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The Image of God

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I am sure you have seen the people who stand near the freeway ramps with various signs saying, “Homeless,” or “hungry,” or even, “I’m a vet.”

I know many times I see these people and wonder, “What’s their story?” Sadly, in my cynicism, I simply drive past, or to make things more uncomfortable for me, I have to stop at the light, and I do everything in my power not to make eye contact!

Often when I see them, I think of the story of the Good Samaritan. In the gospel, when Jesus is asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He goes on to tell the story of the man who was robbed and left critically injured.

So, who is MY neighbor? Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor in theory should be easy, but it is often very difficult.

This gospel is perhaps a wake-up call for me to reflect on who is my neighbor.

  • Is it the elderly person struggling in the supermarket that I could help?
  • Is it the driver I let merge into my lane in traffic?
  • Is it the person walking down street who I nod or smile at when I pass?
  • Is it the person with the sign near the freeway?

Am I loving them as myself? Am I seeing them as the image of God in which they were created?

Some interesting and weighty questions.  Who’s YOUR neighbor?

God is Alive

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Sharing in the mission of Jesus is difficult; yet each one of us is called to do so. The notion of discipleship is a powerful one. To be a disciple means you strive to hold nothing back from your commitment to follow Jesus. Over the past year, my commitment to Christ was tested in major ways. I still struggle with many unanswered questions. In and through these difficult experiences I never said, “That’s it God, I don't want to continue to try and be a disciple for you”.

 Why? I have come to know against all odds that God is alive. He is my hope, deliverer, Lord, Savior. I am thankful for all of my life experiences whether difficult or joyous. They helped to shape me into His disciple. Just recently, I was introduced to a song that has become my “discipleship” anthem. It was a great help to me when facing a tragedy in my family. It’s called, “Raise a Hallelujah”.

 “I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, Heaven comes to fight for me

I'm gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you're gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!

 I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me
I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee
I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery
I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!”

Do you have a discipleship song? Share it with us.

Commit to Communion

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Do you remember the time when we were asked to refrain from eating from midnight until we received Communion the next day?

From early Christian days, “Do this in memory of me,” meant to recall and participate in Jesus’ action in which he poured himself out for us. When we come up to receive His precious body, we also commit to communion with Jesus, that we too will pour ourselves out for one another. That’s quite an oath we take each time we come forward.

Now that we are required to fast just one hour before communion, how are you preparing to make this promise of self-emptying? Too often, we are in such a rush that we don’t run our week, it runs us. When we live the work week in chaos and haste, we often cannot slow down on Saturday evening or Sunday morning and relish what we are to receive.

Preparing ourselves to receive the most precious body and blood of our Lord, is not just something on the “to do” list. St. Paul says, “As often as you eat this bread…you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.” The only way to truly proclaim His death is your willingness to participate in it.

Every time you process up for communion, you are exchanging your promise to live as Jesus instructed in exchange for the divine gift of eternal life.

Do not waste an opportunity. Pay attention.

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