Readings for Saturday of the First Week in Advent: Isaiah 30:19-21; 23-26; Psalm 147; Matthew 9:35-10:1,5, 6-8

"You shall weep no more.  He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you."  Isaiah 30:19

These words from Isaiah in today's first reading are an eternal promise God has made (and kept) to His people, and to each one of us individually, in the past, present and the future.  In the past--as we look forward to this Advent--for sending his Son to die for our sins.  In the present, for answering our prayers (even if not always in the way we want) when we cry out to Him in our hour of need, "healing [our] every disease and infirmity." (Matthew 9:35).  And in the future--as we also look forward to this Advent--in Christ's glorious Second Coming, when "he will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more."  (Revelation 21:4)  Let us hold fast to this promise today, tomorrow and forever.

God love you.


Readings for Friday of the First Week in Advent: Isaiah 29:17-24; Psalms 27; Matthew 9:27-31

"But they went away and spread his fame through all that district."  Matthew 9:31

Jesus, in today's Gospel reading, miraculously restores sight to two blind men.  As he often did after performing a healing miracle, Jesus told the two men not to tell anyone.  "See that no one knows it,"  He "sternly charged them."  (Matthew 9:30)  But, as was also often the case, the two men didn't follow his instructions, and told anyone who would listen what Jesus had done for them.

Certainly there are reasons why Jesus told the recipients of his miracles not to tell anyone about them.  His "hour had not yet come," as he sometimes said.  But as He was God, Jesus had to know that, like the two blind men, most of the people he healed would "spread his fame" anyway.  Really, how could they not?  If you were blind, and a man--with the simple touch of his hand or words from his mouth--opened your eyes to sight, wouldn't you tell it to the whole world?  Posting in on Facebook and Twitter, telling your co-workers, the waiter at lunch, even that homeless guy on the corner every morning?

Those two blind men were desperate to tell people about Jesus because they realized He had given them a gift that they did not deserve, and for which they could never repay.  This quote from G.K. Chesterton comes to mind:

The whole secret of the practical success of Christendom lies in the Christian humility, however imperfectly fulfilled.  For with the removal of all questions of merit or payment, the soul is suddenly released for incredible voyages.

Shouldn't we have that same sense of humility and gratitude every second of every day, with the same desire to share with the world the reason for our hope?  For Jesus has restored our sight too, but in even a more spectacular way.  He has opened our eyes to the light of His Truth; given us the gift of faith; given His very self in suffering death so that we might have eternal life with Him.  Once we accept that gift and truly come to realize its magnitude, we simply cannot keep it to ourselves.  Go out this Advent and share it.  Incredible voyages await.

God love you.

Readings for Thursday of the First Week in Advent: Isaiah 26:1-6; Psalms 118; Matthew 7:21, 24-27

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus compares those who hear his words and do them versus those who do not, using the imagery of building a house upon rock or upon sand.  (Matthew 7:24-27) With those verses as inspiration, I penned the following short poem:

On rock or sand? It seems so clear.

What to build my life upon, O God, my Dear

I hear your words; seek to do your will

Will either foundation my desires fulfill?

For the sand is soft; it feels good under my feet

It’s easy to walk on; glimmers in the heat

I think I’ll lie down and rest before I build

There’s plenty of time; no threats that might kill

Yet beyond the horizon, I see a large rock

It protrudes from the earth; there’s a path that it blocks

I get up and draw closer, not knowing at first why

Then I notice the darkening clouds in the sky

With haste, I arrive at the stone

I cannot explain it, the feeling I’m no longer alone

But the wind is swirling, the storm is near

Upon the rock I notice an inscription: “A wise man builds here”

Quickly, I commence with the chore

Four walls, a roof, a makeshift door

The rain falls; the floods come; wind beats upon the shack

Despite all odds, my dwelling survives the attack

The storm finally passes, I step outside

There’s no more reason to run or hide

I look to the sky and cry out loud

How, O Lord, did your grace abound?

“Simple,” He says, as I begin to smile

“You took the less traveled path; walked the extra mile”

“But,” He paused, “even more important than that”

“You did the will of my Father in heaven during this Advent.”

God love you.

Readings for Wednesday of the first week in Advent: Romans 10:9-18; Psalm 19; Matthew 4:18-22

But How are men to call upon Him whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless sent?  Romans 10:14-15

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.  The Gospel reading recounts how Jesus first called Andrew and his brother, St. Peter, telling them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  (Matthew 4:19)  Without hesitation, Peter and Andrew "left their nets and followed him."  (4:20)

It seems fitting this first week of Advent to remember the Apostles and to realize that without their living out Christ's great commission to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19), none of us would be preparing to celebrate Christmas this Advent.  For as St. Paul explains in his letter to the Romans from the first reading, we cannot believe in Jesus and call upon Him unless we have heard of Him, and we would never have heard of Him without preachers (the Apostles) who were sent.  So St. Andrew and the other Apostles went forth to the ends of the known world in the first century A.D., preaching the Good News of Christ crucified and raised from the dead, knowing that their spreading of the Gospel would more than likely get them killed one day. Indeed, like all the other Apostles (except St. John), St. Andrew was martyred for the faith, crucified on a "crux decussata" (an X-shaped cross) in Patras, Greece.

Yet despite the Apostles' martyrdom, the Gospel continued to spread like wildfire, and the Church grew without the aid of anything resembling modern forms of communication or travel. Century followed century, one person passing on the Good News of Jesus Christ to another, and that person to another, sharing the wondrous story of God becoming man through the womb of a virgin named Mary.  And at some point, from the seeds first planted by the Apostles as commissioned by Christ, that story reached you and me--whether from a parent, a friend, or even a stranger.  So now, just as St. Andrew did, we must proclaim the Gospel through our lives this Advent.  Let us leave our nets, follow Him, and become fishers of men.  Our witness will make Advent possible for future generations.

St. Andrew, ora pro nobis!

God love you.

Readings for Tuesday of the First Week in Advent: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72; Luke 10:21-24

. . . and a little child shall lead them.  Isaiah 11:6

My youngest child turned 17 months old yesterday.  His brother and sister (ages 7 and 5) are far enough removed from that age that I had forgotten much of what having toddler is like.  More than anything, I've been blessed to experience all over again how a child of his age is struck with such awe and wonder at virtually everything he comes into contact with in his ever expanding world.  Would that we could have that same sense of awe and wonder this Advent about the coming of our Lord.

In today's Gospel reading, St. Luke tells us that Jesus, speaking directly to the Father, "rejoiced in the Holy Spirit," and prayed "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father for such was thy gracious will."  (Luke 10:21) For us "wise and understanding" modern adults, it is easy to take the awe and wonder of the Advent season--of God becoming man and entering the world as a child-- for granted, if we even recognize it at all.  And it should not be lost on us that Jesus "rejoiced" in his prayerful thanksgiving that "these things" are revealed to children. They have so much to teach us if we will but watch and listen.  Indeed, as the Catechism reminds us, children "contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents."  (CCC ¶ 2227).

Therefore, may we allow our children to lead us in awe and wonder this Advent; to lead us to that cave in Bethlehem where the divine Child awaits--the Child that will one day die on a cross so that we might "become children of God."  (John 1:12)

God love you.

Readings for Monday of the First Week of Advent: Isaiah 4:2-6; Psalms 122:1-9; Matthew 8:5-11

I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 8:11

Today's Gospel reading reminds us that, more than anything else, what Jesus asks of us is to humbly trust in His will.  Indeed, what caused Jesus to "marvel" at the Roman centurion was his humility -- "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof"-- and his simple faith that Jesus could heal his servant with only a word.  By recognizing his unworthiness, the centurion was made worthy.  Thus from this humble expression of faith Jesus proclaims that "many" will come and "sit at table . . . in the kingdom of heaven"; the New Jerusalem where, as Isaiah prophesies in the first reading, those who remain "will be called holy, every one who has been recorded for life."  (Isaiah 4:3)

Of course, it is the same spirit of humility shown by the centurion that allows us to sit at the Eucharistic table of the Lord at Mass.  For each time we consume the body and blood of Jesus, we get a foretaste of the heavenly banquet that awaits us in the New Jerusalem.  Moreover, this heavenly food transforms us and prepares us for that day.  As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once explained:

In receiving the Eucharist, "[t]he living Lord gives himself to me, enters into me, and invites me to surrender myself to him, so that the Apostle's words come true: 'It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me' (Galatians 2:20)."

And as the manna sustained and strengthened the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land, so the Eucharist sustains us on our journey toward the kingdom of heaven.  As we continue that journey this Advent, let us partake of it as often as we can.

God love you.

First Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44

"For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed."  Romans 13:11

Those words from St. Paul in today's first reading hit home particularly hard with me.  In all the years of attending Sunday school at the fundamentalist Protestant church in which I grew up, there really is only one lesson I remember.  I was probably fifteen or sixteen years old, and felt like I had this whole Christianity thing figured out by that point.  I vividly remember the teacher (who was the father of another kid in the class) tell the story of an old man who, throughout the various stages of his life, had put off fully committing himself to Christ.  "Let me finish high school, then I will give my life to Jesus," he said.  A few years later, "let me finish college," then I'm His."  College came and went, but the man kept finding reasons to kick the can down the road as the years passed by.  Marriage, career, raising children - "I'm much too busy to follow Him right now.  Maybe when I retire."  The one thing I don't remember about the story from that Sunday morning long ago was how it ended.  Did the man keep putting off his salvation until it was too late, or did he finally, at some point, pick up his cross and follow Jesus?  Either way, the story made a profound impact.  Little did I know then that the man would be me.  I think there's probably a little of each of us in that story.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus warns his disciples "Watch therefore, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming."  (Matthew 24:42)  Taken as a whole, the readings for the first Sunday in Advent remind us that it is a season not only for anticipating the Incarnation--God becoming man and entering our world, but also Christ's glorious Second Coming at the end of time.  Of course, most of us will no longer be walking the earth whenever that takes place.  But that fact does not lessen the gravity of Jesus's warning.  For none of us are promised tomorrow, and "at an hour you do not expect," each one of us will be standing before the judgment seat of God.

As He does each and every day, God offers us the opportunity to rededicate ourselves and follow Him anew this Advent.  Consider, for a moment, all of the different people who must have come into contact with Mary and Joseph on the (roughly) 90 mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  If they had known that this ordinary, teenage Jewish girl carried the Savior of the world--the very God that created the heavens and the earth--in her womb, how many would have dropped everything, followed the Holy Family on their journey, and in so doing, prepared themselves for the birth of the King of Kings?  We have that same choice once again today.    So let us "wake from sleep," "put on the armor of light," and prepare ourselves for the birth of our Lord and His return.  And in accompanying Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, may we go beyond "up to the mountain of the Lord . . . that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths."  (Isaiah 2:3)

God love you.


"Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."  (John 14:8)

I've heard it said that, at some level, each of us has a "father wound."  The meaning of that phrase applied individually likely varies from person to person, but the truth of it goes to the unique impact a father--or lack thereof--has on each of our lives.  What we today call "the West" (and for over 1500 years knew as Christendom), undeniably is suffering from a father wound--earthly and heavenly, both coerced and self-inflicted.

Fatherlessness in America has reached epidemic proportions.  The statistics are equal parts shocking and sobering.  A staggering 33% (24.7 million) of children in the U.S. live in a home absent their biological father.  Of children between the ages of 1st and 12th grade, the percentage increases to 39%.  Jesus once told his disciples "what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?"  (Matthew 7:9-10)  Sadly, for 1 in every 3 children in this country, the father isn't even around for a child to ask him for such things.

The negative effects the lack of a father has on a child are well documented and equally horrific.  These include vast increases in the risk of poverty, teen pregnancy, behavioral problems, alcohol and drug abuse, high school dropout and incarceration.  Two statistics in particular illustrate the father wound: (1) 63% of youth suicides come from fatherless homes; and (2) 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.  Of course, none of these statistics take into account those fathers that are physically present in the home, yet who are physically or mentally abusive, indifferent, or simply emotionally absent.  To be sure though, there are some fathers who qualify as “physically absent” from the home but who nevertheless are able to find the time and means to still be present in the lives of their children. But, in reality, these “absent but present” fathers are likely a rarity. Being a devoted father, after all, is a full time job, and physical and emotional presence in the home on a daily basis is almost always a necessity.

I share these statistics not to paint a hopeless picture or demean most fathers.  Far from it.  Many of us were and are blessed with wonderful, loving fathers who played active roles in our lives.  I'm also fully aware that numerous individuals overcome the absence of a father to reach lofty heights.  I personally know many such examples.  But neither is my intent to issue a get out of jail free card to those who have suffered from a physically or emotionally absent father. At some point, we all have to take personal responsibility for our lives, our decisions, and our sins.

But what these statistics above show--and what our own experience tells us--is that we each have a deep desire for the love of a father; a love without which things inevitably go wrong.  There is a hole in our hearts that only a father can fill.  Why?  How is it that nothing else can seem to fill the void a lack of the father creates?

The answer, I believe, lies in the apostle Philip's plea to Jesus: "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."  (John 14:8)  We do not know what Philip's relationship was like with his earthly father, but we can hear the longing in his voice for the Father's love.  That love we all seek.  It is that same yearning that caused St. Augustine to cry out "our heart [O Lord] is restless until it rests in You."  Because a father's love here on earth is but a dim reflection of the love of our Heavenly Father--the Creator of every star in the universe who decided to create you and me too.  We want to know Him, to see Him, to feel His love in the same way every child craves his or her father's love and attention.

So when Jesus responds to Philip's question, his answer echoes throughout the ages to each one of us: "He who has seen me has seen the Father."  For that, in a nutshell, was Jesus's mission--to show us the Father's love through his life, death and resurrection.  And only by becoming man, taking on our human flesh, could God fully reveal himself as the loving Father he has been for all eternity.  As Scott Hahn explains in his recent book The Creed:

"Father.  There, in a word, is the Christian revolution.  There is the word that set Christianity apart from any religion that has appeared on earth, before or since the birth of Jesus.  [A] Father whose love, it seems, is so great as to be unimaginable apart from his self-revelation in the Son."

Life is hard when our earthly father has been absent from our lives, but it is even harder when our Heavenly Father is absent.  But whereas it is almost unheard of for a child actively to seek separation from his or her earthly father, more and more adults in the United States have either completely or partially banished God the Father from their lives.  As of 2012, 20% of all adults in the United States described themselves as either atheist, agnostic, or having "no religious affiliation."  The very latest statistics from the Pew Research Center continue to paint a bleak picture, showing that half of Americans who have left Christianity no longer believe in God at all.

Even among those who still self-identify as Christian, over 60% infrequently or rarely attend worship services.  Sadly, among Catholics, it is even worse, with less than 25% attending Mass at least once a week.  So, although there still is a large segment of the population who retain some cultural identity as Christian, in reality, they practically are indistinguishable from non-Christians.  In both groups, God plays as little role in their day to day lives as those absent fathers cited in the statistics above.  If you've read any of my first few posts from this blog, you know I speak from experience.

This heavenly fatherlessness comes with a price.  One need not look long at the state of affairs in the West to see the effects of moral decay: the systematic slaughter of the unborn, the tossing aside of the sick and elderly through the faux compassion of increasingly accepted assisted suicide laws; the denial of reality through the redefinition of marriage and radical gender ideology; a steep decline in the protection of religious liberty; unprecedented moral relativism; the elevation of "science" as the only means by which truth (if there even be such a thing) can be known; and a general apathy, if not hostility, toward anything that makes moral demands on one's life or interferes with the ultimate god of pleasure.  The list could go on and on.  Next time you are sitting in traffic, or in line at the grocery store, or walking through the mall, look around at people's faces.  Overall, you're unlikely to see the joy and hope that comes from knowing God the Father as revealed by his Son, Jesus Christ.

It is long past time for us, as Christians, to take personal responsibility for this; for not showing others that the hole in their heart, which nothing else can fill, is the absence of God the Father.    In short, It is time to restore Christendom; not physically or collectively, but spiritually and personally.  As the late Christian historian Warren Carroll once wrote:

"Christendom . . . grows with that courage and profession, and above all by the silent impetus of prayer and example.  It fades with timidity, indifference, apostasy, and lack of holiness."

And for that, there is no better model than Mary, the Mother of God, whose "soul magnifies the Lord" and whose "spirit rejoices in God my savior."  (Luke 1:46-47)  Like so many earthly mothers who make up in love for the absent earthly father, so Mary points us to her Son so the Father will no longer be absent from our lives.  For unlike her, too often we turn the lens around, magnifying ourselves and not God, while rejoicing in the temporal but not the eternal.  We would do well to listen to the advice of St. Francis of Assisi, who said that "the deeds you do may be the only sermon some people will hear today."  That frame of mind, combined with radical conversion to holiness, is what it will take to show the world the Father.  As always, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen sums it up better than I ever could:

"The Heavenly Father has a Son Who is the fullness of all the perfections of the Father, and yet from all eternity He has decreed that other children should be born to Him and be admitted to the glorious privilege of adoptive sonship in which they can say 'Our Father.'"

May we bring God the Father back into all of our lives.

God love you.


"Death is certain; life is short and vanishes like smoke.  Fix your minds then on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ."  - St. Francis of Paola

A couple of weeks ago, I was on my daily morning run.  Almost every day, I run the same distance of 4 miles using the same route.  Basically, I run two miles out and two miles back to my house.  Half the route is within my subdivision, while the other half takes me out onto a two-lane FM road.  For most of that portion, there isn't much of a shoulder on either side of the road; just some gravel, dirt, and then weeds and/or grass.

On this particular morning, when I came to the two mile mark (where I always turn around), I decided to keep going.  I can't really explain why.  On occasion, I will do 5 miles instead of 4, but that wasn't my intention as I kept running on this day.  I just kept going.  I ended up running about another quarter of a mile and then turned around to head back home.  After about another mile or so, while still on the FM road, I noticed a pickup truck about 100 yards ahead coming my direction at an above average speed.  Without warning, the truck veered off the road almost completely and onto the gravel/dirt shoulder, straddling the two for several seconds.  Even though the truck was still well ahead of me, I quickly moved to the left off of the road and shoulder.  The driver eventually noticed what had happened and corrected himself before he got to me.  As he passed by, he gave me a small wave to acknowledge his error.

I continued my run and didn't think anything of the event for another minute or two.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  If I had done my normal 4 mile run (turning around where I usually do), I  likely would have been in the exact location--or at least the proximate vicinity--where the truck ran off the road.  Given that scenario, the speed at which the truck was traveling, and the suddenness of his swerve, the chances are slim that I would have been able to avoid him.  In other words, running that additional quarter of a mile probably saved my life that morning.

Of course, this was no mere coincidence or a simple piece of good luck.  God watches over each of us as a loving Father every single day of our lives.  Without His love, His mercy, His grace . . . we would not exist, could not rise every morning, could not so much as take a breath of air into our lungs.  Yet most days we walk around this earth like little gods, demanding this, thinking we are entitled to that, grumbling about our difficulties, trying to control every single aspect or our lives.

We woud do well to remember the words of the psalmist: "Teach us to counts our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart."  (Psalms 90:12)  Because the truth is, this wasn't the first time God had protected me from danger or harm.  There have been several other times in my life that I can recall where I was keenly aware of God's intervention or protection over me--many times when I was too stupid to protect myself.  My guess is that you can recall these times in your life too.  But what about all those countless times that we haven't been aware of it?  All the times God has watched over and protected us, but we never realized it?

One of the worst aspects of the modern, secular world we live in is the loss of the sense of the supernatural; the loss of the belief in miracles.  But miracles happen everyday, we just usually don't realize it.  As G.K. Chesterton once said, "The sense of the miracle of humanity itself should be always more vivid to us than any marvels of power, intellect, art, or civilization."  (Orthodoxy)  Modern man in the twenty-first century has turned this truth on its head.

If we hold fast to the reality of the miraculous, however, it frees us to live with true joy, thankful for each and every day that God gives us.  As Jesus told us, He came so that we "might have life, and have it more abundantly."  (John 10:10)  Not merely life . . . not merely waking up day in and day out and going through the motions, but abundant life . . . life lived with a fullness and peace that surpasses all understanding.  Because in reality, Everything Is Grace--every day, every joy, every suffering, every tear, every breath, every moment.

God love you!


I'm over six feet tall.  If I wear my cowboy boots, I can add another half inch or so and get pretty close to 6'2".  I guess that makes me above average height.  Yet when it comes to following Jesus, I sometimes feel short in stature.

This reality hit home with me recently when reading the story about Zacchaeus in St. Luke's Gospel.  Scripture tell us that Zacchaeus was a rich tax collector who "sought to see" Jesus as He was passing through Jericho.  (Luke 19:1-3)  But his desire to see Jesus faced two problems: (1) as usual, there was a large crowd surrounding Jesus; and (2) Zacchaeus "was small of stature."  Quite simply, Zacchaeus was short, and there was no way he could see Jesus over the crowd. Undeterred, Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree to remedy the problem.  Jesus, impressed by such determination, yelled out to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today."  (Luke 19:5)  Zacchaeus obeyed, came down from the tree, and received Jesus "joyfully."  (Luke 19:6) St. Luke then recounts that Zacchaeus told Jesus he would give half of his good to the poor and make restitution "fourfold" to anyone he had defrauded--all this while the crowd murmured in astonishment that Jesus would be the guest of a sinner.  (Luke 19:7-8)  In response, Jesus announces that salvation has come to Zacchaeus' house, and, more broadly, that "the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."  (Luke 19:9-10)

Although I'm not physically "small of stature" as was Zacchaeus, I often identify with his plight.  Like Zacchaeus, most days I sincerely seek to see Jesus; and not only to see, but to carry my cross and follow him.  Yet certain things sometimes crowd around Jesus and obstruct my sight.  As St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote, "The crowd is the confusion . . . which we must climb above if we wish to see Christ."  This confusion--the crowd--can take many forms: money and/or material possessions, worldly pleasure, fear, anxiety, apathy, spiritual laziness, and the like.  Combine this with a small spiritual stature--the weakening of the will and intellect resulting from sin--and some days it can be almost impossible to see Jesus as He passes by.  And make no mistake, He passes by us anew each and every day.

Fortunately, Zacchaeus shows us how to overcome this problem.  It is no coincidence that he climbed a tree.  Almost certainly there were other objects or structures that Zacchaeus could have scaled in order to see Jesus.  No, it had to be a tree, because the tree represents the Cross--both that of Jesus and our own.  As Cornelius a Lapide, referencing 1 Corinthians 1:24, explains:

Mystically, the sycamore is the cross of Christ and His doctrine, which to the Gentiles and men of this world is mere folly, but to Zacchæus and the faithful is the wisdom of God, and the power of God.

Like it did for Zacchaeus, climbing a tree--the Cross of Christ--gives us the wisdom of God; the wisdom to see past the crowd in our lives and overcome our small spiritual stature.  I've found that routine, constant prayer provides a great boost to climbing.  Similarly, offering even the most mundane of daily activities for God's glory seems to keep my eyes open and alert for when Jesus passes by.  Sure, such climbing habits may cause us to suffer scorn and rebuke, for just as it was for the Gentiles of Jesus's day, the Cross is folly to many a modern man.  Remember though that climbing trees is primarily a children's activity, and that Jesus told us that only those who become like children will enter the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 18:3)

So find a good tree to climb next time you feel the world closing in on you.  It will allow you to see Christ, and He will see you in return.  And as He called to Zacchaeus, so He calls to us, "come down quickly, for I wish to reside in your heart today."  And upon hearing those words, we can humbly descend from our perch, receive Jesus joyfully, and go about the business of announcing that salvation awaits all those who are lost.

God love you.