The Word of God

September 1, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
But 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,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Alleluia – JN 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:14-30

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

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You’ve Got Talent


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 1, 2018

“A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–to each according to his ability.” (Gospel) God gives us resources such as finances and time, talents such as culinary skills or musical ability, and spiritual gifts such as encouragement or teaching. We should ask God for wisdom on how to use those resources and commit ourselves to expending them according to His will so that He may be glorified. This is simply responsible stewardship. We have been given much, and God desires us to use what He has given to further His Kingdom and proclaim His glory. It’s what we were created to do. We are living sacrifices, giving the things God has given us in service to others, and in that we actually find life. Be thankful for what you have. How can we nurture and develop these talents? Consider reflecting on one of these for each day of your new week: 1) Be creative. 2) Be innovative. 3) Think differently and positively. 4) When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. 5) Face your past without regret. 6) Handle your present with confidence. 7) Prepare for the future without fear. Remember this as we begin a brand new month in the Lord Jesus. God always has something for you: a key for every problem, a light for every shadow, a relief for every sorrow, and a plan for every tomorrow.

“No regrets, no worries. Relax and breathe. Stay present, understanding that you did the best you could at the time, and you’ll do your best in the future. Reliving past pain again and again, or chronically worrying about the future, do not help you accomplish anything. A self-imposed philosophy of perfection can overwhelm you. There is no contest to win and no race to finish. Simply love yourself and do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”  ~Creig Crippen

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Aromatherapy


essential oil bath salts aromatherapy items

Without a doubt, I have been richly blessed with friends who love to eat. In addition to our shared pastime and life-giving, life-sustaining hobby, my friends represent a number of different cultures to which they have remained faithful and attached. One evening a couple of weeks ago, we decided on an Italian-Indian night and made a veritable feast of the evening. What a night, and what a weight-gaining evening!

Obviously, there were many wonderful garlic and curry combinations that I couldn’t begin to pronounce much less list at this moment. Needless to say, the next day, I knew that I must return to the local gym to attempt, however feebly, to stave off the potential damage to my waist and calorie quota for the week and board the closest cardio stepping/walking/climbing apparatus in sight. My timing was stellar as I entered the local athletic facility and found my favorite torture machine readily available sandwiched (pardon the food comparison) between two others who, like me, were clearly not in the running as America’s Top Models or who had ever missed a meal. Immediately I climbed aboard and began the arduous entrance into athletic performance and much sweating, trying desperately to avoid all the strange noises or groans and mumbles as one tries to act twenty years less their actual age. I am not sure how many of our readers actually have an exercise code of behavior for the gym or are even aware of any such etiquette compilation, but I do not usually speak to people around me unless the occasion calls for it and on this particular day, I think it did. After about twenty minutes of pretty intense perspiration, I could tell something was different but was not exactly sure what it was. My fellow panter to the left then made it clear what I suspected. We caught each other’s glances quickly and then he innocently asked, “Are they having a pizza party here today? Sure smells good!” Realizing exactly what he meant and pretending to agree with his assessment, I turned toward the main entrance and sheepishly said, “Yeah, I think it’s someone’s birthday!”

By now, I believe you all know what happened: the rich seasonings of garlic and curry, among others, slowly and methodically seeped into my blood stream and eventually found their way to and through my sweat glands giving off an amazing aroma that must have suggested that yet another banquet was on the way. And for a second, maybe there was indeed a kind of enriching encounter about to begin that is played and replayed all day of our lives. Consider this Scripture passage as quite pertinent for our expanded time to consider who we are and where we are going:  “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:2) Think about this for a second. Even before we leave the comfort of our homes, we begin to emit something, an aroma perhaps. This aroma could be in the form of an attitude, an aura or a general climate or attitude that just is very obvious especially to those who know and love us and even to those who do not. The minute we walk through the door, we bring something to the room, the conversation and to those we encounter. Imagine that we have just received horribly bad or discouraging news. Don’t you think people around us will notice? What if it is just one of those bright days full of clarity and hope? The same is true. People notice. We radiate. We give off a distinct aroma. And the more wonderful and mystical aspect to all this, is the fact we make the choice of which aroma or fragrance we wish to influence our surroundings.

Let’s take this one more step further: what if our aroma was actually a person? Could we say that we actually radiate and bring forth the spirit and life of another to our day? Absolutely, and you know where this is going: the Eucharist. When we say “yes” the Paschal Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we truly are empowered with the ability to emit and radiate the real person of Christ to everyone, even to ourselves. Could this be the beginning of a brand new way to live life? Today I want to experience Christ in my life and show Him to everyone as if I was introducing someone very close to me to everyone in my life who is near and dear to me. Imagine how different things would be if everyone had that same goal!

Perhaps a great step in that direction would be to consider this wonderful “aromatherpeutic” prayer composed by Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890). Pray it slowly now and see what happens. Devour its message, and order from this spiritual menu so that your aroma will surprise, comfort and heal your world. Nothing is impossible with God.

“Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, that my life may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be mine. It will be you, shining on others through me. Let me thus praise you the way you love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you. AMEN.”

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September 2, 2018


Reading 1 – DT 4:1-2, 6-8

Moses said to the people:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin upon you,
you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5

R. (1A) One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Reading 2 – JAS 1:17-18, 21B-22, 27

Dearest brothers and sisters:
All good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Alleluia – JAS 1:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
—For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. —
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.

“From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”

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Hear, Learn and Live


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 2, 2018

“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.” The great lawgiver Moses opens our Reflection this beautiful Sunday morning with a tried and true formula for spiritual success. First, hear what God is saying to us, listen carefully so we can learn, then observe and act in such a way that our lives are full and lived abundantly. How easy is that? “One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” Living in God’s wonderful presence should be the ultimate goal of every Christian and on this First Sunday of the brand new month, it certainly is ours as well. But there are pitfalls and hazards to this life, as we well know: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” And speaking of delusion and blindness, Jesus encounters the poster people for hypocrisy, the harsh and hyper-critical Pharisees: “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

So how does Jesus respond to our old friends today? Well, to say the least, it wasn’t pretty. Why the harshness of reaction? That’s what happens when we won’t see how incredibly God is working in our life or in the life of others. It is the expected consequence when we hide behind the Law and miss the Law-giver in our midst. The people who understand this always rejoice but the ones who judge and criticize and try to fix everyone else except themselves are almost always humiliated. You see, it all depends on the relationship and how healthy or unhealthy it may be. Today, let us first give thanks that our Lord loves us so much that we are constantly being exposed to the truth in our lives, ugly at time, but always liberating. Second, let us ask again for the courage to see Jesus in others as we look for Him in our own soul. This is definitely the recipe for true happiness.

“Hypocrites in the Church? Yes, and in the lodge and at the home. Don’t hunt through the Church for a hypocrite. Go home and look in the mirror. Hypocrites? Yes. See that you make the number one less.”  ~Billy Sunday

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September 3, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102

R. (97) Lord, I love your commands.
How I love your law, O LORD!
It is my meditation all the day.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
Your command has made me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
I have more understanding than all my teachers
when your decrees are my meditation.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
I have more discernment than the elders,
because I observe your precepts.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
From every evil way I withhold my feet,
that I may keep your words.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
From your ordinances I turn not away,
for you have instructed me.
R. Lord, I love your commands.

Alleluia – SEE LK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll,
he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'”
And he said,
“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

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The Awesome Power of God


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 3, 2018

“I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.” St. Paul gives us all an amazing insight into what it means to serve the Lord and be faithful to His teaching. When you get right down to the basis of all our faith, it comes down to the fact that what we have been given is truly powerful and loving and overwhelming. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to save us from ourselves. What joy! “How I love your law, O LORD! It is my meditation all the day.”

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Recently, I witnessed a miraculous healing and reconciliation between an adult child and one of his parents. Although there is still a long way to go, it is in fact a great start. It all came about as a result of prayer on the young person’s part and several other prayer companions. I saw it as real power. It is the power that we receive in the Holy Spirit to love, to forgive, to bring peace and to make sense to people who are struggling with all kinds of worries and anxieties in the present world. This is what it means to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit and act with the heart of Jesus especially with those in our lives who are most difficult. This is all of the elements of the Gospel message wrapped up into one powerful gush of inspriration and humility that gives a kind of peace which the world cannot and will not give. This is the gift that Jesus wants for each and every one of us. And it is a gift that is waiting just for the asking.

“If you accept the belief that baptism incorporates us in the mystical body of Christ, into the divine DNA, then you might say that the Holy Spirit is present in each of us, and thus we have the capacity for the fullness of redemption, of transformation.”  ~Thomas Keating

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September 4, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 2:10B-16

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Among men, who knows what pertains to the man
except his spirit that is within?
Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom,
but with words taught by the Spirit,
describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.

Now the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God,
for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it,
because it is judged spiritually.
The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything
but is not subject to judgment by anyone.

For “who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13AB, 13CD-14

R. (17) The Lord is just in all his ways.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is just in all his ways.
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. The Lord is just in all his ways.
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. The Lord is just in all his ways.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is just in all his ways.

Alleluia – LK 7:16

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

Gospel – LK 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

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Evil Is Not Sustainable


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 4, 2018

“What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” (Gospel) This passage is specially interesting because it is the first in Luke where we encounter demonic possession. The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits which sought entry into everyone. Often they entered through food or drink. All illness was caused by them. The Egyptians believed there were thirty-six different parts of the human body and any of them could be entered and controlled by one of these evil spirits. There were spirits of deafness, of dumbness, of fever; spirits which took a man’s sanity and wits away; spirits of lying and of deceit and of uncleanness. It was such a spirit that Jesus exorcised here. “Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’” (Gospel)

However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for each and every one of us. Every day is a challenge and struggle to live this life and walk this walk. We live in a world of darkness and terror and unless we hold the light of Christ within us, we will indeed be swallowed up in despair. Thus, the battle of light and darkness is not only outside of us, it is also within us. We have Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team. Let us pray:

Lord Jesus, free from me all that is not of you and cleanse my soul from all deceit, worry and shame. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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September 5, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 3:1-9

Brothers and sisters,
I could not talk to you as spiritual people,
but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ.
I fed you milk, not solid food,
because you were unable to take it.
Indeed, you are still not able, even now,
for you are still of the flesh.
While there is jealousy and rivalry among you,
are you not of the flesh, and walking
according to the manner of man?
Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another,
“I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?

What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul?
Ministers through whom you became believers,
just as the Lord assigned each one.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who causes the growth.
He who plants and he who waters are one,
and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor.
For we are God’s co-workers;
you are God’s field, God’s building.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:12-13, 14-15, 20-21

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
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,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – LK 4:38-44

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases
brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him,
they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
But he said to them, “To the other towns also
I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God,
because for this purpose I have been sent.”
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

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Fever Pitch


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 5, 2018

Each one of us woke up this morning and began this day with literally a million different possibilities as to how our lives would unravel as each minute ticked away. For some, it was a bright and glorious beginning, while for others, problems made their way onto our patch almost immediately. One thing is for certain, however and that is we all have the same Shepherd: Jesus. We are in fact His own loved ones: “For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (First Reading) Every single moment of every single day, we belong to Him and He is always watching over us. That’s the kind of love He has for us which is why we can echo the words of the Psalmist today in the very depths of our hearts: “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.” (Responsorial Psalm)

In the Gospel today, Jesus’ healing of the fever ravishing Simon’s mother-in-law and his confrontation with the demons tells us all right here and right now that He has the power and the love to do the same for each one of us wherever we are, in whatever station of life. These particular Scriptures call out to do a number of things today: 1) acknowledge He is present to you, 2) lift and present to Him all the matters and people you have to confront today, especially sickness, 3) believe both in His power and love, and 4) wait patiently. Perhaps we could say today that we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that we must confront sickness and evil on a daily basis with numbing regularity. The good news is that we are not alone in these confrontations. We carry with us the one who has defeated both now and forever.

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September 6, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 3:18-23

Brothers and sisters:
Let no one deceive himself.
If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:

God catches the wise in their own ruses,

and again:

The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

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

R. (1) To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.

Alleluia – MT 4:19

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

Gospel – LK 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.

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How Deep Is Your Love?


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 6, 2018

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” (Gospel) In both the Old and New Testaments, the references to fish and fishing are many and significant. The very fact that the majority of Apostles whom Jesus called to found and build the Church were fishermen is not a causal reference. There are profound reasons that makes this quite significant for our own understanding of the Bible and of the Church itself. This also has implications concerning our own individual call to be good and faithful followers of Christ in this world. Let’s explore a few of them:

1. Fishing takes patience: Good things, like waiting for the fish to bite, take time and this is certainly the case with our spiritual lives. Overcoming harmful habits and unhealthy attitudes means that we be patient with ourselves first before moving to evangelize our family and friends.

2. Fishing requires humility: The proverbial description of “the one that got away” and the exaggerated size of the alleged near-catch humorously illustrates the need for humility out on the water and for every Christian out in the world. For the follower of Jesus, there are no more bad days, but certainly some days are better than others.

3. Fishing involves a team of people: Keep in mind the kind of fishing that is referenced in the Scriptures. It is not the sole figure on the lake with one rod waiting patiently for the long-awaited prize for supper. No, rather the kind of fishing in both the Old and New Testaments involved using nets, large nets, that required a team of people to bring in the haul. This is clearly good when we think that it takes a community gathered of one mind to effectively bring the Gospel to a displaced and broken world.

4. Fishing feeds people:  In early Christian churches, the Greek word for fish (ichthus) came to be interpreted as a sort of code word for the name of Jesus. You see, when you take the first letter of each of the Greek words for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” they spell “ichthus.” Although we cannot be sure when this identification first began or where it was first introduced, the fish has certainly become a standard Christian symbol. Perfect. We fish for Jesus, we fish with Him, and we bring Jesus to a hungering and starving people, all the while we become closer and closer. “’Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.” (Gospel)

“Jesus, like any good fisherman, first catches the fish then cleans them.”  ~Mark Potter

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September 7, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 4:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Now it is of course required of stewards
that they be found trustworthy.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted;
the one who judges me is the Lord.
Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time,
until the Lord comes,
for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts,
and then everyone will receive praise from God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 37:3-4, 5-6, 27-28, 39-40

R. (39A) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones.
Criminals are destroyed
and the posterity of the wicked is cut off.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 5:33-39

The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers,
and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same;
but yours eat and drink.”
Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast
while the bridegroom is with them?
But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
then they will fast in those days.”
And he also told them a parable.
“No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one.
Otherwise, he will tear the new
and the piece from it will not match the old cloak.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins,
and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.
Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.
And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new,
for he says, ‘The old is good.'”

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Obvious Instructions


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 7, 2018

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

“No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.” Perhaps the most obvious hurdles Christians face in following the Lord are the many distractions that soon become almost expected and then ignored. They come in all shapes and sizes from the most usual  places to the most surprising places. The issue here is how to spot the obvious signs and wonders which Jesus places right in front of our eyes. The obvious instructions concerning sewing patches or storing wine are funny, in a way, but they point to something quite telling. If we truly want to be happy and find our way to heaven, we know we can call out to Jesus and He will hear us but when He answers will He find the same conditions in our souls that led us to fall and lose faith? There must be external change to match the internal desire for transformation. “Commit to the LORD your way; trust in him, and he will act. He will make justice dawn for you like the light.” (Responsorial Psalm)

As we move through this first Friday of the month, look around and see the blessings, the crosses, the tears, the laughter, and the ability to breathe. What do you see? Isn’t it obvious?

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September 8, 2018


Reading 1 – MI 5:1-4A

The LORD says:
You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah,
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
From you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
Whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
(Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
when she who is to give birth has borne,
And the rest of his brethren shall return
to the children of Israel.)
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
And they shall remain, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.

Or – ROM 8:28-30

Brothers and sisters:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 13:6AB, 6C

R. (Isaiah 61:10) With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
Though I trusted in your mercy,
let my heart rejoice in your salvation.
R. With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
Let me sing of the LORD, “He has been good to me.”
R. With delight I rejoice in the Lord.

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of Justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:1-16, 18-23 OR 1:18-23

The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”

or

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”

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Mother’s Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 8, 2018

Today we celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary and there are so many presents to open! Let us begin our festive spiritual birthday celebration. First, from the Catechism: (487) What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ. (490) To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace.” (Luke 1:28) In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace. (491) Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. (492) The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.” The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:3-4) (493) The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.” By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

Secondly, the only starting point in every and any discussion about the Blessed Virgin Mary is Jesus Christ, her Son. This must always be the focus of our conversation and understanding of who she is and why she is pivotal and critical to our understanding of Jesus and what He accomplished for all of humanity. It starts with the Garden of Eden described in the first chapters of Genesis when Satan, the leader of all the fallen angels, tempts Eve to first doubt her trust in the Lord and then disobey Him. Both she and Adam were permitted to eat from all the trees in Paradise except one. The devil, however, was not to have its intended and avaricious victory as the Lord made it clear that this was not the end of the battle for the soul of humanity: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers,” speaking of the ultimate combat between the forces of evil and the offspring of the descendant of Eve, who is Mary, the Mother of Jesus Our Redeemer. Thus, the “Tree of Good and Evil” is transformed into the “Tree of Life,” the wood of the Cross upon which Jesus died to “free us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray.” (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)  So if Jesus is the New Adam (Romans 5:14), then clearly Mary is New Eve. Eve = Mother of all the Living; Mary = Mother of the Church (The Body of Christ to whom she gave birth).

Thirdly, A Tale of Two Angels: We know who the serpent in the Garden of Eden was. We all read about it in the Book of Revelation: “Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in Heaven.  The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.” (Chapter 12:7-9) Let’s take a good look at these two angels: The serpent in the Garden of Eden and the Angel Gabriel. One approached Eve, the other, the Virgin Mary with two very different outcomes! Satan tricked Eve by re-phrasing what God had forbidden Adam and her to approach; Gabriel’s announcement (Annunciation) was met with serious questions from Mary: “But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” (Luke 1:29) Eve’s response to the fallen angel/demon: distrust and disobedience. Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel:  trust and obedience:  “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1) The aftermath of Eve’s choice: Death entered the world; the aftermath of Mary’s choice: Life entered the world.

Finally, the significance for our Faith: The Church has long believed and taught that the Virgin Mary had to have been preserved from any stain of sin, just as Eve was. It is also crystal-clear that God had a tremendous plan involving this woman from Nazareth who would have had to have been free from any pretext or pride when being asked to be the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. And her own body was to be free from any of sin’s dark shadows because it would be in the very recess of her human body that Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man would dwell for nine months. How could it be different?

So consider this in your prayers today in commemorating the wonderful birthday of the Mother of Jesus: 1. God has a magnificent plan for me and it started from the beginning of time. 2. He sent His only Son to die for me, both Divine like God and human like me (thanks to the obedience of the Virgin Mary). 3. I am created to live on this earth to accomplish as much as I can while I am alive, with the great assistance of the Mother of God, “now and the hour of my death.” 4. After I die, I will be made pure and stainless to live in heaven forever as was Mary to carry Jesus in her womb.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us! Happy Birthday!

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September 9, 2018


Reading 1 – IS 35:4-7A

Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1B) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The God of Jacob keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – JAS 2:1-5

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please, ”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?

Alleluia – CF. MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 7:31-37

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

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Open, Open, Open


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 9, 2018

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared.” There are literally hundreds of idioms that exist in the English language (and others as well) that use the word, “open.” This should give rise to the belief that there is something very basic to the action of being opened or opening something which the Lord is trying to communicate with us today through the gift of the Readings. The Lord’s door is always open for us to walk through as He invites us to be and remain open with Him. “The LORD gives sight to the blind; the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.” With open arms, the Lord holds us so that we may see the beauties and the treasures that are right here in the open. This would assume, at least in part, that our world may be shut to His will and we may have even shut down our hopes and desires to find God in every life situation that we find.

“Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?” In our profound Second Reading, He is asking us to have an open mind, to keep our options open and come out into the open to learn about the love He has for each one of us. This is often blocked by our selfish inclination to judge, condemn and openly criticize the things we do not understand or do not wish to understand. Sometimes disappointments in life cause this feeling to flourish and we are reminded today that when one door shuts, another one opens.

“He looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’— that is, ‘Be opened!’ — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.” With eyes wide open, we open the door to so much grace and divine love that opens the way to happiness, holiness and health. Open your hearts to Christ today in a way that you have never before. Let His presence fill you on this beautiful Sabbath and leave the door open for more growth and holiness. It is an open and shut case.

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September 10, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 5:1-8

Brothers and sisters:
It is widely reported that there is immorality among you,
and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans–
a man living with his father’s wife.
And you are inflated with pride.
Should you not rather have been sorrowful?
The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst.
I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit,
have already, as if present,
pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed,
in the name of our Lord Jesus:
when you have gathered together and I am with you in spirit
with the power of the Lord Jesus,
you are to deliver this man to Satan
for the destruction of his flesh,
so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not appropriate.
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our Paschal Lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 5:5-6, 7, 12

R. (9) Lead me in your justice, Lord.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
You hate all evildoers.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
You destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
the LORD abhors.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
But let all who take refuge in you
be glad and exult forever.
Protect them, that you may be the joy
of those who love your name.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – LK 6:6-11

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

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Yeast Among You


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 10, 2018

“Your boasting is not appropriate. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough? Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened.” The world is filled with tremendous goodness and terrible evil. This much is painfully, yet hopefully clear. It all began with the events we have come to know as original sin. The condition in which we have found ourselves has deeply affected every strata of our human experience bringing death and darkness into the world but which has joyfully necessitated Jesus Christ to come into our world to save us from our very selves. That is precisely why the image of yeast is so keen and insightful. In the batch of dough in the kitchen, the tiny, microscopic yeast cells break down large starch molecules into sugars for energy. They use this energy for survival and literally “burp out” carbon dioxide into existing air bubbles in the dough which in turn causes the dough to rise. Our example of faith and our readiness to carry the cross no matter what circumstances, convenient or inconvenient, actually infuse our surroundings with spiritual energy and help raise the hopes and spirits of people all around us, including ourselves.

“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”  However and even more pointedly, the Gospel of today points us to another condition of spiritual infection that is all around us. The pettiness and the self-inflated importance of the Pharisees remind us of those who have and exercise authority over us but under the lure and seduction of power on every scale which is immense depending on the degree of the power one possesses. The abuse of authority has inflicted great harm upon individuals and societies and has harmed the possibility of peace and forgiveness in our world. Jesus cuts through the very heart of the problem in the Gospel today which should ring loudly in each of us no matter what state of life we occupy. He is the Lord of the Sabbath, of our days and nights and of all authority that ever existed over human beings.

One of the basic and forgone conclusions we can draw from all of this is really quite simple: Everyone has a God. There is a single place at the center of the human heart and there is only one entity that can dwell there. If it is not the God who has been revealed to us by his Son, Jesus, then something or someone else is there in that space. It can be power, fame, money, or any other hidden vestige of selfishness, but it is certainly not the One True God whom we adore and love. No, to find complete happiness in this life that will last, even unto forever, we must fall in love with God. Consider again the words of Pedro Arupe, SJ:

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

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September 11, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 6:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
How can any one of you with a case against another
dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment
instead of to the holy ones?
Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world?
If the world is to be judged by you,
are you unqualified for the lowest law courts?
Do you not know that we will judge angels?
Then why not everyday matters?
If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters,
do you seat as judges people of no standing in the Church?
I say this to shame you.
Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough
to be able to settle a case between brothers?
But rather brother goes to court against brother,
and that before unbelievers?

Now indeed then it is, in any case,
a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another.
Why not rather put up with injustice?
Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?
Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived;
neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers
nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves
nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers
will inherit the Kingdom of God.
That is what some of you used to be;
but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and in the Spirit of our God.

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

R. (see 4) The Lord takes delight in his people.
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.
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.
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.

Alleluia – SEE JN 15:16

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

Gospel – LK 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.

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Remembering and Praying Over 911


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 11, 2018

“I chose you from the world, That you may go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” Today is a difficult one for some, problematic for others, and still a puzzle for many. What happened? Why did it happen? Is it going to happen again? You see, for all of the above segments of our society, there must be a common, stable and universal answer. And there is: God’s patience mercifully calls forth in us the courage to return to Him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of His heart. “Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.” Saint Bernard goes on to ask: “But what can I count on? My own merits? No, My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as He is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits.” This is important for today: our goal must be the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in His patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of His love. We must seek mercy in the very heart of our understanding of who God is for the whole world.

Let us Pray:

God, we come to you today in remembrance of the lives lost to unspeakable violence, especially those on September 11th and in its aftermath. All of us were touched by this day – from the loss of loved ones to changes in the national mood. We remember our anger and fear, gritty like sand in our teeth – anger at lives lost, at words and actions of retaliation, at excuses to oppress people in our country and around the world, fear over what might happen, over losing our own lives. We remember our sorrow, salty water flowing from our eyes, grief at loss, at the deep pain and suffering of our sisters and brothers. But we also pray that this salty water will become seed for a better tomorrow. Like these seeds, we have hope that your kingdom of peace and justice will take root and flourish in our world. And we remember the fabric of life of which we are all a part – from workers at the Pentagon to the undocumented workers at the top of the World Trade Towers to people in Afghanistan who had never heard of New York City.

May we learn to sew together this fabric, with unbreakable threads so that we may cling together in solidarity and such violence may never be repeated. (Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet)

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September 12, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 7:25-31

Brothers and sisters:
In regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord,
but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
So this is what I think best because of the present distress:
that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation.
Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife.
If you marry, however, you do not sin,
nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries;
but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life,
and I would like to spare you that.

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17

R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord, and you must worship him.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters;
her raiment is threaded with spun gold.
In embroidered apparel she is borne in to the king;
behind her the virgins of her train are brought to you.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
The place of your fathers your sons shall have;
you shall make them princes through all the land.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.

Alleluia – LK 6:23AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rejoice and leap for joy!
Your reward will be great in heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 6:20-26

Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”

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The Wealth of Poverty’s Prayer


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 12, 2018

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.” Ours is a marvelous and mysterious faith which permeates every single aspect of existence. In addition to the Scriptures, the holy sacrifice of the Mass and prayer, God becomes present to us in nature, music, art, literature, and the beauty of human relationship. What is deeply rich about the combination of the Scriptures presented on this Sabbath is the intricate connection between being accountable to one another, listening to God as closely as possible, and the power of prayer. This is most profoundly expressed in the first Beatitude which proclaims the blessing of being poor in spirit. This type of poverty means that we depend on the Lord God for everything and realize that all that we have comes from Him and His holy hand for our benefit especially our ultimate entry into heaven. Thus, our private prayer, our speech to God will have enormous impact on our daily conversations with other people in our lives.

Our speech is a powerful tool that can be used both for good and for evil. When properly exercised, it is certainly a blessing; when not, a curse with dire consequences for all concerned. Parents, employers, religious and political leaders carry a great burden that is attached to authority. We must speak the truth but we must know it first. We must address what is wrong and harmful but we must not fall into the role of hypocrite and hater. The only way to ensure this delicate balance is poignantly expressed further in the account of the Beatitudes in the Gospel of the day: “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.”  Today you and I are called to examine our own prayer life. Do we have one? Does it fuel our choices and decisions at home and work? Does it make a difference?

St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was once asked about her prayer life. The interviewer asked, “When you pray, what do you say to God?” The beautiful Saint replied, “I don’t talk, I simply listen.” Believing he understood what she had just said, the interviewer next asked, “Ah, then what is it that God says to you when you pray?” She replied, “He also doesn’t talk. He also simply listens.” There was a long silence, with the interviewer seeming a bit confused and not knowing what to ask next. Finally Mother Teresa broke the silence by saying, “If you can’t understand the meaning of what I’ve just said, I’m sorry but there’s no way I can explain it any better.”

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September 13, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 8:1B-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up.
If anyone supposes he knows something,
he does not yet know as he ought to know.
But if one loves God, one is known by him.

So about the eating of meat sacrificed to idols:
we know that there is no idol in the world,
and that there is no God but one.
Indeed, even though there are so-called gods in heaven and on earth
(there are, to be sure, many “gods” and many “lords”),
yet for us there is

one God, the Father,
from whom all things are and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things are and through whom we exist.

But not all have this knowledge.
There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now
that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols,
their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.

Thus, through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction,
the brother for whom Christ died.
When you sin in this way against your brothers
and wound their consciences, weak as they are,
you are sinning against Christ.
Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin,
I will never eat meat again,
so that I may not cause my brother to sin.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 23-24

R. (24B) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Probe me, O God, and know my heart;
try me, and know my thoughts;
See if my way is crooked,
and lead me in the way of old.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Alleluia – 1 JN 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another,
God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

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My Enemy, My Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 13, 2018

“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Once again, Jesus, the new Moses and lawgiver, transforms our way of life by exacting upon us which some believe is virtually impossible. However, it is not impossible. In the First Reading we are reminded of the ultimate source of all power in this universe who is the ultimate judge and dispenser of all justice: “But if one loves God, one is known by him.” The act of forgiveness and exuding mercy does so much for the heart that displays such intentions that it becomes clear that when the Lord asks us to forgive our enemies, He really and truly wants the best for our souls so that they be freed of any hatred and the scourge of evil.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” Our world is definitely filled with people who have been hurt, mocked and humiliated. This would explain why it’s easy to see how hurting people hurt people. As Christians we are charged to remember that all people carry wounds whether they were self-inflicted or not. We all suffer in one way or another and what we truly need is patience and love rather than judgment. And if we needed any further convincing, there is this very interesting detail that is nudged between the loving lines of wisdom today: “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” It is as if there was a celestial stopwatch that starts calculating the time it takes us to forgive and then uses that very time to be applied to us when we need forgiving, which, by the way, is every single day. So basically, the time to forgive is yesterday.

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”~Abraham Lincoln

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September 14, 2018


Reading 1 – NM 21:4B-9

With their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 78:1BC-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38

R. (see 7B) Do not forget the works of the Lord!
Hearken, my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable,
I will utter mysteries from of old.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
While he slew them they sought him
and inquired after God again,
Remembering that God was their rock
and the Most High God, their redeemer.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But they flattered him with their mouths
and lied to him with their tongues,
Though their hearts were not steadfast toward him,
nor were they faithful to his covenant.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But he, being merciful, forgave their sin
and destroyed them not;
Often he turned back his anger
and let none of his wrath be roused.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!

Reading 2 – PHIL 2:6-11

Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.

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Complaints and Crosses


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 14, 2018

Today on this Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we begin our Reflections with a simple yet crucial question: What is the mystery of suffering? Charles Dickens attempted to break into the question with this: “Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” Maybe we should begin with the penalty for complaining. It did not go well for the people in the First Reading: “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.” The problem was simple: they forgot how good God had been to them and only focused on the things in the present moment without giving thanks to the one who always took care of them. Thus, the Psalmist made it clear to them and us what we must all do: “Do not forget the works of the Lord!”

None of us like to suffer. We avoid pain and discomfort. Our whole society and culture is seemingly built around the basic premise that we must avoid all pain. The problem, however, is simple and tragic. No one can avoid suffering. No one can escape death. The simple message of today is this: Life is not a question about whether or not you are going to suffer; it is a question of how. We who believe in Jesus know the answer to that question. We suffer with Him so we can rise with Him. “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Again, this awakens the thoughts we raised previously. Which path will I take today? Whose promise will I place my entire trust in? There can truly be only one choice: Jesus!

“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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September 15, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 10:14-22

My beloved ones, avoid idolatry.
I am speaking as to sensible people;
judge for yourselves what I am saying.
The cup of blessing that we bless,
is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ?
The bread that we break,
is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?
Because the loaf of bread is one,
we, though many, are one Body,
for we all partake of the one loaf.

Look at Israel according to the flesh;
are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?
So what am I saying?
That meat sacrificed to idols is anything?
Or that an idol is anything?
No, I mean that what they sacrifice,
they sacrifice to demons, not to God,
and I do not want you to become participants with demons.
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons.
You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.
Or are we provoking the Lord to jealous anger?
Are we stronger than him?

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:12-13, 17-18

R. (17) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.

Sequence (Optional) Stabat Mater

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother’s pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of his own nation
Saw him hang in desolation
Till his spirit forth he sent.

O sweet Mother! font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with you his pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with you,
Mourning him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with you to stay,
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.

Let me to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of yours.

Wounded with his every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In his very Blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In his awful judgment day.

Christ, when you shall call me hence,
Be your Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally.
Amen. (Alleluia)

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary;
without dying you won the Martyr’s crown
beneath the Cross of the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 19:25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
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.

Or – LK 2:33-35

Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
and you yourself a sword will pierce
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

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Sorrows and Sanctity


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 15, 2018

“Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary; without dying you won the Martyr’s crown beneath the Cross of the Lord.” Today, the Church remembers and honors the intense suffering and grief of the mother of Jesus during His passion and death. There were actually seven individual sorrows that Mary endured as was foretold to her by Simeon the priest of the Temple on the occasion of the Lord’s Presentation. Here is a partial text of a very popular hymn somberly expressing these heartfelt sentiments: “At the cross her station keeping, stood the mournful mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last. through her heart, his sorrow sharing, all his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length the sword had passed.” Our present hope for our Christian journey toward heaven is easily seen in the Opening Prayer at Mass today: “Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to New life. Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love and trust.”

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?” Let us reflect on the mystery and fruits of suffering as presented by St. John Paul II in a remarkable teaching borne out of his own incredible personal sufferings. First, he says that suffering empowers humility: To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self. Secondly, he teaches that suffering is transformative: Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace many saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but above all that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation. Finally, he writes that suffering enlivens and grows charity and love for and of others: We could say that suffering . . . is present in order to unleash love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one’s “I” on behalf of other people, especially those who suffer. The world of human suffering unceasingly calls for, so to speak, another world: the world of human love; and in a certain sense man owes to suffering that unselfish love that stirs in his heart and actions.

Thus, suffering in its purest sense is actually the road to holiness and a closer walk and friendship with the Lord Jesus. His mother shed human tears for the divine Son she helped bring into this world, our world. We cry human tears but not always for what is right and just. Today we seek to move toward complete integrity on this walk of ours toward heaven, knowing and embracing humility, deep-seated change and charity which are all great gifts when we suffer with each other with Jesus always in our hearts and minds.

“Let me mingle tears with you, Mourning him who mourned for me, All the days that I may live. Christ, when you shall call me hence, Be your Mother my  defense, Be your cross my victory.”  ~Stabat Mater

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September 16, 2018


Reading 1 – IS 50:5-9A

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let that man confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

Responsorial Psalm – PS 114:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (9) I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I love the LORD because he has heard
my voice in supplication,
Because he has inclined his ear to me
the day I called.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The cords of death encompassed me;
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow,
And I called upon the name of the LORD,
“O LORD, save my life!”
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Gracious is the LORD and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For he has freed my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – JAS 2:14-18

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, ”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

Alleluia – GAL 6:14

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

Gospel – MK 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”

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Who Do You Think I Am?


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 16, 2018

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.” Christianity is altogether unique in many ways when looking at all the aspects of religion. We could easily say that it is personal. Now, how do we come to that conclusion? The Church was founded personally by Jesus Christ, true God and true man. He did not leave a philosophy or manual or even a step-by-step approach as to how to continue. He set the cornerstone of our way of life upon the foundation of the Apostles whom He personally selected and called in today’s Gospel passage. Let’s continue to unravel this personal aspect of Jesus’ choice, not only of the twelve, but also how that impacts you and me here today.

1. Close friends. Jesus called the Apostles to be his close friends and He mentioned true friendship even as He taught of the mystery of love. It really shouldn’t surprise us at all that Jesus needed human friendship. The very doctrine of the Trinity is in itself a revelation of community to the highest degree and it is the very core of humanity, created in God’s image and likeness, that we need the love of family and friends to be truly happy and reach our potential.

2. Students. Jesus knew that the end of His time on earth was approaching. It was not books or even less, social media. The Church was going to have to proclaim the Gospel through the personal experience of learning that these Apostles (students) had experienced and then established for centuries to come. Jesus chose these men that He might write His message upon their hearts, minds and souls so they would become  His “living books,” as it were, continuing throughout history as it developed and unraveled through time.

3. Ambassadors. The Greek word “apostolos” literally means someone who is sent out on behalf of another person or country such as an envoy or an ambassador. The Apostles were chosen to be personal ambassadors to all the world reflecting personally what they had learned as the friends of the Lord Jesus. This in turn would create more personal friends into a Church for all ages and all believers. The greatest Christian men and women in my life encourage me in my own journey because I keep thinking, “if these people are awesome because they have met Jesus, I want to be like them and know Him, too!” That’s personal, wouldn’t you agree? “See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?”

“I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.” Finally, these great Apostles were very ordinary people like you and me. There was not a wealthy, nor a famous, nor an influential person in that group. None of the twelve had any special education or specific training before the Lord called them. They were just like you and me more than they were unlike any of us. The work of Jesus and the foundation of the Church was not in the hands of those whom the world called great, but in the hands of ordinary people like ourselves. They were a strange mixture of characters and personalities. Take for instance Sts. Matthew and Simon. Matthew was a tax-collector, and, therefore, a traitor and a renegade. Simon was a Zealot, and the Zealots were fanatical nationalists, who were sworn to assassinate every traitor and every Roman they could. It is one of the miracles of the power of Christ that Matthew the tax-collector and Simon the Zealot could live at peace in the close company of their brothers. You see, when a person is a real Christian, the most different and even political opposite types can live at peace with each other. If we personally and truly really love the Lord Jesus, we will also love each other no matter the circumstances. “But who do you say that I am?”

“Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all. He is my strength from day to day. Without Him, I would fall.”  ~T. B. Joshua

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September 17, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 11:17-26, 33

Brothers and sisters:
In giving this instruction, I do not praise the fact
that your meetings are doing more harm than good.
First of all, I hear that when you meet as a Church
there are divisions among you,
and to a degree I believe it;
there have to be factions among you
in order that also those who are approved among you
may become known.
When you meet in one place, then,
it is not to eat the Lord’s supper,
for in eating, each one goes ahead with his own supper,
and one goes hungry while another gets drunk.
Do you not have houses in which you can eat and drink?
Or do you show contempt for the Church of God
and make those who have nothing feel ashamed?
What can I say to you? Shall I praise you?
In this matter I do not praise you.

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my Body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my Blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 17

R. (1 Cor 11:26B) Proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again.
May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
R. Proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again.

Alleluia – JN 3:16

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

Gospel – LK 7:1-10

When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
“He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

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On a Wing and a Prayer


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 17, 2018

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.” What is painfully clear in our Readings today is that without prayer fueled by faith, we are definitely lost. As the marquee down the street from our office reads, “Prayer is the best wireless connection to God.” And every prayer needs words and those words must be inspired and lead us to the Word made Flesh in the very person of Jesus Christ: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” We are constantly given warning and words of caution especially as we gather in churches and prayer groups to watch out carefully for not only hypocrisy but also the painful and often mindless neglect of people right around us. Prayer and fasting to focus our eyes and gaze on the one who loves us is hard at times because of the frenetic pace we often live. We definitely need to pray with our eyes and hearts wide open.

Take for instance the centurion in the Gospel today. His example and witness of faith truly inspire: “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof  Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.” This amazing response to a need must come from complete and trusting faith-filled prayer. So how is it accomplished? By most accounts, the human person is comprised of the body, mind, heart and soul. There are some variations on that composite, but basically that seems to wrap up what we know about ourselves. The body certainly has its physical needs and wants, the mind is either in control of the emotions of the heart or being whisked away depending on the maturity of the individual, and the soul is the very center and essence of the person which hungers and longs for God like the body longs for air and water. We are all very well aware and versed in how to feed the needs of the body and the emotions, but today we focus on the way we feed our souls so that the wants of the other elements of existence are balanced and yield a life that is one of integrity and strength. It is analogous to the difference between nutritious and fast food. One is easy, cheap and fast but leaves one unhealthy, tired and hungry very quickly. Good, healthy food is harder to come by, takes time to prepare and eat, but does in fact satisfy the true nutritional needs of the body. Such it is with the startling difference between the fast talk of the world and inspired prayer of the soul who loves God.

Let’s see if this helps our prayer life:

  • Read. Open the Scriptures and let the words flow through your mind like a river through a dry, parched land.
  • Absorb. Learn and study what those words mean. Consult. Listen.
  • Believe. Place the Word of God squarely in your soul and commit your life to Jesus, who is the Word Made Flesh.
  • Act. Do something! Today and every day, God will present to us every opportunity to act on the Word.

“Accept the Risen Jesus into your life. Even if you have been far away, take a small step towards Him: He awaits you with open arms.”  ~Pope Francis

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September 18, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 12:12-14, 27-31A

Brothers and sisters:
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.

Now the body is not a single part, but many.

Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually parts of it.
Some people God has designated in the Church
to be, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers;
then, mighty deeds;
then gifts of healing, assistance, administration,
and varieties of tongues.
Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

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

R. (3) We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
For he is good, the LORD,
whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.

Alleluia – LK 7:16

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

Gospel – LK 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.

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Don’t Shed Tears, Shed Doubt


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 18, 2018

“When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.'” Today we have been especially blessed with the account of the encounter between Jesus and a grieving widow who was putting to rest the last member of her family. The scene must have been sad and deeply moving. Yet, Jesus enters the moment and without any hesitation addresses the widow and calmly but directly instructs her not to cry. Can you imagine the look on His divine face when He said that? Thousands of words must have been communicated in that singular moment of grace. This is precisely why we continue to beg Jesus to find meaning and purpose in this life:“Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.”

“Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually parts of it.” The encounter Jesus had with the grieving widow is not isolated. Through the mystical Body of Christ, we all have access to this magnificent joy and comfort as we enter into our prayer lives and most especially through the awesome power of the Eucharist. So much of our own suffering involves the nagging and petulant nature of doubt. However, it is this same emptiness and fear that completely evaporates and dissipates in the presence of Jesus. Truly, when we realize that, many though we are, we exist in the one Body of Christ, then that same fear and doubt melt away in this participation of grace and faith. Let us pray:

“Lord, I believe in you. I believe you are good. I believe that I am secure in you – that I am hidden in you and no real harm can come to me with you as my rock and my salvation. I believe that you see me and you love me – that I am treasured in your sight. Help my unbelief. Help that head knowledge become heart knowledge- so that my actions reflect those truths and not the lies the enemy throws at me. Amen”  (composed by Jordan Sok)

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September 19, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 12:31-13:13

Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own,
and if I hand my body over so that I may boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, love is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:2-3, 4-5, 12 AND 22

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
For 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.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
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.

Alleluia – SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – LK 7:31-35

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare the people of this generation?
What are they like?
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine,
and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

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Love Never Fails


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 19, 2018

“Love never fails.” If you were told that you could pick any activity on this planet and were guaranteed that you would not fail, what would you choose? After scanning through a list that might include everything from building a huge skyscraper to owning the most prosperous business venture, many of us would want to say we would want our relationships to succeed. They are essentials that help us get through life and support us with joyous and unselfish love. We would want to love unreservedly if we could be guaranteed complete gain with no scent of failure. And yet, this is the offer which Jesus presents to all of us as brilliantly and famously outlined in our First Reading. “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Here are some positive ways we can move forward in life while accepting this invitation to love and show the love of Christ to all we encounter: “Love is patient, love is kind.” One of the finest ways to grow in love is to practice patience, especially when it comes to those immediately around us, and yes, that does mean our families. It is very easy to become irritated over the tiniest of behaviors when it comes to our own flesh and blood and closest friends but this is precisely where the “work” of love must be accomplished first. “It is not jealous, love is not pompous.” Not surprisingly, these two phrases have everything to do with security and a solid, healthy self-image. It involves practicing compassion with one’s self before launching out into the world and encountering many who will certainly need it and can actually grow from it. “It is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury.” This the best. The most loving people I have ever met have been the most forgiving. I think that about says it all.

Let us pray:

Show me how to love you more with all my heart, all my understanding, and all my strength. Show me how to love my neighbor more than I love myself. Teach me how to remain in Your love and love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. Through your Word I love others deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. Thank you Lord for giving me a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Loves helps me to rejoice in truth and to always protect, trust, hope, and persevere! Root and establish me in Your love for I gain power to grasp the abundance of Agape love as I seek to discover how deep and how wide it is. Thank you that Your love is being perfected in me day-to-day. I will demonstrate the love of God to all that I encounter today and will receive the anointing to love those who appear to be unlovable. In Jesus precious name I pray.  AMEN  (composed by a young woman named Deborah)

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September 20, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 15:1-11

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 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.
For I am the least of the Apostles,
not fit to be called an Apostle,
because I persecuted the Church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them;
not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 118:1B-2, 16AB-17, 28

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
You are my God, and I give thanks to you;
O my God, I extol you.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?”
Simon said in reply,
“The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
“Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The others at table said to themselves,
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
But he said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

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Don’t Forget To Forgive


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 20, 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.” There have been a number of insights shared over the years about the measure of what it means to be a Christian and stay like that until death calls. The majority of responses about this question surrounded the notion that a Christian is someone who is nice, let’s you go in before you and says “thank you.” But all that just describes common courtesy, which by some standards, is not that common after all. But there was probably no more insightful and pithy approach to this line of thinking was uttered by G. K. Chesterton when he wrote that “just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.” Well said. Thank God we have a sense of humor and a deeper sense of gratitude: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.”

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” When you get right down to the heart of the mater, the one true sign that someone has not only understood why Jesus came but also how we must embody the entire spirit of the Gospel is the willingness and the ability to forgive: “So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Jesus Christ came to us to save us from the darkness and empty tragedy of sinfulness which by design and definition includes the refusal to forgive. How can anyone seriously hope to enter into heaven with even the slightest of resentment? This is precisely why Jesus begged us to forgive as often and as necessary as possible. It was not for the sake of those who hurt but for one’s sake. We must arrive fully alive in heaven. Nothing else will do.

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September 21, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 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.

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 manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:2-3, 4-5

R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.
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.
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.

Alleluia See Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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Prisoner Of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 21, 2018

“I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” How can we say that someone who is a prisoner is actually in a good place? This would have to be determined by a number of factors such as the prison itself, the prisoner and of course, the jailer. On this beautiful Friday, we have encountered such a mission of understanding and belief that will hopefully expand our notions of faith and to the awesome extent that Jesus loves us. “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience.” The word, “prison” has been defined in some circles as a state of confinement while awaiting trial. In many ways, we could stretch that meaning just a bit and see how life itself can be a sort of prison because we are confined in space and time awaiting the final judgement of all that we have said and done while here on this earth. Thus, while we are “confined” we have been given instructions while we are here. We are to be humble and gentle and as much can be grasped, patient with as many as possible. “…bearing with one another through love.” If we see everyone in our lives as fellow-prisoners, then we could find the strength and the power to love because we are all awaiting the same trial. That in and of itself will bring us to unity and peace: “…striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

“Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” This particular phrase from the Gospel describes and determines the attitude of the “jailer” in our little analogy of this Reflection. God has placed us here on earth “in confinement” and Jesus will come one day to lead us out of this existence to another which is complete and eternal freedom. In the meantime, then, we are to concentrate on living, acting with and living in mercy. Showing mercy to each other is indeed a pledge and promise that mercy will be shown to us.

“The message of Jesus is summed up partly in the Sermon on the Mount, and partly when he begins his ministry and quotes the passage from Isaiah: ‘I have come to set free the prisoners and restore sight to the blind.’ And certainly, his mission is also to bring hope. It was to heal people, to befriend the outcast.”  ~Dan Wakefield

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September 22, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 COR 15:35-37, 42-49

Brothers and sisters:
Someone may say, “How are the dead raised?
With what kind of body will they come back?”

You fool!
What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.
And what you sow is not the body that is to be
but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind.

So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.
It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious.
It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.

So, too, it is written,
“The first man, Adam, became a living being,”
the last Adam a life-giving spirit.
But the spiritual was not first;
rather the natural and then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth, earthly;
the second man, from heaven.
As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly,
and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 56:10C-12, 13-14

R. (14) I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.
Now I know that God is with me.
In God, in whose promise I glory,
in God I trust without fear;
what can flesh do against me?
R. I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.
I am bound, O God, by vows to you;
your thank offerings I will fulfill.
For you have rescued me from death,
my feet, too, from stumbling;
that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
R. I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.

Alleluia – SEE LK 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 8:4-15

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
“A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold.”
After saying this, he called out,
“Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
“Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

“This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance.”

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Let’s Take A Walk


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 22, 2018

“I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.” What does it signify or suggest when we took a walk? First we can safely assume that we needed to get outside of our routine and even ourselves to achieve a fresh perspective on our lives and even cleanse the soul of any negative or destructive attitudes or thoughts. Secondly, we walked where it was safe and perhaps even invited someone we trusted and love to accompany the stroll with us. Finally, and by no means the end of possible answers, we knew that something good would come of this walk if only to find peace and comfort, even exercise. All this applies beautifully to the image of walking in the presence of the Lord and making sure that our deeds are worthy of light. This is what it means to live a healthy and holy life.

“When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. ‘A sower went out to sow his seed.'” In the Gospel today, there were many people “out for a walk” and this time they met Jesus. He told them a great, meaningful story about yet another person who went out on a walk, this time to sow seeds. Depending on where the seed landed determined the outcome. Here again is yet another wonderful image for life itself. We are all walking through many different situations and circumstances. What we do during these “life-walks” and what we plant will determine not only on how the day will end, but also how each life will finish and be judged: “But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.” ~Vernon Howard

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September 23, 2018


Reading 1 – WIS 2:12, 17-20

The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 54:3-4, 5, 6 AND 8

R. (6B) The Lord upholds my life.
O God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
For the haughty men have risen up against me,
the ruthless seek my life;
they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

Reading 2 – JAS 3:16—4:3

Beloved:
Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.

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.

Alleluia – CF. 2 THES 2:14

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

Gospel – 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.
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 the 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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Something Wicked This Way Comes


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 23, 2018

“The wicked say: ‘Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us.'” Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1962 dark fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury which tells the story of a pair of thirteen-year-old best friends and their nightmarish experience with a traveling carnival that comes to their town. It describes in magnificent fashion how they learn about combating fear and darkness that exist in and all around them. As an outstanding piece of literature, it is a most significant and brilliant way of speaking about the passage into adulthood from practical innocence and how that particular ingress into another stage of life can be frightening when one has to admit that there is wickedness in this world, including death. “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” This is most fascinating and a spiritually enlightening way to begin our Sabbath! The Lord Jesus entered a very sinful and wicked world in order to save us who not only want to spend all of eternity with Him but also to learn and experience the grace of living a life of true freedom in order to cast off the deeds of darkness that keep us from fully becoming Christians. One might say that the earlier in our spiritual lives that we adopt this life-giving principle, the better. “Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.”

It is now clear to say that the process into spiritual maturity must not only include an understanding and foreknowledge of how evil works but also the ultimate and forever remedy that will bring us all victory. “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.” We cannot march against the forces of wickedness without the loving mercy and strength of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His ultimate sacrifice of selfless love guaranteed that would never happen and his teaching about the life lessons learned as children would never be forgotten as well. “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.” What we have received on this fine Sunday is nothing short of a spiritual paradox: while we must be ready to confront and defeat whatever wickedness might be arriving at the cusp of childhood, it is the pearls and gems of the childlike state that we will need as adult, mature Christians in order to share the crown of life and love with Christ the Lord.

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”  ~G.K. Chesterton

“Be Not Afraid.”  ~Jesus

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September 24, 2018


Reading 1 – PRV 3:27-34

Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim
when it is in your power to do it for him.
Say not to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give,” when you can give at once.

Plot no evil against your neighbor,
against one who lives at peace with you.
Quarrel not with a man without cause,
with one who has done you no harm.

Envy not the lawless man
and choose none of his ways:
To the LORD the perverse one is an abomination,
but with the upright is his friendship.

The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
but the dwelling of the just he blesses;
When dealing with the arrogant, he is stern,
but to the humble he shows kindness.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5

R. (1) The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.

Alleluia – MT 5:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd:
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

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Betting The Bottom Dollar


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 24, 2018

“To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” It has been said and written many times with delightful redundancy that we may never truly realize that Jesus is all we need until He is all we have. Spiritual insight, wisdom and courage and not easy lessons for the Christian who wants to find and keep Christ in the modern world. This is the key that unlocks the seemingly perplexing statement above. If we have just a little faith and even a tiny desire to live out this life in fidelity, we will receive more. That is His promise now and forever. But those who abandon the spiritual approach to living a full life will lose what little they have, which in fact, is very little if it does not include the presence and love of God and neighbor. “Plot no evil against your neighbor, against one who lives at peace with you.”

The true measure of the effective and awe-inspiring life of a disciple of Christ is found, not in the grandiose and seemingly magnificent moral victories, but in the day-to-day walk, right here, right now. “He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.” What does it mean to live fully in the present moment? Basically, it means that our awareness is completely centered on where we are in the here and now. If we are not living in the present, then we risk the grave defeat of living an illusion. The lessons of mistakes and missteps of the past help prepare for this very moment in time. The promise that the “sun will come up tomorrow” helps build excitement in the present for the energy it takes to appreciate all we have. If you’ve only one dollar left to your name, you can bet it easily on this outcome. It’s guaranteed.

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September 25, 2018


Reading 1 – PRV 21:1-6, 10-13

Like a stream is the king’s heart in the hand of the LORD;
wherever it pleases him, he directs it.

All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes,
but it is the LORD who proves hearts.

To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Haughty eyes and a proud heart–
the tillage of the wicked is sin.

The plans of the diligent are sure of profit,
but all rash haste leads certainly to poverty.

Whoever makes a fortune by a lying tongue
is chasing a bubble over deadly snares.

The soul of the wicked man desires evil;
his neighbor finds no pity in his eyes.

When the arrogant man is punished, the simple are the wiser;
when the wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.

The just man appraises the house of the wicked:
there is one who brings down the wicked to ruin.

He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself also call and not be heard.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44

R. (35) Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Lead me in the path of your commands,
for in it I delight.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
And I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.

Alleluia – LK 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who hear the word of God
and observe it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 8:19-21

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

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Are You My Mother?


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 25, 2018

Are You My Mother? is the story about a hatch-ling bird. His mother, thinking her egg will stay in her nest where she left it, leaves her egg alone and flies off to find food. The baby bird then hatches and does not understand where his mother is so he goes to look for her. As he lacks the ability to fly, he walks, and in his search, he asks a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a cow if they are his mother, but none of them are. This quaint and well-known children’s story helps us remember the nearly same kind of question hurled at Jesus in the Gospel today. People thought that since the Virgin Mary and other close family members were asking for Him, that Jesus would respond immediately; however, His response was nearly puzzling on first impressions: “He said to them in reply, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.’” We could repeat with the cute story the same question in an entirely different and mesmerizing context, “God, are you my mother, my brothers, sisters, family?”  The answer, however, is as mystifying as it is clarifying: “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”  You see, it is not the family tree replete with flesh and blood nuances and connections that brings us closer to God, but our fidelity to what He says and following what He does.

“Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands. Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.” All of us want family and we seek security in one way or another. We need intimacy to discover our place in the world and make the healthy connection with others especially with God. What is the foundation of such levels of relationship? Fidelity and obedience. We feel and exist closer to the Lord the more we follow Him and live in the light of His love starting with our desire and success to forgive even the deepest of pains in this life, especially betrayal. Interestingly enough, the way the little short story ends and the way our own lives will find their conclusion are very similar. In the children’s book, the little bird dramatically returns to its nest just as his mother returns. The two are reunited, much to their delight, and the baby bird recounts to his mother the adventures he had looking for her. Imagine your own homecoming to Jesus in heaven and all the stories you’ll share as you spent a lifetime looking for Him, too.

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September 26, 2018


Reading 1 – PRV 30:5-9

Every word of God is tested;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Add nothing to his words,
lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver.

Two things I ask of you,
deny them not to me before I die:
Put falsehood and lying far from me,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
provide me only with the food I need;
Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, “Who is the LORD?”
Or, being in want, I steal,
and profane the name of my God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163

R. (105) Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
From every evil way I withhold my feet,
that I may keep your words.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Through your precepts I gain discernment;
therefore I hate every false way.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Falsehood I hate and abhor;
your law I love.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.

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What’s In Your Suitcase?


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 26, 2018

In the past few weeks or so, depending on where you live, children of all ages have been and may in fact have returned to school. Every morning, the ritual of preparation and departure are being formed and lived out only to serve as a lifelong format for these soon-to-be adults trekking out into the real world of hard knocks and challenges. How did you prepare for school? How do you prepare for life? The Gospel has a wonderful insight on this question for us. “Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”

When you think about it, the way we start, spend our days are nothing more than dress rehearsals for the very life we are offering to God. How we prepare has everything to do with how we end. What were the instructions of Jesus? “He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,and let no one take a second tunic.'” Not the advice you were looking for, was it? However, pull back the covers and the levels of thought within this passage and what do you find? “Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Basically Jesus tells us all that no matter what you put in your suitcase for the journey or even what you forget, you must surely remember to trust Him with everything and for every circumstance and eventuality that you will face. In a word, make sure you take Jesus along for the trip. You will be very glad you did especially as you enter the final stage of your journey.

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September 27, 2018


Reading 1 – ECCL 1:2-11

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
What profit has man from all the labor
which he toils at under the sun?
One generation passes and another comes,
but the world forever stays.
The sun rises and the sun goes down;
then it presses on to the place where it rises.
Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north,
the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds.
All rivers go to the sea,
yet never does the sea become full.
To the place where they go,
the rivers keep on going.
All speech is labored;
there is nothing one can say.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing
nor is the ear satisfied with hearing.

What has been, that will be;
what has been done, that will be done.
Nothing is new under the sun.
Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!”
has already existed in the ages that preceded us.
There is no remembrance of the men of old;
nor of those to come will there be any remembrance
among those who come after them.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17BC

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

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 – LK 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.

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Persistent Insistence


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 27, 2018

“And he kept trying to see him.” The ravaged conscience of Herod the madman was apparently no match for the bright celestial light emanating from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You see, the insane and inane king thought he had calmed his evil heart by beheading John the Baptist but that was not going to happen. “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” This is why it is of tantamount importance to remain in the state of grace and always in deep spiritual and prayerful communication with the Lord. We must be persistent in this way because eventually our own heart will not rest until it rests with Jesus.

“Nothing is new under the sun.” The First Reading substantiates this thought and direction by reminding us that all things will pass, and the vane and proud things we attempted to accomplish will amount to nothing in the greater scheme of things. What we need today and every day we are allowed to breathe is wisdom: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” Persistence and trust in God during the course of our spiritual lives will yield eternal benefits and help form us into true, loving people. We must never give up or surrender. The prize is too great and awesome: “In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.”

“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.” ~Albert Ellis

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September 28, 2018


Reading 1 – ECCL 3:1-11

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task that God has appointed
for the sons of men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time,
and has put the timeless into their hearts,
without man’s ever discovering,
from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 144:1B AND 2ABC, 3-4

R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
my mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
LORD, what is man, that you notice him;
the son of man, that you take thought of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days, like a passing shadow.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Alleluia – MK 10:45

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

Gospel – LK 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

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Time To Shine


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 28, 2018

“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every thing under the heavens.” This rather famous passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes reinforces the claim that there is an overall, far-reaching providential care that always accompanies our walk in this life and that by trusting this assertion, we can be assured of great peace and the seeds of a happy and fulfilled life. No longer can we ask with the air of disappointment and despair, “why do all these things happen to me?” By trusting in the heavenly care God has for us and the ultimate sacrifice paid by His Son, Jesus, we do not ask, “why me?,” but rather, “what now?!”

“But who do you say that I am?”  This larger-than-life question that yields magnificent results is found in only one and basically rudimentary position. Who we think Jesus is surpasses any philosophy or self-help mantra in existence. Once we realize who He is, we will come to find the most wonderful peace and happiness ever imagined because we will have discovered why He came. He came for me!

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September 29, 2018


Reading 1 – DN 7:9-10, 13-14

As I watched:

Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
His throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
and myriads upon myriads attended him.

The court was convened, and the books were opened.
As the visions during the night continued, I saw

One like a son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
He received dominion, glory, and kingship;
nations and peoples of every language serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Or – RV 12:7-12AB

War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,
who is called the Devil and Satan,
who deceived the whole world,
was thrown down to earth,
and its angels were thrown down with it.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 4-5

R. (1) In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
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. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for 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. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD
when they hear the words of your mouth;
And they shall sing of the ways of the LORD
“Great is the glory of the LORD
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Alleluia – PS 103:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Bless the LORD, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:47-51

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

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Angels In The Architecture


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 29, 2018

“War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.” (First Reading) “In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.” (Responsorial Psalm) “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (Gospel)

In the great scheme of things in which God has created everything that is and ever will be, we have Angels. Their name comes from the word that means “messenger.” Since that is true, we can safely assume three very important elements about the Angels and Archangels: 1. There is a sender of the message 2. There is a recipient of the message and, finally, and perhaps most importantly, 3. There is a message.

Today, there may be many things around you which you simply do not or cannot understand. Perhaps you may feel that God has been quiet for an unbearable amount of time. The Feast calls us not only to celebrate the great mystery which is ours and comprises a very personal and wondrous gift but also to call out to the realm of Angels clearly led by the great Saint Michael. Be open to receiving grace and help. If at all possible, see if you can find some quiet time. Then listen.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.

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September 30, 2018


Reading 1 – NM 11:25-29

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.

Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad,
were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp.
They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent;
yet the spirit came to rest on them also,
and they prophesied in the camp.
So, when a young man quickly told Moses,
“Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, ”
Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’aide, said,
“Moses, my lord, stop them.”
But Moses answered him,
“Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14

R. (9A) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Though your servant is careful of them,
very diligent in keeping them,
Yet who can detect failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
of serious sin.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Reading 2 – 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.

Alleluia – CF. JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – MK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, 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.
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.'”

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Danger Is Real; Rear Is A Choice


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 30, 2018

There once was this criminal who had been accused of a crime and sentenced. He was sent to the king for his punishment. The king told him he had a choice of two punishments. He could be hung by a rope or take what’s behind the big, dark, scary, iron door. The criminal quickly decided on the rope. As the noose was being slipped on him, he turned to the king and asked. “By the way, out of curiosity, what’s behind that door?” The king laughed and said: “You know, it’s funny, I offer everyone the same choice, and nearly everyone picks the rope.” “So,” said the criminal, “Tell me. What’s behind the door? I mean, obviously, I won’t tell anyone,” he said, pointing to the noose around his neck. The king paused then answered, “Freedom, but it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope.”

“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.” (Gospel) As we conclude yet another September of our lives, our thoughts and attention will draw ever more close to the gifts awaiting us in the remaining weeks of the Liturgical Year including, All Saints and All Souls Days, Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas.

Today, let us examine the place and power of fear in our lives: I read once that people really do not fear the unknown, rather, they fear what they think they know about the unknown. That always made sense to me: fear is truly useless. It has stalled great decisions, and prevented great people to rise above the wickedness and pettiness around them. Do you remember how much damage was inflicted when people allowed fear to decide their future? Religious leaders plotted and conspired to murder; healed people turned on their healer; strong Apostles (for the most part) fled, denied and betrayed their Master. However now, the scenes have changed: the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus has allowed once fearful people to change their thinking and readjust their life paths. The words of the Alleluia Verse have become the lyrics of a new song in the hearts of those who believe: “Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth.”

“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that Jesus is with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”  ~St. John Paul II

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