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What is Generosity?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 31, 2017

Generosity is a willingness to give, even at a cost to oneself. It expresses concern for meeting the needs of others, even if it means sacrificing something of one’s own.

We are to extend ourselves to all of mankind, especially to the most needy, and in doing so, we are emulating Jesus who went after the one lost sheep. To love is to give. God loves us and He gives us everything He wants us to have. When we give, as our Lord encourages, we truly deny ourselves. Generosity must be done in silence in order to merit grace from God and not merely the thanksgiving of mortal men. It is very easy to be generous to our relatives or friends but that is not generosity since we will be repaid for that with friendship, thanksgiving and praise. Generosity must extend to the poor and the needy. It is a quest for justice as we have the work of God to provide for those who don’t have.

The most excellent example of Generosity, after Jesus Himself, is The Blessed Virgin Mary. In the fullness of grace, our Blessed Mother exhibits the fullness of love and truth.  She is generous in charity, patient, kind, and gentle; she is good and faithful, chaste, modest, and temperate. Her spirit rejoices in God her savior and she is at peace even in trying times because of her trust in the Lord. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” (Gospel)

Three times in this life Mary was blessed in a special way by the Holy Spirit – at her Immaculate Conception, at the Annunciation and at Pentecost – and we are the beneficiaries of the immeasurable fruits of the Spirit produced in her.  Through her maternal protection and intercession, we obtain pardon for our sins, health in times of sickness, strength of heart when we are weak, consolation in the face of affliction and help when we are in danger.  Above all, she is the Mother of Christ our Redeemer, and our Mother.

Today, we recall her famous visit to her cousin Elizabeth. John the Baptist leaped in her womb foreshadowing our joy at the birth of Mary’s Son, Jesus. She also shows us quintessentially how to evangelize, bringing Jesus to others at every opportunity. Mary also powerfully reminds us that every encounter we have has the potential of bringing the Good News to someone who truly needs it. Thank you, Mary, for your wonderful “yes.”

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May 31, 2017


Reading 1 – ZEP 3:14-18A

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

or – ROM 12:9-16

Brothers and sisters:
Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;
do not be wise in your own estimation.

Responsorial Psalm – ISAIAH 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6

R. (6) Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Alleluia – SEE LK 1:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.

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Tears and Trials


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 30, 2017

“I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me…” (First Reading)

“I pray for them.” (Gospel)

In my old neighborhood, a 5-year-old boy was playing in his backyard and accidentally threw his baseball over the fence next door. It seemed simple enough to go and just get it. When he climbed over the chain link fence, he lost his footing and as he began the hard fall to the concrete below, one of the links of the fence caught his shirt and he was literally suspended in mid-air with literally no way to get down—that is, except with the help of the man across the street who saw the whole thing. He ran over and gently pulled the boy off the fence and helped him down to safety. Years later, when that same kid was 21 years old and while visiting his folks from another city where he was living, there was something strange going on. The neighbor across the street was sitting in his truck, apparently asleep while the alarm on his vehicle was sounding away. The young man ran over to check on the situation and realized that he was having an attack of some kind and quickly called 911, then pulled him out of the cab and administered CPR. The paramedics said later that if it had not been for the quick action of the 21 year-old, there would most certainly have been another statistic. “He helped me years ago,” the young man told everyone, “and I’ve been waiting all these years to repay the favor.” 

“I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.” (Gospel)

To serve another human being without counting the cost, expecting credit and wanting a reward or payback is not natural – it is super-natural. And for super-natural lives, we are in need of super-natural food. The Eucharist. Jesus Christ, within hours of his death, revealed the very mystery of divine life as it sustains earthly existence when He gave us all of Himself. “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me…This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Following Jesus and living a Christian life which is authentic and inspiring is much more than having a hobby or belonging to a particular political party. It is even more than having a job or a career. Our faith not only points us to what is eternal, but also follows us into that existence. If we live with Jesus here and now, we will enjoy His wonderful presence forever. That is why through the tears and trials of this life, we are challenged and challenge to continue to serve one another as Jesus has shown us. Carrying our own burdens and assisting others to carry theirs is essential to the one who understands that this life is passing and Heaven is the only real goal worth living and dying for. For this supernatural life, we will also depend upon the Holy Spirit to dwell among us through our crosses and daily walks with Christ: “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” (Alleluia Verse)

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”  (Charles Dickens)

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” (Albert Einstein)

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May 30, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 20:17-27

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
“You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

“But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 68:10-11, 20-21

R. (33A) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
Your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed day by day be the Lord,
who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 17:1-11A

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

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How to Conquer the World


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 29, 2017

“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

Let’s take a look at the topic that is clearly inescapable for us today. How do we conquer the un-redeemed and petty issues that still remain in the human heart? One of those is hypocrisy. First, what is hypocrisy? Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense. The behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do; behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel; a feigning, pretending, to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion. I think that is pretty clear. What is also clear is that we will need to conquer ourselves before we can even attempt to make a positive and powerful impact on others, family, and the world. Jesus told us we would experience trouble in this world but that we would have Him always and we would share in the courage that radiates from His very heart.  How about a cure? Here are some thoughts and insights:

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Practice what you preach or change your speech.

Counting other people’s sins does not make you a saint.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (Alleluia Verse)

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May 29, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 19:1-8

While Apollos was in Corinth,
Paul traveled through the interior of the country
and down to Ephesus where he found some disciples.
He said to them,
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
They answered him,
“We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
He said, “How were you baptized?”
They replied, “With the baptism of John.”
Paul then said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him,
that is, in Jesus.”
When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul laid his hands on them,
the Holy Spirit came upon them,
and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Altogether there were about twelve men.

He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly
with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 68:2-3AB, 4-5ACD, 6-7AB

R. (33A) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God arises; his enemies are scattered,
and those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so are they driven;
as wax melts before the fire.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
But the just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – COL 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:29-33

The disciples said to Jesus,
“Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

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Saying Good-bye and Hello Again


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 28, 2017

Today, the world celebrates the Feast of the Ascension and remembers that day when the Lord Jesus returned to His Father in Heaven, not to abandon us, but to prepare a place for us. “When He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight.” (Gospel)  What was said on that first Ascension day still resonates with you and me even to this very day, this very hour as we reflect on the Word of God. “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” (Gospel)

What can we take away from this event and place squarely in our hearts until it’s time to go Home?

Remember that Jesus is presently reigning as king and remains active and engaged in our world and our lives.  Therefore, live boldly, confidently, and strategically as servants of the exalted king of heaven. Know that your labors in the Lord Jesus are not in vain. As we suffer, never give up trusting that Jesus is not indifferent to our struggle. He has endured great suffering and is thus the most merciful and sympathetic counselor and mediator. Take your cares to your ascended Lord who hears your prayers and can respond with all heaven’s authority.  Finally, hope in a glorious future. The ascended Lord will return as judge and king. He will abolish injustice, end suffering, and destroy death and set up His kingdom of truth, righteousness and love. Best of all, we will be with our King forever.

Closing thoughts from some of our readers:

“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together.”

“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”

“The heart is a muscle…and what do muscles do when they’re torn? They grow back stronger.”

“Noah waited 40 days, Moses waited 40 years, Jesus waited 40 days. If God is making you wait, you’re in great company.”  

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May 28, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with the them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
for the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – EPH 1:17-23

Brothers and sisters:
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation
resulting in knowledge of him.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of his power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might,
which he worked in Christ,
raising him from the dead
and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion,
and every name that is named
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And he put all things beneath his feet
and gave him as head over all things to the church,
which is his body,
the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Alleluia – MT 28:19A, 20B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Go and teach all nations, says the Lord;
I am with you always, until the end of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 28:16-20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

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May 27, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 18:23-28

After staying in Antioch some time,
Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence
through the Galatian country and Phrygia,
bringing strength to all the disciples.

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus.
He was an authority on the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and,
with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue;
but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside
and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.
And when he wanted to cross to Achaia,
the brothers encouraged him
and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.
After his arrival he gave great assistance
to those who had come to believe through grace.
He vigorously refuted the Jews in public,
establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 47:2-3, 8-9, 10

R. (8A) God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands;
shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The princes of the peoples are gathered together
with the people of the God of Abraham.
For God’s are the guardians of the earth;
he is supreme.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 16:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I came from the Father and have come into the world;
now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:23B-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

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Painful Packages


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 27, 2017

“All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with cries of gladness.” (Psalm)  “… the brothers encouraged him.” (First Reading)  “Amen, Amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (Gospel)

It is perfectly acceptable and even expected that we should ask God for things which we truly long for, because, hopefully and through them, we receive and understand the real joy He offers and wants for us. However, the challenge remains as to what we are asking for and why are we asking for it. If we ask for nonsensical and simply pleasurable items and feelings, we will not receive any satisfaction and/or remedy because it is not the way true freedom operates. “You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:2-3)  Many times we are totally unprepared for His answers to our prayers; sometimes they look more like problems and issues than ever before. They may appear as troubles, disappointments, sorrows, even desolation because selfish and pain-causing thoughts and attitudes must be ripped from the soul before joy can find a home. This cannot possibly be easy but definitely worth it.

When it is all said and done, I believe we will come to the deep realization that many, if not all, of the greatest gifts and deepest joys that we have ever received from our dear and loving God often come to us wrapped in painful packages. These are priceless blessings in disguise because they are the lessons and gifts our soul needs the most. Unwrap these gifts slowly and with great patience. The best is yet to come.

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