Saturday, June 30, 2018

Trusting in God's Abundance of Caring

In today's Gospel, Matthew 8: 5-17, a Roman centurion, a Gentile and a leader in Rome's occupying army, boldly approaches Jesus, asking that Jesus heal one of his servants. When Jesus responds affirmatively to his request and says He will come down to Capernaum and heal his servant, the centurion says: "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed."  What love, faith and humility!  Jesus is amazed at how the centurion reacted and says to is disciples, and to us, "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel (substitute so there statement is applicable to where you live) have I found such faith."

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow as He was when he literally walked through the streets or along the roads of Galilee!  Do I have the faith of the centurion? Would I ask Jesus to come down and heal a family member or a relative,  a friend, a parishioner, an employee, a coworker? If not, why not?  Do I have the faith to bring to Jesus' attention, as did Mary at the wedding feast of Cana, that the "wine containers" are empty?  Jesus, "they have no wine."  Jesus says to her in effect, "Why are you bothering me?"  Mary does not feel rebuffed, nor does she back down. She says to the servants: "Do whatever He tells you!"   Her faith in Jesus/in God is unshakable!

What about your faith/my faith?  How solid is it? How firm is it? How unshakable is it?  Do I use it daily in all circumstances, in moments when a healing of mind, body or soul is needed; in circumstances when a life is in danger, when violence is erupting, when corruption seems to have the upper hand, when victims of criminal activities seem abandoned by law enforcement and legal teams who find loopholes to set criminals free,  when world leaders make decisions that will make life for future generations extremely dangerous environmentally and difficult in many other way? Or am I, are you, unconcerned about future generations of any race or creed or culture?

May God open our eyes to our call to see other peoples' afflictions, hear their cries for help, know and care about what others are going through, and take action to help in some way! God did so for the Israelites and Jesus did so for those whom He encountered who needed help!  Now it is your turn and mine to carry on the mission of building God's Kingdom here on earth.  That is why we are here!

Friday, June 29, 2018

God's Power to Save Those of Faith

Today we celebrate the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, apostles of the Church. In the first reading of today's liturgy, Acts 12: 1-11, St. Luke shares the story of Peter's arrest and imprisonment,  which immediately followed the martyrdom of St. James. Seeing the people's celebration of St. James' death, Herod believes that he will delight the people even more by killing Peter. The night before being brought to trial, an angel frees Peter, who is heavily guarded by four squads of soldiers and "secured by double chains".  The chains fall off, the locked doors of the prison open and Peter and the angel pass all of the guards unnoticed! Securely outside of the prison, the angel leaves Peter and he realizes that what happened to him was not a vision but reality!

Paul's story is as mind-bottling and miraculous, as he is on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians and bring them to Herod for imprisonment and most likely the same fate as St. James. The Lord God knocks Paul down, then known as Saul, and says to him: "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Blinded by the light, he gets up and is told to go into the city.  There, he will be met by a man who will direct him on to what he is to do instead of co-operating with the plan of human beings to to wipe out the followers of Jesus.

God is no less real in your life or mine than in the life of Peter and Paul nor any less real in the world of our day than in the world of Peter and Paul's day. Forces rose up against truth then, and now. Immorality, killings, false imprisonments,violence against people of integrity, the slaughter of innocents and other criminal behavior abounded in Peter and Paul's culture and continue in our day with people supporting these kind of choices in the belief that they are doing what is right--even believing that people doing evil are divinely inspired and divinely appointed to lead us.

God sent Jesus into this world, not to condemn it, but to save it. God sent angels, His messengers, to people like Mary and Joseph, Zachary and Elizabeth, Peter and others. He spoke to Pilate through his wife, who warned Pilate to "have nothing to do with this man," meaning Jesus whom the people desired to be be put to death by crucifixion. In this day and age, God continues to send warnings and also to intervene for us. Are we aware of these interventions?  Or are we too enamored by those yielding power and control and wanting that kind of power ourselves that we go right along with them, even believing that they are of divine origin?

Lord, I pray, open our minds and eyes and ears to the evil around us!  May we recognize the "Herods"  of today--persons as determined  as was Herod in Jesus' time to seize absolute power over others and to do whatever necessary to secure that power, including destroying men and women of integrity, men and women of faith, men and women committed to what is true, right and just!


Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Lord is Our Rock of Safety

In today's Gospel, Matthew 7: 21-19, Jesus tells us that if we truly listen to the Scriptures read or preached to us we are then putting into practice the Words of Jesus.  In living according to Jesus' preaching by His words and His actions we are building our "houses" on solid rock.  We will go through hard times but our faith in the Lord Jesus will not be destroyed nor will we stop doing what is right for our families, communities, or world.  "Rain" will fall.  "Floods" will come. "Winds" will beat against the house but it will "not collapse [because] it had been set solidly on rock."

I have been told about a little 3 or 4-year-old child battling a brain tumor. When the road gets rough, she sings "Awesome God" or "Jesus loves me; this I know 'cause the Bible tells me so"!  I also see in my mind's eye a little girl featured on the news this past year. She was in a refugee camp, having escaped her country because of a raging, violent war. She was thanking God for the safety of the camp!  Both these children are being taught to build their "houses" on rock!  The Lord is their Rock of Safety, as He is ours.

Do we live as these little children do?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Faithfulness to the New Covenant

In today's first reading, 2 Kings 22: 8-13; 23: 1-3, the High priest Hilkiah, found the book of the law in the Temple. He gave the book of the Law to the scribe, Shaphan, who read it to the king of Judah. He was appalled that the Covenant had been violated. "The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned together before him." The book of the law was read to all of them, as they gathered in the Temple of the Lord and listened to the reading. "Standing by the column, the king made a covenant before the Lord that they would follow him and observe his ordinances, statues and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus revising the terms of the covenant which were written in this book. And all the people stood as participants in the covenant."

At every Catholic Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, we gather before the altar, where bread and wine are consecrated and become the body and blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. In our Amen, standing before the altar,  we recommit ourselves to obey the New Covenant sealed in Jesus' blood.

How faithful are we to the New Covenant to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, our whole soul and all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves? How faithful, that is,  are we in bearing good fruit in each choice we make throughout the day in our relationships with family members, co-workers, community members, and any other persons with whom we do business? Are we patient, forgiving, kind, just, merciful? Do we love tenderly? Do we sacrifice our time and energy and talent for the good of others?

With today's responsorial psalm, Psalm 119, may each of us pray: "Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart. Lead me in the path of your commands, for in it I delight. Incline my heart to our decrees and not to gain. Turn away my eyes from seeing what is vain: by your way give me life. Behold, I long for your precepts; in your justice give me life."  I ask fir these graces, as well, Lord, for all world leaders and especially for the leaders of this country in which I live.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Seeking God's Protection

In today's first reading, 2 Kings 19: 9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36,  the king of Judah is taunted by the king of Assyria. Assyria has destroyed many countries and next on their list is Judah!  A threatening letter is sent to the king of Judah, who takes refuge in the Lord. He goes into the Temple and reads the letter to the Lord and then prays: "O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned upon the cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heavens and the earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Hear [the threats of the king of Assyria, taunting] the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and cast their gods into the fire; they destroyed them because they were not gods, but the work  of human hands, wood and stone. Therefore, O Lord, our God, save us from the power of this man, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God."  The Assyrians did not succeed in their plans to destroy Judah!

It seems as though the Assyrians in warring with other nations and destroying them and then threatening Judah may have been attempting to become THE nation, superior to all others. Is that what is happening in the world of today by dictatorial regimes? The King of Judah sought help from the Lord God!  What do you and I do when leaders of world powers threaten one another? Do we go into the Temple of the Lord and share our concerns with God as did the king of Judah?  And just as importantly, what do we do when evil from within and without threaten our security in the Lord?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Seeking God's Help

In today's first reading, 2 Kins 17: 5-8, 13-15a, 18, we read about the consequences of the people of Israel having "venerated other gods,"  having "followed the rites of the nations whom the Lord had cleared out of the way of the children of Israel and the kings of Israel..."  The people of Israel and of Judah were warned to give up their "evil ways and keep [God's] commandments and statues, in accordance with the entire law..."  The people "did not listen, but were stiff-necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the Lord their God. They rejected...the warning which he had given them, till, in his great anger against Israel, the Lord put them away out of his sight. Only the tribe of Judah was left."

What, do you think, God is saying to us here in the 21st century?  Are leaders of various nations throughout  the world, are you, am I, venerating other gods"?  Are we following precepts that are contrary to what God is asking of us? Are we involved in "evil ways,"  not listening, not heeding, any of the warnings that God is sending to us to alert us of being on a path that will lead, ultimately, to our downfall, to a disastrous end that could be avoided if we followed God's ways?

As in today's responsorial psalm, we pray:  "Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us,...for worthless is the help of men." Help us, Lord, right the wrongs in which we are involved as a nation, as a society, as a church, as a family, as individuals.  I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Born to be God's Servants

In today's first reading, Isaiah 49: 1-6,  Isaiah speaks of his call: "The Lord called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name.  He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory....[T]he Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength!....I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth!"

Today, I believe, we need an "Isaiah" and a "John the Baptist"--"sharp-edged swords" and "polished arrows" to bring our country back to the Lord's ways.  We need an "Isaiah" and a "John the Baptist" to prepare the way for justice to thrive and injustices to be destroyed. We need an "Isaiah" and a "John the Baptist", true servants of the Lord, to challenge those desiring to be treated as gods themselves above all others or those making gods of absolute wealth, absolute power and absolute control at the expense of the poor, of immigrants, of minorities and of the environment itself.

However, let us not forget that God has called each one of us at birth to be His servants, to be persons through whom His glory shines by the choices we make to bring forth a just world, a world of righteousness and truth, a world governed with love! We are called to be a light in the darkness of this world, not persons who darken the world by our selfishness, domination and control of others for our own benefit!

What kind of choices am I, are you, making?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Living according to God's Commands

In today's first reading, 2 Chronicles 24: 1-25, we learn that another king of Israel departed from the Covenant made with the people that there is only one God and that they are God's chosen people called to be faithful. No strange or alien gods were to be worshipped or served in God's place. Under King Joash the people "forsook the temple of the Lord, the God of their [ancestors--Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), and began to serve the sacred poles and the idols; and because of this crime of theirs, wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem. Although prophets were sent to them to convert them to the Lord, the people would not listen to their warnings." When "the Spirit of God possessed Zachariah, son of Jehoiada the priest," and he confronted the people's transgressions, asking them why they have been abandoning the Lord, he was put to death. As he was dying, he prayed: "May the Lord see and avenge."

Is it possible that people who are being treated unjustly anywhere in the world, who are victims of wars of any kind, who are being oppressed, abused, hunted down as"prey," treated as animals,  pray" "May the Lord see and avenge"?

May our eyes, and the eyes of world leaders,  be open to times when we abuse others, deny them their rights to be heard and treated with fairness!  May our ears be open to the prophets that God sends to warn us of wrongdoing and to challenge us to return to the one true God, our Lord and Savior.  When we go astray, may we return to the right path, knowing that God, as we pray in today's responsorial psalm, Psalm 89, has "made a covenant" with us, his chosen ones, and that this covenant to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves stands "firm forever."  The psalmist, a prophet of God, so to speak, warns us that if we "forsake [God's] law and walk not according to [God's] ordinances, if [we] violate [God's]  statues and keep not [God's] commands, punishing consequences will follow as the result of our violations of justice, mercy and not loving others as God loves us.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Being Instruments of God's Will

n today's responsorial psalm, Psalm 132, we affirm the covenant God made with David: The Lord swore to David a firm promise from which he will not withdraw: 'Your own offspring I will set upon your throne. If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I shall teach them, their sons, too, forever shall sit upon your throne. For the Lord has chosen Zion; he prefers her for his dwelling...In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David; I will place a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame but upon him my crown shall shine.'"

In today's first reading, 2 Kings 11; 1-4, 9-18, 20, we again encounter how enemies to Israel attempted to put their own kin on the throne or to usurp the throne themselves.  Athaliah did just that when her son lost his life. In retaliation, she killed the entire royal family. She did not realize, however, that Joash, the future  king, was rescued from her slaughter and hidden away in the Temple! At the appropriate time, Jehoiada, a priest of the Temple, brought him forth and had him rightfully crowned king.   Athaliah, the usurper of the throne and worshipper of Baal, a false god, was put to death! This priest of God also had all the altars to Baal destroyed and had the people recommit themselves to the covenant God had made with them.  And, as with Athaliah, "all who worship graven things are put to shame, who glory in the things of nought.... (Psalm 97).

You and I, when we choose false gods, when we put our faith in things or humans in place of relying on the Lord, our God and Savior,  also experience shame.  We do not lose our physical life, as did Athaliah, but, in abandoning God's Covenant with us, we suffer a diminishment of our trust and faith in the Lord. How is it restored? By our turning back to the Lord, our God, or by the intervention of another who calls us back to the Truth. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

God, the Center of Elijah and Elisha's Lives

"Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord," we pray in today's responsorial psalm.  In today's first reading, 2 Kings 2: 6-14, Elijah is taken from Elisha, the prophet to succeed him.  Knowing that he is about to leave, Elijah asks Elisha to stay with him. He also encourages Elisha to ask for whatever he would like Elijah to do for him before he takes leave of him. Elisha asks for "a double proportion of your spirit....'[I]f you see me taken up from you, your wish will be granted; otherwise  not.'"  Elisha watches as "Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind....When Elisha saw it happen he cried out, 'My father! my father!'...[W]hen he could no longer see him, Elisha--overcome with grief--gripped his own garment and tore it in two." In his grief and facing a challenge beyond him, Elisha cries: "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?"

Imagine someone dear to you about to leave you, someone you admire greatly for their service to and personal relationship with the Lord.  For what would you ask?  Also think of times that you have been overwhelmed with grief and facing seemingly insurmountable problems, what do you do? To whom to you call for help?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


In today's first reading, 1 Kings 21: 17-29, God sends the prophet Elijah to Ahab.  He tells Elijah that Ahab "will be in the vineyard of Naboth, of which he has come to take possession."  God holds Ahab accountable of the death of Naboth!  When Elijah confronts Ahab in God's name, Ahab responds with the question:  "Have you  found me out, my enemy?" "Yes...Because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the Lord's sight." Elijah then tells him what the consequences of his behavior will be!

In life and in death, we are told in the Scriptures, we belong to the Lord! Jesus is Lord of the living and of the dead!  When we have died to grace as did Ahab and Jezebel, God cares!  He will awaken our consciences in some way.  Many times He does so through an "Elijah" sent to call us to accountability!  That "Elijah" may be a parent, a child, a spouse, a friend, a peer, a co-worker, our pastor/minister or a total stranger!  God cares! And because God cares, He will hold us accountable for the choices we make! God does not rejoice in someone going astray and will, beyond doubt, seek ways to open our eyes to the evil we may have done or to the fact that we are on a path that leads to our destruction, our unhappiness, our becoming corrupted, deceptive, and a plaything of Satan!

We need to join the psalmist, who, in today's responsorial psalm, Psalm 51, prays: "Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. For I acknowledge my offense (which Ahab does), and my sin is before me always: "Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt. Free me from the blood guilt, O God, my saving God; then my tongue shall revel in your justice."

So much evil is being done in the world of today!  In what ways am I complicit of the moral decline around us? Coming closer to home, for what and to whom do I personally need to ask forgiveness today and thereby accept responsibility for the ways in which I did not mirror God's love and caring presence, ways in which I did not enhance life  or make the world in which I live a better place?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Choices of Good or of Evil

In today's first reading, 1 Kings 21-1-16, we read about Ahab, king of Samaria, and his  wife Jezebel. Ahab wanted Naboth, his neighbor,  to give him his vineyard  to use as a garden, as it was next to the king's palace. Ahab, in turn, would give him another vineyard or simply pay him cash for the vineyard.  Naboth refused, as his vineyard was his own children's inheritance. Angry, Ahab refused to eat. His wife Jezebel engaged in actions of deceit, conniving to have Naboth murdered in order that her husband could take possession of the desired vineyard. She succeeded in her evil maneuverings!

Sound familiar?  Deceitful, wicked plotting to get what one desires goes on to this very day and many times such connivance leads to the loss of life--physical death, death of the spirit of an individual or mental demise! And though we may not be the actual person doing the evil, we may be an accomplice in the evil that is being planned, as were Ahab and Jezebel!

We are reminded in today's responsorial psalm that God does not delight in wickedness and that no evil person will stand in God's sight (Cf. Ps.5).  "God hates all evildoers," the psalmist reminds us, and destroys "all who speak falsehood; the bloodthirsty and the deceitful the Lord abhors."

All of us face choices every day of our lives!  In what kinds of choices am I engaged: choices that enhance life for others or those which destroy or diminish life for others?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Building the Kingdom of God

Today's Gospel, Mark 4: 26-34, speaks about the Kingdom of God and that such is "as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,  he knows not how."   God's Kingdom "sprouts and grow[s]", day by day, night by night! How? By our loving and forgiving one another! By our honesty with one another. By our mercy! By our caring about one another, seeing other people's affliction,  hearing their cries for food, water, clothes; hearing other peoples' cries for justice and truthful living. We sow seeds of the Kingdom of God by, not just knowing what other people are going through but getting out of ourselves to do something that will enhance the life of a person in need. We see God's Kingdom sprouting, blossoming, growing as we witness husband and wife, a grandmother and a grandfather,  loving one another and pouring out that love in self-sacrifice for their children and grandchildren. We see this Kingdom growing by those who give us medical, dental, physical and emotional help; by those in public service who act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with their God (See Micah 6:8) as they provide honest and just service to others.

In what ways am I contributing to the growth of God's Kingdom: Am I sowing seeds of love and justice, mercy, truth, and forgiveness? Or am I living a life of lies, holding grudges, living a narcissistic life, a life of revenge, a  lustful life, a life lacking justice, a life without mercy or love?

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Heart that Overflows with Love

Today we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a heart overflowing with love for all humankind. The Gospel of today's Mass, John 19: 31-37, recalls  the depth of God's love, the death of Jesus on the cross.  The Gospel passage notes that the time is fast approaching when the Jews need to remove the bodies from the cross, so that they do not violate Passover customs! So, executioners break the legs of those being crucified, depriving them of the means to lift themselves up to get any air into their lungs. Jesus is already dead so, instead of breaking His legs, they thrust a lance into His side, from whence flows blood and water. I immediately think of the priest pouring a drop of water into the wine prior to the consecration of the Mass when the Bread and Wine become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus and is offered to the Father in atonement of our sins and the sins of the whole world.  What a moment! Though Jesus does not ever die again, His sacrifice of love, I believe, is always before the Father.  Day and night, Jesus intercedes for us at the throne of God!  He awaits that day when you and I enter eternal life, a gift secured for us on the cross! Will you and I accept this gift in faith and love? Or have we already chosen our own gods, gods that cannot save us?

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Salvation in Christ Jesus

In the Collect of today's liturgy we pray: "Grant all that works for our good."  In the first reading Paul tells his beloved that he "bears all for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory."   What God did for Paul, that is, using his imprisonment and sufferings for the good of others, so too, does God do for us. Our self-sacrificing love for others, no matter how small, brings about good for others.  Our intercessory prayer does the same.  We might not see how what we do for others "works for [their] good," yet, in faith, we know that  God is always at work in us and through us so that the salvation that is ours, and theirs, in Christ Jesus  is accomplished.

Lord, I pray, continue to show me your ways at work in me and in others.  Continue to transform all in me that thwarts Your will from being accomplished through me, namely, that blocks the good You want to bring into being in another person's life through what I suffer for them, even if that suffering is no more than remaining silent, for instance, when what they are saying is untrue of me or when, i  in another instance, they are being given credit that belongs to me.  May I be willing to hold nothing back in loving others as You love me, knowing that the work we are doing obtains, for them and for us, "the salvation that is in Christ Jesus"!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Facing Truth

In today's Gospel, "some Pharisees and Herodians were sent to Jesus to ensnare him in  his speech!"  Hoping to corner Him, they ask Him whether it is lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not.  "Knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them: 'Bring me a denarius to look at....Whose image and inscription  is this?...Caesar's. So...[r]epay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.'"

Just as Jesus knew their intentions, so, too does He know yours and mine. Hypocrisy,  insincerity, a lack of genuineness and integrity do not escape Jesus! "Why," Jesus asks his interrogators, "are you testing me?"  Do you and I realize when we are testing Jesus? And when we are being testy and insincere in our relationships with others and with therefore with God, Jesus does not condemn us any more than He condemned the Pharisees or the Herodians, in this instance.  He gives them, and us, an opportunity to face truth. He does not leave them, or us,  off the cuff, so to speak, but puts forth a challenge!  In what ways has Jesus challenged you/me today, this past week, this past month?  In what ways has Jesus shown us His patience so as to bring us to repentance, to salvation?

Lord, open my eyes to my hypocrisy!  Show me the truth that is hidden from me when I set out to ensnare another person?

Monday, June 4, 2018

God's Providence in Each Person's Life

In the collect of today's liturgy, we pray:  "O God, whose providence never fails in its design, keep from us, we humbly beseech you, all that might harm us and grant all that works for our good."  We might reword this as follows: "O God, whose providence never fails in its design, keep from (insert any one's name, especially someone with whom you might be having problems) we humbly beseech you, all that might harm (this person's name) and grant all that works for (this person's) good."  Note how praying for this other person in this way changes your heart, and mine!

Let us remind ourselves that God's providence "never fails in its design" for this other person or for ourselves.  God has a plan for the good of other persons and our own good. When we think of others in this way, especially persons with whom we are having some kind of difficulty, our attitude changes from thinking ill of them, perhaps, to seeing them from God's perspective.  Also, when the problem I am having is that I want to help where I am unable to help, God reminds me that He is that person's Savior, not me. And that whatever is happening in this other person's life that I am finding problematic is of God's design and will bring about some good for this person to which I am not privy!  In other words, God is God and I am only one of His created beings just like the person with whom I am troubled!

Friday, June 1, 2018

God: the Center of All We Do

In today's first reading, 1 Peter 4: 7-13, Peter admonishes us as follows: "[L]et your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining."  Each of us, he says, "has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Am I, are you, a good steward of the gifts God has given to us, that is, do we use our gifts for the good of another?  Are we "hospitable...without complaining"?  Note Peter's comment that however we serve others,  however we make the world in which we live, be that our family or community living space, we do so "with the strength that God supplies"!  Without God's strength, we would not be building up God's kingdom of love here on earth!  Furthermore, Peter tells us, the purpose of what we do here on earth, as father/mother, parent/child, priest/religious women/men,  is "that in all things God be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever."