Saturday, July 04, 2015

The Lord Spoke to Me

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time           

By Phil Russell

"As the Lord spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking to me:  Son of man I am sending you.” Ezekiel 2:2-3A 

That I, Paul, might not become too elated, because of the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me…Three times I begged The Lord about this that it might leave me, but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place (Nazareth) accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.  They said,  " Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? Is he not…and they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house."...He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:1-6)

When I share at Breaking Open the Word (BOW) with RCIA on Sundays, I love the use the African Method.  Yes, it came from the Continent!  The method is simple: What did you hear (in the Readings)?  What did it mean to you?  And what will you do with it?  Since I came to use this method with these on the Journey of Faith, I began to use it myself on a more regular basis.

Could this affect my PIETY?  (It often does!).

"As The Lord spoke to me," and often my own query is, "Are you speaking to me?"  And oh so very gently do I hear, "YES, I am speaking to you, Philip." (How many times am I more like one of his kinsmen, rather than the one baptized in his Name.  Baptized, Prophet, Priest and King.).

So, why then, is it so easy for me to, shrink back from my CALL.  JESUS, persists: "My GRACE is sufficient for you."  And I find Him, ending the sentence back to me with just a "period," rather than and "exclamation point." But in my heart of hearts, I know that there is an Exclamation Point on that sentence.

Oh, Lord, help me for I am a man of unclean lips! Make me clean, so, that I may say, "Here Am I. Send me!"  (Isaiah 6:5-9)

“Lord, I remember when I took up that cross (at the 91st Men's Closing in May of 1994) I spoke, "and I am counting on Christ."    Help me now Lord, with your GRACE, to STUDY my Environment and work at affecting change. (And, Lord, I am talking about affecting a change in me!)

"So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying hands on them." As I break open this Word, these last sentence JUMPS OUT at me. I always thought Jesus left there defeated (my thoughts, not Mark's).  However, he was able to cure a few!

WOW, thanks for that one Lord and please HELP me (by Your GRACE) to WALK and to LIVE in my BAPTISMAL Mantle as Prophet, Priest and King. I want to be like you and to be YOUR HANDS, affecting change and healing!

I would like to take this opportunity to share something with you that Father Joe spoke to me so many years ago as Spiritual Director on my Cursillo Weekend.   As I had shared the pain of defeat with him, he said, "Always remember that the Rose is the product of the Thorn Bush."  I have never looked at a Rose quite the same way. There were Roses blooming on that Pathway, at Missionhurst, that Sunday Morning as I made my way out to the sounds of singing!   

De Colores and a hand stretched out to Father Joe as I humbly am passed this baton, 


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