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Let’s Go Fishing


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 30, 2017

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Gospel) Apart from being so close to the water and thus positioned by the Sea of Galilee, there must be other more powerful reasons why Jesus called fishermen to follow Him and why fishing has become a very important image for all of us in discipleship. What do fishing and living a Christian life have in common? Here are some possibilities to consider.

“For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.” (First Reading) We have to be prepared.

“At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Gospel) We have to get up early.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.” (Psalm) We have to be quiet.

“Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (First Reading) We have to wait.

“The command of the LORD is clear enlightening the eye.” (Psalm) We have to be persistent and determined.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (First Reading) We have to practice and enjoy the process.

We conclude today’s Reflection with the brilliant prayer of St. Andrew, whose feast we celebrate today.

“O glorious St. Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend, St. John, you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother, St. Peter, to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to Him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him and dedication in His service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.”

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November 30, 2017


Reading 1 – Rom 10:9-18

Brothers and sisters:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
The Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
As it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!
But not everyone has heeded the good news;
for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?
Thus faith comes from what is heard,
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
But I ask, did they not hear?
Certainly they did; for

Their voice has gone forth to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (10) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. (John 6:63) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia – Mt 4:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come after me, says the Lord,
and I will make you fishers of men.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.

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How Much Do You Weigh?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 29, 2017

The words gravity, grave, and gravitas all come from a basic concept. If you say that someone has gravitas, you mean that you respect them because they seem serious and intelligent with reserved dignity and good taste in behavior and speech, thus they are heavy, as in the concept of gravity. They carry a lot of meaning and importance. They mean a tremendous amount to an individual or to a society. We would unreservedly trust their opinion and take their advice without question. Which is bad news for King Belshazzar who threw his legendary feast for all his friends only to be visited, without invitation, by the original and thereafter proverbial “writing on the wall” with some very harsh and bad news. “…you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” (First Reading)

How would we then gain weight, gravitas, that is? We know we will be put on some kind of scale when it is all said and done. So how will this work? “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Gospel) Here are some examples: (1) keep your promises, especially if it takes more effort than anticipated; (2) never betray a friend’s trust; (3) avoid gossip; (4) remain true to your friends and spouse; (5) return money that you have found without expecting a reward; (6) always know that Jesus is present when making choices, big or small.

The Lord would admonish us to “Remain faithful until death, And I will give you the crown of life.” (Alleluia Verse)

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November 29, 2017


Reading 1 – DN 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his lords,
with whom he drank.
Under the influence of the wine,
he ordered the gold and silver vessels
which Nebuchadnezzar, his father,
had taken from the temple in Jerusalem,
to be brought in so that the king, his lords,
his wives and his entertainers might drink from them.
When the gold and silver vessels
taken from the house of God in Jerusalem had been brought in,
and while the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers
were drinking wine from them,
they praised their gods of gold and silver,
bronze and iron, wood and stone.Suddenly, opposite the lampstand,
the fingers of a human hand appeared,
writing on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace.
When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, his face blanched;
his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook,
and his knees knocked.

Then Daniel was brought into the presence of the king.
The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel, the Jewish exile,
whom my father, the king, brought from Judah?
I have heard that the Spirit of God is in you,
that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom.
I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties;
if you are able to read the writing and tell me what it means,
you shall be clothed in purple,
wear a gold collar about your neck,
and be third in the government of the kingdom.”

Daniel answered the king:
“You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else;
but the writing I will read for you, O king,
and tell you what it means.
You have rebelled against the Lord of heaven.
You had the vessels of his temple brought before you,
so that you and your nobles, your wives and your entertainers,
might drink wine from them;
and you praised the gods of silver and gold,
bronze and iron, wood and stone,
that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence.
But the God in whose hand is your life breath
and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify.
By him were the wrist and hand sent, and the writing set down.

“This is the writing that was inscribed:
MENE, TEKEL, and PERES.
These words mean:
MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it;
TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting;
PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Responsorial Psalm – DN 3:62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67

R. (59B) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Sun and moon, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Stars of heaven, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you winds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Fire and heat, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Cold and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Alleluia – REV 2:10C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain faithful until death,
And I will give you the crown of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

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November 28, 2017


Reading 1 – DN 2:31-45

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar:
“In your vision, O king, you saw a statue,
very large and exceedingly bright,
terrifying in appearance as it stood before you.
The head of the statue was pure gold,
its chest and arms were silver,
its belly and thighs bronze, the legs iron,
its feet partly iron and partly tile.
While you looked at the statue,
a stone which was hewn from a mountain
without a hand being put to it,
struck its iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces.
The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once,
fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer,
and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace.
But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain
and filled the whole earth.”This was the dream;
the interpretation we shall also give in the king’s presence.
You, O king, are the king of kings;
to you the God of heaven
has given dominion and strength, power and glory;
men, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell,
he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all;
you are the head of gold.
Another kingdom shall take your place, inferior to yours,
then a third kingdom, of bronze,
which shall rule over the whole earth.
There shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron;
it shall break in pieces and subdue all these others,
just as iron breaks in pieces and crushes everything else.
The feet and toes you saw, partly of potter’s tile and partly of iron,
mean that it shall be a divided kingdom,
but yet have some of the hardness of iron.
As you saw the iron mixed with clay tile,
and the toes partly iron and partly tile,
the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
The iron mixed with clay tile
means that they shall seal their alliances by intermarriage,
but they shall not stay united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
In the lifetime of those kings
the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people;
rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms
and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.
That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain
without a hand being put to it,
which broke in pieces the tile, iron, bronze, silver, and gold.
The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future;
this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.”

Responsorial Psalm – DN 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61

R. (59B) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“You heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Alleluia – REV 2:10C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain faithful until death,
And I will give you the crown of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

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You Are What You Eat


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 27, 2017

The phrase,”you are what you eat” has been used in several venues and circumstances most likely in nutritional-based conversations. It seems to have its early beginnings in 1826 in a book about physiology which is better translated, “tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”  What we allow into our lives, physically or spiritually, even emotionally, will have a tremendous, even life-changing impact. Daniel must have know that in our First Reading today. “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men who eat from the royal table, and treat your servants according to what you see.” The result there was amazing.

The opposite is also true about what we do not allow into our lives also has similar results. We are about the poor widow in the Gospel, “…but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” The poor widow lived on a diet of trust and confidence in the Lord for her every need and want. Her selfless act has been sung throughout history and all because she knew how to live, how to give back, how to depend on God and how to avoid selfish foods that just make one arrogant and selfish. What’s on your plate?

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November 27, 2017


Reading 1 – DN 1:1-6, 8-20

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came
and laid siege to Jerusalem.
The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
and some of the vessels of the temple of God;
he carried them off to the land of Shinar,
and placed the vessels in the temple treasury of his god.

The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain,
to bring in some of the children of Israel of royal blood
and of the nobility, young men without any defect,
handsome, intelligent and wise,
quick to learn, and prudent in judgment,
such as could take their place in the king’s palace;
they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans;
after three years’ training they were to enter the king’s service.
The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine
from the royal table.
Among these were men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah.But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself
with the king’s food or wine;
so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement.
Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy
of the chief chamberlain, he nevertheless said to Daniel,
“I am afraid of my lord the king;
it is he who allotted your food and drink.
If he sees that you look wretched
by comparison with the other young men of your age,
you will endanger my life with the king.”
Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain
had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah,
“Please test your servants for ten days.
Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men
who eat from the royal table,
and treat your servants according to what you see.”
He acceded to this request, and tested them for ten days;
after ten days they looked healthier and better fed
than any of the young men who ate from the royal table.
So the steward continued to take away
the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables.
To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency
in all literature and science,
and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams.
At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation,
the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar.
When the king had spoken with all of them,
none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah;
and so they entered the king’s service.
In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them,
he found them ten times better
than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.

Responsorial Psalm – DN 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R. (52B) Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you on the throne of your Kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!

Alleluia – MT 24:42A, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stay awake!
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

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Lord, When Did We See You?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 26, 2017

What a marvelous and glorious way to end the Church’s Calendar Year. Next Sunday, we begin all over again with the First Sunday of Advent, but for now, let us finish a full year of faith and hopefully much spiritual growth since the last time we were at this “Movable Feast.” Why movable? Because in a very mysterious and providential way, we take this moment with us wherever we go, preparing one day to stand, as it were, face-to-face with Jesus when everything is said and done. One day it will indeed be our last reflection, our final use of our intellect on this planet, and the final moment to use the time we have been given to discover our purpose in this life and to uncover the courage necessary to meet the challenges we face daily. 

What will they write upon your tombstone or grave marker? How will people remember you? How do you remember the people you have loved and miss and cared for? The Gospel today gives us the most impeccable clue. We will be remembered based on all the times we sought and found the face of Jesus in the lives in which we were situated, especially the people we did not always see eye-to-eye or get along with. When did we ever turn and actually see Christ the King in our midst? Every day we got up from sleep.

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November 26, 2017


Reading 1 – Ez 34:11-12, 15-17

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,
I will judge between one sheep and another,
between rams and goats.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
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.
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.

Reading 2 – 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.

Alleluia – MK 11:9, 10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

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Will You Know My Name?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 25, 2017

A common thread seems to be woven throughout each individual’s life, especially when it comes to the issue of death. There certainly seems to be a vast disparity in the experience of one’s own end versus the concluding hours of someone we love and over whom we will certainly grieve. That thread expands from deep isolation to outright anger. Worry is another casualty-harbinger. “Sleep has departed from my eyes, for my heart is sinking with anxiety.” (First Reading) There are those who miss the mark completely when confronted with the heaviness of dying and loss as shown in today’s Gospel. “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” There was Jesus standing right in front of these learned people with the very answer to life’s most perplexing question of why we have to die. The only intelligent remark offered was hardly astute. The larger picture was not appreciated because of their lack of faith and grave suspicion of Jesus. “Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” (Alleluia Verse)

The truth is simple. Jesus is Lord of life and death. Everything He touches will be completely transformed and even better than we could ever imagined, both here on earth and in Heaven. “They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” (Gospel) We could certainly learn a tremendous truth here. When we stand in front of Jesus, without the bothers and cares of this world, we simply won’t have any questions, except perhaps, “Do you know who I am?”

“Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me. The Carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.” ~Emily Dickinson

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November 25, 2017


Reading 1 – 1 MC 6:1-13

As King Antiochus was traversing the inland provinces,
he heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais,
famous for its wealth in silver and gold,
and that its temple was very rich,
containing gold helmets, breastplates, and weapons
left there by Alexander, son of Philip,
king of Macedon, the first king of the Greeks.
He went therefore and tried to capture and pillage the city.
But he could not do so,
because his plan became known to the people of the city
who rose up in battle against him.
So he retreated and in great dismay withdrew from there
to return to Babylon.While he was in Persia, a messenger brought him news
that the armies sent into the land of Judah had been put to flight;
that Lysias had gone at first with a strong army
and been driven back by the children of Israel;
that they had grown strong
by reason of the arms, men, and abundant possessions
taken from the armies they had destroyed;
that they had pulled down the Abomination
which he had built upon the altar in Jerusalem;
and that they had surrounded with high walls
both the sanctuary, as it had been before,
and his city of Beth-zur.

When the king heard this news,
he was struck with fear and very much shaken.
Sick with grief because his designs had failed, he took to his bed.
There he remained many days, overwhelmed with sorrow,
for he knew he was going to die.

So he called in all his Friends and said to them:
“Sleep has departed from my eyes,
for my heart is sinking with anxiety.
I said to myself: ‘Into what tribulation have I come,
and in what floods of sorrow am I now!
Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.’
But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem,
when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver
that were in it, and for no cause
gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed.
I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me;
and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 9:2-3, 4 AND 6, 16 AND 19

R. (see 16A) I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.
R. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
Because my enemies are turned back,
overthrown and destroyed before you.
You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.
R. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
The nations are sunk in the pit they have made;
in the snare they set, their foot is caught.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor shall the hope of the afflicted forever perish.
R. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.

Alleluia – SEE 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called ‘Lord’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
Some of the scribes said in reply,
“Teacher, you have answered well.”
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

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Justice at the End of the Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 24, 2017

It has been assumed as a fact that there is no real justice this side of Heaven. We can look at our own human history to see a glimpse of that when we remember that slavery, Apartheid, the horrible Holocaust were legal. Abortion today is a legal matter. With that in mind, we could conclude that legality is a matter of power rather than justice. Today we remember and echo the great cry for justice that is open to us. “Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near.” (First Reading) But how would we accomplish such a thing? We are told to “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Second Reading)

In bringing this discussion to more concrete terms, the Gospel of the day gives us such rich morsels to ponder, wonder and then to act. The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.” The vineyard is clearly a metaphor for life in the Kingdom and where we should plant ourselves squarely in it. But there is some element of injustice there, isn’t there? The people who started out early in the morning received the same wage as those who only worked an hour. Does that seem fair? Not if this was a lesson in macro-economics. This is about the mysterious life in the Kingdom where not everyone has the same amount of talents, gifts or even opportunities, yet everyone is accountable for what they do with what they have. Thus, jealousy and envy are vicious poisons that can kill the life of the Spirit in the one trying to follow Jesus. The wages at stake, even at the moment of Jesus’ first telling of the parable, are not actual daily wages for vineyard-laborers, but forgiveness, life, and salvation for believers. Seen like this, it really does not matter when a person receives them, be it early or late in life, as long as they find them before the end of the day, the final call, which is death. The key is to get working in the Kingdom as soon as possible no matter who is first second, third, fourth, etc.

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November 24, 2017


Reading 1 – IS 55:6-9

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18

R. (18A) The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.

Reading 2 – PHIL 1:20C-24, 27A

Brothers and sisters:
Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.
If I go on living in the flesh,
that means fruitful labor for me.
And I do not know which I shall choose.
I am caught between the two.
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better.
Yet that I remain in the flesh
is more necessary for your benefit.

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Alleluia – CF. ACTS 16:14B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 20:1-16A

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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Happy Thanksgiving


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 23, 2017

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a tin can at his feet. He emptied it to see if he had enough to buy some food for dinner. There was a sign next to him which said, “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in there. A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the can.  He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words. Soon the can began to fill up. More people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning?  What did you write?” The man answered, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way. I wrote ‘Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.’” Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were blessed that they were not blind. Their generosity increased exponentially as their gratitude grew within their hearts.

“Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb, and fashions them according to his will!” (First Reading) Our First Reading is an inspiring thought. What we can learn from this passage is the power and crucial place that God’s will has in the life of the Christian. His will that takes precedence over everything and everyone. “They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty and tell of your wondrous works.” Psalm 145 reiterates this for us. With this in mind, we can certainly trust that whatever He does, and whatever He allows, to be perfect, albeit in a strange, mysterious way. The Portuguese have a wonderful saying, “Deus escreve direito por linhas tortas,” which basically translated is, “God writes straight with crooked lines.”  It has also been expressed as “Not everything that looks good at first is actually good, and likewise, not every seemingly bad turns out that way.” The Second Reading underscores that rich idea when it assures us that “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Gospel certainly reminds us that there are still many ungrateful people in the world that make it very hard for us to fully understand and experience what it means to live freely with God’s amazing grace. God does not need for us to say thank you. We do. If we are not grateful, we will stop appreciating all that is around us and when that happens, we begin a path along the road of total destruction. Maybe it is because for some people, life has been hard and disappointing. For these, the great mercy and generous heart of God our Father must be sought and found constantly. Terrible, bad, even horribly tragic and disappointing things will happen to us, but that does not mean it’s the end of the world.

On this Thanksgiving Day, be thankful for what you have, be creative and innovative. Think differently and positively. When life gives you one hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have one thousand reasons to smile. Face your past without regret, handle your present with confidence, and prepare for the future without fear. “In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (Alleluia Verse)

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November 23, 2017


Reading 1 – SIR 50:22-24

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure in Israel
to deliver us in our days.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R. (see 1) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
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. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 1:3-9

Brothers and sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alleluia – 1 THES 5:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

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Convenience Versus Truth


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 22, 2017

Our First Reading today is one of the most dramatic, heart-breaking scenes in all of Scripture. “Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother, who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.” The depth of faith and true integrity of life that existed in the mother of the seven sons is unfortunately sparsely witnessed today and is desperately and sorely needed. What is integrity? Some have stated that it is the choice we make when confronted with paths of doing what is convenient or what is right. It is the manner in which Jesus lived and died and thus calls us to emulate and bear fruit. I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” (Alleluia Verse)

If the central theme of our Readings today is in fact integrity of life, then the Gospel makes perfect sense. “I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” The gift and presence of integrity in a person’s life give true and lasting freedom. Why? Because if we live complete and honest lives we have nothing to fear for we have nothing to hide. Therefore, we are guided by such a strong inner principle that we move toward doing the right thing in every circumstance, every opportunity because there is no pathetic guilt to stand in the way. Selfish, weak and dishonest folks lose what little self-respect they have just to get by and be liked. Image is what we want people to think of us and work hard to maintain; integrity is the real story. It is knowing who we are before God.

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How Does It End?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 28, 2017

After a quick review of human history, it seems as if there has been a long and protracted preoccupation with the idea of how a person’s life and the world will end. The end of the universe as we know it has been a fascination of all cultures and all peoples for a long time including today’s Scripture. “The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future; this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.” (First Reading) In the Gospel, the worry about the last days was becoming neurotic. “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them!”

Imagine spending money on a novel or to see a movie, and as you begin reading or watching, it is revealed as to how the plot would be resolved and who would die, survive, marry, get arrested, etc. This method could be considered a spoiler alert and might make you wonder why you spent money on this. That concept works with entertainment venues but it does not work with regards to our Salivation. Jesus has already set the stage for our triumphant and glorious entry into Heaven but we must take the necessary steps to get there. What we know about the world’s end is that it will happen when least suspected, and that there is no need for fear, only action. “Remain faithful until death, And I will give you the crown of life.” (Alleluia Verse)

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November 22, 2017


Reading 1 – 2 MC 7:1, 20-31

It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested
and tortured with whips and scourges by the king,
to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law.

Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother,
who saw her seven sons perish in a single day,
yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.
Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage,
she exhorted each of them
in the language of their ancestors with these words:
“I do not know how you came into existence in my womb;
it was not I who gave you the breath of life,
nor was it I who set in order
the elements of which each of you is composed.
Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe
who shapes each man’s beginning,
as he brings about the origin of everything,
he, in his mercy,
will give you back both breath and life,
because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.”

Antiochus, suspecting insult in her words,
thought he was being ridiculed.
As the youngest brother was still alive, the king appealed to him,
not with mere words, but with promises on oath,
to make him rich and happy if he would abandon his ancestral customs:
he would make him his Friend
and entrust him with high office.
When the youth paid no attention to him at all,
the king appealed to the mother,
urging her to advise her boy to save his life.
After he had urged her for a long time,
she went through the motions of persuading her son.
In derision of the cruel tyrant,
she leaned over close to her son and said in their native language:
“Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months,
nursed you for three years, brought you up,
educated and supported you to your present age.
I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth
and see all that is in them;
then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things;
and in the same way the human race came into existence.
Do not be afraid of this executioner,
but be worthy of your brothers and accept death,
so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them.”

She had scarcely finished speaking when the youth said:
“What are you waiting for?
I will not obey the king’s command.
I obey the command of the law given to our fathers through Moses.
But you, who have contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews,
will not escape the hands of God.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 17:1BCD, 5-6, 8B AND 15

R. (15B) Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
My steps have been steadfast in your paths,
my feet have not faltered.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

Alleluia – SEE JN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 19:11-28

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’
Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’
He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.'”

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

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Eleazar and Zacchaeus


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 21, 2017

“This is how he died, leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation.” (First Reading) “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” (Gospel)

There are two very stellar examples of faith and integrity we have today whose names are also very telling; Eleazar, from the Hebrew meaning “my God has helped” and Zacchaeus meaning “pure.” Zacchaeus wished to see Jesus so much that he climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of him passing by. Here is the account of Christ’s invitation and the tree-climber’s response. First we have Jesus calling Zacchaeus by name, telling him to come down quickly, thus showing an urgency. Then he continues to state that today, indicating the present moment, he must stay at Zacchaeus’ house, which means it is upfront and personal. Zacchaeus responds to Christ’s invitation with great joy, for it states that he came down quickly and received him with joy, for the fruit of the decision brings deep happiness. When those around him saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and faced the opposition in front of and with Jesus and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” This action follows commitment.

Both men stood their ground with the Lord in their midst. Both men believed that their only long-term, eternal happiness would depend on one simple decision to follow God. One was at the end of a long life of integrity and the other was just beginning it. Jesus went home with Zacchaeus while Eleazar went home to God. Definitely a happy ending, wouldn’t you agree?

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November 21, 2017


Reading 1 – 2 MC 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,
a man of advanced age and noble appearance,
was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork.
But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,
he spat out the meat,
and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,
as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food
which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life.
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him,
and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,
such as he could legitimately eat,
and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice
prescribed by the king;
in this way he would escape the death penalty,
and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,
worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,
the merited distinction of his gray hair,
and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;
and so he declared that above all
he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once
to the abode of the dead, explaining:
“At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense;
many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar
had gone over to an alien religion.
Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,
they would be led astray by me,
while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age.
Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men,
I shall never, whether alive or dead,
escape the hands of the Almighty.
Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now,
I will prove myself worthy of my old age,
and I will leave to the young a noble example
of how to die willingly and generously
for the revered and holy laws.”

Eleazar spoke thus,
and went immediately to the instrument of torture.
Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed,
now became hostile toward him because what he had said
seemed to them utter madness.
When he was about to die under the blows,
he groaned and said:
“The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that,
although I could have escaped death,
I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging,
but also suffering it with joy in my soul
because of my devotion to him.”
This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

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

R. (6B) The Lord upholds me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”
R. The Lord upholds me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. The Lord upholds me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. The Lord upholds me.

Alleluia – 1 JN 4:10B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God loved us, and sent his Son
as expiation for our sins.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

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The Legend of the Panda


Panda bear on bamboo

A Tibetan legend of the panda states that many, many years ago, when these bears lived in the Himalayas, they were completely white in color. They must have resembled polar bears more than any other creature at that time and they were very playful. They lived, as it were, in a type of wintery-Eden of seemingly pure innocence and peace. They were also friends with a certain shepherdess who would watch over the flocks and fields and seemed to be a type of protective yet, maternal figure for the cubs. And just like in the Garden of Eden, there was present in this snowy playground, mortal danger always lurking nearby.  It was the angry leopard, ravenous and envious of the sweet laughter and love of these child-like and guiltless souls. Late one afternoon, as the sun began to drop behind the majestic snow-capped mountains, the shepherdess began to herd all the bears home after a long day when she spotted a cub playing near the brush covering the base of the mountain. Suddenly, without warning, the leopard seized upon his wicked moment, leapt out in front of his young prey with only one deadly intention.  The shepherdess ran with all her might toward them both and threw herself in front of the cub and, after a mighty struggle, remained lifeless and silent upon the earth which stood hard as iron. She was simply no match for the vicious claws and fangs of the evil predator and its barbarous intentions and died protecting innocence upon the frozen ground. The horrific sounds of the battle mixed with the cries of the panda cub echoed throughout the valley and brought the remaining den of bears quickly to the scene. They arrived utterly stunned in disbelief at the sight of such carnage and butchery, the pristine snow-covered ground now drenched in layers of bright red casualty.

The next day they gathered for the funeral of the brave girl who risked everything to save one of their own. With broken hearts and tear-soaked faces they approached the place of burial where, as was their custom, they would gather and throw black ashes upon the neatly shrouded body as it was made ready for its final resting ground. But it was too much for them. One after the other, they could not contain their cries of pain and anguish. With ashes still in their paws, they wiped their eyes, held each other tightly, arm upon arm, and then held their ears shut so as to block the sounds of their grieving pain while they sat miserably in the remaining heaps of the dark, cold cinders. The once ivory-white fur of these pandas was now blackened like the night as their guardian and friend was laid to rest.

To this day, it is said, that those markings have remained to remind all of nature and all of humanity of that certain bravery and love until death, and to say, “Thank You.”

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Seeing is Believing


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 20, 2017

“But many in Israel were determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean; they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.” (First Reading) This calls out to realize that whenever we are faced with the devious temptations of this world, that which is truly evil will attack and feed on and off of our feelings of being unloved, unimportant or insecure. One of the devil’s most successful tactic is to claim that everyone is doing this, and we shouldn’t be left out. In these moments, we must remember to whom we belong. The very price for our lives was paid by the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross. That payment made all of us not only as members in a club, but living parts of the body of Christ, each having our own individuality and strength, weakness and struggle. This is the great gift of the  Church. Every day we move closer and closer to the Heavenly City awaiting the billions that have brought the precious name of Jesus to their lips. “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” (Responsorial Psalm) Daily there is a deep call to renew, maintain and nourish this belonging in a world that values selfishness, earthly possessions and power. These unfortunate priorities create such misery and emptiness that even in some circles, from those who should know better, there are vicious attacks on the very source of beauty and healing that are celebrated, proclaimed and lived in the Church. Resist the urge to settle, give in, go along and participate with evil. On our own, we simply cannot do this. We need a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus who understands every single aspect of our broken world and broken lives. We shouldn’t want to sin, not because it’s bad or we’ll get caught, but because we see the truth and the truth is staring back at us. “Lord, please let me see.” (Gospel)

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November 20, 2017


Reading 1 – 1 MC 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63

[From the descendants of Alexander’s officers]
there sprang a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes,
son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome.
He became king in the year one hundred and thirty seven
of the kingdom of the Greeks.

In those days there appeared in Israel
men who were breakers of the law,
and they seduced many people, saying:
“Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us;
since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us.”
The proposal was agreeable;
some from among the people promptly went to the king,
and he authorized them to introduce the way of living
of the Gentiles.
Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem
according to the Gentile custom.
They covered over the mark of their circumcision
and abandoned the holy covenant;
they allied themselves with the Gentiles
and sold themselves to wrongdoing.

Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,
each abandoning his particular customs.
All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king,
and many children of Israel were in favor of his religion;
they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.

On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev,
in the year one hundred and forty-five,
the king erected the horrible abomination
upon the altar of burnt offerings
and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars.
They also burned incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.
Any scrolls of the law which they found they tore up and burnt.
Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant,
and whoever observed the law,
was condemned to death by royal decree.
But many in Israel were determined
and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean;
they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food
or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.
Terrible affliction was upon Israel.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158

R. (see 88) Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Indignation seizes me because of the wicked
who forsake your law.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Though the snares of the wicked are twined about me,
your law I have not forgotten.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Redeem me from the oppression of men,
that I may keep your precepts.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
I am attacked by malicious persecutors
who are far from your law.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Far from sinners is salvation,
because they seek not your statutes.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
I beheld the apostates with loathing,
because they kept not to your promise.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

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Tale of the Five Talents


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 19, 2017

Today’s Gospel speaks of the many talents that God administers to the world. It seems from the very notable parable that the most he gave were five, similar to the five senses. The first talent was the gift of sight. Imagine the ability to see and comprehend the world around us and God’s presence in it. The second talent was the gift of hearing. Imagine the ability to remain quiet in front of a sunrise or sunset, or a friend who is telling us about their day and life, and before God in prayer. The third talent was the gift of smell. Imagine the ability to appreciate the fragrance of this created world and be soothed by rich textures of nature’s aromas. The fourth talent was the gift of speech. Imagine the ability to communicate and heal with words that are formed in the mind and expressed with the heart. The fifth and last talent was the gift of touch. Imagine how wonderful it is to be held, to accept the congratulatory handshake or the firm and reassuring pat on the back. Good touches warm the heart. We cannot bury these talents anymore than we can hide from the expectations that are thrust upon us. The lessons are irrefutable. This parable teaches us that success is a product of our work. God always gives us everything we need to do what he has called us to do. In the mystery of this awesome human life, we are not created with the same gifts and talents. None of us can render judgement on any other. We work for the Master, not our own selfish purposes and for that very important and critical reason, we will all be held accountable.

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November 19, 2017


Reading 1 – PRV 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

R. (cf. 1A) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Reading 2 – 1 THES 5:1-6

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come
like a thief at night.
When people are saying, “Peace and security, ”
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief.
For all of you are children of the light
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.

Alleluia – JN 15:4A, 5B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord.
Whoever remains in me bears much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

Or – MT 25:14-15, 19-21

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.'”

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Nag, Nag, Nag


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 18, 2017

“There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’…because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” (Gospel)

Obviously, very obviously, this parable is not about the outrageous aspects of the judicial system where fear and the love of money dominate decisions about justice. It isn’t really about justice or nagging until you get what you want, either. It is about persistence and the one who is always persistent with us. With numbing frequency, some have purported that the judge in the Gospel must be God and the woman who threatens harm because of her apparent nagging must be us who day and night call out with our prayers. That simply does not make sense. What indeed makes  much better sense is that God is that nagging woman who never ever seems to give up trying to obtain some justice from the judge whose credentials and past decisions and demeanor are certainly under more than casual scrutiny. We are that judge!

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. God is ultimately the most persistent in all the universe. If we would only admit and accept this then we too may be formed in his image and likeness and become the people that He truly wants to see in this world.

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November 18, 2017


Reading 1 – WIS 18:14-16; 19:6-9

When peaceful stillness compassed everything
and the night in its swift course was half spent,
Your all-powerful word, from heaven’s royal throne
bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land,
bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree.
And as he alighted, he filled every place with death;
he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth.

For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew,
serving its natural laws,
that your children might be preserved unharmed.
The cloud overshadowed their camp;
and out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging:
Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road,
and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood.
Over this crossed the whole nation sheltered by your hand,
after they beheld stupendous wonders.
For they ranged about like horses,
and bounded about like lambs,
praising you, O Lord! their deliverer.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:2-3, 36-37, 42-43

R. (5A) Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Then he struck every first born throughout their land,
the first fruits of all their manhood.
And he led them forth laden with silver and gold,
with not a weakling among their tribes.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
or:
R. Alleluia.
For he remembered his holy word
to his servant Abraham.
And he led forth his people with joy;
with shouts of joy, his chosen ones.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE 2 THES 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called us through the Gospel,
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

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Not So Obvious


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 17, 2017

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson went on a camping trip. After sharing a good meal and a bottle of fine French wine, they retire to their tent for the night. At about 3 AM, Holmes nudges Watson and asks, “Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?”  Watson said, “I see millions of stars.” Holmes asks, “And, what does that tell you?” Watson replies, “Astronomically, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, it tells me that it’s about 3 AM. Meteorologically, it tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Holmes?” Holmes retorts, “Someone stole our tent.”

“For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its Lord?” (First Reading) Perhaps the most disturbing hurdles Christians face in following the Lord are distractions. They come in all shapes and sizes from the most expected places to the most surprising. The issue here is how to spot the obvious signs and wonders which Jesus places right in front of our eyes. “Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Responsorial Psalm)

When one follows another, the journey cannot be lonely because at least two are involved. What is required of all of us is not being brilliant or clever or even knowledgeable. What is needed is faithfulness and courage. The disciple of Jesus sets out for the land of absolute freedom when following the Lord into his destiny as the most awesome and divine Hero. “They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.” (Gospel) Jesus let us know that it may so obvious that it is hidden. Take a few minutes to fathom how wonderful life is while He is in the world, then look at the stars and tell Him what you see.

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November 17, 2017


Reading 1 – WIS 13:1-9

All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God,
and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is,
and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;
But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.
Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods,
let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.
But yet, for these the blame is less;
For they indeed have gone astray perhaps,
though they seek God and wish to find him.
For they search busily among his works,
but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable.
For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:2-3, 4-5AB

R. (2A) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
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. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
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. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Alleluia – LK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:26-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.”
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”

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Daily Matters and Issues


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 16, 2017

Today’s Gospel passage is astounding because in many ways it deals with matters and issues that we must face every single day of our lives on a variety of multi levels. People are seemingly asking questions that begin with when. When will I find a good job? When will I get a raise? When will dinner be served? When will I know when I’m in love? “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’”  Jesus was asked by some Pharisees, “When would the Kingdom of God finally come?” In their mind, they wanted to be on top of things when the big moment finally arrived, with their power and influence all intact. However, it has been said that we make plans and God laughs. “For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” The great and mysterious message for us today is simple. The Kingdom cannot be found by looking around for telltale signs so that we can say it is here or there, because it is right in front of us. First and foremost, the Kingdom is in the very person of Jesus, who is the incarnation embodiment of God’s Reign. He is the Messiah-King ruling here right now in the hearts of those who love Him. “But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” So while The Lord’s reign is already in play, the search for the exact time can stop right here right now and find its resting place among our day-to-day struggles and little deaths along the way. The Kingdom is truly among us and we need look no further than the daily experiences of our own lives to know and experience the power and presence of Jesus. The time of that final coming, which will be the end of all suffering and rejection, is not for us to decide nor to worry about. When will the Kingdom of God arrive? You’ll know when you know.

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November 16, 2017


Reading 1 – WIS 7:22B–8:1

In Wisdom is a spirit
intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain,
Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil,
all-powerful, all-seeing,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is an aura of the might of God
and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;
And passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.
For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun
and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she takes precedence;
for that, indeed, night supplants,
but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.Indeed, she reaches from end to end mightily
and governs all things well.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175

R. (89A) Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Through all generations your truth endures;
you have established the earth, and it stands firm.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
According to your ordinances they still stand firm:
all things serve you.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Let my soul live to praise you,
and may your ordinances help me.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.

Alleluia – JN 15:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord:
whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:20-25

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples,
“The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

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Stand Up and Give Thanks


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 15, 2017

Perhaps there is no other depiction from anywhere in the Bible which illustrates and highlights the depth of ingratitude. The sick, horribly-looking lepers came to Jesus with desperate longing and need; He cured them all and nine never came back to give thanks. So often, once a person gets what they want, they never come back. What a painful experience to be on the receiving end of such selfish, egotistical behavior. Have you ever wondered what causes that? The current level of detachment in our society could be a clue. We seem to be facing reality through a screen of some sort, from smartphones, laptops, tablets, computers, television, etc.. These devices train us to take an almost inhuman step away from reality so as not to become too immersed with any real internal and integrated approach to life, the way Jesus approached everyone in the Scriptures and how he deals with you and me right here, right now.

We can take our cue from the one leper who did in fact come back to give thanks to Jesus. He knew what happened to him and he knew what his healing meant for the rest of his life. He truly knew who healed him. Can you imagine what kind of life he lived after that? Jesus give us the answer. “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Gospel)

Here are a few ways to learn to be grateful.

(1) Take your focus off of yourself and consider the people God has placed around you. We need each other.

(2) Count your blessings from God and you will be amazed. Accept your emotional state.

(3) Welcome time alone as precious for growth with Jesus who did the same.

(4) Avoid comparing your life to others for you never really know what goes on behind their smiles.

(5) Shake off the green monsters of envy and jealousy for they are open wounds of insecurity.

(6) Fight the desire to isolate and seclude yourself from others. Wounds just fester.

(7) Avoid negative voices and situations. As they say, misery loves company.

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November 15, 2017


Reading 1 – WIS 6:1-11

Hear, O kings, and understand;
learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse!
Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude
and lord it over throngs of peoples!
Because authority was given you by the Lord
and sovereignty by the Most High,
who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels.
Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly,
and did not keep the law,
nor walk according to the will of God,
Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you,
because judgment is stern for the exalted–
For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy
but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.
For the Lord of all shows no partiality,
nor does he fear greatness,
Because he himself made the great as well as the small,
and he provides for all alike;
but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed
that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin.
For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy,
and those learned in them will have ready a response.
Desire therefore my words;
long for them and you shall be instructed.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 82:3-4, 6-7

R. (8A) Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.
Defend the lowly and the fatherless;
render justice to the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the lowly and the poor;
from the hand of the wicked deliver them.
R. Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.
I said: “You are gods,
all of you sons of the Most High;
yet like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
R. Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.

Alleluia – 1 THES 5:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

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Profitable Servants


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 14, 2017

“But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.” (First Reading) Today’s First Reading is often used for the Liturgy of Funerals. Perhaps it is placed here to remind us that when it is all said and done, we will have to face the compilation of all that we have said and done and wonder where that places us in eternity. What is our duty and how do we know we are fulfilling it?

For a while, there was a curious practice of parents rewarding their children with monetary gifts when they passed their classes in school. Some even went as far as giving five dollars for every “A” achieved on the report card. Does that seem wise to you? Let’s get rid of this idea that someone is being awfully special with a certain task when in fact it is their duty to do so. This only reinforces the idea that doing what we are called to do, what our basic responsibilities beckon us to accomplish are really someone else’s responsibility and we are to be given special recognition when we do what we were supposed to do.  We are not helping anything. We are doing our share of assuring a good and happy life for everyone around us. This would explain the warning we found in today’s Gospel. “Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?” (Gospel) “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” (Peale)

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November 14, 2017


Reading 1 – WIS 2:23–3:9

God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made them.
But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world,
and they who are in his possession experience it.

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19

R. (2A) I will bless the Lord at all times.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – LK 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

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Violets and Mother Cabrini


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 13, 2017

Today is the Feast of St. Frances Cabrini who as a little girl used to load little paper boats with a single violet flower and drop them into a nearby canal imagining them as individual missionaries spreading the Gospel message to India or China or who-knows-where. The curious intermittent fragrance image of the violet is perfect for Mother Cabrini whose wondrous missionary works popped up in New York, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, and Denver.  She was in one spot, founding hospitals and schools, then gone, only to reappear in another city, working tirelessly. She undoubtedly faced many mean and prejudicial obstacles along the way which meant that she was quite aware of the directives presented to us today in the Gospel. “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”

Violets are a bizarre and eccentric kind of flower with a fleeting and puzzling aroma of highly-recognizable purple flowers containing a ketone compound called ionone. This aroma compound temporarily desensitizes the receptors of the nose and prevents any further scent to be detected from the flower until the nerves recover. Admirers will sense the smell of violets for only a few moments at a time, before the ionone blinds the senses, then the aroma miraculously returns as fragrant as before. Mark Twain said that, “forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Forgiving our neighbor may be fleeting, hard to grasp or comprehend but always pleasant and surprising as it makes its way back to the one who forgives.

Maybe we could say that the most effective missionary at our disposal is our desire and ability to forgive. Life has the potential of becoming much more pleasant and wonderful when we learn to accept the apology we may never receive. It is a profound virtue.

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November 13, 2017


Reading 1 – WIS 1:1-7

Love justice, you who judge the earth;
think of the Lord in goodness,
and seek him in integrity of heart;
Because he is found by those who test him not,
and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him.
For perverse counsels separate a man from God,
and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy;
Because into a soul that plots evil, wisdom enters not,
nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin.
For the holy Spirit of discipline flees deceit
and withdraws from senseless counsels;
and when injustice occurs it is rebuked.
For wisdom is a kindly spirit,
yet she acquits not the blasphemer of his guilty lips;
Because God is the witness of his inmost self
and the sure observer of his heart
and the listener to his tongue.
For the Spirit of the Lord fills the world,
is all-embracing, and knows what man says.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 139:1B-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10

R. (24B) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
too lofty for me to attain.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Alleluia – PHIL 2:15D, 16A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’
you should forgive him.”

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

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Five Faces of Fools


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 12, 2017

“Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her.” (First Reading) “O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.” (Responsorial Psalm) What is the difference between smart, clever, intelligent and wise? Being smart helps you answer difficult questions; clever people know how to think outside the box and come up with interesting solutions to problems; intelligence basically adds figures and remembers dates and other important life skills. Wisdom, however is what allows the human person to access everything they need to get to Heaven. Huge difference. “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” (Second Reading)

There is a very interesting detail in the Gospel today about the lanterns or torches that the prescribed wise and foolish virgins are sporting. They were supposed to greet the bridegroom when he emerged with his bridal group of friends and family. “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.” (Gospel) Since this event normally took place in the bleakest of night, there was a huge precaution. To ensure that there would be no looters or dangerous thieves to crash the procession, the bridesmaids had to be holding fire in the lamps to distinguish them from non-participants of the wedding banquet. The faces of the wise bridesmaids were recognizable.They were adequately prepared for the big moment and had plenty of oil. The wise among us equally so. They are ready, waiting and prepared for Jesus to come again. But what about the foolish ones? They were clearly unprepared and ran out and had to leave the post to buy some more. What do they look like? There are five types of fools. The first type is juvenile, who opens the mind to any passing thought and lacks discernment. The second type is senseless, who often says ridiculous things, gets caught then angry. The third type is lustful, who makes choices based mostly on pleasure and becomes unreasonable. The fourth type is angry, one creates their own truth and hates anyone who challenges it. The fifth type is incurable, who thinks they are fooling everyone else and wants to drag as many fools down with them. What’s in your lantern?

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November 12, 2017


Reading 1 – WIS 6:12-16

Resplendent and unfading is wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire;
Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed,
for he shall find her sitting by his gate.
For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil
shall quickly be free from care;
because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her,
and graciously appears to them in the ways,
and meets them with all solicitude.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (2B) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
I will remember you upon my couch,
and through the night-watches I will meditate on you:
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Reading 2 – 1 THES 4:13-18

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
about those who have fallen asleep,
so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose,
so too will God, through Jesus,
bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive,
who are left until the coming of the Lord,
will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God,
will come down from heaven,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left,
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.

Or – 1 THES 4:13-14

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
about those who have fallen asleep,
so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose,
so too will God, through Jesus,
bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Alleluia – MT 24:42A, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stay awake and be ready!
For you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

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The Veteran and the Lord Jesus


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 11, 2017

Today we remember, celebrate and pray for those who have served and died defending our country by which you and I are free to worship and live in a free republic. We fundamentally thank Jesus for His ultimate sacrifice on the cross by which all have the opportunity to live in Heaven forever, including those who, like Him, emptied themselves on the cross of battle fields and combat grounds.

The relationship between the Veteran and the Lord Jesus is that they both rendered remarkable service to the cause closest to their hearts. Both sacrificed what they had and who they were and both of their sacrifices had tremendous and remarkable effects on many. However, Jesus is the only one in history whose sacrifice, death and Resurrection would touch the entire course of human history and by that virtue, every human being who would ever live. With distinction and deep gratitude, we say about our Veterans that all gave some and some gave all. Jesus gave all so all could have everything.

In the Gospel today, we hear the almost sad and disappointing words of Christ. You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God. Why did the Pharisees miss the lessons of the Gospel? They were arrogant as a result of a severe lack of gratitude for the blessings of God for all around them. What is gratitude? According to a study by Glück and König of Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt in Austria in 2014, “gratitude is something that can be nurtured and may go towards the development of greater wisdom.” Then what does wisdom entail? “Two important implications of these findings are that wisdom entails an appreciation of life and its experiences, especially the growth opportunities that may result from negative events, and that there may be substantial differences between male and female pathways to wisdom.” (Study by the National Institutes of Health in 2013)

What does the Bible say about being grateful? “Learn, too, to be grateful. May all the wealth of Christ’s inspiration have its shrine among you; now you will have instruction and advice for one another, full of wisdom, now there will be psalms, and hymns, and spiritual music, as you sing with gratitude in your hearts to God. Whatever you are about, in word and action alike, invoke always the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, offering your thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16-17)

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November 11, 2017


Reading 1 – ROM 16:3-9, 16, 22-27

Brothers and sisters:
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus,
who risked their necks for my life,
to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
greet also the Church at their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus,
who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ.
Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Greet Andronicus and Junia,
my relatives and my fellow prisoners;
they are prominent among the Apostles
and they were in Christ before me.
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ,
and my beloved Stachys.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ greet you.

I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole Church, greets you.
Erastus, the city treasurer,
and our brother Quartus greet you.

Now to him who can strengthen you,
according to my Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
but now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11

R. (1B) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
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. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Alleluia – 2 COR 8:9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 16:9-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Pharisees, who loved money,
heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them,
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts;
for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”

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Leo the Lion


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 10, 2017

“I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.” (First Reading)

We reference an awesome sermon from our Saint of the Day, Pope Leo the Great, entitled Let Christ be formed in you.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, born true man without ever ceasing to be true God, began in his person a new creation and by the manner of his birth gave man a spiritual origin. What mind can grasp this mystery, what tongue can fittingly recount this gift of love? Guilt becomes innocence, old becomes new, strangers are adopted and outsiders are made heirs. Rouse yourself, man, and recognize the dignity of your nature. Remember that you were made in God’s image; though corrupted in Adam, that image has been restored in Christ. Use creatures as they should be used: the earth, the sea, the sky, the air, the springs and the rivers. Give praise and glory to their Creator for all that you find beautiful and wonderful in them. See with your bodily eyes the light that shines on earth, but embrace with your whole soul and all your affections the true light which enlightens every man who comes into this world. Speaking of this light the prophet said: Draw close to him and let his light shine upon you and your face will not blush with shame. If we are indeed the temple of God and if the Spirit of God lives in us, then what every believer has within himself is greater than what he admires in the skies. Our words and exhortations are not intended to make you disdain God’s works or think there is anything contrary to your faith in creation, for the good God has himself made all things good. What we do ask is that you use reasonably and with moderation all the marvelous creatures which adorn this world; as the Apostle says: The things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we are born in the present only to be reborn in the future. Our attachment, therefore, should not be to the transitory; instead, we must be intent upon the eternal. Let us think of how divine grace has transformed our earthly natures so that we may contemplate more closely our heavenly hope. We hear the Apostle say: You are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ you life appears, then you will also appear in glory with him, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.”

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November 10, 2017


Reading 1 – ROM 15:14-21

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another’s foundation,
but as it is written:

Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

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

R. (see 2B) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
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.
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.
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.

Alleluia – 1 JN 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”

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Angels and Saints


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 9, 2017

Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.

Each diocese has a cathedral. The cathedral church in Rome is St. John Lateran. When the Emperor Constantine officially recognized Christianity, he made generous gifts to the church, one of which was a palace and grounds formerly belonging to the Laterani family. In 324, he added a large church on the grounds. Later a baptistery was added and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. In subsequent years the entire edifice became known as St. John of the Lateran Basilica. It is our oldest church. Despite many fires, earthquakes and wars, it has survived; thereby, becoming a symbol of the endurability of Christianity. The observance of this feast connects our local church with the Church of Rome, which is the center of our unity. The dedication of any church recalls the heavenly Jerusalem that all church buildings symbolize.

The Apostles are the pillars of the Church and Christ has given them the spiritual authority to teach and guide, which the Chair, cathedra, symbolizes in every cathedral.  All this is seen within this magnificent structure.

The people are the Church, the living Body of Christ with many members: that much is clear, but that concept or expression of unlocking the mystery of the Church is not exclusive. We are also a Sacramental people who have enlisted art and architecture, literature and music to embody and describe tangibly, that is, to the touch and all the senses, what great mystery we not only celebrate but also actually see. The church building is not just a tent or skin in which the people of God gather, but in and of itself is of great symbolic and sacramental importance. This is why we celebrate the Feast of the dedication of that first structure in Rome from which all the many millions of structures have been built and dedicated since then.

The Church building is meant to be the Temple. The First Reading from the Prophet Ezekiel describes that. The Psalms, too were actually composed to be chanted and sung as people made their way to the Temple for worship. Today, just as in the Temple of the Old Testament, there are the areas that are set apart in Catholic Churches where we find the Tabernacle, where the Body and Blood of Jesus is conserved, as the “Holy of Holies,” the living presence of God. This is why we bow, genuflect upon entering this space. It also explains why many make the Sign of the Cross when passing by the Church from the outside. We also have altars predominantly and immediately seen in a foremost position. You see, the church building itself is not just a gathering place or hall. So why is there an altar? Because there is a sacrifice to be conducted. And those sacrifices are offered by priests. So you have the same Temple structure that clearly exhibits the elements that were first established in the First, or Old Covenant. The Church, in addition to being a structure that helps gather people, also reflects the mystery of the people as well, Tabernacle, altar, priests, sacrifice.  When the temple/church building is rightly ordered, then water will be flowing out for the renewal of the world. (First Reading)

The Church building is to symbolize the New Jerusalem. In Revelation, the vision describes a magnificent new heavenly city coming down to earth be complete and restore all humanity with God at the end of time. Thus, in addition to a gathering space, Church buildings should attempt to draw us into another world, a heavenly experience like the jeweled walls of the New Jerusalem, with sparkling and vivid colors that are filled with signs and symbols of heavenly realities. We see figures of angels and saints everywhere in the Church because they are citizens of Heaven, the New Jerusalem, and we join with them in singing praises to God. “This great company of witnesses spurs us on to victory, to share their prize of everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. With angels and archangels and the whole company of saints we sing our unending hymn of praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord.”

The Church building is meant to signal Noah’s Ark. Since the early installments of Church History, the ark was seen as a symbolic type of the Church. In the same way that Noah and his family were spared the destruction of both the spiritual and physical world around them, so too,  are we safe and saved in the Church, the boat, as it were, atop the waters of Baptism. This is an-going occurrence in every age throughout the centuries and the Church is the on-going, continual and steady “rescue mission for humanity.” (Bishop Robert Barron) When we gather for Mass, we remain, close together, huddled for the Eucharist and waiting for flood waters to recede and then go out to the world to begin again.

“The Church is like Noah’s ark that was full of both clean and unclean animals. It must have had an unholy smell, and yet it was carrying eight persons to salvation. The world today is tearing up the photographs of a good society, a good family, a happy, individual personal life. But the Church is keeping the negatives. And when the moment comes when the world wants a reprint, we will have them.” —Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen

It is also very interesting to go back to the Scriptures and examine the orders that God gave Noah to build what is most likely the most popular boat in human history found in Genesis, 6:19:  “This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark will be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.” For St. Augustine and other early Church Fathers, these dimensions of the construction plan for the ark suggest a human body, specifically, the body of Christ. “For even its very dimensions, in length, breadth, and height, represent the human body in which He (Jesus) came, as it had been foretold. For the length of the human body, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, is six times its breadth from side to side, and ten times its depth or thickness, measuring from back to front.” (The City of God, Book 15)

The Church building is meant to symbolize the Mystical Body of Christ. It’s really amazing, when you stop and think about it, so much of both the human and spiritual dimensions of our lives actually happen inside the Church building itself. New life is always being announced with the smell and sound of babies at Baptism, children sing and serve Mass, teenagers are confirmed, marriages are celebrated and yes, when the circle of life is completed, there we are again, at the Church where it all spiritually began, tearfully saying goodbye and “until we met again.” It is more than a theater stage or a meeting hall. It is life.

From life’s start to finish and all the wonderful episodes in between, being Church and in the Church building comprises the place and time in which we hear and experience what some have speculated as three basic sentences that summarize all of Christianity: “Please,” “Thank You” and “I’m Sorry.” Just like the Temple, in both the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem, where there is a convergence of costly, precious and holy stones, so too, the mystical body is made up of living stones, the people who are transformed by grace, the Word of God and the Food of the Eucharist day after day, age after age. We become that new temple.

“The Church is the Body of Christ, and as such it is both heavenly and earthly. The Church is the communion of saints, and it includes as members both angels and shepherds, cherubim and seraphim, and you, and me.”  —Scott Hahn

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November 9, 2017


Reading 1 – EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!

Reading 2 – 1 COR 3:9C-11, 16-17

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Alleluia – 2 CHR 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord,
that my name may be there forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 2:13-22

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

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Peace Terms


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 8, 2017

“Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (First Reading) The story of The Tower of Babel found in Genesis 11:1-9, was the penultimate metaphor of people trying to reach heaven without the assistance of God. That is precisely why they were thrown into a huge and overwhelming state of confusion where no one could understand each other. That scene prepared us for Pentecost and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit endowing with the potential to understand everyone in their spheres of life because of the presence of love in their lives. Thus the reference can be made to the tower that someone starts to build but cannot finish.

“In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Gospel) Ten thousand troops versus twenty thousand troops? Is this a hard battle to call? The answer is absolutely no, but this passage is not about military exercises. It is about the impending confrontation that each of us has with death. Will we be ready?  It is time for peace terms. Thus, the Gospel of today gives us the specifics of those terms. Before the final call, we must be sufficiently detached from this world but at the same time attached to living in the world walking in the light of truth. How is that done? With and through love.

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November 8, 2017


Reading 1 – ROM 13:8-10

Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill;
you shall not steal;
you shall not covet,

and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1B-2, 4-5, 9

R. ( 5A) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – 1 PT 4:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”

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Excuses as Tools of Incompetence


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 7, 2017

Today is the conclusion of the three-part, truth-laden, event-filled description of one powerful dinner attended by Jesus and many other characters which make up Chapter 14 of St. Luke’s Gospel. Parts one and two were presented last week. The first one involved the man inflicted and cured of dropsy. The second one was about people scrambling for the best seats at the table, partly because of honor and being served first. The third one is about excuses and why we make them. The term concupiscence can refer to any intense form of human desire. It comes down to meaning anything that impels us to act or make a choice that is against the use of our reason and rational abilities. Concupiscence was born out of the original sin of disobedience and induces us to commit sins. St. John describes three kinds of this craving. “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:16)

Referring back to the dinner in the Gospel, “A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many…” Here the image of the banquet clearly points to the great invitation to live in the Kingdom of God here on earth so as to live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven. The man who prepares the feast and invites many is Jesus who came to save the lost in Israel and all of humanity. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21)  “He dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come…’ but one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.” Jesus sent His Apostles to call and invite, but many did not accept.

In taking a look at the excuses as presented in light of the meaning of concupiscence we find the following. “I have purchased a field and must go to examine it” (a pretentious life); “I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them” (enticement for the eyes); and “I have just married a woman” (sensual lust). While all these things are good in and of themselves, these are the excuses that are given and are held up as more important than accepting the invitation of Christ to each of us. “Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.”  The sixth commandment addresses our need for a pure heart to see God, while the ninth describes the struggle with carnal desires and the last Commandment about greed and the preoccupation over possessions.

Given a talent by God is tantamount to being invited to dine with Him in the Kingdom. The First Reading helps focus our attention on how to live day by day using all that He has given us not only to discover His will for us, but how to love, and live and build up the Body of Christ. “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” Life begins once Jesus becomes the reason you live it.

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November 7, 2017


Reading 1 – ROM 12:5-16AB

Brothers and sisters:
We, though many, are one Body in Christ
and individually parts of one another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
let us exercise them:
if prophecy, in proportion to the faith;
if ministry, in ministering;
if one is a teacher, in teaching;
if one exhorts, in exhortation;
if one contributes, in generosity;
if one is over others, with diligence;
if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.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.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 131:1BCDE, 2, 3

R. In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.
O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
R. In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.
Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.
R. In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.
O Israel, hope in the LORD,
both now and forever.
R. In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 14:15-24

One of those at table with Jesus said to him,
“Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.”
He replied to him,
“A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many.
When the time for the dinner came,
he dispatched his servant to say to those invited,
‘Come, everything is now ready.’
But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.
The first said to him,
‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen
and am on my way to evaluate them;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have just married a woman,
and therefore I cannot come.’
The servant went and reported this to his master.
Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant,
‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town
and bring in here the poor and the crippled,
the blind and the lame.’
The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out
and still there is room.’
The master then ordered the servant,
‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows
and make people come in that my home may be filled.
For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.'”

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Carrying the Cross of Powerlessness


woman talking on smart phone sitting on park bench

We don’t often receive desperate pleas in our office for help except when it comes to frantic questions about the number of English or Spanish Bibles that someone quite nervously is wondering why they haven’t arrived and who might have stolen them and why they are not there as we promised, etc. However, all that changed last week. Have you ever heard the premise that God places us right where He wants us, at the right time, for the right reason? Well, if not, I intend to make a believer of you today.

It had been a good day with a mix of obvious blessings and typical discouraging occurrences that are part of one’s daily life. While I was not watching the clock, I knew it was getting close to that time for me to get into my car, drive home and maybe even drive a few golf balls down the fairway along the way. That is about the moment the call came which was to plunge me into the dusking hours, too late for working on my swing, too early to get some dinner but right on the money to learn something valuable.

“Do you have a few minutes, sir?”
“Sure. Go ahead. Let me pull your file.”
“Well, it’s not about that.”
“Well, then, what is it about?”
“They lied about me.”

Goodness. I don’t mean to be melodramatic here, but it was as if my heart stopped for a second, not out of fright or panic, but out of one of those moments where in a single nanosecond your whole body tenses a bit as if to compress the last twenty-five years of your life into a single moment to realize that you know exactly what someone is talking about. And then you listen. The scenario was all too familiar. In order to get what they wanted, someone lied to the boss and placed my caller into an unfavorably unflattering and even suspicious light. To make matters worse, as if that were possible at this point, the alleged perjurer was a relative of the CEO, and I mean, close relation and thus it was becoming complicated and emotionally draining for my unexpected visitor who felt as if she had no power to confront the culprit and thought that the only path open to her was to accept the bad light cast upon her, cooperate with whatever request was being made and then begin counting the days before she was to look for another job. She was, however, overwhelmingly tempted to take this matter into her own hands, defend herself to the boss, complain bitterly about the shameless behavior of that man, and wreak havoc on the other employees, half of which were egging her on while the remaining were begging her not to make trouble. She was caught in what many would have described as a no-win situation, but I immediately disagreed with that assessment.

For the next hour or so, we both arrived at some wonderful and effective alternatives to unjust things that happen to us every day. We may not be powerless after all. The following is our list.

Calm Down
The appearance of powerlessness almost always creates a ripe breeding ground for anger. We can’t do anything about a certain situation so we turn to the only things we have control over which are our emotions. Anger is a volatile and perhaps the most destructive of all the vices. Unbridled, it can destroy us.

Discover Your Own Real Motivations
Why do we want justice? Is it really revenge? Justice is a virtue; revenge is perversion of justice.

Consider the Source
Who lied about us? Who has besmirched our reputation? Whenever we hear praise or harsh criticism, we must first consider its source. What someone says about us is never more important than the one who said it.

Weigh Carefully the Consequences
This is where prudence rallies into our discussion. Will I bring more attention to myself and my own emotional spasm?

Wait
Remember Jesus waited three days after His brutal murder to set things straight. Waiting and watching are deep spiritual exercises that separate us from the beasts of this world. My Italian friends put it best when they say, “Let God handle the need for revenge. He is much better at it.”

The sun had long said goodbye when it was time for me to do the same to our sentimental and heart-hurt friend who by this time was hardly any of those things. It was, all in all, a very good afternoon and a worthy conclusion to a complicated yet fruitful week. I did none of what I had planned to do, never made it to any of my destinations, yet did everything I was supposed to do, and was exactly where I was supposed to be. A few days later, a simple card arrived to my office. I knew who sent it and I knew she was in a much better place on her journey. The message on it was so profound that I posted it on my refrigerator to see it often, and now I share it with you.

When you pray, God listens. When you listen, God talks. When you believe, God works.

I am reminded of the scripture in the book of Romans, Chapter 4, verses 20-25.

“Brothers and sisters: Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what God had promised he was also able to do. That is why it was credited to him as righteousness. But it was not for him alone that it was written that it was credited to him; it was also for us, to whom it will be credited, who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our transgressions and was raised for our justification.”

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Now or Later?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 6, 2017

“Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Gospel)

Today’s Gospel passage has an amazing amount of richness for each of us. There are poignant details nudged within a few short phrases. The word “when” refers to the right time to be good, when opportunities and blessings are obvious. “Hold a banquet” indicates that this is your life and how you conduct it. “Invite” those you love, take care of, pray for, help. “Inability to repay” begs the question as to our motivation for life. Why do we do anything? To get something back? The “resurrection” is the promise to all the faithful, with an entirely new chapter of our lives that we are writing right now; the “righteous” are those who understood the power of love and forgiveness, the wealth of the sacrifice by Jesus on the cross, always eager to share that. We could call this the “great company” in eternity. So when do you want your reward? Now or Later?

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November 6, 2017


Reading 1 – ROM 11:29-36

Brothers and sisters:
The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy
because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given him anything
that he may be repaid?

For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To God be glory forever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 69:30-31, 33-34, 36

R. (14C) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They shall dwell in the land and own it,
and the descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

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 – LK 14:12-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
He said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

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The Race to End Racism


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 5, 2017

No matter the culture or ethnicity of any human being on the planet, each one has been created in the image and likeness of God. “Have we not all the one father? Has not the one God created us?”  (First Reading) That means that we should make it our goal to look for, see and find the image of The Lord in everyone we meet, and remember that every one is beautiful to God. Because of this horribly imperfect world, there are many who successfully hide that image from us and may in fact make it very hard to see the perfection that is there. That’s why we need patience that can only come from Jesus. “In you, Lord, I have found my peace.” (Responsorial Psalm)

“And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe.” (Second Reading) Racism is being thrown around a lot these days as a discussion topic and chances are that many do not really understand the meaning of the word. It is a bad thing that keeps people viciously apart, and some believe that there is no cure or end for it while others believe there is. Forgiveness is a value that has long-lasting benefits. It helps us remember that we need patience and understanding just as much as we need to give and show it. By adopting the attitude of a servant and the greatness of our Jesus, who died for us and our sins and continues to love us, is precisely how we can begin to create a more just and loving world. “The greatest among you must be your servant.” (Gospel) I hope that I am in possession of healthy self-knowledge and believe that sanity involves having one foot in the world as it is and the other in the world as it should be. Perhaps I may not live to see the end of all the scourges to humanity but I hope to be at least an instrument along with many others who have at least one foot in the game to be part of the solution. Only God knows.

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November 5, 2017


Reading 1 – MAL 1:14B-2:2B, 8-10

A great King am I, says the LORD of hosts,
and my name will be feared among the nations.
And now, O priests, this commandment is for you:
If you do not listen,
if you do not lay it to heart,
to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts,
I will send a curse upon you
and of your blessing I will make a curse.
You have turned aside from the way,
and have caused many to falter by your instruction;
you have made void the covenant of Levi,
says the LORD of hosts.
I, therefore, have made you contemptible
and base before all the people,
since you do not keep my ways,
but show partiality in your decisions.
Have we not all the one father?
Has not the one God created us?
Why then do we break faith with one another,
violating the covenant of our fathers?

Responsorial Psalm – PS 131:1, 2, 3

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.
R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O Israel, hope in the LORD,
both now and forever.
R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

Reading 2 – 1 THES 2:7B-9, 13

Brothers and sisters:
We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children.
With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us.
You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery.
Working night and day in order not to burden any of you,
we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly,
that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us,
you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God,
which is now at work in you who believe.

Alleluia – MT 23:9B, 10B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have but one Father in heaven
and one master, the Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

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Unmusical Chairs


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 4, 2017

Again we have one of the three installments from Luke’s 14th Chapter of that same evening when Jesus went to eat at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. The first involved the healing of the man with dropsy (yesterday), this is the second incident when Jesus notices that people are scrambling for places of honor, and the third moment will conclude with His parable about the great feast thrown by a wealthy guest whose invitees all had excuses and declined the invitation. That must have been some dinner.

Now there have been literally hundreds of opinions and commentaries written that attempt to unlock the mystery and meaning of these beautiful passages. Some try to make comments about social eating practices and pseudo-religious self-righteousness of the people of that time, others will comment on the aspects of humility and generosity, while still others make direct application to feeding the poor and hungry and doing things for people who could never repay you. Each of these angles certainly have great merit. A humble person does not have to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others who do not know who he really is. A giving person is clearly happier than a stingy one. Hypocrisy is a real disease. However, there is evidence of deeper meaning present which is suggested by the context of the passages, namely, the banquet. In the Scriptures, there are many mentions of meals and celebrations which clearly point to the Heavenly Banquet after we finish this life. Thus, spiritual disease down here translates to a quarantine for the Eternal Celebration; neglecting the poor and starving now means we become spiritually impoverished and famished for Heaven later, and collecting rewards and accolades from the audiences of this world powerfully suggests there will be no applause, added benefit or honor in the next world that never ends.

This particular approach to Chapter 14 also sheds light on the Gospel of today, hidden, perhaps, in the two different directions that a person is directed after entering the banquet hall and before the meal is served. “My friend, move up to a higher position…..you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.” Higher or lower. Up or Down. Heaven or Hell. Therefore, when Jesus comments on all the folks who are scrambling to get to the really good seats, it is very likely that the inescapable lesson not to be missed is about presumption. Just because in our mind, based on all the limited information and knowledge at our earthly disposal, we assume that we are definitely going to Heaven or that awful neighbor of ours is certainly not, that might not be the case. Thank God for Mercy. The Psalm echoes our gratitude. The Lord will not abandon His people. Thank you, Jesus! He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. “Brothers and sisters: I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Of course not!” (First Reading from the Letter to the Romans)

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November 4, 2017


Reading 1 – ROM 11:1-2A, 11-12, 25-29

Brothers and sisters:
I ask, then, has God rejected his people?
Of course not!
For I too am a child of Israel, a descendant of Abraham,
of the tribe of Benjamin.
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.
Do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah,
how he pleads with God against Israel?

Hence I ask, did they stumble so as to fall?
Of course not!
But through their transgression
salvation has come to the Gentiles,
so as to make them jealous.
Now if their transgression is enrichment for the world,
and if their diminished number is enrichment for the Gentiles,
how much more their full number.

I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers and sisters,
so that you will not become wise in your own estimation:
a hardening has come upon Israel in part,
until the full number of the Gentiles comes in,
and thus all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

The deliverer will come out of Zion,
he will turn away godlessness from Jacob;
and this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.

In respect to the Gospel, they are enemies on your account;
but in respect to election,
they are beloved because of the patriarch.
For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 94:12-13A, 14-15, 17-18

R. (14A) The Lord will not abandon his people.
Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD,
whom by your law you teach,
Giving him rest from evil days.
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it.
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
Were not the LORD my help,
my soul would soon dwell in the silent grave.
When I say, “My foot is slipping,”
your mercy, O LORD, sustains me.
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.

Alleluia – MT 11:29AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
For I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 14:1, 7-11

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

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Case of the Dropsy


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 3, 2017

St. Luke describes a casual but remarkably significant dinner gathering on the Sabbath somewhere in Jerusalem. Those present include Jesus, a leader of the Pharisees, presumably more members of that group, lots of onlookers and curiosity-seekers, and a man suffering and then healed from dropsy. It is the only recorded instance of the healing of this particular disease by the Lord in the New Testament. Dropsy (ύδρωψ), derived from hudor, the Greek word for water, is essentially an abnormal swelling of fluids in different parts of the body, mostly the abdomen and known today as edema. As we look around the room, a clear parallel is being drawn between the Pharisees inflicted with a spiritual disease and the man suffering from dropsy, a physical disease.

Another interesting detail that supports the parallel in the text is that “In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.” Why doesn’t it say in front of them? The room was apparently crowded so this detail is critical to unlocking the deeper meaning here. It says only him because Jesus was alone in seeing right before him what the others in the same room could not, or would not see in themselves. Jesus could see the dropsy, the swelling of water and fluids in the body, the physical sickness of the suffering man, and, he was keenly aware of the spiritual dropsy of the Pharisees, “a drunkard’s thirst, a glutton’s hunger, water (like the swelling bodily fluid) that was on fire,” referring to their self-righteous hypocrisy that increases rather than quenches the spiritual thirst of the soul. The Pharisees added burdens for the people to follow because they used religion as a cover to do whatever they wanted. Rules, regulations, commandments are all good guides and clear posts to follow the Lord, but if one’s heart is full of pride and sin without love, grace, mercy and freedom, it is then full of disease, empty of virtue, overflowing with evil and completely devoid of wisdom.

The underlying application for our spiritual lives is knowing that the Pharisees are the real diseased folks in that room because they did not recognize Jesus, even as He was standing right in front of them, ready to recline among all of them to eat. Imagine further, the moment when the man with all the swelling was suddenly healed. It was an astounding sight, and all they had to say was that he shouldn’t have been healed on the Sabbath? I’m sure the man with dropsy was sure glad he was. In this Christian life we are trying to follow, we may face rejection, endure conflict  be harshly judged or even be the one who is judging. Through it all, we pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that wants to recognize the face of Jesus as often as possible.

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November 3, 2017


Reading 1 – ROM 9:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie;
my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness
that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my own people,
my kindred according to the flesh.
They are children of Israel;
theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants,
the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
theirs the patriarchs, and from them,
according to the flesh, is the Christ,
who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

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 – LK 14:1-6

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.

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All Souls Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 2, 2017

Although Halloween has absorbed the cultural preoccupations of any given time, whether it be horror, monsters, the demonic, cartoon and film characters, the basic grasp has been that something has changed because in life there are always changes. Halloween, in a sort of veiled way, points to these transformations that occur without end, until the end. It could be said that everyone wears a mask of sorts as we present to the world the person we want others to see. True spiritual maturity, then, is that point where a person no longer hides behind any pretense, removes the mask of deceit and fear, exchanges the fashion statement for integrity and truly begins to live a holy life. On All Saints Day, the day after Halloween, we are presented with the eternal goal for which we were born and the great yearly reminder that we are to start now rather than later in preparing for full maturity in Christ with All the Saints. That is why we were given the Beatitudes as a blueprint to follow, not just achieve some measure of happiness, but a full measure of holiness as we are truly saints in the making. Since the year 999, the Church has held today, November 2, All Souls Day, as the day we remember the dead, the dying and death itself. Every year, this feast day is different for each one of us, because someone has either died in the last year, or a friend has become ill or incapacitated. We ourselves have lived another year, presumably, one year closer to our own death.

This is why the Scripture passages we have for All Souls Day are simply priceless. We came from God, and slowly but surely, we are moving back to him, face-to-face, to give whatever account we have of how we used these precious pearls of time while we were alive. I guess that’s why there are some who can’t, or won’t, deal with death. The message and experience must be too much, too overwhelming. I have also known people who have down right rejected God with a kind of indignation and misplaced anger for having taken my loved one away. That’s actually more tragic than death itself because there is absolutely no way you can arrive at a spiritual and mental place of peace and comfort, or even effectively through the grieving process, without the one who defeated death on the cross. Grief is the price we pay for loving and less we think that getting through this life without love is some kind of viable option, when you really think about it, it is indeed a fair price.

The readings from the Book of Wisdom, Psalm 23, the Letter to the Romans and St. John’s Gospel clearly and effectively underscore that truth. God is in control. He sent His Son Jesus to take away the eternal price of our sins and Jesus gave us the Church so that through the centuries of time and space, we would remain together in hope and prayer until the day comes for us. Just as refined gold is poured out from the furnace (Wisdom 3), as anointing oil is poured out over the head of the just (Psalm 23), as the love of God has been poured out into our hearts (Romans 5), as Baptismal water has been poured out over our souls (Romans 6), so the blood of Jesus was poured out on the cross to accomplish the greatest mystery that ever was. “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” (John 6)

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November 2, 2017


Reading 1 – WIS 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
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. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
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. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
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. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
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. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

Reading 2 – ROM 5:5-11

Brothers and sisters:
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.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person
one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his Blood,
will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,
how much more, once reconciled,
will we be saved by his life.
Not only that,
but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Or – ROM 6:3-9

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him,
so that our sinful body might be done away with,
that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.

Alleluia – MT 25:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, you who are blessed by my Father;
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 6:37-40

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”
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Set the World on Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 1, 2017

The set of Scriptures we have for today are simply breathtaking and inspiring; critically necessary for us who are trying to “live and move and have our being” in the Lord Jesus without losing hope in the face of all the challenges we face. (Acts 17:28)

The First Reading is taken from the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. I can’t think of another sacred book more controversial than this one; also known as the Apocalypse. This fascinating and mysterious text, ever since it was written, has been the topic of countless theories, teachings, movements, books, commentaries, and more recently, films and multi-media television series, episodes and documentaries. Unfortunately, most of them have strayed from the Theological and Scriptural meaning of the intent of the Apostle John and have clearly done much more harm than good. Because of these wild theories, it seems as if every ten years or so, people have been trying to predict the end of the world whenever a certain number lines up in a particular order or the discovery of some ingenious mathematical equation spells horrible and imminent destruction. Remember the Year 2000 scare? Or do you recall the December 21, 2012 prediction based on some data from an ancient calendar chiseled on some huge stone that would run out of days on that date? People, just get a new rock!

G. K. Chesterton was right when he wrote, “Though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as his own commentators.” St. John is clearly speaking to all Christians, all over the world, and all over time. “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” His great and marvelous vision for us, however, was also shaped by the immense suffering inflicted upon the early Church through great persecutions by the Roman Empire. The Apostle himself was exiled to the island of Patmos from where he actually wrote the book of Revelation. It was that same political and military power that was complicit in the death of Jesus, who many thought would be the kind of leader that would overthrow these invaders and give His people a power beyond all imagining. But the real force and strength bestowed on all who would follow the Lord in every age is that, “Beloved, we are God’s children now.” (Second Reading) And even though “what we shall be has not yet been revealed,” it most certainly will be revealed in the glorious Resurrection of those who die believing in Christ. “They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.”

This is all beautifully brought together with the proclamation of St. Matthew’s Gospel. As God’s children now and joyfully anticipating our own resurrection, we reasonably ask, “what do we do and how do we act?” Just as Moses in the Old Testament came down the mountain with the Law in the form of the Ten Commandments, Jesus walked up the mountain and fulfilled what the great Law-giver started and mapped out the way to survive “the time of great distress” for each and every one of us. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, the meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted and insulted. The Beatitudes create the blueprint of living a beautiful, Christian life. These eight blessings are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching and respond to the natural desire that we all have for true and lasting happiness. This is how we become saints. “Be not afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ! Do not be afraid to become the saints of the new millennium! (Saint John Paul the Great) The Beatitudes also proclaim the blessings and rewards that have already been secured for those who love Jesus. Just imagine, there’s a place in Heaven for you and it has your name on it. So once again, happy Feast Day everyone.

“If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.” (Saint Catherine of Siena)

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November 1, 2017


Reading 1 – RV 7:2-4, 9-14

I, John, saw another angel come up from the East,
holding the seal of the living God.
He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels
who were given power to damage the land and the sea,
“Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees
until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal,
one hundred and forty-four thousand marked
from every tribe of the children of Israel.

After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”

All the angels stood around the throne
and around the elders and the four living creatures.
They prostrated themselves before the throne,
worshiped God, and exclaimed:

“Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,
honor, power, and might
be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”
He said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Reading 2 – 1 JN 3:1-3

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
And I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 5:1-12A

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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