Welcome !

Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Traveling Preacher

Sunday July 5, 2015
A Reflection on Mark 6:1-6 N.A.B.
By: Larry T

In the Gospel reading for this Sunday we read about Jesus’ preaching experience in his hometown synagogue. At first the people were fascinated and spellbound as they heard Jesus interpret the law in a new and astonishing way, but when they remembered that he had been their neighbor and was a simple carpenter at that, they turned their back on him and his message. What went wrong?

1 He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
2 When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
3 Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”
5 So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. He went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching.

How much time does a professional speaker have to gain an audience’s trust? Is it two, five, ten, or fifteen minutes? The answer is less than five, and sometimes as little as two minutes. In view of this professional speakers are trained to use a variety of time-proven techniques aimed at earning an audience’s trust in the first critical minutes of their speech.

For example, men are told to wear white shirts and women advised to wear white blouses because white implies purity. Married male speakers are instructed to wear plain gold wedding bands because an audience is more comfortable with a man who wears a simple gold wedding ring. Politicians consistently follow this recommendation; even politicians who are multimillionaires typically wear plain gold wedding rings when making speeches. Some speakers have meeting rooms set up with ninety percent of the seating required for the anticipated audience size; then they have additional seating brought in at the very last minute. This is so that seated audience members might think, Wow! Look at all the people coming in at the last minute, this speaker must really be good! These simple tricks-of-the-trade are all designed to help build credibility with the audience. Since Jesus had been invited by the synagogue officials to address the meeting he didn’t have much of a credibility obstacle to overcome.

What was the audience expecting from Jesus? After all, He was just one of them, and a common tradesman at that. At best His reading of the scroll could be a little better than average. Since Jesus didn’t have a formal education in Mosaic Law, his interpretations couldn’t possibly equal those of the Pharisees and scribes. All things considered their expectations of Jesus’ preaching might have been pretty low; some onlookers probably steeled themselves to simply suffer through it.

How good a preacher was the Lord? He astonished them! He stunned them by explaining Mosaic Law in ways that they had never heard before, in ways that they were not ready to accept. Every word that Jesus spoke and every act that he performed was a divine act in human form. This synagogue audience was simply unwilling to accept the Word of God. They rationalized that a simple carpenter could not possess the wisdom to speak as He did, so they rejected Him. Jesus was amazed at their lack to faith.

For two-thousand years all humanity has been Jesus’ audience; he continues to preach to us through Holy Scripture and his Church. Like the synagogue audience we have two choices: we can receive Jesus and live out his message, or we can reject him. The greatest fear that professional speakers have is that their audience will get up and walk out on them. This Sunday we might reflect on the Lord’s dismay as he sees members of his audience get up and walk out and his joy over those who stay.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord

 By Sharon Nelsen 

The month of June, this month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has always been for me a time of developing more intimacy with Jesus. As I pray and listen in my morning prayer time, I experience the Lord leading me to a more meaningful relationship with Him. Years ago, when I first sang “Taste and See” (the song written by James E. Moore Jr.) the words settled into my heart. Recently, it appeared that God wanted me to apply His words more specifically. A “This-is-how-you experience-it teaching of Jesus” came to me: 

Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord.

Taste the FREEDOM of being released from bondage.

Taste the STRENGTH of trusting that I understand everything about you and all circumstances of your life.

Taste the HOPE from the promise that I make all things new and that I can and do bring good out of 2 Corevery situation you hand over to Me.

Taste the PEACE of experiencing my loving care, concern, and presence.

Taste My DESIRES burning in your heart.

Taste the JOY of being in relationship with Me, in My Word, in My People and in our quiet times together.

My desire is happiness for you, for all; happiness that flows from our relationship.  As you listen, as you taste, as you see My Goodness, you will not be able to stop the flow of happiness welling up within you, washing out all pain, cleansing and strengthening you each day. My love, Dear one, now and forever, Jesus

Another scripture touched my heart this month. As I reflected on “For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him (Jesus),” 2 Cor. 1.20 these words flowed out so effortlessly that I knew they were gift from the Holy Spirit and meant for all of us:

You are dear                  Open your ear

I am near                        You will hear

Can you hear                  For you are dear

My yes?                          To Me!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Journaling with Sharon: Examination of Conscience or Self-judgement

By Sharon Nelsen

This morning’s verse 10 from Psalm 103, revealed to me my disbelief:  The psalmist declares that God does not “treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.”  Intellectually, I have to accept that, but experientially, I do not believe it.  It feels like presumption to me.

I took that to the Lord in prayer and discovered that I believed the lie, not the truth.  The Lord led me to look at what was underneath the lie, what was keeping me from accepting the Peace God offers me in those wonderful, merciful words.  To my surprise, what surfaced was that I needed to look more closely at the differences between examining my conscience and self-judgment.  To that end, the Holy Spirit activated this understanding:

Examination of Conscience

1. Taking time to reflect on my motivations and acts

2. Believing “I have power and freedom to choose/decide.”

3. Desiring growth/challenge

4. Acting in the conviction that God is with me

5. Free to admit errors

6. Empowering

7. Encouraging

8. Affirming

9. Owns true self

10. Delights in one’s humanity


Reacting to immediate accusations, “I should have…”

Believing “I am a victim; I really have no choice.”

Avoiding growth/challenge

Acting as if God is my adversary, against me

Fear of “being wrong”




Denies true self

Resents being human

If I believe the lies associated with self-judgment, then I will avoid healthy reflection on my acts. To help me change my habit, the Holy Spirit inspired me with a “Once Again Prayer”:

Dear Merciful, Compassionate Divine Friend,

Once again

I have fallen short

Once again

I ask your forgiveness

Once again

I rely on your mercy

Once again

I ask for Your Grace that I may

Once again

Serve you with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole being

Once again

I give You the praise and the glory for all the good you have worked through me and will

Once again

Continue to work through me in spite of my faults and weaknesses.

Once again

I thank you, Dear Triune God, for being with me. Amen!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Birthplace of the Church

Sunday June 7, 2015
A Reflection on Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 N.A.B. 
By: Larry T

At a small group faith sharing meeting last year our parish pastor asked, “What does the Last Supper mean to you?” Red faced, the eight of us stared studiously at our hands, not daring to meet his eyes. To be sure, it wasn’t a fair question - the kind to be answered on the spur of the moment, because there is more than one good answer. Still yet, it is a thought provoking question. What are we to make of the Last Supper?

In the Gospel reading for this Sunday we read about the events leading up to the Last Supper, the meal itself, and the institution of the Holy Eucharist:

12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
13 He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him.
14 Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’
15 Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.”
16 The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
22 While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.
25 Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Our attention is immediately drawn to the words of Institution (vv. 22-24) because they are a familiar part of the Mass, but there is much more to it than that. Is it possible that Jesus asks each of us, Where is my guest room where I may eat my Passover with you? And if His words and actions have caused us to spiritually prepare for Him, He will come to dwell within us.

Once the meal preparations were completed Jesus gathered his disciples and went to the upper room. Today, some two thousand years later, Jesus continues to assemble us (his disciples) in preparation for the meal.

Jesus abruptly departed from the traditional meal ritual when he broke the bread, handed it to his disciples and said, “Take it, this is my body” and then offered them the cup saying, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many”. They would have been both alarmed and puzzled at Jesus’ words and actions. They could not have immediately fully understood that with this act Jesus was providing them and all humanity to come with the gift of his body and blood.

When the priest elevates the consecrated host above the paten or above the chalice and says, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” we might recall the words of Revelations 19:9 N.A.B.: “Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These words are true; they come from God.” The image of a wedding feast is frequently used in Scripture to describe the Kingdom (Matthew 22:2, 9:15, 25:1-13). When we receive the consecrated bread and wine which are truly the body and blood of Jesus, we are in communion with him; through it our living God spiritually and physically receives us.

The early Church was founded on Jesus’ death and Resurrection, which he anticipated in the gift of his body and blood at the Last Supper (v. 25), so we might even go so far as to say that this meal was the birthplace of the Church.