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Regret and Remorse


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 31, 2018

“Afterward, however, David regretted having numbered the people, and said to the LORD:  ‘I have sinned grievously in what I have done. But now, LORD, forgive the guilt of your servant, for I have been very foolish.’” Did it strike you a little odd that God would be upset with our good King David for taking a census? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. In this Biblical context, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. The people (Israel) did not belong to David because they belonged to God. We would need to refer back to the Book of Exodus, chapter 30 verse 12, where God told Moses, “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them.” God was the only one to issue the command for a census. David clearly crossed the line and begged God to take away the guilt of his sin.

In the Gospel passage, it looks like the Lord couldn’t count on His own people to put trust in the power of God. “And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

The result was disastrous. No faith, no miracles, no healing. The lesson clearly shows that when we overstep our own relationship with the Lord either by trying to play God or reduce faith by arrogant grabs for wisdom and insight, nobody wins. Thank God we have a God who loves us and is always ready to forgive. “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, ‘I confess my faults to the LORD,’ and you took away the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm)

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January 31, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 SM 24:2, 9-17

King David said to Joab and the leaders of the army who were with him,
“Tour all the tribes in Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba
and register the people, that I may know their number.”
Joab then reported to the king the number of people registered:
in Israel, eight hundred thousand men fit for military service;
in Judah, five hundred thousand.Afterward, however, David regretted having numbered the people,
and said to the LORD:
“I have sinned grievously in what I have done.
But now, LORD, forgive the guilt of your servant,
for I have been very foolish.”
When David rose in the morning,
the LORD had spoken to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying:
“Go and say to David, ‘This is what the LORD says:
I offer you three alternatives;
choose one of them, and I will inflict it on you.'”
Gad then went to David to inform him.
He asked: “Do you want a three years’ famine to come upon your land,
or to flee from your enemy three months while he pursues you,
or to have a three days’ pestilence in your land?
Now consider and decide what I must reply to him who sent me.”
David answered Gad: “I am in very serious difficulty.
Let us fall by the hand of God, for he is most merciful;
but let me not fall by the hand of man.”
Thus David chose the pestilence.
Now it was the time of the wheat harvest
when the plague broke out among the people.
The LORD then sent a pestilence over Israel
from morning until the time appointed,
and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba died.
But when the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it,
the LORD regretted the calamity
and said to the angel causing the destruction among the people,
“Enough now! Stay your hand.”
The angel of the LORD was then standing
at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
When David saw the angel who was striking the people,
he said to the LORD: “It is I who have sinned;
it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong.
But these are sheep; what have they done?
Punish me and my kindred.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R. (see 5C) Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.

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 – MK 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place,
accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

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Cry Me A River


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 30, 2018

Have you ever wondered about the science of crying? It seems that over a long period of human development, we have come to a point where our tears are produced from certain specific-oriented glands due to an authentic connection with the world. Tears are a positive representation of who we are. They demonstrate our deep connections with God, others and our very selves and, at the same time, allow us to visibly and proudly celebrate this keenly human activity that is scientifically proven to make us feel better. Today’s First Reading scene is King David having a very bad day. “The king was shaken, and went up to the room over the city gate to weep. He said as he wept, ‘My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!'” Tears also follow us into today’s Gospel scene where Jesus encounters quite a bit of this emotional display. “When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, ‘Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.’” From these two selections, it is safe to assume that tears are normal, reflective of faith, and express an enormous amount of comforting reality, especially when it comes to our life in the Spirit with Jesus. Tears also announce our entire and eternal need for God, especially when the world is harsh, cold and dark. The Psalmist asks the Lord to “Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me, for I am afflicted and poor. Keep my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God.”

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” (Washington Irving)

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January 30, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 SM18:9-10, 14B, 24-25A, 30–19:3

Absalom unexpectedly came up against David’s servants.
He was mounted on a mule,
and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large terebinth,
his hair caught fast in the tree.
He hung between heaven and earth
while the mule he had been riding ran off.
Someone saw this and reported to Joab
that he had seen Absalom hanging from a terebinth.
And taking three pikes in hand,
he thrust for the heart of Absalom,
still hanging from the tree alive.

Now David was sitting between the two gates,
and a lookout went up to the roof of the gate above the city wall,
where he looked about and saw a man running all alone.
The lookout shouted to inform the king, who said,
“If he is alone, he has good news to report.”
The king said, “Step aside and remain in attendance here.”
So he stepped aside and remained there.
When the Cushite messenger came in, he said,
“Let my lord the king receive the good news
that this day the LORD has taken your part,
freeing you from the grasp of all who rebelled against you.”
But the king asked the Cushite, “Is young Absalom safe?”
The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king
and all who rebel against you with evil intent
be as that young man!”

The king was shaken,
and went up to the room over the city gate to weep.
He said as he wept,
“My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom!
If only I had died instead of you,
Absalom, my son, my son!”

Joab was told that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom;
and that day’s victory was turned into mourning for the whole army
when they heard that the king was grieving for his son.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (1A) Listen, Lord, and answer me.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God.
R. Listen, Lord, and answer me.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R. Listen, Lord, and answer me.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R. Listen, Lord, and answer me.

Alleluia – MT 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to him,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

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Drama at Swine Lake


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 29, 2018

There are remarkable pieces of Biblical drama to start off the week. In the Old Testament, there is the unpleasant scene where Absalom, King David’s son tried to overthrow his own father and lead others into a visceral hatred of the king. Evil was everywhere and David knew it. “As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. All those who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went.” When evil rants were hurled at King David, he simply restrained himself, refused to retaliate and moved on with sadness for he knew his own hand was to blame for much of it.

In today’s Gospel Reading, there is Jesus the Christ, King of the Universe, dealing with the drama of the swine. “And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned.” As it is written, the demon-infested pigs jumped off a cliff and all of them were killed. Swine have often represented the unruly, sinister and evil desires within the human soul. It is symbolic of the desire for all that is carnal nature, which is why the demons begged Jesus to go into the swine. Why? When Christ truly lives within us, His loving presence drives out the darker, lower desires from within us. The demonic aspects of the spiritual world simply cannot and will not remain when the Christ within is in the process of being born.

All this is great news and ought to be shared. Spend your day simply being amazed. “’Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for You.’ Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.”

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January 29, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 SM 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13

An informant came to David with the report,
“The children of Israel have transferred their loyalty to Absalom.”
At this, David said to all his servants
who were with him in Jerusalem:
“Up! Let us take flight, or none of us will escape from Absalom.
Leave quickly, lest he hurry and overtake us,
then visit disaster upon us and put the city to the sword.”

As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing.
His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot.
All those who were with him also had their heads covered
and were weeping as they went.

As David was approaching Bahurim,
a man named Shimei, the son of Gera
of the same clan as Saul’s family,
was coming out of the place, cursing as he came.
He threw stones at David and at all the king’s officers,
even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard,
were on David’s right and on his left.
Shimei was saying as he cursed:
“Away, away, you murderous and wicked man!
The LORD has requited you for all the bloodshed in the family of Saul,
in whose stead you became king,
and the LORD has given over the kingdom to your son Absalom.
And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer.”
Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king:
“Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?
Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.”
But the king replied: “What business is it of mine or of yours,
sons of Zeruiah, that he curses?
Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David;
who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?'”
Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants:
“If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life,
how much more might this Benjaminite do so?
Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction
and make it up to me with benefits
for the curses he is uttering this day.”
David and his men continued on the road,
while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside,
all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went.

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

R. (8A) Lord, rise up and save 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. Lord, rise up and save 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. Lord, rise up and save 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. Lord, rise up and save me.

Alleluia – LK 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”
He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
“Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.

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Authority of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 29, 2018

Authority, when used wisely, is one of the greatest assets to human development and peace. But, when misused by the corrupted, is simply and hopelessly bent on self-promotion and destroys anyone who is in the way. When God imparted authority to Moses, we know that it was for a great and powerful reason. “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him.” (First Reading) Moses was clearly a stellar figure in the Old Testament and as lawgiver from his post on Mount Sinai, he prefigured Jesus wonderfully and majestically to complete the full cycle when Jesus came down the mountain and gave the powerfully loving Beatitudes. His authority, given to him by God, led him to faithfully and effectively use that power without coercion, force or manipulation. Today’s Psalm reasonably instructs us that “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

Today’s New Testament lessons reveal that we live in a world where authority is used without justice, and power is wielded mercilessly upon the powerless. Thomas Paine wrote “to argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” In stark contrast, Jesus taught with love and His authority was one of commanding care and complete providence for everything we need to get back home to Heaven. St. Paul wrote that when we follow the Lord and respect His authority of love for us we should be free from unnecessary fret and worry. “I should like you to be free of anxieties.”

“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” (Gospel) We may find ourselves astonished and overwhelmed with the bright hope of what our lives can be if we submit to the authority that Jesus embodies with us even now. He loves every one of us individually as if we were the only one. How could we go wrong by acknowledging the awesome authority of love?

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January 28, 2018


Reading 1 – DT 18:15-20

Moses spoke to all the people, saying:
“A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen.
This is exactly what you requested of the LORD, your God, at Horeb
on the day of the assembly, when you said,
‘Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God,
nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.’
And the LORD said to me, ‘This was well said.
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin,
and will put my words into his mouth;
he shall tell them all that I command him.
Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name,
I myself will make him answer for it.
But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name
an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak,
or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.'”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 7:32-35

Brothers and sisters:
I should like you to be free of anxieties.
An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord,
how he may please the Lord.
But a married man is anxious about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife, and he is divided.
An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord,
so that she may be holy in both body and spirit.
A married woman, on the other hand,
is anxious about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband.
I am telling you this for your own benefit,
not to impose a restraint upon you,
but for the sake of propriety
and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

Alleluia – MT 4:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light;
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death,
light has arisen.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:21-28

Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

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Where’s The Fire?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 27, 2018

Passion is a very complicated element of the human experience. By definition, the term “passions” refers to the affections or the feelings by which we are able to understand and navigate through a world that is filled with both good and evil. This also means that God must have an equal counterpart within what it means to be divine as He imparts to us a similar creative and energetic force as His created loved ones. Everyone needs passion to accomplish anything worthwhile in life but it is a power that has led many to both victory and failure, such as the unfortunate episode in the life of King David. “The sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.”

The Church defines the principal passions as love and hatred, desire and fear, joy, sadness, and anger which in turn can be mastered and formed by virtue or perverted by vice. (CCC 1771-1775)  It is analogous to the created element of fire which can be of great assistance or great destruction. How are we to deal with this magnificent force in our lives? The answer is found in today’s Gospel. “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

King David returned to the Lord God and repented. He was wounded but still continued to serve God and His people with great distinction and love. The Apostles, tossed about by the waves, much like we are often flung about by our own passions, had Jesus right there in the boat (Church) with them and witnessed what our dear Lord Jesus can do when we ask him. “He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Be still!’”

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January 27, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 SM 12:1-7A, 10-17

The LORD sent Nathan to David, and when he came to him,
Nathan said: “Judge this case for me!
In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor.
The rich man had flocks and herds in great numbers.
But the poor man had nothing at all
except one little ewe lamb that he had bought.
He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children.
She shared the little food he had
and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom.
She was like a daughter to him.
Now, the rich man received a visitor,
but he would not take from his own flocks and herds
to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him.
Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb
and made a meal of it for his visitor.”
David grew very angry with that man and said to him:
“As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death!
He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold
because he has done this and has had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David: “You are the man!
Thus says the LORD God of Israel:
‘The sword shall never depart from your house,
because you have despised me
and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.’
Thus says the LORD:
‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house.
I will take your wives while you live to see it,
and will give them to your neighbor.
He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.
You have done this deed in secret,
but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel,
and with the sun looking down.'”

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan answered David: “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin:
you shall not die.
But since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed,
the child born to you must surely die.”
Then Nathan returned to his house.

The LORD struck the child that the wife of Uriah had borne to David,
and it became desperately ill.
David besought God for the child.
He kept a fast, retiring for the night
to lie on the ground clothed in sackcloth.
The elders of his house stood beside him
urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not,
nor would he take food with them.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (12A) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God;
then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Alleluia – JN 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

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The Mighty Mustard


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 26, 2018

Today we celebrate the Feast of Sts. Timothy and Titus, two of the most outstanding heralds of the Gospel. They clearly helped cement the workings of the Early Church and the spread of the Gospel at a crucial time. From their extant writings in their Letters of the New Testament, we have an intimate view of how it was in those early days of evangelization. Those days were filled with great zeal and promise, a loving and close communion with Jesus, and a remarkable friendship. Today’s Feast shows that we can certainly return to such absorbing experiences when living for and promoting the Gospel of love, which is beautifully inspiring.

“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” (Gospel) Are you aware of the various uses for mustard, other than being spread on hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches? The following may send you searching through the internet to secure the validity of these claims. It has been used as a mild burn relief; a cosmetic face mask for skin rejuvenation; relief for sore muscles and sore throats; and the removal of the toxic and awful odor of the shrewd skunk in case you find yourself ever-too-close and sprayed with mayhem.

Living in the Kingdom means relief from the scorching rays of a hostile world and facing it with renewed vigor and the glow of the Spirit. It means relief from the wear and tear on our bodies as we desperately travel the moral roads through unknown lands while bravely clearing our throats to preach the Gospel, in season and out. It also means throwing off the stench of sinfulness and accepting the sweetness of forgiveness freely and mercifully offered in confession. May today’s reflection put a smile on your face and help you keep going.

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January 26, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 TM 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

or

Ti 1:1-5

Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God’s chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 7-8A, 10

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

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

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Proclaim the Gospel


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 25, 2018

Today the Universal Church celebrates the day when Saul, the ruthless Christian-hater and fear monger, was literally knocked off his horse and arose to become the Great Saint Paul who fills the pages of the New Testament with wisdom and courage that could have only come from the momentous encounter with the risen Lord. “On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’”

As dramatic as that scene is, the true drama should be found in the first conversation St. Paul ever had with Jesus. Keep in mind that Saul, pre-St. Paul, had been ransacking the early Christian communities in order to disband, capture, put to death the members of the early Church, and to stop the Church’s progress and growth in the Roman Empire. This is what makes it significant. Saul thought he was hurting a movement but the Lord made it clear that he was hurting the Lord Himself! “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

This is important for us and the whole Church because we are the body of Christ most assuredly and fundamentally. We serve Him through the workings of the Church and it is the Lord himself that we either help or hurt. Let us take this day to reflect how we are vital members of this Church and how we understand what Jesus has instructed. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

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January 25, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

“A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.'”

or

Acts 9:1-22

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

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

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

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

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 – MK 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

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Sowing Seeds, Bearing Fruit


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 24, 2018

“And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his Kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name.” These priceless words uttered to King David about his distant predecessor the Lord Jesus testifies as to how precise and detailed God’s plan is for our salvation. Those who heard and believed knew that salvation was coming and would be wrought and accomplished by the Messiah born in the house of David.

“But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” Our wonderful God has been planting and sowing the seeds of our future since we first walked the planet. It has been up to each person in every age, of every land and culture to hear, accept and move forward with the Good News that Jesus came to save us from the wretched plans of evil. This is the best news of all. Our God loves us and will never forget us, which is why we must keep going. “For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.” (Psalm)

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January 24, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:4-17

That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house
from the day on which I led the children of Israel 319
out of Egypt to the present,
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel,
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask:
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’

“Now then, speak thus to my servant David,
‘The LORD of hosts has this to say:
It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
And if he does wrong,
I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements;
but I will not withdraw my favor from him
as I withdrew it from your predecessor Saul,
whom I removed from my presence.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'”

Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:4-5, 27-28, 29-30

R. (29A) For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will make your dynasty stand forever
and establish your throne through all ages.”
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“He shall cry to me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock that brings me victory!’
I myself make him firstborn,
Most High over the kings of the earth.”
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“Forever I will maintain my love for him;
my covenant with him stands firm.
I will establish his dynasty forever,
his throne as the days of the heavens.”
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.

Alleluia 

R.  Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live forever.
R.  Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

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We Should Be Dancing


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 23, 2018

“Then David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the LORD with abandon, as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.” We are treated this fine day with a scene from the Scriptures that is both remarkable and controversial where King David stripped down to dance before the Ark of the Covenant. There are quite a few theories and attempted explanations about this event, but for today’s purpose we remember the wonderful quote of Elizabeth when she, who was with her child John the Baptist encountered her cousin Mary who was carrying the Lord Jesus in her womb. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb.” (Luke 1) This is veritably substantiated in the comment that both King David and Elizabeth made upon entering into the presence of Jesus. “And who am I that the ark/mother of my Lord should come to me?” Yes, indeed, and who am I? The same wonderful sentiment is expressed in today’s Psalm as well. “Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may come in!”

That which is clear is often simple. The only true thing in this life that can bring us lasting happiness, both now and later, is acknowledging the presence of God in our lives and rejoicing with every ounce of strength we can muster. This takes us closer to Him than anything else. Listening to Him intently and following Him with every fiber of our being actually draws us into His inner circle of family. “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Gospel) As the Book of Ecclesiastes joyfully pronounces, “There is an appointed time for everything…A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” God is with us thus we should be dancing.

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January 23, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 SM 6:12B-15, 17-19

David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom
into the City of David amid festivities.
As soon as the bearers of the ark of the LORD had advanced six steps,
he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
Then David, girt with a linen apron,
came dancing before the LORD with abandon,
as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD
with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.
The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place
within the tent David had pitched for it.
Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
When he finished making these offerings,
he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
He then distributed among all the people,
to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel,
a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake.
With this, all the people left for their homes.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R. (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 3:31-35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”

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What We Despise


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 22, 2018

“David was told, ‘You cannot enter here: the blind and the lame will drive you away!’ which was their way of saying, ‘David cannot enter here.’” (First Reading) “The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.'” (Gospel)

The two encounters presented in today’s Scriptures relay the sense of viciousness and ferocity of the climate into which both King David and Jesus the Christ had to begin their respective reign and ministry. Here is an excellent example of character assassination in the Bible. The Old Testament Reading implies that David hardly gave any thought to the comment. Jesus addressed the issue in a beautiful and Messianic way, confronting evil by the sheer power of his own truth and love. He invited those present to enter a deeper reflection on the mystery of His Kingdom and the invitation to live there for all eternity.

When individuals are not aware of the evil within their heart and personality, they project it onto others whom they believe to be the very existence of evil in their own twisted and malformed perspectives. Because the scribes were blind they were trapped and looked completely foolish and pathetic. We often despise in others what we despise in our own lives. Make sure Jesus lives and moves and breathes in your life.

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January 22, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 SM 5:1-7, 10

All the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the children of Israel out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.
David was thirty years old when he became king,
and he reigned for forty years:
seven years and six months in Hebron over Judah,
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem
over all Israel and Judah.

Then the king and his men set out for Jerusalem
against the Jebusites who inhabited the region.
David was told, “You cannot enter here:
the blind and the lame will drive you away!”
which was their way of saying, “David cannot enter here.”
But David did take the stronghold of Zion, which is the City of David.

David grew steadily more powerful,
for the LORD of hosts was with him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:20, 21-22, 25-26

R. (25A) My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth.”
R. My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R. My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
I will set his hand upon the sea,
his right hand upon the rivers.”
R. My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.

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 – MK 3:22-30

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.

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Did God Change His Mind?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 21, 2018

“When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.” What an amazing way to begin this beautiful Sunday. Could it be possible? Did God change his mind in our First Reading today? The answer to that perplexing question might be found in the centuries-old discussion about time, free will and predestination. After the order of all created things in the universe, the next element to be brought forth from the creative hand of God was time, as we recall in the sequence of creation in the Book of Genesis, “on the first day, God created.” However, this gift is not forever, and there is always some urgency in dealing with this gift of time. “I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.” (Second Reading) We are given freedom to fill our days and years with what we have and while no one is pre-determined to go to heaven or hell, God already knows the outcome because He exists in the eternal now.

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” Perhaps the best way to explain the truths found in today’s Scriptures is to realize that as amazing as it sounds, there is a great caution to everything we hear God reveal because He acts in accordance with our choices. Many of the prophetic writings from the Old Testament confirm this especially in Jeremiah. “…and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” (Jeremiah 18:7-11) Therefore, time is a great gift to be enjoyed and appreciated in freedom with the eternal outcome in our own hands. Look around your life today, change what has to be changed, leave what has to be left, and praise the Lord God for everything you have. God didn’t really change his mind. He made it clear that it is in our best interest to change ours.

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January 21, 2018


Reading 1 – JON 3:1-5, 10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’S bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, ”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (4A) Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your love are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice
and teaches the humble his way.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Reading 1 – 11 COR 7:29-31

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

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Our of His Mind


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 20, 2018

What a familiar expression we have in the Gospel today! “Out of his mind.” What does that mean? Most people would agree that the phrase describes the situation where someone has lost control of their mental faculties and gone insane. Others would add that the phrase is used to express a belief in someone’s inability to make rash decisions because of mental turmoil. In both of our Readings today, it seems that similar experiences are being described. “David seized his garments and rent them, and all the men who were with him did likewise.” In the Gospel we have, “When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’”

The simple truth is that when anyone decides to follow the Lord and keep the commandments to the best of their abilities, the world may deem that insane. How often have we been told that immoral and anti-Christian behavior is perfectly acceptable because, well, everybody is doing it. Therefore, trying to be different and faithful must make you out of your mind. Who is crazy and who isn’t? There can be only one answer. “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.” (Psalm)

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January 20, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 SM 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27

David returned from his defeat of the Amalekites
and spent two days in Ziklag.
On the third day a man came from Saul’s camp,
with his clothes torn and dirt on his head.
Going to David, he fell to the ground in homage.
David asked him, “Where do you come from?”
He replied, “I have escaped from the camp of the children of Israel.”
“Tell me what happened,” David bade him.
He answered that many of the soldiers had fled the battle
and that many of them had fallen and were dead,
among them Saul and his son Jonathan.

David seized his garments and rent them,
and all the men who were with him did likewise.
They mourned and wept and fasted until evening
for Saul and his son Jonathan,
and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel,
because they had fallen by the sword.

“Alas! the glory of Israel, Saul,
slain upon your heights;
how can the warriors have fallen!

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and cherished,
separated neither in life nor in death,
swifter than eagles, stronger than lions!
Women of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and in finery,
who decked your attire with ornaments of gold.

“How can the warriors have fallen–
in the thick of the battle,
slain upon your heights!

“I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother!
most dear have you been to me;
more precious have I held love for you than love for women.

“How can the warriors have fallen,
the weapons of war have perished!”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 80:2-3, 5-7

R. (4B) Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
O guide of the flock of Joseph!
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Rouse your power,
and come to save us.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O LORD of hosts, how long will you burn with anger
while your people pray?
You have fed them with the bread of tears
and given them tears to drink in ample measure.
You have left us to be fought over by our neighbors,
and our enemies mock us.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.

Alleluia – SEE ACTS 16:14B

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

Gospel – MK 3:20-21

Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
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Freedom, Friendship and Faith


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 19, 2018

This is a great day to reflect upon the intrinsic and deep relationship between what it means to have good, close and encouraging friends, the freedom it takes to maintain those friendships and the faith in Jesus that makes us friends with Him. “For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed? May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day. And now, I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.” Review once again what David accomplished in our First Reading today. The depth of love in his heart for friendship gushed over into the way he dealt with his enemies, with total and complete mercy. In many ways, you can tell how great a friend will be to the extent that he or she can forgive and show compassion. This is certainly true with David and Saul.

This element is underscored in today’s Gospel. Jesus knew that one of the friends/apostles He would choose would eventually betray Him, and still, in perfect freedom, he asked Him to follow Him, that is, be His friend any way. “He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him…and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.” The application for us today is simply stunning. In order for love to grow within any relationship there must be faith in the one who is love and the only one who will sustain that love until eternity, and especially for the grace both to forgive and show mercy. What is also remarkable is that love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion never leave us empty-handed or return with nothing. It is a classic win-win situation. “I call to God the Most High, to God, my benefactor. May he send from heaven and save me; may he make those a reproach who trample upon me; may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.”

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January 19, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 24:3-21

Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel
and went in search of David and his men
in the direction of the wild goat crags.
When he came to the sheepfolds along the way, he found a cave,
which he entered to relieve himself.
David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave.David’s servants said to him,
“This is the day of which the LORD said to you,
‘I will deliver your enemy into your grasp;
do with him as you see fit.'”
So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul’s mantle.
Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off
an end of Saul’s mantle.
He said to his men,
“The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master,
the LORD’s anointed, as to lay a hand on him,
for he is the LORD’s anointed.”
With these words David restrained his men
and would not permit them to attack Saul.
Saul then left the cave and went on his way.
David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul,
“My lord the king!”
When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul:
“Why do you listen to those who say,
‘David is trying to harm you’?
You see for yourself today that the LORD just now delivered you
into my grasp in the cave.
I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead.
I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord,
for he is the LORD’s anointed and a father to me.’
Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold.
Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you,
see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion.
I have done you no wrong,
though you are hunting me down to take my life.
The LORD will judge between me and you,
and the LORD will exact justice from you in my case.
I shall not touch you.
The old proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes forth wickedness.’
So I will take no action against you.
Against whom are you on campaign, O king of Israel?
Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, or a single flea!
The LORD will be the judge; he will decide between me and you.
May he see this, and take my part,
and grant me justice beyond your reach!”
When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul answered,
“Is that your voice, my son David?”
And Saul wept aloud.
Saul then said to David: “You are in the right rather than I;
you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.
Great is the generosity you showed me today,
when the LORD delivered me into your grasp
and you did not kill me.
For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed?
May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day.
And now, I know that you shall surely be king
and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 57:2, 3-4, 6 AND 11

R. (2A) Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Have mercy on me, O God; have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
In the shadow of your wings I take refuge,
till harm pass by.
R. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
I call to God the Most High,
to God, my benefactor.
May he send from heaven and save me;
may he make those a reproach who trample upon me;
may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.
R. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies.
R. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.

Alleluia – 2 COR 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

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The Cure for Jealousy


Reflection for Mass Reading on January 18, 2018

“And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.” For the first time in the brave and bold new year of following the Lord, there is mention in the First Reading of a horribly insidious and destructive monster known as jealousy. It seems that from the dawn of time, human beings have been assaulted and exposed to this treacherous aspect of our fallen human nature which shows itself as resentment against another’s success. It is an irrational fear of anyone bringing competition to the table of dealings with each other, no matter how large or small the matter may be. It could be said that jealousy is a spiritual disease that has no good consequence. We know this because even though Saul’s fear-rage personal affront to David was abated for a while, it would not stay contained for long. Bad things are ahead for us to watch and learn.

However, great things are offered for us in today’s Gospel. “He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.” There is in fact a cure for jealousy, which is Jesus. The reason being is that if we believe that every good gift comes from the Lord, and they actually do, then every talent, gift, raise, and/or blessing emanates from the loving hand of God who sees everything and apportions all gifts according to His plan for the salvation of all. Who are we to question that decision? “Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” (Alleluia Verse) Therefore, when someone in our lives receives an accolade, praise or even award or recognition that they may or may not have earned according to our own biased opinion, rather than grumbling, we should praise and thank God for all His wonders. This starts and ends with an undying trust in His ways. “Now I know that God is with me. In God, in whose promise I glory, in God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?” (Psalm)

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January 18, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 18:6-9; 19:1-7

When David and Saul approached
(on David’s return after slaying the Philistine),
women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul,
singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums.
The women played and sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”

Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought:
“They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me.
All that remains for him is the kingship.”
And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.

Saul discussed his intention of killing David
with his son Jonathan and with all his servants.
But Saul’s son Jonathan, who was very fond of David, told him:
“My father Saul is trying to kill you.
Therefore, please be on your guard tomorrow morning;
get out of sight and remain in hiding.
I, however, will go out and stand beside my father
in the countryside where you are, and will speak to him about you.
If I learn anything, I will let you know.”

Jonathan then spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him:
“Let not your majesty sin against his servant David,
for he has committed no offense against you,
but has helped you very much by his deeds.
When he took his life in his hands and slew the Philistine,
and the LORD brought about a great victory
for all Israel through him,
you were glad to see it.
Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood
by killing David without cause?”
Saul heeded Jonathan’s plea and swore,
“As the LORD lives, he shall not be killed.”
So Jonathan summoned David and repeated the whole conversation to him.
Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and David served him as before.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 56:2-3, 9-10A, 10B-11, 12-13

R. (5B) In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Have mercy on me, O God, for men trample upon me;
all the day they press their attack against me.
My adversaries trample upon me all the day;
yes, many fight against me.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
My wanderings you have counted;
my tears are stored in your flask;
are they not recorded in your book?
Then do my enemies turn back,
when I call upon you.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Now I know that God is with me.
In God, in whose promise I glory,
in God I trust without fear;
what can flesh do against me?
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
I am bound, O God, by vows to you;
your thank offerings I will fulfill.
For you have rescued me from death,
my feet, too, from stumbling;
that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.

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 – MK 3:7-12

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.

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Facing Our Giants


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 17, 2018

Have you heard about the momentous encounter of David and Goliath? No doubt, this famous unequal fight and unsuspected victory of the young David has taken all kinds of different nuances and meanings as we have lived the years we have been given. “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand.” And with one swift and precisely aimed shot, the out-muscled, overpowered and seemingly least likely winner in the fight won a sound victory. The Lord was with David that day, and the Lord was with the disfigured and possibly foredoomed man in the Gospel. “Jesus said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.”

There is something very real and applicable here today for us as we face our own giants, which may be insurmountable problems and unexpected issues. It could be fear, anxiety, or some other great and personal vexing struggle. What can be learned from David and the Lord Jesus today? First, admit that we all have giants like hardships, seemingly unbeatable obstacles, problems and temptations. Secondly, realize that the battle belongs to the Lord as David bravely told Goliath, “For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.” Thirdly, we cannot nor should not run from our giants nor attempt to negotiate with an enemy that seeks only to destroy us if not defeated. David faced Goliath and as the enemy got close, David ran right at him. “The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine.” This is precisely why the Sabbath is given to us to renew and resurrect our trust in the Lord for His power and strength to meet our Goliath as Jesus reminded the Pharisees in the Gospel today. “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”

“Don’t tell God how big your problems are; rather tell your problems how big your God is.” Amen.

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January 17, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

David spoke to Saul:
“Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.”
But Saul answered David,
“You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”David continued:
“The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine.”
Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag.
With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
“Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?”
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, “Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field.”
David answered him:
“You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves.
For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.”

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 144:1B, 2, 9-10

R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My refuge and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Alleluia – SEE MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

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Let’s Take a Sabbatical


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 16, 2018

The First Reading is a witness to the beautiful and meaningful anointing of David, the once and future King of Israel, and definitely the quintessential precursor to the Lord Jesus. “I have found David, my servant.”  (Psalm) He clearly understood the right order of things in the spiritual universe, as Jesus recalled and reminded the Pharisees in St. Mark’s Gospel. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” The Sabbath is much more than law, it is truly a gift of God’s care for all of us. He rested on the seventh day not out of fatigue, but to show how a fruitful life should be lived, with enough time for re-creation and renewal. Our redemption from sin and death are truly the work of God and not us. He has literally done all the work. Now, for this glorious break, He wants us to enjoy.

Unfortunately some people tend to rush through their busy week merely offering God a fleeting wave or a passing prayer. Sunday, the Sabbath, however, calls us to a true and thought-out decision with real intention. We are to stop from all things and spend quality time with him and focus attention on him. When we decide to obey the fourth Commandment, we become aware of the astounding and comforting truth that we really belong to God. It is not the Sabbath that we worship but the one who has initiated the Sabbath as we swim within a memorial in time, a useful tool to help us focus our attention on our awesome destiny. “Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” (Gospel) Take a different approach to Sundays and let God be at peace with you and for you. Cut out any unnecessary activity and focus on your hope of Heaven. Perhaps then we may truly appreciate the blessing of St. Paul for us as cited from the Letter to the Ephesians found in today’s Alleluia Verse. “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.”

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January 16, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel:
“How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
But Samuel replied:
“How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me.”
To this the LORD answered:
“Take a heifer along and say,
‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
“Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”
He replied:
“Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
“The LORD has not chosen this one either.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There–anoint him, for this is he!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:20, 21-22, 27-28

R. (21A) I have found David, my servant.
Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth.”
R. I have found David, my servant.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R. I have found David, my servant.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
And I will make him the first-born,
highest of the kings of the earth.”
R. I have found David, my servant.

Alleluia – SEE EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

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Silence of the Sheep


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 15, 2018

Perhaps among the top ten most understood terms used in common speech is the lonely word obey. In some circles, which is wide open for debate, obedience means to blindly follow the order of another, usually one in authority or with power over us, given or taken, usually with dire consequences if the orders are not completed or compliant. This is certainly understandable if a person in the military or other chain-of-command formats does not follow orders, or obey a command, then there are serious and disastrous repercussions. However, to play this right, the word at its very heart means to be subject, serve, pay attention to, give ear, and thus literally, to listen to. This hopefully adds much needed understanding to today’s First Reading, with an awesome application. “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams.” Samuel makes a deep and accurate claim: listening to God is all He asks. How could you reject what you have not heard?

The Gospel, then, completes these thought developments with a very insightful and clever image. “Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined.” We live in a sinful and wounded world. This much is true, but we also live in a milieu of darkness with the brightest of lights deep within us, which is certain because of Jesus. Before going out into this bold universe, we must first listen, that is, obey the Lord and attempt to conduct ourselves with the truth of the Gospel and navigate through a veritable labyrinth or maze of choices enlightened by the Word. “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Alleluia Verse)  Take some time and be with God even if it is in your vehicle or between a necessary chore that was due two hours ago. Be silent and listen.

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January 15, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!”
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel: “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
“Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23

R. (23B) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia – HB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

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Staying Close to the Lord


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 14, 2018

There was an interesting article published recently that suggested five positive ways to stay close to someone whom you love and whose friendship you enjoy and want to maintain. In a nutshell, they are, practice mindfulness; be open to forgive and ask for forgiveness; know your own weaknesses; listen actively; and stay calm and always communicate your feelings and thoughts. While these can certainly be debated, they do carry some merit. They also shed interesting light on a particular motif and thread weaving in and out of our beautiful Scriptural Readings today. They are all about staying very close to the Lord to be safe and warm with a truly fulfilling and happy life.

“Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.” Whether in Church or alone in solitude, resting with God is truly a blessing.

“I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me and heard my cry. And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.” Being humble and not judging anyone else helps us hear the kind words God always has for us.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” We all need God to forgive us. Forgiving others helps us realize that He hears our own requests for peace and absolution.

“We have found the Messiah: Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace.” Worry does not serve at all. Trust in the one who is already looking for us to give us hope. Share your faith with others.

“So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day.” Jesus is always reaching out to us in situations that may even surprise the heftiest of skeptics. Listen with the determined intent to learn something everyday, then ask God for guidance to move forward. Wherever you live, make sure you are staying close to the Lord.

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January 14, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 3:3B-10, 19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10

R. (8A and 9A) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading II – 1 COR 6:13C-15A, 17-20

Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
Avoid immorality.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.

Alleluia – JN 1:41, 17B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We have found the Messiah:
Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.

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A Healthy Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 13, 2018

Today’s First Reading provides a striking scene of the anointing of Saul to empower his calling and role to govern the people of God. “The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage. You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel, and to save them from the grasp of their enemies roundabout.” A good leader knows his or her own people and is completely aware of their needs, assets, liabilities and even weaknesses. A poor and deficient leader is both physically and emotionally distant from the people under their charge, which leads to horrible and disastrous consequences. The same is true for the individual who knows himself or herself well enough to realize their own strengths and failings. This person is a person of integrity, and because they realize their dependence on God, they live a full, happy life.

Likewise, in today’s Gospel, there are the Scribes who were Pharisees bitterly remarking about Jesus actually socializing and eating with sinners. Since they were not men of integrity, they missed the entire significance of the actions of our Lord. “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” In order to maintain spiritual health, one must accept their own human condition. We are sinful people in need of the Good Physician who is always there for us. Self-knowledge mixed with a large helping of humility make for a great life with Jesus. We are only as sick as our secrets, and when we give everything to God, we can hope for a healthy life with Him.

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January 13, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1

There was a stalwart man from Benjamin named Kish,
who was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror,
son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite.
He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man.
There was no other child of Israel more handsome than Saul;
he stood head and shoulders above the people.

Now the asses of Saul’s father, Kish, had wandered off.
Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you
and go out and hunt for the asses.”
Accordingly they went through the hill country of Ephraim,
and through the land of Shalishah.
Not finding them there,
they continued through the land of Shaalim without success.
They also went through the land of Benjamin,
but they failed to find the animals.

When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him,
“This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people.”

Saul met Samuel in the gateway and said,
“Please tell me where the seer lives.”
Samuel answered Saul: “I am the seer.
Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today.
In the morning, before dismissing you,
I will tell you whatever you wish.”

Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head;
he also kissed him, saying:
“The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage.
You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel,
and to save them from the grasp of their enemies roundabout.

“This will be the sign for you
that the LORD has anointed you commander over his heritage.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (2A) Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
O LORD, in your strength the king is glad;
in your victory how greatly he rejoices!
You have granted him his heart’s desire;
you refused not the wish of his lips.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
For you welcomed him with goodly blessings,
you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked life of you: you gave him
length of days forever and ever.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
Great is his glory in your victory;
majesty and splendor you conferred upon him.
For you made him a blessing forever;
you gladdened him with the joy of your face.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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With Friends Like These


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 12, 2018

It has been written that true friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. This advice is quite simple. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island. Thereby, finding one real friend during a lifetime is good fortune and maintaining that friend, a blessing. If this is true, then much can be learned about the two different kinds of relationships found in today’s Readings. First, there are people approaching Samuel and demanding a king. On the surface, it seems like a reasonable request, but below the veneer there is something almost criminal. God let us know exactly what was going on. “Grant the people’s every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.” This breech of friendship would not end well for the elders. They may have learned too late that an honest enemy is always better than a friend who lies.

Then, paradoxically there is another form of acting in a different kind of trusting, life-giving friendship as found in today’s Gospel. “They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.” This has to rank in the top ten most dramatic scenes of the New Testament. Visualize the moment, if you can. Four friends who are convinced that if Jesus could touch their friend, he would be saved. And he was. Note well that Jesus was also moved by this act of friendship because he clearly noticed the faith of all the friends within the group. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.’”

This has ramifications for all of us. We are here to help each other, but more critically in the milieu that is created when we call someone a friend. With that comes true responsibility and care yielding magnificent consequences. Pray for your friends today. Ask God to shine His face upon all of them. With friends like these, we may in fact see God.

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January 12, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 8:4-7, 10-22A

All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, “Now that you are old,
and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”

Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them.
He prayed to the LORD, however, who said in answer:
“Grant the people’s every request.
It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.”

Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full
to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them:
“The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:
He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses,
and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups
of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers.
He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting,
and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you.”

The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said,
“Not so! There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles.”
When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say,
he repeated it to the LORD, who then said to him,
“Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:16-17, 18-19

R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
For you are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – LK 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

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Arrogance and Leprosy


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 11, 2018

It was a very sad day for Israel as we read in today’s First Reading. “The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated; every man fled to his own tent. It was a disastrous defeat, in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured.” However, it isn’t the defeat that makes the account miserable, it is precisely why the chosen people were crushed in a battle that should have been won. Arrogance, plain and simple. The Lord permitted them to be defeated that day because of the swollen egotistical, misguided, misinformed confidence that insanely believed God’s will must surely reflect their own, as they carried the ark of the Lord onto the battlefield against the Philistines. Their silliness was compounded and confirmed by their reaction after that stunning outcome. Instead of humility and crying out to God for help, they lamented in confusion. This is similar to those who attempt to put words in God’s mouth in order to justify their own positions and biases, and then don’t get it when everything backfires. Arrogance, as the proverb says, is a kingdom without a crown.

The Gospel places the capstone upon our reflection, for the Law strictly forbade anyone from touching the leper. When Jesus touched and healed the one with this horrible, disfiguring disease, the humble, sorrowful but believing leper showed the very opposite of arrogance and reminded us that no one should be deemed untouchable, nor are we ever capable of judging who is worthy of receiving God’s love and mercy. “‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.'” While it is very easy to sit on our self-made perches and self-taught premises and comment on the plight and weaknesses of everybody else, except the one in the mirror, it is never sustainable. Defeat is inevitable. There is indeed a thin line between confidence and arrogance. It is called humility. Confidence smiles. Arrogance smirks.

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January 11, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 4:1-11

The Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel.
Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.
The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel.
After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines,
who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.
When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said,
“Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the LORD from Shiloh
that it may go into battle among us
and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”

So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there
the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.
When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.
The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked,
“What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”
On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were frightened.
They said, “Gods have come to their camp.”
They said also, “Woe to us! This has never happened before. Woe to us!
Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?
These are the gods that struck the Egyptians
with various plagues and with pestilence.
Take courage and be manly, Philistines;
otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews,
as they were your slaves.
So fight manfully!”
The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated;
every man fled to his own tent.
It was a disastrous defeat,
in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured,
and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25

R. (27B) Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Yet now you have cast us off and put us in disgrace,
and you go not forth with our armies.
You have let us be driven back by our foes;
those who hated us plundered us at will.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
You made us the reproach of our neighbors,
the mockery and the scorn of those around us.
You made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

Alleluia – SEE MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

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Please Speak Up


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 10, 2018

Have you ever wondered how many words we actually hear every single day? One research firm claimed that the average person hears between twenty and thirty thousand words in the course of a twenty-four-hour period. This same study suggested that people spend between seventy and sixty-eight percent of their day engaged in communication and about half of that time actually listening. But the striking result of this study was the astounding assertion that most people usually only remember from seventeen to twenty-five percent of all the things they hear. This can be very alarming if we take seriously the scene in our First Reading where the Lord is definitely speaking to Samuel. “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  Fortunately for Samuel, he had the wise and guiding hand of Eli who told him exactly what to do when he heard the Lord’s voice again. It certainly paid off. “Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.”

How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t hear what God is saying!,” or “God doesn’t hear me!”? Maybe we’ve said this a couple of times. Knowing what we now know, isn’t it possible that we are called to brush-up on our listening skills? The whole world is in need of the Lord every single day in some way or another, large and small. This has always been the case. “Everyone is looking for you.” (Gospel) Everyone we know and love has a miracle that they desperately need and continue to add to their prayers. This, too, seems to has always been the case. “The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases.” (Gospel) Therefore, the answer to answered prayers is simple. Listen and serve. Since it is true that God is always speaking though we are not always listening, according to today’s reading, we are called to be extra vigilant to His voice and ready and willing to serve, whether it be in a secure and ongoing ministry at our parish, or just helping out a coworker and sharing some food with the hungry. What we should do and therefore, what we must do when we hear the Lord’s voice is simple. Ask Him to speak again and let Him know that we are ready to follow him. With the Psalm of today, we too can sing, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”

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January 10, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 3:1-10, 19-20

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli,
a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.
One day Eli was asleep in his usual place.
His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.
The lamp of God was not yet extinguished,
and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you,” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am,” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am.
You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
Thus all Israel from Dan to Beersheba
came to know that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2 AND 5, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R. (8A and 9A) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Allelluia – 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 – MK 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.

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Going to Bed Thirsty


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 9, 2018

For many, the longest stretch of time that we do not eat is between dinner, possibly consumed after 6:00 pm and breakfast, which could be at least twelve hours later. That is why it is called breakfast, because in fact we are breaking the night-long fast in the morning. Therefore, going to bed with no supper can be a serious challenge to a peaceful rest at night and make for some turbulent dreams. This is also a powerful image for our spiritual life where we go into the night of the world without spiritual food. This seems to be at play at the varying selections we have today upon which to pray and reflect. The Prophet Isaiah and Psalm point us to the following. “Thus says the LORD: All you who are thirsty, come to the water!…to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.” (Responsorial Psalm)

As we ponder over our own baptismal character and mission during this week, we can know exactly the source of this water and anointing. “This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood.” (First Letter of John) “…beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.” (Acts of the Apostles)

In like manner as our bodies need nutrients, vitamins, rest, and plenty of water, so do our souls, except of a different type and level of nourishment. The fruit of our baptism must live on and must be part of our daily life. We have said that we must be alive with baptism and that anything else is a clear and certain danger to our promised home in heaven. We long to be with the Father in all eternity, and we know that through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the One for whom we long to follow here on earth. Today, do all you can to live as a washed soul for Christ and call out to the Father of Jesus as he taught us. Pray one Our Father to remind yourself of this awesome destiny. There really is no reason to go to bed thirsty or hungry or even lonely.

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January 9, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 SM 1:9-20

Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh,
and presented herself before the LORD;
at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair
near the doorpost of the LORD’s temple.
In her bitterness she prayed to the LORD, weeping copiously,
and she made a vow, promising: “O LORD of hosts,
if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid,
if you remember me and do not forget me,
if you give your handmaid a male child,
I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives;
neither wine nor liquor shall he drink,
and no razor shall ever touch his head.”
As she remained long at prayer before the LORD,
Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently;
though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard.
Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her,
“How long will you make a drunken show of yourself?
Sober up from your wine!”
“It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered.
“I am an unhappy woman.
I have had neither wine nor liquor;
I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD.
Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well;
my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.”
Eli said, “Go in peace,
and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She replied, “Think kindly of your maidservant,” and left.
She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband,
and no longer appeared downcast.
Early the next morning they worshiped before the LORD,
and then returned to their home in Ramah.

When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah,
the LORD remembered her.
She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son
whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him.

Responsorial Psalm – 1 SAMUEL 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD

R. (see 1) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he humbles, he also exalts.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

Alleluia – SEE 1 THES 2:13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:21-28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

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Alive With Baptism


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 8, 2018

Today is the Great Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus. On this day, we have reason to ask ourselves some very important questions about our destiny and our future. Why were we born into this World? What is our purpose? Where are we going? These very deep and important questions are found providentially in our Readings today. “So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord.” The basic truth that is worth our deliberations and content of our prayers is simply that we have been saved by the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came so that we might live. No mere human being could ever achieve this. He was sent by the Father and enriched and empowered by the Holy Spirit. “…he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” This truly makes us alive with the Baptism that breathes into our very being and souls to become one with Him and bring hope to a despairing world.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him.” When we accept the full ramifications and responsibilities of being baptized Christians in this world, our lives change, our perspectives change, then, slowly but surely, the world changes. It changes because it becomes alive, alive with Baptism, water made holy when Jesus stepped into the Jordan River.

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January 8, 2018


Reading 1 – IS 42:1-4, 6-7

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Or:

IS 55:1-11

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.
As I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of nations,
so shall you summon a nation you knew not,
and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man 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.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Or:

ACTS 10:34-38

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.”

Or:

1 JN 5:1-9

Beloved:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three that testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10

R. (11B) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Or:

IS 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.R/ You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Alleluia – CF. JN 1:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
John saw Jesus approaching him, and said:
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:7-11

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

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What Did You Get For Christmas?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 7, 2018

Today is the official close of the glorious Christmas Season and with that, we witness the famous visit of the Magi, also known as the Three Kings and still further as the Three Wise Men. “Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Gospel) Their gifts to the newborn king however are pretty steady and universally familiar. Did you notice anything about the gifts that were exchanged last month? Some would say that the gifts one receives reflects the recipient. If that is true, and it is in some cases, let’s take a look at the three special gifts that Jesus received on this great day of the Epiphany. Gold is certainly for a king and clearly Jesus is the newborn king for us. Incense is for worship and worship is for God. Jesus is certainly the God-made-man for us, Emmanuel. Myrrh is an anointing oil that seems to suggest the person who receives it is destined for a divine purpose and destiny. It was also used as a way of preserving the body after death. The application, then, is clear for us. This God-king, Jesus who is called and destined to save his people will also one day be prepared for death.

Today is also called Epiphany which adds another great dimension to the day. The First Reading gives us a little clue here as to what to expect. “Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.”  In some circles, an epiphany is usually defined as a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something that has occurred which brings about an intuitive and sometimes startling realization, discovery or disclosure that had previously been hidden or at least unseen. People usually exclaim, “Oh, I get it now!” when chancing upon an epiphany-like experience in life. As we close once again this great Christmas Season and continue to embark upon the ocean of God’s providence before us in the New Year, may we all have an epiphany of sorts that makes a positive and spiritual impact on our lives that will last a very long time.  May we see what previously was not seen and understand at least one part of the mystery of Christ this year. It is waiting right there for all of us. Then we might truly understand what was said about the first group who encountered their own epiphany when the Gospel recounted that the Magi “departed for their country by another way.”

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January 7, 2018


Reading 1 – IS 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13

R.  (cf. 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Reading 1 – 1EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Alleluia – MT 2:2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

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Pleased to Know You


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 6, 2018

There is a very old adage that exists in several cultural circles that basically reveals something we may already know, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” The basic tenant here is simple. You become the people with whom you associate. That could be good and bad news for us. The bad news might be that we might not like what we see when we are around some of our associates. The good news is that we know exactly what we can expect if we associate with Christ. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Gospel) These words uttered prophetically and wonderfully by God the Father about His Son Jesus tell us everything we need to know. If we invite, include, make Jesus our friend and bring Him into our circle, then we are in tremendously good company.

How is this really achieved? First, there is belief. “Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself.” (First Reading) Second, there is humility. “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.” (Gospel) Finally there is praise. “Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion.” (Responsorial Psalm) These form a wonderful opportunity to enter into this divine and spiritual friendship with the Son of God, Christ the Lord. Christmas reminds us how human He is and today’s Gospel reminds us how close He is to the Father. That alone should make us want to know Jesus all the more.

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January 6, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 JN 5:5-13

Beloved:
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three that testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the Blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
Whoever possesses the Son has life;
whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you so that you may know
that you have eternal life,
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (12A) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE MK 9:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:7-11

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

or

LK 3:23-38 OR 3:23, 31-34, 36, 38

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age.
He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias,
the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias,
the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel,
the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam,
the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea,
the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed,
the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon,
the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni,
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug,
the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad,
the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared,
the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

or

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age.
He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha,
the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala,
the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin,
the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac,
the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Enos,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

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The Magi for Epiphany


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 5, 2018

The Christmas mystery brought us many gifts. As we anticipate the visit of the Magi for Epiphany, it is important to realize that one of the supreme benefits was clarity. That is, the ability to recognize good from evil, and beauty from ugliness. This journey is clarified through the First Reading. “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous.” This remarkable drama continues as we progress through a brave and brand new year. How are we to adopt this clarity and hold on to it throughout our lives? “You will see greater things than this.” The Gospel has our answer. Again it is Jesus and only Jesus. By keeping our eyes fixed upon Him and following Him throughout this year no matter what the cost, we will indeed see great things in our lives. This is why we know very well that a holy day has dawned upon us and a great light has come upon the earth.”
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January 5, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:11-21

Beloved:
This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another,
unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One
and slaughtered his brother.
Why did he slaughter him?
Because his own works were evil,
and those of his brother righteous.
Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (2A) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
The LORD is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:43-51

Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip.
And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter.
Philip found Nathanael and told him,
“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see the sky opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

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Seeing is Believing


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 4, 2018

One of the reasons that there are so many visuals at this most wonderful time of the year is because there were many at the First Christmas. The lights, the angels, the manger, the baby himself, may in fact bring a little sadness, even disappointment if we were thinking that we have somehow missed all those sights and wonders. But have we really? “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.” The Responsorial Psalm of today shouts with Christmas joy that the entire planet has witnessed something awesome within our very midst. The rest of the mission is up to us to find and discover each and every day that we are alive.

What are people looking for? Perhaps the Gospel account reveals the curious nature of people’s spiritual lives that have been inspired and ignited by the Christmas mystery. What or rather, who are they looking for? Most likely, the what is happiness and fulfillment. Who wouldn’t want that? Unfortunately, many look in dark and unlit places for such treasures. This is how fundamentally evil entered the world. “Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil.” We are looking for light and life that can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ who was born to save us from treacherous forces of darkness. This is the source and summit of the Christmas Season. We must continue the search for all that is good and fulfilling. We can believe what is sung today in the Alleluia Verse. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.” Then and only then will we understand that seeing is truly believing.

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January 4, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:7-10

Children, let no one deceive you.
The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
Whoever sins belongs to the Devil,
because the Devil has sinned from the beginning.
Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil.
No one who is begotten by God commits sin,
because God’s seed remains in him;
he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.
In this way,
the children of God and the children of the Devil are made plain;
no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God,
nor anyone who does not love his brother.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 7-8, 9

R. (3CD) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy before the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD comes;
he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher),
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter.

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Wondrous Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 3, 2018

In 1811, a beautiful hymn was written entitled with a question that can be addressed today, “What Wondrous Love is This?”  What kind of magnificent love is it that inspired and propelled God to send His Son Jesus Christ to be born in a filthy manger, live a poor life, then be crucified for our sins? Perhaps a line from our First Reading will help to answer this profound question. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.”

The third verse of the hymn then explodes with enthusiastic joy of the awareness that is brought to the one who understands this gift and cannot help but be changed forever. “To God and to the Lamb, who is the great I AM, while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing, while millions join the theme, I will sing!” This, too, is underscored by the opening lines from today’s Responsorial Psalm. “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm.”

This wondrous, wonderful love that still echoes the beautiful Christmas Season reveals the height and depth of such a love that carries us beyond our life here on earth to an eternal Christmas in Heaven. “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.” (First Reading) Let us move forward in this New Year with new resolve and new hope. Darkness cannot and will not extinguish what we have been given. We will sing, “And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and through eternity I’ll sing on!”

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January 3, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:29–3:6

If you consider that God is righteous,
you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness
is begotten by him.

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.

Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness,
for sin is lawlessness.
You know that he was revealed to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.
No one who remains in him sins;
no one who sins has seen him or known him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 3CD-4, 5-6

R. (3CD) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia – JN 1:14A, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

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Liar Liar


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 2, 2018

According to a very interesting study about human behavior, the astounding conclusion was made to the number one reason why people lie. They don’t tell the truth because lying matters to them. The liar, then, is that person who realizes and believes that by telling the truth, their lives must be somehow unalterably changed, sometimes forever. This makes perfect sense given the text of our First Reading today from St. John, the beloved Apostle. “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.” St. John the Baptist adds an even more rich, gut-wrenching fabric to our reflection. “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” These words would cost him his earthly life at the hands of one of the most notorious liars in Biblical history, King Herod the madman. It was Herodias, the wife of King Herod’s brother, who did not accept the message of John the Baptist nor of Jesus, the one who was to come after St. John. She attempted to snuff out the truth by having St. John beheaded, thinking that death would be the most logical conclusion.

During these first days of the New Year, we have been invited, once again, to live in the light of truth and never look back. That light is Jesus and his words are truth. “And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.” (First Reading)

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January 2, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:22-28

The LORD said to Moses:
Beloved:
Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
I write you these things about those who would deceive you.
As for you,
the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you.
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false;
just as it taught you, remain in him.

And now, children, remain in him,
so that when he appears we may have confidence
and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

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

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

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’

as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

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A New Year, A New Career


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 1, 2018

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” (Gospel) It seems that everyone who had any kind of encounter with the First Christmas was never, ever the same again. That is something to think about. Everyone directly or indirectly touched by the first night that transformed the world then and every December 25th, was internally transformed and changed forever. The shepherds, in particular, would never look at their sheep the same way. They could never gaze up into the cold night sky and forget how the blackness of the universe opened up like a gushing flow of light and song. As we begin a brand new year with all its promises, hopes and dreams, we think of those lowly shepherds who faced a new career, of sorts. None of them could have stayed quiet. How could it be so? Christ’s birth shone upon a great light and a new and glorious morning. It was the quintessential thrill of hope that still rings out today. It is indeed a most powerful and loving blessing. “The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (First Reading) The same miracle can happen to us if we allow this past Christmas to impact us the way the First Christmas did those that were present. It is truly up to us to make this Christmas gift keep giving day after day into the New Year. We can do it. Happy New Year! Happy New Career!

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January 1, 2018


Reading 1 – NM 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.”

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

R. (2A) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.

Reading 2 – GAL 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to ransom those under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son,
and if a son then also an heir, through God.

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

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