The Word of God

October 1, 2018


Reading 1 – JB 1:6-22

One day, when the angels of God came to present themselves before the LORD,
Satan also came among them.
And the LORD said to Satan, “Whence do you come?”
Then Satan answered the LORD and said,
“From roaming the earth and patrolling it.”
And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job,
and that there is no one on earth like him,
blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?”
But Satan answered the LORD and said,
“Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing?
Have you not surrounded him and his family
and all that he has with your protection?
You have blessed the work of his hands,
and his livestock are spread over the land.
But now put forth your hand and touch anything that he has,
and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.”
And the LORD said to Satan,
“Behold, all that he has is in your power;
only do not lay a hand upon his person.”
So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

And so one day, while his sons and his daughters
were eating and drinking wine
in the house of their eldest brother,
a messenger came to Job and said,
“The oxen were ploughing and the asses grazing beside them,
and the Sabeans carried them off in a raid.
They put the herdsmen to the sword,
and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
While he was yet speaking, another came and said,
“Lightning has fallen from heaven
and struck the sheep and their shepherds and consumed them;
and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
While he was yet speaking, another messenger came and said,
“The Chaldeans formed three columns,
seized the camels, carried them off,
and put those tending them to the sword,
and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
While he was yet speaking, another came and said,
“Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine
in the house of their eldest brother,
when suddenly a great wind came across the desert
and smote the four corners of the house.
It fell upon the young people and they are dead;
and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Then Job began to tear his cloak and cut off his hair.
He cast himself prostrate upon the ground, and said,

“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,
and naked shall I go back again.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD!”

In all this Job did not sin,
nor did he say anything disrespectful of God.

Responsorial  –  17:1BCD, 2-3, 6-7

R. (6) Incline your ear to me and hear my word.
Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.
R. Incline your ear to me and hear my word.
From you let my judgment come;
your eyes behold what is right.
Though you test my heart, searching it in the night,
though you try me with fire, you shall find no malice in me.
R. Incline your ear to me and hear my word.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
Show your wondrous mercies,
O savior of those who flee
from their foes to refuge at your right hand.
R. Incline your ear to me and hear my word.

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 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

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What Child Is This?


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 1, 2018

“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” Our Scriptures open up with one of the most memorable quotes ever uttered by the long-suffering and monumentally patient character of Job who continues to infuse our thinking and day-to-day living with remarkable and helpful insights which we desperately need in this frenetic world. We are speaking here about a healthy, totally God-centered confident detachment from all the forces of darkness and disappointment that cause us or at least tempt us to worry and lose hope as we make our way in our spiritual lives toward heaven. This is not always easily accomplished because as adults, we feel very often that we must work for, attain and operate with “full control” of any given situation.

“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” And once again, Jesus the Lord crowns these wonderful hopes and dreams for a much simpler, holier and healthier way of life by asking all of us to recall and relive what it means to be a child at heart. This is quickly to be distinguished from being childish but rather exhibiting an amazing disposition whereby trust in God is the way the day begins and ends. When we receive and accept this portion of our personality and truly learn to live in the moment and be here right now, we will understand why Jesus loved children so much and why He loves us in that very same and innocently trusting way.

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

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October 2, 2018


Reading 1 – JB 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23

Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.
Job spoke out and said:

Perish the day on which I was born,
the night when they said, “The child is a boy!”

Why did I not perish at birth,
come forth from the womb and expire?
Or why was I not buried away like an untimely birth,
like babes that have never seen the light?
Wherefore did the knees receive me?
or why did I suck at the breasts?

For then I should have lain down and been tranquil;
had I slept, I should then have been at rest
With kings and counselors of the earth
who built where now there are ruins
Or with princes who had gold
and filled their houses with silver.

There the wicked cease from troubling,
there the weary are at rest.

Why is light given to the toilers,
and life to the bitter in spirit?
They wait for death and it comes not;
they search for it rather than for hidden treasures,
Rejoice in it exultingly,
and are glad when they reach the grave:
Those whose path is hidden from them,
and whom God has hemmed in!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8

R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
O LORD, my God, by day I cry out;
at night I clamor in your presence.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my call for help.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
For my soul is surfeited with troubles
and my life draws near to the nether world.
I am numbered with those who go down into the pit;
I am a man without strength.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
My couch is among the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom you remember no longer
and who are cut off from your care.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit,
into the dark abyss.
Upon me your wrath lies heavy,
and with all your billows you overwhelm me.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

Alleluia – PS 103:21

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

Gospel – MT 18:1-5, 10

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

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Feast Of The Guardian Angels


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 2, 2018

“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” (Gospel) Do you want to be the greatest at anything? I can only imagine that in this highly competitive yet entitlement-minded society, people are either trying to get ahead or just exist and coast. Both are extreme ways of living. Some would call this “all-or-nothing” thinking which has traditionally led many down a dark and lonely path. You see, Jesus changes all that: “Do you want to be great?,” He asks. Before answering, our Lord places right in front of all the readers of the Gospel throughout the centuries, a child. An innocent, loving, trusting child cries when he or she is angry or has acted selfishly.

Trust the Lord, He loves you! And if you need a little more help, guess what? It will be there: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Did you catch that? Every child has their own, personal angel constantly in touch with the Father. You and I were all once children, so we still have them. That is what the Scripture says and that is what the Church teaches today on the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Name your angel. Take a deep breath and move forward. Trust Jesus. Now, that’s great.

“Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this night/day be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide.”

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October 3, 2018


Reading 1 – JB 9:1-12, 14-16

Job answered his friends and said:

I know well that it is so;
but how can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him,
he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength;
who has withstood him and remained unscathed?

He removes the mountains before they know it;
he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place,
and the pillars beneath it tremble.
He commands the sun, and it rises not;
he seals up the stars.

He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads upon the crests of the sea.
He made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
He does great things past finding out,
marvelous things beyond reckoning.

Should he come near me, I see him not;
should he pass by, I am not aware of him;
Should he seize me forcibly, who can say him nay?
Who can say to him, “What are you doing?”

How much less shall I give him any answer,
or choose out arguments against him!
Even though I were right, I could not answer him,
but should rather beg for what was due me.
If I appealed to him and he answered my call,
I could not believe that he would hearken to my words.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 88:10BC-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Daily I call upon you, O LORD;
to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work wonders for the dead?
Will the shades arise to give you thanks?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Do they declare your mercy in the grave,
your faithfulness among those who have perished?
Are your wonders made known in the darkness,
or your justice in the land of oblivion?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
But I, O LORD, cry out to you;
with my morning prayer I wait upon you.
Why, O LORD, do you reject me;
why hide from me your face?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

Alleluia – PHIL 3:8-9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

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Excuses, Excuses


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 3, 2018

“God is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who has withstood him and remained unscathed?” There is another amazing comparison in the Scripture selections we have been given today to accentuate the wisdom of holiness that we can all share. First is from our dear friend, Job who has been beset over and over again with such tragedy and personal setback yet, given the passage from that Old Testament book, he does not give in to self-pity or try to wiggle his way out of understanding how great God is and how much he wishes to trust Him. This is full view of the confrontations he is experiencing with his friends who try to come up with inane and useless reasons for his dismay instead of focusing on the one who can and does change everything.

“No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” When we move gently to the Gospel from the new Testament, a whole different category of whiner is introduced this time with the onset of a long series of excuses as to why a person cannot follow the Lord. What is painfully clear is also crystal clear. When we take our focus off of Jesus, bad things will most certainly start to happen. It is tantamount to what happens when we are driving down the freeway at sixty miles an hour and take our eyes off the road for just a few seconds. You get the picture.

“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.”  ~Edward R. Murrow

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October 4, 2018


Reading 1 – JB 19:21-27

Job said:

Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has struck me!
Why do you hound me as though you were divine,
and insatiably prey upon me?

Oh, would that my words were written down!
Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him,
And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 27:7-8A, 8B-9ABC, 13-14

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Hear, O LORD, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

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 10:1-12

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day
than for that town.”

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The Patron Saint of Peace


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 4, 2018

“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.” (First Reading) Today is the great and glorious Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. His very name and the city of Assisi are remarkably full of peace. But it was not always like that. Francis had a previous life that was not so saintly but because of a rich conversion, much like that of St. Paul of which we read in our First Reading, God is truly praised by the deep renewal within the human soul and spirit. Assisi, previously at war with Perugia, also encountered a deep change. “But we have the mind of Christ.”

St. Francis taught and lived the great mystery which is within each and every one of us. We are truly, all of us, walking miracles because of the one who created us and brought us into being. When you truly think about it, change and conversion toward God is more natural and normal than staying the same, especially in a life of sin and selfishness. “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” (Gospel) Yes, this is true. If we just for a single moment each day realize that we are one day closer either to heaven or hell, then everything we do and say today will have great and deep repercussions in eternity. This is a gift of peace, not of anxiety. Change is the one constant in the universe, so for us to ask for the grace of ongoing conversion  is completely in line with our own destiny and essence.

Take some time today and quietly, gently pray the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, then watch happens.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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October 5, 2018


Reading 1 – JB 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5

The LORD addressed Job out of the storm and said:

Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning
and shown the dawn its place
For taking hold of the ends of the earth,
till the wicked are shaken from its surface?
The earth is changed as is clay by the seal,
and dyed as though it were a garment;
But from the wicked the light is withheld,
and the arm of pride is shattered.

Have you entered into the sources of the sea,
or walked about in the depths of the abyss?
Have the gates of death been shown to you,
or have you seen the gates of darkness?
Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all:
Which is the way to the dwelling place of light,
and where is the abode of darkness,
That you may take them to their boundaries
and set them on their homeward paths?
You know, because you were born before them,
and the number of your years is great!

Then Job answered the LORD and said:

Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again;
though twice, I will do so no more.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 139:1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13-14AB

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.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
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.

Alleluia – PS 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 10:13-16

Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

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Out Of The Storm


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 5, 2018

There is a remarkably interesting clue at the very start of our set of Scriptures for our spiritual growth today. The first Reading states that the Lord spoke to Job “out of the storm” and then stated the following: “Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place for taking hold of the ends of the earth, till the wicked are shaken from its surface?” This is quite curious because of the nature of the important message imparted to Job. It was not in the peaceful flow of wind and sun but out of a tumultuous existence and difficult play of events. This is very important especially for all of us who are trying to follow the Lord Jesus and wonder at times why tough times and experiences seem to accompany our desire to walk with our God. We may even be tempted to think that life might be a whole lot easier if we just rejected the Lord and acted without a religious inner compass the way that so many seem to live. But that way does not lead to eternal happiness or even temporary insight and wisdom here on earth. That is why the Responsorial Psalm is so precious: “Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.”

“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me.” This is precisely why we are presented each and every day with a lode of opportunities to decide on how we wish to spend eternity. We accept and reject any number of thoughts and invitations to go one way or another, to believe or not to believe, to trust or not to trust, to move a little closer or a little further away from heaven. The choice is always ours and often times the result of a raging storm that seems to never end. That’s the clue of a lifetime: expect the storms, wade through them, listen and learn.

“A great storm is like a sunny day to a person of great faith. A gentle wind is like a great storm to a person of great fear.” ~Matshona Dhliwayo

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The Nicodemus Factor


Jesus sitting with Nicodemus at night

You know, it’s funny. This morning I received two strangely coincidental texts: one said that they could no longer speak to me for an indefinite amount of time, while the other was, “write the next post.” While I was stunned and hurt by the former, I knew I had to get started on the latter and so here it is. This post could be called the “Tale of Two Friends, “How to Deal with Remarkable Disappointment,” or “The Nicodemus Factor,” all of which should be made perfectly clear after about five minutes or so. Whichever the case, I’m not sure how to begin other than to say that my hunch is that there are many more people who have experienced what we are about to describe than first suspected, especially after having spoken with a few close friends before sitting down and pounding this out. For the sake of immense and hopeful clarity, the scenario is as follows: You are pacing through life at a nice clip and you think everything is going as well as expected when all of sudden your world falls apart. This could and does happen on several fronts, the first and perhaps most common is death, especially of someone who had the flexible challenge of keeping everyone together. I have seen this many times in not-so-successfully grieving families. Then there is the situation when someone gets fired from a company or workplace that may have taken on the semblance of an extended family or close community. Run-ins with the law, embarrassing divorces and horribly thriving gossip mongering tactics also create the scenario whereby, from one moment to the next, a human being becomes invisible. The phrase, “I don’t know you anymore” certainly comes to mind and with it, a previously undiscovered amount of pain and disappointment emerges. I guess we could also answer in the affirmative as to how this happens, but what about the “why?” And then of course, the “what now?” Let’s start with the how and what we shall call “The Nicodemus Factor.”

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin assembly who is particularly known for visiting Jesus at night. He couldn’t risk being seen with the Lord during the day because, well, he couldn’t be caught dead speaking with the “rabble-rouser.” Part of him really wanted to know and learn and actually spend time with someone he deeply admired but the pressure of public and private opinions came at too high a price that it was better to be covered safely by the dead of night than to be associated with such a man in bright sunlight. Time was to eventually change all this and bring both men in each other’s company in a most dramatic and memorable way. But what about all those friendships that we enter and leave with numbing regularity?

Here is where we might call, “The Tale of Two Friends,” or even better, a tale of two different kinds of friendships. I think that we live life quite unforgettably too often and perhaps over-depend on people in our lives for moral support, a few laughs here and there, and a shoulder to cry on. We better re-examine that quickly. The painful truth is that should we ever find ourselves in a precarious and dangerous position, not to mention an unpopular one and find that the people we most thought would be there, just might not be. The more I share these thoughts with others the more surprised I am. The more I discover how many “fair weather,” undependable, and fickle people we actually keep around us. Why should this hurt so much? I ask myself “why do I hurt so much?”

I believe it is because we all want and purposefully work for a happy, fulfilling life and we want and need good people in them to make this vision complete. I know I do. For me and those who will still talk to me, it is a genuine hunger and desire for God’s Kingdom which requires the right angle of perspectives to yield the right questions, then hopefully, the right answers. These are the results and conclusions that bring us peace to live in harmony with not just the world we can see, but truly in the mystical Kingdom of divine insights which has been purchased for us at such a high price. What does this mean in the here and now?

Expect rejection from the most unobvious and surprising of places. Jesus faced it and showed us how to sail right through it. He kept loving and serving. Don’t start licking silly, small wounds like these because this quickly becomes a habit and the wounds get bigger. Then we will really have problems. Express your disappointments to the ones you believe you can trust right here and right now. I am blessed with at least one voice in my life who has a knack of quickly summarizing key concepts in a small phrase and then puts music to it. Sound crazy? It is. The last approach is my favorite. Celebrate the people you love. Tell them how much they mean to you and recommit yourself to work hard at mending fences, asking forgiveness and praising God for the ones He has given you. You should also thank Him for the ones He exposed to you as unfriends, if that is actually a term today. I think it is.

In the end, you might discover, as Jesus did, that with all the thousands of people he taught and healed and fed, there was only a short-list, handful of folks left to help him die. Oh yes, and Nicodemus was one of them. Scripture reports that he was one of the ones who actually help take the body of Jesus off the cross. Not too concerned about who sees you there, were you Nicodemus? And that’s the solid point here. Love and friendship are such powerful gifts that there will no doubt be a cleansing and filtering at least a couple of times along the way. One of mine came this morning. Thank you, Jesus. Tonight, I will be reaching out to those who I hope are still there and I will praise God for them all. And remember, life isn’t quite over yet. You never know who might show up.

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October 6, 2018


Reading 1 – JB 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17

Job answered the LORD and said:

I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be hindered.
I have dealt with great things that I do not understand;
things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.
I had heard of you by word of mouth,
but now my eye has seen you.
Therefore I disown what I have said,
and repent in dust and ashes.

Thus the LORD blessed the latter days of Job
more than his earlier ones.
For he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels,
a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses.
And he had seven sons and three daughters,
of whom he called the first Jemimah,
the second Keziah, and the third Kerenhappuch.
In all the land no other women were as beautiful
as the daughters of Job;
and their father gave them an inheritance
along with their brothers.
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years;
and he saw his children, his grandchildren,
and even his great-grandchildren.
Then Job died, old and full of years.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130

R. (135) Lord, let your face shine on me.
Teach me wisdom and knowledge,
for in your commands I trust.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn your statutes.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just,
and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
According to your ordinances they still stand firm:
all things serve you.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may know your decrees.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – LK 10:17-24

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

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Razor Thin Finish


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 6, 2018

William Somerset Maugham was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He is probably most widely known for his novel, The Razor’s Edge. He wrote, “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard,” in the opening pages of the book. Mr. Maugham wrote once about his mother. She was lovely and charming and beloved by all. His father was not by any means handsome, and had few social and surface gifts and graces. Someone once said to his mother, “When everyone is in love with you, and when you could have anyone you liked, how can you remain faithful to that ugly little man you married?” She answered simply: “He never hurts my feelings.” There could be no finer tribute.

Human love on earth mirrors and foreshadows the love waiting for us in heaven. That is because it involves a covenant, the same kind of trust-filled, powerfully alive promise that is based on complete and lasting hope, the fruit of complete and tender love between both God and human beings who enter its promise. Job in our First Reading understood this with keen and beautifully expressed insight: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered. I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.”   When people entered into that loving promise with God, there was always deep joy present. Only by the help of Jesus Christ can any of us develop the sympathy, the understanding, the forgiving spirit, the considerate love, which true discipleship and a true, authentic Christian life requires. Without that help these things are impossible. “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Like all things that come from the hand of God directly into our laps and lives, the best is the hardest and the most difficult yields the most satisfying reward. Some would say that we should all walk boldly through life with an open, broken heart but we would have to add to that: we shall walk boldly perhaps, even through a burning house, but love is what moves the universe, it is the source of all life in the one who is love and who heals the broken-hearted. Homer wrote that “Life and death are balanced on the edge of a razor,” and even though he never knew of the Christ or given the opportunity to write about the universal claim of Christianity to have changed the course of human history, I believe he is right. The good news for us who believe and love in this world is that Jesus is on either side of the blade ready and waiting to catch us.

“I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn’t come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man. Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one. But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn come to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.”  ~Robert Baden-Powell

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October 7, 2018


Reading 1 – GN 2:18-24

The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him.”
So the LORD God formed out of the ground
various wild animals and various birds of the air,
and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all wild animals;
but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.

So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,
and while he was asleep,
he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib
that he had taken from the man.
When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called ‘woman, ‘
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

R. (cf. 5) May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
May you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Reading 2 – HEB 2:9-11

Brothers and sisters:
He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels, ”
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated
all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”

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 – MK 10:2-16

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

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

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

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Awaken The Child


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 7, 2018

There is a popular little story that has been circulating around for quite a while now. The plot is relatively simple: A little boy walks up to his mother in the kitchen as she is preparing supper, and a little annoyed that her son can’t seem to wait until everything is ready. Well, he hands her an invoice! Exactly. He is basically charging the family for things like cutting the grass, cleaning his room, babysitting, etc… And there he was, waiting for payment with hand outstretched. The reflection continues with his mother recalling all the memories of her son from the day she told her husband that she was pregnant, to the day they brought him home to this very moment in time. Her response was not only brilliant, poetic and moving, but also laced with pure truth:

For the nine months I carried you in my womb, NO CHARGE.
For all the times you were sick and I took care of you, NO CHARGE.
For all the hours I worried about you, NO CHARGE.
For everything we ever bought for you, NO CHARGE.
For all the meals we served you, NO CHARGE.
For a nice home, good parents and a happy life, NO CHARGE.

The story ends beautifully with the little boy crying a bit, telling his mom how much he loves her and then takes the pen, X’s out the bill and writes in big bold letters, PAID IN FULL.

“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” The Lord is calling out to you and me to re-capture the joy and innocence of being a child. So care-free, so loved and yet so small-minded, at times. Let us move forward as His children and love being loved by the one who is love!  “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Let us pray:

I am God’s precious child and have been bought at a price. There is no reason to lose hope because God will never fail me. May I remember this and smile and rejoice. Amen.

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October 8, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 1:6-12

Brothers and sisters:
I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking
the one who called you by the grace of Christ
for a different gospel (not that there is another).
But there are some who are disturbing you
and wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven
should preach to you a gospel
other than the one that we preached to you,
let that one be accursed!
As we have said before, and now I say again,
if anyone preaches to you a gospel
other than the one that you received,
let that one be accursed!

Am I now currying favor with human beings or God?
Or am I seeking to please people?
If I were still trying to please people,
I would not be a slave of Christ.

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,
that the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin.
For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it,
but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 111:1B-2, 7-8, 9 AND 10C

R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
wrought in truth and equity.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – LK 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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Love Is All You Need


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 8, 2018

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Often times, people appear to reject the Gospel because they do not believe in organized religion, though they seem to believe in a whole slew of other organized things, but that topic will be saved for later. We accept the Gospel primarily because it is of the Lord Jesus and it is all about the love of God, neighbor and self. How can anything be at the same time simple and wonderful? Thus, the Gospel supports and identifies with this simple and awesome truth when we hear the question that perhaps we have asked ourselves, “And who is my neighbor?”

This is why we must look carefully at the figure of the Good Samaritan and uncover the mystery before us. To answer that, let’s look at the story: “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” The words, a man, in Hebrew, is the same for humanity. That changes things, doesn’t it? So if the story is about humanity that has been jumped by the evil one, then it is Jesus who is the only one who can help, seeing how the old priesthood (the unhelpful cleric) and the old law (the Levite) cannot help by themselves. So He approaches the victim, coming down as He did from heaven in Bethlehem (Christmas), pours wine and oil in the wound (Sacramental Life) lifts the wounded, lifts him upon His own animal (becomes human through the Incarnation), takes him to an inn (the Church), leaves two coins, (Scripture and tradition) and then utters those immortal words by promising that He’ll take care of everything “on my way back” (the end of the world, or Apocalypse). So in a phrase, what does this all mean? All we need is Jesus, His Gospel and His love so as we wait with the innocence of believers who trust completely, He will recognize us “when He comes again.”

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October 9, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 1:13-24

Brothers and sisters:
You heard of my former way of life in Judaism,
how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure
and tried to destroy it,
and progressed in Judaism
beyond many of my contemporaries among my race,
since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions.
But when he, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart
and called me through his grace,
was pleased to reveal his Son to me,
so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles,
I did not immediately consult flesh and blood,
nor did I go up to Jerusalem
to those who were Apostles before me;
rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas
and remained with him for fifteen days.
But I did not see any other of the Apostles,
only James the brother of the Lord.
(As to what I am writing to you, behold,
before God, I am not lying.)
Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea
that are in Christ;
they only kept hearing that “the one who once was persecuting us
is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”
So they glorified God because of me.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15

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.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Alleluia – LK 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

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Learning How To Fly


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 9, 2018

One thing is very clear and actually demanded from the one who hears the call of discipleship to follow Jesus and wishes to answer it. It will always involve a leap of faith, an extra helping of courage and a sometimes small, sometimes monumental act of faith. Such was the case of St. Paul of which we heard in our First Reading describing his conversion from a very evil and destructive past: “You heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.” His conversion was no easy task and neither was the awesome, even unexpected outcome: “And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only kept hearing that ‘the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ So they glorified God because of me.”

In front of this all-encompassing mercy of God that marvels as well as redeems, we can understand and agree with the Psalmist who is so insistent with the only recourse we have when we have made that tumultuous leap of complete trust: “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.” The benefits of this leap of faith are then made crystal clear and even more desirable in the Gospel today. The scene there is similar to the many experiences that we have had when we become anxious and worried about too many things. There is sometimes sorrow, then doubt and sometimes there is darkness. This is certainly true today in the Gospel with the two famous sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha begins with Jesus suggesting that somehow Jesus really care or have any interest in her plight: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?”  Although the answer Jesus gives her may seem even more distant and detached, it is full of wisdom and understanding and a call for more courage and faith. “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” This will be overwhelmingly critical when later in their lives they experience the tragic death of their brother Lazarus and the next conversation Martha has with the Lord takes a bizarre turn when she suggests that all of the  tragedy their lives could have been avoided if the Lord had planned his schedule a little differently. However, before Jesus had a chance to respond to that statement, Martha quickly added that no matter what the reason or course of events, she was ready to make that leap of faith and trust Him with all her heart and mind as to the outcome. Then Jesus reveals why the trusting moment is pivotal for all of us: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

“When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty, trust Him fully because two things will happen. Either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly.” (From a Church lobby bulletin board)

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October 10, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 2:1-2, 7-14

Brothers and sisters:
After fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas,
taking Titus along also.
I went up in accord with a revelation,
and I presented to them the Gospel that I preach to the Gentiles–
but privately to those of repute–
so that I might not be running, or have run, in vain.
On the contrary,
when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised,
just as Peter to the circumcised,
for the one who worked in Peter for an apostolate to the circumcised
worked also in me for the Gentiles,
and when they recognized the grace bestowed upon me,
James and Cephas and John,
who were reputed to be pillars,
gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership,
that we should go to the Gentiles
and they to the circumcised.
Only, we were to be mindful of the poor,
which is the very thing I was eager to do.

And when Cephas came to Antioch,
I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong.
For, until some people came from James,
he used to eat with the Gentiles;
but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself,
because he was afraid of the circumcised.
And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him,
with the result that even Barnabas
was carried away by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not on the right road
in line with the truth of the Gospel,
I said to Cephas in front of all,
“If you, though a Jew,
are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew,
how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations,
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.

Alleluia – ROM 8:15BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons
through which we cry: Abba! Father!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

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For The Love Of Bread


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 10, 1018

“Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.’” Not too long ago, I was struggling with my own thoughts and feelings about another individual who was continuing to hurt me and others around him all the while knowing that the right and just course to take was not going to be his because of Gibraltar-sized block of pride. All that changed when, in deep prayer, it occurred to me that I was not living in the Kingdom of God. Rather, I was focused too much on the past and on the future and not enough on Jesus, right here, right now with me. Then a good friend said to me, “try to imagine you and him having a great steak and glass of wine when all of this is over!” In other words, live in God’s time and God’s loving Kingdom. From that day on, I haven’t wasted a single minute wondering about retribution or worrying about resolution. That doesn’t mean we stop fighting for what is right, but rather it means we look forward to a good night’s sleep after a full day of battle.

“Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins…” Jesus gave us this wonderful teaching today to help minimize the effects of evil.  Evil escalates when we respond back to it with equal and most times excessive fervor. A small situation can get blown so far out of proportion that it can cause horrible harm. Even in everyday life, when someone wrongs us, the situation can blow up and get out of control, destroying marriages, families, friendships, and even faith without which we simply cannot survive. Frustrating and on-going issues of injustice will simply require more patience, more trust, more Jesus. This is totally accomplished when we live in and for the Kingdom, feasting on the daily flow of spiritual and temporal bread and practicing forgiveness supported by a life with no regrets.

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”  ~Mahatma Gandhi

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October 11, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 3:1-5

O stupid Galatians!
Who has bewitched you,
before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
I want to learn only this from you:
did you receive the Spirit from works of the law,
or from faith in what you heard?
Are you so stupid?
After beginning with the Spirit,
are you now ending with the flesh?
Did you experience so many things in vain?–
if indeed it was in vain.
Does, then, the one who supplies the Spirit to you
and works mighty deeds among you
do so from works of the law
or from faith in what you heard?

Responsorial Psalm – LUKE 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R. (68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to his people.

Alleluia – SEE ACTS 16:14B

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

Gospel – LK 11:5-13

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”

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You Can’t Be That Stupid


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 11, 2018

“O stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” The Letter to the Galatians is very personal for St. Paul because these were all his converts being tempted to undermine their own faith and Paul’s authority to teach. This would explain why he was so vehement and although it was written over 1950 years ago, it reads as if it were written last week. God loves His people but it looks like many reject this awesome gift. Religious leaders are negligent and just tell people what they want to hear, faithful couples are leaving their loves preferring sorcerers, liars and insanity-driven power trips while the world seems to be bent on destroying itself. Sounds like a description of the news this morning. If we stopped right there, however, we would no doubt be swallowed up in fatalism and despair and that is why the Psalmist bids us to repeat several times over: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.”  What are we to do? Once again, the answer comes to us through the Gospel of the Day: Key words: ask, seek, knock.

Prayer is the life of the new heart (CCC 2697). Christians throughout the centuries have maintained three main expressions of  prayer: vocal, meditation and contemplation. Together, they make a phenomenal path to peace and holiness, not to mention sanity. Vocal: We are body and spirit so it is important to express our spiritual feelings outwardly [we speak]. Meditation: The mind searches to understand what God is saying [we think, imagine, desire and feel]. Contemplation: “We are alone with the one who loves us.” [God speaks, we listen and experience]. The one who asks through vocal prayer, receives; the one who seeks through meditation, finds; and the one who knocks at the door of contemplation, can change the world one soul at a time. At least one dictionary defines the word stupid as dazed, stunned, stupefied, lacking normal understating. This could describe any of one of us at any given time of the day. It is human. What we need, then, is sufficient, persevering time in solid prayer to remove this stigma of stupidity and walk with Jesus with our eyes wide open, heart ready to receive Him, and a mind poised to process the great gifts that are ours.

“In the confrontation between water and the rock the water always wins. Not through strength but through persistence.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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October 12, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 3:7-14

Brothers and sisters:
Realize that it is those who have faith
who are children of Abraham.
Scripture, which saw in advance that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith,
foretold the good news to Abraham, saying,
Through you shall all the nations be blessed.
Consequently, those who have faith are blessed
along with Abraham who had faith.
For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse;
for it is written, Cursed be everyone
who does not persevere in doing all the things
written in the book of the law.

And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear,
for the one who is righteous by faith will live.
But the law does not depend on faith;
rather, the one who does these things will live by them.
Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,
for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,
that the blessing of Abraham might be extended
to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,
so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 111:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.

Alleluia – JN 12:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The prince of this world will now be cast out,
and when I am lifted up from the earth
I will draw all to myself, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 11:15-26

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”

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What We Despise In Ourselves


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 12, 2018

“For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law.” (The encounter with the works of the Law in the First Reading) and “The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.'” (Jesus’ encounter with the scribes in the Gospel)

These two encounters that are presented to us today in the Scriptures truly relay to us the sense of viciousness and ferocity of the climate into which both Saint Paul and Jesus the Christ (and our King) experienced in their respective ministry. What we have here is an excellent example of character assassination in the Bible. We know that from the text in the Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul was trying to shield his converts from the destructive and enticing false teachings. Jesus confronted evil by the sheer power of his own truth and love and invited those present and us this very day to enter a deeper reflection on the mystery of His Kingdom and the invitation to live there for all eternity: “But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

You see, when individuals are not aware of the evil within their very heart and personality, they project it onto others whom they believe to be the very existence of evil in their own twisted and malformed perspectives. We often despise in others what we despise in our own lives. Make sure Jesus lives and moves and breathes in yours.

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October 13, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 3:22-29

Brothers and sisters:
Scripture confined all things under the power of sin,
that through faith in Jesus Christ
the promise might be given to those who believe.

Before faith came, we were held in custody under law,
confined for the faith that was to be revealed.
Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ,
that we might be justified by faith.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian.
For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ
have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person,
there is not male and female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants,
heirs according to the promise.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (8A) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – LK 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 11:27-28

While Jesus was speaking,
a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
“Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”

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You Belong To Me


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 13, 2018

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Did you notice how often the sense of belonging appears in the Bible? Quite a bit! That would make perfect sense since as members of the Body of Christ, we belong to Him, we are His, and we share in this great and happy belonging. The Galatians realized through St. Paul’s powerful insistence that God was indeed a refuge and a stronghold for them all. Then and only then could their lives turn around. This exuberance and confidence with God in their lives is echoed in the Psalm when we cry out with the Church: “You descendants of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He, the LORD, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail.” It is clear, we are worthy of belonging!

The Gospel then quickly crowns this reflection with a literal outburst from a person who was listening to Jesus: “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” The response from the Lord at first sounded problematic until we take time to examine carefully. Author Dan Schwager has this brilliant insight: “When an admirer wished to compliment Jesus by praising his mother, Jesus did not deny the truth of the blessing she pronounced. Her beatitude (which means “blessedness” or “happiness”) recalls Mary’s canticle: All generations will call me blessed (Luke 1:48).  Jesus adds to her words by pointing to the source of all true blessedness or happiness — union with God. Mary humbly submitted herself to the miraculous plan of God for the incarnation of his only begotten Son — The Word of God made flesh in her womb, by declaring: I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38).  Mary heard the word spoken to her by the angel and she believed it. On another occasion Jesus pointed out that our true mother and brothers and sisters are those who hear the word of God and do it (Luke 8:21). They are truly blessed because they know their God personally and they find joy in hearing and obeying his word. “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Our goal in life, the very reason we were created in the first place, is for union with God. We were made for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in him. An early martyr once said that “a Christian’s only relatives are the saints.” Those who follow Jesus Christ and who seek the will of God enter into a new family, a family of “saints” here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood.  Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God and his kingdom. Do you hunger for God and for his Word?”

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”  ~St. Teresa of Calcutta

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October 14, 2018


Reading 1 – WIS 7:7-11

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
and I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Yet all good things together came to me in her company,
and countless riches at her hands.

Responsorial Psalm – 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
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. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
for the years when we saw evil.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Reading 2 – HEB 4:12-13

Brothers and sisters:
Indeed the word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Alleluia – MT 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 10:17-30

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

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

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

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I Think You Over-Packed


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 14, 2018

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” We have arrived once again, intrepid readers, to one of the most famous of phrases that is quoted by Christians and philosophers alike concerning the improbability of a large beast of burden being able to squeeze through the most tiny of all crevices. The stunning truth behind this wonderful selection has been treated before in these pages and shall be repeated in a condensed form. Clearly Jesus was not actually talking about a sewing needle but rather about a narrow entrance into the city of Jerusalem, a gate known locally as “the eye of the needle.” This gate was so small that a camel could only be brought through with great difficulty, squeezed through on its knees only after all the load of goods to be sold and traded were removed and unpacked from its tired back. It remains crystal clear that only when we are both unburdened and prayerful can we see light at the end of any tunnel presented to us along our spiritual journeys.

So how does one practice a life that is both clutter-free and deeply close to the Lord? “I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.” Clearly when we ask for wisdom, the Lord is ready to dole it out. Wisdom is an amazing gift that appears when we least suspect it but something that we must continually acknowledge and depend on: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” It is this same wisdom that allows us to draw near to the Scriptures and allow ourselves to be bathed in the light of love and forgiveness and mercy all the while we live and move and have our being: “Indeed the word of God is living and effective, effective, sharper than any two-edged sword.”

The message for this beautiful Sabbath is simple: start each day by packing and unpacking, making sure you’ve got the right things right where they need to be.

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October 15, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 4:22-24, 26-27, 31–5:1

Brothers and sisters:
It is written that Abraham had two sons,
one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman.
The son of the slave woman was born naturally,
the son of the freeborn through a promise.
Now this is an allegory.
These women represent two covenants.
One was from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery;
this is Hagar.
But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother.
For it is written:
Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children;
break forth and shout, you who were not in labor;
for more numerous are the children of the deserted one
than of her who has a husband.

Therefore, brothers and sisters,
we are children not of the slave woman
but of the freeborn woman.

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm
and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 113:1B-2, 3-4, 5A AND 6-7

R. (see 2) Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Who is like the LORD, our God,
who looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Alleluia – PS 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

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I Will Get Through This Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 15, 2018

Today is the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, (1515-1582), probably the female saint and mystic with greatest influence in the world on so many levels. Below is one of her most famous poems which we will intersperse with passages from the Scriptures today.

Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee: All things pass. “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” God never changes. “Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.” Patience attains all that it strives for. “If today you hear his voice harden not your hearts.” He who has God finds he lacks nothing. “High above all nations is the LORD; above the heavens is his glory.” God alone suffices. “And there is something greater than Jonah here.”

We are free because of the desire of God to send us His only begotten Son that enwraps His mercy and love all around us every single day. Do not let anything rob you of any joy or peace today. You will get through this day because you started with Jesus and you will end with Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

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October 16, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

It is I, Paul, who am telling you
that if you have yourselves circumcised,
Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised
that he is bound to observe the entire law.
You are separated from Christ,
you who are trying to be justified by law;
you have fallen from grace.
For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness.
For in Christ Jesus,
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
but only faith working through love.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48

R. (41A) Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Let your mercy come to me, O LORD,
your salvation according to your promise.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Take not the word of truth from my mouth,
for in your ordinances is my hope.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will walk at liberty,
because I seek your precepts.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will delight in your commands,
which I love.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will lift up my hands to your commands
and meditate on your statutes.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.

Alleluia – HEB 4:12

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

Gospel – LK 11:37-41

After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

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The Shape Of Things


Reflection on Mass Readings for October 17, 2018

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.” There is a very interesting connection in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians today that involves the constant and iconic battle between the flesh and the spirit. The fruits of each are easily noticed and those who live by the Gospel experience and exude the power of truth that pierces all pretense and lies. However, he sadly admits that there are those who would prefer to suppress the truth that brings the very shame that Jesus came to eradicate. This, in turn, incurs anger both from heaven and from nature because living a lie can only bring humiliation, lack of self-respect, and shame. We could summarize a great deal of Paul’s writing (Theology) with this phrase: “You are either being formed by the Gospel or deformed by the world.”

“Woe to you Pharisees!” As if to apply these lofty principles for us to learn more profoundly, Jesus confronts the Pharisees lodging a number of very clear and piercing observations that clearly place them in the category of those who live in the flesh. Here is a textbook, working definition of hypocrisy: judge only by appearance, look only how great a person looks rather how good he or she is, notice and point out what’s wrong with others and forget the positive, and, of course, throw all the attention away from yourself as if your moral heights defy gravity. Lest we think that being Pharisaical is just silly and idiotic, take a look at the actual Greek word for “fool” that Jesus is ascribed here: mōrós (we get the word, “moron, moronic” in English) – properly, dull (insipid), flat (without an edge); mentally inert; lacking a grip on reality as though brainless. OK, we get it. And before we think that this only happened in the day and time of Jesus, it still happens every time a person prays, goes to Church, talks the talk (invokes the presence of Jesus) and then acts like a Pharisee by embodying the working definition of hypocrisy. It is clear what we must do: live in the light; forgive as often as needed; be real. Knowledge makes people humble and arrogance make them ignorant. This is how we become formed by the Gospel and find ourselves in the good shape of things to come.

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Spiritual Detox


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 16, 2018

“You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” There are many among us who swear by the deep, internal cleansing and detoxifying process whereby the poisons and noxious substances are purged from the bloodstream. And while this is neither the time or place to have an intelligent conversation about these purported benefits, it is safe to say that there is a deep and beneficial connection to our spiritual lives. Using another medical analogy, sin and selfishness can creep into our lives like plaque upon our gum lines. Following the Lord and being completely honest with ourselves is like floss which seeks to go deep and eradicate the hidden filth that seems to accumulate without our realizing it. The Psalm today also opens the heart to listen carefully in prayer to the promptings and inspiration from the Holy Spirit: “Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.”

“Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.” Another crucial part of a spiritual life filled with integrity is humility and honesty. Many have to come to understand that we are only as sick as our secrets which basically means that a secret which is kept in the dark usually grows and festers and ultimately destroys a person. The good news is that once it is exposed to light and released, all its ugly power is gone. Unfortunately there are people who are proud and refuse to admit that there are issues and areas that are in need of a spiritual detox in order to clear and eradicate this lack of self-knowledge. Tragically, this leads to a growing negativity and self-loathing while keeping them sick and trapped in sinful behavior. The awesome truth about life is that we are sick and we need Jesus. Now the battle is more than half-won.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, hear my pray and walk into my soul and cleanse me with Your Love. I am yours. I can hide nothing from you. Help me be honest with myself so I may find your Truth. Amen.

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October 17, 2018


Reading 1 – GAL 5:18-25

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

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

R. (see Jn 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

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 11:42-46

The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

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October 18, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 TM 4:10-17B

Beloved:
Demas, enamored of the present world,
deserted me and went to Thessalonica,
Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
Luke is the only one with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is helpful to me in the ministry.
I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas,
the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.

Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm;
the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
You too be on guard against him,
for he has strongly resisted our preaching.

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18

R. (12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Alleluia – SEE JN 15:16

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

Gospel – LK 10:1-9

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”

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In Case Of Abandonment


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 18, 2018

“At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.” Today on the Feast of St. Luke, we have been served a most excellent meal of solace, encouragement and strength through the experience of all who serve the Gospel and who want to do the right thing. This of course is the second course of a meal before which was served a plate of cold, lifeless abandonment and betrayal by those whom were least suspected. But who doesn’t know this plate? Anyone who has lived a good healthy amount of time will recognize it right away. What is not so recognizable is how to deal with it. This is where the Psalmist whisks in right away our third course with the affirmation that “Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.” Please note the added seasonings here: “your friends.” We are the Lord’s friends and thus cannot and should not expect anything else or better in the treatment we will receive from those around us, especially from those we have helped along the way and trusted. With just a little amount of savoring, we can find great comfort in this and find blessings beyond measure.

Now it is time for the main course to be served and that we find with tremendous exquisite tastes in the Gospel. Let’s take this apart a little to uncover the richness: “The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” Notice the Lord sends us in pairs, that is, not alone. We need the support of another in ministry and the Christian walk. “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” We go forward with our eyes wide open thanks to Jesus. This is no cake walk. It will be difficult and there will be wolves, the two-legged type. “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” Do not get attached to things, even the praise and accolades of those around you. Be wary of anything that takes your focus off of the mission, which is quite simple to exclaim: “The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.”

Dessert is finally served: In case of abandonment, abandon yourself to Jesus then move on. There are many other exciting and healthy meals ahead. St. Luke, pray for us.

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October 19, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 1:11-14

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:1-2, 4-5, 12-13

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. 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.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Alleluia – PS 33:22

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us;
who have put our hope in you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 12:1-7

At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

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More Kindness, Less Judgment


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 19, 2018

St. Paul makes it very clear most emphatically in his Letter to the Ephesians that humanity is lost without the Gospel. And yet, Christians cannot hide behind precepts and regulations and mount some kind of superior plane or landing from which to judge people and forget that we, that is, all of humanity, are in the same boat. I heard someone say quite directly to another: “Don’t judge other people just because they don’t sin like you do.” Paul explains that the final judgment will be a review of performance, not of privilege. From this perspective Gentiles stand on an equal footing with Jews, and Jews cannot condemn the sins of Gentiles without condemning themselves. It also underscores the very important corollary aspect of this teaching which declares that judging another human being does not define who they are; it defines who we are.

St. Luke continues and completes this thought for us by making sure that we realize that the Pharisees exhibit no real evidence of virtue just because they are in mere possession of laws. Mark Twain once responded to a man who was going to the Holy Land to see where the Ten Commandments were given with, “Why don’t you just stay home and live them?“ Good point, Mr. Clemens. “The worst prison,” St. John Paul wrote, “would be a closed heart,” and this is precisely why you and I must know the difference between judging and admonishing. Arrogant judgment condemns because it is motivated by pride; admonishing the sinner liberates because it is motivated by love. Each produces very different results. We are worth more than any bird flying around your home today and you see how nature exists and continues to move forward into the cycle of life. So it is with us. We shall not be afraid but we cannot resort to silly adolescent critical and judgmental attitudes. “May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us; who have put our hope in you.”

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”  ~St. Teresa of Calcutta

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October 20, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 1:15-23

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

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

R. (7) You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
O LORD, our LORD,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
You have exalted your majesty above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings
you have fashioned praise because of your foes.
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place—
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

Alleluia – JN 15:26B, 27A

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

Gospel – LK 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
everyone who acknowledges me before others
the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others
will be denied before the angels of God.

“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will not be forgiven.
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities,
do not worry about how or what your defense will be
or about what you are to say.
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

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Now and Later


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 20, 2018

There is an interesting connection among three key elements that Jesus presents to us today: 1) Denial of God 2) Denial of the Holy Spirit 3) Defense of our Faith. Let’s take them in that order:

First, we are clearly told that if we live as if Jesus never came and/or we never met Him, we should expect the same treatment, that is, He will do the same. Second, if we speak with words of hatred and defiance against the Holy Spirit, and surely against God in any way, shape or form, we are to expect serious consequences. And lastly, if we neither deny nor defy God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, but rather live in Him and through Him, then we can and should expect that our very speech, our lives, our thoughts, and all that makes us who we are will be defined by the depth and breadth of our love of God in every day life. In other words, we will certainly shine.

Here is the major connection: All three warnings and predictions have to do with the next life. Jesus promises if we recognize Him now on earth, He will recognize us later in heaven. If anyone repeatedly closes their eyes to God and shuts their ears to His voice now, they will most certainly come to a point where they can no longer recognize God, and thus they see evil as good and good as evil even to that tragic point of that person’s last breath in which they could very well miss any chance of living forever with God in eternity, that is, later. Finally, if our deep trust is with the Lord, His Holy Spirit is promised to us as it was to Abraham and all his descendants as we read in the First reading so that we will never have to worry what to say before this world’s authority, now, or to the authority of heaven, later.

Question for the day: What are the two most important moments of our life? Now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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October 21, 2018


Reading 1 – IS 53:10-11

The LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness
of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.

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

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Reading 2 – HEB 4:14-16

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

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 – MK 10:35-45

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

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Serve to Live, Live to Serve


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 21, 2018

“If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.” Sociologist Robert Wuthnow of Princeton University has explored how it is that people make everyday ethical decisions. Many people, he found, perform deeds of compassion, service, and mercy because at some point in their past someone acted with compassion toward them. He wrote, “The caring we receive may touch us so deeply that we feel especially gratified when we are able to pass it on to someone else.” He tells the story of Jack Casey, who was employed as an emergency worker on an ambulance rescue squad. When Jack was a child, he had oral surgery. Five teeth were to be pulled under general anesthetic, and Jack was fearful. What he remembers most, though, was the operating room nurse who, sensing the boy’s terror, said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be right here beside you no matter what happens.” When Jack woke up after the surgery, she was true to her word, standing right there with him.

Nearly 20 years later, Jack’s ambulance team is called to the scene of a highway accident. A truck has overturned, the driver is pinned in the cab and power tools are necessary to get him out. However, gasoline is dripping onto the driver’s clothes, and one spark from the tools could have spelled disaster. The driver is terrified, crying out that he is scared of dying. So, Jack crawls into the cab next to him and says, “Look, don’t worry, I’m right here with you; I’m not going anywhere.” And Jack was true to his word; he stayed with the man until he was safely removed from the wreckage. Later the truck driver told Jack, “You were an idiot; you know that the whole thing could have exploded, and we’d have both been burned up!” Jack told him that he felt that he just couldn’t leave him. Many years before, Jack had been treated compassionately by the nurse, and because of that experience, he could now show that same compassion to another. His experience of an act of loving service enabled him to do the same for another. In the Alleluia Verse for today, Jesus made it clear: “The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

To serve another human being without counting the cost, expecting credit and wanting a reward or payback is not natural: it is super-natural. And for super-natural lives, we are in need of super-natural food: The Eucharist. Jesus Christ, within hours of his death, revealed the very mystery of divine life as it sustains earthly existence when He gave us all of Himself: “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me…This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Following Jesus and living a Christian life which is authentic and inspiring is much more than having a hobby or belonging to a particular political party. It is even more than having a job or a career. Our faith not only points us to what is eternal, but also follows us into that existence. If we live with Jesus here and now, we will enjoy His wonderful presence forever. That is why the Eucharist is essential to the one who understands that this life is passing and heaven is the only real goal worth living and dying for. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!”  ~ St. Maximilian Kolbe

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October 22, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 2:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
You were dead in your transgressions and sins
in which you once lived following the age of this world,
following the ruler of the power of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.
All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh,
following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses,
and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”

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The Bottomless Pit of Greed


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 22, 2018

“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Several famous people have been quoted as saying that too many people today know the price of everything and the value of nothing. These people would be classified as cynics. The idea that anyone in the real world should even consider ethical, moral, philosophical or cultural values to be on a par with financial or economic value appears whimsical, sentimental, even romantic. Hard-nosed, sensible, rational, practical people know otherwise. It’s all about money, “they” say… But is it really? The words of the Gospel make it very clear to us that God will have the first and last word. “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

When I was in high school, there was a dramatic and senseless fight over a stereo sound system over which several people who preciously were friends stopped talking to each other and caused great havoc and spiritual harm to many of us. To this very day, those people are still very distant and in some cases, still resentful. A couple of years after graduation, I was visiting a couple of teachers at my old school and one of them asked me for a favor. Since I was driving a truck at the time, he asked me if I could haul a few boxes of trash out to the landfill. Of course, I agreed happily. As I was loading the trash, to my great surprise, among the garbage was that stereo! All that trouble over something that would end up in the trash! It was one of those important life lessons that I’m glad I’ve never forgotten especially as it is now shared with you. You see, we have forgotten how to value what is most important in life and instead misplace value on things that have a price tag while forgetting all our abundant gifts — like vision, insight, compassion, love and the hope of heaven — we confuse their worth in a money-hungry world because they are truly priceless. You are more important than you realize.

The spiritually dead are all around us. They may look alive and have plenty of possessions, even looks and money, but this does not ensure life, especially eternal life. It is precisely the age of this world that promotes that misguided philosophy that you are what you have. We do not belong to things. We do not essentially consist of material realities because in the end, all we will have could never be measured, touched or counted. Our soul is what is of supreme value. “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Greed makes us servants of possessions. We could easily remember this by the quote that “we can’t be possessed by our possessions.” Yet it happens all around us precisely because people have already decided which God they will serve. Greed makes the false and empty promise that things and possessions can save and bring us to eternal happiness and peace. The best way to avoid all this is pray in thanksgiving to the one who gives us everything we have. If we keep remembering that all I have comes from God then I cannot and will not forget how wonderfully generous my God is to me. Gratitude is the greatest cure for greed.

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October 23, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 2:12-22

Brothers and sisters:
You were at that time without Christ,
alienated from the community of Israel
and strangers to the covenants of promise,
without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the Blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one Body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial  – 85:9AB-10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (see 9) The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

Alleluia – LK 21:36

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Be vigilant at all times and pray
that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.”

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Watching vs. Waiting


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 23, 2018

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.” Over 30 years ago, there was a ship off the coast of Massachusetts that was reported lost at sea. There were a reported 45 men on board, most of whom were residents from a small fishing town near Plymouth. For the first week, wives, children and family members set up make-shift camps along the seashore to wait and watch for any signs of recovery. After 10 days, some of those grew tired and even discouraged and began to make their way back to their homes, still leaving a smaller remnant of those who would stay vigilant. Finally, on the 15th day of their disappearance, the vessel sailed back into harbor, all aboard hungry and tired, but certainly safe and alive. It was said that one of the men looked sad as he disembarked. He just shrugged and walked  his way to his little cottage of a home to the surprise of his wife and children. But he still looked upset. “What’s wrong, dear?,” asked his wife. “Why weren’t you out there with the other families on the shore when we arrived?,” he responded. “We were waiting for you, honey,” came his wife’s explanation. “But you weren’t watching…”

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s  return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.” Do you think that’s splitting hairs? Maybe. However, the slight difference in the words can be of dramatic importance when we apply them to waiting for the Lord. Waiting seems to be passive, as if I can have many other priorities or concerns because, after all, “when He comes He comes, right?” Watching implies vigilance, continued hope and deep resolve. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the Blood of Christ.”  Watching is active, on-going and, yes, life-changing. Let’s be sure. Whether you and I are waiting or watching, it will be the same Lord. But, how will we be different? God is worth waiting for; His time is always best. Watching for Him makes our hearts ready and open and joyful to meet Him at any given moment and that makes a difference on how we live. “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”

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October 24, 2018


Reading  – 3:2-12

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation,
as I have written briefly earlier.
When you read this
you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
which was not made known to human beings in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit,
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.

Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace
that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the Church
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose
that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 24:42A, 44

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

Gospel – LK 12:39-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, he will put him
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

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When Much Is Given


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 24, 2018

“Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.” What did slaves and thieves have in common in Roman Antiquity? They were both branded on the forehead with a mark, called a stigma, and thereby said to have been engraved like a coin or a medal. Both types of individuals were certainly known to the culture of the time when today’s Scriptures were written (Romans around 56-58 AD and Luke’s Gospel between 80-100 AD). They also shared common punishments: lashes and beatings, forced to carry a piece of wood around their necks, and in some cases, crucifixion. Of course, these are the same afflictions endured by Jesus as an integral part of the Paschal Mystery by which we are justified, redeemed and saved for a great future in heaven. In the Book of Revelation we read about the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God, clearly signaling high expectations for those chosen: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

These specific references can help us realize several things about living the Christian Life, being a disciple and a follower of Jesus Christ: We have been marked in this life and claimed for someone or something. Our choice now is to determine for whom by how we live. As Christians today, we can expect to be punished as was our Savior, in the court of popularity, greed, hatred and the Godless. Remaining faithful to the end, which comes secretly or unexpectedly and without being seen, “like a thief in the night,” we are promised to take our place with the Lamb who has been slain and led to the springs of life-giving water. Because the victory is so great and the reward eternal, to those whom much is given, much is expected.

“Talent is God-given: Be humble. Fame is man-given: Be grateful.  Conceit is self-given: Be careful.”  ~John Wooden

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October 25, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 3:14-21

Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19

R. (5B) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
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. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
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. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – PHIL 3:8-9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

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Fire!


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 25, 2018

What’s behind the use of setting the world aflame by Jesus in the Gospel today? Keep in mind that the Bible is to be seen as a complete unity, the Old preparing for the New, the New ratifying the Old. When the Lord uses the image of fire, then it is advantageous for us to go deeper into the meaning and purpose and background of certain words and phrases to truly grasp all the spiritual wealth that is waiting for us, ripe for the picking.

Fire in Exodus 3, the Burning Bush: God is truly present, “you are standing on Holy Ground.”
Fire in Ezekiel 1, a broad cloud of fire looms large: God’s glory is magnificent.
Fire in 2 Kings 1, fire from heaven wiped out fifty soldiers: Power over life and death.
Fire in Matthew 25,  Eternal fire is destination for devil and demons: Hell is real & horrible.
Fire in Acts 2, tongues of fire descend on the Twelve: The Holy Spirit “enflames” the Church.
Fire in Revelation 21, a lake of fire and sulfur awaits the faithless: A second death.

From this small sampling of fire images from the Scriptures, we can safely determine that Jesus clearly wants to purify and cleanse all of  humanity, instill a reverent and holy fear in us (awesome approach to God) and establish His Kingdom where there will be both judgment and serious consequences to our responses, both here and now and much later.

Because of His reign over us and remembering the dire consequences of the refusal to love, there will be division starting in one’s own family, household and beyond: when the word ‘family’ is used in the Bible, it usually means either the clan or the extended family group, and could very easily include as many as two hundred people, or as few as fifteen. Thus, Jesus is describing the essence of a true disciple as one who loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Him. He insists that His disciples give him the loyalty which is only due to God, a loyalty which is higher than spouse or relatives or circle of friends.

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”  ~C.S. Lewis

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October 26, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 4:1-6

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.

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

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

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – LK 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.”

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How’s The Weather?


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 26, 2018

Today our brilliant Scripture passages present us with a three-part approach about our reviewing and considering our own salvation and final encounter with the Lord Jesus: “Live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love.” (First Reading) Who? “Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?…whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean…” (Responsorial Psalm) When? “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Gospel)

The Jews of Palestine were quite astute when it came to the weather. When they saw the clouds forming in the west, over the Mediterranean Sea, they knew rain was on the way. When the south wind blew from the desert they knew the tornado-like wind was coming. But those who were so wise to read the signs of the sky could not, or would not, read the signs of the times. If they had, they would have seen that the Kingdom of God was on the way.

Jesus used a very vivid illustration. He basically said, “When you are threatened with a law-suit, come to an agreement with your adversary before the matter comes to court, for if you do not you will have imprisonment to endure and a fine to pay.” The assumption is that the defendant has a bad case which will inevitably go against him. “Every human being,” Jesus implied, “has a bad case in the presence of God; and if we are wise, we will make our peace with God while yet there is time.” (paraphrasing mine) Jesus and all his great servants have always been obsessed with the urgency of time. There are some things we just cannot afford to put off; above all, making peace with God…while there is still time.

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Death, A Meal Best Served Live


Like any and most American families, in the given span of ten years or so you notice at least two things: you see less people at family gatherings and then you see more people at those same wonderful moments. The reason is simple. People die, people get married, and people are born. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Well there’s a lot more to it. At a recent and quaint gathering of my cousins and me, all of whom have entered the 50+ Club, we spoke directly about this very observation and came up with an amazing idea. We decided that we’re going to create a generational cookbook of the best dishes new and old accompanied with stories and pictures that will bring all this to life. It sounds exciting especially to me who loves to eat. Everyone from each of the existing generations will contribute recipes, photos and lore which must all be shared while preparing and serving these dishes even for gatherings outside the family circle. And why not? Share the wealth! All this might sound like a lot of work producing an exponential amount of fun and family ties, but more importantly it’s absolutely necessary to understand death. By now you should be asking how does a cookbook help you understand death? Well, what stops when you die? Among many other things, you stop eating. But you don’t stop living. Because everyone who has lived and died is still alive, somewhere. And don’t we bring those people close to us again and again as we remember them?

Does this sound scary? Well it shouldn’t because all this brings us to a “trifecta” of annual and memory-making gems beginning with Halloween and concluding with Day of the Dead which in turn evolves into our social and spiritual cue to start our engines to enter the world of Thanksgiving and Christmas. When you get right down to it, it is all pretty exciting and marvelous in a way. Who doesn’t like to eat? But, on the other hand, who likes to say goodbye to loved ones who leave us in death? Whole new answers, right? Well, let’s take a look at this more carefully as we start by resurfacing our notion of the trifecta. We will continue with the assumption that all this life and death stuff, painful as it is for many of us to behold, less talk about it, is always a mystery that finds amazing expression when human beings express themselves with burning and sometimes inexplicable longing lodged deep within the human heart. We will speak here about the relationship between or among, Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, otherwise known as Day of the Dead. They all are fundamentally linked and inseparable and have been at least since the seventh century. To be clear, we are going to have to start from the middle and work our way from there because this is the best way to approach this mystery.

Halloween, October 31

The night before on the Eve of All Hallows, similarly marks those who ascended to celestial heights but from a very different and evolving perspective. I don’t seem to grow weary of telling and re-telling my friends and newly arrived family members about how exciting Halloween was for me as a child. My costume? Why, Yogi Bear, of course!! “I’m smarter than the average bear!” Either I’ve lost you on that reference or you’re sitting there with a huge grin on your face. I know I am. Halloween like so many of our holidays were engineered precisely for children. Whether it was birthdays, St. Valentine’s Day, Christmas or today’s enormous expression of color and calories, we either enjoyed the day and loved the pageantry of it all, or we lived through our own children and innocent ones and still kept happiness alive if only in some small way. Everything great and good begins small and unassuming like the mustard seed. And like the famous woman with a few measures of flour, it all needs our constant attention. It is just like our faith which must lead us and sustain us into adulthood. Especially into adulthood. This is where we learn that the most frightening things in our lives are often not wearing costumes or doling out candy, but are true monsters, large and little, that can rob of us of happiness, if we allow. And among those fear-mongering creatures lurks the face of death, the quintessential “trick.” Jesus loved children and especially all the children still inside each and every one of us. Go on, smile on Halloween. Say a prayer and ask the Lord for all the treats that He has promised especially eternal life and for protection against the wicked tricks that lie in wait.

All Saints Day, November 1

Colorful burning candles during All Saints Day at the cemetery

All Saints Day in the Church’s calendar celebrates all those who have made it into heaven. In many ways we could say that this is our day, a day of hope and encouragement where we chance a glimpse of a glorified existence after the earthly battles of stress and worries and disappointment have all passed, laced with so many great and awesome momentous chapters that helped keep our focus on heaven such as the birth of children, outstanding resolutions and breathtaking surprises. It is on this day as well as on others that we hear from the last book of the Bible, Revelation. I can’t think of another sacred book more controversial than this one; also known as the “Apocalypse.” This fascinating and mysterious text, ever since it was written, has been the topic of countless theories, teachings, movements, books, commentaries, and more recently, films and multimedia television series, episodes and documentaries. Unfortunately, most of them have strayed from the Theological and Scriptural meaning of the intent of the Apostle John and have clearly done much more harm than good. Because of these wild theories, it seems as if every ten years or so, people have been trying to predict the end of the world every time a certain number lines up in a particular order or because of the discovery of some ingenious mathematical equation that spells horrible and imminent destruction. Remember the Year 2000 scare? Or do you recall the December 21, 2012 prediction based on some data from an ancient calendar chiseled on some huge stone that would run out of days on that date? People, just get a new rock! To concentrate on the cataclysmic end of the world on All Saints Day or December 31, or some other arbitrary day that was arrived with some clever mathematician wand of expertise is to lose sight of all these days. Today is about our life today, how we live it and where we all hope to go with all the ones we have ever loved with all our hearts and souls. As God’s children now and joyfully anticipating our own resurrection, we reasonably ask, “what do we do and how do we act?” Just as Moses in the Old Testament came down the mountain with the Law in the form of the Ten Commandments, Jesus walked up the mountain and fulfilled what the great lawgiver started and mapped out the way to survive “the time of great distress” for each and everyone of us. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, the meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted and insulted. The Beatitudes create the blueprint of living a beautiful, Christian life. These eight blessings are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching and respond to the natural desire that we all have for true and lasting happiness. This is how we become saints! The Beatitudes also proclaim the blessings and rewards that have already been secured for those who love Jesus. Just imagine, there’s a place in heaven for us and it has our name on it.

Day of The Dead November 2

Traditional Mexican Day of the Dead altar with sugar skulls and candles

Here is the final installment of our trifecta and no doubt the most difficult. It is the most challenging because we must at all costs avoid the extremes that many take with this episode. Either we under-state the effect that death has on us, thinking out of sight, out of mind, or we overdo it placing way too much attention on the dark, gloomy almost fatalistic view that although someone wonderful has died, everything has died including ourselves. All Souls Day is the moment when Jesus is literally taking our minds and hearts and gently walking with us to face our deepest and darkest fear, that of death itself, in very much the same way He did. In wonderfully typical Old Testament dramatic delivery, the Prophet Ezekiel begins the healing hope of this victory over death: “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” But for a time, a seemingly endless amount of time for some, there is a veil of sadness which must be faced and we do that with our prayers for the dead, visits to the cemetery, private and public Altars of Remembrance with pictures and yes, more predominantly lately, with feasts and festivals that celebrate with food and party the most frightening aspect of life itself. Sounds very much alive, doesn’t it?

Strange and wonderful we human beings, wouldn’t you say? What have we learned from our trifecta of days and dramatic moments? It looks like the three days of Halloween, All Saints and All Souls we have uncovered a pattern. What do we do with life?

  1. We get together
  2. We cook and eat together
  3. We remember together
  4. We laugh and cry together
  5. We repeat the cycle.

In the final analysis, Halloween, All Saints and Day of the Dead have everything to do with the living, family, eternity and memory. And when you think about it all those things have to do with the way each of us comes into this world, experiences love and acceptance and what truly brings us hope against all odds. And while we’re still on this planet, rituals and practices and yes, food not only nourish us but also bring us together for many significant moments that can never be repeated. Everyone who lives knows we’re going to die. Everyone who loves knows that we’re going to get hurt. And everyone who says goodbye knows we’re going to say hello again. So what we do in our own fashion as human beings is face whatever frightens us, symbolized at times with masks and crazy costumes, think and pray with all the holy ones whom we know have made it into heaven and then recall with unreserved and completely understandable and proportionate sadness all who have gone before us marked with sign of faith. This we do at times with smiles on our faces and yet tears in our eyes, to confront whatever scares us so we can keep going until there’s no more death, no more suffering and no more hunger. And that is why, my friends, death is a meal best served live because it simply has no more power over us.

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October 27, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 4:7-16

Brothers and sisters:
Grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore, it says:

He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.

What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended
into the lower regions of the earth?
The one who descended is also the one who ascended
far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood
to the extent of the full stature of Christ,
so that we may no longer be infants,
tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching
arising from human trickery,
from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.
Rather, living the truth in love,
we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ,
from whom the whole Body,
joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
with the proper functioning of each part,
brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.

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

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

Alleluia – EZ 33:11

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion that he may live.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them–
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”

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Figs And Faith


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 27, 2018

We have noted many times in our Reflections that more than a few Old Testament accounts of people and events tell of a foreshadowing of that which is yet to come. For example, Moses told the Jewish people of another lawgiver, like him, who would come later and who would require the people’s total allegiance and obedience; the Psalms describe the experiences of David; yet they also speak of David’s greater son, the Messiah. Perhaps one of the best known prophets is Jeremiah who wrote extensively about a New Covenant that would follow the horrible exile of God’s people. Jeremiah used many images and references that later Jesus would echo and apply to the New Testament of salvation history. Among those references are the fount of living water, the barren fig tree and building up the House of Israel. St. Paul adds to this cascade of images when he wrote in our First Reading: “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.”

The Scriptural lesson for us today is that for centuries humanity had been waiting for the Messiah, the landowner of heaven and earth, and still many rejected Him. We clearly have been given a vineyard and a charge: You have a life now use it wisely and carefully. This means, among many other things, that our very demeanor and actions, especially around our families and friends, and co-workers alike must in fact radiate the fact that we do believe that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah and that we have in fact accepted Him here and now. Every day, you and I have wondrous and numerous opportunities to accomplish this. One of the best ways is through forgiveness whenever possible and necessary. Even for our friends. Especially for our friends. Life and living in the vineyard is hard work, but so rewarding. Our landowner is full of justice and loves us very much: “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion that he may live.” (Alleluia Verse)

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October 28, 2018


Reading 1 – JER 31:7-9

Thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel.
Behold, I will bring them back
from the land of the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
with the blind and the lame in their midst,
the mothers and those with child;
they shall return as an immense throng.
They departed in tears,
but I will console them and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
For I am a father to Israel,
Ephraim is my first-born.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

R. (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading 2 – HEB 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
Every high priest is taken from among men
and made their representative before God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.
No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
You are my son:
this day I have begotten you;
just as he says in another place:
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

Alleluia – CF. 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – MK 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.

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Blinding Light


Reflections on Mass Reading for October 28, 2018

“I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child.” Since the dawn of all the ages, there has been this remarkable and dramatic contest of strength between light and darkness, clarity and delusion, sight and blindness. These are all eternally wrapped up into our human existence which by definition means they all have deep, spiritual roots over which our sweet Jesus holds sway. “You are my son: this day I have begotten you…You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” If all this is true, and we all know that it is, then each time we approach the Bible and the treasure lode of wisdom found there, we must address the issue of blindness in our lives and the ongoing resolutions to this plight. The Psalm begins to prepare us for the only solution in sight: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”

For any of us struggling with the day-to-day pull of responsibilities, deadlines, or even seemingly endless worries, the Gospel is relief and miracle all bound up into one passage of pure magnificence. Let’s take a closer look at this: “Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.” Blindness of all sorts creates this mindless inertia and apathy within us which creates an empty life full of taking and no giving. “On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.’” Jesus is always speaking to us and just the slightest whisper from heaven can make all the difference in the world to which our only response is to cry out to Him with everything we have in store of our being to which the Lord promises response. “And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more.” There will be negative and unbelieving voices in our lives trying to move us away form the battle victory we desire in prayer, but we must not stop or give up. “So they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” And there will be sane and rational people who believe with all their hearts and minds who continue to encourage and nourish us with their prayers. “He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.” Bartimaeus, remember, was blind and throwing off his clothing and springing anywhere could have meant a dangerous physical move, but he trusted with everything he had left to face Jesus to which “Jesus said to him in reply, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’”  This is exactly the point in prayer where we must be solidly aware of our true needs, trust one hundred percent in the Lord and then ask boldly with faith: “The blind man replied to him, ‘Master, I want to see.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.’” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” May it be done unto us according to His word.

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October 29, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 4:32–5:8

Brothers and sisters:
Be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

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.
Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you,
as is fitting among holy ones,
no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place,
but instead, thanksgiving.
Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person,
that is, an idolater,
has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments,
for because of these things
the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
So do not be associated with them.
For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.

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

R. (see Eph. 5:1) Behave like God as his very dear children.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children.

Alleluia – JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – LK 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

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Like Very Dear Children


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 29, 2018

Every so often we are blessed to have the words of the very first Psalm offered to us at the celebration of the Mass in which we repeat either in words and/or in song, the mighty and comforting promises made there to all of us. The refrain for us today is equally inspiring: “Behave like God as his very dear children.” What does that mean and what are we to learn from these powerful messages of the Bible today? Here are a few clear and accessible clues:

Show the type of kindness that always forgives and understands: “Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” Avoid evil in all its forms especially in offensive or avaricious  behavior: “Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you.” Make sure our speech is not embarrassing or obscene: “No obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving.” And perhaps the most telling of all, live a life of integrity and avoid hypocrisy at every juncture: “The Lord said to him in reply, ‘Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?'” Imagine just one day of your life when all these are in place! How about one week? One year? One life?

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October 30, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 5:21-33

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the Church,
he himself the savior of the Body.
As the Church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the Church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the Church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the Church,
because we are members of his Body.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,
and the wife should respect her husband.

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

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

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – LK 13:18-21

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?
To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush
and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.'”

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?
It is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”

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Thy Kingdom Come


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 30, 2018

“What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it?” Everything great and good begins small and unassuming like the mustard seed. And like the woman with measures of flour, it all needs our constant attention. Just like our faith which must lead us and sustain us into adulthood. Especially into adulthood. This is where we learn that the most frightening things in our lives are often not wearing costumes or doling out candy, but are true monsters, large and little, that can rob us of happiness. Jesus loved children and He does, I believe He loves the children still inside each and every one of us.

“For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the Church, because we are members of his Body.” One of the greatest things about children is how they love. It seems to be without considering the cost of the heartache. Go on, smile today. Say a prayer and talk to the Lord asking for all the blessings that He has promised especially eternal life. God bless us the children that still live with us for there lies our participation in the Kingdom now as it is in heaven.

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October 31, 2018


Reading 1 – EPH 6:1-9

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Honor your father and mother.
This is the first commandment with a promise,
that it may go well with you
and that you may have a long life on earth.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.

Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling,
in sincerity of heart, as to Christ,
not only when being watched, as currying favor,
but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
willingly serving the Lord and not men,
knowing that each will be requited from the Lord
for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Masters, act in the same way towards them, and stop bullying,
knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven
and that with him there is no partiality.

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

R. (13C) The Lord is faithful in all his words.
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 faithful in all his words.
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 faithful in all his words.
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 faithful in all his words.

Alleluia – SEE 2 THES 2:14

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

Gospel – LK 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”

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Trick or Trust?


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 31, 2018

What a challenge to reflect with the Scriptures today! And here is the demanding dare: either we just ignore what society and shopping stores and malls will not allow us to deny about costumes and candy, or we launch into a hysterical tirade about how everything about this day is demonic, satanic and the most pathetic invitation to open the gates of hell, and for just one night. Really? So what do we do? Let’s start with the beautiful Scriptures of the day: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother.” and “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” (Gospel from St. Luke)

I don’t seem to grow weary of telling and re-telling my friends and newly arrived family members about how exciting Halloween was for me as a child. My costume? Why, Yogi Bear, of course!! “I’m smarter than the average bear!” Either I’ve lost you on that reference or you’re sitting there with a huge grin on your face. I know I am. Halloween, like so many of our holidays, were engineered precisely for children. Whether it was birthdays, St. Valentine’s Day, Christmas or today’s enormous expression of color and calories, we either enjoyed the day and loved the pageantry of it of all, or we lived through our own children and innocent ones and still kept happiness alive if only in some small way.

“God has called us through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Obedience to the Word of God, a childlike and completely trusting faith and a completely free life in grace and the wonders of forgiveness are the greatest gifts, treats, if you will, that we can ever receive. Have fun but never lose sight of the greater goods and mysteries that await us. The only thing we really have to fear is losing Jesus, and that is not going to happen.

“Some people are seemingly born for Halloween and some are just counting the days until Christmas.”  ~Stephen Graham Jones

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