Friday, May 27, 2011

No Greater Love

Today's Gospel (John 15: 12-17) contains what is probably the most appropriate passage of Scripture as we begin the Memorial Day Weekend here in the USA. "No one has greater love than this", say the Lord: "to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
Sadly, most people will see this weekend as a time to relax, enjoy family and friends, have a cookout,maybe go to the beach, but will  not stop for even a minute to consider the reason for Memorial Day. It is a time to pause and honor those men and women who gave their lives for you and me as they served in the Armed Forces of our country. Oh, there will be parades and you will probably see veterans in uniform, if not in person then at least on TV news reports. But we need to focus on the reason all of this is happening. These brave veterans want us to remember the ultimate sacrifice that their "comrades in arms" made. Indeed, veterans know that they are the lucky ones who made it home. They are simply asking us to realize that we are the really lucky ones, who had others willing to "lay down their life" for us.
My suggestion for you this weekend is very simple. Go to a cemetery. Get out and walk around for a few minutes. Stop at those graves where you see an American flag (our wonderful vets make sure they are placed on the graves for Memorial Day). And say a pray of thanksgiving, asking God to bless these men and women who served our country. You may even be able to tell from the dates on the tombstone that some of them probably gave their lives for our country. Imagine what they may have looked like. Imagine what kind of life they sacrificed for you. Imagine the loved ones who were left behind. Imagine how much they loved their country (you and I). And be grateful. No greater love...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Art of Compromise

Whenever Jesus speaks about love, as in today's Gospel (John 15: 9-11), it is always meant to be put into practice. And that is usually where we find difficulty. The early Church was no different. The beautiful passage from the Acts of the Apostles that is the First Reading for today's Mass shows us not only the difficulty, but also the way to see through it.
A dispute had arisen in the community over whether or not non-Jews (Gentiles) had to "convert" to Judaism in order to be part of what we would call the Church. Since Jesus was a Jew and the first disciples were Jews, and because they saw Him as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, most assumed that they were the logical development of Judaism. Hence, all who wanted to follow Jesus should become Jews.
The experience of Paul and some others, however, made them pause. Gentiles who were accepting Jesus seemed to be "filled with the Holy Spirit", despite the fact that they were still Gentiles! How could this be if God were not blessing them and affirming them as part of the Church? This was the discussion that took place in Jerusalem at what is considered the first "Council" of the Church. After hearing the reasoning behind both sides of the issue, the leader of the Church in Jerusalem, James, constructs a beautiful compromise.
Since it is obviously not necessary that Gentiles undergo circumcision and follow all of the restrictive laws of Judaism in order to be acceptable to God, James decided that they did not need to convert. However, in order to show their love for all the members of the Church, the Gentiles would need to make sure that they did nothing that would prevent these sisters and brothers who were still devout Jews from sitting at table with them. Since a devout Jew would be considered ritually impure if they associated with people who committed certain acts, Gentiles were asked "to avoid pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood". In this way both Jew and Gentile could gather to partake of the Supper of the Lord, remembering the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in what would eventually become our Mass.
How wonderful this was, to see love in action! What a great lesson for us, especially when we tend to look at anyone who does not want to think or act exactly like we do as the enemy. This art of compromise is sorely needed in the world today. Think of how differently our workplaces, neighborhoods, families, government would be if we were willing to compromise. Because ultimately, as James proved, compromise is not about winning or losing. It is about loving.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pruning Needed

The beautiful image of the vine and the branches found in today's Gospel (John 15: 1-8) has a wonderful phrase that bears reflection. In speaking of those branches that "bear fruit", Jesus speaks of the Father pruning them so that they can bear more fruit. I like this because it help me get through the times when it seems as if things are not going so well. I have to be honest, sometimes I feel like I am being battered on every side, even though I think I am pretty faithful to God. It can get me down.
This passage helps me realize that it just may be God "pruning" me a little. In retrospect, I usually find that the troubling times and situations really end up having some positive side to them, despite what I may think about them as they are occurring. Knowing that God can bring some good out of even the worst actions and situations, I need to look a little harder when they are happening to me.
Pruning is never easy, but the Lord has assured me that it will ultimately help. My faith, even though weak at times, tells me that I am not alone. Even as He is pruning me, God is supporting me as well. And His grace will be the vital nourishment I need to recover from the pruning and grow even stronger. I pray that I will bear much fruit for the Lord, and that you will too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

These words from John 14 are easier said than done! I don't know about you, but I often have an awful lot that "troubles" my heart. Whether in personal relationships, work, family, or just looking at the news, so many things bring unrest. How can you not be troubled by divorce, unemployment, sickness of a loved one, natural disasters? How is it possible that Jesus could say these words to us?
I think that we need to take a look at what He said immediately before this phrase. Jesus tells His followers that He gives them "peace". But, He adds, "Not as the world gives do I give it to you." No, His peace is different. It is certainly not the absence of war, for we know that wars have raged throughout history. It definitely was not harmony in families, because infighting and jealousy seem to be part of almost every family. And surely He was not referring to the security and peace which a home, job and health seem to provide, as these are lacking for so many believers.
No, the only way we can understand how our hearts can not be troubled is to discern the peace which comes from knowing that, no matter how many trials and tribulations come our way, we do not have to face them alone. Jesus has assured us "Behold, I am with you always". This means that we never have to deal with life alone. And we never have to doubt that we can do what God asks, accomplish what God sets before us. He will ALWAYS give us the strength, if we but ask. The Lord never guarantees that our life will go according to our plan, but He does promise that "whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you."
I feel a lot better knowing that I am not facing these things alone. Having faith in Jesus just may help my heart be a little more calm and not so troubled after all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reveal Yourself

In today's Gospel (John 14: 21-26), Jesus speaks of revealing Himself to those who love Him. This is seen as a result of the Father's love. It is like a great circle: I love Jesus, the Father loves me, Jesus loves me and reveals Himself to me, I love Jesus even more! And the best part of it is, like with any circle, you can jump in anywhere, since there is no beginning nor end! If you do not feel particularly loving, just realize that the Father loves you, or that Jesus loves you. This will make you more open to loving Jesus, which triggers even more love!
It is one of the great mysteries and graces of love at work here. As a rule, when you give something away you end up with less. Love is the great exception which proves the rule. The more love you give away, the more you end up having yourself. Why is this? Because, as the first letter of John (4:8) tells us, "God is love." And since God is infinite, love is also infinite. This also means that the opportunities for Jesus to reveal Himself to us is infinite. All that is needed is to love.
We instinctively know this to be true. How many times, for example, have parents felt the presence of the Lord as they gaze on the sleeping face of their child? How powerful is the presence of Christ when we witness unsolicited acts of kindness or charity? The Lord himself also tried to share this reality with us by explaining in Matthew 18: 20, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in your midst" and in Matthew 25: 40, he states "Whatsoever you do to one of these, the least of my sisters or brothers, you do to me". Both of these circumstances are really expressions of love, and hence reveal the presence of Jesus.
So I guess the question for us is "How many times will you see Jesus today?"
And the answer: "As many times as you show love for someone!"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Room in the House

I love today's Gospel passage! John 14: 1-6 relates the wonderful revelation by Jesus that "In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places" (or rooms, as some translations say). I think that most of us seek some place in which we are able to get away from others and be happy. Perhaps you were able to decorate your own bedroom as a child. This was your space, and you felt happy there. Having lived among us from birth, Jesus also understood this. He wanted us to know that the  Kingdom would be one in which we would be perfectly happy. And so He used this image to help us understand that God has our ultimate happiness in mind.
Now, I am not naive enough to think that there is a giant mansion awaiting us. But the words of the Lord bring me great comfort. I love living with others, but also want some of that "personal space" that seems to be so important to everyone. When I return to the Lord, I naturally want to reconnect with loved ones who have died, but the human part of me cannot imagine an eternity of constantly being around everyone else. This is, of course, my limitation, based on my limited human experience. But Jesus wants us to be assured that even our human desire for some "alone time" will be somehow fulfilled in the Kingdom. A great mansion with many rooms - how beautiful! The ability to be with others in community but still be a unique individual is part of God's ultimate plan for us. And knowing that God understands make me even more thankful for the  presence of Jesus in my life. As He says, "I am going to prepare a place for you" and the more He and I speak now, the better the experience will be. So, until we run into one another in the Great Mansion of Heaven, I hope you too will speak with Jesus often so He can help you be ready for your special room in the Father's house.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Goodness of the Lord

The Psalm Response (Psalm 89) to our reading at today's Mass reminds us of something that is very important - we need to acknowledge the goodness of God. After having listened to Paul's account of God's care and concern for the people of Israel (Acts 13: 13-25), it is vital that we declare our eagerness to affirm what God has done. Unfortunately, too often instead of proclaiming "Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord", we are more prone to ask "What have you done for me lately?"!
Our attitude does more than simply impact us individually. It also has an impact on those around us. Just imagine you are a person who does not really pray or think about God much. Your "more religious" friends are always complaining about their life and wondering why God "did this". Do you really think you would be encouraged to pray? What incentive would there be to consider going to God with your needs when those who do always complain?
Now, imagine yourself in the same scenario, but your friends are always telling you how good God has been to them. Even when they did not receive the answer they expected top their prayers, they acknowledge that God did something great for them. Do you think your reaction might be different? You might even decide to give that prayer thing a try.
Our attitude can help change the world, especially for those who need hope. Let's try it today. Let's try to be optimistic, seeing the wonderful things God is doing, and letting others know it. Just for today, let's try to "sing the goodness of the Lord." The results may surprise us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who Do People See?

In today's Gospel (John 12: 44-50) Jesus tells us that "whoever sees me sees the one who sent me." It made me wonder - when people see me, who do they see?
Now, I think I am a pretty good person. Not perfect, but pretty good. But I also know that some of those things that keep me from being perfect are pretty big. In reflecting on this, I have to admit that they can overpower the good that I have, become distractions to people who are around me. Whether it is my need to be right, my desire for control or wanting things to be a certain way, these can get in the way of what I really want to communicate.
If indeed I am a follower of Christ and want others to know Him through me, I need to be more aware of those things that prevent people from seeing Christ in me. I believe with all my heart that the Lord sent me and continues to send me to my family, loved ones, friends, parishioners and strangers. But my words and actions sometimes prevent them from seeing Him.
So, what can I do to help improve this?
The first step has to be increasing my self-awareness. There are many ways that this can happen. For those who like to write and are comfortable expressing their thoughts in this way, keeping a journal may help. I have never been a "journal Person", however. For me the best way is to take time each day before sleeping to reflect on the day. It is a form of the traditional "examination of conscience" that has been part of people's lives for centuries. But I have to move it from simply being an exercise in reflecting on sins to one that reflects on relationships. Each night I need to look back over my day and review my encounters with people. I have to ask myself what worked and what didn't work. How did I let the presence of the Lord be seen through me, and what did I do that blocked people from seeing Christ? What can I do differently next time?
It is only be reflecting on this and making a plan that I can change. And I need to change in order to let people see Christ when they see me. If not, I am really missing the point and missing opportunities to get closer to Him myself.
So, how about you? Who do people see when they see you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Works Testify

In today's Gospel (John 10: 22-30), Jesus states that "The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me". That is a powerful statement, and one that bears reflection. Our works give a testimony about what we see as important, what is worth our time and effort. Whether we think about the "work" we do as part of our employment, our hobbies, or the work around the house that occupies our time, what we do says something about us. They reflect our values, our beliefs, our fundamental point of view.
So often we simply go along as we always have, never considering that we might be slowly drifting away from the fundamental principles of faith and morality that should be guideposts for us. After a while we can seem to be completely different that who were really want to be. It is time for us to examine our lives and take a good long look at what we are doing. How do we treat people at work? What is our attitude around the house? Do our "hobbies" include things that reflect negatively on our character?
As I celebrate the 31st anniversary of my priestly ordination today, I need to take time to consider what my ministry reflects about me, since this is a big part of my "work". But I also have to examine the everyday interactions with people, the everyday work of living. All of this testifies about me. I wonder... will it be a testimony that will make me proud, or ashamed?

Monday, May 16, 2011

One Flock, One Shepherd

The Lord uses a beautiful image in today's Gospel (John 10: 11-18). He speaks of having sheep in different folds, but that all will hear His voice and there will be one flock and one shepherd.  Now we have to remember that a sheepfold is a temporary holding pen. The sheep only stay there to sleep or to await sheering. Their natural place is out on the hills as part of a large flock. But this can only happen when the sheep have been imprinted with the Shepherd's voice (see yesterday's post - The Voice). Only those who recognize the voice of the shepherd will follow and form the large flock.
It is very powerful to think of the world situation in terms of this image. So many things separate us - national boundaries, denominations, political and philosophical positions, etc. Each of these puts us into different "sheepfolds". But the Lord desires that everyone recognize His voice, no matter which of these groups or folds we happen to be occupying. This will enable us to move beyond the confines of our small, limiting group and merge with the great mass of humanity that will form the one flock.That is a cause for great optimism. It means that we can spend more time looking at what we have in common, rather than wasting time on the differences. It means we have to realize that those who are "different" from us may indeed be following the same voice of the Shepherd. It means that the divisions of this world are less important than our oneness in Christ.
Someday, the Lord assures us, this reality will be evident to all. Until then, we should strive to live the reality that there there is one Lord, one Shepherd, one flock. And thanks be to God we are part of it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Voice

As we hear Jesus speaking about the image of a shepherd, He talks about recognizing the voice. shepherds were present at the birth of every sheep in the flock, so that they could be imprinted with the shepherd's voice. Since it was difficult to distinguish one sheep from the other, the shepherd relied on the sheep to come to him when he began calling them. This was especially useful when sheep from multiple flocks were kept in common sheepfolds overnight. The shepherds would lie down across the opening to the sheepfold (hence the statement that "I am the gate") and keep watch overnight so that none would wander out, nor would any wild animals be able to attack. In the morning, the shepherds would call their sheep and, recognizing the voice of their own shepherd, only their sheep would respond. The imprinting was remarkable.
Humans are similar. It is amazing to watch an infant being held by someone who hears the voice of her/his mother. Immediately they respond, turning to the sound of the familiar voice. Mothers, too, are usually able to recognize the cry of their own baby, even when multiple babies are present. Unfortunately, this imprinting in humans is qualified by our free will. Sheep automatically respond to the voice of their shepherd. We have "selective" hearing, sometimes choosing to ignore the voice of our parent, teacher, trusted adult. That is a consequence of free will. We can ignore the voice of the shepherd, or choose to follow the voice of another. And the devil uses very attractive voices, ones from which sheep would flee. Just think back to when you were young. how many "friends" coaxed you to do things that were not right? Their voice sounded extremely logical, attractive and made it seem fun! But deep inside, you were ignoring that other voice, the one that had been there from the beginning, trying to help you do the right thing. Sometimes that "voice of conscience" would win, sometimes the "other" voice.
As adults it is not much different. Competing voices try to influence us. They all change, adapting to the circumstances. Only one voice remains constant - the voice of the Shepherd. It may sometimes be very low, very quiet. We may have to readjust our listening skills so that we hear it better. But it is still there, is always there. The voice of the Shepherd is the one we can always trust. He may not speak the words we want to hear, may not lead us where we think we should go. But one thing we are guaranteed - the Shepherd will never lead us astray. Following the voice of the Shepherd leads us to the best place, the place that is out of this world!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

They Shall All be Taught By God

In today's Gospel (John 6: 44-51), Jesus uses this quote from Isaiah as the foundation for the teaching that He is the Bread of Life. By beginning with the point that "they shall all be taught by God" and then teaching them, He is claiming a legitimacy that is uniquely His. But what about us? What are we to take from this passage?
I believe that, if we think about it, our faith was really taught to us be God through others. Our parents, catechists, priests - so many people have taught us in the name of God. And it cannot end there. We too have an obligation to pass on those teachings to others.
The first reading for today's Mass is the story about Philip and his encounter with the Ethiopian official, the treasurer of the Queen of Ethiopia in fact (Acts 8: 26-40). This man was taught by Philip and then, seeing water, asked to be and was indeed Baptized. We do not know much about what happened to him, only that he continued on his journey "rejoicing". I wonder how many people he taught about Jesus? And who did they teach? How many millions of people throughout history have been "taught by God" because of this encounter?
If it were possible, every one of us could trace our faith back through the decades, centuries and millenia to one of those who actually heard it from Christ, like Philip. And that chain, unbroken through almost 2,000 years, will continue because of us.
So the question is - whom have you taught? To whom have you passed on faith? After all, they cannot be "taught by God" unless we cooperate with Him, since we are called to be His voice, proclaiming the Truth to all we encounter. You have been taught by God, sisters and brothers. Pass it on!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Will of the Father

In today's Gospel (John 6: 35-40), Jesus speaks of the will of the Father. And He is very clear in stating precisely what that will is: "that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life". Eternal life, then, is the ultimate goal that God has in mind for each of us. Now as human beings, we are unique in all of earthly creation. No other earthly creature has a free will. We can say "no" to God. A dog cannot decide to act like a fish, or a bird like a lion. Human being, however can (and sometimes do) act like all sorts of things that are not human. It is when we do these things that we jeopardize the plan God has for us.
As a loving Father, God tries to guide us, give us encouragement, provide examples for us to follow. But Hos does not force us to do what He wants. We can choose another path. And even then God does not give up on us. No, He will try and work with us to get us back on track. For this reason, Jesus was constantly seeking time to pray, to speak with the Father in order to understand what He should do. Unfortunately, we often forget to do this until we have already messed things up. Life would be so much simpler if we asked God before we made decisions, instead of running to Him when we have made bad ones.
My friends, God want each of us to have eternal life. And the way we can embrace this life is by trying to follow Christ as best we can. Spend time  seeking God's guidance before making important life choices. Try and do what Christ would do, even in the seemingly little things. This is how we follow God's will for us. And this is how we accept and embrace the way that God wants us to live here on earth, so that we may one day accpet and embrace the gift His Son died to bestow upon us - eternal life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The First Martyr

Today we hear about the murder of Stephen, one of the first deacons appointed by the apostles in the early Church. Chapters 7 and 8 of the Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of his martyrdom, brought about because he would not cease preaching about Jesus. He was trying to warn people to be ready for the return of the Lord and the judgement they would face, but the chief priests and elders thought he was blaspheming. Despite their protests, Stephen realized that he could not stop, but had to bring the message of Christ to them, despite the personal danger.
Even in death, Stephen showed his adherence to the example of Christ as he forgave his murderers. It is an amazing story that has inspired millions throughout history. But what about us? What can we learn from the story of this first martyr?
In reflecting on the story, I began to wonder if I have compromised my words in order  not to offend, even when it was my duty to say something about a situation. We all have had the experience of being confronted with an action that is wrong, that is being put forth as "normal" or "acceptable". If you are like me, you may be somewhat reluctant to say anything, since no one else seems to mind. But if we are to follow the example of Christ, we must not be reluctant to give direct responses to these situations. Now I am NOT speaking about sticking our nose in places it does not belong. No, I am referring to the times when people either ask our advice or present us with a choice they are making and ask for help. Do we bring our faith into these situations? Do we allow the teachings of Christ to impact what we say to those who are facing a moral dilemma? I can recall a situation where a father, who had been a supporter of the Pro-Life teaching of the Church, said nothing to try and convince his own daughter not to have an abortion. She was young, unmarried and eager to begin college. He used the standard phrase "it is your decision and I will support you no matter what". Now, support of a child is an honorable thing., and our love is not contingent on the decisions of the one we love. But he totally abdicated his role as not only follower of Christ but also father, when he left the decision to the girl without trying to show her the morally correct thing to do and try to help her do it. He did not want his daughter to turn away from him.
Sorry, but I must admit I did not follow that course of action when the girl came to speak with me. I was able to speak the truth about the life of her child, and tried to explain what God was asking of her. We had a respectful, albeit emotional conversation, and she left to make her decision.  In that moment, I felt a little like Stephen, since everyone else was telling her that it would be "the best thing" to rid herself of this "burden", since she should not "ruin her life because of one mistake". Rubbish! Because I moved out of state shortly after, I never saw her again and do not know what her decision was, but I have always been thankful that God gave me the grace to speak the truth with love to her.
Each and every day we are faced with situation in which we can choose to bring faith into play, or just go along with those who remain silent. It certainly carries a risk. Although stoning is no longer in vogue,  we can certainly be cast out of our social group, circle of friends or even family when we stand on our faith. But it is a small price to pay for being faithful to Christ. I hope that I (and you) will have the courage to stand up for the morals that flow from our faith, even in the face of opposition. St. Stephen the Martyr, PRAY FOR US!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Work of God

People in today's Gospel (John 6: 22-29) were impressed with the miracles of Jesus. In fact, they wanted to be able to do them as well. "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" The answer must have surprised them. Rather than instruction about how they could perform miracles, Jesus tried to make them realize that the "work of God" for them was different than for Him. God's work for them was to "believe in the one he sent".
You see, each of us has a different way that we are called to do the will of God. But the starting point for all Christians has to be belief in Jesus Christ. Once we understand that our faith in Christ is the foundation, we will no longer want to try and be God ourselves, but rather recognize the honor and dignity we have as children of God. And then we will have an easier time discerning the work that God in mind for each one of us. When I start each day, I need to remind myself that I am not God, but i am a child of God. Because of that, God has something special in mind for me today. Relying on His help, I need to strive to discover God's will for me today and try to accomplish it. This is indeed a mighty task, and one that will lead to everlasting rewards. Relying on God's help, let's all believe in Jesus Christ as the One sent from God, and follow His example in striving to do God's will each and every day.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Word and Eucharist

Today's Gospel (Luke 24: 13-35) is the well-known story of the encounter between Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. We often focus on the idea of them coming to know Him "in the breaking of the bread" and speak about the importance of Eucharist. I would like to go on a different track - the importance of the Word, which Jesus Himself emphasized.
You see, Jesus spent a good deal of time with them as they waled along, asking them questions and then explaining the writings of the prophets. Yet during all this time they did not realize that He was present. They failed to recognize Him in His words. Imagine how different the conversation would have been if they realized Who it was speaking to them as they walked along the road! Certainly the Lord was truly present, yet they did not realize it. In reflecting on this, I began to realize that we do the same thing. So often we are so casual about the Word of God, as contained in Sacred Scripture, failing to realize that it God Himself who is speaking to us. We give such honor and deference to the Eucharist, and well we should. But what about God's Holy Word? How do we treat the Bible? Does it occupy a place of honor in our homes? Is it given the same prominence that we would give the Eucharist if we were privileged to be able to have the Body and Blood of Christ present in our home? Do we honestly realize that God is speaking to us when we read Scripture?
I think we are really very much like those two disciples. We go along and do not recognize Christ as He speak to us on our own journey. Only when we participate in the "breaking of the Bread" do we realize that Jesus is truly present. Maybe it is time to re-think our approach to the Bible. Imagine that it was written by God Himself just for you. Imagine that God sent it to you so that you could understand Him better. Imagine that it is the most valuable writing in the world. And as you imagine all this, realize that it is not your imagination - all of these things are true. Now, what do you want to do with your Bible?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

God So Loved the World

Sorry for the delay in posting, folks. My mother had brain surgery and we were dealing with things on the home front. She is home and now recovering, so I thank you for your prayers and ask a continued remembrance in them for her.
Today's Gospel (John 6:13-21) begins with the famous line "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." I often wonder what it must have been like for the Father to watch Jesus during His earthly life. It is one thing to see others as they deal with the ups and downs of life, but when it is your own son you see the real depth of love.
We all know that it is usually more difficult to watch someone we love suffer that to suffer ourselves. And, since this was the first (and only) time that God "took on flesh", it was a unique experience. If you are like me, you probably have thought about the great love that Jesus had, suffering and dying for us. But I really have not reflected enough on the tremendous love of the Father who gave His Son and did not interfere with the terrible things that happened to Him. It speaks so powerfully of the love of God for each one of us. Imagine - He allowed His (only-begotten) Son to die for His other sons and daughters, so that we might be able to walk in the light! Let's try today to continue to walk in that Light, in gratitude for the tremendous love that God has shown us.