Providing the Word of God.

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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Two Most Important Days


hospital bed note on it says going home

“Human stories are practically about one thing, really, aren’t they? Death. The inevitability of death . . . There is no such thing as a natural death. Nothing that very happens to man is natural, since his presence calls the whole world into question.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.

The story I am about to share with you is actually the work of a short fiction story written back in 1964 by Roy Popkin. It was first published in 1965 in the Reader’s Digest and has been reproduced in many forms and titles and languages for the last 50 years. Even though the specifics of the original story and the actual events that led to its inspiration may never truly be known, I personally know of more than a handful of people who have worked and ministered in hospital settings that recognize the substance and the real meaning behind what we are about to enter.

So I Stayed

“A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. ‘Your son is here,’ she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

“The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

“Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited. Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her. ‘Who was that man?’ he asked. The nurse was startled, ‘He was your father,’ she answered. ‘No, he wasn’t,’ the Marine replied. ‘I never saw him before in my life.’

“‘Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?’

“‘I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed. I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this gentleman’s name?’ The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, ‘Mr. William Grey…'”

This story, though a work of fiction, has a very real message. God can use what we see as “mistakes” to put us where we need to be. So the next time it seems like things are going wrong, pause and take a good look around. Look for the opportunity that God has put in front of you to impact someone’s life.

Do you realize that you are placed on this earth for a specific reason and purpose? Every day becomes an opportunity to strive and realize that reality, especially when things look dark and bleak. If I have a purpose in life, and I do, then that which is happening around me today is either a part of that reality and movement and I should stay focused, or it is keeping me from my purpose and direction and therefore I should move on.

The most unhappy people in the world have made it their life’s mission to make as many people around them as miserable as they are with every ounce of strength they can muster. Surely, this can’t be news to you. Remember, only wounded people wound people. Your best stories will come from your struggles. The seeds of your successes are in your failures. Your praises will be birthed from your pains. Keep standing. Seasons change. I have never seen a storm that lasts forever.

Let’s hear from Mark Twain before we go. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I ask God to help each and every one of us continue to uncover and discover our purpose in this great adventure we call life. Remember,
you just may be the difference between life and death for someone today, or tomorrow.

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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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May 26, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 18:9-18

One night while Paul was in Corinth, the Lord said to him in a vision,
“Do not be afraid.
Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.
No one will attack and harm you,
for I have many people in this city.”
He settled there for a year and a half
and taught the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia,
the Jews rose up together against Paul
and brought him to the tribunal, saying,
“This man is inducing people to worship God contrary to the law.”
When Paul was about to reply, Gallio spoke to the Jews,
“If it were a matter of some crime or malicious fraud,
I should with reason hear the complaint of you Jews;
but since it is a question of arguments over doctrine and titles
and your own law, see to it yourselves.
I do not wish to be a judge of such matters.”
And he drove them away from the tribunal.
They all seized Sosthenes, the synagogue official,
and beat him in full view of the tribunal.
But none of this was of concern to Gallio.

Paul remained for quite some time,
and after saying farewell to the brothers he sailed for Syria,
together with Priscilla and Aquila.
At Cenchreae he had shaved his head because he had taken a vow.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 47:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

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.
He brings people under us;
nations under our feet.
He chooses for us our inheritance,
the glory of Jacob, whom he loves.
R. God is king of all the earth.
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 is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – LK 24:46, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
“Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.”
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

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How Grief Becomes Joy


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 26, 2017

It is perfectly normal, and an intricate part of our human nature, to react to death and dying with a myriad amount of negative thoughts and feelings that pull our hearts down and plunge us into darkness. However, I just do not see how Jesus would want us to live like that, especially in light of the Resurrection and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Not only does He not want that, He offers an amazing path: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” (Gospel)

These are truly perfect words about the redeeming and restorative action of the powerful emotion of grief. For each and every moment of suffering that we experience, I believe we are compensated with unimaginable joy. Everyone experiences loss, grief, and anguish but it is how people react that separates them from others. People who cannot move on and cannot continue living might not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and might not be filling the void with light. Those of us who one day find peace in our suffering fill that void with the love of Christ. Nothing else will work, really.

A very close friend of mine is watching his mother slowly slip away as she dies. He wrote this recently and I believe it says it all:

This afternoon at the hospital, I saw something rather remarkable: my mom’s face was glowing. Although she was slurring her words a bit, and after a period of intense pain, her eyes were bright and she seemed genuinely happy to see family and friends who came to her side. Even though I know the rest of my mother’s days are uncertain and probably difficult to witness, there’s at least one thing I clearly believe; she is ready to meet Jesus with real joy and leave the rest of us to make the very best of our days until this chapter of hers falls to each one of us. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Please keep them coming. I know I need them.

Trust in the powerful healing words of Jesus Christ. Amidst any heartache, remember that our grief will become joy.

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May 25, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 18:1-8

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (see 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE JN 14:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

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An Amazing Connection


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 25, 2017

Look with amazement, please, upon the simple but mysterious progression we have today in the Scriptures:  Wisdom — Word — Love — Jesus. “The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.” (Responsorial Psalm)

In this ordered flow of readings lies a powerful truth about life and love and the end for which we were created. It has everything to do with the outstanding purpose that human beings were put on this earth by God. It is why we are to cherish the earth and protect the environment, but also subdue it; it is why we are the stewards of land and masters of the animals but also charged to act responsibly and justly. We are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore there is a specific destiny, not only for each one of us individually, but all of us collectively, as a whole. It starts with wisdom in the Old Testament. Countless riches belong to the one who is wise; treasures that would take centuries to fully comprehend until the New Testament would take wisdom a new and glorious level in understanding and interpreting Christ, first as the Word of God piercing ignorance and shame, alive and hard-hitting and then to the “Word Made Flesh: Jesus.”  Jesus pre-existed all things, lived with God, was God, the breath of power, brilliant spiritual radiance, through which “all things were made,” and is truly “the Wisdom of God.” It is through this great Son and Wisdom of God that love is ours because of His death and resurrection, always involving sacrifice. Even the world may never understand this, the followers of Jesus must. “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” (Gospel)

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To An Unknown God


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 24, 2017

“Worship isn’t God’s show. God is the audience. God’s watching. The congregation, they are the actors in this drama. Worship is their show. And the minister is just reminding the people of their forgotten lines.” ~ Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

When I was teenager, I used to think the real job of Christians in society was to make sure that everyone worshiped God. Well, it is and it isn’t. I soon learned a very interesting and sobering truth: everybody already has a God. When my childhood came to a screeching halt as I began to witness some of my closest friends, some of whom I thought would be lifetime compatriots, fall to the wayside due to drugs, drinking, lots of immoral and clandestine activity, it was clear to me: everybody already has a god.

In our First Reading today, we have this curious discovery on the part of St. Paul: “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’”  Like St. Paul, let us also take a walk around the culture of today, the Areopagus as it were, and make a startling discovery for ourselves. You are very religious: It is clear that everyone in our society has a passion. It may be sports, the social media wormhole, exercise, fashion, etc. Looking carefully at your shrines: You and I cannot drive 5 minutes without passing these modern-day shrines. These take the shape of billboards, malls that look like ant hills, and traffic itself with the latest gadgets running amok. An altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God’: It appears to some that our society does three different things every day: we work, we play and we worship. The problem is that most work at their play, worship their work, and play at their worship. Who or what is your God? How does the worship of your God impact and change your life and the world? Are we infected with social dysfunction instead of working at our work, playing at our recreation and truly worshiping the God who has revealed Himself to us, died for our sins, and who is waiting now for us? How can you worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?

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May 24, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
“We should like to hear you on this some other time.”
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has lifted up the horn of his people;
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
Alleluia.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
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 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

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May 23, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 16:22-34

The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
“Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.”
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved.”
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8

R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
and give thanks to your name.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE JN 16:7, 13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord;
he will guide you to all truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:5-11

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me;
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

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What Must I Do?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 23, 2017

Every question that is ever lodged toward us almost always has the implicit answer neatly tucked within, with the suggestion of the “right” answer that will hopefully be offered. Here are some examples of what I am thinking: “Are you sure you want to wear that?”  “What did you really mean?”  “Are you serious?”

In our First Reading today, the prison guards that were charged to watch over the most famous prisoners of that jail, Paul and Silas, witnessed an amazing event that should have resulted in a monumental escape and thereby their own execution. But that did not happen. In fact, they were amazed beyond belief. One of them reacted:

“He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”

Let us take a look at what the guard did NOT ask: What can I do? What do I have to do? What should I do?

What do these questions mean or imply? The “can” question simply involves simple potential, that is, what is able to be done but not necessarily the best option; while the “have to” question connotes unwelcome pressure, even a disgruntled spirit and attitude. No real desire is present. The “should” question seems to refer to one’s duty and or something that one is compelled to do either by tears or terror.

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  this particular style of question has so much more to do with commitment and an absolute precondition of something that involves an issue which is much greater, even something that outlives our very existence. This is where the guard was when he asked Paul and Silas this immortal question. This is the framework for each one of us in the Easter Season. What must I do? What kind of human being am I becoming? What do I want from my life? To this, Jesus Himself has the fundamental answer: believe, which means to have full confidence not in the fact of something or someone, but in the very truth, existence and reliability of that person. This is why we call upon the Holy Spirit of God for this supernatural task which awaits in the Feast of Pentecost. Simply stated, we must believe if we are to move beyond this world into a hopeful life that prepares us for Heaven.

“I believe in Christ as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  ~ C. S. Lewis

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Stay At My Home


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 22, 2017

One of the great things about loving the Lord and trying to follow His path for us is that along the way, we meet some very interesting people. Apart from those who act offended because we still believe in God and call ourselves Christians, there are those who are actually trying to do the right things with the choices presented before them. Maybe we do not not see eye-to-eye on everything, but there is always something to be learned and remembered through the encounter with brothers and sisters who are earnestly trying to get to Heaven.

“The Lord takes delight in his people.” The truth is we need each other. If we are always focusing on the things that divide and separate us as Christians, then we give the evil dimension of this existence more power than it ever deserves. This is what, in part, causes some to weaken and drift to the darkness of world.

“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.” As you and I prepare to start yet another week of this great exercise we call “life,” why don’t we think about the people around us who might be trying just as hard as we are to get by and make sense of a very confused world. Maybe they do not mean to be obnoxious or stubborn, but they are loved somewhere on this planet and they have been shaped, like you and me, by forces that they probably had little control over.

A great man once told me that I should imagine a scene with everyone who seems to have a contentious spirit about them, especially if against me, and try to imagine, after the battles and fighting are over, having a great dinner and classic dessert with that one and realize that at the end of all our lives, we all go out the same way. Try to remember that everyone really and truly wants to get to Heaven, though it may not be that obvious to us.  “After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,’ and she prevailed on us.”

Thank you, Lord Jesus. 

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May 22, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 16:11-15

We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace,
and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We spent some time in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river
where we thought there would be a place of prayer.
We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.
One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth,
from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened,
and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention
to what Paul was saying.
After she and her household had been baptized,
she offered us an invitation,
“If you consider me a believer in the Lord,
come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 15:26B, 27A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:26—16:4A

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you.”

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Change of Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 21, 2017

A merchant and his son were traveling across the sea and with them they had a large sum of money. While only half-way to their destination they overheard some of the sailors plotting to kill them and divide the money among themselves. Both father and son knew what they must do and they planned to stage a pretense of a quarrel above deck, then throw all the money overboard. By doing this, they survived any malicious attack since there was no more treasure to be stolen. When father and son arrived home, they went to the police who issued a warrant for the sailors who were quickly put in jail. Then they sued the owners of the ship for the recovery of their money. The defendants argued that the money was voluntarily thrown into the sea, but the judge ruled in the favor of the father and his son. The judge stated that “This man was indeed justified in throwing his money overboard to save both his own life and that of his son.”

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.”

“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.”  Jesus is clearly preparing the disciples for the greatest change in their lives – the Holy Spirit. Change is the one constant in the universe and it is also the most feared aspect of our lives, at least for many of us. We love to hold on to what we know, what we can reasonably expect and basically how we place our lives in a nice, little neat order. But that is not life. Hardly. An acquaintance of mine once described life to me as a beautiful boat nestled in a harbor, safe and floating along other boats docked along side of it. I remember thinking that although that might be a nice scene, it certainly is not what boats were made for.  

“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…” The Second Reading of today makes it clear that our lives, much like the mighty sail craft, were made to face the open sea, meet challenges as they approach, and seek the wealth of the beauty this life has to offer. This is precisely why we need the Holy Spirit to prepare and strengthen our resolve and to face whatever changes in life are waiting for us. Believe me, they are there.

“Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” My friends, we live not a natural life, but a truly supernatural one. And for such a life we need the very breath of God to inspire and motivate us through the storms of life. This is our prayer and hope as we approach the great Feast of Pentecost. “Breathe in me O Holy Spirit” will be our prayer every day we awake to the morning presented to us. There is so much to life and it always involves change. Jesus just wants to make sure that we are ready for that change and that it is good change, for the better.

“Prayer does not change God, but it changes the one who prays.” (Søren Aabye Kierkegaard)

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May 21, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 8:5-8, 14-17

Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
they sent them Peter and John,
who went down and prayed for them,
that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them
and they received the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 1 PT 3:15-18

Beloved:
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence,
keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned,
those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good,
if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered for sins once,
the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,
that he might lead you to God.
Put to death in the flesh,
he was brought to life in the Spirit.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord,
and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 14:15-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

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May 20, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 16:1-10

Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once,
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 100:1B-2, 3, 5

R. (2a) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
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 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”

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Am I a Slave?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 20, 2017

In our remarkable Native American Culture, there comes a story about the slavery of evil and addiction. Often times, young boys were sent from the village in search of a vision. This was the case of one particular young native boy. He started to go up to the top of a mountain in search of his vision. As he climbed up the mountain, the air became cooler and cooler. He then came upon a snake laying on the path. The snake was shivering and said to the boy, “Please help me. I can’t move. I am so cold that I can no longer make it any further down the mountain.”

The boy carefully said to the snake, “No way! You are a snake. If I pick you up you’ll bite me!”

The snake replied, “No, no I won’t. I promise I won’t bite you if you will only pick me up and help me get down the mountain.”

So the young boy picked up the snake, put him in his shirt, and continued climbing to the top of the mountain in search of his vision. When he finally returned from his incredible climb, he reached in, took out the snake and attempted to lay it on the ground. At that point, the snake lunged forward and bit the young man close to his heart.

Immediately, he lost strength in his legs and fell helpless to the ground. As his vision became more and more blurred, he helplessly called out to the snake, “But you promised…”

The snake replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

Those were the last words he heard before he closed his eyes and died.

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own … No slave is greater than his master.’” (Gospel)

I am a slave for Jesus Christ. Whose slave are you?

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Meaning of Obedience


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 19, 2017

“You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (Gospel)

Let’s first take another look at the base meaning of the word, obedience: from the Latin, obedire the ideas that include to serve, to pay attention, to give ear, or literally, to listen to. Based on this new insight, the Scriptures reveal insights that might not have been considered before. An obvious fact that we often forget is that everybody believes in something. That belief directly affects the way that person listens, serves, and fundamentally lives their life. This is what we call obedience – listening to the voice that has weight.  That choice has eternal consequences.

Whoever we listen to determines wherever we go. If we listen to the Prince of Darkness, the destination is clear. If we listen to the Prince of Peace, Jesus clearly leads us to the Promised Land of Heaven.

“My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast…” (Responsorial Psalm)

Today, let us make a renewed effort to listen to each other. It seems as if most people do not listen with the intent of truly understanding the other. They seem to listen simply to have something to reply. There is a huge difference between truly listening to each other and waiting in line for our turn to talk. Perhaps, the more we really listen to each other, the more we can appreciate the beautiful person standing right in front of us as a precious gift from God.

If you were to re-arrange the letters L-I-S-T-E-N do you realize what another word is found there? It is what we should do when we really listen.  Be  S-I-L-E-N-T.

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May 19, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
“The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'”

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 57:8-9, 10 AND 12

R. (10a) I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn.
R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD,
I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!
R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 15:15B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

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May 18, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 15:7-21

After much debate had taken place,
Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters,
“My brothers, you are well aware that from early days
God made his choice among you that through my mouth
the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe.
And God, who knows the heart,
bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit
just as he did us.
He made no distinction between us and them,
for by faith he purified their hearts.
Why, then, are you now putting God to the test
by placing on the shoulders of the disciples
a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe that we are saved
through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.”
The whole assembly fell silent,
and they listened
while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders
God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

After they had fallen silent, James responded,
“My brothers, listen to me.
Symeon has described how God first concerned himself
with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name.
The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written:

After this I shall return
and rebuild the fallen hut of David;
from its ruins I shall rebuild it
and raise it up again,
so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord,
even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked.
Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things,
known from of old.

It is my judgment, therefore,
that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God,
but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols,
unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.
For Moses, for generations now,
has had those who proclaim him in every town,
as he has been read in the synagogues every sabbath.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 10

R. (3) Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear by voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:9-11

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that
my joy might be in you and
your joy might be complete.”

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Complete Joy of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 18, 2017

I heard someone respond beautifully and sincerely to a person who claimed that God is dead, or at least, dead to that person. He just turned to him and said, “Oh, I know He is alive and real…I just spoke with Him this morning!” 

Jesus is Love 

“’Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’” 

“I asked Jesus, ‘How much do you love me?’ Jesus replied, ‘This much.” And he stretched his arms on the cross and died.

Jesus is Here

“So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’”

Every day God thinks of you, every hour looks after you, every minute cares for you; because every second God loves you.

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May 17, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 15:1-6

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
“Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved.”
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question.
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.”

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5

R. (see 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 15:4A, 5B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

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Bearing Much Fruit


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 17, 2017

A few years ago, someone asked me, “How can you believe in God and Love and Mercy with all the horrible things that are going on in this world?” I answered, “How can you not?” That’s why we have to be wise, why we need the Word, why love will never die, and why Jesus came. This is but one example of what it means to bear fruit in this life with the many evil and dark elements that can, if we let them, block our view of the beauty of this world and the light that has come into it. Let us consider this quote from Pope Francis, “Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs, or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life.  Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

Today, attempt to let go of anger, let go of worry, count your blessings, do your work honestly, and be kind to every person you meet.

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Untroubled Hearts


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 16, 2017

Last year, I received a card from an old friend who was missing me and going through a string of tough moments herself involving her family and separation. Within the card there was a poem simply entitled, “Almost Home” written by Lary Houston.

My feet are so weary from this long and rough road. My back’s bent and aching from carrying this load. 

But I’m almost home now and my spirits are singing. Not too much longer welcome bells will be ringing.

Friends will come gather to welcome me there, and my Dear, Sweet, Savior will show me to my chair.

I’ll place my last burden on the ground at His feet. My tears will be flowing, but, Oh, they’ll be sweet.

Then I’ll see all my old friends who have gone on before and together we’ll gather to wait for some more.

When you get right down to it, we all long for home, clearly a new heaven and a new earth. In the silent, blissful and fleeting moments between deadlines and traffic lines, I think we all wonder, “What’s heaven like and when will I finally get there?” It is certainly a radical question posed to every human being in light of the Resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate during the Easter Season.

There is no literal answer to questions like these but the response would be to live in the present moment. That’s where God is right now, right here no matter where you are for it’s beautiful to live in His dwelling place, His time and in His Presence. We can shout in agreement with the Responsorial Psalm of today. “Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.”

Don’t do anything right now, just be, remain still and listen.

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May 16, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 14:19-28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21

R. (see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – LK 24:46, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 14:27-31A

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

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With All Our Heart and Strength


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 15, 2017

The words from today’s Gospel are reminders for us not to fall into the temptations of worldly power, influence and human greed, because we are easily tempted with fame, wealth, human praise, and power, which are worldly things. These became obstacles on the journey of men towards righteousness and justification in God’s presence, and that is not how the Lord wants it to be. His ways are different from the world’s ways, and His norms are completely opposite of what the world’s norms are. That is why when He was hailed to be made a king by the people who saw His great and miraculous deeds, He actually hid Himself and retreated away from the people who misunderstood and mistook His true intentions. How many of us would be puffed up with pride if people were to glorify, praise, and adore us in our presence? Our rational mind would be taken over by our ego. Those who listen to the word of God and obey God’s will, will do as the Lord had asked of them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, have we listened to the whim of our desires, to the temptations that Satan had placed in our path? Or have we instead tried to obey the Lord, our God, in His ways, even though that often bring us to difficult situations? As we continue to progress through this season of Easter, let us renew our faith and commitment to the Lord, and awaken in us the desire to serve Him with all our heart and with all of our strength. May the Lord give us the strength to persevere faithfully in this life we have on earth. May God be with us all, now and always. Amen.

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May 15, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 14:5-18

There was an attempt in Iconium
by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders,
to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
They realized it,
and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe
and to the surrounding countryside,
where they continued to proclaim the Good News.

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth,
who had never walked.
He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him,
saw that he had the faith to be healed,
and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.”
He jumped up and began to walk about.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done,
they cried out in Lycaonian,
“The gods have come down to us in human form.”
They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes,”
because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city,
brought oxen and garlands to the gates,
for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments
when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
“Men, why are you doing this?
We are of the same nature as you, human beings.
We proclaim to you good news
that you should turn from these idols to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;
yet, in bestowing his goodness,
he did not leave himself without witness,
for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts.”
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds
from offering sacrifice to them.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16

R. (1ab) Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your mercy, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
“Where is their God?”
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Heaven is the heaven of the LORD,
but the earth he has given to the children of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 14:21-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
“Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name—
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.”

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Giving Selflessly


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 14, 2017

About three years ago, there was a news item which revealed a story about a heroic father who died as he made a desperate effort to push his car to safety on a busy road. His wife and daughters were inside the broken-down vehicle. His first thought when the vehicle stopped was for the safety of his loved ones and fellow motorists. But as he tried to push the heavy vehicle on to the verge of the dual carriageway, he was hit by a passing car. After being taken to hospital, he died. His wife knew their position on the busy road would have caused a horrendous accident which is why he had pushed them to a safe well-lit area so it would not cause a pile-up. “He was selfless and he did everything a dad should do, and he knew that.” His mother told of his sense of humor and generosity to those in need and how he would help older people without charging for his services. “He was completely dedicated to all of the family and would do everything he could for the girls.” What on this earth would make a person give tirelessly, selflessly, completely of themselves, even to the point of death out of love for another? The answer? Nothing, that is, on this earth. Some would say that a person might act totally unselfish on the spur of the moment out of some impulsively motivated act of self demise because it was not “thought-out,” but that does not make logical sense. People die the way they live.

The only rational way to explain why people give their own lives for their own loved one’s is because there is a great life waiting which is far better than this one and the promise that Jesus makes today solidifies that position. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” (Gospel)

In about three weeks from now, the Church will celebrate Pentecost, the veritable Holy Feast of the Holy Spirit. As we move closer to that blessed event, begin to open your heart to the possibility that there are great things happening all around you, right now, in order to bring clarity and insight to what you are with your life these days. Trust me. If you are reading this right now, The Spirit is already active and activating your heart. Prepare for it. The best is yet to come!

Prayer over the people that is used at the end of Mother’s Day Mass.

Loving God, as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children, so you watch over your Church. Bless these women, that they may be strengthened as Christian mothers. Let the example of their faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, their sons and daughters, may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect. Grant this through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

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May 14, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 6:1-7

As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 1 PT 2:4-9

Beloved:
Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it says in Scripture:
Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone, chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.

Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,
and
A stone that will make people stumble,
and a rock that will make them fall.

They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.

You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Alleluia – JN 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father, except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 14:1-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”

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Shaking the Dust Off


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 13, 2017

Shaking the dust off one’s feet conveys the same idea as our modern phrase “I’m washing my hands of it and moving on.” What we see here is a profound example and a symbolic indication that one has done all that can be done in a situation and therefore carries no further responsibility for it. Modern psych-speak would say, “You can’t make someone change if they don’t want to. You lose yourself trying to hold on to someone who doesn’t care about losing you.”

In the scriptural examples, Jesus was telling His disciples that they were to preach the gospel to everyone. Where they were received with joy, they should stay and teach. But where their message was rejected, they had no further responsibility. They were free to walk away with a clear conscience, knowing they had done all they could do. Shaking the dust off their feet was, in effect, saying that those who rejected God’s truth would not be allowed to hinder the furtherance of the Gospel. Even the dust of those cities that rejected the Lord was an abomination and would not be allowed to cling to the feet of God’s messengers.

There are situations in our lives where God calls us to stand firm, proclaim truth, and give patient testimony. Sometimes we need to continue until we see the results of that testimony. Other times God gives us the freedom to move on. We figuratively “shake the dust off our feet” when, under the Holy Spirit’s direction, we surrender those people to the Lord and emotionally let go. We then have the freedom to move into the next phase of ministry. Jesus’ instruction to “shake the dust off our feet” reminds us that we are only responsible for our obedience to God, not for the results of that obedience.

“So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them…” (First Reading)

“If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (Gospel)

Letting go of the past is something that is absolutely necessary for the Christina disciple to master.  Without it, we remain paralyzed under the heavy burdens of disappointments, disillusions and dark days that are spotted along the way of paths toward Heaven.

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May 13, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 13:44-52

On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 8:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to Jesus,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

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Asking for Directions


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 12, 2017

I remember an interesting account of a missionary priest who was sent to preach the Gospel in a very thick and heavily dense jungle area of Africa. His particular focus on a certain day was to travel for more than 30 hours to reach a series of villages to celebrate Mass and teach. The only way he could get through the intense brush was to employ the services of a local, experienced guide. The time came for them to leave and the priest and his guide stood before a daunting sight; a literal wall of trees, vines, and branches tall enough to block the rising morning sun. Holding a huge wielding knife in his hand, the guide turned to the bewildered priest and said, “Ready, B’wana?” Stunned and a little confused, the priest responded, “Where are we going? There’s no way through!” Turning toward the daunting scene in front of them and holding his machete ready for action, the guide confidently stated, “Follow me, B’wana. I am the way.”

An excellent way to understand this portion of today’s Gospel passage is in the conversation between Thomas and Jesus. Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Follow Him. Please.

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May 12, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 13:26-33

When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11AB

R. (7bc) You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

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How Can I Keep From Singing?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 11, 2017

Between 1870 and 1880, a popular hymn arose which was written by a brilliant and talented musician named Robert Lowry. In every decade since then and in a variety of religious backgrounds, the hymn has been heard and even covered by a number of modern artists. The title of this hymn asks an astounding question, “How Can I Keep From Singing?” Here are some of its lyrics.

“My life goes on in endless song above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife I hear it’s music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?”

My friends, the issue is that there is a deep type of true and lasting joy that fills the human heart when a person stops for a while and realizes that everything he or she has, everyone that they love, all the beauty of art, architecture, history, music, dance, poetry, and literature comes from the very core of God. These are not accidents. A great and loving God calls them into existence and freely gives them to us. Every day, there are little hints of this simple mystery.

I have someone in my life who surprises me from time to time with the same little ditty; “Hey, I’ve got good news and bad news.”

I’ll ask for the bad news, then for the good news to which the reply comes; “The good news is I got up this morning!” And he is absolutely right.

Pray for this joy. Stop and thank God for everything. Then wait. Even if today is hard and you think the Lord is not there; when walking through difficult paths and wondering where God is, remember that the teacher is always quiet during a test. Enjoy your day. And oh, by the way, I’ve got some good news for you.

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May 11, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 13:13-25

From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia.
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
“My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak.”

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.

From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 AND 27

R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.'”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE RV 1:5AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead,
you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 13:16-20

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

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May 10, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 12:24—13:5A

The word of God continued to spread and grow.

After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission,
they returned to Jerusalem,
taking with them John, who is called Mark.

Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them.”
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.

So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit,
went down to Seleucia
and from there sailed to Cyprus.
When they arrived in Salamis,
they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 67:2-3, 5, 6 AND 8

R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R. Alleluia.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R. Alleluia.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R. Alleluia.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 12:44-50

Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

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How Do They Grow?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 10, 2017

How do plants, shrubs and trees grow? They need air, light, water, nourishment and attention.

How do insects, animals, mammals, etc. grow? They need air, light, water, nourishment and attention.

How do human relationships grow? They need love, honesty, communication and lots and lots of attention.

Finally, I promise, and how do good human relationships last forever?: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I find it very hard to believe that anyone seriously believes that we go through life, with all its ups and downs, struggles, heartaches, victories and successes only to think that when we die, that’s it. That position just does not cut it. One of my former students loved to remind me about atheism; “The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense.” 

The goal of life is to live for something that will outlive everyone of us. This is why today we invite the word of God to continue growing and taking root in our lives, our conversations, and all of our relationships. You and I are loved more than we will ever know by someone who died so that He could know us.

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May 9, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 11:19-26

Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (117:1a) All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those who know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
“This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 10:22-30

The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

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What Gave Them Away?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 9, 2017

The First Reading for today concludes with a curious detail, “…it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.”

Do you wonder how people just started calling these people who followed Jesus and professed Him as Lord of their lives, Christians? Let’s see if we have any clues hanging around in the text that might shed some light on this.

“Scattered by the persecution” means they fought and suffered for their faith.

“Proclaiming the Lord Jesus” means they kept the goal always in front.

“He rejoiced and encouraged them” means joy and courage were necessary.

“Remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart” means they kept Jesus close in their hearts.

“For a whole year they met with the Church” means they kept together and supported each other in love.

With all this in mind, I believe it makes it easier and clearer to understand what Jesus means when He said in the Gospel today, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” A friend of mine many years ago liked repeating the phrase, “If being a Christian was against the Law, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

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May 8, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 11:1-18

The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
‘You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.”
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
“I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’
But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man’s house.
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.’
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
‘John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?”
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
“God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 42:2-3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 3a) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 10:11-18

Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”

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Whose Voice is That?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 8, 2017

One day, a priest friend of mine took a busload of people on a 5-day pilgrimage. During the bus ride onto the next stop, they passed a huge sheep farm where he took the opportunity to preach on this very Gospel passage that we have for today: “So Jesus said again, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.’” As they all began to have lunch behind this magnificent backdrop of more than 500 sheep grazing on the hillside, a man appeared from behind the hill launching the peaceful sheep into a blood-curdling frenzy that visibly upset the pilgrims, but most especially their priest-leader.

The owner of the farm saw what was happening from afar and walked over to see if he could lend a hand. “What’s the problem, Father? Everything all right?” “Well, no,” came the subtle response. “I just got through teaching all these good people about how Jesus is the gate for all the sheep, that He is the Good Shepherd, and we just witnessed a massive panic attack right before our eyes with all these sheep!” “Oh, you’re OK, Father. You see that man over there? He is not the shepherd. He is the butcher.”

The message for all of us seems evident. Whose voice are we hearing? How do we know it belongs to the Good Shepherd? Let’s begin this week by first asking the Lord to slow us down so we can listen, for wisdom to know the difference in tone between the butcher and the Good Shepherd, and the courage to listen and follow the right voice.

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The Shepherd’s Easter


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 7, 2017

Back in 1999, the Gallup News Service issued their finding about Church and Faith and the impact on the life of Americans. They discovered that when people finally show up at church, the clergy often has their work cut out for them, because some in attendance may not fully appreciate why they are there. An earlier, 1991 Gallup survey found that only eight in ten Protestant and Catholic adults understand the religious significance of Easter, while two in ten either misunderstood it or readily admitted they could not even hazard a guess. If you or I were approached by anyone who really did not have a clue and sincerely wanted to know more about Easter, the simple answer is most likely the best one. Let’s look at three overwhelmingly beautiful and significantly bold statements we can make to the world about the meaning of Easter.

Jesus is Real.

“Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.” I heard someone responded beautifully and sincerely to a person who claimed that God is dead, or at least, dead to that person. He just turned to him and said, “Oh, I know He is alive and real…I just spoke with Him this morning!” 

Jesus is Love.

“‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’” “I asked Jesus, ‘How much do you love me?’ Jesus replied, ‘This much.’ ” And he stretched his arms on the cross and died.

Jesus is Here. 

“So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’”

I saw a poster hanging in a classroom with these words, “Only Jesus can turn a mess to a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory.”

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May 7, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 2:14A, 36-41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 23: 1-3A, 3B4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 1 PT 2:20B-25

Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Alleluia – JN 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

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Finish Line into Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 6, 2017

“The more we shelter children from every disappointment, the more devastating future disappointments will be.” (Fred G. Gosman)

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” (Martin Luther King, Jr. )

“Hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

As you and I continue our walk with Jesus through the valleys and hills of whatever is ahead of us, there continues to be deep and lasting truths that must be accepted, guarded and realized if we are going to faithfully finish this race and find Jesus face to face, applauding as we cross the finish line into Heaven. One of those essential elements is highlighted in the Scriptural Readings we have today. Let’s take a look at them:

Believe in Christ and Become a Christian. The Lord is alive and active in our lives and spells out the new road we must take if we are to accept the miracles before us and journey on: “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” (First Reading)

An immature faith is no faith at all. Accepting the blessings while not following the One who blesses leads to disaster: “… many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him.” (Gospel)

Real hope is grounded in true, mature faith. Praising and thanking God especially when times are tough always leads to deep trust in Jesus that can only grow and develop with time and patience: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Gospel)

Love comes to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve been betrayed, to those who still love even though they’ve been hurt, and to those who know that when they find Jesus, they will never let go.

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May 6, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 9:31-42

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
was at peace.
She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.

As Peter was passing through every region,
he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda.
There he found a man named Aeneas,
who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed.
Peter said to him,
“Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.”
He got up at once.
And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him,
and they turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas).
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs.
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
“Please come to us without delay.”
So Peter got up and went with them.
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed.
Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.”
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive.
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (12) How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R. Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 6:60-69

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

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May 5, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 6:56

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said 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.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

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No Death or Taxes!


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 5, 2017

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” (Benjamin Franklin)

“The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get any worse every time Congress meets.” (Will Rogers)

The one thing that is absolutely certain for us believers today is that if we still have to pay taxes today, and if death is still a reality that we face, then we are not yet in Heaven. In the meantime, we must come to grips with both painful realities of our human existence. Saul, whose very existence completely changed and became the magnificent Saint Paul, had his entire existence changed during a breathtaking encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus: “On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’” (First Reading)

The level of faithful success in our lives all depends on the quality of the encounter we have with the Lord; it must change everything. While we wait for the ultimate change in death, Jesus give us His own Body and Blood for the supernatural approach that our lives must take as we move forward. “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.”  With certain literary apologies to Mr. Franklin and Mr. Rogers, among the most certain things in this life are death, taxes and Jesus Christ, who has defeated death and darkness and given us a chance to inherit Eternal Life. Imagine, a place where there is no death and no taxes! Let us do everything in our power with the power of the Holy Spirit to get there and never ever leave.

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May 4, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 8:26-40

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
“Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and join up with that chariot.”
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
He replied,
“How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
“I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?”
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?”
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 66:8-9, 16-17, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless our God, you peoples,
loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,
and has not let our feet slip.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”

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Easter Gift of Compassion


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 4, 2017

On  my way to work this morning, I stopped at a local gas station that was also a convenience store, a produce market, a breakfast and lunch counter, and a stage of on-going human drama. Working my way through a long line, I found the freshly brewed coffee and poured myself a cup, picked up a fruit and newspaper and headed for the line when I realized my wallet was left in the car. Gently placing my cup of coffee and other items I went to the car to get my wallet. As I returned, I witnessed a man, about 25 years of age, stumble by the table, sit down, and literally spill my coffee onto the fruit and newspaper I was about to purchase.

Breathe, breathe …” I continued to think to myself as I began to walk over to the table; once again, “breathe again, it’s the beginning of your day … please God help me right now …”

Slowing down, I was glad the hot coffee didn’t spill on his clothes. With no one else around, I guess I could’ve just left everything as it was, but that’s really not my way of doing things. I saw a mop in the nearby closet and just accepted the fact that this nice, freshly ironed and dry cleaned yellow shirt of mine would be less than crisp and ready for my desk work today. When I turned around, I was thankful for God’s grace and mercy; the young man was blind. As I neared the table with the mop, I began to say as gently and as slowly as I could, “I’m sorry about all this. It’s my coffee. Don’t worry, I’ll clean it up. No worries.”  He tried to apologize as well, and before I knew it, it was all cleaned and better. I suggested that we thank God that no one was burned or hurt and that we were both able to walk and still make this day good no matter what. “Jesus defeated death,” I said, “and He can surely take care of little spilled coffee.”

One of the attendants, who apparently had been up all night on the graveyard shift, suddenly appeared and barked at both of us, “who’s going to pay for the coffee and all this other stuff?” I looked up and surveyed the man who was easily half a foot taller than me and who obviously played football in high school; “I guess I will, sir.” “NO YOU WON’T!” came a fierce response from the refrigerated coolers around the corner, whose voice belonged to an older woman, dressed for work, and apparently for action; “I saw the whole thing. Get away from there! I’ll take care of it!” she concluded.  She not only paid for my items, but another set for me, for my blind friend, and a coffee for herself. The three of us sat for nearly 10 minutes talking about nothing.

These two powerful passages from today’s Scriptures then came alive for me: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him.”  (First Reading) and “They shall all be taught by God.” (Gospel)  Amen, Amen.

Let God teach you today; your next lesson begins now …

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May 3, 2017


Reading 1 – 1 COR 15:1-8

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the Gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more
than five hundred brothers and sisters at once,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:2-3, 4-5

R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day;
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:6B, 9C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord;
Philip, whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 14:6-14

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

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Most Awesome Promise


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 3, 2017

During a weekend visit to one of our local markets, I hurried down an aisle that was actually clear of shoppers in order to quickly shuffle to the express lane checkout with my 16 brunch items; yes, 1 over the limit. It was the greeting card section of the store with literally thousands of messages and envelopes for every possible occasion imaginable. One of these little “jewels” had fallen from the rack onto the floor and before it became trashed and trodden underfoot, I decided to pick it up and place it back on the shelf. I was a little impressed with the message on the card and made sure I copied the cover for this reflection. “I get sad. I get angry. I get lonely. I overact. I make mistakes. But I promise I will always give you my best.”

Then I thought of the promise Jesus made to you and me this morning through the Word: “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (Gospel)

What are the clearly inescapable conclusions that we might be able to draw from this comparison?

  1.  Jesus’ promise is much better
  2.  He always gives us His Best (Eternal Life)
  3.  Giving our best to Him is really the only true response we have
  4.  Giving our best to others helps us with giving our best to Him

Today and every day, you and I encounter moments of great potential for renewal and the start of wonderful possibilities. Or as a good friend once said, “Remember the great oak tree. It was once a nut like you!”

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May 2, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 7:51—8:1A

Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always oppose the Holy Spirit;
you are just like your ancestors.
Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?
They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one,
whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.
You received the law as transmitted by angels,
but you did not observe it.”

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them”;
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Now Saul was consenting to his execution.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 7B AND 8A, 17 AND 21AB

R. (6a) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
My trust is in the LORD;
I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 6:35AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the bread of life, says the Lord;
whoever comes to me will never hunger.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 6:30-35

The crowd said to Jesus:
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:

He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to Jesus,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

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What is Stiff-necked?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 2, 2017

Our First Reading today opens up with a dramatic scene and the last few moments of the life of a powerful and great saint: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the Holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors.” (St. Stephen)

Here are some common synonyms offered to explain the meaning: authoritarian, biased, bigoted, bullheaded, fanatical, inflexible, mulish, one-sided, pigheaded, rigid and stubborn. Definitely not a compliment. The underlying principle at the root of this expression is pride. It keeps us from hearing what God is saying. It inhibits from lowering of heads in humble prayer and deep, profound respect for the Lord who gives us everything we have. Pride makes our necks stiff and our lives ridiculous.

How can we recognize this negative quality in ourselves and others?

1. Haughty certainty of always being right.
2. Refusal to listen to anyone else.
3. Defensive when criticized.
4. Making excuses for shortcomings.
5. Lashing out at others to make oneself superior.
6. No desire to examine one’s  own life.
7. Repeated pattern of misbehavior.
8. Prayer without repentance or honesty.

This can happen to any of us when we become hardened in our ways and so certain of ourselves that no one can reach us. We don’t realize what has happened until judgment comes. What we need from each other is humble, kind way of living our lives so that we are clear that none of us is any better than anyone else. If we have stiff necks, we will not be able to respond to Jesus when He offers us the greatest gift in the universe:  “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (Gospel)

The curious lesson today is that with a proud heart and a stiff neck, a person can spiritually starve to death and never realize it until it is too late. Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right. May we all know and live the difference.

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Looking for a “Handout”


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 1, 2017

Did you ever receive a phone call, text, email, or even a personal visit from someone whom you haven’t seen or heard from for months, even years; and the first thought you have is, “Oh, I wonder what they want?”  You too, huh?

That is because there are a number of people in some of our lives who call or otherwise try to contact us only when they need something.  A little frustrating, isn’t it? Never a phone call on our birthday, Christmas, Easter, or special occasion. It’s someone who is looking for a favor only to fade into oblivion all over again until the next crisis.

This is a similar situation presented to us in the Gospel today when Jesus laments to the crowd who is tracking Him down and finally catching up: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”

Do you realize that sometimes you and I do to God what some people do to us? That is, call out only when we need something. You know, in God’s great mind, that may not have the same effect. You see, God is happy when we call out to Him and are looking for a handout. The difference is remarkable, however. When you and I are in trouble and in need, let us have the great confidence to look for Him, but not for the handout, but for His hand. Just call out and thank Him, praise Him, and ask Him for everything.

We may never realize that Jesus is all we need until He is all we have.

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May 1, 2017


Reading 1 – ACTS 6:8-15

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say,
“We have heard him speaking blasphemous words
against Moses and God.”
They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,
accosted him, seized him,
and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified,
“This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.
For we have heard him claim
that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place
and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30

R. (1ab) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Though princes meet and talk against me,
your servant meditates on your statutes.
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
or:
R. Alleluia.
I declared my ways, and you answered me;
teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – MT 4:4B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes froth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 6:22-29

[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea
saw that there had been only one boat there,
and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,
but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias
near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

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