The Word of God

February 1, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 10:32-39

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened,
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction;
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence;
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

For, after just a brief moment,
he who is to come shall come;
he shall not delay.
But my just one shall live by faith,
and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.

We are not among those who draw back and perish,
but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

R. (39A) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate,
for the hand of the LORD sustains him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Alleluia – 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 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

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A Crucified God


Reflections on Mass Reading for February 1, 2019

“Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering.” This morning we have been served a most excellent meal of wisdom and insight that cannot be wasted. The morsel of truth and clarity are buried, as it were, like a pearl among the refuse of shell and sand waiting for us to discover its most precious beauty. Enlightenment that is true and sustainable does not come at the hands of sorcery, pills or clandestine self-help puzzles but by suffering and self-emptying of selfishness and ego-driven lives. “We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.” We know this to be true because Jesus lived in this very same way producing not only our salvation but the very path upon which we would find hope and serenity for the days and years to come, however more we may have left. 

The Gospel of today also provides for us a time-honored image for the Kingdom for which we need this clarity and insight: “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” This ever-popular Gospel passage should also enthuse those cooking aficionados among our readers. Is anyone aware of the various uses of mustard, other than being spread on hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches? The following may send you searching through the internet to secure the validity of these claims. It has been used as a mild burn relief; a cosmetic face mask for skin rejuvenation; relief for sore muscles and sore throats; and the removal of the toxic and awful odor of the shrewd skunk in case you find yourself ever-too-close and sprayed with mayhem. Living in the Kingdom means relief from the scorching rays of a hostile world and facing it with renewed vigor and the glow of the Spirit. It means relief from the wear and tear on our bodies as we desperately travel the moral roads through unknown lands while bravely clearing our throats to preach the Gospel, in season and out. It also means throwing off the stench of sinfulness and accepting the sweetness of forgiveness freely and mercifully offered in confession. Accept all the wonderful promises Jesus has made to you and those you love and ask for the courage to walk in light and carry your faith to all aspects of your life. We follow a crucified Lord and Savior who found His way out of the grave to set us free from all the other elements of death and sadness that are placed in it. May today’s reflection put a smile on your face and help you keep going.

Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.  John Piper 

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February 2, 2019


Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Reading 1 – MAL 3:1-4

Thus says the Lord God:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R. (8) Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!

Reading 2 – 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.

Alleluia – LK 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
Band you yourself a sword will pierce
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

Or – LK 2:22-32

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

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Now I Can Die


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 2, 2019

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Have you ever heard the expression, “Now I’ve seen everything!”? It is a phrase that seems to suggest that something has just occurred that took the beholder by surprise and by storm, something that could not have been imagined or predicted. Something similar has happened for us today in the Gospel that chronicles the experience of Simeon in the Temple when he beholds the Baby Jesus and realizes that life can never be the same again. You see, according to the same Gospel account, he had been promised by a special revelation from the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he actually clapped eyes on the Messiah. When he saw Jesus, he knew it was time. 

Our First Reading today gives us more than just a subtle hint of how we can live like this, and therefore, by extension, die a very happy death: “He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.”  It is really quite simple: if we have spent our days trying to love each other, forgive at every juncture, pray for those who hate us, and treat everyone, especially the poor, as if they were Jesus Himself, then don’t you think we would recognize the Messiah, too? You see, the refining silver image is all about our own refinement and ongoing spiritual testing in the crucible of suffering and self-sacrifice. The Letter to the Hebrews agrees with the assessment: “Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”

On this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we have come to the truly last reference to the mysteries of the Christmas Season. In fact, in the older liturgical calendar, this was actually the official end of Christmas. In the 50 days since Christmas, what have we learned this year going forth? We must find Jesus, honor him, keep Him warm and safe in our hearts, and then bring the finest gifts of our lives always seeking to see his face: “Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!”

Almighty ever-living God, we humbly implore your majesty that, just as your Only Begotten Son was presented on this day in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, so, by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure. 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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February 3, 2019


Reading 1 – JER 1:4-5, 17-19

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

But do you gird your loins;
stand up and tell them
all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account,
as though I would leave you crushed before them;
for it is I this day
who have made you a fortified city,
a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
against the whole land:
against Judah’s kings and princes,
against its priests and people.
They will fight against you but not prevail over you,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17

R. (cf. 15AB) I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. I will sing of your salvation.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 12:31—13:13

Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

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

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

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

Or – 1 COR 13:4-13

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

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

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – LK 4:21-30

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

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When Truth Hurts


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 3, 2019

“When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.” There was quite the dramatic moment in the Gospel on this fine Sabbath. Jesus had just proclaimed a text from the Prophet Isaiah and basically outlined everything that had transpired in His ministry among the people as was described in that beautiful passage. But then something terribly unfortunate happened. They began to doubt who this was standing right in front of them. However, the drama increases exponentially when the Lord begins to remind the people gathered that when foreigners and people outside their own code of faith simply did recognize the Messiah and place all their hope and confidence in Him by way of accepting miraculous consequence, the crowd just went ballistic and wanted to kill Christ right then and there. This was mainly due to the fact that what He was saying was true, revealing and condemning to their stubborn, over-intellectualized and smug stances on faith. 

“Brothers and sisters: Love is patient, love is kind.” In stark contrast, the Second Reading paints an entirely different picture describing the attitude of love which opens the heart and soul to the very heart of truth and all the great things a person of love can accomplish. We were simply and emphatically made for love and the self-emptying act of giving of oneself to others so that the world would reflect and consist in the Kingdom of God. “The word of the LORD came to me, saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”  Today we are once again to reflect on the very reason and purpose that we are here on earth. What talents and strengths have we been given in order to work in and for the Kingdom of God? When all else has failed in the course of human history and in our own lives, our constant union with God and our fidelity to the teaching of Christ and His Church will sustain all the way home. “Love never fails.”

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February 4, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 11:32-40

Brothers and sisters:
What more shall I say?
I have not time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah,
of David and Samuel and the prophets,
who by faith conquered kingdoms,
did what was righteous, obtained the promises;
they closed the mouths of lions, put out raging fires,
escaped the devouring sword;
out of weakness they were made powerful, became strong in battle,
and turned back foreign invaders.
Women received back their dead through resurrection.
Some were tortured and would not accept deliverance,
in order to obtain a better resurrection.
Others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point;
they went about in skins of sheep or goats,
needy, afflicted, tormented.
The world was not worthy of them.
They wandered about in deserts and on mountains,
in caves and in crevices in the earth.

Yet all these, though approved because of their faith,
did not receive what had been promised.
God had foreseen something better for us,
so that without us they should not be made perfect.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 31:20, 21, 22, 23, 24

R. (25) Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
How great is the goodness, O LORD,
which you have in store for those who fear you,
And which, toward those who take refuge in you,
you show in the sight of the children of men.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men;
You screen them within your abode
from the strife of tongues.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Blessed be the LORD whose wondrous mercy
he has shown me in a fortified city.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Once I said in my anguish,
“I am cut off from your sight”;
Yet you heard the sound of my pleading
when I cried out to you.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Love the LORD, all you his faithful ones!
The LORD keeps those who are constant,
but more than requites those who act proudly.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in 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 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”

He  replied, “Legion is my name.  There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
“Send us into the swine.  Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.

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The Ongoing Defeat Of Evil


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 4, 2019

“As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,  sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear.” This passage is specially interesting because it is the first in Luke where we encounter demonic possession. The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits which sought entry into everyone. Often they 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. “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.” 

“God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect.” 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. Let us pray: 

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

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February 5, 2019


Memorial of Saint Agatha

Reading 1 – HEB 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

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

R. (see 27B) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
“May your hearts be ever merry!”
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
Before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

Alleluia – MT 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to him,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” 
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

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Cloud Of Witnesses


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 5, 2019

“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.” Without a doubt, the Christian life can be very difficult sometimes and seemingly just too hard to walk. This is precisely why we need to help each other and depend on the great example of the saints of God who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith and exuberantly displaying a remarkable amount of courage in living the faith in Christ in the face of the most formidable odds. 

“One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.” “There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.” In the Gospel today, we have two very prime examples of people who are in great need of a powerful miracle in their lives and who are surrounded by people who also believe because the text tells us there were crowds following the unfolding drama. The witness and the advice given to those searching for the Lord and finding the most courageous of all faith before them help us to remember that we need each other in the walk of faith. We also need to respond appropriately and faithfully when called upon to give witness, strengthen the resolve of others who are struggling and always pray for those who need our prayers the most. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

“O Little St. Agnes, so young and yet made so strong and wise by the power of God, protect by your prayers all the young people of every place whose goodness and purity are threatened by the evils and impurities of this world. Give them strength in temptation and a true repentance when they fail. Help them to find true Christian friends to accompany them in following the Lamb of God and finding safe pastures in His Church and in her holy sacraments. May you lead us to the wedding banquet of heaven to rejoice with you and all the holy virgin martyrs in Christ who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.” 

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February 6, 2019


Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions

Reading 1 – HEB 12:4-7, 11-15

Brothers and sisters:
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:

My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.

Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as his sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.

Strive for peace with everyone,
and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God,
that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble,
through which many may become defiled.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18A

R. (see 17)  The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,
For he knows how we are formed;
he remembers that we are dust.
R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity
to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward children’s children
among those who keep his covenant.
R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

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 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

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Disciple Discipline


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 5, 2019

“Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” Many of us are no doubt aware of the saying that spouts the basic truth that often, too often, really, we do not appreciate something or someone until their absence is felt. Conversely, we could also make the case that we cannot know true maturity and growth in any field or endeavor until we experience discipline, moments of sorrow over the lack of something or the true and vivid realization that everything we have and cherish can be taken away literally overnight. Having said this, we can appreciate and fully understand what the First Reading is attempting to impart to us in the most clear and emphatic of ways. The Lord loves us so much that at times we all need correction, amendment and the deep lessons by which we can truly appreciate who we are and what we have.

“So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” The people in the Gospel today clearly have not been disciplined. They were either too far removed from the spiritual journey to know any better or so jaded and entitled that they so deeply and unfortunately thought of themselves as not needing salvation or healing. In any event, their lack of strength and integrity brought on by healthy, internal and spiritual discipline cost them the insight to recognize and thereby receive any miracle that everyone is deeply created to receive. Even Jesus was amazed. Open your hearts today for the miracle that you need and have the faith and courage which exists because we have accepted the discipline of the Lord and begin living a deep, holy life. 

“God our Father, source of strength for all your saints, you led Paul Miki and his companions through the suffering of the cross to the joy of eternal life. May their prayers give us courage to be loyal until death in professing our faith. Through 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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February 7, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 12:18-19, 21-24

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said,
“I am terrified and trembling.”
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled Blood that speaks more eloquently
than that of Abel.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 48:2-3AB, 3CD-4, 9, 10-11

R. (see 10)  O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,”
the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
As we had heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
In the city of our God;
God makes it firm forever.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
O God, we ponder your mercy
within your temple.
As your name, O God, so also your praise
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Of justice your right hand is full.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

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Rejection Strategy


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 7, 2019

“Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” Have you ever walked into a room and automatically felt that something was terribly wrong? And by “terribly wrong,” what is meant is an atmosphere or attitude that is so negative and critical that you just cannot get away from there fast enough. In fact, the departure is so quick and determined that you leave a trail of dust behind. The Lord Jesus knows exactly the kind of world we occupy. It is full of negative and sinful postures that seek to choke and stifle the beautiful Gospel message. He also knows that we can trust Him with every good gift and wise choice. This is why we are forewarned and thus forearmed: any belligerent or hyper-critical encounter over the Gospel must end with an encounter with the closest door and move to the next page that God has already written and is waiting for us. 

“…you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” The great news today, among the many other blessings we see and cannot see, is the fact that the Lord has once again reaffirmed His great love for us and His constant protection over every single step we take no matter what kind of encounter is waiting for us. All we have to do is remain faithful to His Word, be fed constantly with the Eucharist, and never ever lose hope even in the face of seemingly hostile and hateful rejection. 

Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better. Dr. Steve Maraboli

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Life’s Bouquet Of Love


bouquets of red tulips

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; For Love is strong as Death, longing is fierce as Sheol. Its arrows are arrows of fire, flames of the divine.” Song of Songs 8:6

After a very long and tedious day at work, a man slowly but surely made his way back home when he took the opportunity to rest by the side of the road. An elderly woman equally slowly passed by the place where he had stopped arduously pushing a cart full of flowers. The compelling aroma of her blossoms was remarkably perfuming the air with sweet tenderness that it truly seemed to take away the weariness in his bones and to lighten his spirits. He had never experienced such wonder from any collection of flowers even from his own garden.

“I wonder how much are these exquisite flowers,” he asked the friendly woman.

“They are yours for the taking, my brother,” she replied. “Your thanks is quite enough.”

So the man filled his arms with these beautiful flowers and hurried joyfully home. He and his wife and his children rejoiced with him over the remarkable flowers, for they, too, discovered that the sight of them was a delight and the smell of them refreshed the soul.

So as not to lose his treasure, the man planted the blossoms in a small plot of land behind his house. Sunlight and water kept them amazingly beautiful, still performing their marvelous, miraculous effect on all who encountered them. When children came to play in the yard, the man cautioned them against carelessness and wild play lest they trample the flowers and damage them. However, even with all the hustle and bustle of life passing through like heady gusts of winds, these wonderful flowers remained hardy and strong so long as there was enough sun and moisture to nourish them. Nowhere else could the man or his wife or children find such remarkable solace from weariness, such comfort in sadness, such spiritual nourishment as those remarkable flowers provided. Here was a treasure beyond value.

As the family and the surrounding neighborhoods grew, more children came to play in the garden and the number of visitors increased while the man became even more concerned over his remarkable flowers. He was determined to protect them, and so he built a huge greenhouse around them. In time, because of his numerous children, he would allow them entrance to the small sanctuary only sparingly and with the utmost care.

However this effort to protect this great gift seemed to begin to backfire. Problems and needless tension began to emerge. The man began to “weaponize” the gift of the lovely floral miracles of love in order to control and keep a mere semblance of peace. If the children caused their father stress or anguish, he would refuse them access to the flowers. If the neighbors were too loud or unruly in his own estimation or if they even appeared to be ungrateful for all that they had seen and appreciated, he kept them away from their beauty. Eventually he set up a large number of rules and regulations as to who may enter the greenhouse, how they must enter, and what they must do while they spent time in there. All the while, he continued to see that his treasure received enough sunlight and water so that the flowers continued to perform their wondrous outcome on the shrinking amount of folks who were allowed to view them.

As grandchildren began to appear and fame spread about these magnificent flowers, the man felt even greater need to safeguard his treasure. Access to the flowers was open to all members of his family and visitors who seemed friendly enough, but not without certain precautions. Requirements were to be met and standards upheld. Offices were established to judge worthiness and to determine accessibility. It became necessary to have lawyers to defend and judges to weigh and guards to safeguard and caretakers to upkeep, and on and on and on.

However the inevitable occurred after all this smothering of the miracle. Everyone who had ever seen and experienced such a gift eventually saw less and less of the flowers and some even simply forgot about them and their marvelous power to transform and shine light into the soul. Eventually, people thought it was just a myth, a magnificent story, even a legend. But those who dared to dream and believe in the power of transformation and complete change from the inside out, began their own intrepid search for the flower lady, and to everyone’s amazement, there she was, still out there, still giving away her amazing flowers. Love was indeed real and had not died.

The meteoric celebration within a 24-hour period of frantic rushing and purchasing of flowers in commemoration of St. Valentine will no doubt bring different meanings and connotation to every person you will meet during this time. At the center of it all, however, is the same element with which we opened our reflection. Is love a myth? Is it really possible? Is it dead? All gifts are freely given but none so precious as the gift of love. We can, and many do, cling to the gift that has been given to us and never share or pass on the goodness that has been shown to us. We can either slowly but systematically destroy the possibility of a love-filled life by allowing ourselves to be possessed by our possessions and threatened by the illusion of loneliness, or we can learn how to embrace all that is good in our lives, especially the gift of love, starting for God then others and then ourselves, with a habitually relaxed grasp striving to share with others what has made our lives so blessed and worth living.

The lesson is as simple as it it is timeless. Love is not static but alive and always in need of sharing and surrounded by a heart of gratitude otherwise it will be lost. We must admit at the same time that it is very easy to find ourselves caught off guard and distracted by forces of selfishness and egoism and thereby lose right perspective, constricting ourselves and others with rigid rules made by well-meaning caretakers. One thing is clear: love is stronger than death and as long as we long to be loving, giving, forgiving and prayerful people the way we long for air, we will find all that we have been destined to find in this short but amazing life.

“Deep waters cannot quench love, nor rivers sweep it away. Were one to offer all the wealth of his house for love, he would be utterly despised.” Song of Songs 8:7

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February 8, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 13:1-8

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,
and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,
for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:

The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 27:1, 3, 5, 8B-9ABC

R. (1A)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
For he will hide me in his abode
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Alleluia – SEE LK 8:15

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

Gospel – MK 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”

Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

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Love Changes Everything


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 8, 2019

“Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart, and yield a harvest through perseverance.” This is truly an amazing Gospel that we have today. It describes the death and martyrdom of John the Baptist who occupies a number of wonderful categories including cousin to Jesus, the last prophet and outstanding voice that calls us all to listen and be ready for the greatest news we could ever receive. The Readings make this an even more thought-provoking Friday as we recall how great it is to love the Lord and follow Him with every fiber of our being. John would later express this very same desire when he stated that he himself should decrease while Jesus must increase. Once we come to realize and accept our purpose here on earth, our lives are much simpler and have the potential of even greater holiness. 

“Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” The place of John the Baptist could never be overplayed or misunderstood. He forms one of the most significant members of the cloud of witnesses that helps us all look intently at Jesus and never let that focus stray. For the many of us who are giving all we have to be the best we can be and please the Lord, we are heartened by the fact that God always prepares the way for us to find Jesus and stay ever-so-close to Him in this life and the next. Our call is to let Jesus increase in our lives and our selfishness decrease. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the wonderful Eucharist, success in this field is within our reach. The death of John the Baptist reminds us that following the Lord also has a deep price that sometimes people are unwilling to consider or offer. But in the final analysis, we want to be counted among those who are faithful and loving and true to our calling. Nothing else will do: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” 

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” Erma Bombeck

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February 9, 2019


Reading 1 – HEB 13:15-17, 20-21

Brothers and sisters:
Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise,
that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;
God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.

Obey your leaders and defer to them,
for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account,
that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow,
for that would be of no advantage to you.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

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

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

Alleluia – 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 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and 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.

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Eyes On The Wise


Reflections on Mass Reading for February 9, 2019

“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” It is widely believed and circulated that once a proud young man came to Socrates asking for wisdom. The Greek Philosopher took the young man down to the sea when he quickly pushed him under for a seemingly cruel amount of time until the young man gushed forth from the water gasping for life itself. At this point, Socrates is attributed to have said, “when you want wisdom as much as you have just wanted air, then you will be wise.” The Letter to the Hebrews wishes the same for all who would listen: “May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the Blood of the eternal covenant, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.”

The Scriptures as the totality of the Word of God completely and totally prepare, reveal and glorify the person of Jesus Christ. From that sweeping statement we can safely deduce that wisdom is as important to life as air is to a drowning person. To obtain it successfully, we must search after it with the same desperation as for oxygen. The ability to see clearly and choose correctly the best course of action on a daily basis are the veritable building blocks of life of wisdom. Jesus then adds another awesome exercise that is probably less dramatic than a near-drowning experience: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” If that sounds too simplistic, remember with whom we are called to spend quality, enriching time. It is wisdom incarnate, Jesus the Lord! 

Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. Wisdom is, in fact, the practical side of moral goodness. As such, it is found in its fullness only in God. He alone is naturally and entirely and invariable wise. ~J.I. Packer
 

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February 10, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 6:1-2A, 3-8

In the year King Uzziah died,
I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,
with the train of his garment filling the temple.
Seraphim were stationed above.

They cried one to the other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”
At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook
and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
living among a people of unclean lips;
yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me,
holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it, and said,
“See, now that this has touched your lips,
your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8

R. (1C) In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
 your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
 you built up strength within me.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
when they hear the words of your mouth;
and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD:
“Great is the glory of the LORD.”
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 15:1-11

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, Christ appeared to more
than five hundred brothers at once,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.
For I am the least of the apostles,
not fit to be called an apostle,
because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them;
not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed.

Or – 1 COR 15:3-8, 11

Brothers and sisters,
I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures; 
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more
than five hundred brothers at once,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one abnormally born,
he appeared to me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed. 

Alleluia – MT 4:19

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

Gospel – LK 5:1-11

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

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Fishing For Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 10, 2019

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

You’ve got to be prepared.  “Here I am,” I said; “send me!”   
You’ve got to start early.  “I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name.”   
You’ve got to be quiet and listen. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord.” 
You’ve got to wait. “In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.” You’ve got to be persistent and determined. “Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.”  
You’ve got to practice and enjoy the process. “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. 

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February 11, 2019


Reading 1 – GN1:1-19

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss,
while a mighty wind swept over the waters.

Then God said,
“Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw how good the light was.
God then separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”
Thus evening came, and morning followed–the first day.

Then God said,
“Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters,
to separate one body of water from the other.”
And so it happened:
God made the dome,
and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it.
God called the dome “the sky.”
Evening came, and morning followed–the second day.

Then God said,
“Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin,
so that the dry land may appear.” 
And so it happened:
the water under the sky was gathered into its basin,
and the dry land appeared.
God called the dry land “the earth,”
and the basin of the water he called “the sea.”
God saw how good it was.
Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth vegetation:
every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it.”
And so it happened:
the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth that
bears fruit with its seed in it.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed–the third day.

Then God said:
“Let there be lights in the dome of the sky,
to separate day from night.
Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years,

and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth.”
And so it happened:
God made the two great lights,
the greater one to govern the day,
and the lesser one to govern the night;
and he made the stars.
God set them in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth,
to govern the day and the night,
and to separate the light from the darkness.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed–the fourth day.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 104:1-2A, 5-6, 10 AND 12, 24 AND 35C

R. (31B)  May the Lord be glad in his works.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
You fixed the earth upon its foundation,
not to be moved forever;
With the ocean, as with a garment, you covered it;
above the mountains the waters stood.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
You send forth springs into the watercourses
that wind among the mountains.
Beside them the birds of heaven dwell;
from among the branches they send forth their song.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—
the earth is full of your creatures;
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia. 
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.

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 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.

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Creation And Restoration


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 11, 2019

“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.” Our Scriptures open for us today not only the beginning of the Bible from the Book of Genesis, but also the beginning of the world and the creative force behind all that is and all we experience. Here we have a front row seat, as it were, to the first four installments of creation. Light, the sky, dry land, vegetation, the sun and the moon all given to us from the loving yet powerful hand of the Father. The sheer force of divine love creates the entire universe in the blink of an eye and the care of the God who loves us all so much. 

The Gospel continues these thoughts with the Son of the Father, Jesus the Christ who continues the work of creation through the restoration of human beings through healing and miraculous love: “Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.” The same principle is true for all of us today, right now. Great creative and restorative things will always happen, both externally and internally when we remain close to the Lord and run to Him always. This is true confidence in the one who loves us so much that He would rather die than live without us. Start every morning by first speaking with Him. He loves hearing from you and you’ll be very glad (blessed) that you did. He is right there.  

A God wise enough to create me and the world is wise enough to watch out for me. Philip Yancey

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February 12, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 1:20—2:4A

God said,
“Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures,
and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.”
and so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters
and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems,
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying,
“Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas;
and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
Evening came, and morning followed–the fifth day.

Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures:
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.”
and so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.
Then God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”

God created man in his image;
in the divine image he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed–the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing,
he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (2AB) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place—
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
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. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
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. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Alleluia – PS 119:36, 29B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees;
And favor me with your law.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 7:1-13

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

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”

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Tradition And Traditions


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 12, 2019

“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites…” The discussion about tradition and traditions is a tricky thing. By definition, these are elements that are literally “handed down” from one group, one culture, one generation to another. The only difference is where they truly emanate and the only way to distinguish between what is merely human and what Divine tradition (from God) is found in the nature of revelation itself. How do we really know what is just a human custom from a true article of belief that is from the Lord and true everywhere at all times?

The Gospel tackles this question head-on with the quoted words of Jesus from the prophet Isaiah: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.” Here is the danger: if we hold human traditions as if they come straight from God, we are guilty of idolatry; if we take Divine Revelation and treat Tradition as if it were a simple custom, then we straddle into the land of apathetic disbelief. Divine Revelation has two sources, Scripture and Tradition; God’s Word which is written and His teaching which is oral. The Church as Sacrament of Salvation must make these distinctions clear and navigate us through the centuries. This is why Jesus established the Church and that is why we must have all three elements intact, Scripture, Tradition, and the Teaching Authority of the Church. This is how we stay focused until we are with God forever and say for all eternity, “Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees; And favor me with your law.” Thus, there is this healthy and inspiring balance we are called to achieve between what is radically, completely and fundamentally true about our faith, and the expression and practice of this gift all the way till we breathe our last breath. We need to be ready to move forward creatively to new ways of understanding our faith and living it out. 

Prayer does not change God, but it changes the one who prays. Soren Kierkegaard

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February 13, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 2:4B-9, 15-17

At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens —
while as yet there was no field shrub on earth
and no grass of the field had sprouted,
for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth
and there was no man to till the soil, 
but a stream was welling up out of the earth
and was watering all the surface of the ground —
the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and he placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The LORD God then took the man
and settled him in the garden of Eden,
to cultivate and care for it.
The LORD God gave man this order:
“You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
From that tree you shall not eat;
the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 104:1-2A, 27-28, 29BC-30

R. (1A) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
All creatures 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 their 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!

Alleluia – SEE JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – MK 7:14-23

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

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
“Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?”
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”

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The High Price Of Freedom


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 13, 2019

“You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.” Today we are once again served a delightfully interesting and meaning-laden Scripture from the very first book of the Bible. The Forbidden Fruit has long been a fascination among artists, authors, and theologians ever since it was first plucked from that remote corner of the garden of Eden. The idea that a specific fruit was somehow the cause of all the calamities and diseases and all the foils that have befallen humanity all these centuries is a little far fetched. What was the real sin here? Adam and Eve abused their freedom, allowed trust in God to weaken in their hearts making them susceptible to the wiles of the devil causing them to disobey the only Protector they ever knew. So you see, it was not what went into them that caused corruption. It was an internal betrayal hitting at the very core of their soul. 

“Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” You see, whatever is inside a person’s heart will undoubtedly and most assuredly find its way to the surface. Whatever has found a home in the human heart will eventually venture out into the normal course of interaction with other people and that is what defiles. Our fellow humans sometimes say ridiculous things because they do not stop first to think about the consequences of words. They whine and complain because that is seemingly all they know how to describe life. We who follow Jesus must listen to His wise counsel today and make the obvious conclusion: if what is within us makes us wise or defiled, then by all means let us invite Jesus to live there first. Then whatever we say should sound a lot like Him. 

Integrity is telling myself the truth. Honesty is telling the truth to other people. Spencer Johnson

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February 14, 2019


Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop/Traditional St. Valentine’s Day

Reading 1 – GN 2:18-25

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

So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,
and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs
and closed up its place with flesh.
The LORD God then built up into a woman
the rib that he had taken from the man.
When he brought her to the man, the man said:

“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called ‘woman,’
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh.

The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.

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

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

Alleluia – JAS 1:21BC

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

Gospel – MK 7:24-30

Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, “Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him,
“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.

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No Shame


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 14, 2019

“The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.” There are many who ascribed shame as a very subversive aspect of human experience. As a self-conscious emotion, shame tends to formulate an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, regret, or disconnection. Shame is a clear signal that our positive feelings have been interrupted. Almost anything can trigger shame in us, but so can a failure to meet our own ideals or standards especially if that failure is directed toward someone we love or admire. Adam and Eve felt no shame because they were living in perfect harmony with the God who loved them and all humanity into existence. That would soon tragically change when they allowed trust in God to die then they disobeyed Him.    

“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” There was no apparent shame in the Gospel passage of our today. The woman begging the Lord for a miracle to drive the demon out of her daughter, knew exactly and confidently who it was she was standing right before listening to what she was requesting. And her request was not for her but for someone she loved so her motives were entirely selfless. What all this teaches is simple. Our lives would be entirely free from the ravages of shame and guilt if we were to realize and confirm Jesus as our Lord and Savior and speak confidently before His mighty presence, including confessing our sins and asking for the help for every moment along our spiritual journey.  Given that shame can lead us to feel as though our whole self is flawed, bad, or subject to exclusion, the love for God and increased faith it motivates us to be honest with God and ourselves and others and make our prayer life one that is rich, integral and beautiful. 

Father, you brought the light of the gospel to the Slavic nations through Saint Cyril and his brother Saint Methodius. Open our hearts to understand your teaching and help us to become one in faith and praise.  

O glorious advocate and protector, St. Valentine, look with pity upon our wants, hear our requests, attend to our prayers, relieve by your intercession the miseries under which we labor, and obtain for us the divine blessing that we may be found worthy to join you in praising the Almighty for all eternity through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

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February 15, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 3:1-8

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden
at the breezy time of the day,
the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God
among the trees of the garden.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R. (1A) Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile. 
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” 
and you took away the guilt of my sin. 
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven. 
For this shall every faithful man pray to you 
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him. 
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round. 
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

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 7:31-37

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

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Seeing Is Believing


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 15, 2019

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked.” Some say that the eyes are the window to the soul in that we are able to reveal what is the very depths of our souls through them to others. When Jesus speaks of eyes and light, He means all people should keep their eyes on God because the eyes are the windows to the soul. Eyes should not focus on trash such as pornography, filth, or extravagant “over-the-top” lifestyles. This is what He means when He says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When Adam and Eve had ruined their near-perfect relationship with God, their eyes were opened to the truth of what they had done and how far they left the presence of God in so little time. We, the descendants of the original sin instigators, have been given the only solution to the human problem of hopelessness: “Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.”

“Ephphatha!” The Gospel of ours today crown these thoughts with the most dramatic and marvelous scene by which Jesus approaches humanity figured in the person of a deaf man who had a speech impediment. The analogy should be clear. Humanity has an impediment and it is a closed heart and a closed mind. Jesus is the supreme and only solution-remedy to such a universal dilemma. Today, be especially open to the Lord working in your life today. You will hear His voice and speak His words: “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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February 16, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 3:9-24

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

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.” 

To the woman he said:

“I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing;
in pain shall you bring forth children.
Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
and he shall be your master.”

To the man he said:  “Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,

“Cursed be the ground because of you!
In toil shall you eat its yield
all the days of your life.
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you,
as you eat of the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
shall you get bread to eat,
Until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
For you are dirt,
and to dirt you shall return.”

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

For the man and his wife the LORD God made leather garments,
with which he clothed them.
Then the LORD God said: “See!  The man has become like one of us,
knowing what is good and what is evil!
Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand
to take fruit from the tree of life also,
and thus eat of it and live forever.”
The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from which he had been taken.
When he expelled the man,
he settled him east of the garden of Eden;
and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword,
to guard the way to the tree of life.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 90:2, 3-4ABC, 5-6, 12-13

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

Alleluia – MT 4:4B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

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Still Hungry


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 16, 2019

“They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.” What can we safely assume when we think of leftovers? Let us begin with our own collective experiences growing up in a family. Leftovers meant that while there was still food from another previous meal, good money-saving etiquette dictated that we eat what we have first before buying something more. It meant that we were not a wasteful family. It meant that there was more than the distinct possibility that some dishes actually tasted better after a day or two of marinating and bathing in sauces and gravies which made for the repeat even better than the premier. “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” It also powerfully suggested that somehow, someway we were all going to eat because the Lord Jesus was truly the head and constant guest of the family. 

“You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” Even the perennial presence of such over abundance of love and joy, our response to such memories was and is clear. We are to treat each other as members of the much larger family we know as Church and practice the same over generous spirit with which the Lord God shows to us. That means first and foremost to obey God and all that He has given us to live, not just the food on the table, but also the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Such negligent behavior has always had disastrous effects: “The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken.” This mega-generous reveal cannot be lost on any of us today. On that day in the Gospel, the leftovers barely filled vast bread baskets and over-flowing storage because there would literally be billions coming after that miracle to be fed and then finally to a place where there will be no more hunger or pain, just Jesus, who re-opened the gates of Paradise with His own life so that we could have life to the fullest. Here and now. 

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February 17, 2019


Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 – JER 17:5-8

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
but stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
it fears not the heat when it comes;
its leaves stay green;
in the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.

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

R. (40:5A) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked,
nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
but delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
that yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 15:12, 16-20

Brothers and sisters:
If Christ is preached as raised from the dead,
how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised,
and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain;
you are still in your sins.
Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ,
we are the most pitiable people of all.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Alleluia – LK 6:23AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad;
your reward will be great in heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 6:17, 20-26

Jesus came down with the twelve
and stood on a stretch of level ground
with a great crowd of his disciples
and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.
And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”

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Where I Stand


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 17, 2019

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

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” The secret of the spiritual  successes of this great Saint, and ours, is given beautifully in the Gospel. Jesus, like Moses in the Old Testament, comes down the mountain to deliver and impart “The New Law of Love,” and much like the Ten Commandments, these give life and point the clear way to salvation. These are known as the Beatitudes and “are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching.” (CCC 1716) “They shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life.”  (CCC 1717) And “they respond to the natural desire for happiness.This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it.”  The Beatitudes create the blueprint of living a beautiful, Christian life. These eight blessings are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching and respond to the natural desire that we all have for true and lasting happiness.

And they do one more thing: The Beatitudes proclaim the blessings and rewards that have already been secured for those who love Jesus. Just imagine, there’s a place in Heaven for you and it has your name on it! Today, sometime before it is all over and done with, take some time to revisit this passage in Matthew’s Gospel. Go over each Beatitude slowly and with positive intention. Tell the Lord, “I want to succeed.” And you will: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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February 18, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 4:1-15, 25

The man had relations with his wife Eve,
and she conceived and bore Cain, saying,
“I have produced a man with the help of the LORD.”
Next she bore his brother Abel.
Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil.
In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD
from the fruit of the soil,
while Abel, for his part,
brought one of the best firstlings of his flock.
The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
but on Cain and his offering he did not.
Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen.
So the LORD said to Cain:
“Why are you so resentful and crestfallen.
If you do well, you can hold up your head;
but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door:
his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.”
When they were in the field,
Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
He answered, “I do not know. 
Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The LORD then said:  “What have you done!
Listen: your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil!
Therefore you shall be banned from the soil
that opened its mouth to receive
your brother’s blood from your hand.
If you till the soil, it shall no longer give you its produce.
You shall become a restless wanderer on the earth.”
Cain said to the LORD:  “My punishment is too great to bear.
Since you have now banished me from the soil,
and I must avoid your presence
and become a restless wanderer on the earth,
anyone may kill me at sight.”
“Not so!” the LORD said to him.
“If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.”
So the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight.

Adam again had relations with his wife,
and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth.
“God has granted me more offspring in place of Abel,” she said,
“because Cain slew him.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 50:1 AND 8, 16BC-17, 20-21

R. (14A)  Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.”
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“You sit speaking against your brother;
against your mother’s son you spread rumors.
When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.”
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Alleluia – JN 14:6

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

Gospel – MK 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.

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Soft Hearts, Hard Feet


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 18, 2019

“Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” The preceding experience which clearly caused Our Lord to sigh in what seems to be exasperation continues into our modern world. After all we have seen as human race during our relatively short stint upon this planet, there are many who seriously doubt the role and awesome power of the Creator. If put to those skeptics what it would take to believe in Christ, their response could sound something like this: “I would have to see Jesus do a miracle with my own eyes.” This sentiment is not uncommon. More than one person has held that he would believe in Jesus if he could see Him with his own eyes. Today’s passage, however, indicates that this is wishful thinking. If one’s heart is fully hardened against God, seeing Jesus Himself do a miracle will not be enough to cause belief. The response of Jesus to those who had seen His miracles is instructive. God will not do tricks for those who will believe, let alone those who have hardened their hearts against Him. Thus, Jesus told the Pharisees that they would get no sign from Him. If what they had seen did not convince them, nothing would.  

Perhaps this horrible hardness and resistance to the joy of faith stemmed from the first recorded murder which we read in the First Reading. “Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out in the field.’ When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” Just as the first brother killed another so does this unrelenting doubt absorb the person to extinguish the flame of faith and love in the hearts of so many who would otherwise be strong believers. What this clearly teaches us is that we must be open to the love of Jesus and starve our doubts every chance we get. Our feet and our resolve must be strong going forth into this wounded world knowing always that the Lord Jesus is always there for us.

God wants us to have soft heats and hard feet. The trouble with so many of us is that we have hard hearts and soft feet. Jackie Pullinger

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February 19, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10

When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth,
and how no desire that his heart conceived
was ever anything but evil,
he regretted that he had made man on the earth,
and his heart was grieved.

So the LORD said:
“I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created,
and not only the men,
but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air,
for I am sorry that I made them.”
But Noah found favor with the LORD.

Then the LORD said to Noah:
“Go into the ark, you and all your household,
for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just.
Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs,
a male and its mate;
and of the unclean animals, one pair,
a male and its mate;
likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs,
a male and a female,
and of all the unclean birds, one pair,
a male and a female.
Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth.
Seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth
for forty days and forty nights,
and so I will wipe out from the surface of the earth
every moving creature that I have made.”
Noah did just as the LORD had commanded him.

As soon as the seven days were over,
the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 29:1A AND 2, 3AC-4, 3B AND 9C-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.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – MK 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.” 
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

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Noah’s Mark


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 19, 2019

“Go into the ark, you and all your household, for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just.” Since the first few moments after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, God began to work on His sovereign promise to give humanity a second chance to move forward and to exist safe and in holy, sacred space in order to find the way back to heaven. We see this effort dramatically unfold in the call of Noah to gather faithful people and begin a new chapter in the global walk to heaven. As the time unfolded after the words and teaching of the prophets, this renewal was going to be first and foremost through His Our Lord Jesus Christ who would be incarnated into our existence and born of the Virgin Mary. In the three years that Jesus walked the earth, He began the work of creating what we could call a “second ark,” that is, the Church as the people of God where all would be welcomed, safe and prepared for the journey of life. 

“And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” The Gospel today has Jesus reminding those around Him and us that not only will the Church be a refuge for all who want eternal happiness and joy, but all will be fed for the journey. Today as in the days of Noah and the Apostles, we can rejoice with this awesome invitation to live and move and have our being safe with the Lord within His Church and led by such a worthy Captain.


There is but one Church in which people find salvation, just as outside the ark of Noah it was not possible for anyone to be saved.  ~St. Thomas Aquinas

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February 20, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 8:6-13, 20-22

At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark,
and he sent out a raven,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth.
Then he sent out a dove,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,
and it returned to him in the ark,
for there was water all over the earth.
Putting out his hand, he caught the dove
and drew it back to him inside the ark.
He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark.
In the evening the dove came back to him,
and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!
So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.
He waited still another seven days
and then released the dove once more;
and this time it did not come back.

In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life,
in the first month, on the first day of the month,
the water began to dry up on the earth.
Noah then removed the covering of the ark
and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up.

Noah built an altar to the LORD,
and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird,
he offered burnt offerings on the altar.
When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself:
“Never again will I doom the earth because of man
since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start;
nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done.
As long as the earth lasts,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
and day and night
shall not cease.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:12-13, 14-15, 18-19 

R.  (17A)  To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
 How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 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 his call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

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Tell Me Who You’re Looking For


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 20, 2019

“In the evening the dove came back to him, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!” There is a simple principle in psychology that basically asserts that if all you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail. Clearly the meaning of this paradigm is that we tend to find what we expect to find in this life. In our First Reading, Noah sent out a raven to see if the flood waters had receded and it was safe to start life again. The raven is a large black bird with a loud, harsh call that tends to seek plunder or prey. We actually get the word, “ravenous” from the behavior of this animal. Seven days later, Noah sent out a dove which by comparison is the actual opposite of the raven who was launched at the first scouting mission. After a seemingly long and arduous trek upon the water, life may have seemed to be difficult and hopeless waiting for land to appear. Noah wanted peace and harmony and when he released the dove he received the news he was expecting: it is time to start again. Dry land has appeared.        

“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 his call.” This approach to life continues into the New Testament as we humbly ask the father in heaven to open our hearts and look for the good things in this life to see and discover. Among these are faith, hope and love for God and for each other. Jesus in the Gospel takes this even one more step deeper: “Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, ‘Do you see anything?'” The man was clearly looking for healing, comfort and strength and someone to believe. He found his life’s quest. He found Jesus. Tell me who you are looking for and I’ll tell who you’ll find. 

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February 21, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 9:1-13

God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them:
“Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.
Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth
and all the birds of the air,
upon all the creatures that move about on the ground
and all the fishes of the sea;
into your power they are delivered. 
Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat;
I give them all to you as I did the green plants. 
Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.
For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting:
from every animal I will demand it,
and from one man in regard to his fellow man   
I will demand an accounting for human life.

If anyone sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
For in the image of God
has man been made.

Be fertile, then, and multiply;
abound on earth and subdue it.”

God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
and with every living creature that was with you:
all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals
that were with you and came out of the ark.
I will establish my covenant with you,
that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed
by the waters of a flood;
there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”
God added:
“This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, 
of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 AND 22-23

R. (20B)  From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
 The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer. 
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.” 
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Alleluia – SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – MK 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”

Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

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

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Who Am I?


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 21, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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February 22, 2019


Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle

Reading 1 – 1 PT 5:1-4

Beloved:
I exhort the presbyters among you,
as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ
and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.
Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church;
the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply, 
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 

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Pull Up A Chair


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 22, 2019

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. This has nothing to do with furniture and everything to do with the Lord’s intention to keep His great gift of the Church alive and faithful throughout the centuries. “Tend the flock of God in your midst.” From the very beginning of God’s divine revelation to the world of Himself, there has been a deep and abiding desire to make sure that we would be guided and loved just as a shepherd takes care of his sheep: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” 

The chair as a symbol of authority helps us understand why God truly wants to shepherd and protect us. When we need something important, we seem even in this day and age to approach someone who is sitting. Judges are seated when making rulings. Therapists and Counselors are seated when listening and comforting clients. Priests are in a chair when they pronounce absolution and show mercy to penitents. This is ongoing evidence of the Lord’s presence and lasting care for us. “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” During these days of our beautiful spiritual journey, let us pray for all who are in authority in the Church starting with the Holy Father and all those entrusted with this awesome ministry. Although it is most likely true that “heavy is the head that wears the crown,” there are great blessings that come to those who lead and follow with generous hearts and loving souls: “Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.” 

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February 23, 2019


Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

Reading 1 – HEB 11:1-7

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.
By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God,
so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s.
Through this, he was attested to be righteous,
God bearing witness to his gifts,
and through this, though dead, he still speaks.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death,
and he was found no more because God had taken him.
Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him,
for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen,
with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household. 
Through this, he condemned the world
and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11

R. (see 1)  I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable. 
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works. 
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.  
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Alleluia – SEE MK 9:6

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.

Gospel – MK 9:2-13

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
then from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Then they asked him,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things,
yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man
that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?
But I tell you that Elijah has come
and they did to him whatever they pleased,
as it is written of him.”

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Faith Changes The World


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 23, 2019

“By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.” Do you realize that you and I have been placed on this earth for a specific reason and purpose? Every day becomes an opportunity to strive and realize that reality, especially when things look dark and bleak. If I have a purpose in life, and I do, then everything that is happening around me today is either a part of that reality and I should stay focused on its messages and lessons, or it is keeping me from my purpose and direction and therefore I should move on and as quickly as possible. This is certainly one very important way we can understand transfiguration. In our First Reading, the hope for our future lives rested in our faith in Jesus is made crystal clear: vision was more than remarkable: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”

Jesus becomes transfigured to prepare the disciples and all of us for His Resurrection which in turn prepares us for our resurrection, our ultimate transfiguration. “And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.” This complete transformative moment when we see Jesus as He exists in total glory in heaven is both an inspiration and goal while we walk and continue our spiritual journeys. We must find true happiness in this world to make a suitable place in our souls and hearts for the message of the Gospel of Jesus.

The most unhappy people in the world have made it their life’s mission to make as many people around them as miserable as they are with every ounce of strength they can muster. Surely, this can’t be news to us. Remember, only wounded people wound people. Our best stories will come from our struggles. The seeds of our successes are in our failures. Keep standing. Seasons change. There is no such thing as a storm that lasts forever. On this Feast of the Transfiguration, let us all ask God to help each and every one of us continue to uncover and discover our purpose in this great adventure we call life. He proclaimed as much today in the Gospel: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

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February 24, 2019


Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 – 1 SM 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23

In those days, Saul went down to the desert of Ziph
with three thousand picked men of Israel,
to search for David in the desert of Ziph.
So David and Abishai went among Saul’s soldiers by night
and found Saul lying asleep within the barricade,
with his spear thrust into the ground at his head
and Abner and his men sleeping around him.

Abishai whispered to David:
“God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day.
Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear;
I will not need a second thrust!”
But David said to Abishai, “Do not harm him,
for who can lay hands on the LORD’s anointed and remain unpunished?”
So David took the spear and the water jug from their place at Saul’s         head,
and they got away without anyone’s seeing or knowing or awakening.
All remained asleep,
because the LORD had put them into a deep slumber.

Going across to an opposite slope,
David stood on a remote hilltop
at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops.
He said: “Here is the king’s spear.
Let an attendant come over to get it.
The LORD will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness.
Today, though the LORD delivered you into my grasp,
I would not harm the LORD’s anointed.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13

R. (8A) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 15:45-49

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

Alleluia – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – LK 6:27-38

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

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

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Created For Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 24, 2019

This indeed is a great day to reflect upon the intrinsic and deep relationship between what it means to have good, close and encouraging friends, the freedom it takes to maintain those friendships and the faith in Jesus that makes us friends with Him. “For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed? May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day. And now, I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.” Review once again what David accomplished in our First Reading today. The depth of love in his heart for friendship gushed over into the way he dealt with his enemies: with total and complete mercy. In many ways, you can tell how great a friend will be to the extent that he or she can forgive and show compassion. This is certainly true with David and Saul. 

This element is underscored in the Gospel of today: Jesus knew that one of the friends/apostles He would choose would eventually betray Him, and still, in perfect freedom, he asked Him to follow Him, that is, be His friend anyway: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” The application for us today is simply stunning. In order for love to grow within any  relationship there must be faith in the one who is love and the only one who will sustain that love until eternity, and especially for the grace both to forgive and show mercy. What is also remarkable is that love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion never leave us empty-handed or return with nothing. It is a classic “win-win” situation: “He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion.” 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. 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.

Our world is definitely filled with people who have been hurt, mocked and humiliated. This would explain why it’s easy to see how hurting people hurt people. As Christians we are charged to remember that all people carry wounds whether they were self-inflicted or not. We all suffer in one way or another and what we truly need is patience and love rather than judgment. 

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

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February 25, 2019


Reading 1 – SIR 1:1-10

All wisdom comes from the LORD
and with him it remains forever, and is before all time
The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?
Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth,
the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
Before all things else wisdom was created;
and prudent understanding, from eternity.
The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom
and her ways are everlasting.
To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed?
Who knows her subtleties?
To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed?
And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways ?
There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,
seated upon his throne:
There is but one, Most High 
all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one,
seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion.
It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,
has seen her and taken note of her.
He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5

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

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 9:14-29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him. 
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.” 
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around   
and foam at the mouth. 
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?” 
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

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Wisdom Over Evil


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 25, 2019

“All wisdom comes from the LORD and with him it remains forever, and is before all time.” We human beings are almost invariably in need of confirmation, reassurance and security. No more is this obvious than in our relationships, especially the more important ones we have discovered. This is why from time to time, we all might experience a doubt or even a moment of crisis when we face troubles. It is then that we need those special hugs and secure feelings. What is surprisingly wonderful throughout all these moments, is that we can find a deeper walk and love that God has for us is when we can indeed count these crises as joys. We know that everyone must suffer as part of the journey here but we also need tender loving care from our God just as is prayed in our Psalm today: “And he has made the world firm, not to be moved. Your throne stands firm from of old; from everlasting you are, O LORD.”

“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” There is, however, a problem with these needs. If we are not careful, these moments of reassurance and comfort may not be enough. We might even lose our own confidence in the Lord if all we look for are concrete signs that may stave off doubt for just a short amount of time. This is why Jesus responds the way he did in the Gospel: “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.” Our Lord makes it clear that we must rely on the wisdom of God and not stray. Take time today to pray for wisdom. This prayer is always answered. Thank God!

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference.

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February 26, 2019


Reading 1 – SIR 2:1-11

My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you;
trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?  
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40

R. (see 5)  Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
They are not put to shame in an evil time;
in days of famine they have plenty. 
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones. 
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him. 
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.

Alleluia – GAL 6:14

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

Gospel – MK 9:30-37

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

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?” 
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest. 

Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,   
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” 
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,   
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

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Hoping For Good Things


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 26, 2019

“You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy.” The virtue of hope is one of the critical elements that we must all carry in our hearts and souls if we are going to survive in this world. Many around us, perhaps, live lives that seemed to have given up on anything good happening or have even lost sight of the eternal goal in heaven. There are plenty of reasons for this to happen. It seems as if many would sooner believe in hopelessness which is all too evident than to trust in good things which may or may not seem fleeting and passing quickly away from our grasp. The theme of our Scriptures today echo the call to deepen our hope and trust in the Lord Jesus today and always: “Trust in the LORD and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will grant you your heart’s requests.”

As nice as all this sounds and which also is hardly new to most of us, we always come back to the question of how do we in fact give God all that we have and never fear. Jesus wholeheartedly and in Messiah-fashion answers that for us all: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Adapting the full confidence that a child has for his father or mother is just what we are asked to attempt. Remember how wonderful childhood expectation was? Try to relive some of that today. Ask God to put the spirit of a loving, trusting child in your heart and see what happens. 

It is the childlike mind that finds the Kingdom.  ~Charles Fillmore

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February 27, 2019


Reading 1 – SIR 4:11-19

Wisdom breathes life into her children
and admonishes those who seek her.
He who loves her loves life; 
those who seek her will be embraced by the Lord.
He who holds her fast inherits glory;
wherever he dwells, the LORD bestows blessings.
Those who serve her serve the Holy One;
those who love her the LORD loves.
He who obeys her judges nations;
he who hearkens to her dwells in her inmost chambers.
If one trusts her, he will possess her;
his descendants too will inherit her.
She walks with him as a stranger
and at first she puts him to the test;
Fear and dread she brings upon him
and tries him with her discipline
until she try him by her laws and trust his soul.
Then she comes back to bring him happiness
and reveal her secrets to them
and she will heap upon him 
treasures of knowledge and an understanding of justice.
But if he fails her, she will abandon him
and deliver him into the hands of despoilers.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:165, 168, 171, 172, 174, 175

R. (165A)  O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
Those who love your law have great peace,
and for them there is no stumbling block.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
I keep your precepts and your decrees,
for all my ways are before you.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
My lips pour forth your praise,
because you teach me your statutes.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
May my tongue sing of your promise,
for all your commands are just.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
Let my soul live to praise you,
and may your ordinances help me.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.

Alleluia – JN 14:6

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

Gospel – MK 9:38-40

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

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In His Name


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 27, 2019

“There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.” How many times during the course of any given week can we imagine that someone asks us to pray for them or for some other situation? How many times have we heard the phrase, “you are in my prayers”? When you really sit down and think about it, these expressions of remembrance and spiritual comfort and not coming from ourselves but rather in our trust in the use of the name of Jesus when we pray. We therefore “invoke” the Lord’s name every time we lift someone to Him for healing, strength and or a powerful resolution to their condition and disposition. “Wisdom breathes life into her children and admonishes those who seek her.” We could think about it this way: the more we pray, the more we bring God’s Spirit into our souls and the more we do that, the more wisdom grows. 

“I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me.” Using the Lord’s precious name in our prayers and in our daily conversations with others brings hope and light into places and situations where there seemed to be no trace of either. This is why the name of Jesus has such power and miraculous effects when we trust in the promises made to us throughout the Scriptures. Try it today. Say the name of Jesus as a blessing and as a promise of hope. See what happens next. 

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February 28, 2019


Reading 1 – SIR 5:1-8

Rely not on your wealth;
say not: “I have the power.”
Rely not on your strength
in following the desires of your heart.
Say not: “Who can prevail against me?”
or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?”
for God will surely exact the punishment.
Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?”
for the Most High bides his time.
Of forgiveness be not overconfident,
adding sin upon sin.
Say not: “Great is his mercy;
my many sins he will forgive.”
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD,
put it not off from day to day.
For suddenly his wrath flames forth;
at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed.
Rely not upon deceitful wrath,
for it will be no help on the day of wrath.

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

R. (40:5A) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Alleluia – SEE 1 THES 2:13

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

Gospel – MK 9:41-50

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

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

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

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Your Only Strength


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 28, 2019

“Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart.” There is a strange and wonderful passage that we all make from those wonderful moments of blissful childhood to the daunting challenges of adolescence. We are referring to that moment in our development where we realize and finally accept that we simply cannot do it all by ourselves and that it is alright to ask for help. We call this maturity into wisdom. As we move deeper and deeper into our spiritual lives, we realize that we may not ever realize that Jesus is all we need until He is all we have. This remarkable and beautiful surrender is refreshing as it is transforming.  

“Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”  In the end we realize that our only strength is our only hope. Like salt which is worthless if it goes unused and exposed to the elements, our spiritual life fueled by growing wisdom and a deep prayer life must be kept fresh and alive with the passing of each and every day. Just like the same tide raises all the boats in the water, so our support and encouragement keeps wonderful peace with each other through our shared prayers and optimistic hopes for the world around us. By loving Jesus with all our might, realizing that others are carrying similar burdens to our own and having the courage to ask for help whenever necessary is the beginnings to a long and happy life of wisdom and grace.

You shall find out how salt is the taste of another man’s bread, and how hard is the way up and down another man’s stairs.  ~Dante Alighieri

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