The Word of God

May 1, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 14:19-28

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – SEE LK 24:46, 26

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

Gospel – JN 14:27-31A

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

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Peace Through Suffering


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 1, 2018

Time for a harmless little quiz. What is a petrichor? Is it (1) a type of Biblical fruit; (2) the type of key actually used in Biblical times; or (3) a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. If you chose (3) then you are correct and if you knew that word before today, you are some kind of genius. However, we all have experienced a petrichor in our lives. Haven’t you noticed how wonderful it smells after a good rain? That comforting aroma is better than any perfume or cologne and certainly rivals a lot of home-cooking smells. Possibly because there is always life-giving and heart-enriching moments waiting for us after a storm of any kind. Our First Reading today clearly agrees with this assessment. “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Hardships of every kind have the potential of molding and shaping us into the treasures that Jesus sees in us and died to keep us free to develop in this life.

The price of carrying the cross for, with and because of Christ has rewards that far exceed all of our wildest imaginations. Jesus made that more than perfectly clear in the Gospel. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” The very operative word in this wonderful quote from the Lord is how He qualifies the gift he is offering us. It is peace, certainly, but not as the world give it. That means that there is something deficient about what the world considers to be peace and something overwhelmingly wonderful about the peace that He gives. It has to do with what lasts forever. We may experience a type of comfort or peace when we get through a problem or crisis, but the peace Jesus promises has everything to do with where we will be spending the rest of eternity. Amen. Alleluia!

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May 2, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 15:1-6

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:4A, 5B

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

Gospel – JN 15:1-8

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

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Cut Back To Move Forward


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 2, 2018

“He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” Pruning is a very necessary and productive activity that is nearly an art. It involves trimming a tree, shrub, or bush by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. It is an amazing thing that the Lord does for those who truly want to follow and enter into new realms of mystery and fulfillment. He challenges us to strip away the things that bog us down and keep our vision and view so cluttered and selfish. Many times we need to cut back and prune off some growth in order to make room for new blooms in the spiritual life.

What is the dead growth in your life? Your job? A relationship? Clutter? Your health? Excess weight? Anger? Jesus clearly tells us what we need to do. “Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.”

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May 3, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 15:1-8

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:2-3, 4-5

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

Alleluia – JN 14:6B, 9C

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

Gospel – JN 14:6-14

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

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Tell Me Where You Stand


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 3, 2018

“I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand.” This moving opening phrase from our First Reading today makes a remarkable yet subtle assumption that is quite important for all of us to clearly understand and adopt if we have any hope of living a life of integrity. Many times we encounter people who think that following Jesus and proclaiming our position as Christian is some kind of hobby or much like a political affiliation. The Readings today, however ask us to go much deeper and avoid any semblance of shallowness or a lack of courage. The reason we are Christian is because of Christ; the reason we follow so closely and intensely is because he died to set us free: “…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the  Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In the Gospel of today, Jesus makes it obvious of the great benefits that await us by being loving and devoted followers of the Gospel of Life and all that it entails. In a world where many have lost their way, live by lies and promote a culture of death, the role and essential place of those of us who follow Christ is needed in a very powerful way. We must take strong and bright stands in this life so that we may be the light that we are called to be for the world. Archimedes has been quoted in several locations as saying, “Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.”  If we stand with Jesus, our world would never be the same.

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Freedom’s Price


empty bird cage

One Sunday morning in a small town, a preacher named George Thomas, came to the Church carrying a an old bird cage and set it on the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, the preacher began to speak. I was walking home through town yesterday when I saw a young boy swinging this old bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What you got there, son?” “Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you gonna do with them?” I asked. “Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”

George was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh?? Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” George asked again. The boy sized up the preacher as if he were crazy and said, “Ten Dollars?”

Then George reached into his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. George picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then George began to tell this story.

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked. Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

And what will you do when you get done with them?” Jesus asked. “Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked. “Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”

“How much?” He asked again. Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.” Jesus said, “Done!” Then He paid the price.

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May 4, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 15:22-31

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:15B

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

Gospel – JN 15:12-17

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

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I Call You Friends


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 4, 2018

“I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” The Gospel of today has the potential of warming our souls with the greatest of all possible messages: Jesus wants to be my friend. Let us sit back for a moment and allow that invitation to truly permeate all of the strata of our lives right now, no matter how good or not-so-great they are right now. We may have discovered by now that our true friends are not the people we meet that make our problems disappear. They are those precious and few souls who never disappear when we are in the mire of crisis and worrisome problems. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This is what the Lord has done for each one of us and by his suffering and death on the cross, we have been washed clean and redeemed, and by his resurrection, we can and should walk completely in hope no matter how dismal or hopeless any situation appears to be.

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.” Now, for our part, as a good friend would do, what should be our response to this amazing invitation to walk with Jesus? The very obvious answer is to communicate, acknowledge the eternal gifts and invite others to do the same. Silence as a response to God only works if we are intent on truly listening to him but not if we remain inactive to the call to holiness. For you see, in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. “This I command you: love one another.”

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta

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May 5, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 16:1-10

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – COL 3:1

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

Gospel – JN 15:18-21

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

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The Science Of Hatred


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 5, 2018

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” (Gospel) The word hate is generally defined as intense, extreme hostility and aversion to something or someone, usually stemming from fear, anger or a sense of injury. We use it to cover an enormous range of feelings and situations, from the child who hates broccoli or doing math homework, to the insane dictator who tries to exterminate everyone of a certain religion or ethnicity. It may be intertwined with other emotions, such as fear or anger, but it is distinctly different from them. Why do you think that the Lord would describe the world’s reaction to him and, by extension, all of those who want to follow him for the rest of their lives?

“… because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” There is probably a deep and wonderful clue found here at the center of the Gospel passage we have today. If there is indeed such a thing as a science of hatred, it might include the very basic principle that there is an intrinsic and deep repulsion and enmity between two very different sets of aspirations. Thus, in the spiritual life, the tension between what is above and what is below represents the eternal struggle of humanity leading all the way to eternity. What shall we do? St. Paul has the relieving and essential answer. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

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May 6, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

When Peter entered, Cornelius met him
and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.
Peter, however, raised him up, saying,
“Get up. I myself am also a human being.”

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.”

While Peter was still speaking these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.
The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter
were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit
should have been poured out on the Gentiles also,
for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.
Then Peter responded,
“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people,
who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?”
He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

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

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

Reading 2 – 1 JN 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – JN 15:9-17

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

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

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Complete Joy


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 6, 2018

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.” On this beautiful Sabbath, ask yourself the question, “what would bring me the greatest joy?” No doubt there would be as many answers from as many different people as there are in the entire world. However, the one thing that they would have in common, is the length of that joy. Wouldn’t we opt for a joy that lasts for a longer period of time than just one minute, or an hour or even a day? What if that joy could last forever? We could then say that it is certainly complete. “…the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the Word.” Only God can guarantee complete and forever in this life. The Holy Spirit as the primary source of inspiration and wisdom seals and protects this complete joy that will take us into Heaven having won the battle of our lives while alive on this planet. So how do we know that we are in his presence and under his protection?

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.” Jesus clearly wants to invite all of us into the deep and wonderful relationship of love that will take us through this life and make sense of all that happens to us with the real prospect of living forever in Heaven with him. This requires fidelity and keeping the commandments. This is no impossible task because we were created for love, a real joy that seeks the best for the other and never looks back. What is complete is that love involves the self-emptying of the one who seeks to love, the faith in the promise that this is the way to peace and the joy that Heaven is waiting for us.

“Death and love are the two wings that bear the good soul to heaven.” -Michelangelo

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May 7, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 16:11-15

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:26B, 27A

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

Gospel – JN 15:26—16:4A

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

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

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The Spirit Of Truth


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 7, 2018

“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father…” What does the Gospel of today tell us as we begin a brand new and bold week ahead?

First, The Lord describes and reveals the true nature of the Holy Spirit as “the Advocate” which is not some ambiance or feeling ascribed but rather the deep and everlasting meaning and source of all truth. Application: when we speak the truth, we act with and in the Holy Spirit; to speak falsely cannot possibly please God for this reason.

“… he will testify to me. And you also testify…” To give witness is a powerful aspect of faith. We have to think that if someone really believes in someone or something, the very natural consequence is shared with as many others as possible. The Holy Spirit gives witness to Jesus and thus the disciples must do the same.

“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.” The Spirit that gives life and truth also necessarily protects and guides us from all harm and evil. This is a marvelous promise! How many parents who are reading this would give everything to make sure that all their children would always be guided and protected after they grow up and leave home. Yet, and amazingly so, this is what the Spirit of Truth accomplishes in us and for us.

“…I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.” Everyone encounters hardships and obstacles as we live and move and have our being. The Spirit of Truth also comforts and solidifies peace in the heart of those who love Jesus and wish to serve Him with all their heart and soul. This must be the greatest source of joy we could ever imagine.

“The wizard of Oz says look inside yourself and find self. God says look inside yourself and find the Holy Spirit. The first will get you to Kansas. The latter will get you to heaven. Take your pick.” -Max Lucado

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May 8, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 16:22-34

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

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

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

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

Alleluia  – SEE JN 16:7, 13

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

Gospel – JN 16:5-11

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

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It Is Better That I Leave


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 8, 2018

“But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.” Departure and distance help us appreciate the people who mean the most to us. Think about that for a while. Perhaps you have heard this another way: “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Whichever the format or accompanying experience, it is certainly true that we could never know or have the most intimate relationship with Jesus if it were not for the Holy Spirit. In the great scheme of things, Jesus had to leave physically before the descent of the Holy Spirit could ever take place.

“I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.” The Scripture, nestled within the Alleluia Chant before the Gospel, confirms what Jesus intended to do all along. So much has happened to Christ in his life during the short span of three years while he was here among us, that it would take centuries to process it all, and then have the courage to actually place the mystery of Jesus in our lives especially in the ways we deal with one another. It looks like we still need a lot of work, because according to some historians, we human beings have only been entirely at peace for only eight percent of recorded history. This is why Jesus had to ascend to his Father and send his Holy Spirit to fill all hearts with the fire of his love! His temporary, physical departure from us meant an eternity of intimacy with him.

“We spend our lives, all of us, waiting for the great day, the great battle, or the deed of power. But that external consummation is not given to many: nor is it necessary. So long as our being is tensed, directed with passion, towards that which is the spirit of all things, then that spirit will emerge from our own hidden, nameless effort.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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May 9, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 17:15, 22—18:1

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

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

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

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 14:16

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

Gospel – JN 16:12-15

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

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To An Unknown God


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 9, 2018

Our first Reading today reveals a remarkable experience which St.Paul had when speaking to the deeply religious Greeks living in Athens at the time. “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious.” As we recall, the Greeks had an altar to an unknown or unrecognizable deity and the brilliant St. Paul utilized this moment in what had to have been a breath-taking moment. He built on their spiritual experience of something beyond their immediate grasp and began to introduce the wonders and miraculous comfort of our God who clearly does not want to remain hidden or distant and who has been and will always be patiently awaiting an epiphany on the part of every individual who is looking for truth and meaning in their lives. “God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent.”

“But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” These wonderful passages are preparing us for the great Feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost which are being anticipated by the whole Church in the coming weeks. First, Jesus must physically leave to prepare a place for us and second, the Holy Spirit must come down upon the Church so that Christians everywhere may fully enter the mystery of grace and salvation at a level of comfort, vision and understanding. We pray during this time for an infusion of wisdom so that we might comprehend what is happening in our lives and place all those events, good and bad, happy and tragic, onto the backdrop and perspective of our eternal life in Heaven. Allow these days of waiting for Pentecost to make a real impact on your life. It promises to be amazing even if it is just one small insight that is received. It could make a huge difference.

“I pray to start my day and finish it in prayer. I’m just thankful for everything, all the blessings in my life, trying to stay that way. I think that’s the best way to start your day and finish your day. It keeps everything in perspective.” -Tim Tebow

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May 10, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 18:1-8

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – See JN 14:18

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

Gospel – JN 16:16-20

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

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Are You A Tent Maker?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 10, 2018

“He went to visit them and, because he (Paul) practiced the same trade, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.” (First Reading) Tent-making, in general, refers to the activities of any Christian who, while dedicating him or herself to the ministry of the Gospel, receives little or no pay for Church work, but performs other (“tent-making”) jobs to provide support. Specifically, tent-making can also refer to a method of missionary outreach in which (mostly) young people attempt to support themselves by working full-time in a regular job using their skills and education, instead of receiving financial support from a Church while spreading the Word of God. This insightful term comes from the reference we just read that confirms that St. Paul supported himself by making tents while living and preaching in Greece.

“I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.” This promising, comforting phrase that is found in the Alleluia Verse for today reminds us that life is too short to waste without fully realizing what it means to follow Jesus. Most of our readers would agree that all people are seeking authentic relationships, significance and success but perhaps struggle with how their faith is relevant to their own personal vocation and lives in the world. How can we become tent-makers? The answer is balance. We know we have to work or go to school or support a family. The joy of living is finding the right and correct balance of paying the bills and living the Gospel which are not exclusive of each other. Witnessing to our friends, praying before casual eating gatherings and never being ashamed of the Gospel are profound ways to be a light in this world. Pray, study, witness and learn all you can so we can live out our God-given calling and transform culture through Christ. What’s in your tent?

“People pay attention when they see that God actually changes persons and sets them free. When a new Christian stands up and tells how God has revolutionized his or her life, no one dozes off. When someone is healed or released from a life-controlling bondage, everyone takes notice.” -Jim Cymbala

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May 11, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 18:9-18

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

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

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

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

R. (8A) God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He brings people under us;
nations under our feet.
He chooses for us our inheritance,
the glory of Jacob, whom he loves.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE LK 24:46, 26

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

Gospel – JN 16:20-23

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

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Labor Pains


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 11, 2018

“You’ll never understand life until it grows within you.” (Sandra C. Kassis) “When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.” The Gospel today presents us with yet another powerful and insightful image to help understand the depths of our spiritual lives and how we can best understand and live them to their fullest with Jesus Christ always before us. The basic wisdom at play here is really quite simple: the greater the goal, the greater the sacrifice, the greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. “Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory.” Jesus accomplished everything for us with a great amount of pain and suffering. But look at the results. Our salvation and place in heaven has been assured and guaranteed. All we need to do is get there. Consider the following two quotes and allow for some quality time today to reflect on them.

“If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials, it is a sign of great holiness which He desires you to attain. Do you want to become a great saint? Ask God to send you many sufferings. The flame of Divine Love never rises higher than when fed with the wood of the Cross, which the infinite charity of the Savior used to finish His sacrifice. All the pleasures of the world are nothing compared with the sweetness found in the gall and vinegar offered to Jesus Christ. That is, hard and painful things endured for Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ.” -Saint Ignatius of Loyola

“When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.” -St. Sebastian Valfre

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May 12, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 18:23-28

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 16:28

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

Gospel – JN 16:23B-28

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

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

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Such Sweet Sorrow


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 12, 2018

“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I’ll say good night until tonight becomes tomorrow.” (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Line 185) “I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” How can separation and painful longing be good? Perhaps we could also remember the adage that is repeated a million times all over the globe which states emphatically that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Is that true? Because of our weakened humanity always longing for things that will never disappoint, anger or end, we can see how separation allows us to be much more aware and grateful of the people and the things around us. Think of the patient in a cold, removed hospital room who misses the outdoors. Then imagine the first day out of the hospital. What joy it will be!

There is yet another sweetening factor here. “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” Please realize today and for the rest of our tomorrows what access we have been given after the Ascension and in the power of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost. We can and must ask God for all of our needs with the assurance and confidence that the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus has given us. “Ask and you will receive” is better than all the promises of the world combined. That is why the parting of Christ at the Ascension is such sweet sorrow.

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May 13, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 1:1-11

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

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

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

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

Reading 2 – EPH 1:17-23

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

or –  EPH 4:1-13 OR 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters,
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore, it says:
He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.
What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended
into the lower regions of the earth?
The one who descended is also the one who ascended
far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

or

Brothers and sisters,
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the calling
you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your calling;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Alleluia – MT 28:19A, 20B

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

Gospel – MK 16:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

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Ascension: I’ll Be Back


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 13, 2018

The Feast that we celebrate today brings a newness of understanding and a fresh and bold way to continue the path we have chosen all the way to Heaven. This virtual retreat that started on St. Valentine’s Day / Ash Wednesday, culminating on Easter Sunday, is now being fully realized and planted in our hearts as Pentecost looms with the promise of the Holy Spirit. “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” (First Reading) You see, this does not mark an end of the relationship Jesus has with us, the Church, but rather a new beginning and new way of how we relate to him as he returns to the Father. We are the Body of Christ, and thus we have also ascended with him in a very hopeful and powerful way. This must change how we look at our lives today knowing that the greatest is still yet to come for all of us. “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.” Our very nature now is in transition between Heaven and earth and it will be up to us to decide how we are to act while we live and move and have our being. That must involve praying for, waiting for and living in the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. We must be witnesses! “But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”

“We must show our Christian colors if we are to be true to Jesus Christ.” (C. S. Lewis) Perhaps the most awesome lesson to learn from today’s Feast is the fact that Jesus is coming back just as he said he would. This certainly does not mean that we lie in wait, scared and anxious about the cataclysmic doomsday that is so popular in science-fiction and pop culture. Actually, the opposite is true. Doesn’t it make more sense that if you knew someone you deeply loved was coming to see you, you would be outside eager and happy to greet them, having prepared a lavish welcome with mind and heart ready and poised to hold and embrace and even shout with song upon seeing them again? Absolutely. To be honest, it is not always easy to maintain such a joyful demeanor especially when there are crises we must face and problems we must address. Sometimes we are allowed to hit rock bottom so that we may clearly discover and know that God is the rock at the bottom. Discovering this mysterious truth, we are then set to face whatever comes with the strength inside from him who is actually returning just as he left. Indeed, we could and should shout with the Psalmist today. “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.”

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May 14, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 1:15-17, 20-26

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters
(there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place).
He said, “My brothers and sisters,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
Judas was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

Let his encampment become desolate,
and may no one dwell in it.
and:
May another take his office.

Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men
who accompanied us the whole time
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (8) The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
To seat them with princes,
with the princes of his own people.
R. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R. 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 – JN 15:9-17

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

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

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Love In The Time Of Christ


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 14, 2018

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Here we have the most awesome and life-changing promise that the Lord offers to us to ensure that we know that he is absolutely and eternally serious about what he intends to provide for us for all time. He promises to make the ultimate sacrifice for those he loves intensely.

“Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.” Today is also the Feast of St. Matthias who in effect replaced the fallen traitor Judas following the horrible sequence of events after the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. Again, we have an example of the love Christ has for his Church by continually stocking and staffing good and solid leaders to shepherd and protect the flock. God never leaves us orphans because we definitely live in the time of Christ until we live with him forever in Heaven.

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May 15, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 20:17-27

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 14:16

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

Gospel – JN 17:1-11A

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

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

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How Does Jesus Pray?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 15, 2018

The beautiful passage we have been given today in the Gospel is known in many circles as “The Prayer of Jesus” and in others, “The High Priestly Prayer.” Regardless of these handles, we can certainly learn volumes about how Jesus prays by reviewing the veritable jewels we have been given: “Father, the hour has come.” He prays in and for the present moment: “Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.” He prays with solid intention and purpose: “They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.” He prays with love and inclusion: “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.” He prays with hope.

So the inescapable conclusion that we must make here is that as Jesus prays, so must we. We must pray in and for the present moment: “Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.” We must pray with solid intention and purpose: “God is a saving God for us; the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.” We must pray with love and inclusion: “Your flock settled in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.” We pray with hope: “A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance; you restored the land when it languished.”

“The one who prays is never alone.” -Pope Benedict XVI

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August 28, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 THES 2:1-3A, 14-17

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly,
or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
Let no one deceive you in any way.

To this end he has also called you through our Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm
and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught,
either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen them
in every good deed and word.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:10, 11-12, 13

R. (13B) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
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. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia – HEB 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 – MT 23:23-26

Jesus said:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.
Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”

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May 16, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 20:28-38

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 68:29-30, 33-35A, 35BC-36AB

R. (33A) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Show forth, O God, your power,
the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
let the kings bring you gifts.
R. Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
chant praise to the Lord
who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
“Confess the power of God!”
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE JN 17:17B, 17A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 17:11B-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

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Consecrated In Truth


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 16, 2018

“Consecrate them in the truth.” (Gospel) What does it mean to consecrate someone or something? Some definitions render the word as the act by which something or someone is made sacred and or dedicated for a clear and religious purpose. When Jesus continues his prayer to the father in Heaven and asks that those who would follow him, his Apostles, the early Church and all of us who seek the truth in the Church to be consecrated, it is clear that he is asking that we be set apart and made sacred for a specific role and place in this world.

“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” How can we live this consecration on a daily basis? First, it means that we are people of truth and not lies. Second, we continue to seek to be in union with Jesus always staying in communication with him just as he was with his Father. And finally, we must keep in mind the powerful description that Jesus gives to all of us today: “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” When worry, anxiety, anger or deep-seated sorrow begin to overtake us, we must cling to this promise. We simply do not belong to this world; we belong to Jesus. Seen in this perspective, even the greatest problems we may ever have to encounter will always be met with Jesus at our side. “You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the One who is in you is greater that the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

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May 17, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 22:30; 23:6-11

Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
“We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 17:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”

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We Are A Gift To Jesus


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 17, 2018

“Father, they are your gift to me.” Imagine how wonderfully enlightening and comforting this sentence uttered by Jesus in the Gospel can be for each and every one of us. A gift that is the real embodiment of quality over quantity, the value of thought over any amount of expenditure, time spent over exotic wrapping paper gives us a keen insight as to what it means that we are actually the most wonderful gift that God the Father gives to Jesus, his Son. The foregone conclusion to this awesome truth is that we must keep this in mind for as long as we can so that we may act accordingly, not just the way we communicate in prayer but how we treat others who are as precious to God as we are.

“You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.” The joy of the Readings today is that the more open the gifts of self and generosity each day we are alive, the more we will appreciate them. Time is then the greatest help to understanding and appreciating our gifts. Do not waste a single moment!

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” -Leo Buscaglia

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May 18, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 25:13B-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul’s case to the king, saying,
“There is a man here left in custody by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews
brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.
I answered them that it was not Roman practice
to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers
and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.
So when they came together here, I made no delay;
the next day I took my seat on the tribunal
and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor’s decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20AB

R. (19A) The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:26

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

Gospel – JN 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

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The Universal Reoccurring Question


Reflection on Mass Reading of May 18, 2018

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Nowhere else in all of Scripture is there such a meaningful, emotional and theological repetition of questions as the one that appears in the Gospel of today. How often have you been asked this question? How many times in a day do you ask it? Perhaps we could posit that the reason it is repeated is because of the importance of the answer. God will always respond to our question if we are loved in the positive but the real concern in our lived faith daily experience is how we will answer. Do I really love Jesus?

Let’s see if we can glean anything from how we interact with each other as to whether or not we can essentially be called friends. Do we act the same way around Jesus as we do around other friends? Are we more ready to do something for Jesus than he would ask something from us? Are we ever afraid of saying we love Jesus in front of anyone? If we can answer these in the positive, then we all know what we must do next: “And when he had said this, he said to him, ‘Follow me.'”

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May 19, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 28:16-20, 30-31

When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews.
When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers,
although I had done nothing against our people
or our ancestral customs,
I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.
After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me,
because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.
But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar,
even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.
This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you
and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel
that I wear these chains.”

He remained for two full years in his lodgings.
He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance
and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 11:4, 5 AND 7

R. (see 7B) The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold,
his searching glance is on mankind.
R. The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD searches the just and the wicked;
the lover of violence he hates.
For the LORD is just, he loves just deeds;
the upright shall see his face.
R. The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 16:7, 13

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

Gospel – JN 21:20-25

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved,
the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper
and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?
You follow me.”
So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die.
But Jesus had not told him that he would not die,
just “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things
and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
There are also many other things that Jesus did,
but if these were to be described individually,
I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written.

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There Are Many Other Things


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 19, 2018

“There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.” Today is the last day before great celebration of Pentecost which simultaneously ends the Easter Season and effectively engenders and empowers the active and lively Church we have in the present moment. “The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his searching glance is on mankind.”

“I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.” What this strongly suggests to all of us is that the best is always yet to come. What we await in Pentecost is another installment of the deep understating of why we are here, what our purpose is and where we are going. These are life-changing and life-sustaining questions that require clear and truthful answers. These answers can only come with the aid of grace and the Holy Spirit. Jesus cares deeply about each one of us; the time has come for us to open our minds and welcome the Spirit of Jesus with full acceptance and tremendous joy. The happiest people do not have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. For this, we need the Holy Spirit.

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May 20, 2018


Reading 1 – ACTS 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

R. (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
the earth is full of your creatures;
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 12:3B-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

or – GAL 5:16-25

Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Sequence

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

or – JN 15:26-27; 16:12-15

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

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

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The Real Fire Of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 20, 2018

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” This is one of those days that we can honestly greet each other with the happy phrase, “Happy Feastday!” Why is that? Today the Church celebrates Pentecost when the Holy spirit came down upon the Apostles and many gathered with them and the birth of the Church ensued. In some ways, we could say that this is our birthday celebration because this is how it all began. This is how all of life is transformed and made new again. This is the force of the Gospel, especially when it is lived through and in the hearts of believers. This is what motivates the Psalmist to invite us to sing with all our hope and might: “When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”

“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” Our Second reading clarifies another compelling reason to ask and openly receive all the gifts that God wishes to impart to us through the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in this life. We have great impact and a deep call for service for and with each other. This is what makes the Church a mystery and a hopeful presence in a world that is often without it. Make this day special by renewing your Baptism and continuing to ask God for strength of mind and heart. The best, as we have often said here, is yet to come.

“Without Pentecost the Christ-event – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now.” -Henri Nouwen

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May 21, 2018


Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church – Lectionary: 572A

Reading 1 – GN 3:9-15, 20

After Adam had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to him and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Or – ACTS 1:12-14

After Jesus had been taken up to heaven,
the Apostles returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day’s journey away.

When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 87:1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7

R. (3) Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord;
O blessed mother of the Church,
you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 19:25-34

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved,
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately Blood and water flowed out.

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The Power Of Prayer


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 21, 2018

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom.” Our First Reading today not only opens our discussion and thoughts about God’s will for us, but also poses a very poignant and intriguing question: who is wise? The answer may at first seem complex, but in actuality, as so often is the case, is quite simple. “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.”

This level of peace and tranquil living that is filled with the most complete, loving trust in God, can only be achieved and mastered through and by prayer. This is why, as we move forward from the entire grace-filled Easter Season and on this first day after Pentecost, our commitment to a deep life of prayer must be renewed and re-confirmed. “’Why could we not drive the spirit out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer.’”

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” -Max Lucado

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May 22, 2018


Reading 1 – JAS 4:1-10

Beloved:
Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly,
to spend it on your passions.
Adulterers!
Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God?
Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world
makes himself an enemy of God.
Or do you suppose that the Scripture speaks without meaning when it says,
The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy?
But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

So submit yourselves to God.
Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you of two minds.
Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep.
Let your laughter be turned into mourning
and your joy into dejection.
Humble yourselves before the Lord
and he will exalt you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 55:7-8, 9-10A, 10B-11A, 23

R. (23A) Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
And I say, “Had I but wings like a dove,
I would fly away and be at rest.
Far away I would flee;
I would lodge in the wilderness.”
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
“I would wait for him who saves me
from the violent storm and the tempest.”
Engulf them, O Lord; divide their counsels.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
In the city I see violence and strife,
day and night they prowl about upon its walls.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
Cast your care upon the LORD,
and he will support you;
never will he permit the just man to be disturbed.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.

Alleluia – GAL 6:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

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Awaken The Child


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 22, 2018

“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”  We have heard and have been told many times that the true innocence of a child in the ways of living life produce the best and most abundant fruit. Why is that? Children seem to have a natural and inherent ability to trust, to express themselves without reservation, to love without counting the costs and live care-free as if God is walking right behind them because he truly is. They do not seem to worry about who is first or greatest or who has the most. Innocent children are genuinely happy when a friend of theirs receives something wonderful because sharing is almost always inevitable. Not so for some of the disciples in our Gospel passage today who were bickering about something rather trivial and petty. “But they remained silent. For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.”

Perhaps the best advice we can receive today concerning the hope that we can awaken the child in all of us comes directly from our first Reading: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds.” Thus, here it is in a nutshell: Stay close to God, confess your sins as often as possible, and say yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no.

“A simple, childlike faith in a Divine Friend solves all the problems that come to us by land or sea.” -Helen Keller

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May 23, 2018


Reading 1 – JAS 4:13-17

Beloved:
Come now, you who say,
“Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town,
spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”–
you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.
You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.
Instead you should say,
“If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”
But now you are boasting in your arrogance.
All such boasting is evil.
So for one who knows the right thing to do
and does not do it, it is a sin.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 49:2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11

R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Hear this, all you peoples;
hearken, all who dwell in the world,
Of lowly birth or high degree,
rich and poor alike.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
For he can see that wise men die,
and likewise the senseless and the stupid pass away,
leaving to others their wealth.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Alleluia – JN 14:6

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

Gospel – MK 9:38-40

John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.”

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A Puff Of Smoke


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 23, 2018

“You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.” It is quite a sobering message that we have today in our First Reading from the always timely and pertinent messages of the Book of James. No one truly knows what tomorrow will bring but we must live our lives with the confidence that God gives us without forgetting the great love the Lord has for us or even presuming that we are always right. “All such boasting is evil. So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin.”

Then how are we to live in order to escape the arrogance of the self-righteous and the presumption of those who do not believe? The Responsorial Psalm has great pearls of wisdom on that account: “Yet in no way can a man redeem himself, or pay his own ransom to God; Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough to remain alive always and not see destruction.” Jesus makes it clear that he wants with all the might of the universe to be our way, our truth and our life, but he would never nor will ever impose upon us, restricting our freedom or our own use of free will.

Consider these words from a teacher to her students: “Life is too short to argue and fight with the past. Count your blessings, value your loved ones and move on with your head held high.”

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May 24, 2018


Reading 1 – JAS 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 49:14-15AB, 15CD-16, 17-18, 19-20

R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
This is the way of those whose trust is folly,
the end of those contented with their lot:
Like sheep they are herded into the nether world;
death is their shepherd and the upright rule over them.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Quickly their form is consumed;
the nether world is their palace.
But God will redeem me
from the power of the nether world by receiving me.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
“They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

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 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

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The Millstone Of Temptation


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 24, 2018

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” The Gospel, as usual, does not mince words today. Temptation is hard enough for each of us to encounter as we search for better ways to follow the Lord Jesus which makes a strong case that we certainly do not need any help from our friends or from anyone else for that matter. However, by extension, think of all the good we do for one another, especially in our daily routines and casual conversations. We can actually help each other get to heaven.

“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” Clearly, as always when reading the Scriptures, we are presented an awesome choice to go forward: either we help or hurt. Every relationship can be viewed in this light as well. Is this helping me move closer to heaven or not? This is why wisdom from the Holy Spirit is so critical and pivotal. Life is good. It is better with Jesus in it.

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May 25, 2018


Reading 1 – JAS 5:9-12

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of the perseverance of Job,
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,
because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear,
either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath,
but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,”
that you may not incur condemnation.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12

R. (8A) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia – SEE JN 17:17B, 17A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 10:1-12

Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

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Complaints And Hard Hearts


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 25, 2018

“Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged.” (First Reading) “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment.” (Gospel) There seems to be well-founded argument in play here with the two beautiful Scriptures we have today. Is it possible that a complaining spirit produces a hard heart that propels a negative and nonspiritual way throughout life? Some have actually studied the matter and have surmised that some people complain to get attention, remove personal responsibility, inspire envy, and keep doing it for so long that they do not even realize they are doing it. Sounds dangerous, and oddly familiar.

“The Lord is kind and merciful.” Jesus provides a much better approach to life: kindness and mercy. Imagine what your own life would be like if for the next twenty-four hours you would avoid all negative bickering and complaining from either your own lips or those from another. Put on your personal agenda exactly what the Psalm of today suggests: “Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness.” There is no better time to try than today.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”  ~Abraham Lincoln

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May 26, 2018


Reading 1 – JAS 5:13-20

Beloved:
Is anyone among you suffering?
He should pray.
Is anyone in good spirits?
He should sing a song of praise.
Is anyone among you sick?
He should summon the presbyters of the Church,
and they should pray over him
and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
The prayer of faith will save the sick person,
and the Lord will raise him up.
If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another
and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
Elijah was a man like us;
yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain,
and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land.
Then Elijah prayed again, and the sky gave rain
and the earth produced its fruit.

My brothers and sisters,
if anyone among you should stray from the truth
and someone bring him back,
he should know that whoever brings back a sinner
from the error of his way will save his soul from death
and will cover a multitude of sins.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 141:1-2, 3 AND 8

R. (2A) Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, to you I call; hasten to me;
hearken to my voice when I call upon you.
Let my prayer come like incense before you;
the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.
R. Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, set a watch before my mouth,
a guard at the door of my lips.
For toward you, O God, my LORD, my eyes are turned;
in you I take refuge; strip me not of life.
R. Let my prayer come like incense before you.

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 10:13-16

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

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Forgiveness And Healing


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 26, 2018

“The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” Our First Reading makes a heart-warming case for the deep relationship between our sins, our pain, our incessant desire for healing, and the free offer of forgiveness of the sins that cause us so much pain and guilt. What is beautifully clear today is the Lord truly wants us to be safe, happy and holy. Our own sins and failings often stand in the way and present an enormous stumbling block to achieving all that God has intended for us, including acknowledging and receiving his healing forgiveness to a greater healthier spiritual life.

“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” It is, however, in the Gospel where the real truth to unlock the mystery of true inner freedom that is characteristic of a child of God and those who desperately want to get to Heaven. It is to take seriously the innocence, total trust and openness of a child. Jesus made this more than crystal clear in the Gospel. It is so easy to make a child happy because they trust that we will do what we say we will do: protect, feed and provide for them. How much more is God our Father that loving, eternal parent?

“The child is in me still and sometimes not so still.”  ~Fred (Mr.) Rogers

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May 27, 2018


Reading 1 – DT 4:32-34, 39-40

Moses said to the people:
“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
This is why you must now know,
and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God
in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22

R. (12B) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made;
by the breath of his mouth all their host.
For he spoke, and it was made;
he commanded, and it stood forth.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Reading 2 – ROM 8:14-17

Brothers and sisters:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a Spirit of adoption,
through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.

Alleluia – RV 1:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
to God who is, who was, and who is to come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 28:16-20

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

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The Absolute Joy Of Belonging


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 27, 2018

Experiencing a sense of belonging is important in seeing value in life, coping with painful emotions, and bringing a deep understanding of reality through a connection to all people in our world. People who feel as if they do not belong can develop a deep antisocial and even violent posture toward the world that they imagine is treacherous and abandoning to the most vulnerable. This is why the words of the First Reading for us today hold so much value. “This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.” Once a person fully accepts that we all belong to one God who loves all equally, the immediate and expected reaction is joy. “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.”

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” This very beautiful sense of belonging to the family of God is guaranteed and solidified by the Holy Spirit and is exactly the blessing and truth which Jesus intends for each and every one of us. By the very fact that we are alive and breathing upon the earth, we belong to God. The very fact that we have a chance to go to Heaven because Christ died for every human being, we belong to God. That guarantee will never disappoint and will never be forgotten. “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

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May 28, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 PT 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 111:1-2, 5-6, 9 AND 10C

R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – 2 COR 8:9

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

Gospel – MK 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”

He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

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Some Gave All


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 28, 2018

Today we celebrate Memorial Day in the United States and likewise around the world most countries have similar commemorations whether it is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand or Remembrance Day in England, all people know in their heart that we must pause in somber states of mind and thank those who made our freedom possible and livable. It is no doubt a sad day for some remembering loved ones who left for battle and never returned, but there is always that bright promise of immortality always present like a newborn child’s grin. “In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (First Reading)

“’Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.’” On this awe-filled Memorial Day, please stop and pray for all the brave men and women who gave all to make freedom ring in the ears of those who would never know them or even get to meet them. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross blesses in a fundamentally deep way all the sacrifices that are made out of love for others. This is why this day is so important. A grateful heart is indeed a magnet for miracles and we are sure that miracles continue to happen because nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible for God. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

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May 29, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 PT 1:10-16

Beloved:
Concerning the salvation of your souls
the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours
searched and investigated it
investigating the time and circumstances
that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated
when it testified in advance
to the sufferings destined for Christ
and the glories to follow them.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you
with regard to the things that have now been announced to you
by those who preached the Good News to you
through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels longed to look.

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly,
and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Like obedient children,
do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance
but, as he who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,
for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.

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

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

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 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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Me, Holy?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 29, 2018

“… be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct.” Too often in casual conversation, we may have heard someone seriously doubt that they can be holy or anything like a saint. We ourselves may have uttered such sentiments in an attempt to produce a veil of humility or even to avoid sounding proud or boastful or even presumptuous. However, there is a big problem with this selection of mind frame. If our ultimate goal is to make it into Heaven, and Heaven is overwhelmingly and predominately inhabited by holy ones, that is, saints, then we better get cracking!

“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” Perhaps part of the problem we have encountered here is what people think a saint really is. Furthermore, the image of a person nearly poised in an other-worldly trance with a breathless smile and eyes locked downward probably does not paint the most accurate picture that is needed for this all-important discussion. The real mystery of holiness is really not hard to comprehend. It will involve remembering how wonderful it was to be a child again in all its simplistic wonderment about the world and the immense level of trust. This element of wonder can be reflected in the order in which God places things rather than in the way we do: “But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” What the world deems important and critical is not always what God does. Begin your day and end it with joy because God has been, is now and will forever be in control. “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds.”

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May 30, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 PT 1:18-25

Beloved:
Realize that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
handed on by your ancestors,
not with perishable things like silver or gold
but with the precious Blood of Christ
as of a spotless unblemished Lamb.
He was known before the foundation of the world
but revealed in the final time for you,
who through him believe in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.

Since you have purified yourselves
by obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love,
love one another intensely from a pure heart.
You have been born anew,
not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God, for:

“All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory like the flower of the field;
the grass withers,
and the flower wilts;
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 147:12-13, 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 – MK 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man cane to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 10:32-45

The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem,
and Jesus went ahead of them.
They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them
what was going to happen to him.
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man
will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death
and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him,
spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death,
but after three days he will rise.”

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came to Jesus and said to him,
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him,
“Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, “We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The chalice that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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Can You Handle This?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 30, 2018

“You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” It seems there is an ongoing tight-wire balance of attitudes throughout the Scriptures which has translated into definite behavior on the part of those of us who are desperately trying to follow Jesus. Either there is too much emphasis on the glory of the Resurrection, forgetting the sacrifice and suffering it took to get there, or too much attention given to the Cross, forgetting that in just a short and cleansing moment, victory is ours. Today in our beautiful Gospel passage, the former condition seems to have sway, even eliciting the stunning comment from Jesus trying to clarify at least the motivation for asking to sit either side of Jesus in glory. This same balancing act continues today for each one of us. What does this mean for us and how are we to walk this spiritual tight rope?

“Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love, love one another intensely from a pure heart.” The answer to our reflection brings us back to the most simple, the most obvious and the most beautiful: love. When love is our first priority, when God is at the top of that list and when we nourish our entire lives with the grace of the Sacraments and the wonderful words of the Scriptures, we can hope to find and maintain that healthy balance between Good Friday and Easter Sunday living. “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the Word of the Lord remains forever.”

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May 31, 2018


Reading 1 – ZEP 3:14-18A

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

or – ROM 12:9-16

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

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

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

Alleluia – SEE LK 1:45

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

Gospel – LK 1:39-56

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

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

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

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

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The Visitation


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 31, 2018

Generosity is a willingness to give, even at a cost to oneself. It expresses concern for meeting the needs of others, even if it means sacrificing something of one’s own. We are to extend ourselves to all of mankind, especially the most needy. When we do so, we are emulating Jesus who went after the one lost sheep. To love is to give. God loves us and he gives us everything he wants us to have. When we give, as our Lord encourages, we truly deny ourselves. Generosity must be done in silence in order to merit grace from God and not merely the thanksgiving of mortal men. It is very easy to be generous to our relatives or friends but that is not generosity because we will be repaid for that with friendship, thanksgiving, and praise. Generosity must extend to the poor and the needy. It is a quest for justice as we have the work of God to provide for those who don’t have.

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

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

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

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