The Word of God

November 1, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 7:2-4, 9-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reading 2 – 1 JN 3:1-3

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

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – MT 5:1-12A

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:”Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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This Is Your Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 1, 2018

“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.” It seems like just yesterday when I heard this remarkably hilarious and yet provoking sermon about a pair of brothers who were in this life, how shall we say, a little crafty. One of them died and the other dashed to the rectory to consult with the priest assigned to the funeral. “I’ll give you ten thousand dollars if you tell everyone tomorrow that my brother was a saint!” The young pastor with tons of bills and a school to run graciously accepted the “donation” and quickly deposited the gift in the bank. The next day at the funeral Mass, the young cleric began exclaiming, ‘You see this man lying here before us?!? He was a crook, a liar and a cheat who rarely stood for anything good in his life!” Everyone gasped, especially his surviving sibling. “But compared to his brother here, he was a saint!”  “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Today’s magnificent Feast is for each and every one of us. Our destiny is in heaven, pure and simple. This means that especially on All Saints’ Day as with every day with which we have been gifted, we accept this day as both a challenge and inspiration to be the best version of our selves as humanly possible. What has become crystal clear to many of us is that life is hard but unutterably impossible and unbearable without the loving hope and mercy that comes from Jesus Christ, whose mystical body is composed of all the Saints who have ever lived and breathed and died leaving an enormous legacy for us to follow. Celebrate today with a moment of complete and breathless wonder of the clarity of it all. Thank Jesus for your destiny then let us get back to this stunning project we call life. “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.”

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November 2, 2018


Reading 1 – WIS 3:1-9

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

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

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

Reading 2 – ROM 5:5-11

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

Or ROM 6:3-9

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

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

Alleluia – MT 25:34

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

Gospel – MT 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of the least of these,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

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All Souls Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 2, 2018

Today, as many of us already know, is also referred as the Day of the Dead and although that may seem remarkably somber and even morbid, it is the truth. Life is good but it certainly has a beginning and an end with a great filler in between. Today we are called to reflect on the weighty and sobering aspects of its conclusion. The Scripture Readings for today may in fact sound familiar to some because they are the same, in part, of many of the funeral selections and they are meant to give witness to the mystery of life and death so we may go forward in faith and love. Let’s take a look at a few gems:

“The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.” We are made timely aware of the truth of things as we experience them, that is, that even death, we are with the Lord who loves and comforts us especially in our moments of sorrow. “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” No matter where our lives take us, the one constant is change which included the dark day of death but the constant presence is Jesus who never abandons those He loves. “If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” What a remarkable statement that is being made here! Death is actually something we share with Jesus and because of that, we also share in His victory over death and all the contraptions that accompany our experience of it especially grief and dark isolation. “And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Perhaps the most poignant and pertinent of all the passages comes to us from the Gospel today. We have been given the opportunity to reach out to Christ in each other every day we have been alive. It is as if we have been either depositing or withdrawing from a spiritual bank account filled with love, kindness and generosity. When the bank closes for good, we spend eternity based on the final reckoning. Be hopeful and generous today and pray for those who have died with those you love knowing full well that they will be praying for you.

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November 3, 2018


Reading 1 – PHIL 1:18B-26

Brothers and sisters:
As long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth,
Christ is being proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Indeed I shall continue to rejoice,
for I know that this will result in deliverance for me
through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
My eager expectation and hope
is that I shall not be put to shame in any way,
but that with all boldness, now as always,
Christ will be magnified in my body,
whether by life or by death.
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.
If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.
And I do not know which I shall choose.
I am caught between the two.
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better.
Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit.
And this I know with confidence,
that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you
for your progress and joy in the faith,
so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me
when I come to you again.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 42:2, 3, 5CDEF

R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.
I went with the throng
and led them in procession to the house of God.
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
with the multitude keeping festival.
R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.

Alleluia – MT 11:29AB

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

Gospel – LK 14:1, 7-11

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

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

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Very Unmusical Chairs


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 3, 2018

“On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.” Again we have one of the three installments from Luke’s Fourteenth Chapter of that same evening when Jesus went to eat at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. The first involved the healing of the man with dropsy, this is the second incident when Jesus notices that people are scrambling for the places of honor, and the third moment will conclude with His parable about the great feast thrown by a wealthy guest whose invitees all had excuses and declined the invitation. That must have been some dinner! Now there have been literally hundreds of opinions and commentaries written that attempt to unlock the mystery and meaning of these beautiful passages. Some try to make comments about social eating practices and pseudo-religious self-righteousness of the people of that time, while others will comment on the aspects of humility and generosity, while still others make direct application to feeding the poor and hungry and doing things for people who could never repay you. Trust me, each of these angles certainly have great merit. A humble person does not have to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others who do not know who he really is. A giving person is clearly happier than a stingy one. Hypocrisy is a real disease. Excellent.

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” However, there is evidence of deeper meaning present which is suggested by the context of the passages, namely, the banquet. In the Scriptures, there are many mentions of meals and celebrations which clearly point to the heavenly banquet after we finish this life. Thus, spiritual disease down here translates to a quarantine for the eternal celebration; neglecting the poor and starving now means we become spiritually impoverished and famished for heaven later, and collecting rewards and accolades from the audiences of this world powerfully suggests there’ll be no applause, added benefit or honor in the next world that never ends. This particular approach to Chapter 14 also sheds light on the Gospel of today, hidden, perhaps, in the two different directions that a person is directed after entering the banquet hall and before the meal is served: “My friend, move up to a higher position…..you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.” Higher or lower. Up or down. Heaven or hell. Therefore, when Jesus comments on all the folks who are scrambling to get to the really good seats, it is very likely that the inescapable lesson not to be missed is about presumption. Just because in our mind, based on all the limited information and knowledge at our earthly disposal, we assume that we are definitely going to heaven or that awful neighbor of ours is certainly not, that might not be the case. Thank God for mercy!

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November 4, 2018


Reading 1 – DT 6:2-6

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“Fear the LORD, your God,
and keep, throughout the days of your lives,
all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you,
and thus have long life.
Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them,
that you may grow and prosper the more,
in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers,
to give you a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God,
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength.
Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51

R. (2) I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
The LORD lives! And blessed be my rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.

Reading 2 – HEB 7:23-28

Brothers and sisters:
The levitical priests were many
because they were prevented by death from remaining in office,
but Jesus, because he remains forever,
has a priesthood that does not pass away.
Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests,
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people;
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests,
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a son,
who has been made perfect forever.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – MK 12:28B-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
‘He is One and there is no other than he.’
And ‘to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself’
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

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November 5, 2018


Reading 1 – PHIL 2:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also everyone for those of others.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 8:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my discip0les,
and you will know the truth, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 14:12-14

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

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Now or Later?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 5, 2018

“Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Today’s Gospel passage has an amazing amount of richness for each of us. Consider the following very poignant details nudged within a few short phrases: When: This refers to the right time to be good. When opportunities and blessings are obvious. Hold a banquet: This is your life and how you conduct it. Invite: These are those you love, take care of, pray for, help. Inability to repay: This begs the question as to our motivation for life. Why do we do anything? To get something back? Resurrection: This is the promise to all the faithful. There will be an entirely new chapter of our lives and we are writing it right now. Righteous: These are those who understood the power of love and forgiveness, the wealthy of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and could not wait to share that. We could call this the “Great Company” in eternity.

So when do you want your reward? Now or later? “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.”

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The Race To End Racism


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 4, 2018

“Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.” Very recently I was blessed with a remarkable discussion with a good friend about the scourge of racism in our world. By the end of the luncheon, we could agree on the following: 1. Racism is being thrown around a lot these days as a discussion topic, 2. Chances are that many really do not understand the meaning of the word, 3. Racism is a bad thing and keeps people viciously apart. Where we disagreed is interesting. My friend believes that there is no cure or end for it while I believe there is. No matter the culture or ethnicity of any human being on the planet, each one has been created in the image and likeness of God and the one, saving Jesus. The Lord has not come, died and risen from the dead just for one group of people. He is for all. That means that I must make it my goal to look for, see and find the image of the Lord in everyone I meet. I must and therefore choose to remember that everyone is beautiful to God including me. “Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.”

Because of this horribly imperfect world, there are many who successfully hide that image from us and may in fact make it very hard to see the perfection that is there. That’s why I need patience that can come only from Jesus: “I love you, Lord, my strength.” Forgiveness is a value that has long-lasting benefits. It helps me remember that I need patience and understanding just as much as I need to give and show it. That is precisely how we can begin to create a more just and loving world: by adopting the attitude of a servant and the greatness of my Jesus who died for me and my sins and who continues to love me: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

I hope that I am in possession of healthy self-knowledge and believe that sanity involves having one foot in the world as it is and the other in the world as it should be. Perhaps I may not live to see the end of all the scourges to humanity but I hope to be at least an instrument along with many others who have at least one foot in the game to be part of the solution. Only God knows. “Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord; and my father will love him and we will come to him.”

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November 6, 2018


Reading 1 – PHIL 2:5-11

Brothers and sisters:
Have among yourselves the same attitude
that is also yours in Christ Jesus,

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 22:26B-27, 28-30AB, 30E, 31-32

R. (26A) I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
“May your hearts be ever merry!”
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people. 
For dominion is the LORD’s,
and he rules the nations.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
To him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 14:15-24

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

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Excuses: Tools of Incompetence


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 6, 2018

“A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many.” Today, we have the conclusion of the three-part, truth-laden, event-filled description of one powerful dinner attended by Jesus and many other characters which make up Chapter 14 of St. Luke’s Gospel. You may recall that earlier parts one and two were presented: the first involved the man inflicted and cured of dropsy and the second about people scrambling for the best seats at the table, partly because of honor and partly because they would be served first. Part three is about excuses and why we make them.

The word “concupiscence” can be used to refer to any intense form of human desire. It comes down to meaning anything that impels us to act or make a choice that is against the use of our reason and rational abilities. Concupiscence was born out of the original sin of disobedience and induces us to commit sins. St. John describes three kinds of this craving: 1 John 2:16: “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, (1) sensual lust, (2) enticement for the eyes, and (3) a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.”

Now, let’s return to the dinner in the Gospel and the man who prepares the feast and invites many who is Jesus who came to save the lost in Israel and all of humanity. Jesus sent his Apostles to call and invite but many did not accept: “he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come…’ but one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.” Take a look at the excuses that are presented in light of the definition of concupiscence: “I have purchased a field and must go to examine it” (3) a pretentious life; “I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them” (2) enticement for the eyes; “I have just married a woman” (1) sensual lust. Please keep in mind that all these things are good in and of themselves, but remember that these are the excuses given that are being held up as more important than accepting the invitation of Christ to each of us. The sixth Commandment addresses our need for a pure heart “to see God,” while the ninth describes the struggle with carnal desires and the last Commandment about greed and the preoccupation over possessions. Given a talent by God is tantamount to being invited to dine with Him in the Kingdom which is precisely why we are called by the Readings today to focus our attention on how to live day by day using all that He has given us not only to discover His will for us, but how to love, and live and build up the Body of Christ: “I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.”

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November 7, 2018


Reading 1 – PHIL 2:12-18

My beloved, obedient as you have always been,
not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent,
work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
For God is the one who, for his good purpose,
works in you both to desire and to work.
Do everything without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life,
so that my boast for the day of Christ may be
that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
But, even if I am poured out as a libation
upon the sacrificial service of your faith,
I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.
In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (1A) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
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. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Alleluia – 1 PT 4:14

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

Gospel – LK 14:25-33

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

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Peace Terms


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 7, 2018

“Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?” The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) was the penultimate metaphor of people trying to reach heaven without the assistance of God. That is precisely why they were thrown into a huge and overwhelming state of confusion where no one could understand each other. That scene prepared us for Pentecost and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit which endow with the potential to understand everyone in their spheres of life because of the presence of love in their lives. Thus the reference in the Gospel is made to the tower that someone starts to build but cannot finish.

“Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?” Ten thousand troops versus twenty thousand troops? Is this a battle hard to call? The answer is absolutely “no,” but this passage is not about military exercises. It is about the impending confrontation that each of us has with death. Will we be ready? It is time for “peace terms.” Thus, the Gospel of today gives to all of us the specifics of those terms. Before the final call, you and I must be sufficiently detached from this world but at the same time attached to living in the world walking in the light of truth. How is that done? “For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.” Simply we are called to love in the power of the Holy Spirit which is freely given to those who love in the name of Jesus the Lord.

“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” ~St. Teresa of Calcutta

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November 8, 2018


Reading 1 – PHIL 3:3-8A

Brothers and sisters:
We are the circumcision,
we who worship through the Spirit of God,
who boast in Christ Jesus and do not put our confidence in flesh,
although I myself have grounds for confidence even in the flesh.

If anyone else thinks he can be confident in flesh, all the more can I.
Circumcised on the eighth day,
of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,
a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage,
in observance of the law a Pharisee,
in zeal I persecuted the Church,
in righteousness based on the law I was blameless.

But whatever gains I had,
these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.
More than that, I even consider everything as a loss
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

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

R. (3B) Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
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. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
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. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
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. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

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O Happy Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 8, 2018

“More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Some might agree with the assertion that a relationship is like a job. You have to work hard to get in it and you have to work even harder to stay in it. Whether or not that aligns with your own experiences with friends and family, one thing is for sure, love requires work and some days are easier than others. Today the Scriptures seem to underscore that perception. “Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.” We could even go a little further: the depth and quality of our human relationships have much in common and directly correspond with our relationship with God and He with us.

“In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” We all know how it feels when something is going wrong in a friendship, relationship or even with a close relative. Nobody is happy and nobody wins. The days looks grim and dark. But imagine how wonderful it feels when we make amends, ask forgiveness and restore things back to even a better level of love and respect. “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.” and “Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.” That’s right, rejoice, we have our friend back. Peace has been restored. It is beautiful. And it all comes from the Lord to whom we called. Let us do that today: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.”

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November 9, 2018


Reading 1 – EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

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

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

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

Reading 2 – 1 COR 3:9C-11, 16-17

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

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

Alleluia – 2 CHR 7:16

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

Gospel – JN 2:13-22

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

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Angels in the Architecture


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 9, 2018

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

The Apostles are the pillars of the Church and Christ has given them the spiritual authority to teach and guide, which the chair, cathedra, symbolizes in every cathedral.  All this is seen within this magnificent structure. The people are the Church, the living Body of Christ with many members: that much is clear, but that concept or expression of unlocking the mystery of the Church is not exclusive. We are also a “Sacramental” people who have enlisted art and architecture, literature and music to embody and describe tangibly, that is, to the touch and all the senses, what great mystery we not only celebrate but also actually see. The church building is not just a tent or skin in which the people of God gather, but in and of itself is of great symbolic and sacramental importance. This is why we celebrate the Feast of the dedication of that first structure in Rome from which all the many millions of structures have been built and dedicated since then.

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

The Church building is to symbolize the New Jerusalem. In Revelation, the vision describes a magnificent new heavenly city coming down to earth be complete and restore all humanity with God at the end of time. Thus, in addition to a gathering space, Church buildings should attempt to draw us into another world, a heavenly experience like the jeweled walls of the New Jerusalem, with sparkling and vivid colors that are filled with signs and symbols of heavenly realities. We see figures of angels and saints everywhere in the Church because they are citizens of heaven, the New Jerusalem, and we join with them in singing praises to God:

This great company of witnesses spurs us onto victory, to share their prize of everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. With angels and archangels and the whole company of saints we sing our unending hymn of praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord…,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 10, 2018


Reading 1 – PHIL 4:10-19

Brothers and sisters:
I rejoice greatly in the Lord
that now at last you revived your concern for me.
You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity.
Not that I say this because of need,
for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself,
to be self-sufficient.
I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances;
I know also how to live with abundance.
In every circumstance and in all things
I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry,
of living in abundance and of being in need.
I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.
Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.

You Philippians indeed know that at the beginning of the Gospel,
when I left Macedonia,
not a single church shared with me
in an account of giving and receiving, except you alone.
For even when I was at Thessalonica
you sent me something for my needs,
not only once but more than once.
It is not that I am eager for the gift;
rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to your account.
I have received full payment and I abound.
I am very well supplied because of what I received from you
through Epaphroditus,
“a fragrant aroma,” an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1B-2, 5-6, 8A AND 9

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – 2 COR 8:9

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

Gospel – LK 16:9-15

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

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

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Leo The Lion


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 10, 2018

“I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” (First Reading) From a most awesome sermon from our Saint of the Day, Pope Leo the Great: Our Lord Jesus Christ, born true man without ever ceasing to be true God, began in his person a new creation and by the manner of his birth gave man a spiritual origin. What mind can grasp this mystery, what tongue can fittingly recount this gift of love? Guilt becomes innocence, old becomes new, strangers are adopted and outsiders are made heirs. Rouse yourself, man, and recognize the dignity of your nature. Remember that you were made in God’s image; though corrupted in Adam, that image has been restored in Christ. Use creatures as they should be used: the earth, the sea, the sky, the air, the springs and the rivers. Give praise and glory to their creator for all that you find beautiful and wonderful in them. See with your bodily eyes the light that shines on earth, but embrace with your whole soul and all your affections the true light which enlightens every man who comes into this world. Speaking of this light the prophet said: Draw close to him and let his light shine upon you and your face will not blush with shame. If we are indeed the temple of God and if the Spirit of God lives in us, then what every believer has within himself is greater than what he admires in the skies. Our words and exhortations are not intended to make you disdain God’s works or think there is anything contrary to your faith in creation, for the good God has himself made all things good. What we do ask is that you reasonably and with moderation use all the marvelous creatures which adorn this world; as the Apostle says: The things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we are born in the present only to be reborn in the future. Our attachment, therefore, should not be to the transitory; instead, we must be intent upon the eternal.

Let us think of how divine grace has transformed our earthly natures so that we may contemplate more closely on our heavenly hope. We hear the Apostle say: You are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ in your life appears, then you will also appear in glory with him, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

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November 11, 2018


Reading 1 – 1 KGS 17:10-16

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.
As he arrived at the entrance of the city,
a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her,
“Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.”
She left to get it, and he called out after her,
“Please bring along a bit of bread.”
She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives,
I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar
and a little oil in my jug.
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks,
to go in and prepare something for myself and my son;
when we have eaten it, we shall die.”
Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid.
Go and do as you propose.
But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
‘The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
She left and did as Elijah had said.
She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well;
the jar of flour did not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.

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

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

Reading 2 – HEB 9:24-28

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await 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 – MK 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

Or MK 12:41-44

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

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Widows, Veterans, and Sacrifice


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 11, 2018

In the Old Testament, the common words associated with the mention widows were: weeping, mourning desolation, poverty and indebtedness. They were especially vulnerable because they were absolutely dependent on everyone and thus had known both the joy of love and the anguish of loss more than any other member of society. And because of this particular life experience, widows probably reflected the image of God much more significantly than others. In the New Testament, widows were prominent such as Anna, the long-time widowed temple attendant who was uniquely privileged to greet the infant Messiah; a widow who received the miraculous gift of seeing her son healed by Jesus because of His deep and warm compassion for her; there is the remarkable persistence from a widow who kept demanding justice from a corrupt judge and the reversal of the standards of generosity because of the astounding act of a widow in the temple. (Today)

This life is it. There will be no “second-chance,” or “let me try this again until I get it right.” Instead, it appears that before our final, earthly, and physical death, there is urgency for us to face a spiritual dying to oneself, to empty oneself of attachments and obsessions, and to recall the example and image of the widow who “put in more than all the other contributors …but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Spiritual poverty begins with depending on God completely, letting go of the non-important pettiness we encounter, and contribute our livelihood, our very center to following the Lord Jesus. This takes us to the border between life and death where there are no guarantees – only hope, where there are no answers – only faith, and where there is no security – only love. This is where the poor widow lives. This is where God lives. And they live in union as one. In the face of the poor widow – the face of spiritual poverty – Jesus sees and recognizes Himself—and we see Him. It is this deep commitment to life and love that we also remember on Veterans Day. All gave some but some gave all.

So my dear friends, what are we to do as we bathe in the grace of these powerful proclamations from Scripture? First, practice the faith. Of course the spiritual life is a struggle, but within that grind, we find ourselves and our road to holiness. Second, be generous in the things of God and pray for the spirit of detachment. The widow lived this remarkable spirit and even though in monetary terms, her offering didn’t amount to much, her intention and her heart certainly did, as she was poised for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven. Finally, reject discouragement: “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

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November 12, 2018


Reading 1 – TI 1:1-9

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

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you,
on condition that a man be blameless,
married only once, with believing children
who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious.
For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless, not arrogant,
not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive,
not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness,
temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled,
holding fast to the true message as taught
so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine
and to refute opponents.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 24:1B-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 – PHIL 2:15D, 16A

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

Gospel – LK 17:1-6

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

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

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Forgiveness and Faith


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 12, 2018

“Shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life.” There is perhaps no greater witness and sign of a person who firmly believes in Christ than the act of free, unhindered and spotless forgiveness. Just think about it for minute: it may be hard at first to forgive a family member or a friend, but someone we don’t know or care for? You see, here is the rub. When we forgive people who mean a lot to us, there is always something in it for us. However, when a person forgives with nothing in sight in return, it must be for the sake of the name of Jesus who died so that all people, the majority of whom we will never meet, might be saved and have a forever chance in heaven. “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”

Let us keep in mind today and always the tremendous act of hope and courage it took the Apostles today to approach Jesus with a simple but awesome request: “Increase our faith.” This is a petition that Christ is always ready to supply and open endless opportunities. Today, look for those chances to grow in your faith. You won’t be surprised that they will be nestled in moments of deep, loving acts of forgiveness.

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November 13, 2018


Reading 1 – TI 2:1-8, 11-14

Beloved:
You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,
namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior,
not slanderers, not addicted to drink,
teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers,
under the control of their husbands,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves,
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech
that cannot be criticized,
so that the opponent will be put to shame
without anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 37:3-4, 18 AND 23, 27 AND 29

R. (39A) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
The just shall possess the land
and dwell in it forever.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – LK 17:7-10

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

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Violets, Vengeance, and Mother Cabrini


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 13, 2018

Violets are a bizarre and eccentric kind of flower. If one could say that they have quirks, then one must point to the fleeting and puzzling aroma of these highly-recognizable purple flowers. Without launching into a lesson in botany, it is sufficed to reveal that these flowers contain a ketone compound called ionone, which temporarily desensitizes the receptors of the nose, thus preventing any further scent being detected from the flower until the nerves recover. Admirers will only sense the smell of violets for only a few moments at a time, before the ionone blinds the senses and then the aroma miraculously returns just as fragrant as before.

Mark Twain must also have known of this phenomenon as he once commented: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Thus, forgiving our neighbor may be fleeting, hard to grasp or comprehend but always pleasant and surprising as it makes its way back to the one who forgives.

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

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

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November 14, 2018


Reading 1 – TI 3:1-7

Beloved:
Remind them to be under the control of magistrates and authorities,
to be obedient, to be open to every good enterprise.
They are to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate,
exercising all graciousness toward everyone.
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded,
slaves to various desires and pleasures,
living in malice and envy,
hateful ourselves and hating one another.

But when the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
he saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

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

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Alleluia – 1 THES 5:18

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

Gospel – LK 17:11-19

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

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Stand Up and Give Thanks


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 14, 2018

“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Perhaps there is no other depiction from anywhere in the Bible which illustrates and highlights the depth of ingratitude. The sick, horribly-looking lepers came to Jesus with desperate longing and need; he cured them all and nine never came back to give thanks. So often, once a person gets what he or she wants, they never come back. What a painful experience to be on the receiving end of such selfish, egotistical behavior. Have you ever wondered what causes that?

The current level of detachment in our society could be a clue. We seem to be facing reality through a screen of some sort: smart devices, laptops, desktops, television, etc., all train us to take an almost inhuman step away from reality so as not to become too immersed with any real internal and integrated approach to life, you know, the way Jesus approached everyone in the Scriptures and how he deals with you and me right here, right now.

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

Let us consider some ways to learn how to be grateful: Take your focus off of yourself and consider the people God has placed around you (we need each other). Count your blessings from God (you will be amazed). Accept your emotional state: Feel-Deal-Heal. Welcome time alone as precious for growth with Jesus who did the same. Avoid comparing your life to others: you never really know what goes on behind the smiles. Shake the green monsters: envy and jealousy (open wounds of insecurity). Fight the desire to isolate and seclude yourself from others (wounds only fester). Avoid negative voices and situations (misery loves company).

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November 15, 2018


Reading 1 – PHMN 7-20

Beloved:
I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love,
because the hearts of the holy ones
have been refreshed by you, brother.
Therefore, although I have the full right in Christ
to order you to do what is proper,
I rather urge you out of love,
being as I am, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus.
I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment,
who was once useless to you but is now useful to both you and me.
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the Gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.
And if he has done you any injustice
or owes you anything, charge it to me.
I, Paul, write this in my own hand: I will pay.
May I not tell you that you owe me your very self.
Yes, brother, may I profit from you in the Lord.
Refresh my heart in Christ.

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

R. (5A) Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 15:5

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

Gospel – LK 17:20-25

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

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

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You’ll Know When You Know


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 15, 2018

Let’s take a look at this astounding Gospel passage because in many ways it deals with matters and issues that we must face every single day of our lives on multi levels of variety: “Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come.”  People are seemingly always asking questions that begin with “when.” When will I find a good job? When will I get a raise? When will dinner be served? When will I know when I’m in love? “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’” We read that Jesus was asked by some Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would finally come because in their mind, they wanted to be on top of things when the big moment finally arrived, with their power and influence all intact. However, as you may have heard, we make plans and God laughs.

“For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” The great and mysterious message for all of us today is simple. The Kingdom cannot be found by looking around for telltale signs so that you can say it is here or there. In other words, it is right in front of us. First and foremost, the Kingdom is in the very person of Jesus, who is the incarnation embodiment of God’s reign. He is the Messiah-King ruling here right now in the hearts of those who love Him. “But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” So while the Lord’s reign is already in play, the search for the exact time can stop right here right now and find its resting place among our day-to-day struggles and little deaths along the way. The Kingdom is truly among us and we need to look no further than the daily experiences of our own lives to know and experience the power and presence of Jesus. you see, the time of that final coming which will be the end of all suffering and rejection is not for us to decide – nor to worry about. So, when will the Kingdom of God arrive? You’ll know when you know.

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November 16, 2018


Reading 1 – 2 JN 4-9

[Chosen Lady:]
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth
just as we were commanded by the Father.
But now, Lady, I ask you,
not as though I were writing a new commandment
but the one we have had from the beginning:
let us love one another.
For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;
this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning,
in which you should walk.

Many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh;
such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.
Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for
but may receive a full recompense.
Anyone who is so “progressive”
as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God;
whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18

R. (1B) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Be good to your servant, that I may live
and keep your words.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of your law.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Alleluia – LK 21:28

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

Gospel – LK 17:26-37

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

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When The Obvious Is Not So Obvious


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 16, 2018

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

“Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense.” Perhaps the most disturbing hurdles Christians face in following the Lord are distractions. They come in all shapes and sizes from the most expected places to the most surprising. The issue here is how to spot the obvious signs and wonders which Jesus places right in front of our eyes. “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord! “

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

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November 17, 2018


Reading 1 – 3 JN 5-8

Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters,
especially for strangers;
they have testified to your love before the Church.
Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.
For they have set out for the sake of the Name
and are accepting nothing from the pagans.
Therefore, we ought to support such persons,
so that we may be co-workers in the truth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE 2 THES 2:14

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

Gospel – LK 18:1-8

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

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One For All


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 17, 2018

“Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth.” It must be overwhelmingly obvious by now that our faith is a communal one, that is, the revelation of God came to the whole human race and not just to individuals who might or might not share the depths of our faith with each other. Our faith must be shared, mutually supported and always thinking and praying for the other: “Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; He shall never be moved; the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.”

The Gospel imparts to us many wonderful tenets of the faith but in particular the great notion that we must pray without becoming weary and that we are called to support each other in that awesome communal outreach to God. “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” If God gives to one a particular talent or gift, He will certainly return looking for the benefit of that gift in many different individuals because of our common sharing in and spreading of the Word of God. Jesus died for all; all of us then, as His body, must return to Him together.

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November 18, 2018


Reading 1 – DN 12:1-3

In those days, I Daniel,
heard this word of the Lord:
“At that time there shall arise
Michael, the great prince,
guardian of your people;
it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress
since nations began until that time.
At that time your people shall escape,
everyone who is found written in the book.

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;
some shall live forever,
others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.

“But the wise shall shine brightly
like the splendor of the firmament,
and those who lead the many to justice
shall be like the stars forever.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) You are my inheritance, O Lord!
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!

Reading 2 – HEB 10:11-14, 18

Brothers and sisters:
Every priest stands daily at his ministry,
offering frequently those same sacrifices
that can never take away sins.
But this one offered one sacrifice for sins,
and took his seat forever at the right hand of God;
now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.
For by one offering
he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.

Where there is forgiveness of these,
there is no longer offering for sin.

Alleluia – LK 21:36

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

Gospel – MK 13:24-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.

“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

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Do You Know How You’re Going To Die?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 18, 2018

“But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.” As we move closer and closer to the last Sunday in ordinary time and the great Feast of Christ the King, the official end of the Liturgical Calendar, we will be hearing more and more about the final things, the last days and our fulfillment of the time we have spent here on the earth trying to follow Jesus and find our way with all the Saints, all the holy souls and live forever in heaven with Jesus: “You are my inheritance, O Lord!” Hopefully, our waiting time should not be something of fear or fright, but rather of the kind of anticipation of waiting to see someone that we truly love and miss.

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.” Still, the end of anything as wonderful and full as life itself is almost by definition a little traumatic. Questions and tears abound so we are in little need of being convinced to be vigilant. We can always be better and we can always keep asking for forgiveness and forgiving especially members of our own families. “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

It then becomes overwhelmingly apparent that we must live our lives in the present moment always knowing that this could be our last day. But why so sad? So much more is waiting for us than we can ever imagine! How are we going to die? We are going to die the way we live so today is the day we live to the fullest and make each minute count.

“Through hard work, perseverance and faith in God, you can live your dreams.”  ~Dr. Ben Carson

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November 19, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 1:1-4; 2:1-5

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him,
to show his servants what must happen soon.
He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
who gives witness to the word of God
and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud
and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message
and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.

John, to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you and peace
from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne.

I heard the Lord saying to me:
“To the angel of the Church in Ephesus, write this:

“‘The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand
and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this:
“I know your works, your labor, and your endurance,
and that you cannot tolerate the wicked;
you have tested those who call themselves Apostles but are not,
and discovered that they are impostors.
Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name,
and you have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you:
you have lost the love you had at first.
Realize how far you have fallen.
Repent, and do the works you did at first.
Otherwise, I will come to you
and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”‘”

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

R. (REV. 2:17) Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree 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 are victorious I will feed from the tree 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 are victorious I will feed from the tree 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 are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 18:35-43

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

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Seeing Is Believing


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 19, 2018

“I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves Apostles but are not, and discovered that they are impostors.” The First Reading calls out to us to realize that whenever we are faced with the devious temptations of this world, what is truly evil will attack and feed on and off of our feelings of being unloved, unimportant or insecure. One of the most successful of the devil’s tactics is simple: everyone is doing this, why do you want to be left out? In these moments, we must remember to whom we belong. You see, the very price for our lives was paid by the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross and that payment made all of us not only members as in a club, but actually and really living parts of the Body of Christ, each having our own individuality and strength, weakness and struggle. This is the great gift of the Church and every day we move closer and closer to the heavenly city that awaits all the billions that have ever brought the precious name of Jesus to their lips. “Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.”

Daily there is a deep call to renew, maintain and nourish this belonging in a world that values selfishness, earthly possessions and power. These unfortunate priorities create such misery and emptiness that even in some circles, from those who should know better, there are vicious attacks on the very source of beauty and healing that are celebrated, proclaimed and lived in the Church. Resist the urge to settle, give in, go along and participate with evil. On our own, we simply cannot do this. We need a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus who understands every single aspect of our broken world and broken lives. I don’t want to sin, not because it’s bad or I’ll get caught, but because I see the truth and the truth is staring back at me: “Lord, please let me see.”

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November 20, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 3:1-6, 14-22

I, John, heard the Lord saying to me:
“To the angel of the Church in Sardis, write this:

“‘The one who has the seven spirits of God
and the seven stars says this: “I know your works,
that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die,
for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.
If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief,
and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you.
However, you have a few people in Sardis
who have not soiled their garments;
they will walk with me dressed in white,
because they are worthy.

“‘The victor will thus be dressed in white,
and I will never erase his name from the book of life
but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father
and of his angels.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

“To the angel of the Church in Laodicea, write this:

“‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the source of God’s creation, says this:
“I know your works;
I know that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either cold or hot.
So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’
and yet do not realize that you are wretched,
pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich,
and white garments to put on
so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed,
and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise.
Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
then I will enter his house and dine with him,
and he with me.
I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne,
as I myself first won the victory
and sit with my Father on his throne.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear
what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

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

R. (REV. 3: 21) I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R.  I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

Alleluia – 1 JN 4:10B

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

Gospel – LK 19:1-10

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

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John and Zacchaeus


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 20, 2018

There are two very stellar examples of faith and integrity we have today whose names are also very telling: John, from the Hebrew meaning “God is gracious” and Zacchaeus meaning “pure.” “I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: ‘To the angel of the Church in Sardis, write this:'” Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so much that he climbed a tree to catch a glimpse and much more. Let’s take a look at the invitation from Christ and the tree-climber’s response: The invitation from Jesus: “Zacchaeus (calls by name), come down quickly (there is urgency), for today (now in the present moment) I must stay at your house” (upfront and personal). The response from Zacchaeus: “And he came down quickly and received him with joy” (fruit of the decision brings deep happiness). “When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,’He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner’ (there is always opposition). “But Zacchaeus stood there (he faces the opposition in front of and with Jesus) and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over’” (action follows commitment).

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

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November 21, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 4:1-11

I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven,
and I heard the trumpetlike voice
that had spoken to me before, saying,
“Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.”
At once I was caught up in spirit.
A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one
whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian.
Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald.
Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones
on which twenty-four elders sat,
dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads.
From the throne came flashes of lightning,
rumblings, and peals of thunder.
Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne,
which are the seven spirits of God.
In front of the throne was something that resembled
a sea of glass like crystal.

In the center and around the throne,
there were four living creatures
covered with eyes in front and in back.
The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf,
the third had a face like that of a man,
and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight.
The four living creatures, each of them with six wings,
were covered with eyes inside and out.
Day and night they do not stop exclaiming:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty,
who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks
to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
the twenty-four elders fall down
before the one who sits on the throne
and worship him, who lives forever and ever.
They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming:

“Worthy are you, Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things;
because of your will they came to be and were created.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 150:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (1B) Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia – SEE JN 15:16

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

Gospel – LK 19:11-28

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

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

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The Truth Of The Matter


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 21, 2018

“I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven, and I heard the trumpet-like voice that had spoken to me before, saying, ‘Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.’” What is integrity? Some have stated that it is the choice we make when confronted with paths of doing what is convenient or what is right. It is the manner in which Jesus lived and died and thus calls us to emulate: “I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” If the central theme of our Readings today is in fact integrity of life, then the Gospel makes perfect sense: “I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

The gift and presence of integrity in a person’s life gives true and lasting freedom. Why? because if we live complete and honest lives we have nothing to fear because we have nothing to hide. Therefore, we are guided by such a strong inner principle that we move toward the right thing to do in every circumstance, every opportunity because there is no pathetic guilt to stand in the way. Selfish, weak and dishonest folks lose what little self-respect they have just to get by and be liked. You see “image” is what we want people to think of us and work hard to maintain; integrity is the real story. It is who we know we are before God.

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November 22, 2018


Reading 1 – SIR 50:22-24

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

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

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

Reading 2 – 1 COR 1:3-9

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

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

Alleluia – PS 66:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God,
while I declare what he has done for me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:11-19

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

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 22, 2018

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

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

The Gospel certainly reminds us that there are still many ungrateful people in the world that make it very hard to fully understand and experience what it means to live freely with God’s amazing grace. God does not need for us to say “thank you.” We do. If we are not grateful, we will stop appreciating all that is around us and when that happens, we begin a path along the road of total destruction. Maybe it is because for some people, life has been hard and disappointing. For these, the great mercy and generous heart of God our Father must be sought and found constantly. Terrible, bad, even horribly tragic and disappointing things will happen to us, but that does not mean it’s the end of the world. A close relative of mine used to invest way too much of himself in relationships and when they went sour, he thought his world was over. It was just the world he built, a delicate and unbalanced world of wayward feelings and crushing emotions. He says today with confidence, “in the end, it’s all going to be OK; and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”

“In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

Today on Thanksgiving:

Be thankful for what you have.
Be creative. Be innovative.
Think differently and positively.
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry,
show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.
Face your past without regret.
Handle your present with confidence.
Prepare for the future without fear.

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November 23, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 10:8-11

I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me.
Then the voice spoke to me and said:
“Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel
who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll.
He said to me, “Take and swallow it.
It will turn your stomach sour,
but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.”
I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and swallowed it.
In my mouth it was like sweet honey,
but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.
Then someone said to me, “You must prophesy again
about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

R. (103A) How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

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 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.”

And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.

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Sweet And Sour


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 23, 2018

“Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.” The sequence of the sweet and sour imagery could not possibly be lost on our readers today, only twenty-four hours after what was hopefully a royal feast and banquet with family and loved ones. No doubt there were many delicious and tantalizing recipes on display which were no doubt wonderful at first but may have caused discomfort later. The analogy here can be easily applied to the meaning of the Scriptures today: “How sweet to my taste is your promise!” The Word of God is always compelling, inspiring and even at times, depending on life’s circumstance, very inspiring. But it is putting those same words into practice which may bring spiritual acid re-flux.

Such was the episode when the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus steps into the Gospel with riveting action: “Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’” For this and many other actions and confrontations documented throughout the Gospels, the elite class of religiosity and other power enthused leaders wanted to put Christ to death but could not find the effective means or vehicle “because all the people were hanging on his words.” As we near the great and vigilant Season of Advent, this sweet and sour serving of Scripture has all the potential of the world to prepare us for great things ahead. Realizing that well done is always better than well said, let us begin the gargantuan task of bringing both the attractiveness and inspirational nature of the Word of God and fuse it with good and effective deeds every day we are given. In this way, we will begin to understand heaven as the celestial banquet and live lives of grateful service to one another.

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November 24, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 11:4-12

I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me:
Here are my two witnesses:
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands
that stand before the Lord of the earth.
If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths
and devours their enemies.
In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain.
They have the power to close up the sky
so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying.
They also have power to turn water into blood
and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish.

When they have finished their testimony,
the beast that comes up from the abyss
will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them.
Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city,
which has the symbolic names “Sodom” and “Egypt,”
where indeed their Lord was crucified.
Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation
will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days,
and they will not allow their corpses to be buried.
The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them
and be glad and exchange gifts
because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth.
But after the three and a half days,
a breath of life from God entered them.
When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them.
Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.”
So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.

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

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

Alleluia – SEE 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – LK 20:27-40

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

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Will You Know My Name?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 24, 2018

There seems a common thread woven throughout all of lives especially when it comes to the issue of death. There certainly exists a vast disparity in the experience of one’s own end versus the concluding hours of someone we love and over whom we will certainly grieve. That thread expands from deep isolation to outright anger. Worry is another casualty-harbinger. Still others miss the mark completely when confronted with the heaviness of dying and loss as we saw today in the Gospel: “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” There was Jesus standing right in front of these learned people with the very answer to life’s most perplexing question “why do we have to die?” and the only intelligent remark offered was hardly astute. This was because the larger picture was not appreciated due to their lack of faith and grave suspicion of Jesus. “Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.”

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

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

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November 25, 2018


Reading 1 – DN 7:13-14

As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 93:1, 1-2, 5

R. (1A) The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

Reading 2 – RV 1:5-8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, ” says the Lord God,
“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

Alleluia – MK 11:9, 10

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

Gospel – JN 18:33B-37

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

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Christ The King


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 25, 2018

“His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.” What a marvelous and glorious way to end the Church’s calendar year with the Feast of Christ the King! Next Sunday, we begin all over again with the First Sunday of Advent, but for now, let us finish a full year of faith and hopefully much spiritual growth since the last time we were at this “Movable Feast.” Why movable? Because in a very mysterious and providential way, we take this moment with us wherever we go, preparing one day to stand, as it were, face-to-face with Jesus when everything is said and done. “The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.” So my friends, one day it will indeed be our last reflection, our final use of our intellect on this planet, and the final moment to use the time we have been given to discover our purpose in this life and to uncover the courage necessary to meet the challenges we face daily.

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

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November 26, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 14:1-3, 4B-5

I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion,
and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand
who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
I heard a sound from heaven
like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder.
The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.
They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne,
before the four living creatures and the elders.
No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand
who had been ransomed from the earth.
These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
They have been ransomed as the first fruits
of the human race for God and the Lamb.
On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.

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

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
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 – MT 24:42A, 44

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

Gospel – LK 21:1-4

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

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Two Small Coins


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 26, 2018

“These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” You can always tell what sort of person you are meeting by which direction the conversation takes concerning what is important right now in life. For some people, there will be a certain relationship that takes precedence or a new home, job or prized possession. Basically, we reveal to others who we are by what we believe is of top priority. How long does it take us to talk about anything spiritual when conversing with others? Now this is decisively different than talking about religion or politics, subjects which in and of themselves do not have any real conclusions or winners, but it is the value of heaven and eternal things that is the source of topics we are mentioning here. “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.” What is truly central and important should be very obvious to those who know me and also love me. That is because we have met the Lamb that was slain to set us free forever. “They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.”

The same is true about what people do with their money. There is perhaps no greater barometer of priorities than to assess what people believe is worth paying for or purchasing and to what extent. “When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.” When the Lord saw what the poor widow was offering, He knew right away that it was the height of generosity, love and faith. The good news for all of us today is Jesus can see right through the otherwise misleading and confusing appearances and what truly constitutes value. As we near the First Sunday of Advent, it is clear that we are called to take another look at our lives and see what we have been doing with them thus far. It is a necessary task and one that will bring great peace. “Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.”

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November 27, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 14:14-19

I, John, looked and there was a white cloud,
and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man,
with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Another angel came out of the temple,
crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud,
“Use your sickle and reap the harvest,
for the time to reap has come,
because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.”
So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth,
and the earth was harvested.

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven
who also had a sharp sickle.
Then another angel came from the altar, who was in charge of the fire,
and cried out in a loud voice
to the one who had the sharp sickle,
“Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines,
for its grapes are ripe.”
So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage.
He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury.

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

R. (13B) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia – RV 2:10C

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

Gospel – LK 21:5-11

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

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

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How Does It End?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 27, 2018

After a quick review of human history, it sees as if there has been a long and protracted preoccupation with the idea of how a person’s life and the world will end. The end of the universe as we know it has been a fascination of all cultures and all peoples for a long time including the Scriptures today: “Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.” In the Gospel, the worry about the last days was becoming neurotic: “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them!”

Imagine spending a pretty penny on a novel or movie only to be told as you began reading and/or watching, how the plot would be resolved and who would die, survive, marry, get arrested, etc. You would probably be thinking: “Spoiler Alert!” Why did you bother spending money on this? That concept works with entertainment venues but it does not work with regards to our Salivation. “The Lord comes to judge the earth.” Jesus has already set the stage for our triumphant and glorious entry into heaven but we must take the necessary steps to get there. So this is what we know about the end of our world: a) it is going to happen, 2) it is going to happen when we least suspect, 3) there is no need for fear, just action: “Remain faithful until death, And I will give you the crown of life.”

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November 28, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 15:1-4

I, John, saw in heaven another sign, great and awe-inspiring:
seven angels with the seven last plagues,
for through them God’s fury is accomplished.

Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire.
On the sea of glass were standing those
who had won the victory over the beast
and its image and the number that signified its name.
They were holding God’s harps,
and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God,
and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and wonderful are your works,
Lord God almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
O king of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
or glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All the nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 7-8, 9

R. (REV. 15: 3B) Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia – RV 2:10C

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

Gospel – LK 21:12-19

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

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What God Has Done


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 28, 2018

“Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty.” We arise from our sleep every single morning totally unaware of what has transpired the past seven to eight hours. The Lord God has kept the world spinning, intact and basically in order given the number of accidents and natural disasters that do in fact take place. But truly it is all simply amazing how God keeps everything running and operating which underscores the simple but beautiful words of the little song, “He’s Got the Whole in His Hands.”

This is of extreme importance in our walk with God because many times our lives seem out of order, unorganized and even chaotic. Bad and disappointing things happen which may tempt us to believe that somehow the Lord has abandoned us which is precisely why we constantly need to remember what marvels God has done and keeps on accomplishing. How do we translate this into our spiritual lives? “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” Here are some examples: Keep your promises especially if it takes more effort than anticipated; never betray a friend’s trust; avoid gossip; remain true to your friends and spouse; return money that you have found without expecting a reward; always know that Jesus is present when making choices, big or small. These are but a few and there will certainly be more revealed throughout the day. This is how the Lord would put it: “Remain faithful until death, And I will give you the crown of life.”

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November 29, 2018


Reading 1 – RV 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9A

I, John, saw another angel coming down from heaven,
having great authority,
and the earth became illumined by his splendor.
He cried out in a mighty voice:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
She has become a haunt for demons.
She is a cage for every unclean spirit,
a cage for every unclean bird,
a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”

A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone
and threw it into the sea and said:

“With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down,
and will never be found again.
No melodies of harpists and musicians,
flutists and trumpeters,
will ever be heard in you again.
No craftsmen in any trade
will ever be found in you again.
No sound of the millstone
will ever be heard in you again.
No light from a lamp
will ever be seen in you again.
No voices of bride and groom
will ever be heard in you again.
Because your merchants were the great ones of the world,
all nations were led astray by your magic potion.”

After this I heard what sounded like
the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying:

“Alleluia!
Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God,
for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

They said a second time:

“Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever.”

Then the angel said to me, “Write this:
Blessed are those who have been called
to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

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

R. (Rev. 19: 9A) Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
For he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Alleluia – LK 21:28

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

Gospel – LK 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”

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The Daily Dress Rehearsal


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 29, 2018

“Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’” There is an interesting correlation between each day of our lives and our life in its entirety. Is there a better way to put that? Perhaps. How about this? Every day is a dress rehearsal for our last day. You see, just like we do in life, we begin each day by opening our eyes and taking our first breath in the morning. And, if only after the first three cups of coffee or so, we start to truly engage our lives for the events of the next couple of hours, we know we need to make the most of it because it will be over sometime after the sun goes down when we change clothes, place our tired bodies into clean sheets and close our eyes. Sounds like how they will lay us all to rest for good. The problem with the preoccupation of the final end of time is that we lose the value and the beauty of each single moment that creates the mosaic of life itself. None of us wants to miss a single moment, a single day to learn, to love or to laugh. Just like a full day of committed work and vision and purpose produces a very good night’s sleep, a full life filled with meaning and love of God will enact a great eternity with the one for whom we long.

“…in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near.” All of the days and nights are filled with hellos and goodbyes, bursts of laughter and tears, and a mixture of tremendous peace and clarity intertwined with moments of anxiety. To be sure, the end of this day is coming and the end of this life as we know is also on the docket for dismissal. This is where the daily faith in Jesus steps right in to make all things new again. This is definitely a dress rehearsal and the more practice at life the better we become. Don’t worry about all the bad news in the world or even in your life should that be the case. There is very simple plan: “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

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November 30, 2018


Reading 1 – ROM 10:9-18

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

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

Alleluia – MT 4:19

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

Gospel – MT 4:18-22

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

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Feast of St. Andrew


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 30, 2018

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

You’ve got to be prepared.  “And how can people preach unless they are sent?”
You’ve got to get up early.  “At once they left their nets and followed him.”
You’ve got to be quiet.  “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.”
You’ve got to wait.  “Thus faith comes from what is heard…through the word of Christ.”
You’ve got to be determined.  “The command of the LORD is clear enlightening the eye.”
You’ve got to enjoy the process.  “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!”

Let us conclude our Reflection today with the brilliant prayer of St. Andrew whose feast is today:

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

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