Daily

Reflections

Finding God in our lives
is quite simple.
We just have to take
the time to look.

Love One Another

If you knew you had only hours to live, what would you tell the ones who would be left behind? What if you knew that your death would shake them to their core? What words would ever be enough? In the Gospels this week, we come to the Last Supper and the last things that Jesus says to the apostles before He is arrested.Jesus gives them instruction, consolation, promises, and commands, plus a very generous promise that the Holy Spirit will come and remind them of all He is telling them. I know I would have really appreciated the reminder part! So what does Jesus say? In summary: If you love me, you love my Father. If you love me, you will keep my words. They bring life. If you love me you woul

Master Gardener

I have a black thumb. For any plant to stay alive on my watch, it has to be by the kitchen sink or outside and hardy enough to live on its own. So far, my survival record for plants by the sink is 0, but my "outside or die" plants have bumped up to 4. I don't do a thing to them. In fact, I was surprised to see three of them last spring. I honestly thought I had killed them all a couple years before. Fortunately for my plants, they found soil and water that was perfectly suited to their needs. It was wasn't too cold, it wasn't too hot, and somehow they got just enough rain at just the right time. This is my kind of gardening - the kind where God's in charge, not me. On this fifth Sunday of Ea

Hidden Blessings

Last week, Paul was told that he would be the one to preach to the Gentiles. This was new for the group, even though Jesus had hinted at it several times during His ministry. Jesus was considered the Jewish Messiah, the one who was to come and save Israel. He taught in the synagogues and in the temple, and celebrated the Jewish feasts, not any of the pagan ones. This week, Peter is let in on the idea that the Gentiles are part of the plan. (Acts 11:1-18) It only takes a vision. Repeated three times. And a visit from people sent because of an angel's instructions. Oh, and the Holy Spirit descending on a Gentile household. He got it. I have to say, I love that God works so hard to get us to un

I am the Good Shepherd

Last week, we heard John 3:16, "For God so loved the world..." but the verse my husband likes even better is the next one. "But God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:17) This week, we heard the same thing two more times. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep and the gate which keeps them safely enclosed and lets them out to pasture for food. The role of Jesus is not to destroy, but to give abundant life. We can get so turned around in this, thinking that our every move is possibly the one that will get us kicked out of the club. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus' role is to bring us back

I saw the sign

On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, the apostles are under investigation for healing a crippled man. The leaders want to know what power they used for this healing, and it doesn't seem to be in a friendly, curious sort of way, does it? Not to be intimidated, Peter speaks out and proclaims that Jesus, the one they killed, is the one who gives him the power to heal. This healing is just a signpost of the power of Jesus, with the point being that salvation is available through Him. It's pretty simple really. Except it's not. How many times do we make mistakes and hold onto them stubbornly, refusing to admit we were wrong? Haven't you ever done that? You just knew you were right and then, way too f

Amazing Grace

So much happens in the readings from Acts this week that I hardly know where to start. First, Stephen is stoned to death. This message of Jesus resurrected is really not going over well. As the stoning is going on, the bystanders place their coats at the feet of a man named Saul. Remember that name. We'll be seeing him again shortly. As he dies, Stephen cries out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." I am amazed how often we see the events of Easter repeating. Prison doors opening, trials with threats of imprisonment and death, and forgiveness in the middle of a brutal and unwarranted killing. It's only just beginning. This begins a period of intense persecution and causes many of the

I am the Bread of Life

In this week's daily readings, the Gospel of John takes us into the day after Jesus fed the five-thousand people. He has crossed the sea, and they have come to find Him. The miracle drew them to Jesus, but He tells them that it isn't nearly enough. They wanted more food, but he tells them, "Work ... for the food that endures for eternal life." (John 6:27) Of course, as we saw last week, the scene has been set to remind us of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. In fact, the Passover feast celebrating that event is coming, and the timing isn't coincidental. Jesus explains that He is the bread sent from heaven. This is something more than the manna in the desert. With this bread you w

Turning Back

Each Sunday of Easter, we will hear an excerpt or something related to the readings during the week. It is interesting to note what is pulled out and emphasized. This Sunday, we heard a portion of Peter's speech at Pentecost. Peter explains what happened to Jesus to the crowds gathered at Pentecost, but just as Jesus has done with him, he leaves the past in the past. What they did was out of ignorance. What really matters is what they do now. They didn't know before, but now Jesus has risen and the whole story is pretty clear. What should they do? What should we? Repent and be converted. Don't sin, but if you do, know that Jesus has paid for it, and we just need to turn back. Believe and fol

Know your roots

In this second week of Easter, we start into the Gospel of John. With a few exceptions, we will work our way through the entire story. It's an interesting dichotomy. Why would the readings each day include the story of the church after the Pentecost through the book of Acts and go back into Jesus' ministry in the Gospel of John? I have to wonder if it doesn't have something to do with knowing where you're going, while remembering where you're coming from. Who is this Jesus that we proclaim? What is this good news that people are willing to die for? We start out with the basics this week, as Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born of water and Spirit. Nicodemus asks, "How can this be?" and

Why fight it?

Photo: @thoughtful_camera I have to wonder how frustrated and irritated the Jewish leaders dealing with the apostles much have been. Jesus was crucified, and now His followers are claiming that He rose from the dead. Not only that, but they are gathering thousands of followers, and fast. In the readings of the second week of Easter, (Acts 4:23-37, and 5:17-6:7), Peter and John are arrested and put into prison. In true Easter style, an angel opens the door and lets them out to continue preaching. Can you imagine how frustrated the chief priests and elders must have been? Can't anyone stay where they put them? So they try again, bringing Paul and John back in and warning them not to preach any

Doubting Thomas

Photo: @thoughtful_camera The first Sunday of Easter always has the story of Doubting Thomas. (John 20:19-31)You know the one. Thomas comes in, having totally missed Jesus' appearance to everyone else. Pretty sure that they are messing with him or that they are just messed up, he refuses to believe that Jesus came back until he touches the wounds with his own hands. Wouldn't you know, Jesus comes back the next week and takes him up on the offer? Lesson 1: Never demand something that you don't actually want to do. Of course, Thomas immediately proclaims, "My Lord and my God!" No touching required. Lesson 2: Sometimes the proof you think you need isn't actually what you need. The funny thing i

What a day!

Photo: @thoughtful_camera As we start this first week of Easter, the Gospel readings of the first four days all take place on the day of the Resurrection. I was so surprised when I discovered that these stories all took place within hours of each other. What an incredible day! Here's the timeline: Sunday morning, a whole bunch of Marys go to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body. Instead, they find the stone rolled away and Jesus gone. Jesus appears and tells them to "go tell my brothers to go to Galilee and there they will see me." Later that same day, two disciples are walking out of Jerusalem, knowing that Jesus' body is gone and the women reported seeing Him. (There's a whole other discussion h

First Week of Easter: Peter - a new man

Photo: @thoughtful_camera In the movie, The Time Traveler's Wife, there are two distinct storylines in told in very different timeframes. It's a little hard to keep track of the actions, but eventually they come together and it all becomes a little clearer. Actually, it's only clear after you watch the movie again. The readings this week reminded me of The Time Traveler's Wife. We have two completely different stories that are told over the course of five days. The Gospels tell the story of the day of the Resurrection. The other readings tell of Peter's life starting at Pentecost, which comes at the end of these fifty days of Easter. It's a striking juxtaposition to see the fear and confusio

Just when you thought it was over...

Part Eight of an eight-part series of reflections on Lent, Holy Week, and Easter As you have hopefully been able to see over these last several weeks, these days in Holy Week are filled to overflowing with activity, meaning, drama, and grace. It almost seems a shame that it is about to be over with Easter Sunday Mass. We’ve gone through Lent preparing ourselves for forty days. We’ve developed our self-discipline. We’ve taken out the things that distract us from our relationship with God. We’ve added things that help us find our place in God’s generous and forgiving heart. In many different ways, we have been dying to ourselves. For what? Have we done all these things to get to Easter and pic

The Fifteenth Station: Jesus Rises from the Dead

Jesus is risen from the dead. The veil has been torn, the work being done in the past three days is done. Bathe in the light. Sit in the wonder. Wait to encounter the risen Lord. Allow Him to transform your life into something glorious. Jesus gave everything for you. Never doubt that He doesn't think you were worth it. Have a happy and blessed Easter!

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas