25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 23, 2018

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 23, 2018

25B18. Wisdom 2:12, 17-20. “With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test.” “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” This was written a hundred years before Christ by a Jew who remained loyal to Judaism in spite of being persecuted by Jews who were won over by the Hellenistic (Greek) pagan ways of those who ruled at that time. His circumstances prepare us for the situation that Jesus was to find himself in much later.

Mark 9:30-37. Once again Jesus asserts that he will be killed and three days after he will rise. “But the disciples did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.” In last Sunday’s Gospel Jesus had said, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Emotionally and intellectually they were locked into the human way of thinking. From what I can see, it was only by the grace of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that they were enabled to break free from their humanness and pass over to comprehend things as God does. Jesus could not but notice that, on the way to Capernaum, they had been arguing among themselves. After Jesus questioned them as what they were arguing about, interestingly enough the Gospel says that “they remained silent,” but does not say that anyone told Jesus that they had been discussing “who was the greatest.” Once again Jesus recognizes that they were thinking as human beings do and not as God does. So “he said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’” Human thinking is to take advantage of any situation for one’s own personal gain. God’s thinking is to bring everyone to love as God loves; not to take from everyone so that you yourself have more but to work to the advantage of everyone to have the most for eternity. Placing a child in their midst with his arms around it, Jesus says, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” We are to love everyone, no matter that they have little importance in the eyes of this world but simply to love them as God loves them.

James 3:16-4:3. “Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” When we hand ourselves over to what is not of God, we are on the road to the destruction of ourselves and perhaps of some others around us. What is of God is good through and through; what is not of God will eventually rear its evil head. God is love that gives life; all else leads to annihilation. In John 6:53, “Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” Then in John 6:57, Jesus said, “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” Only the God who first created life can continue to be the source of life for us because life can only come from love, i. e., from God, the only source of true love. Everything that is not from Jesus is a source of death and destruction. Those are our passions. They are not true love. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul writes: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it does not seek its own interest, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 16, 2018

24B18. Isaiah 35:4-7a. “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.” This is one of the Servant Songs or Servant-of-the-Lord oracles where the prophet proclaims to the sinful people what the Lord wants them to hear no matter how shamefully he, the prophet, is treated, trusting that the Lord will save him by proving him right. As the New Testament people we see these verses as written also to refer to Jesus when he came 500 years after they were written.

Mark 8:27-35. Jesus “asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’” Continuing, “He asked them, ‘but who do you say that I am?’ Peter said to him in reply, ‘You are the Christ,’” which means the Messiah or Savior. He told them he would be rejected by the Jewish religious establishment, be killed but rise after three days. Peter, having in mind the publicly accepted notion that the Messiah would be a victorious king who would drive the Romans out, rebuked Jesus for thinking that those kinds of things would happen to him. Jesus, turning the tables, rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” God’s plan was not to get things done through muscle and sword but with love and sacrifice. God’s ways are not our ways. Following Jesus example, God’s way is accepting the cross that God gives us. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” It is quite natural to try to live our lives independently. To try to save our life on our own without the Savior will always be disastrous because only God has the resources to gain salvation. Giving our lives over to God, always living dependent on Jesus and obedient to his will, will give us the salvation we can never get on our own.

James 2:14-18. In many places in Paul’s epistles, he says it is not by works that we are saved but by faith. Paul tried to convert the Jews in the diaspora in the Greek speaking world but found them quite resistant to his efforts. In effect they were saying to him that the Hebrew Torah or Law found in the Pentateuch or first five books of the Old Testament was their Messiah, not Jesus. Paul retorted that, not by fulfilling the works required by the Law, but by putting our faith in Jesus, our Messiah and Savior, could we gain salvation because only God can give salvation, not our works without God. Apparently James was writing against a misinterpretation of Paul that all one had to do was to believe in Jesus and then do nothing. Paul himself never failed by the works of his ministry to bring the faith to others. Also in 1 Corinthians 16:1 -4, Paul calls upon the faithful to contribute to the needy in Jerusalem. Genuine faith produces loving actions for the benefit of others. “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Remember from Matthew 25:42-46 when Jesus in his parable said: “For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Out of his great love for us, Jesus put his love for us into action. He offered himself for us on the cross. There is no real faith where there is no life of loving. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, Paul wrote: “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 9, 2018

23B18. Isaiah 35:4-7a. A foreign army had come to conquer Jerusalem, but God stands with his people to give them courage and strength. “Here is your God.” “He comes to save you.” The saving action of God that is in the Gospel reading is predicted when Isaiah writes, “The ears of the deaf (will) be cleared:” “then the tongue of the mute will sing.”

Mark 7:31-37. The people see the power of God made manifest when Jesus cures the deaf man and enables him to speak clearly. The People proclaim the magnificence of the work of Jesus, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” Jesus, though he appears to be only human, through his miracles manifests his divinity. The God, who in the Old Testament was present at a distance, in the New Testament times, is walking among his people showing his care for them by his powerful works.

James 2:1-5. People are more naturally attracted to the haves’ rather than to the have nots’. I guess because we would rather be one those who have nice things than to be one of those who do not have nice things. In Mark 10:23b, Jesus said, “How hard it is those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” In the mentality of this world we can easily think that once we have nice earthly things we have all we need. The nice things of this world are worthless when we die. James rhetorically states, “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?” Sometimes the poor, who are not so disturbed by their relative lack of the nice things of this world, can put their trust more in the things that that only God can offer. They are not so preoccupied by the wealth they already have so that they trust in the God who in Himself is the treasure this world can never offer.

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 2, 2018

22B18. Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8. Knowing that he will die before God’s People enter the Promised Land, Moses gives them the Lord’s Law that will enable them to be a people who will always benefit by being loyal and obedient to the God who is so generous to His People.

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. Jesus’ followers often were common ordinary folks who did not follow some of the traditions of the Jewish leaders, such as washing their hands before meals. The Pharisees criticized them. Jesus’ response, in turn, was to criticize the Pharisees for making so much of what was human tradition yet not observe God’s Law itself, such as the requirement to honor one’s parents (Mark 7:10-13). While the Law did not speak of washing one’s hand, it did declare some foods to be unclean. Jesus, using his divine authority, did declare that there is no food that makes one unclean but rather that the evil within a person that is an expression of one’s inner self that makes him unclean. The commentary written in the text of Mark 7:19c declares: “Thus he declared all foods clean.” What defiles a person is not the product of which food one eats but rather of the evil one has given himself over to. Jesus is accusing the Pharisees of making much of appearances and little or nothing of what is in one’s heart.

James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27. All goodness that is true goodness has at its roots in God as the giver. Jesus said in Matthew 9:17: “There is only One who is good.” God is good down to his very essence and nothing can cause him to be anything but good. Often God makes us agents of goodness so that we can pass on his goodness to others. “He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” God gave us birth into the new life of Christianity “by the word of truth” i.e. the gospel message of his salvation for us. “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” James is calling upon us who are being loved by Jesus to bring that love to others through our attitude and actions. John says in 1 John 3:18, “Children, let us love not in word or in speech but in deed and truth.” James writes in James 2:17: “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

James wrote in James 1:27c: “Keep oneself unstained by the world.” Remember in the Gospel that Jesus said, “The things that come out from within are what defile.” The evil ways of this world enter our hearts ungoverned by the God who is goodness. The actions that come from a heart that belongs to God are only goodness. Let us always remember that God is the only true source of genuine goodness.

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 26, 2018

21B18. Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b. “Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, addressing them, “If it does not please you to serve the Lord decide today whom you will serve.” “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Now that the Lord had delivered the Israelites from slavery and settled them down in the Promised Land, it was time for them to decide whom they would serve. Here they clearly decide to submit themselves to the Lord as their master.

John 6:60-69. In demanding of his followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood, without at this point telling them that this is to be done under the appearances of bread and wine, Jesus is commanding them to put their blind trust in him that all would go well. However many refused, saying among themselves, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” “As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” Up to this point they had put their faith in Jesus because they saw the miracles he had performed. Now however, he wanted them to put their faith in him without seeing outward visible signs but simply believing in him personally. It was to be no longer the miracles that commanded their belief but the person, Jesus. Jesus says, “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” He is saying in his own way to believe in him because he God made man in their midst. Peter, apart from those who refuse to submit themselves to the authority of Jesus, says to Jesus, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Ephesians 5:21-32. Much of the Scriptures reflect the ancient hierarchical culture in which they were written. In this Sunday’s epistle Paul, in telling wives to be subordinate to their husbands, reflects the thinking of the culture of his times. In that same spirit of the times, Paul writes in Ephesians 6:5a, “Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling.” Also Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:5, “But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved.” In inspiring the Scriptures, what the Holy Spirit is calling upon us to do is not to replicate the culture of those times but to follow what will lead us to the holiness that God the Father has called us to as his sons and daughters. I believe that the Spirit is calling upon us to be subordinate to God. In our egalitarian society we share with one another the gifts that God has endowed us with and the talents that we have been able to cultivate so to make the family, the community or the Church whole and complete to accomplish its purposes in this world. In 1 Corinthians 12:7 Paul wrote, “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” What Paul wrote in regard to spiritual gifts is true on all levels of life. We all have been given something by God to make the world he has created a better place for all and give glory to God. In Matthew 25:40 the king, representing God sitting judgment, says, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” In this Sunday’s epistle Paul writes, “For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. When the body and blood of Christ nourishes us, his own body, the Church becomes holy, giving glory to our God who cherishes us his body with Christ as our head. In receiving the Eucharist, we call upon God to be the source of our daily life so that we may become the saints he has called us to be.

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 19, 2018

20B18.   Proverbs 9:1-6.  Wisdom “has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table.” Wisdom says, “Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.”  The virtue or way of wisdom is presented as a matron who offers the food that is truth to the human mind so that the human person may direct oneself into proper courses of action and not be lost in worldly folly.

John 6:51-58.   The first sentence here repeats the last sentence from last Sunday’s Gospel.  Then the Jews question, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  They take him literally because, as yet, he has said nothing of his flesh coming under the appearances of bread.  “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.”  “Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

The custom of participating in the eating of what has been sacrificed to the Lord in the temple is documented in the first seven chapters of Leviticus.  At times the sacrifices are animals; at other times, baked or deep-fried cereal offerings.  Usually the participants are Hebrew priests but with one type of offering Leviticus 7:19c reads, “All who are clean may partake of this flesh.”  What Jesus intents to do is to offer himself on the cross as a once and forever sacrifice, replacing the repetitious offerings of the Old Testament.  When he says,  “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19c), Jesus calls upon our priests to re-present or present over and over again the once-and-for-all sacrifice of his crucifixion on Calvary.  Jesus dies only once but that one sacrifice is offered up over and over again as he commanded us to do.

To eat his flesh and drink his blood means not only to receive Holy Communion but even more to have Jesus as the source of the life that is spiritual and eternal.  Of course we already have natural life as do all animals of the earth but the life Jesus gives us in his flesh and blood is infinitely beyond the natural.  Jesus comes to us under the appearances of ordinary earthly food to remain in us and we in him so to be our ongoing source of God’s life, his personal presence in us and we in him.  In John 14:23, Jesus said, “Whoever loves me will keep my word (do my will), and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”  The divine presence gives us a share in his divine life.  Recall what Jesus said in John 6:27a: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”  Jesus is calling upon us to reorient our lives around and not around ourselves or the things of this world.

Ephesians 5:15-20.  “Brothers and sisters: Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise,” trying “to understand what is the will of the Lord.” To have God as truly our God means that we must daily submitting ourselves to the One who loves infinitely, who knows all beyond all measure, whose will is based on a foundation that is divinely perfect in every way.  If we do not live in submission then we are saying that we do not accept him as God, just as Lucifer did.  Truly having God as our God means not only to accept the eternal truth in our intellects but even more importantly to rejoice in our hearts, “giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father” who cares for us as his beloved children.

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 12, 2018

19B18. 1 Kings 19:4-8. “Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert,” but could go no further on his own energy, “saying: ‘This is enough, O Lord! Take my life.’” Nonetheless, an angel of the Lord came, providing him with enough food and drink that “he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.”

John 6:41-51. “The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” Since they knew his natural father and mother, seen him grow from birth till now, they thought, “How can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus, because they have seen or heard of the stupendous miracles and things he has done, expects that they realize that he is not just of natural origins. Jesus quotes the prophets, saying, “They shall be taught by God.” Continuing on, Jesus says, “Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.” Listening to the Father requires that we are people of lives of a deep faith that enables us to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear a God who is both invisible and inaudible. Often in the Gospels we read that Jesus went to pray. In his divinity he needed no prayer but in his humanity he needed to nourish himself in conversation with his Father. True prayer requires that we discern how the presence of God communicates with us through the manner in which things unfold in our lives, in what we may read or may hear that others say, in the thoughts and emotions that unfold around us and within us. To be a truly faith filled, spiritual people we can no longer limit ourselves to a visible, audible world. To open ourselves to the spiritual world requires that we be brave and trusting enough to let go of what we know so to land in the hands of caring and loving Lord into what we do not know, can see or hear. In 2 Corinthians 5:6, Paul writes: “So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” We look beyond a world that we readily grasp and comprehend. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “As we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.” Learning from God the Father requires that we have a mind humble and open to what God wants of us. We let God be truly God over us. That is what it means to believe in God and that belief leads to eternal life. The bread of this life will only get us into the grave but not beyond it. Eating the bread that is Jesus gives us the life that is forever.

Ephesians 4:30-5:2. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” The Holy Spirit is always trying to make us saints so that one day we will rejoice in heaven. Do not make the devil dance by being people who not have life of Jesus within us. “Be kind to one another, compassionate.” “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, (made in his image and likeness) as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 5, 2018

18B18. Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15. “The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron” that things were better in Egypt where they had plenty to eat than in the desert where they had been led with so little to eat. God hears their grumbling. So he gives the meat of the quail and the residue from the evaporated dew that was the manna to be eaten like bread from the hand of the Lord.

John 6:24-35. This Gospel follows last Sundays’ Gospel where Jesus had fed the five thousand and they sought him out to make him king so that they could get more of that miraculous meal. Jesus says to them, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Jesus, answering their question as to what works do they need to do says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” Still seeking again that miraculous meal they ask Jesus to perform a sign or miracle that they may believe in Jesus just as Moses had given the manna. Jesus replies that it was not Moses but God that gave the manna and that God will again give them the true bread from heaven that gives life to the world. “So they said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus is telling them that he has given them the bread of this world that gives life for one day as a sign that he, as the one sent by God the Father, is the One who can give them himself who is the bread that gives eternal life. As bread or any food gives us the energy to do our daily work, Jesus, dwelling within us, gives us the strength to live a holy life in a world that tempts us to be a sinful people.

Ephesians 4:17, 20-24. Paul writes, “I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their mind.” Living life without Jesus who is the bread of life is an exercise in futility because it is a choice that leaves one without the light that directs our steps in the way to eternal happiness and without the spiritual energy to make our way through this world’s jungle of temptations. Paul continues, The “truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires,” “and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” Only with Christ, as the nourishment of our spiritual inner self, the life giving force of our souls can we put away the old self and put on the new. The new self must always be a creation of God to which we assent and actively cooperate.

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 29, 2018

17B18. 2 Kings 4:42-44. “Elisha insisted, ‘Give it to the people to eat.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” The Lord provides abundantly. Spiritually, if we try to live on our own efforts with little or no support from God, we will starve to death.

John 6:1-15. “Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.” He feeds them all, five thousand men plus at least as many women and children, from five barley loaves and two fish. “When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.’ So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragment from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.” The power of God is infinite and he is always ready and willing to use it out of love for use. However he wants nothing to be wasted, never using his power uselessly as just a way of flexing his divine muscles. He wants to see results or fruit that will benefit us eternally. The people wanted to make him an earthly king but he wanted them to get to heaven where he would be their eternal king. He had given them the bread of this world so that they would put their faith in him so to seek the spiritual life on earth that would give them a life in heaven. He filled their stomachs for a day so to fill their souls for all eternity.

Ephesians 4:1-6. If the bread of our spiritual life is God, then we are bound to one another in the one God who is the same source of spiritual life, common to all who find life from Him. He gives us the love to bear with one another, since we all find that love in the “one God and Father of all.” We are made one united by all going to the same table to feed our spiritual lives, Jesus, who keeps us in communion with him by sharing his divine life with us. In Romans 12:4-5 Paul wrote: “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.” In Ephesians 4:15-16 Paul writes: “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.” In Colossians 1:17 Paul wrote: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” We receive him Body and Blood so to have him as the source of the body’s life, the unity that is the Church, over which he is the head.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 22, 2018

16B18. Jeremiah 23:1-6. Jeremiah prophesies that God will appoint shepherds who will lead God’s People in God’s ways and not mislead them as past shepherds had. Jeremiah goes on to write, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David, as king he shall reign and govern wisely; and on to: “In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security.” It seems to me that Jeremiah is thinking of an earthly king; whereas, we as Christians apply this to Jesus, the spiritual king, who will shepherd his people wisely.

Mark 6:30-34. This gospel reading picks up from last Sunday’s reading after Jesus had sent the Twelve Apostles out to be the new shepherds of Israel, preaching repentance and validating and reinforcing their mission by curing the sick and driving out demons. After that very demanding work, he says, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Jesus felt that they needed to retreat from the intense busyness of this world to nourish themselves interiorly with prayer. However, the people were in such great need for what Jesus had to offer they hastened to that deserted place on foot. “When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” He is the One to save them from being lost spiritually, and likewise us too.

Ephesians 2:13-18. “In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.” The Gentiles have been brought near to their salvation by the redemption he has given them by offering himself as a sacrifice on the cross. Paul also wrote in Colossians 1:20, “and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.” Jesus made Jew and Gentile one “through his flesh, abolishing the law” “that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.” “Through him we both have access to one Spirit to the Father.” Paul wrote in Colossians 3:11, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.” Jesus shepherds his flock together to the gates of heaven.

Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6. “The Lord is my shepherd.” “He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake,” for he is true to who he is, the God of righteousness. “I fear no evil; for you are at my side.” God is a fatherly, all powerful God who uses his strength to care for me. “You spread the table before me;” “my cup overflows.” God provides generously for all our needs. “In verdant pastures he gives me repose; besides restful waters he leads me.” In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Caring for us as a mother cares for her young; he looks to see that we are refreshed to face the challenges that are to come. He neither overwhelms us with his demands nor allows us to be overwhelmed. He is the awesome God using his might to protect us, yet at the same time a God so meek and humble of heart looking after us in the smallest details.