Saturday, September 13, 2014

Look Upon the Cross and Live

Reflections on the Readings

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost

September 14, 2014 - Year A


By Dennis S. Hankins


Readings For This Sunday


Look Upon the Cross and Live


"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." - Jesus


Grumbling and complaining about God's help and provision Israel berated the Lord's way and sustenance saying, "Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water?" And looking at the miraculous manna they protested, "We are disgusted with this wretched food!" 


OK then! Well, not so much. That nasty attitude brought some nasty poisonous snakes among them. Their accusative minds spawned death in their heart and because of the poisonous snakes, in their body as well. 


Poison begets poison. 


Understanding that their behavior precipitated this awful state of affairs, they confessed to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that he may take away the serpents from us."


The Lord had Moses make a bronze serpent which he attached to a pole. Lifting the pole carrying the replica of the fiery serpents in their midst Moses spoke thus to the people: "Anyone who is bitten, if he looks upon this pole upon which this bronze serpent is fastened, he shall live." This awkward, yet profound remedy prefigures the Cross and for Israel was a foretaste of what was yet to come. Jesus confirms this in his conversation with Nicodemus when he says, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."


Looking upon the Cross and believing that He who suffered for us, even death on a Cross, fills our life with God's breath. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. And in the Creed we affirm that:


For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures. 


I remember as a teenager hearing about the worship wars going on in the historic churches. Something about taking the 'blood' and references to the 'blood' out of the hymn books. It seemed that some argued that to make God and salvation and church more palatable to the modern world, it would be better to not sing with such clarity about the ignominy of the Cross. There were those who thought we had outgrown the humiliation and gruesome realities of the Crucifixion. 


Really?


And there are still those who get squeamish whenever certain songs of worship speak of mission and the cross and our place in carrying its claims into all the world. Anything that resembles "Christian soldiers, marching as to war," is not proper some might say. Even St. Paul might be out of place in some circles since he speaks of the 'weapons of our warfare are mighty through God,' and admonishes believers to 'put on the full armor of God.' Some neuter the hymns like my favorite one, 'Lift High the Cross.' The third stanza in the 1916 words of William Kitchen and Michael Robert Newbolt reads, "Each newborn soldier of the Crucified bears on the brow the seal of him who died." Others prefer the modern rendering, "Each newborn servant…"


We wrestle against the dark powers wherever they may express themselves. The venomous presence of the Serpent is never very far away. In recent weeks, enemies of the Cross of Christ have exerted themselves in some of Iraq's oldest settlements and cities of Christianity. Mass executions of Christians has occurred as they encountered the warlike mantra "Convert to Islam or die." Clutching the Cross they now live in that eternal and affectionate embrace of Him who said, "Because I live, you shall live also."


May we with them continue our holy gaze upon the Cross, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:2 RSVCE)


Amen.



Dennis Hankins, a Catholic Evangelist, is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: dennishankins@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Love - The Law of the Kingdom

Reflections on the Readings

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
September 7, 2014 - Year A



Love - The Law of the Kingdom

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet"; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-9)


It was only hours away. Beginning to feel the birth pangs of his Passion Jesus longed to be near his disciples. At his Last Supper with his closest associates, he first knelt before each one, bathing the feet of his followers. There was some resistance to this from Peter, but Jesus answered his reluctance explaining, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me."

After washing their feet, Jesus returned to the table and asked, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord - and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anther's feet. I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Your are servants and the servant is not greater than his master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them."

Just before Jesus departed to pray in the Garden, he gave them a new commandment. Even now the droplets of sweat that would become great drops of blood formed on his brow. Knowing that the greatest enemy of his cause would be foolish and divisive bickering and gossip and pride, Jesus wrote on each of their hearts with his Spirit, "Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

More important than all the beautiful and ornate cathedrals, and the greatest tomes of theology and philosophy, and the loftiest thoughts ever conceived, is this last and new commandment Jesus gave his disciples. More magnanimous than being oracles and masters of great and profound words, or the ability to speak with the tongues of men and of angels, is this last commandment encompassing all of the fulness and meaning for why Jesus came into this world. More powerful than if someone had all the faith necessary to move mountains are these last few words of Jesus that if believed and lived can move the most calloused heart and heal the heart broken beyond all telling. 

For more than anything else Jesus calls us to be filled with the great love of God. To owe each other nothing but a gracious and generous heart, moved by nothing greater and most certainly by nothing less than that Love that never fails. Just as sunshine is necessary to sustain us in body and mind no understanding of the Church is complete without knowing what is meant by the Body of Christ which is loving one another just as He has loved us. We love him because he first loved us. And by extension we should love one another with that love that covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) 

The most impoverished and weak expression of the Church is when she fails to look and live like that love with which Christ loves the Church. As we think more and more as we should about what a New Evangelization looks like perhaps we ought to begin at Home, in the parish where we Worship, Teach, and Serve - where Jesus is present wherever two or three are gathered in his name.

We should be acutely aware that no one really gives a plug nickel how much we subscribe to the letter of the Creeds or how much we can expound upon the finer points of what we believe. For the bottom line is that no one cares how much we know and can recite chapter, verse, and line the Holy writings, or that we can even pray in Latin. For no one will really care how much we know or how spiritual we are until they know how much we care.

Love is the first and last law of the kingdom. We fulfill it when we do no wrong to one another and forgiving each other when we fail to love each other as we should; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Amen.


Dennis Hankins, a Catholic Evangelist, is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: dennishankins@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Renewal of our Mind

Reflections on the Readings


Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost

August 31, 2014 - Year A


By Dennis S. Hankins


Readings For This Sunday


The Renewal of our Mind


Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable, and perfect. (Romans 12:2)


The mind Paul speaks of is more than the rational faculty. He invites us to a renewal of the highest faculty of human nature - literally, the 'eyes of your heart enlightened' by which we comprehend God in all of his redeeming goodness. Orthodox Christians pray before the reading of the Gospel, "Illumine our hearts, O Master who love mankind, with the pure light of your divine knowledge." 


A powerful ray of this 'pure light' enabled Peter to confess, "You are the Christ. The Son of of the living God." Jesus said this understanding was more than human intelligence, that his Father revealed this to Peter. Peter became a mouthpiece of the 'pure light of divine knowledge.' Humbling stuff, don't you think?  For sure! 


But in today's Gospel Jesus tells the rest of the story. He reveals what that revelation fully means. It means going to Jerusalem to face hostile religious leaders. It means betrayal, trial, and finally death; death on a cross. People whose hearts are mysteriously dark because the pure light has not entered them, will kill the Son of the Father's love, the pure and holy Light of the world. 


And then looking into the bewildered hearts of his disciples, Jesus says, "Brethren, do not be afraid of this. On the third day I will rise."


It is nevertheless a moment very difficult to grasp. Peter himself struggles deeply with the meaning of Jesus' words. So much so that he takes Jesus aside to speak his mind: "God forbid, Lord! Never! No such thing shall ever happen to you." We can imagine Peter grasping the shoulders of Jesus so the fulness of his determined face will not go unnoticed. Maybe his lips are trembling a bit. Perhaps his eyes well up with tears; he drops his hands from the Master's shoulders while Jesus turns away for a moment; a moment of intense discomfort.


Turning back to Peter, Jesus grasps the shoulders of the man entrusted with the keys of the kingdom of heaven and looks straight into his eyes. He speaks so that only Peter hears him. The words sound harsh to us, but for Peter they are meant to get him back on track. Peter listens intently as Jesus says with firm, yet gentle strength, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are not thinking as God thinks, but as human beings do." 


Before we judge Peter too quickly let us remember that the renewing of our mind may not always be in full play either. That we may not always live up to our baptism even among our closest loved ones. That too often we don't allow love for God and neighbor animate us. And we may not rejoice enough in the reality that it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory God in the face of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 4:6) 


So the readings today remind us to pray with humility and to ask more often for help to be faithful. To be more empty of our way of living and more filled with God's life. I know that sometimes being a Christian is not popular. Our message and witness is not always accepted. Ageless truth and timeless hope are treasures we offer to a world often filled with criticism of the mystery of the Christ we serve. But consistent with Christian witness throughout all time we are a living sacrifice. The aroma of Christ in the world. We cannot help but speak of him; his word in our heart is like a burning fire - a fire that purifies our minds and makes us acceptable to God.


We are in the world but we are citizens of a heavenly city. In our union with Christ we recommend to the whole world that there is another way; that there is another King. This is our cross. We are honored to take it up and to follow him. Losing our life for his sake we find it. For what profit is it to gain the approval of the whole world but lose our soul? 


Today let us desire an even deeper renewal in our lives so that we will ever have that illumination to know what is true, and good, and beautiful and thus be found faithful disciples of Christ and his Church. Amen.   

Dennis Hankins, a Catholic Evangelist, is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: dennishankins@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com

Saturday, August 23, 2014

God’s Plan of Salvation

Reflections on the Readings


Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost

August 24, 2014 - Year A


By Dennis S. Hankins


Readings For This Sunday


God's Plan of Salvation


O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

"For who has known the mind of the Lord?
"Or who has given a gift to him,
    to receive a gift in return?"

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)


If we don't get Jesus right we don't get heaven. I didn't make that up. It's in the Bible. The guy Jesus gave the keys to testified under arrest that this Jesus is 'the stone that was rejected by you the builders; it has become the cornerstone and there is salvation in no one else, for there is only one name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved!' (Peter - Acts 4:11-12)

Jesus asks two questions: "Who do folks say that I am?" And, "Who do you say that I am?" The second question is more important for us. Because if we don't get this question right we really won't know God's plan of salvation; the reality of God's life for us in His Son. 

Paul exults in the 'depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!' Without the Holy Spirit we may condemn God's plan as anemic, weak, even unreasonable. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18) 

God sent his Son not in the clouds of glory riding triumphantly with a battle cry of victory over Satan and his minions. Rather, in the fulness of time, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, born under the law of Moses, in order to redeem those who were under the law as well as those outside of the covenant made with Israel. He came to us wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. For the angel said to the shepherds, "Fear not! For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people! To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior."

Paul yearned for his kinsman to receive Christ as God's only Son who came to his own riding on the back of a donkey with palm branches lining his path. Not as a King commanding homage but rather as a Servant-King on a mission to shed his blood not only for the house of Israel but for the whole world. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? As it is none of the rulers of this age understood the wisdom of God, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. Satan didn't know what hit him. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

What a plan! A second Adam to redeem the first Adam; to liberate the progeny of the first Adam from the law of sin and its first fruit, death. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

St. Leo the Great elaborates on this plan: For the Son of God in the fullness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered through that [nature] which he had conquered. And in this conflict undertaken for us, the fight was fought on great and wondrous principles of fairness; for the Almighty Lord enters the battle with His savage foe not in His own majesty but in our humility, opposing him with the same form and the same nature, which shares indeed our mortality, though it is free from all sin. (Pope Leo Sermon 21)

What a plan! God's plan of salvation! Do I hear a heartfelt, "Thank you, Jesus?" 

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.


Dennis Hankins, a Catholic Evangelist, is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: dennishankins@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Love Story

Reflections on the Readings

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Eight Sunday After Pentecost
August 3 , 2014 - Year A



A Love Story

Brothers and Sisters, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" - St. Paul to the Romans

In the darkness of the night an old man, bent by the burden of time, caresses the brow of his bride. Their eyes meet and they hold hands. A long time ago they pledged to each other their love until death should part them. Throughout the years many things challenged that pledge, but their love remained strong through thick and thin.

Tonight, like all the hundreds of nights before, they take refuge in the love of Christ. For it is his love that makes their love possible. It's been their ritual for fifty years to pray together at bedtime: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God. Pray for us sinners, now, and at the our of our death. Amen." Afterward they say goodnight with the promise of saying good morning one day in the presence of that love that never fails.

Above their bed is a crucifix. He placed it there on their wedding night. He had said to her, "No matter what comes, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ." Pointing to the cross he had just hung he promised his bride, "And with his power in me, I'll never leave you; my heart is yours." And from their first kiss until their last kiss he kept his promises and she kept hers.

Imperfections? Arguments? Sure they had their tussles. Some had predicted, "It'll never last!" But they had a secret power, a secret love to guide them through their disagreements and quarrels. While reading the scriptures together they grew in that  grace and love and in the knowledge of their salvation. In fact, after one particular bad week, or was it two, he read in the Bible of his need to tend to the log in his own eye and to stop worrying about the splinter in her eye. After that it was amazing how much more often they saw eye to eye!

Now the old alarm clock on the night stand announces each passing second of time and goes tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. And both go to sleep with the assurance that as in life so in death, nothing shall separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus. 

In the morning, Mary kisses the old folks on their cheeks and greets them with these familiar words: 

 

"He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, 
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things, 
and the rich he has sent empty away."

Then the old folks replied with vibrant and confident voices, "We are more than conquerors through him who loved us!"

And sitting down to breakfast, the old folks greeted each other with a good morning kiss. Then they blessed and broke bread and ate and were satisfied. A new day had begun. 

Amen.



Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: dennishankins@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com

Saturday, July 26, 2014

For Those Who Love God

Reflections on the Readings


Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

July 27, 2014 - Year A


By Dennis S. Hankins


Readings For This Sunday


For Those Who Love God


We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)


Love of God is first. This understanding saturates the Bible's story of salvation from cover to cover. To know and to love the Lord is to understand that he first loved us. Again, the Bible tells us: But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)


See how God dotes on his children calling us into his purpose. And in his arms he looks at us and tells us we are always on his mind and that He has big plans for us and how he sees and loves in us what he sees and loves in His Son. For you see there's always been plan A. That's what "those whom he predestined he also called" means. Jesus wasn't Plan B because from the very immeasurable abyss of Holy Love there's been only one name whereby we can be saved. 


Maybe this is why Peter tells us that even in the Old Covenant the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be ours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined in Christ and the subsequent glory. And get this. Folks like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah and many more knew that they were not serving themselves but us, in regard to the things we now know concerning Christ. For the Good News about Christ has been declared to us by the Holy Spirit inspired preaching of the Apostles. And then Peter declares, "These things the angels desire to look into!" (1 Peter 1:10-12)   


The story of the Treasure hidden in a field and the Pearl of Great Worth are one story. Jesus invites us to invest our whole heart to know Him in the power of his kingdom. I remember singing in the Pentecostal church, "Take this whole world, but give me Jesus…no turning back, no turning back." Let me ask you something really personal: "Have you fallen head over heels in love with Jesus? Is your heart burning with love for Christ and his Church? Are you being configured to grace daily and learning to search the scriptures daily to find out more about Christ? 


A New Evangelization may not make much sense until we have a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. And the single thing that characterizes everyone who encountered Christ in the Gospels is that they want to tell someone else about Jesus. The Woman at the Well went into her community and said, "Come see a man who changed my life." 


Yes my friend, there is always more. More of his saving fulness to know and treasure and tell about. There is more of his Spirit to be filled with. Come to Jesus and say I want more. Pray with courage and some abandonment and say, "I'll take whatever you want to give me. Let me have more."


Look deep inside and take the leap and ask for more. Don't allow any deception of the enemy take back what only belongs to Christ. The deal is that the good, free, and abundant life is found by those who love God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God who are called according to his purpose. That purpose is worth knowing with all of your heart, mind, body, and strength. Amen.


Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: dennishankins@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com


Saturday, July 19, 2014

It’s Story Time!

Reflections on the Readings

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
July 20, 2014 - Year A



It's Story Time!

Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet:

"I will open my mouth to speak in parables;
    I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world."


Jesus told stories. Mothers brought their children to hear Jesus tell stories. Can you imagine listening to Jesus tell stories to the children sitting at his feet? His stories, filled with messages, and sacred meaning, revealed things 'hidden from the foundation of the world." And everyone listening, mommy, daddy, and children went home filled with the wonder of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven dancing in their heads. 

Some stories begin with, "Once upon a time…" Jesus began his tales with, "The kingdom of heaven is like…" His comparisons were spun of the stuff of everyday life and experience like, wheat, seeds, leaven and dough. 

The Story of the Weeds and the Wheat

In this story Jesus describes how good and evil exist side by side and will do so until the end of human history. As in every good story so also in this story, the good guys win. But not without effort and perseverance. It is for us to overcome evil with good; not returning evil for evil but entreating and offering what is noble in the sight of all. (Romans 12:17)

Jesus gives us the secret power of the kingdom of heaven. He reveals to us what comes from depths of the Father's heart; things that are not of this world, therefore the world cannot know what it cannot know. Jesus said as much in praise to the Father: "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants." (Matthew 11:25)

What things has he kept from the wise and the intelligent? I think it may be how the mystery of his power is not diminished in the presence of evil. For our Lord said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like a child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3-4) At the end of the age he will gather all his children together and bring them into his house and nothing will harm or destroy in all his holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

The Story of the Mustard Seed

Jesus tells this story to encourage us. We admire people who seem to have great faith. After all there are many in scripture to pick from like Abraham, Moses, Daniel, David, Mary. Certainly these all showed great faith in many ways and at different times in their life. 

But big time faith is not where it's at. And God is not asking us to use some else's faith. He wants us to use the faith we have. You might say, "I don't have a lot of faith." Look how Jesus compares great faith with the smallest of seeds, a mustard seed. As a young boy I received a birthday card that had a mustard seed encapsulated on it. It really is a small seed. My young heart imagined what great things I could do with just a little bit of faith. And Jesus wants us to use the faith we've got. For little is much when God is in it. 

The Story of Leaven and the Dough

This story is about sanctification; growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Speaking for myself, God is still working on me. He's working his will into my life little by little. I'm nearly 60 years old, but still I'm learning to say, "Not my will, but thine be done." 

Jesus said his food was to do the will of the Father. Our prayer must also be, "Your will, my Father, is my food." The Father works on us just like a baker mixes the leaven into the dough, kneading the dough, turning it over and over and working it with his hands. 

This process takes place in a hidden way. Like when we enter our prayer closets and seek him who dwells in the secret place, then he who sees in secret will reward openly. 

There really is something beautiful being in the presence of someone who is under the influence of the leaven of love. The quality, the grace, the gift of a life touched by the nail scarred hand is truly an inspiring witness of the things of the kingdom of heaven. But that is the witness we are called to be. That is the witness that is being called for to bring a new springtime of the faith into flower. And however we feel inadequate, weak, or powerless, we can pray in the Spirit as our second reading implores. For the Spirit will give us the words to pray that give expression to our deepest desire to know Christ and to make him known.

The world is waiting to hear a good story, a story of forgiveness, life more abundantly, and heaven our home. It truly is time to tell the Story of Christ and his Love. Go ahead and tell it! Amen.


Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: dennishankins@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com