Aloha Friday Message – July 13, 2012 – PLEASE SHARE

1228AFC071312 – PLEASE SHARE THIS

Read it online here, please.

Hebrews 13:16: Do not neglect to do good things and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

1 Timothy 6:18: They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

Luke 6:38: Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Aloha nui loa, Beloved. Last week we considered Gifts. The list of things we have in our lives that come from God is incredibly long. I purposely included things that people might consider as anything but a gift – like disease, pain, and oppression. How can these be gifts if they are rooted in suffering brought about by sin and made part of our lives by The Prince of The Air – Satan? These things which are so often difficult to endure become gifts when we make them gifts, especially when we make them gifts to God. The Apostle Paul points the way on this when he said (see 2 Timothy 2:10) Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory; and Peter said (see 1 Peter 2:19) For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. And again, Paul – in Colossians 1:24 says: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. And Paul also teaches that with every suffering comes a blessing: For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

So here we see that when God allows suffering in our lives, we can transform that suffering into a gift by offering it to him either on our own behalf or on behalf of others. This in itself is a Gift of Grace, an extraordinary gift that helps us identify with Christ and with his closest followers throughout the centuries, the Holy Martyrs who have suffered death in, with, and for him. For those who are prepared and called for this kind of Gift, their way of sharing it is to give their own lives completely, and in exchange they receive the complete Life of Christ including eternal life with him in eternal glory. What a privilege to exchange such Gifts with God! Not all of us are prepared and called for this kind of exchange. Most of us are prepared and called to exchange gifts with one another; it is what I call the Abraham Effect: God prepares us for the things he expects from us. One of the things high on the list of what he expects from us is to share his gifts to us. Complete this sentence: “Whatsoever you do to the least of these ….”

I’d like to challenge your thinking on that just a little bit by adding one word. The word is even. “Whatsoever you do to even the least of these ….” Here’s what I am thinking: God didn’t mean for us to give our gifts to only the least, only the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, the disenfranchised, only the marginalized, the sick, the starving, and the oppressed or imprisoned. Those are the ones God expects us to bless with our generosity. It’s not hard for us to nod in agreement and respond, “Well, sure, we understand. He means for us to give our gifts to all of those less fortunate than we.” Ah, Beloved! That is a trap! “How can that be a trap?!” It is a trap because it excludes giving to those who are equally fortunate as we are, as well as those who are more (even way more) fortunate than we are. It’s a challenge to exceed expectations, to do the unexpected.

Our gifts are not unidirectional. They are to be given up, down, across, through, over, under, inside, outside, and “every which way inlcuding loose.” God gives Gifts to all people; all his human creatures are gifted. Those who are gifted with the Baptism of Life in Christ are gifted with adoption to be sons and daughters of God. That is absolutely a gift that requires us to share what we have because it is a Gift of Love and we are commanded to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It doesn’t say “baptized neighbor,” or Christian (or Muslim, or Jewish, or Sikh, or any other religious handle); it says simply and beautifully “your neighbor.” That could add up a lot of sharing! We all know that there are people who can and do share that much – everything, right up to and including their earthly life. Some of us believe that those who gave up their earthly life extremely well are also ready, willing, and able to share their heavenly gifts of Life with us.

So, how do we know the boundaries, as it were, of our sharing? For some of us it is quite simple; the radius of our sphere of sharing is mighty close to zero. When I say “mighty close” I mean something that is for all practical purposes immeasurable, something so small only God can see it like the-distance-between-two-electrons small or one picosecond long (that’s one-one-trillionth of a second.) For people who share in those ranges, God alone can judge the extent of their fulfillment of the obligation to “love one another as I have loved you.” They, like us, were prepared and called to share, but they refused the preparation and/or refused the call. They are what we call evil, but that’s as far as we are allowed to judge them.

You, on the other hand, have most likely not refused the preparation for sharing whatever God has given you. You have learned to be a decent earthling, to be responsible, to work, to be charitable, to do some good deeds now and again. You have learned some scripture, gone to church, kept your marriage vows, donated clothes and household items to the Goodwill, and never cheated on a test. You even go the speed limit as often as possible. You have been prepared. You have accepted the preparation. Have you accepted the call?

That is a good question. Your answer depends on at least two things: [1] Do you recognize your gifts? [2] Do you recognize your call? Next week we’ll look at seeing and understanding your gifts. I recently learned some exciting information about that process of discernment, and I am eager to share it with you.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

 

Share-A-Prayer__________

  • For Christians, and for people of all faiths, who are being persecuted for their faith, especially in Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, China, Cuba, North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia – especially Darfur, Syria, Egypt, and in so many places around the world. Beloved, people are dying for their faith. We should be supporting them in prayer, at the very least, and taking steps to help them in whatever other ways we can. Is this your Gift? Is this your Call? I invite you to download and peruse The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Annual Report – 2012.
  • TW: peaceful hospice
  • Pray with tender love for everyone with cancer, and please add special care in prayer for MBN members.
  • For those who live in chronic pain ranging from persistent aches to agonizing suffering: Pray that they will find relief for their pain and solace in their gift of endurance.
  • Please continue your fervent prayers on behalf of the families and friends of the poor souls locked into horrific addictions. Bind those spirits and cast them out. Pray for the social and medical help needed to sustain recovery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise Report from Fr. Chuck Faso!!

 

Good News: My doctor from Northwestern called this morning with the results of July 9th Bladder surgery: NO cancer found in the bladder.

Treatment: In two weeks I will begin the six week treatment – BCG: once a week at the Hospital for two hours to stimulate the immune system

Further Updates: Go to my website www.frchuckofm.org and click on “What’s Happening?”

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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