene. Our Gospel says Mary came to the Lord's tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week.

Let's place ourselves there: it is still dark—just the way it was at the beginning of time before God said, "Let there be light." But a light is about to shine, and a new creation is about to appear.

The stone had been rolled away. The stone blocking entrance to the tomb of Jesus stands for the finality of death. When someone that we love dies, it is as though a great stone is rolled across them, permanently blocking our access to them. And this is why we weep at death—not just in grief but in a kind of existential frustration.

Undoubtedly, Mary Magdalene thought that a grave robber had been at work. The wonderful Johannine irony is that the greatest of grave robbers had indeed been at work.

In the book of the prophet Ezekiel, we hear this, "I will open your graves and have you rise from them." What was dreamed about, what endured as a hope against hope, has become a reality. God has opened the grave of his Son.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/21/17 8:14 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, July 21, 2017

15th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 12:1-8

Picking Grain on the Sabbath.
1
* At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads* of grain and eat them.
2
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
3
He said to them,* “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry,
4
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat?
5
* Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent?
6
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
7
* If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men.
8
* For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”



Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as violating the sacred command to rest on the seventh day. For example, he often cures on the Sabbath, much to the dismay of the protectors of Jewish law.

And then in today's Gospel, after his disciples pick grain on the Sabbath, Jesus declares himself "Lord of the Sabbath." It's hard to express how breathtaking this claim would be for a first-century Jew to make. Yahweh alone could be assigned the title, "Lord of the Sabbath," so what is Jesus implying?

In short, he is claiming that he is above their rituals, even perhaps the defining practice of pious Jews, because he is the Lord. Thus the rules must be placed in subordination to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that the Lord Jesus is ushering in even here and now.


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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/18/17 7:06 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

15th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 11:20-24

Reproaches to Unrepentant Towns.

20
Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.
21
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon,* they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
22
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
23
* And as for you, Capernaum:
‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Friends, today Jesus declares judgment on the towns of Galilee that did not believe in him and repent. He stands at the end of the long line of prophets God sent in order to reconcile his people to himself. Like the prophets before him, Jesus is ignored, mocked, and rejected.

What happens as a result of man's refusal of God? Not nothing. God's judgment falls on the unfaithful nation. What is the instrument of God's justice? One of the heathen nations, the Chaldeans, come and destroy the city of Jerusalem, burn the temple, carry off its most sacred objects, and force the Israelites into exile. And then the Romans follow suit in the first century.

Is this bad luck? Just the typical give and take of geopolitical forces? No! The Bible insists that this should be read as God's action, more specifically, as God's judgment and punishment. Mind you, this is not an arbitrary punishment, something cruel and vindictive; rather it is God allowing the fallen nation to feel the effects of its sin.

So what's the lesson? Sin has consequences, and we rarely have to wait for the next world to experience them.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/17/17 10:25 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, July 17, 2017

Matthew 10:34-11:1

Jesus: A Cause of Division.
34
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
35
For I have come to set
a man ‘against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’
The Conditions of Discipleship.
37
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38
and whoever does not take up his cross* and follow after me is not worthy of me.
39
* Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Rewards.
40
“Whoever receives you receives me,* and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
41
* Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward.
42
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus lays down the conditions for discipleship: "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples,* he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

There is line from the illuminator of the St. John's Bible which states: "We have to love our way out of this." There is nothing wimpy or namby-pamby or blind about this conviction. When we love extravagantly, we are not purposely blinding ourselves to moral realities—just the contrary. Love is not a sentiment, but "a harsh and dreadful thing," as Dostoevsky said.

This is just what Jesus shows on his terrible cross. And this is just what we, his followers, must imitate. Taking up the cross means not just being willing to suffer, but being willing to suffer as he did, absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and nonviolence.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/16/17 10:29 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, July 16, 2017

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 13:1-23

The Parable of the Sower.
1
* On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.a
2
Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
3
* And he spoke to them at length in parables,* saying: “A sower went out to sow.
4
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up.
5
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
6
and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.
7
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
8
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
9
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The Purpose of Parables.
10
The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
11
* He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
12
b To anyone who has, more will be given* and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
13
* c This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’
14
d Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
‘You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
15
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart and be converted,
and I heal them.’
The Privilege of Discipleship.*
16
e “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.
17
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower.*
18
f “Hear then the parable of the sower.
19
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.
20
The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
21
But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.
22
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.
23
But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

Friends, our Gospel for today is the parable of the sower and the seed. It has to do with the growth and development of the kingdom of God. We hear that Jesus "went out of the house and sat down by the sea" and that large crowds gathered around him. This is Jesus speaking to the whole world.

Sitting down, he is, again, in the attitude of the ancient teacher and judge, and he speaks the parable of the sower. The sower sows far and wide, some of the seed landing on the path, where the birds eat it up; some falling on rocky ground, where it was scorched in the sun; some sown among thorns, where the life is choked off; and some sown on rich soil, where it bears thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.

Keep in mind that Jesus himself, in person, is the seed sown. Jesus is the logos that wants to take root in us. This seed is sown far and wide, through all sorts of means, but in you, let the seed be sown deep, where it can't be stolen, scorched, or choked.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/15/17 4:55 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, July 15, 2017

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Year I

Matthew 10:24-33

24
No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.
25
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,* how much more those of his household!

Courage Under Persecution.
26
“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.*
27
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
28
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
29
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
30
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
31
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32
* Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
33
But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

Friends, Jesus instructs his disciples in today's Gospel, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna."

What is the greatest fear we have? Undoubtedly, the fear of losing our own lives; we fear the death of the body. But Jesus is telling us not to worry about those paper tigers that can only affect the body and its goods.

When I am in love with God, when I am "fearing" him above all things, I am rooted in a power that transcends space and time, a power that governs the universe in its entirety, a power that is greater than life and death.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/13/17 7:08 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, July 13, 2017

14th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 10:7-15

7
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
8
* Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
9
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
10
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep.
11
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave.
12
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
13
If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.*
14
* Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
15
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.i

Friends, in our Gospel today, Jesus sends the apostles on a mission of evangelization, a mission which we continue today.

We Catholics cannot avoid the demand of evangelization, of proclaiming the faith. Vatican II couldn't be clearer on this score, seeing the Church itself as nothing but a vehicle for evangelization. According to Vatican II, it's not so much the case that the Church has a mission, but rather that a mission has the Church. Bringing people to Christ is not one work among many; rather it is the central work of the Church, that around which everything else that we do revolves.

Do we need evangelization? The statistics couldn't be clearer. Did you know that there are nearly as many ex-Catholics as Catholics in this country? Did you know that by some estimates, between 50 and 80% of those who attend the Protestant mega-church of Willow Creek are former Catholics? Did you know that the fastest-growing category in those polls of religious affiliation is "none?" Did you know that a recent survey shows that among young religious people, those with the worst sense of their own tradition are Jews, but that the second to last are Catholics?

We need evangelization more than ever before. Will you answer the call?

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/10/17 8:14 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, July 10, 2017

14th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 9:18-26

The Official’s Daughter and the Woman with a Hemorrhage.
18
* While he was saying these things to them, an official* came forward, knelt down before him, and said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
19
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
20
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel* on his cloak.
21
She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
22
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured.
23
When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
24
he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.”* And they ridiculed him.
25
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose.
26
And news of this spread throughout all that land.

Friends, the centerpiece of our Gospel today is the story of the hemorrhaging woman. To get at the power of the Gospel, we have to re-acquaint ourselves with the Jewish attitudes regarding the clean and the unclean. In the book of Leviticus we find carefully laid out prescriptions, dealing with animals, plants, foods, and situations that are unclean. These prescriptions were meant to identify the Jewish people as a people. But they had a rather severe downside, since they placed certain people in extremely difficult situations.

Having a flow of blood for twelve years meant that for that entire period the woman in our Gospel was a virtual pariah. Anyone with whom she came in contact would be considered unclean. She couldn't participate in the ordinary life of her society.

She touches Jesus and should have rendered him unclean. But so great is her faith, that her touch, instead, renders her clean. Jesus effectively restores her to full participation in her community.

The most important outcome is this: Jesus implicitly puts an end to the ritual code of Leviticus. The identity of the new Israel, the Church, would not be through ritual behaviors but through imitation of him.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/8/17 4:45 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, July 8, 2017

13th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 9:14-17

The Question About Fasting.
14
Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?”
15
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.*
16
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,* for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
17
People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Friends, in today's Gospel, people ask Jesus why he and his disciples do not fast when John and his disciples do. Jesus' answer is wonderful: "How can the guests at a wedding fast while the groom is still with them?" Could you imagine people fasting at a wedding banquet? It would be ridiculous!

Jesus also says, "No one pours new wine into old wineskins…." The new wine is the Gospel. The receptacle for this wine must be conformed to it, not the other way around.

To take in the Good News, we can't be living in the cramped space of our sinful souls. We can't have an "expect the worst" attitude. Instead, we repent, or change the minds that we have. Another way to get at this is to say that like is known by like. If God is love, then only a soul that is on fire with love will properly take him in.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/4/17 10:50 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Tuesday, July 4, 2017

13th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 8:23-27

The Calming of the Storm at Sea.
23
* He got into a boat and his disciples followed him.
24
Suddenly a violent storm* came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep.
25
They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us!* We are perishing!”
26
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”* Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.
27
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

Friends, what we hear in the Gospel for today is a de profundis prayer. Do you know the de profundis prayer? It comes from Psalm 130: "Out of the depths, I have cried to you, O Lord. O Lord, be attentive to the voice of my pleading." It is the prayer offered at the darkest times of life, when we feel utterly incapable of helping ourselves.

During the storm, Jesus' disciples cried out to the Lord in desperation: "O Lord, we are drowning; don't you care?" Perhaps there are some people reading this right now who feel themselves in this precise situation. Perhaps you're reading these words from your hospital bed where you are recovering painfully from surgery, or where you've just received some devastating news. Perhaps you find yourself caught in a terrible, unrelenting depression. Maybe you've just lost a loved one, and you're awash in a sea of grief.

If that's you, then pray as the disciples did. Awaken someone who can help. Jesus sleeping in the midst of the storm is a very powerful symbol of God's sovereignty over even the darkest and most difficult trials that life throws at us.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/3/17 9:08 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, July 3, 2017

Saint Thomas, Year I

John 20:24-29

Thomas.
24
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
27
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
28
* Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29
* Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Friends, today's Gospel celebrates St. Thomas the Apostle. Why do we love this story of doubting Thomas so much? Perhaps because he is a saint especially suitable for our time. Modernity has been marked, from its beginning, by two great qualities: skepticism and empiricism, the very qualities we can discern in Thomas: "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."

And I think a good amount of skepticism and "show-me" empiricism is called for in many situations and contexts. We shouldn't be credulous, gullible, or naïve. Sometimes it is indeed good to wipe the slate clean, to clear out old cobwebs and intellectual humbug, perhaps especially in the area of religion. Indeed, Catholicism has a very rich intellectual tradition, a tradition of questioning, wondering, seeking understanding.

Yet when the risen Jesus re-appears, this time in the presence of Thomas, he invites the doubter to look, to see, and to touch. Then that devastating line: "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/2/17 3:11 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, July 2, 2017

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 10:37-42

The Conditions of Discipleship.
37
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38
and whoever does not take up his cross* and follow after me is not worthy of me.
39
* Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Rewards.
40
“Whoever receives you receives me,* and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
41
* Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward.
42
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus proposes a sort of shock therapy. He asks us to bring to mind those possessions to which we are most attached—not crude things like money and fame and power, but our mothers, our fathers, our wives and children, and even our very life. And then he tells us to "hate" them.



Here's what he means: hate them in the measure that they are possessions of your clinging ego. And once we have learned to hate even these most loveable things, we are to "take up our cross." Anyone hearing Jesus in the first century would have known exactly what this meant: to be pinned to an instrument of torture, stripped of all possessions, humiliated, dishonored, to become a total failure in the eyes of the world.

But here's the consummately weird conclusion: Jesus nailed to the cross is the only really happy man. You have everything you need right now right in front of you to be happy, even when you are nailed to a cross, as long as you have rid your life of attachments.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
7/1/17 6:45 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, July 1, 2017

12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 8:5-17

The Healing of a Centurion’s Servant.*
5
When he entered Capernaum,* a centurion approached him and appealed to him,
6
saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
7
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
8
The centurion said in reply,* “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.
9
For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel* have I found such faith.
11
I say to you,* many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven,
12
but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
13
And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour [his] servant was healed.
The Cure of Peter’s Mother-in-Law.*
14
Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
15
He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.
Other Healings.
16
When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word* and cured all the sick,
17
to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:*
“He took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.”

Friends, today in our Gospel Jesus praises the faith of a Roman centurion. How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith and remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.



One of the most fundamental statements of Christian faith is this: your life is not about you. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God's great design. To believe this in your bones and to act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to "a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine."

This is precisely what we see in the lives of the saints: Mother Teresa moving into the worst slum in the world in an attitude of trust; Francis of Assisi just abandoning everything and living for God; Rose Hawthorn deciding to take cancer sufferers into her own home; Antony leaving everything behind and going into the desert; Maximilian Kolbe saying, "I'm a Catholic priest; take me in his place." This is how faith transforms the Christian life.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
6/27/17 10:39 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 7:6, 12-14

6
“Do not give what is holy to dogs,* or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

The Golden Rule.
12
* “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.

The Narrow Gate.
13
* “Enter through the narrow gate;* for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.
14
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

Friends, today’s Gospel calls us to expect that God will answer our prayers. Faith is power, for it is a link to the reality of God, the power that made and sustains the cosmos. When we remain in the narrow confines of our perceptions, our thoughts, our hopes, we live in a very cramped way.

To have faith is, to use the current jargon, to live outside of the box, risking, venturing, believing the impossible. Sometimes, the power of faith is manifested in spectacular and immediately obvious ways. There is a long tradition, stretching back to Jesus himself and including many of the saints, of faith healing. When someone consciously and confidently opens himself to God, acting as a kind of conduit, the divine energy can flow.

There is also the power of prayer. When some people ask in a spirit of trust, really believing that what they are asking for will happen, it happens.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
6/26/17 12:23 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Monday, June 26, 2017

12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 7:1-5

Judging Others.
1
* “Stop judging,* that you may not be judged.
2
For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
3
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
4
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?
5
You hypocrite,* remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus commands us to stop judging others. He asks, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” We are exceptionally good at seeing the fault in others, but we are exceptionally adept at ignoring it in ourselves.



There was a very popular book that came out when I was a teenager. It was called, I’m Okay and You’re Okay. It represented the culture of exculpation and feel-good-about-yourself. Not many years ago, Christina Aguilera crooned, “I am beautiful in every single way and your words can’t get me down.” Look at so many of the debates today: the attitude that is winning is one of self-invention and self-assertion. Who are you to tell me how to behave?

In all of this, we are fundamentally looking away from our guilt, our fault, our darkness. We are effectively drugging ourselves, dulling the pain of real self-consciousness. In the process, we turn ourselves into God, pretending to be absolute, flawless, and impervious to criticism. So “remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye..”

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
6/25/17 9:45 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Sunday, June 25, 2017

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Matthew 10:26-33

Courage Under Persecution.
26
p “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.*
27
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
28
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
29
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
30
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
31
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32
* Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
33
But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus gives us the biblical antidote for fear. What are you afraid of? What do you have to lose? Does it terrify you to think that you might lose your wealth? Your social status? The affection of others? Your health? Your power and influence? Your reputation and good name? Your life? I’ve spoken often of my favorite movie, A Man For All Seasons. What frustrated Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII about Thomas More is that they couldn’t manipulate him. And why couldn’t they do that? He wasn’t afraid. There was nothing they could threaten him with.

In time, Henry took away More’s job, status, money, reputation, friends, family, freedom—each time hoping that he would give in—until finally the King took away his life. Everyone else he could intimidate, but not More.

And Thomas More’s last words are instructive here: “I die the King’s good servant; but God’s first.” Thomas More did fear someone. He had that holy fear that the Bible speaks of often: the fear of the Lord. There was something he feared losing—and that was intimacy and friendship with God. Compared to that, everything else was straw.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
6/24/17 10:42 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Year I

Luke 1:57-66, 80

The Birth of John.*
57
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son.
58
Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.
59
* When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
60
but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.”
61
But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
62
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
63
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed.
64
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.
65
Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.
66
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

80
The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

Friends, today’s Gospel celebrates the birth of John the Baptist. I think it’s fair to say that you cannot really understand Jesus without understanding John, which is precisely why all four evangelists tell the story of the Baptist as a kind of overture to the story of Jesus. John did not draw attention to himself. Rather, he presented himself as a preparation, as a forerunner, a prophet preparing the way of the Lord. He was summing up much of Israelite history, but stressing that this history was open-ended, unfinished.

And therefore, how powerful it was when, upon spying Jesus coming to be baptized, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” No first century Israelite would have missed the meaning of that: behold the one who has come to be sacrificed. Behold the sacrifice, which will sum up, complete, and perfect the temple. Moreover, behold the Passover lamb, who sums up the whole meaning of that event and brings it to fulfillment.

And this is why John says, “He must increase and I must decrease.” In other words, the overture is complete; and now the great opera begins. The preparatory work of Israel is over, and now the Messiah will reign.


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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
6/23/17 5:33 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Friday, June 23, 2017

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Year I

Matthew 11:25-30

The Praise of the Father.
25
At that time Jesus said in reply,* “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.
26
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
27
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

The Gentle Mastery of Christ.
28
* “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,* and I will give you rest.
29
* Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
30
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Friends, today’s Gospel has been described as a Johannine bolt from the Matthean blue, meaning that Jesus speaks here in a manner much more characteristic of John’s Gospel than Matthew’s. We are being invited into very deep mysteries by this passage. Jesus addresses his Father and thereby reveals his own deepest identity within the Holy Trinity. He says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to the little ones.”

It is important we keep in mind that this is not simply a good and holy man addressing God, but rather the very Son of God addressing his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.

It is important we keep in mind that this is not simply a good and holy man addressing God, but rather the very Son of God addressing his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
6/22/17 6:36 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thursday, June 22, 2017

11th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 6:7-15

Teaching About Prayer.
5
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
7
* In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.*
8
Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
The Lord’s Prayer.
9
* “This is how you are to pray:
Our Father in heaven,*
hallowed be your name,
10
your kingdom come,*
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
11
* Give us today our daily bread;
12
and forgive us our debts,*
as we forgive our debtors;
13
and do not subject us to the final test,*
but deliver us from the evil one.
14
* If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
15
But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Friends, the Gospel for today is of great significance, for in it the Son of God teaches us to pray. We hear from not just a guru, a spiritual teacher, or religious genius, but from the very Son of God. This is why the Our Father, the Lord’s prayer, is the model of all prayer.

The Lord’s prayer is the prayer for the Christian journey which has been offered up consistently for the past two thousand years. Think for a moment how this prayer links us to all of the great figures in Christian history, from Peter and Paul to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, right up to the present day.

Keep in mind that prayer is not designed so much to change God’s mind or to tell God something he doesn’t know. God isn’t like a big city boss or a reluctant pasha whom we have to persuade. Rather, he is rather the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things—though they might not always be the things we want.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (519,529)
Fitness Minutes: (191,632)
Posts: 28,226
6/20/17 5:59 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

11th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Matthew 5:43-48

Love of Enemies.*
43
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,
45
that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
46
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors* do the same?
47
And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?*
48
So be perfect,* just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Friends, today’s Gospel tells us to love our enemies so that we may be like the Father. What is the Father of Jesus Christ like? Well, listen: “He makes his sun to rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” The Father of Jesus Christ is love, right through. That’s all God is; that’s all he knows how to do. He is not like us: unstable, changing, moving from one attitude to another. No, God simply is love.

In every case, his grace comes first, and grace is all that he has to give. This is why the comparison to the sun and the rain is so apt. The sun doesn’t ask who deserves its warmth or its light before it shines. It just shines, and both good and bad people receive it. Neither does the rain inquire as to the moral rectitude of those upon whom it showers its life-giving goodness. It just pours—and both just and unjust people receive it.

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


 current weight: 301.8 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
Page: 1 of (2)   1 2 Next Page › Last Page »

Report Innappropriate Post

Other CC (Catholic Critters) All Things Catholic Posts

Topics:
Last Post:
9/3/2017 6:53:51 PM
3/27/2018 9:56:45 PM
12/25/2017 1:10:58 PM



Thread URL: https://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_messageboard_thread.asp?board=25839x1017x66643191

Review our Community Guidelines