Oh, Grow Up! ~ Br. Chip Noon, Novice

Today’s readings and Gospel could leave one feeling mighty flat…no miracles, no rousing call to action, no hosannas shouted from the rooftops.

Just several admonitions, almost stern in their nature, certainly not the kind that make us gird up our loins and set out to slay dragons

No, there is the vision, almost a promise, of hardship, suffering, abuse, fear. Even the Psalm is tainted with what may look to be a useless promise of eventual life with the Lord. But in the meantime, we’re going to feel all the slings and arrows that are arrayed against us.

Whew! Now what’s the good news?

Well, the good news, the Gospel, is subtle today. We know we’re in for pain and hardship because we’re in the midst of it almost every day. All we must do is open our eyes, remember the past month, read or listen to the news. The Gospel tell us, however, that while the task ahead may be hard, the way to get going is simple: deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.

OK, so, again, what’s the good news?

It’s a simple message today, and we should really stop asking for something good to happen to us. Do we always have to be in a position where everything is sweetness and light? Especially in our era, when we demand instant gratification, the big score, the magic pill, we’re going to find today’s readings unsettling, even uncomfortable.

Perhaps the message of Jesus is that we have to grow up. He says it specifically when chastising Peter and the Disciples: “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Maybe the whole purpose of Salvation History is to help us grow from infant human beings to mature people of God. And the readings today are setting the stage for how we are to get there.

Isaiah: Listen to God and then stand steadfast in your beliefs, even against physical retribution.

Responsorial Psalm 116: When you are afflicted, call on God, not necessarily to save you from pain, but to keep you, unstumbling, on the road to salvation.

James: You really can’t just talk the talk. You have to do something. You have to demonstrate your faith by giving those who need them the necessities of the body.

Galatians (Alleluia): Don’t be smug about all you’re going through.

Mark: Accept your fate, listen to and believe in Jesus, and above all, be ready to put all aside if necessary to save your life, even your life itself.

No, today’s readings are not for the feint of heart. But there permeates them this clear message that the world of childish magical thinking is only for children, not for anyone who is maturing into a Person of God. And hard as it may seem when we finally face it, acceptance of the word of Jesus is, in the end, solace enough for us…if only we can get to that state of mind. And really, we do know how to get there, don’t we?

Let us pray: Lord, help us to walk before you today, and always, in the land of the living. That’s all we ask today.

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Sharing in Sorrow: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows ~ The Rev. Dcn. Dollie Wilkinson, OPI

The title, “Our Lady of Sorrows,” given to our Blessed Mother focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Traditionally, this suffering was not limited to the passion and death event; rather, it comprised “the seven dolors” or “seven sorrows” of Mary, which were foretold by the Priest Simeon who proclaimed to Mary, “This child [Jesus] is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed– and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword– so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare” (Luke 2:34-35).

Below are the seven sorrows of Mary:

1. The prophecy of Simeon: “And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.” – Luke II, 34-35.

2. The flight into Egypt: “And after they (the wise men) were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise and take the child and His mother and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and He was there until the death of Herod.” – Matt. II, 13-14.

3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple: “And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him.” Luke II, 43-45.

4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross: “And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him.” – Luke XXIII, 27.

5. The Crucifixion: “They crucified Him. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother. When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, He saith to His Mother: Woman: behold thy son. After that he saith to the disciple: Behold thy Mother.” – John XIX, l8-25-27.

6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross: “Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen.” – Mark XV, 43-46.

7. The burial of Jesus: “Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulcher was nigh at hand.” John XIX, 41-42.

In all, the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother’s heart was fulfilled in these events. For this reason, Mary is sometimes depicted with her heart exposed and with seven swords piercing it. This Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows grew in popularity in the twelfth century, although under various titles. Granted, some writings would place its roots in the eleventh century, especially among the Benedictine monks. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the feast and devotion were widespread throughout the Church.

In 1668 the feast in honor of the Seven Dolors was set for the Sunday after September 14, the Feast of the Holy Cross. The feast was inserted into the Roman calendar in 1814, and Pope Pius X fixed the permanent date of September 15 for the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (now simply called the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows). The key image here is our Blessed Mother standing faithfully at the foot of the cross with her dying Son: the Gospel of St. John recorded, “Seeing His mother there with the disciple whom He loved, Jesus said to His mother, ‘Woman, there is your son.’ In turn He said to the disciple, ‘There is your mother.’” (John 19:26-27). The Second Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church wrote, “…She stood in keeping with the divine plan, suffering grievously with her only-begotten Son. There she united herself, with a maternal heart, to His sacrifice, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth” (#58).

St. Bernard (d. 1153) wrote, “Truly, O Blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart…. He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since His” (De duodecim praerogatativs BVM).

Focusing on the compassion of our Blessed Mother, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, reminded the faithful, “Mary Most Holy goes on being the loving consoler of those touched by the many physical and moral sorrows which afflict and torment humanity. She knows our sorrows and our pains, because she too suffered, from Bethlehem to Calvary. ‘And thy soul too a sword shall pierce.’ Mary is our Spiritual Mother, and the mother always understands her children and consoles them in their troubles. Then, she has that specific mission to love us, received from Jesus on the Cross, to love us only and always, so as to save us! Mary consoles us above all by pointing out the Crucified One and Paradise to us!” (1980).

Therefore, as we honor our Blessed Mother, our Lady of Sorrows, we honor her as the faithful disciple and exemplar of faith. Let us pray as we do in the opening prayer of the Mass for this feast day: “Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life.” Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love, and trust.

~In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

 

Lift High the Cross: The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross ~ Fr. Brenden Humberdross, OPI

Lord God, take my lips and speak through them; take our minds and think through them; take our hearts and set them on fire with love for you. Amen.

On this special day in the Christian Calendar I am always reminded of a beautiful hymn:

Lift high the cross
The love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world
Adore His sacred name.

Today we celebrate this Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a celebration of the Cross, it’s saving grace, and the way we should all carry the image of the cross within our hearts and souls; not only for our salvation but for the salvation of all.

In my time as a non-Catholic Christian this is a feast day that we didn’t celebrate and so when I converted to the Catholic faith I had a desire to learn about this history behind this feast. The Cross of Jesus Christ, as a physical object, has had a long history in the Christian Faith.

In 326 Helena the Mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor (Constantine) made a trip to the Holy Land. Her intention was to become closer to the faith by exploring those places that Christ and the Apostles had walked some 300 years earlier. Sadly the most important location, the garden tomb and the site of the crucifixion had been covered over and a temple to Jupiter rested on top of it. However, for the mother of the Emperor this was not an obstacle and she had the temple demolished site excavated.

When the excavations were complete the site of the crucifixion and the tomb where Jesus had lain were discovered. This area had a number of cisterns and within one of these three crosses were found and the plaque that had rested atop the cross of Christ. There are a variety of stories surrounding how the true cross was identified; the most popular being that the crosses were taken to a woman who was dying and were placed upon her. When the True Cross touched the woman she was miraculously healed.

Helena immediately began a building project at the site and a basilica was dedicated on September 13, 335. The day after the dedication a portion of the True Cross was brought to the basilica and enthroned there; from that day forward we celebrate the life giving cross on this Holy Day.

Today’s gospel reading may be among the shortest that you will hear throughout the Church year, however in my mind it is one of the fullest readings that we have. It is chocked full of meaning and points out for us not only the love of God for each and every person but also lays the whole of the plan of salvation out before us.

The reading starts by relating to us an incident from the Old Testament. In the times of Israel’s wandering in the desert the people were plagued with attacks by venomous snakes. To combat this the Lord told Moses to place an image of a serpent on a pole and lift it high. When the people afflicted with snake bite looked up to the image they would be cured of the venom. Now I am sure some of you are thinking “what the heck does this have to do with Jesus?”

Well, the lifting up of a life giving image upon a pole by Israel was a pre-figuring of the life giving crucifixion of Christ. As believers cast their eyes up and behold the crucified Christ upon the cross, pierced and wounded for their salvation, the power of sin and death are overthrown in us. So just as the image of the serpent became a weapon to destroy the serpents grip on Israel so the cross becomes for us the destroyer of death itself.

And not only for us; the scripture goes on to tell us that Christ came to save all who will call upon his name as the means of salvation. It is for this reason that each and every one of us should carry the cross with us in our heart. In doing so, as living a Christian life of witness and example, we can become the living image of the cross and help bring others to Christ and salvation in His name.

It is my greatest wish that each and every one of us puts the cross, and Christ’s sacrifice upon it at the centre of our lives. Not only for our sake, but for the sake of the Church and the whole world. Look every day to the Cross and remember that Christ has died to take the sting of death away and that without the Cross there would be no life.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world unto himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Are You Listening? ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

1st Reading: Isaiah 35:4-7A

R Psalm: 145:6-10

2nd Reading: James 2:1-5

Holy Gospel: Mark 7:31-37

What are we being told in today’s Gospel Reading?

On first glance, it appears we are being told of healing, of the showing to us of Christ’s ability to perform miracles, of demonstrating His Divine nature. But this is only the thing we immediately see, it is not all we are being told. If we indeed look deeper at the scripture today, there is plenty which we can learn from it.

So let’s start with the first lesson we can learn here:

How often do we listen to Christ’s words? Probably at Mass.  Maybe we read our bible and hear the word that way, or we could  listen to scripture and reflections on the radio or on the television. Scripture is easy for us to listen too, but how easy is it to hear, to understand, to take it into our hearts, as to what is really being told to us?  To let it guide us, to let it give us life? The simple answer is it’s not easy, we have to want to hear the message of Christ. We have to have our own deafness cured. We have to ask Christ to help us hear Him, we have to listen prayerfully before we can really hear, before we can understand, before we are ready to help Christ with His work, before we can take our place doing His work as part of His Church.

The  deaf man we hear about in today’s Gospel could be any of us today, it could be you, it could be me, and in true fact it should be. We have to let Christ stick his fingers in our ears. To allow Him to open us to His word, His gift of life. That’s our first lesson from today’s Gospel.

Christ calls us to continue his work, to work as His Church for Him, to help spread His word, and to act as his stewards, until He returns. Our second lesson today, is as followers of Christ, it’s about how we go about doing His work. Jesus gives us a wonderful demonstration of this today. Think about the way he approached the deaf man in today’s gospel. Most of the time when Jesus cured people, He spoke to them, gave them an instruction or told them their sins had been forgiven. This time he used actions, why? Maybe because the man was deaf, Christ used a sign language to speak to him. He found a way to communicate with the man, before healing him.

That’s our second lesson, we need to find a way to communicate with people.  Our tongues are being healed so we can proclaim Christ to a deaf world. But, how can we tell the world, or even just one person, about the wonders we know about Christ, if we can’t communicate with them? Our ears have been unsealed, we know from our own experiences, that Christ can and will unseal their ears, the challenge we are given as Christians is how do we start the conversation for Christ, He will finish it if we can just start it.

Starting the conversation is difficult, Jesus started it today in sign, and finished it in words. He started it in a sign language the man understood and finished it, once the man’s ears were opened, in the language Jesus needed to use. We may need to learn a new language. We might need to learn about sport, or soap opera, or music. We might need to learn to enjoy country walks or computer games. Remember that Jesus started the conversation in the language the man understood, we need to do the same with the people we communicate Christ to.

At some points in our Christian life, we will need our ears unblocked and at others times, we will be asked to start the conversation so that others can have their ears unblocked.

Where are we today in our journey? Are we struggling to hear the true word of Christ? Do we need to let Christ unblock our ears? Or have we heard Him and are now being called to communicate His message to others? Either way, today’s gospel should be speaking to each and every one of us. Are we truly ready to listen, to hear, and to act?

Let us pray:

Lord, we praise You as our Shepherd for You are the one who speaks so that we may hear Your voice and follow You were you lead.

Lord, we Thank You O God for telling us the truth about Yourself and also about ourselves.

Lord, we confess any lack of desire or any personal failure in hearing Your voice.  Help us to have ears to hear what Your Spirit is truly speaking to us today.

Lord, give us listening ears to hear Your voice and to discern Your voice from the many worldly voices that are speaking.

Lord, open our  hearts to Your will, and please help us close our ears to the whisperings of the evil one.

Lord, today we stand as an intercessor for those who are not listening to Your Word or Your Spirit and are straying from truth.

Amen.

 

 

Traditions? Laws? Or Jesus? ~ The Rev. Shawn Gisewhite, OPI

In today’s Gospel, Mark provides a significant amount of information about the Jewish observance of ritual-purity laws. Most scholars believe that Mark includes this information because his audience includes Gentile Christians who have no knowledge or experience of these laws. We can infer, therefore, that many in Mark’s community were not Jewish Christians.

In this Gospel, Mark addresses the question of which Jewish practices would also be observed in the newly emerging Christian community. Better known as, “The Way.”  This was an important question for the early Christian Church, especially in communities that included both Jewish and Gentile converts to Christianity. We also hear this question addressed in the letters of Paul with regard to table fellowship. In Gospel passages such as the one today, we see the Gospel Evangelists finding justification for a Christian practice distinct from Judaism in the remembrances of Jesus’ teaching and the practice of his first disciples.

Jesus first criticizes the Pharisees for putting human tradition above God’s Law. Here, Jesus is referring to the tradition of the elders, the teachings of the Pharisees, which extended the ritual-purity laws of Temple worship to everyday Jewish life. Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for making this tradition equal to…and as binding as the Law of Moses.

Next, Jesus comments on the meaning behind the Pharisees’ language of holiness—clean and unclean. Jesus teaches that a person is not defiled by the food that enters his or her body, but rather by sin that emerges from his or her words and actions. In this teaching, Jesus unmasks a deeper question behind the one posed to him by the Pharisees. The real issue is holiness, which is not found in external acts alone. Holiness comes from within and is evidenced in the actions and attitudes that emerge from a person’s life.

If we read today’s Gospel carefully, we will see a pattern in Jesus’ teaching method that will be repeated in the weeks ahead. Jesus’ first teaching is directed to the Pharisees who questioned him. Jesus’ words are then directed to the crowd, teaching that a person is defiled by his or her words and actions, not by the food that he or she eats. In verses omitted in today’s reading, we learn that Jesus returned home with his disciples, who in turn questioned him about what he had taught. The words we read at the conclusion of today’s Gospel are addressed to Jesus’ disciples. Mark’s narrative shows several audiences for Jesus’ teaching: his antagonists, the crowds, and Jesus’ disciples. As we see in this reading, the words to the Pharisees are often words of challenge. The teaching to the crowds is often a general, sometimes cryptic, message. With the disciples, who often misunderstand Jesus’ words, further explanation is offered about his message and its meaning.

Jesus’ words challenge us as well. In our desire to show that we are holy, we might also give too much credence to externals, following rules without thinking about the intention behind them. Jesus reminds us that we do not make ourselves holy by our actions. Rather, we become holy when we allow God’s Spirit to transform us. Our actions should be an expression of the conversion of our heart to God and to God’s ways.

Amen.

The Power of Holiness: The Passion of St. John the Baptist ~ The Rev. Brenden Humberdross, Novice

 

Lord God, take my lips and speak through them; take our minds and think through them; take our hearts and set them on fire with love for you. Amen.

Some time ago I had the pleasure of preaching on the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist, so it is quite fitting that today I preach on the memorial of his passing from this life.

The recounting of the life and mission John the Baptist recorded in scripture is one that many of us are familiar with. In fact if you were anything like me as a kid in Sunday School one of the best remember stories may just be John’s death. As a child I remember the tale of the prophet whose head was served on a platter to a pretty young girl; that kind of thing sticks with you when you were a kid. However, to focus on this gruesome death at the hand of some rather immoral and vindictive people isn’t what we should focus our remembrances of John the Baptist on.

John is an interesting character in the life of the Church; he is one of only two saints whose principal feast does not take place at their death (their birth as Saints) but instead their birth. The other saint so honoured in the Blessed Virgin. This fact should cement in our minds just how important St. John is in the economy of salvation. So why is John the Baptist so important and what message does his death hold for us?

If we were to take a wide angled look at the records of God’s dealings with humankind we would see that it is obviously split into two parts, just like our modern Bible. There is the Old Testament period after the fall when God no longer dealt directly with his creation but rather connected with Israel through a series of holy men called Prophets, and there is the New Testament where once more God walked upon the Earth and interacted with His creation directly. Standing directly in the middle of these two chapters of the “story of salvation” stands John the Baptist.

In the eyes of ancient Israel John stood like a prophet of old and many thought he may have been Elijah returned, however to those of us who accept that Christ is God dwelling in human flesh John was much more. John the Baptist was not merely a prophet bringing a message from God that we needed to repent, John was a herald that the penultimate events of the salvation of humankind were imminent. If we were to trace the Baptists story through the New Testament it would stand out clearly that he had been chosen for this end before he was born and he was certainly dedicated to the Lord’s service afterwards.

It was this dedication to the Lord and John the Baptists message of repentance and preparation for the coming Messiah that made him popular with Israel. John preached his message at a time when the people were praying for the Messiah to come and free them from the rule of the Romans and their puppet king Herod. With popularity amongst the people came an enmity between John and the ruling class; particularly Herod.

Herod was a man of great wealth and power and yet he feared the Baptist and his message; why was this? John’s life contrasted greatly with Herod’s, he lived in poverty, wore camel’s hair and lived a holy and aesthetic life. What John had that Herod did not was holiness and a closeness to the Lord. It was this holiness that Herod feared; he was man who had transgressed the laws of Israel and knew it; John pointed this out with the authority of one chosen by God and Herod feared this.

And it is here that we see the message for us to be found in John’s story. The wicked and the mighty have no real power over us. Wealth and power do not bring happiness or diminish fear, the only thing that can do that for us is living a life of holiness before the Lord. If we do this then he will shine upon us and bring us those holy things we desire most. Just as God brought Jesus to the waters of Baptism at the hands of John.

I want to encourage each and every one of us to follow John the Baptist’s example; we each need to find that mission that God is calling us to fulfil and in finding it tread a path of holiness before the Lord. If we do this then no evil can stand against us and no matter what trials we go through we can be guaranteed of a reward in the life to come just as Holy St. John is blessed with the presence of God in heaven.

Let us pray:

O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice, we, too, may fight hard for the confession of what you teach. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Which Team Do You Choose? ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

The 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Liturgical Colour: Green.

Reading 1: JOS 24:1-2A, 15-17, 18B

Responsorial Psalm: PS 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21

Reading 2: EPH 5:21-32 OR 5:2A, 25-32

Gospel: JN 6:60-69

As a child in the care system, I loved to release pent up energy by playing the sport of Rounders.  One thing I remember about playing that game,is that when we gathered to play, we would  choose two Captains, one for each side (one team for batting and the other for fielding, until all the batters were out and the teams would change team positions). Each of the captains would choose their team players from among those who were available for the game. It like in many sports and games, involved the picking of sides. To win at the end of the game depended so much on the choices of players made by the team captains before the commencement of the game.

I am reminded of this scenario In the first reading today (Joshua 24:1-2; 15-18), where Joshua assembled all the Israelites at Schechem and told them that God had asked him to tell them to freely make a choice of whom they wish to serve. By this convocation we understand that God did not withhold the gift of freewill from humanity (Gen. 2:16-17), even after the colossal fall (Gen.3:1-18 ). From the direction of Joshua’s speech he was like telling the people to pick what team they would be on. Joshua’s declaration tells us about God’s patience with us even when we are offensive to Him by the way in which we live our lives. Joshua’s speech shows us that God cares about us and He wants us to be saved; He gives us that opportunity to make the right decision. It points to God’s loving invitation for a dialogue with us which we do not deserve (Isaiah1:18).

At that point in time the people deviated from God and looked upon worthless gods and idols of other nations around them. From their deviation from God, they were landed into confusion and completely forgot and disregarded the things God had done for them from the time of their ancestors to the time they were delivered from the land of Egypt; the land of slavery. They needed a Joshua who would bring them to their senses; moreover they needed a Joshua who was willing to guide them by his own personal free choice. If you were attentive to the passage, Joshua was in essence leading the way of righteousness like a good team captain, he gave the people his knowledge as to which choice would be the most rewarding and fruitful, thus he declared: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15). The effect of his decision of choice could be seen in the people’s response: “We have no intention of deserting the Lord and serving other gods!…We too will serve the Lord, for He is our God” (Joshua 24:16,18).

In our gospel reading today (John 6:60-69), our Lord Jesus Christ ended his teaching on the Eucharist by challenging his hearers to make their choice of either accepting his doctrine and gaining life and salvation or to leave it for a damnable fate. Like Joshua in the first reading he was like telling them: to choose their team. We are told that some thought that the doctrine of the Eucharist was intolerable language and consequently many of them stopped following him.  We could also note here that these were the same people who at the beginning of this chapter in the gospel of John (6) were frantically searching for Jesus because they wanted to eat more bread. Jesus laid bare before them the bread that leads to eternal life and the bread that leads to eternal hunger. As we saw at the ending of the passage many of them preferred the bread that will lead them to eternal hunger. They left the eternal bread and wandered away to seek that which will lead them to eternal destruction. Many chose the wrong team side and picked weak and unskilled players to play their team sides in their lives. The players here represent those things that drive and determine the lives which we live. However when Jesus asked the twelve if they would not join others in their choice , Peter spoke up like Joshua did in the first reading declaring their choice as a family for Jesus Christ as one who has the message of eternal life.

God has never ever stopped giving us the chance to make our own choice. God has never withheld freewill from us. God is patiently waiting for us all to  choose the team which we need for eternal life. We all have a choice of either to accept and receive Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist or to refrain from doing so. We each have the freedom to choose between serving and not serving, however any choice which we make has its rewards or conquences. In making our choices we should also know that there are people watching us and who are ready to follow our example. We are expected to reflect Christ like Joshua and Peter did when they led the way by making the correct life choices. As a father, mother, elder, or leader, our individual decisions can and do either make or mar the lives of those who look up to us. What is our choice to be? To accept and partake in the bread of life or to wander away looking for the bread that has no life giving power? Have we picked the correct team for our eternal salvation, or have we turned away and chosen the losing side?

As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord, how about you and yours?