Mark 12:14

This Gospel reading is about the Jews asking Jesus if it was necessary to pay taxes. They were saying this to catch him saying something that they could arrest him for or something that would make the people stop following him. Christ’s response to their trick is to say, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and repay to God what belongs to God. “ This amazes them and they are just as confused about how to arrest them as they were before.

Before they insulted him with such a hypothetical question, they buttered him up saying how truthful he was and how bold he was. Jesus is the truth, so of course he’s truthful, and he is God so of course he’s bold. But our Lord calls us to model after him. The only way to speak truth is to know truth. How do we come to know truth? Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. Follow after Christ, learn all you can about him, spend time in Scripture, spend time in prayer, go to Mass more often, go to Confession more often. The only way to know the Lord is to encounter him, in his word and in his sacraments. If we wish to speak truth, we must first spend time studying truth.

The second thing Jesus models for us is boldness. We see the Jews saying, “you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.” Do you share God’s love boldly as he did? I know I don’t. We live in a world concerned about niceness and tolerance. I have certainly fallen into that habit. When someone has said something contrary to scripture, I hold my tongue because I don’t want to rock the boat. Jesus says to speak up when this happens. Be bold! Be more concerned about how he sees the situation and less concerned about challenging someone. He stood up for us so we need to stand up for him.

Our Lord knows that the path to heaven is narrow because he paved it that way. He wants it to be narrow so we follow behind him and walk in his every footstep. My prayer today is that we will live boldly for the Lord and seek to know him better so that we may proclaim the truth.

Mark 12:10-11

This Gospel reading is the Parable of the Tenants. Jesus tells the scribes and pharisees a story about a farmer who builds a farm up and plants the vineyard then rents it out. At harvest time he sends a servant to collect what belongs to him at the end of season. The tenants aren’t too happy so they beat the servant and send him back to the land owner. Then, the land owner sends more servants but all of them are beaten or killed. Finally he sends his son, hoping the tenants will respect him. They don’t and they kill him too, thinking they will receive the inheritance. Jesus is speaking about himself in this parable.

After spending some time contemplating this, the Lord shared with me that I am the cornerstone the builders rejected. I spent time living for the world; not in it, but for it. I sought love and peace from a world that only had hate and unrest to share. After 20 years I opened my heart to Christ and I have found the love and peace I was seeking. When I found it, the world rejected me. No one wants to hear that there is an all powerful God that wants to help. We are all too proud to accept his grace and mercy. But through this rejection by friends that wanted to stay in the world, I have become the cornerstone.

The Lord wishes to use each of us to grow his kingdom. The great commission was for each of us, granted it is lived out in different ways. Jesus wants all of us to go out and proclaim the Good News to everyone. We all have made mistakes and we have all been rejected by the people we love because we wanted to live a life that pleased God not the world. Christ wants us to become that cornerstone by accepting that rejection and using it to evangelize. He has placed on my heart a desire to share my struggles with young women, to encourage them not to make the same mistakes I have.

Each of us has a story to tell that will encourage someone else to live a life for Christ. Jesus wants us to be rejected by the world because that rejection is necessary for us to share his mercy with others. I’d like to encourage you today to take your past mistakes and share how the Lord’s grace has pulled you out, tell people what it means to be a beloved child of the Most High. Please don’t ever let worldly rejection discourage you. Always remember that they hate us because they first hated him. But we are built for a love that is found only through him. Cling to that love and find the courage to share your heart.

Genesis 9

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9:2-3 We can eat meat now.
9:4 Nothing alive and nothing with blood.
9:6 We are made in His image so He will always love us.
9:7 Care for God’s creation.
9:11, 13-15 God is remembering all animals. God loves all creatures not just us.
9:22-23 Ham gossiped. Shem and Japheth did not want to shame their father, instead honor him.

I can eat meat as long as it doesn’t still have blood. I must respect all God’s creatures. I shouldn’t gossip. I should honor my parents.

Lord, I pray you make me more of a Shem than a Ham and that I love all of your creatures as you do and obey your eating laws. Amen.

Dream St. Louis Trip

st. louis.jpg

City number 9! This is the last city on the first leg of my cross country road trip (at least the loose plan that I have of one). If you have missed the first 8 Dream City Trips, click here.

This post is about the delightful city of St. Louis. Here are the top six things I’d like to see:

  1. Gateway Arch: This is the best known monument in St. Louis. It is 630 feet tall and made with stainless steel. Made to commemorate the westward exploration of Lewis and Clark and the expansion of the United States. It is the western hemisphere’s largest manmade monument.
  2. Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis: I cannot imagine how excited I would be to see this church. It is the heart of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and it is huge! Built in a Neo-Byzantine Romanesque Revival architectural style.
  3. Missouri Botanical Garden: I think there has been a botanical garden or conservatory in every one of the posts in this series, but this one has a butterfly house! I have loved butterflies ever since my mom told me when you see a butterfly you should think of your deceased loved ones.
  4. National Blues Museum: The blues have been an integral part of American history since its inception. The blues is a heartfelt musical style offering a creative outlet for the misunderstood and mistreated. This interactive museum was created to share the history of the blues.
  5. Pulitzer Arts Foundation: This small gallery hosts a range of contemporary exhibit. Many of the museums in this series are big and well known. It would be good to compliment the big museums, with this smaller one which has unique exhibits. Then I can feel like a Catholic millennial hipster.
  6. Laclede’s Landing Wax Museum: I have never seen a wax museum. They look incredibly creepy and strange. But hey, I can check it off my bucket list and never have to see a plastic, life-size, replica of a human being.

St. Louis seems like such a fun city. While doing my research on these top six places, there were several other sights I would like to see. If you have any recommendations, please put them in the comments below.

I have greatly enjoyed putting together this series so far. There are a total of 53 cities I would like to eventually put on this list. For now, we will stick with the first 9 cities. I hope you enjoyed the series so far and looking forward to more content. It is my sincere hope to do a travel diary or blog for each of these cities, so please subscribe.