Don’t Be a Lone Ranger!

Even St. Paul needed a community of believers to shore him up

Today’s reading in Acts talks about Paul’s inspiration when he sees an altar to the “Unknown God” in Athens. The article in the today’s publication of Word Among Us is excellent and follows here.

Meditation: Acts 17:15, 22–18:1

6th Week of Easter

They came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him. (Acts 17:15)

It’s easy to see St. Paul as a “lone ranger” hiking alone down Roman roads, single-handedly establishing new churches. Today’s first reading might even cement that image in our minds, as Paul goes into Athens on his own to preach—except for the fact that he’s eagerly awaiting Silas and Timothy’s arrival. In reality, the picture of a lone, independent St. Paul is far from the truth.

From his conversion onward, Paul tried to surround himself with believers who supported him. Some of their names are familiar to us: Barnabas, Titus, Luke, Priscilla and Aquila. Others are not so well known: Sopater, Gaius, and Sosthenes. At one time or another, these brave men and women (and more) accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys. They proclaimed God’s word alongside him (Acts 13:5). They comforted him when he was crestfallen (2 Corinthians 7:6). And they energized him with their witness (Philippians 2:20). What’s more, most of Paul’s letters were works of collaboration, written with coworkers in ministry.

Far from being a lone ranger, Paul was a team player who saw the value in community. Consider one of the metaphors that Paul used to describe the Church: a body composed of many members, each of which was vital to the body’s functioning (1 Corinthians 12:12).

If Paul needed a community of believers shoring him up, so do we!

Are you a part of a group of other Christians who help support you in your faith? Maybe you’re involved in a parish renewal organization. Or perhaps you serve beside other Catholics in your community. If so, that’s great. Is there any way you can strengthen these relationships? Perhaps you could set up a monthly lunch gathering or start a text message thread devoted to praying for each other’s petitions. Or maybe you can just simply express how much they mean to you.

If you don’t belong to a group like this, how about looking to join one? You might start by looking at your church bulletin for a listing of existing groups. And you can always ask the Lord to open doors of friendship for you. Remember, you are not meant to be a lone ranger. You are a member of the body of Christ.

“Lord, thank you for the gift of friendship.”

Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14

John 16:12-15

#CatholicLiving #CatholicWay

A Catholic Health Care Alternative

Over the years, I have talked with friends about how we, as Catholics, can make our faith more central to living our lives. Throughout history, the Church and its related organizations have usually been an integral part of a town or city’s life. An example would be the Knights of Columbus which was started in Connecticut in the 1880s by Father McGivney to help widowed mothers who were in poor financial shape after losing their husbands. They created insurance plans for families and have grown into a large fraternal benefit organization since then. In the past ten years, they have donated $1.5 billion to charitable causes.

Recently, I came across another Catholic fraternal benefit organization, Christ Medicus Foundation CURO, that is doing the same thing for health care. CURO (Latin for to care for, cure, heal , and watch over) is an affordable health care option for commited Catholics and Christians. CMF CURO members actively participate in God’s love and providence through medical cost sharing as members of Samaritan Ministries International (SMI). They are a 501 (c)(3) non-profit and not a health insurance company. And by affordable, their brochure shows a monthly share of $304 (1 person) and $579 (family of 3+). They are certainly worth considering as an alternative to secular health insurance.

I spoke with Jordan Buzza, JD (248.530.9651) who was most helpful in answering my questions. For complete info, you can also call 800 8407471 or visit http://www.cmfcuro.com.

Here is a link for a CMFCURO video (4 minutes): https://youtu.be/xcZWD1sOm3E

#CatholicHealth

#CatholicHealthCare

Christmas is Over. What Now? How to Love Your Brother

A Meditation: 1 John 2:3-11

Whoever loves his brother remains in the light. (1 John 2:10)

It’s four days after Christmas, and the warm feelings we associate with the holidays are beginning to fade. So what now? What difference will Jesus’ coming to live among us make in our lives? How will it help us to love each other and remain “in the light” (1 John 2:8)?

For one thing, because Jesus became one of us, we now know what love looks like in real-life situations. On every page of the Gospels, he has shown us that love is about making concrete decisions to put other people’s interests before our own. He showed this by dining with people no one else wanted to associate with (Luke 19:1-10). Or feeding people who were hungry (John 6:1-15). Or asking someone suffering in silence to articulate what he needs (Luke 18:35-43). Or forgiving someone who has sinned grievously (John 8:1-11).

If this list makes it sound as if Jesus has set the bar too high for you, don’t worry. Jesus knows your strengths and weaknesses, and he is ready to help you. You don’t have to figure out how to love on your own. Jesus’ own love, his creativity, and his compassion can become your love, creativity, and compassion. Slowly. Gradually. Over time and through trial and error.

Do you want to become more loving toward the people around you? The best way to do this is just . . . to do it. Take one step closer to the ideal that Jesus has set, and ask him to bless you for it. Every step you take brings you more fully into “the light” that John wrote about (1 John 2:8). Every time you turn away from indifference or resentment and perform an unexpected act of kindness or generosity, the darkness diminishes a little bit more, and Jesus’ own light and love fill you a little bit more.

Today, think of one person in your life whom you find challenging to love. Picture Jesus sitting with that person with his arm around their shoulder. Linger there until you can feel the love that flows between them. Let it soften your heart and move you to take the next step toward loving them yourself.

“Lord, I am so grateful for your love! Come and help me to show that love to the people around me.”

Published by Word Among Us, December 2018

#LivingOurFaith

#FaithAlive