Friday, May 22, 2009

Link to MP3s of The Lord Takes Broken Pieces

You can find the MP3s for most (not all yet) of the songs at:

Spread the Joy

Rarely do I get EXCITED about a Youtube video, but this is a wonderful video that you need to take 5 minutes and watch!

Mike Strickland wrote a song and his wife hired an animator
because she wanted to tell the story of Mike writing the song in a simple
line art animation. They hooked up with a talented animator and kept at
it here and there between their usual work schedules and finally got it
done. The biggest challenge was getting Mike to finish the mix on the
song because he kept thinking he wanted to add this or that and
definitely wanted a choir on it so that took a bit of doing. After it
was done she posted it on youtube and then in March of this year ABC Good
Morning America saw it and used it in a story they did on
"brightsiding". They had not known we were "brightsiders". The video is

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter (Year 1)
*Good News Reflection*
Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
May 20, 2009
*Today's Saint: Bernardine of Siena*
*Today's Readings:*
Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
Ps 148:1-2, 11-14
John 16:12-15
*Waiting patiently in happy ignorance*
In today's Gospel passage, Jesus says: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now." Oh please, Jesus, tell me now; send me an email!
We don't like feeling uncertain about the future. We want to know about God's plans about how or even IF our prayers will be answered. We want to know how things will turn out if we say yes to a new job or a ministry or a challenging donation of our time. We want to know how long we must continue trying to evangelize others before they finally wake up and repent, especially when their worldly ways are causing us problems.
In our chats with God, we say: "Okay, if I do what you're asking, what will happen?" or "Will this trial ever end?" or "Ahem, please explain further so I can base my decision on how logical this sounds."
Being ignorant of the details can be scary. We know there's a bigger picture, but all we've got to work with are a few small puzzle pieces. We're not in control. Ohhhmygosh, this means we have to trust God!
What seems to be a frightening silence is really a huge gift. Imagine if God were to sit you down in a nice quiet prayer room and display on the wall a movie that shows everything he's going to do in your life: everything he's asking of you, what you'll have to endure to accomplish it, all the hurdles you'll face, how he'll be stretching you beyond what's comfortable and familiar. Do you really want to know all this? Even though the movie would also show the fun of it, the good times, God's helping hand, the wonderful fruits and rewards, etc., wouldn't you freak out? I know I would.
We should thank God for our ignorance! It's a great relief to trustingly let the Holy Spirit have full control. Jesus says in this Gospel message: "The Spirit of Truth will guide you to all truth." The Holy Spirit will "announce" to us whatever we need to know, not when WE want to know it, but when it truly is the perfect time to know it.
Life's greatest adventures come from trusting God in the midst of ignorance. Have you ever ridden a roller coaster that has surprising twists and turns? It's popular with riders who like the thrill of not knowing where they're going, where's the next dip, the next spin, the next upside-down loop. The life of a Christian is just as thrilling! Don't worry. Even if you don't like roller coasters, it can be a safe adventure. God is your seat belt — he holds you in his lap very securely.
For safety, please don't try to climb out before the ride is over.

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica
For PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Good News Reflection
Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
May 19, 2009

Today's Saint: Dunstan

Today's Readings:
Acts 16:22-34
Ps 138:1-3, 7c-8
John 16:5-11

The saving hand of God

Psalm 138:7 declares that "Your right hand saves me, O Lord." In biblical symbolism, the "right hand" of God means the power of God reaching out to help us. In Acts 16:22-34, we see how this helping hand of God works in unexpected ways.

God does not do everything that we want him to, when we want him to do it, the way we want him to do it. For Paul and Silas, God's powerful hand did not pop open the prison doors just because they asked for help. More was at stake than the lives of these two men. Notice the others who were touched by God's intervention.

God is always mindful of the bigger picture and the bigger purposes that can be accomplished in all situations. He cares about the needs and the souls of all those who are involved in our trials as much he cares about us. The question is, are we willing to wait for his help when others are slowing the process?

Paul and Silas cooperated with God's plan by remaining focused on Jesus through prayer and joyful hymns. They could have allowed themselves to be distracted by the terrible conditions of their imprisonment and the disaster that had stopped their ministry and might stop their lives. They could have been resentful and angry toward those who had put them there. They could have been lamenting that it was all so unfair.

Like we so often do.

However, they chose to trust God no matter what had happened or would happen. They believed that, since he was more powerful than the forces that had put them into prison, their current troubles had become part of a plan that would somehow benefit his kingdom. And because they wanted nothing more than to BE a benefit to his kingdom, they closed their eyes to the evidence of evil and opened their eyes to the presence of God.

We can do this!

Only when we're open to and focused on the presence of God are we able to know what to do next when the saving power of God manifests itself. If we had been in Paul's and Silas' sandals, would we have run out of the prison as soon as the doors popped open? In Acts 12, Peter was in a similar situation, and God (through an angel) had him do just that. But not this time. Through the predicament of Paul and Silas, God stretched his hand out to the jailer and his family. Because Paul and Silas were sensitive to his will, they cooperated with his saving hand and became the instruments he played to bring others to salvation.

How awesome to allow God to turn our problems into a plan that helps others!]

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica; All Rights Reserved.
To share this with others, see our
copyright permission page.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Good News Reflection
Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
May 18, 2009

Today's Readings:
Acts 16:11-15
Ps 149:1b-6a,9b
John 15:26--16:4a

Testifying to Jesus

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus points out that the Holy Spirit "testifies" to Jesus. The Spirit of Truth, sent by the Father, speaks the truth (as God the Advocate) about who Jesus really is and what he is doing for us. This is why you responded to the truth when you heard it. On our own, all of us would have rejected it as something that doesn't fit with our earthly, sin-prone desires and expectations.

Whenever someone converts to Christ or grows in the faith, it's because the Holy Spirit has prepared the heart to recognize the truth. Only the Holy Spirit can reach a soul and teach it the truth. And we who have already accepted the truth are the books that God uses to make the lessons easier to understand.

How are you "testifying to Jesus"? We are witnesses of the truth whenever we act upon our faith in the circumstances of daily life. We advocate the truth whenever our behaviors reveal the advantages of believing in Christ. Everything we do and say should reflect who Jesus really is.

Are there any words that come out of your mouth that testify against Jesus? Have any of your recent decisions testified against his trustworthiness? Does the way you handle difficult people testify against his love?

Jesus goes on to say that "the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God." Applying this to today's troubles, is anyone killing your efforts to use your gifts and talents for the kingdom of God? Maybe you're trying to right a wrong or stand up for a truth that others don't want to hear and you're being persecuted by your fellow Christians.

When a new scandal or other problem arises, what is your testimony? Are you silent? Fearful? Negative? Complaining? Publicly expressing anger? These are normal reactions, but if we remain stuck here, we're testifying that evil is stronger than God. On the other hand, if we work with the Holy Spirit to be the Advocate of Christ, we can testify to his healing and redemptive power; we can become the advocate of justice and love.

Christian living is never easy. Testifying to Jesus means walking with him to the cross and suffering in unity with his sacrificial death. The greatest testimony of this walk, however, is the resurrection, the renewed life that always comes afterward, and the Pentecost of the Holy Spirit's empowerment.

Problems in the Church, in our relationships, and in everything else are all opportunities for God's glory to be revealed. They are purgings that lead to purity, trials that build faith, lessons that teach us to keep our eyes on Jesus, and dyings that raise up greater reliance upon God. We should never fear that exposing problems to seek a cure will only lead to disaster.

Let us raise our voices to declare the glory of God and testify to Jesus by being good examples of his truth and love! May every scandal and hardship end up reflecting who Jesus really is, amen!

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica; All Rights Reserved.
To share this with others, see our
copyright permission page.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Good News Reflection
May 17, 2009
Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B

Sunday's Readings:
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Ps 98:1-4
1 John 4:7-10
John 15:9-17

Servanthood is the mark of true Christian living. Jesus emphasized it during the Last Supper, saying that he came not to be served, but to serve, and that likewise we should serve one another. In his parables, he often referred to believers as "servants" of the Kingdom. But in Sunday's Gospel reading, Jesus says that he wants us to be his friends, not his slaves. Is he contradicting himself?

Not at all! Friends serve because they care. Slaves serve because of duty and the fear of punishment.

Jesus said, "If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love." Do we hear this as a friend or a slave?

Slaves are afraid of what will happen if they fail to keep God's commandments; they are self-protective. Friends are eager to find out what God commands, because they view the commandments from the perspective of love, as opportunities to serve; they are other-oriented.

Jesus said, "This is my commandment: Love one another the way I love you." It's the supreme commandment; call it the Commandment of Friendship. He says, "You know how I love you, my friends: I openly share with you everything that the Father tells me." His friends realize that what he shares (through scripture and through the Church) reveals the opportunities to love that we seek. Every commandment is rooted in love. Every Church teaching is based on love.

When we fail to obey, do we lose God's love? Never! Do we lose our place in his love? Yes. By living outside of his commandments, we feel unloved even while being loved.

This is slavery. We're enslaved by fear or by false beliefs or by our wounds that have caused us to think that we're not loved enough. God's commands then feel confining, and if we try to escape, we commit rebellion. Those who don't rebel accept their slavery and obey dutifully in the hope of winning God's love.

Friends, on the other hand, know that God always loves them, and in this love, they are free to serve one another joyfully.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
Are you obeying God like a slave or his best friend? Do you eagerly and happily jump into doing the will of God or do you complain about it? Do you ever want to escape from God's will? What will you do this week to become more aware of his friendship?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
What raises our relationships with God from slavery into friendship? Describe the differences between obeying out of duty and obeying out of love. How do you define friendship with God?

copyright 2009, Terry Modica

Renew the Face of the Earth

Lord Send out Your Spirit In commemoration of the completion of the Year of St. Paul! Check out for higher resolution versions!