Jesus and Mary Magdalene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This week is the summit of Christendom, it is the week that establishes our missions and our purpose. It is the week the God sacrificed His Son for our sake. This week we experience the Passion of our Lord, the scourging, the ridicule the lies and the humiliation. This week we are taken to the hill, we partake in the nailing of our Lord upon the cross, we share in the agony of Mary and John and we are party to the mocking. We cannot remove ourselves from the Passion, because the Passion is eternal. Christ died for our sins, our sins of today and of tomorrow. The Passion unfolds daily, when we sin, the hammer falls upon the nail that pierces our Blessed Lords skin with each utterance of disparity and sin. Our actions today, our inequity of our humanity places the crown of thorns upon His blessed head and our lies are the spit upon His most Holy face. We are the cross that we nail Him to, we are the sins that He died for, we are the bystanders that mock and call to Him, “Come down from the cross, and save yourself”. We are the reason for His passion.
We are also the reason for His Resurrection, we are the stone that covered His tomb, but we are also the stone that was moved away. We are Mary Magdalene, when she peered into the empty tomb and saw that our Lord was “taken away”. We cried the tears of loss and desperation as she did, in the frantic search for our Lord. We are Mary in the garden when she hears the word “Why do you cry” and we are Mary when she discovers that our Lord is not dead, but risen. We are the paradox that is humanity, we are the saints and sinners we are the crucifiers and the crucified, we are one with the Lord.
We carry our cross daily to the hill, we nail our own hands to the cross with our actions and we carry our own passion in remembrance our Lord. Holy week offers us the opportunity to experience the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord in a very personal way. Through the Holy Mass and reflection upon our lives, we can and do die unto ourselves and resurrect anew with the Lord. Easter is a time of renewal, a time of death giving over to life, we see it in the earth with the birth of spring, and we experience it the Mass with the Holy Sacrifice of Communion. Catholicism offers the opportunity to truly walk with Christ on the road to Calvary, to partake in the Passion in a real sense and experience the resurrection in our lives. Allow this Easter session to truly awaken in you the Passion of our Lord, allow your feelings to flow as if from the wounds of our Lord and allow your heart to feel the last earthly movement and your soul to experience the Resurrection, not as a bystander, but as a participant. Join your suffering with our Lords, and allow the healing grace of the Passion to wash over you, to engulf you and renew you.
God Bless & have a Blessed Holy Week, one filled with many deaths and resurrections
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matthew 14 25-33 (NIV)
“Take Courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Jesus’ words have as much meaning today as they did over two thousand years ago. Take Courage! Be strong! Life yourself up and carry one Christian Soldier!
Take Courage, hard words to hear when you are in despair or frightened, when life has you down and out for the count. But the words of Jesus ring true today, and they are words us Christians need to hear. In the light of the fresh attacks on the Catholic Faith and all Christians in the United States concerning so-called health care coverage of birth control, we need to hear the words, Take Courage! With our faith being tested in the public square, we need to stand strong, but in the face of big government, we often times feel very small, and courage seems very fleeting. But Jesus tells us, Be not Afraid and ask us Why do you doubt.
So take courage, and trust in the Lord, step on the waters and walk with faith onward to victory. We, as Christians must walk on the waters of the public square, we must stand up and be counted, we must have courage and speak the truth. Jesus is calling to us, calling us out into the sea, He is waiting for us to come to Him through the storm, and like Peter, he is waiting for us to call to Him Lord, same me!
You of little faith, is that what Jesus is saying to us now, is Jesus calling to us, and we are afraid to go to Him? Are the waves of humanity to big for us to withstand, or are we to timid to venture out into the waves, to call upon Jesus to calm them and let the sea of reasoning subdue the waves of insanity?
We all are being called, just like Peter, to walk upon the sea, to walk to Jesus and to trust in Him that calls. And yes, we all will, from time to time,will forget the one who calls and sink into the sea, but Jesus is there to stretch out His hand, from the cross of salvation, and pull us up from the depths, if only we call to Him.
The public square is our Sea of Galilee, and the public discourse is our storm that tosses us about. But whom among us is our Peter, brave enough to venture out on to the sea and humble enough to call to Jesus when he starts to sink. As a Catholic, I look to the new Peter, the current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI as my Peter, as my example. And Like the Holy Father, I to will walk upon the waters and state the truth, I will challenge others to reconsider there actions and voice my opinion at the polls this November, but I will also, like Peter, takes my eyes off of Christ and start to sink into the sea, and I pray, that like Peter, I too will be humble enough to call to our Lord for help.
We all are called to serve, we all are called to proclaim the good news. As Catholics we are Baptized as Priest, Prophet and King, how are you fulfilling your Baptism? Use this Lenten session as a time to reflect upon your calling, your mission. Are you being called into the storm, are you being asked to walk upon the waters of the public square? Were is Jesus calling you to? And are you responding or are you lacking the courage to respond. Pray and meditate about this, ask Jesus to help you and respond boldly to His call. Jesus will calm the storms and He will stretch out His hand to you, if you only ask.
God Bless & Happy Lent
Image by wmrice via Flickr
In the Great State of Michigan we are going through a lot of growing pains as of late. In November we elected a new Governor, Rick Snyder. He won the Governorship overwhelmingly by stating exactly what needs to happen in this state to fix it. Cut corporate taxes, share the burden, fix the schools and all the rest. People liked hearing it, and voted him into office.
But, there is always a but when it comes to politics, the Gov. did something no politician ever does, and it is coasting him. He is doing exactly what he said he was going to do…. He cut corporate taxes, he shared the burden by removing loop holes in our income tax system, he raised personal income tax a tad bit, and now he is fixing one aspect of the school system, the unions and tenure. How dare him!
Where does he get off doing what he said he would do. Doesn’t he know that us voters like to hear the hard fixes, but we don’t want you to actually do them. We want to talk about shared sacrifice, but we, personally, don’t want to sacrifice, let others do that. Silly, silly man… It’s obvious that he is new to politics, he is trying to run the state like a corporation! But what irks me the most is, he told us that and now he has the guts to do it!
People are really upset, and the unions are, well pissed. Governor Snyder is working relentlessly to turn this state around and he has no political baggage to carry with him, no special interest groups beholden to and he don’t care what his poll ratings are, basically he is not a Politian, he is a business man doing his job, the job he was hired for. One of his campaign signs read “Hire Rick”. That basically says it all.
School reform is paramount to the turn-around of this state, we must educate our children to compete in the global market, but we must also create an environment were they want to remain in the state of Michigan after graduation. Rick is focused on this, he is laying the groundwork for this to become reality, not just some nice sounding campaign slogan.
I proudly voted for him, and I continue to support him. Do I agree with all his decisions, such, no, but I also understand that I don’t know nor do I see everything that he does. I only know a small part of the over all picture. The Governor must consider the impact on each and every citizen of this great state. That is a burden I would not want, but one Mr. Snyder campaigned for, using a very new method, truthfulness.
Hmmm, maybe it will catch on and we will see some of this from our other politicians. Just a thought….
What the legislation would change for teachers
Here are some of the major changes that are part of legislation approved Thursday by the state House:
• A beginning teacher would be in a probationary period for five years, instead of the current four. However, a beginning teacher deemed effective for three straight years would get out of probation sooner.
• It would be mandatory for a tenured teacher who is rated ineffective on an evaluation to be placed on probation.
• Seniority would no longer be a predominant factor in layoff decisions.
• Language that says teachers can be fired for only “reasonable and just cause” would be eliminated and replaced with language that says teachers can’t be fired for “arbitrary or capricious reasons.”
• The pay of a teacher would be cut off after 90 days if that teacher is appealing a firing.
• Six items would be added to the list of issues that teachers unions could not bargain, including placement of teachers, personnel decisions during layoffs, performance evaluation systems and discharge or discipline of employees. (Read the article here)
Image via Wikipedia
Michigan Budget and Economic Facts
5/25/2011 10:02 AM
An organization called Public Notice has assembled state fact sheets that outline budget and economic facts for all 50 states. Here’s Michigan’s:
- Total State Expenditures (FY 2010 estimated): $45.7 billion
- Income Tax Rate (Tax Year 2011): 4.35 percent
- Sales Tax Rate (2011): 6 percent
- Total FY 2011 Budget Deficit: $2 billion, or 9.3 percent of the budget
- Projected FY 2012 Budget Deficit: $1.3 billion, or 5.9 percent of the budget
- Pension Liability and % of Liability Funded (FY 2009): $72,911,900, 79% funded
- Economic Growth (2008 to 2009): -5.2 percent
- Unemployment Rate (Apr. 2011): 10.2 percent
- Foreclosure Rate (Apr. 2011): 1 in every 349 houses
Federal Government Spending:
- Total Federal Funds Received (FY 2010 estimated): $19.2 billion
- Stimulus Money Awarded: $8,648,638,169
- Examples of Stimulus Spending:
- $3.8 million was appropriated for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy – a
group dedicated to finding a new use for the Detroit Tigers’ former stadium.
- $7.5 million was used to construct a new terminal with stone fireplaces and
exposed log beams in a tiny northern Michigan airport. The airport serves an
average of only 72 departing passengers a day.
- $3.8 million was appropriated for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy – a
We in Michigan need to wake up, 7.5 million for a terminal with only 75 passengers per day… Come on! –5.2% economic growth and a 10.2% unemployment rate… Give me a break!
It is time that we wake up and smell the fudge or we will be unable to save this great state of ours. Michigan has lots to offer, we have deep roots in innovation, yet we seem unable to innovate of economy, we choose to do the same old, same old. And when we do elect someone new, someone who is willing to innovate, our current Governor, Rick Snyder, as soon has he starts to make the cuts and do what is needed, the good old unions and liberals come out and want to recall him. I don’t get it….
Are we that stupid in this state, do we really not get it? Or are the unions and there little followers that set on protecting themselves, and to hell with the rest of us. I pray that we are not that stupid, but based on past experiences I fear that we are. Look at the Detroit city council over the past years, or even the voters of Detroit who keep voting the same corrupt council members in. Look at our nation reps, Levin and Stabenow, Levin has been in office so long I think he knew President Washington. And both are old school union supporters. To hell with everyone else, unions above all else, that’s there mantra.
I don’t have the answers to Michigan’s problems, but I do know that we must, as a state, change our way of thinking. We must get out of this union mentality. To me, unions are the death of this nation and this great state of Michigan. If I had my way, I would outlaw all unions. But I can’t and until the mentality of all who live here changes, unions will continue to hold an unfair advantage over the public and government. Out current President is not helping out much, for he is a union lover. But than again, he has never worked a real job in his life, so what does he know….. He is nothing but a socialist and community organizer (another word for union).
God willing Governor Snyder will balance our budget and get Michigan back on the road to prosperity.
It’s funny, people seems to think because I am an American, I must know the pulse of America. I was asked by one of my students in Germany what America thought of the fact that Germany turned off all there nuclear power plants. My response:
“I’m not sure what America thinks of it, I know that I think it was reactionary, and I know we, in America are debating nuclear power at the moment. I also know that our news covered it, but I really don’t think it was a big news story.”
“It was only a news story, you’re not talking about it”
It always strikes me funny, Europe despises America, according to Obama and the lame stream news, yet every time I am there they, the Europeans want to know what we, the Americans think. If they despise us, as we are lead to believe, than why do they care what we think? What bother to ask?
American politics are always a topic when I travel, it never fails. And for the most part it is a nice debate over points of view. But once again it was brought up that they, the Europeans, should have a vote in the American political system!?! Really, you really think you should be able to vote for our President, the President of the United States of America… Come on! But this time I did offer a carrot to them, I offered them Obama, I told them I would be glad to ship him over, than he can become supreme ruler of Europe. The look on their faces was, as we often say, priceless.
Another student, this time in the UK brought up the Big Wedding they are preparing for, William and Kate, the young Royals. That, of course lead to a discussion on the Monarchy and is role in British Politics. My take, I like it, I live the idea that I can travel to the UK, see a palace and know a Queen lives there. There is just something about it. But I am not British, and I have no say in their political system. Now for the most part, when the Queen comes up the first reaction of the Brits are disdain for the whole family and the whole Monarchy thing. But this time I was shocked. the student stated that maybe having one supreme power in the Queen or King would be better, than you would at least know who is to blame. Now I understand his point of view. with politicians always politicking, you are never sure who said what, when were or why. And that’s just they way they, the politicians, like it. But… There is always a but… One rule governments never work, the power becomes too much for them, and they want more and more and more. I told my student we have recent proof of this. I also told him that we, in America, are currently trying to rid ourselves of our American Monarchy. For some reason I got a strange look at this comment. “What Monarchy?” The Obama Monarchy, with the way Obama and the Democrats have acted in the past 2 or so years, one would feel as if America was rules by a King, King Obama.
Once again, I offered up Obama, offered to send our King to the British people. The way I look at it, if they love him so much, and he, Obama, loves the European way of governing so much (Socialism) than they can have him. It would work out for the best for everyone. We would get rig of him, and they would gain the savior all to themselves. And Obama would be looked upon as a great politician, and in the end, that is truly all he wants.