The Word of God

January 1, 2019


Reading 1 – NM 6:22-27

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

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

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

Reading 2 – GAL 4:4-7

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

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

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

Gospel – LK 2:16-21

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

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

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A New Year of Blessings


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 1, 2019

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” It seems that everyone who had any kind of encounter with the first Christmas was never, ever the same again. Just think about this for a minute. Everyone directly or indirectly touched by that first night that has transformed the world every December 25, was somehow internally transformed and their world was changed forever. The shepherds, in particular, would never look at their sheep in the same way. They could never gaze up into the cold night sky and forget how the blackness of the universe opened up like a gushing flow of light and song. Never. The Magi were so changed in their life mission that they returned home by a totally different route. Mary and Joseph knew instinctively that things could never be the same as well. 

As you and I begin a brand new year with all the promises and hopes and dreams that we can muster, we think of those lowly shepherds, Wise Men and Mary and Joseph who faced a new career, of sorts. None of them could have stayed quiet. How could it be so? Christ’s birth shone upon not only great light but a new and glorious morning. It was the quintessential thrill of hope and it still rings out today. It is indeed a most powerful and loving blessing: “The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!” 

The same miracle can happen to you and me if we allow this past Christmas to impact us the way the first Christmas did. It truly is up to us to make this Christmas gift keep on giving day after day into the New Year. What do you say? Let’s do this! Happy New Year! Happy new career!

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January 2, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:22-28

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

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

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

Gospel – JN 1:19-28

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

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

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Liar, Liar


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 2, 2019

According to a very interesting study about human behavior, the number one reason why people lie was discovered to be found in an astounding conclusion. They do not tell the truth because lying does matter … to them. The liar, then, is that person who realizes and believes that by telling the truth, their lives must be somehow unalterably changed, sometimes forever and because of one reason or another, it is that transition or transformation which they find unacceptable that provides the context by which a lie is issued forth. This makes perfect sense given the text of our First Reading today from St. John, the beloved Apostle: “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.” 

Another St. John today, that being John the Baptist, adds even a more telling, rich and gut-wrenching fabric to our reflection. “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” These words would cost him his earthly life at the hands of one of the most notorious liars in Biblical history, that of King Herod the madman. You see, Herodias, and by extension her second husband, Herod, would not accept the message of the Baptist and the one who was to come and therefore attempted to snuff out the truth with a lie’s most awful and horrendous logical conclusion, death. 

In these literally first few hours of the New Year, we have been invited, once again, to live in the light of truth and never look back. That light is Jesus and His words are truth: “And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.” The Lord clearly is asking us to drink in the beauty of truth of which He is the source and live in this familiar light for the rest of this New Year and the rest of our lives. Perhaps we could agree with an anonymous statement found etched in an old book: “Liars take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take a knife, cut the cord and free themselves from such fools.” 

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January 3, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:29–3:6

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

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 1:14A, 12A

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

Gospel – JN 1:29-34

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

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What Wondrous Love Is This?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 3, 2019

In 1811, a remarkably beautiful hymn was written entitled with a question that we could address to ourselves today: “What Wondrous Love is This?” When you think about it, it truly is an amazing question to ask in the first week of the New Year. What kind of magnificent love is it that inspired and propelled God to send His Son Jesus Christ to be born in a filthy manger, live a poor life, then be crucified for our sins? Perhaps a line from our First Reading helps us answer this profound question: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.”

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

This wondrous, wonderful love that still echoes for us in this beautiful Christmas Season reveals the height and depth of such a love that carries us beyond our life here on earth to an eternal Christmas in heaven: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Let us move forward in this New Year with new resolve and new hope. Darkness cannot and will not extinguish what we have been given. We will sing: “And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and through eternity I’ll sing on!”

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular person made New Year resolutions, they would make no resolutions. Unless we start afresh about things, we will certainly do nothing effective. G. K. Chesterton

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January 4, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:7-10

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 7-8, 9

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

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

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

Gospel – JN 1:35-42

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

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Seeing Is Believing


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 4, 2019

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

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

May the beautiful lights of every Christmas Season remind us of Him who is the source of all light. David A. Rednar

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January 5, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:11-21

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

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

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

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

Alleluia

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

Gospel – JN 1:43-51

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

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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 5, 2019

The Christmas mystery brought us many gifts and as we anticipate the visit of the Magi for Epiphany, it is important to realize that one of those supreme benefits was clarity. That is, the ability to recognize good from evil, beauty from ugliness. This journey is made even more clear from our First Reading of today: “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous.” This remarkable drama continues on as we continue through a brand new and brave new year. How are we to adopt this clarity and hold on to it throughout our lives?

“You will see greater things than this.” The Gospel has our answer. Again it is Jesus and only Jesus. By keeping our eyes fixed upon Him who was born to us and following Him throughout this year no matter what the cost, we will indeed see great things in our lives. This is why we know very well that a “holy day has dawned upon us and a great light has come upon the earth.” We are hereby invited to extend this mystery of life and love and intense hope about how our lives are to proceed especially in this brand new year, not even a week old. And with that awe-filled invitation we could also remember the words of some of the wisest advice anyone could ever read: “Don’t tell God how big your storm is; tell the storm how big your God is.” 

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January 6, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 60:1-6

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

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

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

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

Reading 2 – EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6

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

Alleluia – MT 2:2

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

Gospel – MT 2:1-12

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

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

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Who Did You Get For Christmas?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 6, 2019

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

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

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. John Milton

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January 7, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:22–4:6

Beloved:
We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.

Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 2:7BC-8, 10-12A

R. (8AB)  I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, “ou are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

Alleluia – SEE MT 4:23

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

Gospel – MT 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

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Racked With Pain


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 7, 2019

“His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them.” Of the many aspects of the mission of Jesus to the human race as chronicled in the Scriptures, we can most certainly all agree that He came to relieve pain and cure those who are broken. This should be of remarkable comfort and relief especially for those among us who are carrying huge burdens. The world was waiting for such a Savior with such a realm of healing and resolution that when Jesus finally came, many were still so absorbed by their own pain that they could not or perhaps would not recognize Him: “…the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

As we proceed with somewhat great haste through this new year, it makes perfect sense to remember two levels and realms of pain: the pain we carry and that of others around us. Suffering can make us feel isolated and exiled from the human race and it can also numb us to the crosses that others are bearing all around us. Thus, the presence of suffering in our lives can propel or repel us from the light of Christ. We must make the fundamental option to love Jesus first above all and then move forward with the Spirit that He so generously gave us: “Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us.”

I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. Anne Frank

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January 8, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 4:7-10

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8

R. (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – MK 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?  Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

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Give Them Some Food


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 8, 2019

“He said to them in reply, ‘Give them some food yourselves.’” It is perhaps some of the greatest Scriptural advice we can receive in this brave new year which we have been presented in the Readings today when we are invited to look around our lives and see those who are in need and who are literally calling out for help and sustenance. “Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.” The Lord’s promise to each and every one of us today is complete with His desire that all be fed and all be comforted. His wonderful invitation also includes a personal guarantee: I will be there among you when you act in my name. 

All this is predicated and dependent on one simple but extraordinary aspect: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” Love is everything. It is what drove the Son of man from heaven to earth to suffer, die and rise on the third day for all our sins. It is what moves the wheels of history and our own lives to the great, bright promise of immortality. We are hence convinced and motivated by the truth that we all have a mission and the power from the Holy Spirit to accomplish it: “The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives.” Today and every day we will encounter the large field of life filled with opportunities to serve and be the light of Christ to others. This is how we feed each other. Let us all be that “movable feast” for others to meet the Lord Jesus. 

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. St. Teresa of Calcutta

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January 9, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 4:11-18

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

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

R. (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – SEE 1 TM 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to you, O Christ, proclaimed to the Gentiles.
Glory to you, O Christ, believed in throughout the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

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Storm Walking


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 9, 2019

“Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea.” In today’s Gospel, we have all been gifted with one of the more famous and breathtaking moments in all of the Scriptures, at least in the top ten! Try to imagine the scene where hurricane-force gale winds are blowing mercilessly against a tiny boat while the crashing sounds of the thunder in the distance are only rivaled by the crashing of the waves. The drama unfolds in three distinct phases: first, there’s a horrible storm that scares everyone on board; second, they see Jesus walking over the storm, literally, thinking He is a ghost; third, Jesus utters the most iconic words of comfort born from faith, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” and then calms everyone’s storm. This process is the quintessential outline and summary of our spiritual lives. We face our storms of doubt, we call upon Jesus, He makes His loving presence known and empowers us to believe, then we doubt again and the cycle starts all over again but each time it does, we are actually closer and closer to Jesus who never leaves our ship of life. 

This episode raises the age-long question that has faced every Christian since Jesus first walked the earth: why do we doubt and how do we deal with this very human and expected experience? First, doubt is a natural process of every intellectual and moral process. It is almost necessary because it is a way of strengthening our ideals and beliefs but it must never overtake the very treasure we are trying to discover. We must realize that doubt is part of natural growing pains of faith and having said that, it is also a mystery. No one human being could ever totally grasp the fullness of who God is, so understandably there will be gaps due to our limitations. “No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” Gaps do not make for abandoning Jesus or why we are here on this planet. Perhaps the greatest spiritual gift we need when confronted with doubt is humility. Humility reminds us that faith is a powerful gift that must be opened slowly and without pretense. This is precisely how we run to Jesus through every storm we encounter on the water and everywhere else. 

Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty. Brene Brown

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January 10, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 4:19–5:4

Beloved, we love God because
he first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,”
but hates his brother, he is a liar;
for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen
cannot love God whom he has not seen.
This is the commandment we have from him:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 14 AND 15BC, 17

R. (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
From fraud and violence he shall redeem them,
and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
May they be prayed for continually;
day by day shall they bless him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – LK 4:14-22

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.

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I Love You More


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 10, 2019

“Beloved, we love God because he first loved us.” From time to time, we hear people in a relationship say things like “I loved you first,” and “I love you more.” At times, this can be troubling because it could appear that someone is about to start a fight or worse, trying to out-do the other or belittle the other. When God says this to us, it takes on a completely wonderful and different perspective, one, hopefully, that brings us into His loving heart and thus allows us to love each other with a deeper sense of compassion, honesty and selflessness. “This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

God’s love for us is as mysterious as the very nature of God Himself. It is completely awesome and overwhelming especially when you realize how you and I utter these words and act upon our love for one another. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him.” There is yet another magnificent aspect to all this for us today who are reading the Scriptures and are attempting to live a good life full of love. There is a deep and intricate connection between the love we have for God, for others and ourselves. The stronger the one, the stronger the others. But they are not the same nor could they be. If we accept that God has loved us first with an everlasting love, then it will undoubtedly translate into a very patient and loving approach to everyone we meet today, even those who make life harder for us. Especially for those.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. St. Augustine

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January 11, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 5:5-13

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (12A)  Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE MT 4:23

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

Gospel – LK 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I do will it.  Be made clean.”
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

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The Victory Of Humility


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 11, 2019

“Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” The same misinterpretation of the nature and person of Christ in the first moments that our Savior walked the planet is often the same misappropriations that are made in the modern age that keep so many others from recognizing and thus loving the one who died to free us. It was His complete and pure humility that placed Jesus in complete and unyielding union with God that brought victory to all He touched and endeavored. The same is true for every believer. This is why arrogance and pride are such horrible enemies of the Gospel and the believer. Arrogance, as the proverb says, is a kingdom without a crown. 

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

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.  C. S. Lewis

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January 12, 2019


Reading 1 – 1 JN 5:14-21

Beloved:
We have this confidence in him
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask,
we know that what we have asked him for is ours.
If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly,
he should pray to God and he will give him life.
This is only for those whose sin is not deadly.
There is such a thing as deadly sin,
about which I do not say that you should pray.
All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.

We know that anyone begotten by God does not sin;
but the one begotten by God he protects,
and the Evil One cannot touch him.
We know that we belong to God,
and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.
We also know that the Son of God has come
and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.
And we are in the one who is true,
in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Children, be on your guard against idols.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 4:16

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

Gospel – JN 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”

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Confidence And Holiness


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 12, 2019

“We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” In many if not in all walks of life, there seems to be a delicate balance and struggle with the notion of confidence. Too little of it creates an emotional vacuum which spells disaster and harm while an overabundance of it has the enormous potential of terrible results and inflated egos that could fill several football stadiums. How do we reach a healthy and holy balance? “We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.” Precisely. Once we acknowledge and work tirelessly for that heart-beating, eye-opening relationship with Jesus we would never have a clue what is true humility and what is false confidence. 

“So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease.”  Perhaps if we were to return to the very meaning of the word, we would almost immediately realize that it comes from the two words “with faith.” Right there we have an almost immediate revealing clue as to the depth of richness that is ours when we place all our hope and trust in the Lord. Then and only then would we have an opening into solid strength and growing holiness which we all need to survive in this world. Our ego and selfish tendencies must decrease while our time spent with the Lord must in fact increase to make a solid return to Him without reserve. This is what is meant by walking out of darkness into the light of the Lord: “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

Be patient with yourself. Perfection comes not in this life, but in the next life. Don’t demand things that are unreasonable, but demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord help you through that, He will make the difference.  Russell M. Nelson

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January 13, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 42:1-4, 6-7

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

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

Or – IS  40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.

Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by a strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

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

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

Or – PS 104:1B-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30

R. (1)  O bless the Lord, my soul.
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
you are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
You have spread out the heavens like a tent-cloth;
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
You have constructed your palace upon the waters.
You make the clouds your chariot;
you travel on the wings of the wind.
You make the winds your messengers,
and flaming fire your ministers.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them allC
the earth is full of your creatures;
the sea also, great and wide,
in which are schools without number
of living things both small and great.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
They look to you to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
If you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.

Reading 2 – ACTS 10:34-38

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

Or – TI 2:11-14; 3:4-7

Beloved:
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 our great God
and 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.

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.

Alleluia – CF. MK 9:7

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

Or – CF. LK 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
John said: One mightier than I is coming;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

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Alive With Baptism


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 13, 2019

Today is the Great Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus. On this day, we have reason to ask ourselves some very important questions about our destiny and our future. Why were we born into this World? What is our purpose? Where are we going? These very deep and important questions are found providentially in our Readings today. “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.” The basic truth that is worth our deliberations and content of our prayers is simply this: We have been saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came so that we might live. No mere human being could ever achieve this. He was sent by the Father and enriched and empowered by the Holy Spirit. “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” This truly makes us “alive” with the baptism that breathes into our very being and souls to become one with Him and bring hope to a despairing world. 

“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.” When we accept the full ramifications and responsibilities of being baptized Christians in this world, our lives change, our perspectives change, then, slowly but surely, the world changes. It changes because it becomes alive, alive with baptism, water made holy when Jesus stepped into the Jordan River. Baptism is an outward testimony of an inward transformation. It is the first step of obedience for a disciple of Christ and by it we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. 

God brings us into deep waters not to drown us but to cleanse us. James H. Aughey

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January 14, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he spoke to us through the Son,
whom he made heir of all things
and through whom he created the universe,

who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you?
Or again:
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a Son to me?
And again, when he leads the first born into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him

Responsorial Psalm – PS 97:1 AND 2B, 6 AND 7C, 9

R. (see 7C) Let all his angels worship him.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Let all his angels worship him.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
Let all his angels worship him.
R. Let all his angels worship him.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.
R. Let all his angels worship him.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – MK 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

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Give Me What Is Real


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 14, 2019

The Gallup News Service issued their finding about Faith and the impact on the life of Americans. They discovered that when people finally show up at church, the clergy often has its work cut out for it, because some in attendance may not fully appreciate why they are there. An earlier Gallup survey found that only eight in ten Protestant and Catholic adults understand the religious significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, while two in ten either misunderstood it or readily admitted they could not even hazard a guess. If we were approached by anyone who really did not have a clue and wanted sincerely to know more about Christ, the simple answer is most likely the best one. Let’s look at three overwhelmingly beautiful significantly bold statements we can make to the world about the meaning of our faith in the Lord:

Jesus is real: “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe.” Someone responded beautifully and sincerely to a person who claimed that God is dead, or at least, dead to that person. He simply turned to him and said, “Oh, I know He is alive and real…I just spoke with Him this morning!” Jesus loves us and wants us to be close to Him: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” “I asked Jesus, ‘How much do you love me?’ Jesus replied, ‘This much.” And he stretched his arms on the cross and died. Jesus has a mission for all of us: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Only Jesus can turn: a mess to a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory.  Poster hanging in a classroom

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January 15, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 2:5-12

It was not to angels that God subjected the world to come,
of which we are speaking.
Instead, someone has testified somewhere:

What is man that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you crowned him with glory and honor,
subjecting all things under his feet.

In “subjecting” all things to him,
he left nothing not “subject to him.”
Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,”
but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor”
because he suffered death,
he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,”
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

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

I will proclaim your name to my brethren,
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (see 7) You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

Alleluia – SEE 1 THES 2:13

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

Gospel – MK 1:21-28

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

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Evil Cannot Win


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 15, 2019

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

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

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January 16, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 2:14-18

Since the children share in blood and Flesh,
Jesus likewise shared in them,
that through death he might destroy the one
who has the power of death, that is, the Devil,
and free those who through fear of death
had been subject to slavery all their life.
Surely he did not help angels
but rather the descendants of Abraham;
therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way,
that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
to expiate the sins of the people.
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
he is able to help those who are being tested.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8A)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.  Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – MK 1:29-39

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

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

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

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Everyone Is Looking For You


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 16, 2019

“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’” This powerful segment from the Gospel of today is loaded with tremendous spiritual insights that we could actually spend an entire hour just unraveling and taking apart all the treasure that is found in this one passage. Let’s take a look at this carefully: Prayer is the first priority of Jesus. We are told that before anything else took place, Jesus remained in complete and solemn union with the Father. Second, He went to a deserted place, free from the daily grind and distractions that befall every person in life. Third, we know that even though He knew that many would be calling upon Him but rather than go straight into the day, He prepared Himself so that he would be totally prepared and ready to face whatever was ahead. 

Today, like every day we have been given, is an opportunity to act like Jesus. Find that deserted space and go there. Find union with the Father and then fill yourself with the confidence that comes from knowing that even though everyone is looking for you, depending upon you, needing you in some way, you need God first and placing the Lord at the top of your list makes everything else fall into place. 

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January 17, 2019


Feast of Saint Anthony, Abbot 

Reading 1 – HEB 3:7-14

The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
“Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, ‘They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter into my rest.'”

Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,”
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 95:6-7C, 8-9, 10-11

R. (8)  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Forty years I was wearied of that generation;
I said: “This people’s heart goes astray,
they do not know my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my anger:
“They shall never enter my rest.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Alleluia – SEE MT 4:23

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

Gospel – MK 1:40-45

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

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Make Me Clean


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 17, 2019

“I do will it. Be made clean.” As we continue on our spiritual journey toward our final goal of Heaven, we encounter challenges, problems and serious issues that befall us along the way. One of the very obvious hurdles that we face is illness and sickness, whether physical, emotional and spiritual. As we review and reflect on the wonderful Scriptures for today, we realize that not only do we want peace and health in this life, Our Lord Jesus wants the very same thing for us. He wants for us to praise Him with all our heart and mind and soul intact and that means a constant approach to praying for and seeking healing in our lives and in the lives of those around us. “Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people.”

Make every effort throughout this day and week, now more than half through the first month of the new year, and make sure that our heart is pure, our motives are upright and our intentions are good and forgiving. “Encourage yourselves daily while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.” In this very positive way of living, we become coworkers of the Gospel with each other and remarkable close friends with Jesus. This is what He asks of us today and we are given all the grace we need to fulfill it. Let’s see what this day brings for us and others. “We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.”

Saint Anthony, you spoke of the importance of persevering in our faith and our practice. Help us to wake up each day with new zeal for the Christian life and a desire to take the next challenge instead of just sitting still. Amen.

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January 18, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 4:1-5, 11

Let us be on our guard
while the promise of entering into his rest remains,
that none of you seem to have failed.
For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did.
But the word that they heard did not profit them,
for they were not united in faith with those who listened.
For we who believed enter into that rest,
just as he has said:

As I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter into my rest,”

and yet his works were accomplished
at the foundation of the world.
For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner,
And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;
and again, in the previously mentioned place,
They shall not enter into my rest. 

Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest,
so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 78:3 AND 4BC, 6C-7, 8

R. (see 7B)  Do not forget the works of the Lord!
What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
That they too may rise and declare to their sons
that they should put their hope in God,
And not forget the deeds of God
but keep his commands.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
And not be like their fathers,
a generation wayward and rebellious,
A generation that kept not its heart steadfast
nor its spirit faithful toward God.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!

Alleluia – LK 7:16

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

Gospel – MK 2:1-12

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

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On Guard


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 18, 2019

“Let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains, that none of you seem to have failed.” We have been given yet another opportunity to furnish our spiritual journeys with the ways and means to approach the very best in this world and avoid what is truly evil, seemingly at times, all around us. Both of the First Readings and Gospel speak of tangible ways that we should approach our daily call to move closer and closer to heaven. 

“Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him.” In the Gospel there is a comforting and heart-warming aspect to remaining vigilant and waiting upon the Lord in our daily lives: we need help. The friends of the paralytic actually cut a hole out of the roof in order to bring their sick friend in need of a profound miracle straight to Jesus. This is significant for us in a variety of ways. We need to ask for help from those whom we trust who are also believers. We need to respond to pleas of help from those around us, even if it’s a simple request for prayers. Especially if it is a request for prayers. The power of spiritual friendship can never be reduced to speculation. Jesus responded beautifully to the group effort of faith and He still does. 

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January 19, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 4:12-16

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (see John 6:63C)  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. 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. 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. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – MK 2:13-17

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

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A Two-edged Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 19, 2019

“The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Several dictionary entries describe the condition of a two-or double-edge sword as something that has or can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences. Since the Letter to the Hebrews describes the Word of God as sharper than a two-edged sword, we must conclude and accept the awesome fact that every time we hear or read the Scriptures, there is the not-so-remote possibility that something good as well as something tragic could happen. The first concern perhaps held by many of our readers would be surrounding the strategy or ways we can know how to keep the optimum consequences flowing over and above the negative ones. 

The Gospel of this same day provides us with such a methodology and comforting resolution to handling the two-edged sword of the most powerful words we should ever want to hear on the planet: “Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me.’” The only sure-fire way to approach the daily call to holiness leading us all the way to our final destination in heaven is simple and beautiful. We follow Jesus. We listen to Him, immerse ourselves in fruitful and comforting prayer and then repeat this life-giving cycle every single morning of our lives.  

The sharp two-edged sword of the Word of God is without a dull book, a blunt chapter, or a flat verse. Steven Lawson

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January 20, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken, ”
or your land “Desolate, ”
but you shall be called “My Delight, ”
and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10

R. (3) Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth;
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 12:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
same Spirit;
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Alleluia – CF. 2 THES 2:14

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

Gospel – JN 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told the them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.

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Wedding Wisdom


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 20, 2019

“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet.” There is a compelling discussion that is launched with the images behind the Readings today on this beautiful sabbath of the Lord. It revolves around the seriously impending concern about the decline of marriage in the relationship of grown adults many of whom have chosen simply to live together with little or no commitment for a wide variety of given reasons. For this reason, the depth and long-lasting beauty of the images provided that reveal the type and breadth of the relationship that God wants of us would only be truly understood in the context of a marital vow: “For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”

God has a unique and wonderful plan for each and everyone of us and that purpose is always for the good for the individual and for the world. By that same token, each has been given specific gifts and graces to accomplish the plan that they have been assigned and freely given. “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Adequately speaking, if everyone understood, accepted and then carried out this remarkable teaching, then the world would be a very different and amazing place to live, beyond all of our most optimistic of imaginings. As this is true between two people in love and the families they bring into existence, so it is true in the Church and in society. This brings us to the Wedding Feast of Cana where Jesus took six stone water jar with a capacity of about twenty-five gallons each and turned the water into wine. Although this is a caterer’s dream come true, the number clearly refers back to the six days of creation as described in Genesis of which St. John was completely affected and versed. The great number of actual wine bottles such a miraculous moment would have created, more than eight hundred or so, is an even more stellar symbol of the over-flowing love that God has for us, total, complete, committed and faithful until death, just like marriage. “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

One of the highest representations of the image of God is a husband and wife serving each other. Dr. Tim Kimmel

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January 21, 2019


Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Reading 1 – HEB 5:1-10

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

just as he says in another place,
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

In the days when he was in the Flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (4B) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
“Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia – HEB 4:12

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

Gospel – MK 2:18-22

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

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Listen And Live


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 21, 2019

Perhaps among the top ten most understood terms used in common speech, we find the lonely word “obey.” In some circles, and this of course is wide-open for debate, obedience means to blindly follow the order of another, usually one in authority or with power over us, given or taken, usually with dire consequences if the orders are not completed or compliant. This is certainly understandable being that if a person in the military or other chain of command formats does not follow orders, that is, to obey a command, then there are serious and disastrous repercussions. However, to play this right, the word at its very heart means to be subject, serve, pay attention to, give ear, and thus literally, “to listen to.” This hopefully adds much needed understanding to our First Reading today and what awesome application it has for us: “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Jesus obeyed because He listened constantly to His heavenly Father and this intimate continuing dialogue ensured eternal holiness while it makes the same promises for each one of us who would be listening to the one who loves us with everything. 

The Gospel, then, completes these thought developments with a very insightful and clever image: “Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined.” We live in a sinful and wounded world. This much is true. But we also live in a milieu of darkness with the brightest of lights deep within us. This much is certain because of Jesus. Then, at last, before going out into this bold universe, we must first listen, that is, obey the Lord and attempt to conduct ourselves with the truth of the Gospel and navigate through a veritable labyrinth or maze of choices enlightened by the Word: “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Alleluia Verse) In this way, we will pour in new intentions, new vigor and new strength into our otherwise tired moments and be revitalized. So today, take some time and just be with God even if it is in your vehicle or in-between some necessary chore that was due two hours ago. Shhhhhhhh! Just listen.   

“O glorious St. Agnes, You served God in humility and confidence on earth and are now in the enjoyment of His beatific Vision in heaven because you persevered till death and gained the crown of eternal life. Remember now the dangers that surround me in the vale of tears, and intercede for me in my needs and troubles. Amen.”

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January 22, 2019


Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

Reading 1 – HEB 6:10-20

Brothers and sisters:
God is not unjust so as to overlook your work
and the love you have demonstrated for his name
by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.
We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness
for the fulfillment of hope until the end,
so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who,
through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham,
since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
and said, I will indeed bless you and multiply you.
And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.
Now, men swear by someone greater than themselves;
for them an oath serves as a guarantee
and puts an end to all argument.
So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise
an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose,
he intervened with an oath,
so that by two immutable things,
in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged
to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.
This we have as an anchor of the soul,
sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,
where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner,
becoming high priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 AND 10C

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

Alleluia – SEE EPH 1:17-18

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

Gospel – MK 2:23-28

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

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Give It A Rest


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 22, 2019

In our First Reading, we witnessed the beautiful and meaningful promise that God makes to all of us regarding how we use our time and how we give back to others: “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.” The text clearly understands the right order of things in the spiritual universe, as Jesus recalled and reminded the Pharisees in St. Mark’s Gospel: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” You see, the Sabbath is much more than law, but rather and truly a gift of God’s care for all of us. He rested on the seventh day not out of fatigue, but to show how a fruitful life should be lived, with enough time for re-creation and renewal. Our redemption from sin and death are truly the work of God and not us. He has literally “done all the work.” Now, for this glorious break, He wants us to enjoy!

You and I unfortunately tend to rush through our busy week, maybe offering God a fleeting wave or a passing prayer. Sunday, the Sabbath, however, calls us to true and thought-out decision with real intention. We are simply to stop from all the other things we had to do or must do or have to do, and spend quality time with Him and focus attention on Him. When we decide to obey, that is, listen to the Fourth Commandment, we become aware of the astounding and comforting truth that we really belong to God. It is not the Sabbath that we worship but the one who has initiated the Sabbath as we swim in a sort of a memorial in time, a useful tool to help us focus our attention on our awesome destiny. This Sunday, try to remember this Reflection. Take a different approach to Sunday and let God be at peace with you and for you. Cut out any unnecessary activity and focus on your hope of heaven. Then perhaps we may truly appreciate the blessing of St. Paul for us as cited from the Letter to the Ephesians in the Alleluia Verse of today: “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.” 

This is precisely why the Sabbath is given to us to renew and resurrect our trust in the Lord for His power and strength to meet our challenges as Jesus reminded the Pharisees in the Gospel today: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” Many readers may remember an excellent phrase with which we close today: “Don’t tell God how big your problems are; rather tell your problems how big your God is.” Amen.

“Loving God, I thank you for the gift of life you gave and continue to give to me and to all of us. Merciful God, I ask your pardon and forgiveness for my own failure and the failure of all people to respect and foster all forms of life in our universe. Gracious God, I pray that with your grace, I and all people will reverence, protect, and promote all life and that we will be especially sensitive to the life of the unborn, the abused, neglected, disabled, and the elderly. I pray, too, that all who make decisions about life in any form will do so with wisdom, love, and courage. Living God, I praise and glorify you as Father, Destiny of all life, as Son, Savior of our lives, and as Spirit, Sanctifier of our lives. Amen.”  Prayer of St. John Paul II for the Unborn

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January 23, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 7:1-3, 15-17

Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High,
met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings

and blessed him.
And Abraham apportioned to him a tenth of everything.
His name first means righteous king,
and he was also “king of Salem,” that is, king of peace.
Without father, mother, or ancestry,
without beginning of days or end of life,
thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

It is even more obvious if another priest is raised up
after the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become so,
not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent
but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.
For it is testified:

You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (4B)  You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
“Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia – SEE MT 4:23

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

Gospel – MK 3:1-6

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

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Home Stretch


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 23, 2019

“Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High, met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings and blessed him.” From the very micro second that Adam and Eve made that infamous departure from the most idyllic and wonderful of places of existence, our Lord God has been completely focused on healing our souls and getting us all back home to heaven forever. This great hope for all humanity is finalized and fully realized in the Incarnation of the Word of God, Jesus the Christ, High Priest and King. This is why the reference to Melchizedek is critical. You see, he was the first to posses both functions and roles at the same time, king and priest. His offering on the altars is also pivotal. Rather than live animals as was usually proscribed, Melchizedek offered bread and wine, preparing the universe for our beautiful Messiah. 

“Jesus said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.” The Gospel is likewise dramatic and noteworthy. In the ancient languages including Hebrew and Greek, the word for Adam, humanity and a man were nearly synonymous. Thus today’s depiction of the miracle is appreciated on several levels. First, the individual person who was healed from a shriveled infirmity, the people waiting for the Messiah then and there were shown a glimpse into Revelation, and finally all of humanity is posed to be saved by the death and resurrection of the one who called out to stretch out the hand to be healed and forgiven and saved into eternity. As you pray this evening, simply make a gesture of stretching out your hand to Jesus. Experience His love and grace so that your dreams stay big and worries small while realizing how much you are  loved and making peace with all you meet.

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist. Mahatma Gandhi

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January 24, 2019


Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales

Reading 1 – HEB 7:25—8:6

Jesus 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.

The main point of what has been said is this:
we have such a high priest,
who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary
and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices;
thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.
If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest,
since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,
as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle.
For God says, “See that you make everything
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry
as he is mediator of a better covenant,
enacted on better promises.

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

R. (8A and 9A)  Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – SEE 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – MK 3:7-12

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

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Faith vs. Fear


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 24, 2019

“And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, ‘You are the Son of God.’” Throughout our daily journey to the Father, we will no doubt encounter all kinds of dark and sinister forces that appear at the most inopportune times and situations. One of those is the debilitating and paralyzing force of fear. We find ourselves facing all kinds of fears in practically all kinds of situations. Some moments are not as intense as others, but as long as we allow this very negative force even a small foothold in our attitudes and prayer life, it only has the capacity of growing dangerously large into a formidable enemy of happiness. We can take great comfort in how the origins of all these pathetic and evil shrink before the face of Jesus to give us the necessary depth of faith to trust Him with everything we have and move forward with that same confidence facing every opportunity with grace and peace. 

“Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.” Today, we are called to approach our dear Lord and Savior with petitions for other people in our lives who might be suffering and carrying heavy crosses. We are also called to bring our own souls and lives to Jesus and ask for the peace and comfort that only He can bring to the world. If we all act as one agent for peace and forgiveness, the world will witness a profound difference.

“Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms. Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” Be at Peace Prayer by St. Francis de Sales

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January 25, 2019


Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Reading 1 – ACTS 22:3-16

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

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

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

Or – ACTS 9:1-22

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – SEE JN 15:16

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

Gospel – MK 16:15-18

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

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Conversion 101


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 25, 2019

“On his  journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’” Today the Church celebrates that magnificent moment in the life of St. Paul when his whole world turned upside-down and great things followed him all the days of his life. Because of that powerful epiphany in St. Paul’s life, the Christian Church was strengthened in its infancy and the bulk of the New Testament would be written. Let us take a closer look at what conversion is and understand what it is not before moving forward.

First, a true conversion must involve a deep, personal and breathtaking encounter with the risen Lord Jesus: “I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.” The point here is rather obvious. We should avoid calling our experience after a tear-jerking movie or the overwhelming relief after a near-death encounter as a conversion unless somehow and integrally that brings us to a face-to-face meeting with the Lord. Second, it must involve action: “Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.” Conversion without action is as useful as a glass hammer. Finally, but by no means the end of our essential elements, conversion must be ongoing: “But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,  proving that this is the Christ.” The reason that Saul became the great St. Paul was that his name change reflected his life change. Everything was different now and it would continue to be so until that day when Paul glorified God with his martyrdom. May it be the same with each one of us.

A prayer for conversions

O blessed apostle, St. Paul, greatest of all converts, who labored unceasingly for the conversion of other souls, inspire me with the ardor of your zeal that I may pray and work for the conversion of my brethren, redeemed in the blood of Christ but not as yet blessed with the full light of his truth.

Mindful of the loving concern of the Divine Shepherd for the salvation of the “other sheep that are not of this fold,” I now beg your intercession to obtain the grace of conversion for (name of family member, friend or others).

May God, the Holy Spirit from whom alone this gift can come, hear my humble prayer and thus enable me to share with others the riches of my heritage of faith through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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January 26, 2019


Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops

Reading 1 – 2 TM 1:1-8316

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

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

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

Or – TI 1:1-5

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – SEE ACTS 16:14B

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

Gospel – MK 3:20-21

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

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Out Of His Mind


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 26, 2019

“When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’” What a familiar expression we have in the Gospel today! “Out of his mind.” What does that mean? Most people would agree that the phrase describes the situation where someone has lost control of their mental faculties and gone insane. Others would add that the phrase is used to express a belief in someone’s inability to make rash decisions because of mental turmoil. However, from our perspective, the person who loses sight of eternal life and the final destination in heaven will act as if they are insane making all kinds of strange and selfish decisions that put their earthly life in jeopardy and their heavenly reward in question. 

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” The simple truth is this: when anyone decides to follow the Lord and keep the commandments to the best of their abilities, the world may deem that insane. How often have we been told that immoral and anti-Christian behavior is perfectly acceptable because, well, “everybody is doing it.” Therefore, trying to be different and faithful must make you “out of your mind.” So who is crazy and who isn’t? There is only one answer: “Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.” (Psalm)

God our Father, you gave your saints Timothy and Titus the courage and wisdom of the apostles: may their prayers help us to live holy lives and lead us to heaven, our true home. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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January 27, 2019


Reading 1 – NEH 8:2-4A, 5-6, 8-10

Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly,
which consisted of men, women,
and those children old enough to understand.
Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate,
he read out of the book from daybreak till midday,
in the presence of the men, the women,
and those children old enough to understand;
and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform
that had been made for the occasion.
He opened the scroll
so that all the people might see it
— for he was standing higher up than any of the people —;
and, as he opened it, all the people rose.
Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God,
and all the people, their hands raised high, answered,
“Amen, amen!”
Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD,
their faces to the ground.
Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God,
interpreting it so that all could understand what was read.
Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe
and the Levites who were instructing the people
said to all the people:
“Today is holy to the LORD your God.
Do not be sad, and do not weep”—
for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks,
and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared;
for today is holy to our LORD.
Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (cf John 6:63C) 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. 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. 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. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 12:12-30

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

Now the body is not a single part, but many.
If a foot should say,
“Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body, ”
it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.
Or if an ear should say,
“Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body, ”

it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?
If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
But as it is, God placed the parts,
each one of them, in the body as he intended.
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you, ”
nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.”
Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker
are all the more necessary,
and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable
we surround with greater honor,
and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety,
whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.
But God has so constructed the body
as to give greater honor to a part that is without it,
so that there may be no division in the body,
but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it;
if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

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

Or – 1 COR 12:12-14, 27

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

and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
Now the body is not a single part, but many.
You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.

Alleluia – CF. LK 4:18

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

Gospel – LK 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

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Joy As Strength


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 27, 2019

“Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” If you think about it for just a minute, you might be able to arrive at a couple of words that probably do not go well together. Here are maybe a few: long shorts, authentic reproduction, partial cease-fire, limited lifetime guarantee, mandatory options, and my personal favorite, jumbo shrimp. Today however, thanks to the great and timely gift of the Scriptures, we could posit the combination of two more unlikely candidates to fit together: joy and strength. Our First Reading from the Old Testament certainly makes that claim that we can and must find true spiritual strength in the moments where we choose to look for, find and experience joy in this life. This comes from being opened to the Holy Spirit and listening intensely upon His Word: “Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.”

The Second Reading and the beautiful words of the Gospel drive this point home even better: “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, you and I belong to Jesus all the days of our lives. When one of us is sad, we are all sharers of the sadness; when one of us finds joy in the Lord and in this life, that joy becomes the strength of all who believe and witness the great gift that God places within our hearts if only we discover and share the joy that is there. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” We know Jesus came to save us. He accomplished that by announcing good news to us every single day. This truly is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and joyful in it! 

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. Joseph Campbell

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January 28, 2019


Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Reading 1 – HEB 9:15, 24-28

Christ is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place
for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

For 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.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6

R. (1A)  Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
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. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
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. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Reading 2 – SEE 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – MK 3:22-30

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

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder his house.
Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

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Who We Carry Inside


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 28, 2019

“Christ is mediator of a new covenant.” This classic phrase from our First Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews creates a pivotal, critical point in our understanding of who Jesus is and why He came. As the mediator of the New Covenant by which all are saved by the shedding of His blood, we have access to the most wonderful of all gifts and walk in the light of faith toward our heavenly home. This is why our most important goal and search on earth is to encounter Jesus and invite Him to live and move and have our being and existence. With this in mind, everything that happens to us, good, bad or indifferent will be seen through the lens of redemption as the real person of Christ lives within each one of us. Without this precious gift, human life and all of our encounters will be thrown into a dark chasm of resentment and pessimism such as we witnessed in our final reading from St. Mark. 

“The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.'” This encounter that was presented to us today in the Gospel truly relays to us the sense of viciousness and ferocity of the climate into which Jesus the Christ (and our King) began His ministry. What we have here is an excellent example of character assassination in the Bible. Jesus addressed the issue in a very beautiful and Messianic way. He confronted evil by the sheer power of his own truth and love and invited those present and us this very day to enter a deeper reflection on the mystery of His Kingdom and the invitation to live there for all eternity. 

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

Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.  St. Thomas Aquinas

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January 29, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 10:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come,
and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect
those who come to worship by the same sacrifices
that they offer continually each year.
Otherwise, would not the sacrifices have ceased to be offered,
since the worshipers, once cleansed, would no longer
have had any consciousness of sins?
But in those sacrifices there is only a yearly remembrance of sins,
for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats
take away sins.
For this reason, when he came into the world, he said:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, As is written of me in the scroll,
Behold, I come to do your will, O God.

First he says, Sacrifices and offerings,
burnt offerings and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.

These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, Behold, I come to do your will.
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2 AND 4AB, 7-8A, 10, 11

R. (8A and 9A)  Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – MK 3:31-35

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

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The Lord’s Family Circle


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 29, 2019

From the very beginning of the Revelation we have received in the Old Testament, we encounter the notion and the nature of the kind of deep and lasting relationship the Lord has always wanted for us. Like a good earthly father who wants to give his own family all he has for love and survival, we look to our Heavenly Father who does the same. When we realize and accept this truth, we can easily join the Psalmist in the moment of pure joy: “I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me. And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.”

Today’s Gospel brings closely to us the moment where Jesus makes this intimate relationship so much more clear and meaningful: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”  Jesus was not minimizing His relationship with His mother through these words. He was expanding it. He hungers, through divine love, to include all of us in the “family circle” of God. In doing so, He invites us on the journey home. In this exchange, Jesus really opens up the interior importance and meaning of the motherhood of Mary – and through that relationship – the interior meaning of all family relationships. The Church is a family. Understanding this insight, and living it, is a key to a deep and wonderful spiritual life. Our vocation is fundamentally about relationship and communion. All who are incorporated into the Body of Jesus Christ through Baptism begin even now to experience the intimacy, (expressed in family relationships), that is the essence of the very life of the Most Holy Trinity. Through His life, death and resurrection, Jesus opens a way for every man, woman and child, who chooses to do the will of His Father, to enter into the very family circle of God through truly living our lives in Him.

My friends, we are His family and He is ours! Think about it just for a minute especially when the day gets a little tough and lonely. Be loved.

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January 30, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 10:11-18

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.
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying:

This is the covenant I will establish with them
after those days, says the Lord:
“I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them upon their minds,”

he also says:

Their sins and their evildoing
I will remember no more.

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R.  (4B)  You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
“Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia

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

Gospel – MK 4:1-20

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

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that

they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,

when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

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Priestly Planting


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 30, 2019

“I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds.” Today we have two very enlightening images to express the great love and care that God has for each and every one of us, the first being that of Jesus as Priest who ensures and mediates through the New Priesthood established at the Last Supper for the ongoing salvation and welfare of the Church. “For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.” All these aspects should help us realize how awesome it is to be loved by God. There should be no doubt that He wants to protect and guide us throughout this life in every way possible. Sin is the most debilitating scourge we face and that is why He sent His Son Jesus to save us from ourselves and the Evil One. 

“Hear  this! A sower went out to sow.” The second loving image is that of the one who sows seeds in the field and harvests the fruits of that planting. This does bring a special nuance to the image that Jesus imparts to us to exemplify his love and care for the world. When you think about it, plants and crops are kind of like people, each having their own unique “personality” and preferences for water, sunlight, soil type, and best growing conditions. The Lord knows this about us so He attends to the varying needs of each of us in terms of what is best for us to grow and bear fruit in this life. Like plants, we too can harvest energy from the sun, that is, the Son of God; water is absolutely necessary for life and so are the waters of Baptism; Just like plants, human beings need nutrients both for the body and soul and for this we are fed on the Word of God in the Scriptures and Eucharist, the Body of Christ. And just like the plant world needs something from the soil that holds all the water and nutrients that are needed for growth, Jesus has given us the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We also must recognize the rocks and thorns in our lives that can distract and choke the grace we need to grow in love for and with God and that is why we remain open to his beautiful Word today and always.

You can have faith or you can have control, but you cannot have both. If you want God to do something of the chart, you have to take your hands off the controls. -Mark Batterson

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January 31, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 10:19-25

Brothers and sisters:
Since through the Blood of Jesus
we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary
by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil,
that is, his flesh,
and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,”
let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed in pure water.
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope,
for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.
We should not stay away from our assembly,
as is the custom of some, but encourage one another,
and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.

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

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

Alleluia – PS 119:105

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

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Sincere And Absolute Existence


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 31, 2019

“Since we have ‘a great priest over the house of God,’ let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.” Once again, Jesus, the new Moses and lawgiver, transforms our way of life by exacting upon us which some believe is virtually impossible. However, it is not impossible. In the First Reading we are reminded of the ultimate source of all power in this universe who is the ultimate judge and dispenser of all justice: “Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.” The act of forgiveness and exuding mercy does so much for the heart that displays such intentions that it becomes clear that when the Lord asks us to forgive our enemies, He really and truly wants the best for our souls so that they be freed of any hatred and the scourge of evil.

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

God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.  Max Lucado

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