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Friday, April 15, 2016

Yesterday's Leftovers

Authors Note: Today's reflection is not completely my own as it is inspired from yesterday's homily. Hence why it is being called #HomilyHighlights.

In my Bible & Brew Scope yesterday I promised my visitors a second scope because I did not have enough time to go into the #HomilyHighlights from Mass. Unfortunately life invaded and I did not have the opportunity. In hindsight however, I am glad I did not share those #HomilyHighlights because they coincide even better in today's Gospel from John.

© Katie's Photography and Chelsea Roadman 
In case you have not yet heard about my Periseries Bible and Brew I encourage you to check it out. You will first need to download the App Periscope on your smartphone or tablet. If you do not have a smart phone or tablet please go to my Katch.me account or my YouTube page and watch the replay! I scope weekdays at 10am ET on the daily readings.

The Bread of Life Discourse Continues...


John writes in today's Gospel about a "quarrel" between a group of Jews who were puzzled regarding one of Jesus' core messages. The Jew's did not understand how Jesus, the Son of God, could give them His flesh to eat. Jesus says 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. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. 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. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.
We did not come to understand what Jesus was trying to say until after his death. Jesus is sort of mysterious in this way. Although, no one could have completely comprehended what Jesus meant when he talked about people consuming his flesh and blood. Was Jesus promoting cannibalism? Of course not. Jesus instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper--the night before he died. The Catholic understanding of the Eucharist can be difficult because one has to entrust to faith that this host, which appears to be bread, becomes the body of Christ during the Transubstantiation at Mass.

Why was bread and wine chosen as the Vehicle? 


Yesterday at Mass during the homily Father proposed to us that very question. The simple answer is factual. Bread and wine were easily accessible at that time as well as today. The more important reason forces us to dive in a little deeper for the meaning. Food and water are essential elements that human beings need to survive. Therefore, I pose the question, why not food? God chose food because it is an intimate way to be close to his people. Our body absorbs food and it gives us nourishment. Similarly we receive nourishment through the Eucharist when we consume it and in this way Jesus becomes a part of us and we become a part of him too. Some people have a distorted view about the Eucharist. Catholics along with other like-minded Christians believe in the true presence. True presence means we believe that the Eucharist is not just symbolism but IS truly the body and blood of Christ. Contrary to popular belief "we are not eating Jesus' toe" (Father's words not mine) or any of his other body parts for that matter. Faith alongside our tradition allows to believe that what appears to be bread and wine and taste like bread and wine is really the Body and Blood of Christ.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Must SEE for Periscopers

SHOUT OUT! 


Today I wanted to give a very special shout-out to a dear friend of mine. Believe it or not, I actually just met her a little over one month ago as we just celebrated our one-month friendaversary. Do you remember that blog I did about a week ago talking about Periscope? In case you missed it you can check it out here: Can Periscope Be the Saving Grace to my Spiritual Dryness?    In an effort to fight my spiritual dryness I have been broadcasting the weekday scriptures on Periscope. 

For the past week or so I have 'Scoped' five times; once a day every morning. My new friend @ChelseaRoadman helped me to establish my new "Peri-Series" which she helped name, Bible and Brew which airs weekday mornings around 10 am. If you missed my previous broadcasts you can go to my YouTube Channel and replay any broadcast at your leisure. Please be sure and leave me feedback in the form of comments or questions to better serve you as my viewers.


New to Periscope?


If you are new to Periscope you should join me for Chelsea's Scope-inar this Thursday 4/14 at 7:30 CT.It costs $10 but like any buisness wom/men knows it takes money to make money! Chelsea will be sharing 10 Peri-tips and Scope hacks for you or your growing business. It is a special exclusive opportunity you do not want to miss. The scope includes PDF notes to go along with all of the tips and she will be holding a Q&A session afterwards! 


How Do I Register?

1. Follow Chelsea on Periscope @ChelseaRoadman2. She will follow you back3. Simply pay you $10 at Square's Cash.me/$ChelseaRoadman

--Input Payment--Input amount: ONLY $10

--Input your Periscope handle in the "NOTES" section so she know's who to invite! 


If you have ANY questions at all, please contact Chelsea via her FB business page at www.Facebook.com/ChelseaRoadmanPR or quickly drop her a message at m.me/ChelseaRoadmanPR ! You can even text her at (TOK) BRAND-IT. 



Check out Chelsea's Sneak Peek Video: 







Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bible & Brew: Third Cup

Author's note: First off I would like to apologize to my regular readers as this post is a day late! 

In yesterday's readings we found the common theme to be persistence. In the first reading (Acts 6:8-15) members from the synagogue gets into a debate with Stephen who is speaking the Word of the Lord. They did not like it that Stephen was proclaiming on about the Holy Spirit. Therefore they took action against Stephen which is all too common of a happening that we have read over the past few days in the first reading. A group of people including Scribes, elders and people apprehended Stephen and takes him before the Sanhedrin. Then at once they begin making false statements about Stephen accusing him of many unlawful things. The reading ends abruptly in the middle of Stephen's trial with mentioning that everyone in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel (Acts 6:15). The Book of Acts continues to show us how persistent the disciples were. Equally so, we find in the Gospel that the Apostles too were persistent.

The Gospel (John 6:22-29) continues to move forward. Now, it is the day after the feeding of the 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. The Apostles and Jesus' other followers awake to find that Jesus is nowhere to be seen. They go on a hunt looking for the miracle worker. All of the boats were accounted for and so that left the only conclusion that Jesus must have walked on water in order to get out to the island where they found him. They could not get enough of Jesus' miracles, they wanted answers but Jesus ignored their pleading and pointed out the larger picture to them. Jesus said,

Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. 

They wanted to know what it was that they must do. Jesus told them that
they must, "...believe in the one
He has sent." Needless to say,
this was a difficult concept
for them. Put yourself in their
shoes. What would you think
if Jesus came to your homeland
and started healing the blind,
making the deaf
hear, and walking on water?
It would be shocking right!?!
I sure think it would be and
I've been practicing the faith
my entire life. No one ever said
faith was easy. I am going to use
a line from a fictional movie, The Santa Clause, to illustrate what faith is all about. In this clip, the little elf explains to the new Santa Clause, Tim Allen, that "believing is not seeing, seeing is believing." I invite you to watch the clip!

Faith is not always easy. 


Having faith is a difficult concept for us because we are human--we are predisposed to all kinds of things including sin, disappointment, depression, cancer, and other illnesses just to name some examples. When life is going well we feel close to God, but when life is tough we feel distanced from God. Think of it this way. Put yourself in a boat in the middle of the ocean. When your life is seemingly going well you sense Jesus' presence in the boat with you and the ocean waters are still. Then all of a sudden, life happens, and you notice that the once still ocean waters are still no more. Rather, the waters get choppy and you no longer sense the presence of Jesus with you in the boat. Or at the very least, Jesus' presence seems more distanced and hard to grasp. Life's challenges are going to rock the boat; However, these difficult and challenging times help us to grow.

Meditation: Do your best to be like Stephen and the disciples and no matter how rocky the boat gets from the choppy waters be persistent and never give up. How can I be more persistent when life rocks the boat?


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Anxiety: Is a Trap

Anxiety is real. It is a mental illness. I know these things because I am a victim of anxiety. Unfortunately, there are many people who do not understand anxiety; Whether it is a lack of understanding or it is because they have not been educated or do not have the initiative to do the research, or just out of ignorance is beyond me. If it is the later that is a shame and I plead anyone who does not know anything about anxiety to take the time to learn. I do believe it is easier to understand what someone is going through no matter the illness if: a) they either have it them self or b) they have a close loved one or friend who struggles with it.

I can only speak for myself but I do not use anxiety or any other illness physical
or mental as an excuse for attention. I would like to take some time to explain to you my experience with anxiety and explain what an anxiety attack looks like in my life. I am documenting my experience of my anxiety and attacks for the sole purpose of educating others in the hope that my testimony will help others who may not understand anxiety to be more compassionate and knowledgeable.


 Anxiety: What does it feel like?

When I am having an anxiety attack it feels like time stops but yet it does not stop. This feeling is like nothing other. It is very difficult to explain as it is very complex. In the middle of an anxiety attack I feel more things at one time than my mind and body feels it can handle. Anxiety causes my body to make me feel like I am trapped and my brain freezes. I've had times where I stare blankly into space.

My mind also tries to process too many thoughts at once. I can take one comment and consequently spin it in so many different directions that my mind creates ways for me to take the comment out of context. Literally my mind tries to make up reasons for the comment and/or I am try to analyze it which only creates more problems. Anxiety can be brought on by just one comment that I take the wrong way or take it too sensitively, consequently it rocks the boat and thus sometimes causes me to explode. An explosion can look like a bottle of soda that had been shaken prior to being opened.





An exploding soda is like an adult temper tantrum. Adults have temper tantrums? Yes! Temper tantrums can happen at any age. When I explode it does not happen because I did not get my way, it is because I am so overwhelmed that I need an outlet to defuse my energy. Imagine if you shake a bottle of soda and then immediately take the cap off. What happens? It explodes of course! Why? The pressure of the carbonation trapped inside of the bottle is greater than the air pressure outside of the bottle thus causing it to explode. Scientifically speaking the bottled up carbonation is forced to become a gas again.
My response in relation to having feelings bottled up inside of me causes my own kind of explosion. My explosion diffuses through crying, screaming, throwing, and kicking. All of these things do not necessarily happen at one time or even happen every time I have an anxiety attack. My therapist tells me that these actions are merely my outlets to diffuse my bottled up energy. Just like the trapped carbonation, once the cap is removed from the bottle, I too will eventually explode.

Anxiety: Support Systems


I have found that there are a variety of support systems available. I have mentioned one already, therapy. Professional help of course if a very important resource. No one likes to be vulnerable; Although it can be difficult to talk about our most intimate self with others it can be very helpful and be healing to talk to someone who is knowledgeable in mental health. Another resource is family and friends. Know who you can talk to and who you cannot; And just because you can talk to them does not mean they are the right person to talk to. I have unfortunately experienced sharing something intimate with someone who I know cared about me deeply but was incapable of giving me any kind support, including a listening ear, in my time of need. This was very painful. My suggestion is to know who you can turn to when you need to talk. Especially in the case that you cannot get in touch with your therapist, or s/he cannot offer you a therapy session sooner than the one you already have scheduled. Another type of support is a support group. Sharing your highs and lows with a group of people who similarly suffer from anxiety can make you feel less alone in your state of loneliness. It gives you the realization that you do not suffer alone, that you are not the one person in the world with anxiety. I have not personally been involved in a support group but I have heard great things about them. Lastly, I advise you, if you have not already done so, to use the social media platform Pinterest. Through simple searches on Pinterest, using the key-word "anxiety," I have found pins that have helped me to recognize the symptoms of my anxiety.

I leave you with this if you suffer from anxiety know that you do not suffer alone; if one of your loved ones or friends suffer, do them a favor by learning how to be compassionate and learn what anxiety is all about. Sometimes just being there by their side is all they need from you.




Friday, April 8, 2016

Bible & Brew: Second Cup

In today's first reading (Acts 5:34-52) we learn that the Apostles' journey continues.
Just prior to today's reading the Apostles had been visited by an angel of the Lord who opened the prison door, telling them that their work was not yet complete and that the Lord wanted them to go to the Temple to continue on in the ministry. 
The Apostles' adventure picks up with them standing before the Sanhedrin. By this point, the members of the Sanhedrin were fed up with the Apostles who continually disobey their orders. As the Apostles state in verse 32 they only take orders from the Holy Spirit. When the Sanhedrin got word of this they wanted to have the Apostles put to death.


The Apostles' lives were spared notably because of one member of the Sanhedrin; Gamaliel who was a Pharisee was a wise man. Because of his vast experience, he believed that when man interfered with God's will or actions that this only results in a battle against God himself. Therefore, the Apostles were not condemned to death but rather they were flogged and then released. Ironically the flogging only energized the Apostles more.


"So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name."


I can only speak for myself but I am not like the Apostles in this regard. When I encounter someone bashing me whether it be for my faith or anything, if it becomes a confrontation, I chose flight instead of fight. The Apostles choice to rejoice after being flogged makes me think about when Jesus says, if someone slaps you on the cheek, turn and let him hit the other also. There is a deeper theological meaning to this than what most people think but I am not going to go there. For now, I just want that image to shine through, as this is what I picture in my mind's eye. Quite frankly, we must know ourselves and our limitations. I am not a charismatic person and I am not the type of person to evangelize. You would never see me on the streets programing God's word. Nor would my expression be "bring it on" when someone wants to question the faith. However, let me be clear, I am not saying that the Apostles are not good models for us of how we should be. It's time to go a little deeper, let's take a look at today's Gospel (John 6:1-15). 

Author's note: It's no joke, the first words out of my mouth after looking at today's Gospel was, "oh...yes! This is going to be a good one!" 

The Gospel today is probably one of the most familiar of Jesus' miracles.
Throughout the Gospels it's not uncommon for Jesus to go off and pray. Jesus deserved alone time too! Imagine being followed constantly. As described in today's Gospel people left their homes to gather around Jesus. In John's account of the feeding of the 5,000 Jesus tests his Apostle's by asking them where they could buy bread to feed the hungry crowds. They were concerned because it would cost nearly a year's wages to feed everyone. Note: a derarri was a Roman's wage for an entire day.


Did you know? The feeding of the 5,000 also known as the multiplication of the loaves is the only miracle that is found in all four Gospels.


Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish and offered a prayer and miraculously there was enough food to feed the multitude of people. This miracle is believed to have been a foresight of the Eucharist and the final banquet in the kingdom. Like many passages there is always a deeper meaning and symbolism. Just as this passage anticipates the Eucharist it also looks back to the time of Exodus and the feeding of Israel with manna.

Numbers are also significant in the Bible. In this passage the numbers five (5) and two (2) are especially significant. According to St. Anthony of Padua [St. Anthony, the saint we pray to when we have lost something] the five loaves represent the five refreshments for the soul (the Five Books of Moses). They are as follows: 1) Rebuking of sin by contrition; 2) the barring of sin in confession; 3) the abasement and humiliation in satisfaction; 4) the zeal for souls in preaching; and 5) the sweetness of contemplating our heavenly home. The loves were specifically referred to as barley loaves; the food of the poor. The five loaves were not only physically nourishing but spiritually too. Finally, the two fish which were brought up from the sea represent Moses and Peter. Moses was taken up from the water; he was found in swaddling clothes in the River Jordan. And Peter too came from the water as he was a fisherman. The meaning behind the fish is leadership so that we can align ourselves to God.

Meditation: Let us concentrate on aligning ourselves to God no matter the cost. Let's be like the Apostles who rejoice after being bashed for their faith. What do I need to cut out of my life or at the very least minimize in my life so that I have more time for God?

#BibleandBrew




Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bible & Brew: First Cup

What would it have been like to walk in an Apostle's Sandals? 


In the matter of just three years time 12 men were selected by Jesus Himself, who was said to be a stranger of the lands, to become His elite group, the Apostles. Can you imagine the faith that these men must have had? Seriously, though! These men had nothing but their faith to trust in that Jesus was who He said He was! The chosen men, literally left their homes and everything they owned behind to become Jesus' Apostles. After these men had been sent out on foot, walking all over preaching the Good News they were soon finding themselves watching Jesus being persecuted. They were witnesses to Jesus' passion, death and resurrection. This of course is just a precursor to today's readings. In order to understand scripture it is important to consider the historical context, this is why I prompted you to think about what it would be like to be an apostle of Jesus. When studying scripture, one should also consider the passages surrounding the one you are examining, thus let us look at the passage prior to going any further.  

In the passages leading up to today's reading we find that the Apostles have been arrested and put in jail and while the Apostles were in jail an angel of the Lord came to them and opened the door directing them to leave and go to the Temple Area to continue their mission (Acts 5:17-22). Today's reading picks up with the Apostles being before the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:27-33). The Sanhedrin is furious that the Apostles continue to preach the name of Jesus. In the very next passage, Acts 5:34-42, the Sanhedrin threatens to have the apostles to be put to death. Luckily for the apostles an elder leader talks the others down and they order for the apostles to be flogged instead and then released. 

Reflection 


Like the apostles we too are called. We must continue to speak in the name of Jesus at whatever the cost. How can we call ourselves disciples of Christ otherwise? The Church offers us hope as well as models of the faith, i.e. the saints. Think about how many saints have been martyred for their faith. Right away I think of Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa. Dorothy Day has a very touching conversion story which the Church as well as Pope John Paul II has referenced. Prior to her conversion Dorothy was living a sinful life without Christ at the center. She got tangled up with a man and she became pregnant and aborted her unborn child. Follow this she had a spiritual awakening and had a conversion. She then became a social activist. Alongside her good friend Peter Maurin they established the Catholic Worker Movement which was a non-violent group that gave direct aid to the poor and homeless. Dorothy was arrested many times for civil disobedience. Certainly it's not just me that is making the connection, right? Similarly we can name Mother Teresa who left her own religious community to start a new one in Calcutta, India because she wanted to serve the poorest of the poor. It is so easy for us to read about other holy men and women and think to ourselves that we are not good enough--that is the problem. We cannot measure or compare ourselves to others. What we can do is look to them as good leaders or even models because we are all called to be Christ-like.


Mother Teresa is a particularly fantastic example of being Christ-like. As she cared for the poorest of the poor she did it out of pure love. In today's Gospel, John 3:31-36, we are called to not ration our love. We do not ration our love because the Father does not ration his love for us. Through and through this is message Jesus and the apostles were conveying to the people. After all Jesus was sent by His Father, Our Father, to save the world from sin so that we may receive everlasting life. All we have to do is believe and trust in Him.

Meditation


Reflect on your life and be honest with yourself. Figure out where or when you have rationed your love rather than allowing your love to pour out of your hearts. Think about how you can be like the holy men and women who have gone before us. Remember, the key word here is "like." What verse speaks to your heart? What is Jesus telling you?


Join me on Periscope daily at 10am ET for #BibleandBrew find me and follow me @HoelscherKatie

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Can Periscope Be the Saving Grace to my Spiritual Dryness?

I am no stranger to spiritual dryness. Surely one of my biggest upheavals is my personality--I am a perfectionist. I cannot count how many times I have been told there is no right or wrong way to pray but yet prayer is still problematic for me. Like anything I have my good days and my not so good days. Throughout college and even into graduate school I found myself struggling greatly with my spirituality. I attempted spiritual direction a few different times with different directors but it became overwhelmingly difficult for me to continually inform both my therapist and my spiritual director on relevant issues that were happening as there were so many overlapping topics. Not to mention there were some issues from my past that I was not yet ready to take to my spiritual director or possibly even God. Have you ever had that "why me God" statement run across your mind? This is all too often how I was thinking when I began to try to unravel my past in spiritual direction. I am sure too that my depression and anxiety does not help the situation. Nonetheless, with the help of a new friend I have decided to try to challenge myself to broadcast daily my interpretation of the readings of the day. My broadcasts will be live through an app called Periscope. In the case that you cannot watch them live I will back them up and load them to my YOUTUBE Channel. My hope is that this experience will kickstart me back to where I'd like to be. 

Periscope 


Whether you are a techie or not have you heard about Periscope yet? "Scoping" as it is called it is an application available in both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It is not a new app per se but I am a fairly new user. Perioscope is another advancement of technology for smart-phone users. This app allows users to broadcast live and/or opt to allow their audience to re-watch their broadcasts at a later date; Videos are available for replay for 24 hours after the broadcast.

Creativity is at the hands of the artist (broadcaster) as they are free to broadcast anything they wish as long as they are connected to the internet and/or have data they can stream live. Periscope is unlike FaceTime or Skype where the video is seen by both parties. Periscope only broadcasts a one-way video. Perhaps one of the coolest things about this app is that anyone from anywhere in the world can be a viewer or a broadcaster. I am very much an introvert but I have to say that Periscope has opened a new world to me. Because of Periscope I have met a new group of friends we call ourselves the #ScopeSquad. From this group one of the members has become a dear friend.

Bible and Brew 


I am happy to announce that Bible and Brew will be the title of my daily morning broadcast on Periscope. Please join me at 10am ET daily with your favorite brew! My handle is @HoelscherKatie; in the case that the server is still lagging my old handle is @KatieBelle. Don't forget to download the app in your smart-phone's app store and tune in each morning. The scriptures used will be taken out of the Lectionary. If you would like to read up on the daily scriptures ahead of time feel free to go to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website and click on the date accordingly.

I am on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Periscope feel free to follow me @HoelscherKatie