One-Minute Reflection: John 13:35 (30 Days of prayer for unity #5)

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: One-Minute Reflection: John 13:35 (30-Days of Prayer for Unity #5)

“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Unity is the sweet water that floods from the well of life, Jesus crucified on the cross.

Jesus’ blood and water transformed the stench of death with the fragrance of living water.

It is from the fountain of this living water, where Jesus’ disciples quench their thirst for unity so they may continue to love one another.

Today’s Intention:

Lord, may our cup of discipleship be always filled with the living water from your cross.

Pray for Persecuted Christians

“And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 10:22)

Jesus warned his disciples of their coming persecutions: “behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” (Matthew 10:16) Today many of our brothers and sisters around the world are indeed sheep among wolves.

As this day unfolds, let’s pray for all persecuted Christians, especially Coptic Christians in Egypt. May God bless them, give them comfort and hope, and protect them. May they inspire us and give us strength to profess our faith.

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.

Jesus Calms the Storm

“And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing. And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” (Matthew 8:25-26)

Our life is like a small boat in the vast ocean. Sometimes the journey is pleasant and full of sunshine; our destinations are filled with joy, peace, and love. Other times, however, the weather is stormy or our boat is defective. During these times, towering waves manhandle our boat, we are left stranded in a desolated island or are lost in the immense sea; we fear for our life.

It is easy to have faith when our little boat, called My Life, is on easy sailing. It is more difficult to hold on to it when the weather turns violent and our boat is but a puny block of wood in the sea. It happens to all of us though. Like the disciples, there are times when our faith fails us in stormy weather. Fortunately for them and us, Jesus is patience and merciful; moreover, he is love.

Today’s scripture reminds us to have faith in Jesus always, especially during stormy weather; to recognize his presence in our lives at all times. This doesn’t mean that we will not suffer. However, when we have faith in Jesus we open ourselves to his grace; to a life journey filled with never ending hope.

When we live in Christ through faith, prayer, and charity, we build up courage and strength to face any storms because we know he is there to calm them.

“May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:22)

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.

Temptations to Sin

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.” ~ Mark 9:43

In today’s Gospel (Mark 9:41-50), Jesus continues his conversation with the disciples; this time the teaching is about the temptations to sin and the drastic measure we must take to rid ourselves of it.

I am glad we don’t take this literately, because Jesus’ point is that we must work to get rid of any sin that has become like a hand, attached to us. He was referring not just to objects, those in themselves are harmless; He was referring to those we hold in our heart: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. These are the root of evil in the world. When we hold on to them in our hearts, they become our masters; providing us with the false sense of wealth. “Rely not on your wealth; say not: ‘I have the power.’ Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart. Say not: ‘Who can prevail against me?’ or, ‘Who will subdue me for my deeds? for God will surely exact the punishment.’ ” (Sirach 5:1-3)

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.