Tag Archives: Priorities

2nd Sunday of Lent – Transfiguration and Sacrifice

Transfiguration

Study:  Recall a sacrifice you have made recently.  What was it about this sacrifice that revealed your values and priorities?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to serve with your whole heart.  Pay attention to anything that is holding you back.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is struggling with priorities right now?  How can you help them?

2nd Sunday of Lent Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

What do you think is worth a personal sacrifice?  What would you be willing to give up for someone or something you believe in?

We learn a lot about ourselves by what we are willing to sacrifice.  Our values, personal convictions, and priorities all come into focus with the simple phrase:

Can you give that up?

We make sacrifices all the time.  Some are simple, others complex; some are demanding while others are the act of a moment.  Yet sacrifices reveal the depth of our hearts and our willingness to offer up our lives for something greater, something that we hold precious or valuable.

The thought that Abraham would be willing to offer up his only son – the child of God’s blessing to Sarah in her old age – strikes the modern hearer as barbaric and horrible.  It is a crime against nature: that the innocent could suffer such atrocity sounds more like something from Hell, not Heaven.

Yet Jesus Christ, innocent and without sin, will die a brutal death on the Cross…for us.  The atrocity that confronts us at Calvary reveals the value God places on our human souls – we are loved completely, entirely, and without thinking of the cost the Lord sacrifices his life to take our place for the evil we have done.

This is the power of the transfiguration in the Gospel of Mark.  Jesus, revealed in all his glory with Moses and Elijah, is God’s “beloved Son.”  Coming down from the mountain Peter, James, and John have no idea what lies ahead – they can only marvel at the awesome sight of Jesus as he stands in Heaven…the one who is honored for the sacrifice he makes.

Perhaps then, the real question for us pertains to those things to which we still cling.  What priorities and values do we place higher than Christ?  What is holding us back from embracing the Lord with all our heart?  I suggest considering the following thoughts:

  1. How does my use of TIME reveal my priorities?
  2. How does my use of MONEY reveal my values?
  3. How do I show the PEOPLE in my life that I love them?
  4. How do I live my faith in GOD each and every day?

And if there are things that are keeping me from God & others….

Can I give that up?

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The Transfiguration, Raphael; 1516-1520, oil on wood, 405 cm x 278 cm, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City.


4th Advent – Final Preparations

To do list

Study:  Is there anything in my life that is not ready for the coming of Christ?  Do I have any unfinished or unresolved issues that I can address?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the help and strength to be truly present in the next few days.  Gatherings can be challenging – what do we need from the Lord to help us live as followers of Jesus?

Serve:  Is there someone who you can help who is not ready?  Is there a way that you can support another who is perhaps struggling to prepare?  What good work or kind word can you offer?

4th Advent Readings

This weekend we make the final turn in our Advent season and prepare for Christmas this coming week.  Here are some thoughts to consider as we make our final preparations.

    1.  What are my priorities this week?
– Is it things? (shopping, gifts, etc.)
– Is it safe travel?
– Is it people? (family and friends)
– Is it prayer? (or even the Lord?)

I mention this first because there are many things we WANT to be our top priorities, but we often find that situations and events can be forced upon us.  We sometimes find ourselves reacting to expectations and lose our focus and perspective.

Perhaps a few moments in our own reflection (alone or with others) will help us remember why we are taking the time and effort to celebrate this coming week.  The danger happens when we do not choose our values, but instead let someone else tell us what we are suppose to make important.

    2.  How will I spend my time this holiday?
– with people
– with the Lord in prayer
– at work (I fall in this category!)

Many of us must respond to events outside our control over the next few days:  work, travel, and sometimes awkward situations with other people (a.k.a. – someone you desperately want to avoid).  Time remains our most precious possession; how are we living the gift God gives to us?

    3.  What will be my attitude?

In then end there are very few things which remain entirely in our control.  The weather can change in a matter of hours, roads and travel conditions can become treacherous, and situations can become tense, frustrating, and unhappy.

When we find ourselves less than jolly, how do we express it?  Do we take our stress out on others, or do we take a deep breath and put our faith into practice (you know:  patience, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, love, trust, etc…..)?  Are we constantly reacting to life, or do we proactively choose how we will proclaim the Good News of Christ in our words and actions?

May this holiday be a time of rich blessings to us all!


23rd Sunday of the Year – What is the Cost?

Price Tag

Study:  Take a close look at your personal calendar and checkbook and/or credit card statement.  Where do we spend our time and money?

Pray:  Is there a conflict of values in your life?  Ask the Lord for guidance and direction.

Serve:  How can I help someone today focus on the values and priorities that will bring true and lasting peace?

23rd Sunday Readings

I am not a shopper.  I am one of those people who takes pride in getting in and out of stores in the shortest period of time.  In fact, when I make my lists for the grocery or department store I often keep them on me, so that if I have a moment between meetings I can run and get what I need.

In my haste I find that I do not always pay attention to the price.  Later, I find in conversation that I could have gotten the item at a substantially reduced rate – if only I had paid attention to the cost.

We measure the value of most things by what they cost.  “What’s the price tag?” is a question that reveals our priorities and goals.  The cost of something AND our willingness (or unwillingness) to pay for it tells us much about what we think is important.

It is this notion of cost that surfaces in Luke’s Gospel today.  Jesus makes it very clear to the crowds that the cost for being a disciple is EVERYTHING.
*Friends
*Family
*Possessions
*Health
*Our very Lives

All that we have and all that we offer belong to God, and it is the Lord who will demand everything back when we stand in the Lord’s presence on the day of judgment.

To follow Jesus, then, is to recognize that all that we have is God’s gift given to us.  We are merely the stewards of the Lord’s possessions – entrusted to take care of what God has given us during our lives here on earth.

When we recognize the real cost of following Jesus – everything we have and are – then we begin to see that all of life is a blessing that we have to use, but will never own.  This is just another way of saying that “we can’t take it with us” when we die.  The cost for following Jesus is the understanding that everything belongs to God, and everything will one day return back to the Lord.

As we continue to see all of life as belonging to God, we begin to discover a new freedom in how we live and use what we have.  Guided by this freedom, possessions no longer rule our lives; rather, they become instruments by which we help others and enjoy the blessing of our lives as gifts from God.