Monday, March 03, 2014

New Birth to a Living Hope

Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

For a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:6-7

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing.  Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.  Mark 10:21-22

We begin our Lenten Journey in a few days with a mark on our foreheads.  This mark will acknowledge what we have in common with the man in today’s Good News.  We have many possessions and want more from Safeway or Target, eBay or Amazon, the iTunes store or WalMart.  Our imperfection cannot be eliminated by us alone.  However, nothing is impossible for God.  Jesus reminds us that we also share in the same new birth to a living hope that is symbolized by the joy of Christmas and the suffering of Lent.  Let us embrace the ashes we will receive Wednesday.  May they help us find room on our journey to grow with God.  Rather than a sign of despair and sadness, let these ashes be the fuel that powers our inspiration throughout the Lenten journey ahead.  (Based upon CRS Rice Bowl Prayer).  

The number of “smartphone” applications which help us to track what we have boggles the mind.

  • Stocks is a daily update on the major stock exchanges and can be customized with selected stocks or mutual funds
  •  Zillow allows us to track the value of our house and at a glance check out how our house value compares with the neighbors.
  •  Mint and Quicken are two (of many) that consolidate a report on all checking, saving credit card, and loans in one place.
  •  Personal Capital and FutureAdvisors check up on your investments and make personal suggestions about how to change your investments to lower fees, improve returns, modify risk and more. These try to link all your accounts in one place to see your total net worth.
  •  Future Money helps not just to know what we have today but what we might have in the future.
  •  Loan Calculator, Mortgage Marketplace help you track your debt (and may tempt you to accumulate more loans) 
  •  Freedom$ helps people who want to accumulate enough money (defined as ten times your current income minus debt) as a foundation to one day have control over their work-life balance 
  •  Retirement Countdown is an app which will tell you how many days you have until you hope to retire (Maybe by then you will have the amount of assets suggested in Freedom$?)

Think of how sad the man who talked to Jesus would be if he were living today.  In the case of every person reading this, no matter what your financial conditions, we all have multiples of property compared to the average person in ancient Roman-occupied Palestine. 

All is not lost.  What may be impossible for humanity and Silicon Valley is not impossible for God and some enterprising software developers assisting Catholic Relief Services.

With Mardi Gras approaching tomorrow, there are two steps to take.  First, enjoy a little King Cake on Tuesday and check out the final parades at 

Then, download the CRS Rice Bowl application.  It will give you prayer ideas for every day of Lent, help you to pledge a certain amount to charity and track your progress toward that, gives your simple meatless recipes to use on Fridays in Lent, and finally shares stories of hope from around the world.

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