Thursday, January 31, 2008

Of Its Own Accord the Land Yields Fruit

February 1, 2008

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.” Uriah left the palace, and a portion was sent out after him from the king's table. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down to his own house. 2 Samuel 11:8-9

He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29


Prayer for New Life through Death to Sin

Through your most holy passion and death,

I beg of you, Lord, to grant me a most holy life,

and a most complete death to all my vices and passions and self-love

and to grant me sight of your holy faith, hope, and charity.

-- St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ

(From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, edited by Michael Harter, SJ. Chicago: Jesuit Way, an imprint of Loyola Press, 2005)


Some human motives can certainly be diametrically opposed to the mystical wonder of the God-made universe. If you doubt that statement, consult today’s first reading. Who needs “Valley of the Dolls?” Who needs “Peyton Place?” Who needs the trash that Hollywood and Madison Avenue dish out? The sleaziest Jacqueline Susann novel has nothing on the characters we meet in 1 Samuel 11.

First, meet King David. David, despite all his virtues, is still captivated by his own wants and needs. Despite all his wealth and power, David still wants even more than he has received. JR Ewing would be proud.

Uriah, married to the beautiful Bathsheba, is more married to his life career and life in the army. After returning from battle, he doesn’t even go home to be with this wife. Our favorite modern salesman Willie Loman could identify with the betrayal Uriah must have felt in that last battle.

Bathsheba relents to the wishes of King David. She was sent for by several messengers who took her to the king (some might use the words kidnapped or arrested to describe this action). Once there, this young woman had little if any power to say no to the King who held her very life in her hands.

Lust. Adultery and possibly rape. Conspiracy. Murder. Betrayal. Today we are confronted with the kind of tale that Hollywood heaps upon our senses all the time. In fact, there have been numerous versions of this story told on the silver screen since 1951 when Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward played the lead roles.

If we can get past the fatal flaw of Uriah’s “workaholic-type” personality and over-commitment to his role in the Army, this foreigner in David’s kingdom seems more honorable than the king. He is obsessively concerned with protecting the ark and God's people while neglecting his own family. David, on the other hand, has concerned himself with his own desires rather than keeping the needs of his nation and its people foremost in his mind.

Christians may overlook the significance of this. God's covenant was with Israel. Israel was supposed to be God's chosen people, more holy and righteous before their God. Yet, here, a foreigner, an outsider to the covenant, proved to be more honorable than the great Jewish king, the representative of God's covenant. Like the Good Samaritan in Matthew’s gospel, obedience to the commandments is found where it was least expected.

Good people can sometimes do some very bad things. For although the David we first met was a great man of virtue, he grew into a man filled with deceit and sin. As the modern saying goes, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

In a wake up call, the reading from Mark’s Gospel shows how insignificant our role can be in God’s plan. The Lord is the Sower and the Reaper and the mystery of life goes on while we sleep and wake and sleep and wake. The seeds God plants grow quite nicely without human intervention. However, we are asked to be obedient and flow with the waters of justice. Or, we can go on sinning and messing things up.

Either way, the kingdom of God initiated by Jesus in proclaiming the word develops quietly yet powerfully. None of our sins can sidetrack Jesus. He won’t let it happen. Instead, he will put the burden of our sins on his own back and personally suffer the consequences of our actions by dying on the cross rather than have anything get in the way of our redemption from sin.


Sometimes, we can not let a situation continue to spiral out of control. Sometimes, without human intervention, people will continue to die. That is the situation faced right now in Kenya. As we go through the contentious yet peaceful debates, caucuses and primaries here, the Kenyan presidential election was tainted by vote-tampering.

According to, Kenya’s future hangs in the balance, with over 600 killed and 250,000 made homeless. We need to act fast.

The world can play a crucial role, by supporting former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts and refusing to recognize any government until it is legitimately established. Avaaz is trying to send a wave of messages to our leaders asking for this. To make sure Kenya’s politicians hear the word too, they are taking out a full-page ad in the East African Standard, a respected newspaper.

Visit and let your voice be heard.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Your Words Are Truth

January 31, 2008

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest

“Do, then, bless the house of your servant that it may be before you forever; for you, Lord GOD, have promised, and by your blessing the house of your servant shall be blessed forever.” 2 Samuel 7:29

Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Mark 4:21-22


A Contemporary Annotation

“Much is expected from those to whom much has been given.” (Luke 12:48)

We have been given the same Word,

graced by the same Spirit

and nourished at the same table as

Oscar Romero, Rutilio Grande,

Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel,

Jeanne Donovan, and Maura Clark.

-- Stephen Privett, SJ

(From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, edited by Michael Harter, SJ. Chicago: Jesuit Way, an imprint of Loyola Press, 2005)


Did you ever try to hide something that could not be hidden? When a lamp is lit, try hiding it. Where would you put it? In a closet? People will see the light under the door. Under a blanket? People will see the light through the woven fabric no matter how dense. It can not be done.

Ever try to hide an entire house? Unless you are the Amazing Kreskin, David Copperfield, or some kind of magician, that is not possible.

The Lord made a house for David. He did not hide it. His love for the people was out there in the open as exposed as the house on a hillside. The Lord freely blessed the house so that everyone would know that the house of David stood firm in his favor. David and his people did not hide under a basket. They wore their faith in the fabric of their lives.

Why does the Lord ask us to do what seems to be impossible?

The Lord continues to ask us to comprehend the incomprehensible, to accomplish that which can not be accomplished. He is like the Zen master proposing a puzzling “koan” to his student.

Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand clapping?

If you meet the Buddha, kill him.

"If you have ice cream I will give you some. If you have no ice cream I will take it away from you." (According to Jack Kerouac, this is what is known as an ice cream kōan.)

Jesus uses parables, rather than koans, to teach.

He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Mark 4:24-25

Jesus’ words are not just stories about seeds or farming. “Take care what you hear.” We can not stop at the literal meaning. The parables contain deeper significance. As Jesus took on the conflict with religious leaders and political leaders, he was openly trying to weed out hypocrisy from the institutions of the day. He challenges us on many fronts. He asks us not to judge others unless we want to be judged ourselves. Jesus challenges us to ask for forgiveness of our sins just as we grant others the same forgiveness that we seek.

He challenges us to come out of our comfortable existence and stretch our commitment to follow him just as the parables stretch the ability of our mind to comprehend the face of God. He challenges us to weed out our wants and needs from that of our neighbors. Jesus asks us this so we can carry on the quest He began 2008 years ago.


Meditate on this phrase today: To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

What does this challenge you to do about your life, your piety, your physical possessions and your love of ice cream?

The Sower Sows the Word

January 30, 2008

Third Wednesday in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

“I will give you rest from all your enemies.” (2 Samuel 7:11)

When the Twelve questioned Jesus, he said to them: “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word.” (Mark 4:13-14)


Lord, let me be as free with your Word as you are with your love. Let me share your good news in all that I say and do.


Today's Readings

The Word Among Us

The real high-roller gambling businesspeople in our country aren’t on Wall Street or the Strip in Las Vegas. They’re in the nation’s breadbasket. They are grain farmers.

These folks bet hundreds of thousands of dollars on seed and hired help and machinery and fertilizer and storage and transportation. If they produce a bumper crop, their neighbors do as well... and the price they receive at market goes down. If prices go up, it usually means there’s been a natural disaster of some sort... and the size of the crop has been reduced. No wonder the number of family farms in the United States has dropped from 6.8 million in 1935 to 2 million today.

Even knowing the odds, family farmers gamble on, because they can’t imagine not farming, not working their own land. They even joke about the inefficiency of what they do, knowing that most of the seed they plant will never produce wheat, rye, barley, soybeans, sorghum, corn, or other crops. The old saying: “One for the cutworm, one for the crow, one for the soil, and one to grow” isn’t far off, even today with advanced farming techniques.

Still, the grain farmer has an advantage over the evangelist. He or she knows the yield at the end of the growing season, usually a matter of months. You might say these makes followers of Christ the biggest gamblers of all. As we spread the Word, we can’t look into the hearts of those to whom we are ministering. It may be minutes, months, years, or a lifetime before we learn whether the seed we spread took root or withered. We may never know.

That not knowing can make us desire to conserve our “seed” and share it only with those we believe will appreciate it. Yet a Word Among Us meditation advises just the opposite:

If there is one word that characterizes the sower in this parable, it is generous. This fellow spreads his seeds everywhere. He doesn’t seem all that concerned about where the seed will fall. He simply casts it to and fro.

Isn’t this a great image for how we should view evangelization? Shouldn’t we be generous, almost indiscriminate, in the way we share God’s word and his promises? We really shouldn’t worry about where the seeds may fall or the soil quality of those with whom we share the word. Whether, in our judgment, the ground is hard, weedy, thorny, or fertile shouldn’t matter. After all, it is the Lord who gives the growth, not us (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). All we have to worry about is imitating the generosity of the sower.

Gamble like a grain farmer. Don’t consider the odds. Spread the word constantly. You never know what the harvest will bring.


Sow your seed. Talk about the upcoming Women’s and Men’s Weekends at Mass this weekend and as you prepare for Lenten activities at your parish. Check in with Cursillistas you sponsored in the past to see if they need help in finding a group reunion, or if they’d like a ride to the diocesan Ultreya Friday night at Good Shepherd.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Whoever Does the Will of God

January 29, 2008

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place within the tent David had pitched for it. Then David offered holocausts and peace offerings before the LORD. When he finished making these offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. 2 Samuel 6:17-18

And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. (For) whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:34-35


Suscipe (Traditional Offering of Self)

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,

My memory, my understanding,

And my entire will,

All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.

To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours: do with it what you will.

Give me only your love and your grace,

That is enough for me.

-- St. Ignatius of Loyola

(From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, edited by Michael Harter, SJ. Chicago: Jesuit Way, an imprint of Loyola Press, 2005)


Are we outside asking about the Lord? Or are we inside the tent participating in the joyous company that we have in the presence of the Lord?

When we stay in touch with a friend or relative, we can sometimes feel their presence in our life even if they are far away in distant, even if we rarely hear from them directly. Did you ever have a friend who was so close to you that when you would think about her or him, invariably, the person would call or write. It was almost like you thoughts were transferred to them telepathically.

Throughout the Bible, we meet people who are in touch with Jesus and their neighbors. They dance in His holy presence as David did before the Ark. They revel in his aura like the wine steward in Cana. Like the one leper who returned to say “Thank you” after being cured.

We also meet those who are out of touch with the Lord and their neighbors. They are outside the tent, synagogue or widening circle of disciples.

Noah was in touch with God and obeyed the commandment to “build an ark.” Those who died in the flood were not.

Jonah was in touch with God. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were not.

Moses was in touch with God. The Egyptians were not.

Mary was in touch with God. Herod was not.

The shepherds and magi were in touch with God. Most Romans were not.

Nicodemus was in touch with Jesus. The Pharisees were not.

Being in touch with Jesus and in His presence is not just a physical or metaphysical activity. It also is a spiritual and actual event in our lives. Jesus identifies the one, single defining character of those people who are in touch with Him: “Whoever does the will of God” is what defines us as Christians. First, we must know God through our prayer life. Then, we must find out His will through our study and discernment. Finally, we must fulfill it through active love.


In our daily lives, we come in contact with many people – our brothers and sisters. Some of them may come into our lives to provide for us as David provided food for the Israelites. Who we do business with also defines us as a people.

According to the Cone Corporate Citizenship Study, today’s consumers want to make a difference when their purchases. This has made cause-related marketing a huge phenomenon. A portion of the proceeds from many common items we buy is donated to charity. Price and quality being equal, the 2004 survey showed that eight in 10 Americans say that corporate support of causes wins their trust in that company, a 21% increase since 1997. Earlier studies have shown that 84 percent of Americans would be likely to switch brands to support good works. [1]

One such company which is vying for a share of our purchases of ink and toner is Laser Monks, Inc. and their brand of commerce with compassion. The company was founded by Our Lady of Spring Bank Cistercian Abbey in Sparta, Wisconsin, as a way to support the community as well as give back to those in need around it. By applying the 900 year old Benedictine Rule, they have created a $10 million business in supplying ink and toner cartridges to customers. According to a letter from Fr. Bernard McCoy, O. Cist., posted on the website:

Our monastery is part of the 900-year-old Cistercian Order; our particular Abbey was founded over 75 years ago in the United States. Every monastery has a monk in charge of all the temporal needs and activities of the community. Among my duties as Steward of Temporal Affairs are developing and managing ways to support our life and charities. Contrary to popular understanding, monasteries are self-supporting. A part of our day is given to some sort of remunerative work, from which we support our modest living needs in the monastery, and then use the rest for charitable work. Our Abbey was at this time looking into various new income projects, which had ranged from growing Shitake mushrooms, raising Christmas trees, to building a golf course and conference center. An income project that was based on a necessary consumable item, like toner and ink cartridges, was exactly what the monastery needed - a solid, consistent, income that would not be affected by difficult economic times. Everyone has to have toner and ink to print, businesses especially. And everyone wants to save money. Add to this the fact that we use the money for good works and to support monks who dedicate their lives to serving God and neighbor, and you have the ultimate win-win situation. The manufacturers were elated with the possibilities. They immediately said we should market not only to schools, churches, and other non-profits, but especially to businesses. “Look, you're monks. You have an image and long tradition of being trustworthy and providing top quality products. You're offering a great product at a great price. Once people hear about you, it's an easy decision. Why would anyone pay more money, when they can have quality products for less, from monks who use the income to help others?”

Marketplace Radio did a story on Laser Monks that you can listen to online here. The book is available here.

Who is in the company you keep? Who is counted among the businesses that you patronize? Is there room in your purchases to shift some of what you would spend at a big box store like Staples or Office Depot to Laser Monks? Why? Here are more words from Fr. McCoy:

LaserMonks save our customers money, lots of money. They can use these savings for all sorts of good works. But there's even more good news to the story. By purchasing printing supplies from LaserMonks, our customers not only save money, they support the monks’ modest life of prayer and our good works. By helping you save money, we can help others throughout the world. Everyone wins with LaserMonks. Isn’t that the way business should be?

King David may have provided “to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel, a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake.” Today, you can turn to LaserMonks. Instead of getting food to keep you going, they can provide supplies to keep your business growing.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Hope of Embracing God

January 28, 2008

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church

By Beth DeCristofaro

David grew steadily more powerful, for the LORD of hosts was with him (2 Samuel 5:10)

My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him (Psalm 89:25)

But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. (Mark 3:27-28)


Grant me, O Lord my God,
a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.

-- Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas

( )


God’s faithfulness and mercy are granted as God wills. We are welcome to accept them as gifts or refuse them. My acceptance is an act of faith in God’s own faithfulness and mercy. A rejection might be because I try to rationally understand or base my answers in worldly virtues. The Chosen People wanted a king even though God did not want them to have a king. They were motivated by the prevailing culture of city states and principalities. Saul was put over them. Saul failed in his God-given mission. God then chose David – a boy – a lowly shepherd - whose faithfulness God rewarded. God’s ways were not then and are not now worldly ways.

Jesus confronts the scribes who lie about him. By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” (Mark 3:22) They do not understand who or what he is. They instead see him as a threat to their position and power – as indeed he was. What they did not understand is that his promise was far greater than their position and power could ever be. It is eternal and boundless. Jesus’ parable puts himself in the role of thief, stealing into the seat of power, liberating the faithful. From his actions will forgiveness and pardon be available to the faithful.[1]

At the end of his life, Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians of his time and ours, said as he put aside his Summa Theologica, “I cannot go on.... All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.”[2] Am I willing to put all into the awesome gift of God’s faith that surpasses all I understand, see, feel or imagine?


Our faith is based on God’s faithfulness. How is our faith stirring our actions? In what way can we put aside the understandings of our culture and reach out to others in faith? In what ways are we, personally, helping God’s children, those who our society labels misfits, ne’er do wells or dangerous? Or those who are not part of our neighborhood, culture, or religious tradition? In what way at our own parish or place of work, play, or school do we embrace God? Here are two ideas to think about.

1) A recent story posted by told that “Church leaders in the Holy Land are appealing to international leaders to end what they called the siege of Gaza.” They termed this an “illegal collective punishment.” Let government leaders know that the US can, and should, call for peace in the region for all people.

2) Today, Catholics from throughout the Commonwealth will converge on Richmond in response to our Church’s directive that …”responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in political life is a moral obligation”. If we are not attending the walk-about, are we keeping this effort and our state legislators in prayer?

[1] Say to the Mountain: Mark’s Story of Discipleship, Ched Myers, Marie Dennis, Joseph Nangle, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Stuart Taylor, Orbis Books, 2003, p. 35-36.

A Light Has Shone

January 27, 2008

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. Isaiah 9:1

He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20


(Psalm 27:4-7)

One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the LORD'S house all the days of my life, to gaze on the LORD'S beauty, to visit his temple.

For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, Will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock.

Even now my head is held high above my enemies on every side! I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and chant praise to the LORD.

Hear my voice, LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me


We belong to Christ. He is the great light that shines amid petty jealousies. He is the love of the Father. He is the voice of God’s plan for us. Our destiny is revealed in him. The divine meaning of life has its voice in all he said. Our piety reveals itself in all the ways we are an extension of his word in our day and age. We are called to be his updates. Love has its finest moment in his death on the cross. His embrace is there for all that will allow Christ to be their forgiveness.

The call of the Lord on our hearts is forever in his love revealed in his dying on the cross for us.

Jesus leaves Nazareth, his home town and goes to live in Capernaum in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah might be fulfilled. Christ discovered what was expected of him through the prophet Isaiah. Our destiny is written on our hearts by the call of goodness that flows out of the victory of Christ over sin. How wonderful the fault that gave us God’s love in Christ who died for us on his cross.


Lent is almost upon us and it is time for us to decide for what we will offer our prayer, fasting and good works. Perhaps this is the Lent that we will discover the joy Paul talked about in Col. 1, 24 when he spoke of offering his sufferings for Christ’s body the Church. All of us together make up the Mystical Body of Christ. And our suffering becomes his sufferings. Our Christian joy is born in the good we are able to do for each other by offering up our Lenten sufferings.

What we do for each other can change the world we are living in. One person can make a difference. God can use us as his children when we are willing to live our lives as a Christ for each other. Perhaps this can be the Lent when we are able to preach by our lives and say the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. If we let Christ’s light shine through us, there can be an end to wars and rumors of war in the light of Christ shining through our world out of each of us. If we follow Christ with all our heart we will have the light of Christ as our light.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Cross of Christ Might Not Be Emptied of its Meaning

January 27, 2008

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. Isaiah 9:1

He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20


A Morning Offering

O Jesus, I come before you at the beginning of this day.

I gaze at your face, I look upon your side pierced by the lance.

Your wounded heart speaks to me of God’s love poured out for us.

Take, Lord, and receive my heart: the words of faith I speak, the works of justice I would do, my joys and sufferings.

When I come to the Eucharistic table, gather my offerings to your own for the life of the world.

At the end of the day, place me with Mary, your mother, and for her sake take me to your heart. Amen.

(This particular version of the morning offering was circulated on a vocation-promotion card published by the Maryland Province of Jesuits.)

(From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, edited by Michael Harter, SJ. Chicago: Jesuit Way, an imprint of Loyola Press, 2005)


Today we start out by reading obvious signs of geographic parallels between the Hebrew Bible and the Gospel. Isaiah’s prophecy in the first reading is fulfilled when Jesus takes up residence at Capernaum. Then, with John’s arrest, Jesus also takes up where John left off preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As these prophecies come to fruition, what happens when people see the light? What happens when people hear the message?

The call of the first disciples promises Peter, Andrew, James and John a share in Jesus’ work. However, it also requires that they leave behind their family and former way of life. Rather than being fishers of fish, Jesus calls them by name to become fishers of hearts, minds and souls.

They joined up with him on a mission of “teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.” Matthew uses an interesting word to describe the temples – “their synagogues.” He does not consider them churches which included Jesus as a member. Just as the disciples have had to break with their families, Jesus has had to break with the religious traditions of the day in order to bring forth a new message.

Breaking away. It’s something everyone must do to some extent. As children, we grow up and break away from our parents to schools, jobs, new homes and new relationships. Down the road, we will endure career changes, retirements, relocations, divorce, deaths, and other circumstances which cause us to break away.

However, what is the reason for our breaks? Often it is to “get ahead.” Our breaks are self-motivated steps to better jobs, bigger houses, richer retirement savings, and faster cars.

Today, Jesus challenges us to break away for other reasons. He challenges us to break away for His reasons. He wants us to set out on a new path – not the path of politics, domination, violence or rivalries. As Paul urged in the second reading (1 Corinthians 1:10-11): I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.

He goes on to say, “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.” To human eyes, the image of Jesus nailed to the cross is an image of ultimate failure. They see hanging on the cross a man condemned to death by his government, abandoned by his friends, and left without even the clothes on his back.

However, that misses the true meaning of Christ’s victory of life over death, or Isaiah’s light over darkness. That misses the reason we are asked to follow him.


Use today to examine the reasons that you do things in your life. If you find that there is something that you do out of selfish personal reasons, offer that up to Jesus in your prayer for conversion.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stir into Flame; Bear Your Share of Hardship

January 26, 2008

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops

…God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. 2 Timothy 1:7-8

He came home. Again (the) crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Mark 3:20-21


Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something

unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability –

and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you:

your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,

let them shape themselves, without undue


Don’t try to force them on,

as though you could be today what time

(that is to say, grace and circumstances

acting on your own good will)

will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit

gradually forming within you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing

that his hand is leading you,

and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself

in suspense and incomplete.

-- Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, S.J.

(From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, edited by Michael Harter, SJ. Chicago: Jesuit Way, an imprint of Loyola Press, 2005)


“He is out of his mind.” Have your family members, friends or colleagues ever been prompted to say such a thing about YOU? I hope so. What prompted them to this conclusion about you?

What prompted Jesus’ family to this conclusion about Him?

So many people were following Jesus that his family could not even eat in their own home. Their own living arrangements were set upside down. They were thrown out of their comfort zone. Surely there can not be anything wrong with them…it must be HIM who has brought this crowd upon us.

What has Jesus done to attract such a following?

Over the last week of readings, we have seen Jesus confront the Pharisees head on for their hypocrisy. They have fought over eating with sinners and tax collectors…over healing on the Sabbath…over picking grains of wheat on the Sabbath.

After these repeated conflicts, Jesus took his disciples up a mountain. Unlike Moses who ascended Sinai alone to talk with God, Jesus took his followers up with him. Just like Joshua empowering the twelve tribes of Israel, Jesus commissioned his disciples. With the mantle passed on to him from Isaiah and the Nazareth Manifesto, Jesus now passed that on to the disciples by sending them out into the world to proclaim the Good News.

After taking on the religious establishment, Jesus heads home. Perhaps he was seeking some rest. Instead, he now finds strangers loving him and those closest to him turning their backs on his firebrand of preaching. The strangers are “inside” and the family is “outside.” Just like the Pharisees were out to get Jesus, now He also has to contend with his own family. While Jesus has “stirred the flame” in the hearts of the disciples, he also has put his own family in a position to “bear the hardships.”

In Say To This Mountain, Ched Myers (et. al) points out that the “kinship system” controlled job prospects, socialization, and personal identity. “Jesus’ family sought to rein him in no doubt for his own protection as well as for the sake of their reputation. But they find their situation reversed,” according to Myers.

Myers go on to explain that in order to weave an alternative social fabric (like the one called for in the Nazareth Manifesto), “the most basic conventions and constraints of kinship must be questioned.”

Such a program causes the Pharisees to claim Jesus is possessed by demons and his family to claim Jesus is “out of his mind.”


Just the opposite is being called for in the first reading. There, Paul wants Timothy to “set right what remains to be done.” Not upset the apple cart but to set things right.

What apple cart is spilling over in your life that needs to be straightened out according to Jesus’ way? Is there a relative or old friend that you have lost touch with? Do you want to reach out to them and get your relationship back together?

Maybe you want to reach out to someone who can join you for dinner (I encourage you to include your own family and not to throw them out of the house while making room for your guest.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Now, why delay?

January 25, 2008

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Then he said, “The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice; for you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard. Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away, calling upon his name.” Acts 22:14-16

He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15


Cursillo Leaders' Prayer

Lord, grant that we may understand the necessity for depth in our movement, rather than surface glory. Convince us of the truth that colorful programs do not constitute success.

My God, give us a spirit of self sacrifice so that we may offer everything for your cause: our time, our abilities, our health and even our lives if necessary.

Instill in us courage in our initiatives, good judgment in our choice of the right means, and that determination which in spite of failures assures victory.

Move away from us the tiny rivalries, sensitivities, discourtesies, pride, everything which distracts from You, everything which divides or discourages.

Help us to maintain at a high level a meaningful supernatural and mutual charity among ourselves, so that each one will seek by preference the most humble tasks and will rejoice at the good performed by others so that all our spirits united in a common purpose will have one single sprit, Yours Jesus, and that this spirit may let us see Your attractive goodness marked in all our faces, Your warm accents in all our words, and in our lives something superior to the world, something that proclaims Your Living Presence among us. Amen.

St. Paul, Patron of Cursillo - Pray for us.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron of the Americas - Pray for us.


Why did I ponder what to ponder on this, the 700th posting to Your Daily Tripod? As we approach the second anniversary of this daily reflection on Piety-Study-Action from the daily readings of Scripture, the Holy Spirit hand-delivered a one-two punch today just like the Spirit has done to your team of authors since this effort started.

This 700th posting just happens to fall on the feast of the conversion of St. Paul, patron of Cursillo. Each weekend seeks the conversion of the participants and our Fourth Day is our conversion story. Whether our role is as the willing instrument to help the Lord (“Here I am, Lord,” says Ananais) or as the Cursillista Saul of Tarsus getting knocked off his high horse on the way to Damascus, our Christian life is about conversion of ourselves and others to lives of love in action.

Mark 16 could be called the Fourth Day Reading (“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15) and become a part of the closing and commissioning for every weekend. We carry out this commandment through following Jesus and living the Cursillo “tripod” of piety (the love of God), study (the love of the Word) and action (the love of our sisters and brothers).

The readings also point out that we are not alone in our work. Jesus commissioned his disciples as a group. He also selected Saul. But Paul needed help – he needed a community to receive him – starting with one man – and assist him just like we need the members of our group reunion, Ultreya communities and others to strengthen us on our journey.


Now, why delay?

What actions have we been meaning to undertake?

People in our neighborhoods need us. Whether it is those who are physically or emotionally or spiritually ill right in our parish, reach out through family life, religious education or social action programs.

People in our nation need us. Maybe they are unemployed or underemployed who need encouragement and confidence. Maybe they are individuals, families or children who need health insurance and hope that politicians stop squabbling over how to deliver it. Maybe they are strangers who need to be welcomed into a new land as productive and active citizens. Maybe they are people who now find themselves frail and elderly who have forgotten much of their lives yet still have healthy bodies and seek the companionship and love of those surrounding them.

People in our world need us. Angola. Haiti. Kenya. Sudan. Gaza. Somalia. Iraq. Rwanda. Afghanistan. According to, the new millennium began with much of the world consumed in armed conflict or cultivating an uncertain peace. Most of these are civil or "intrastate" wars, fueled as much by racial, ethnic, or religious animosities as by ideological fervor. Most victims are civilians, a feature that distinguishes modern conflicts. During World War I, civilians made up fewer than 5 percent of all casualties. Today, 75 percent or more of those killed or wounded in wars are non-combatants. That doesn't even take into account natural disasters, poverty, hunger and human needs in a world where 2 billion people live on less than $2 per day.

As Jesus asked us in today’s readings, “Now, why delay?” Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. As St. Francis advised, “Sometimes, use words.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Lord Brought About a Great Victory

January 24, 2008

Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church

By Melanie Rigney

When he took his life in his hands and slew the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great victory for all Israel through him, you were glad to see it. Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood by killing David without cause? (1 Samuel 19:5)

O Most High, when I am afraid, in you I place my trust. (Psalms 56:4)

He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known. (Mark 3:10-12)


Be with me, Lord, as I face the forces of evil, wrong, and indifference in carrying out your Word. Train my hands for battle, my fingers for war, wherever I may face them.


We never tire of seeing the face, whether we are fortunate enough to see Michelangelo’s David at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy; in glossy coffeetable-size art books; or in the form of life-size replicas in places as seemingly incongruous as Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

It is a face of faith, of confidence... not of braggadocio or swaggering or fear or intimidation. It is the moment at which David says to himself, “With God’s help, I can do this. This man will never again insult the armies of the living God.”

It might be the same look Jesus had on his face when he helped the people from Galilee and Judea. He knew that there would continue to be consequences because of the conflicts which had arisen with the Pharisees. So while he continued to heal them, Jesus “warned them sternly not to make him known.”

Jesus didn’t stop and think about the likely ramifications or possible compromises or alternatives. Instead, we are told that Jesus was angry. He was grieved at the Pharisees’ hard hearts. And he went ahead and did God’s work.

Each day we face formidable foes. Some are big picture... disrespect for human life at all stages, for example. Others are more personal... lack of self-confidence, fear, and pride, for example. Our foes can seem as formidable as Goliath and the Pharisees. Let us remember Michelangelo’s rendition of David at his moment of decision and reflect it in our faces, hearts, and souls.


Make a list of three giants you slew last year with God’s help. What rocks did He place in your slingshot? How can you reuse them to conquer the giants you face today?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Not by the Sword or Spear

January 23, 2008

Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves. For the battle is the LORD'S, and he shall deliver you into our hands." I Samuel 17:47

Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?" But they remained silent. Mark 3:4


Let us pray. Father, send us into the battles of our day with your Son at our side. Strengthen us to rely upon the unlimited power of his love, rather than on our own limited means, to secure victory for you. Give us the faith to stretch out our weak and shriveled hands in order to have Jesus place his blessings in our palms. Send the Spirit to offer us the gift of fortitude so we can hold onto that grace for life. Amen.


Just three days into the second week in ordinary time and not even four weeks since the joyful birth of the Lord, the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees has already started to boil over. With this latest argument about the Sabbath, the Pharisees start plotting against Jesus.

The forces of good and evil play out their conflict today in both readings. Jesus, of the House of David, takes on the Goliath power of the Pharisees. The religious leaders ally themselves with the political leaders to plot the downfall of one, single, solitary man who apparently threatens the foundation of religious and political life -- Jesus.

“It is not by the sword that the Lord saves,” foreshadows the end game of this conflict in Gethsemane when Jesus instructs Peter to “put away your sword.”

So the seeds are planted for the victory by Jesus. However, just as David could not avoid the confrontation with the Philistine, Jesus must play out this conflict to the bitter end. He, like David, will go up against a strong enemy to save lives but not through the use of the sword.


How do we win our arguments? By shouting? By getting pushy? By resorting to violence?

Jesus shows us how to calmly turn the tables on those who were against him. He allowed them to see him do good works first. Not only did the Pharisees ignore God’s word that “This is my beloved son,” but they also ignored the miraculous signs that Jesus performed in their presence.

What conflict are you facing? How can you plan to win that conflict via peaceful means?

You think that is not possible? Tell that to Lech Walesa and the Solidarity trade union of Poland. Tell that to Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Tell that to Martin Luther King, Jr. of Atlanta, Selma and Birmingham. Tell that to Jesus of Nazareth.

The Lord Looks Into the Heart

January 22, 2008

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28


An Intimate Request

How do you, Lord, look at me?

What do you feel in your heart for me?

-- John Egan, SJ

(From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, edited by Michael Harter, SJ. Chicago: Jesuit Way, an imprint of Loyola Press, 2005)


“Make it so.” With those words, Star Trek’s Captain Picard would empower his First Officer to get the crew to follow an order. Then the First Officer, Commander Riker, would have the authority to execute the captain’s plan.

In work and in life, we sometimes also need authority before we can get anything done. All of us have responsibilities to get certain tasks completed. However, sometimes, we need others to act in concert with us. In those cases, we also need some authority to confirm our influence of others.

We see David get anointed with such responsibility by Samuel in the first reading. However, David was not Samuel’s first choice. He wasn’t even the sixth choice that Samuel presented. They eliminated all seven other sons of Jesse before they finally called in David from watching the sheep. Samuel did not see how God sees. He had to, by trial and error, come to the right outcome. Man did not choose the same way God chose. Only God could see what was in David’s pure heart.

David gets his authority from the anointing by Samuel. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David. Christ gets his authority from both the baptism by John and some compelling words from God (“This is my beloved son.”). Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon Christ.

However, Jesus still finds himself having to defend the root of his authority before the Pharisees. The real issue here is not about eating seeds of grain. The real issue is establishing the diving roots of Christ’s authority as opposed to the interpretation of mere humans. Today’s reading attempts to resolve yet another conflict that crops us between Jesus and the Pharisees, who did not witness his Baptism in the Jordan.


We got our responsibility and authority to act in our initiation into Christianity, through Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. Through these sacraments, we take on our mantle as priest, prophet and king. Through these sacraments, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon us. We not only must go out to fulfill our mission, we also must work to spread the word. Once we do that evangelical work, the next step is to encourage others to join us (Make a friend. Be a friend. Bring a friend to Christ.).

Our job is not to fulfill human directives. Instead, we must discern God’s intention for all of us. It is not up to us to pass on work for others to accomplish. It is up to us as followers of Christ and as Cursillistas to accept and complete the tasks assigned.

Imagine that we are in the line-up with Jesse’s sons. How does God look at you? Take some time to listen to the Lord and work on finding out what God has in mind for you. Through this discernment, we can begin to find out what is in the plan for us.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Obedience is Better than Sacrifice

January 21, 2008

Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr

By Beth DeCristofaro

But Samuel said: “Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the LORD? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams. For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry. (1 Samuel 15: 22-23)

He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:23)

…no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins. (Mark 2:22)


Lord Jesus, take my fears, my doubts, my worries and my cares. Let me not hold on to them, thus blocking myself from truly trusting in you. Let me abandon myself into your care, knowing that following you, the bridegroom, and trusting in your great love for me, is the only way to holiness. Help me to know, cherish and desire always your great love for me as did your courageous servant Agnes.


Saul just didn’t get it: We did what God asked, he answers Samuel. Saul continues: of course, we will offer sacrifices of praise to God from the spoils of war which, rightfully, belong to me, the king, and to my soldiers as victors.

But that is not what God asked. God, through Samuel, asked Saul to put aside the old way of doing things, put away his ego as king and give over all to God. God did not say to Saul that he should use God’s victories as a means to get rich and powerful.

God asks the same of us: Obedience is better than sacrifice and submission than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15: 22). Heartfelt obedience is what God requests rather than half felt, external rituals. The new wine which is Christ will rip the old wineskin of our own ego if we do not put ourselves aside and open to Christ. Christ’s life will pour out, wasted, rather than bring us to holiness. The bridegroom has come, we should rejoice and follow what he wants – as we do for the bridegroom when we attend his wedding – not just mouth platitudes.

Today is the memorial of St. Agnes, of whom little is actually known. “…Agnes is a symbol that holiness does not depend on length of years, experience or human effort. It is a gift God offers to all.”

Agnes knew that the bridegroom was with her and that she belonged to the bridegroom. No one could sway her. Her own love for God trumped, in an awesome, awful and triumphant way, her love for her own existence. God offers each of us a chance for such holiness as God gave such an opportunity to Saul.


Quietly, lovingly, consider a place in your life in which your ego is leading you towards asking, “What’s in it for me?” Is it how you treat your colleagues at work? Is it the way you drive home? Is it in the manner you answer the panhandler? Is it the way you listen to a politician from the “other” party? Is it the manner in which you interact with your family? Consider how you could better follow the Bridegroom and ask for Jesus’ help to put aside yourself in order to become a new wineskin.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Light to the Nations

January 20, 2008

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:6

John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’” John 1:32-33


Psalm 40:8-14

“Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll. To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart!” I announced your deed to a great assembly; I did not restrain my lips; you, LORD, are my witness. Your deed I did not hide within my heart; your loyal deliverance I have proclaimed. I made no secret of your enduring kindness to a great assembly.

LORD, do not withhold your compassion from me; may your enduring kindness ever preserve me. For all about me are evils beyond count; my sins so overcome me I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head; my courage fails me. LORD, graciously rescue me! Come quickly to help me, LORD!


The four Suffering servant psalms speak the reality of the destiny of Christ. Christ sees himself as the Lamb of God. Through him salvation will reach to the ends of the earth. God is the strength of Christ even as our acceptance of Christ makes God our strength too. We are all called by Christ to find our strength in him through God. Paul sees himself as called by God to be an apostle. We are sanctified in Christ by our calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ makes us his representatives to our world. Our grace and our peace come from God our Father and The Lord Jesus Christ.

Our moment closest to Christ is the call we have all received in his name. In our baptism and acceptance of Christ, we receive the power to become children of God. Each of us is called to be a light to the nations that the salvation of God may reach to the ends of the earth. The light of Christ shines on our road and leads us where we must go. Our doing the will of God has to become the delight of our hearts that our eyes and ears be open to the work that God gives us. The new song of our hearts gets its melody from our closeness to the tune Christ plays in our hearts.

John the Baptist grew up with the closeness to Christ as part of who he was. Because of that closeness he was able to point Christ out to the people who came to him. John testified that Christ was the Son of God. We testify to Christ by the reverence we have in our Eucharistic celebrations. We testify to him by our behavior in his presence. Holding Christ in our hands for the moment before we consume him, we are taken up into his life when we communicate. Those who are ministers of the Sacrament, receive him first that they may be worthy to share him with others. From the finish of the Preface to the Great Amen a silence is kept that we may honor his coming into our lives on the altar of His Sacrifice. When the elements of the bread and the wine are changed is not during the words of Consecration since there are rites where the words are not said. It is during the prayers of the Canon that the change takes place. In our hearts we join the prayers of the cannon and celebrate Christ as the Priest that brings the words of Christ to us by his celebration. Each of us hare the priesthood of Christ in the offering of the gift of ourselves.


Study and Action meet in the ways we intensify the offering of ourselves to the Lord for each other. Our recognition of each others gift allows the priest to be the celebrant and each of the participants join his priesthood by allowing the priest to offer the collectivity of our personal offering to the God through his being our minister. God speaks to the people through the actions of the priest and the people speak to God by allowing the priesthood of Christ to have its action through the words of the priest to God. Thus Christ has his presence on earth and the mystical body of Christ finds its meaning. The Church gives form to the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Kingdom of God reigns in the Sacrifice that keeps alive the Christ of heaven. Christ as the human of 2000 years ago now lives as the Christ that each of us become as his Mystical Body.

Need a Physician

January 19, 2008

Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul's head; he also kissed him, saying: “The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage. You are to govern the LORD'S people Israel, and to save them from the grasp of their enemies round about.” 1 Samuel 10:1

Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them (that), “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Mark 2:16-17


Prayer for the Grace to Name My Sins

Almighty and all-merciful God,

give me the strength of spirit to name my sins

and the courage to feel shame for them.

Let me feel confounded that my sins

have not destroyed me as others’ have.

Teach me to weep for the hurt and harm

I have sinfully inflicted on others.

Please, Lord, I really want to live aware

of how I have let this terrible evil

root itself in my self and in my life world.

-- Joseph Tetlow, SJ

(From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, edited by Michael Harter, SJ. Chicago: Jesuit Way, an imprint of Loyola Press, 2005)


Our encounters with the Lord do not leave us the way we were before that encounter.

Saul sought out the seer-prophet Samuel. He went with one purpose, to find the lost animals from his fathers herd. But, after he encountered the prophet, he found that he was anointed to fulfill a far different task than Saul expected.

So, too, it was with the sinners and tax collectors with whom Jesus dined. No matter neither what they did before nor how society saw them, Jesus still called and asked them to follow. His friendship was open to all who would say yes.

This behavior seemed strange to the religious leaders. The notes to the New American Bible explain, “Because the scribes and Pharisees were self-righteous, they were not capable of responding to Jesus' call to repentance and faith in the gospel.”

Right from his birth and especially after his baptism, Jesus had a crystal clear understanding of what God wanted him to be and to do. Through our initiation (baptism), we commit ourselves to follow Jesus just like the tax collectors, sinners, fishermen, and others.

Encountering Jesus in this way means that we must be as open to whatever He asks of us. For the Lord asks of us nothing less than complete and unexpected conversion from who we were into who He wants us to be.


What is our sin? Elie Weisel, Nobel Peace Prize-winning author, suggests that it may be our indifference.

At the same time as we are going through the primary stages of our election cycle, there is upheaval in Kenya over how this nation is choosing its leader. The disputed election has resulted in violence which has spilled over into the churches which are being ransacked and destroyed. News reports tell us that people are being forced to flee their homes and entire villages are being uprooted. We can not be indifference to such violence in the world. is urging action on our part. In a recent letter, Paul Hilder wrote:

Kenya still teeters on the brink of disaster – today bullets are flying on the streets, with over 600 killed and 250,000 made homeless as government and opposition dispute the presidency. There's hope yet, as Kenyan civil society groups stand up for peace and justice -- but only dialogue and an independent review of the tainted election can end this crisis and prevent escalating violence.

The world can play a crucial role: by reinforcing the efforts of mediators like Kofi Annan, and refusing to recognize any government until it is legitimately established. 50,000 Avaaz members have already sent this message to our foreign ministers, and almost all have listened so far. But inside Kenya, hardline leaders are sowing conflict.

President Kibaki and opposition leader Odinga need to hear that international legitimacy will only come after a mediated resolution. To send this message, we're taking out a full page ad in The East African Standard, an influential Kenyan newspaper. The ad will list the number of messages we've sent to our governments - can we double its strength by sending 100,000 messages this week before the ad runs? Click below to see the ad, send your message and spread the word:

Kenya depends on international tourism, aid and trade. With both Odinga and Kibaki accepting Kofi Annan's mediation mission, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. It's not too late to help Kenya back from the brink -- send your message, spread the word today.

With hope,

Paul, Pascal, Galit, Ricken, Ben, Esra'a and the whole Avaaz team

PS - Here are some links to the latest news on Kenya -

Marches, violence:,,2242178,00.html

Disputes over mediation:

Tainted elections: