Tag Archives: Gospel of Matthew

Safe in the Lord

Dominicus Johannes Bergsma
Wooden cross on the ridge between Tguma and Präzer Höhi, 2017

[Then Jesus said to his disciples,] “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25

In these uncertain days of racial discord and the COVID-19 pandemic, I worry about being safe and keeping others safe.

But safety is an illusion. I am human and cannot hide from illness, natural or man-made disasters, or the violence and greed of others.

My hope must always rest in knowing Who is in charge, in Whose blessed hands I find my security, in Whose heart I live forever.

The key is love

James Tissot (1836-1902)
The Calling of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew
gouache over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Jesus said to his disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15

Peter has spent long hours and many months with Jesus. He has come to know the compassion of God manifested in every word and touch of Jesus.

This is the key to the Kingdom of God: knowing God’s love in my heart and letting it overflow to all people with words and actions that reveal kindness, gentleness, respect, encouragement, justice, and healing.

When the demons infiltrate

Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib (Egyptian, active ca. 1684)
Jesus and the Canaanite Woman
Ink and pigments on laid paper
The Walters Art Museum

But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” Matthew 15:25

The COVID and racism pandemics are feeding a number of demons. As the demons of distress, anxiety, and fear attempt to infiltrate my mind, body, and spirit, I do my best to stay aware of their effect on me and ask the Lord to help me. I trust he hears and answers me.

Today I put my faith in the Compassion of God.

Eager

T’oros Roslin (ca.1210-1270)
Jesus Walks on the Sea, 1262

During the fourth watch of the night, [Jesus] came toward [the disciples] walking on the sea. Matthew 14:25

I sense an eagerness in Jesus. I sense that he wants very much to be with his friends and so he takes the quickest way to meet them: by walking on the sea.

How humbling to know the Lord is eager to be with us. How humbling for me to realize how often I am afraid to be in the Lord’s presence, how often I am afraid of the Lord’s powerful and unceasing love for me.

Today I will walk on the sea of love and trust as I consciously seek the presence of God. If I falter, I will ask the Lord to save me from my fear of loving and being loved.

 

 

 

Fed with kindness

Morning Repast.”Loaves and Fishes.”

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works. Psalm 145:8-9

Today I will remember I am made in the image and likeness of God. I will not let anger control me, but rather I will feed others with generous measures of kindness, goodness, and compassion.

A storeroom of love

Dilip V Nerlikar
The fisherman active in Vengurla, Maharshtra, India, 2017

And Jesus replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” Matthew 13:52

Every day I cast a net of discernment. It captures thought patterns, behaviors, and habits that prevent me from caring for those in need, forgiving those who have hurt me, and treating all people with respect and dignity. I sort through old fears, resentments, and wounds. I ask the Lord to remove all the hindrances to love and to strengthen everything in me that is generous, kind, and compassionate.

 

 

Rich fruit

White, Ellen G., Christ’s Object Lessons. Oakland, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1900, p.42

And Jesus spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.” Matthew 13:3

The soil of my heart varies day to day, sometimes moment to moment. Sometimes I don’t understand the Word of God and don’t take the time to study and meditate on it. Sometimes pain and fear of others’ disapproval prevent me from believing in and speaking the Word of God’s presence and love and forgiveness. Sometimes financial hardship and job worries and the heartbreak of racist acts and abuse and human trafficking consume my thoughts and I have no energy to trust that God is in charge and has a vision of love and peace for the world.

And sometimes my heart is soft and open and ready to receive the Good News of God’s compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Then I am able to love my neighbor and do good to those who hurt me. Then I bear the rich fruit of peace and nonviolence. Then I treat all human persons with respect and kindness.

 

 

Labor in love

Stikå Erik Hansson (1823-1897)
Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem, 1843

Jesus said, ““Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

We labor every day to follow Jesus, to love our enemies, forgive those who hurt us, feed the hungry, stay peaceful in the midst of conflict, seek justice for the abused and rejected.

The Lord’s humble presence, gentle guidance, and abiding love renews us for our daily mission to be like God in compassion, kindness, and mercy.

 

Follow the Way of Love

Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Christ Carrying the Cross

Jesus said to his apostles: “…whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38

We are carrying a number of crosses today: the public crosses of the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, bullying, abuse, self-serving  leadership,  destructive sandstorms, wild fires, and floods.

We also carry personal crosses such as pain, illness, family divisions, addiction, loneliness, and grief.

No matter the cross we carry, Jesus asks us to follow him on the Way of Love and Compassion.

Today I will bring God’s love with me wherever I go. I will trust love will lighten the burdens that I and others carry.

Do not be afraid

Zeynel Cebeci
A male house sparrow (Passer domesticus’) at Eskibaraj Dam Lake, Adana – Turkey.
7 November 2018

Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one.”  Matthew 10:26

Today I will open my heart to God’s love. I will ask for the grace to love as God loves. I will ask God to fill me with love, peace, compassion, and joy.

Love heals fear. Today I will choose love over fear.