The Word of God

March 1, 2019


Reading 1 – SIR 6:5-17

A kind mouth multiplies friends and appeases enemies,
and gracious lips prompt friendly greetings.
Let your acquaintances be many,
but one in a thousand your confidant.
When you gain a friend, first test him,
and be not too ready to trust him.
For one sort is a friend when it suits him,
but he will not be with you in time of distress.
Another is a friend who becomes an enemy,
and tells of the quarrel to your shame.
Another is a friend, a boon companion,
who will not be with you when sorrow comes.
When things go well, he is your other self,
and lords it over your servants;
But if you are brought low, he turns against you
and avoids meeting you.
Keep away from your enemies;
be on your guard with your friends.
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;
he who finds one finds a treasure.
A faithful friend is beyond price,
no sum can balance his worth.
A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy,
such as he who fears God finds;
For he who fears God behaves accordingly,
and his friend will be like himself.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:12, 16, 18, 27, 34, 35

R. (35A)  Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
In your statutes I will delight;
I will not forget your words.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of your law. 
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Lead me in the path of your commands,
for in it I delight.
R. Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.

Alleluia – SEE JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – MK10:1-12

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

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

God’s Greatest Friends


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 1, 2019

“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds.” Truly one of the richest blessings in this life after our faith in God and health has to be the absolutely wonderful blessing of friends. Friends help us be ourselves, support us when things are rough and double our joys when we share them. This earthly blessing is compounded many times over when our friends are also friends of the Lord. Nothing sounds better than to hear that we will see our beloved in heaven after this earthly pilgrimage is ended. 

“Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Not all friendships turn into marital commitments, but all true marriages start with solid friendship and all the beauty that is contained in maintaining such treasures in this life. God is love and every time we find, experience and share real, life-giving love, we find ourselves even closer to the one who has made us in total love. God is so good! 

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

Leave a comment

Ashes-to-Ashes, Love-to-Love


burning logs in fire

In this amazing life we sometimes live unforgetfully, there can be found, close to the surface of our comings and goings, unique and altogether lovely gifts in the form of archetypal moments. These are recurrent symbols, motifs and patterns nestled carefully within soul-enriching experiences that actually mold us and fashion even as we struggle or celebrate through them. These are replete in literature, art, and mythology and a list of the most famous could easily start right here, right now. However, today we make yet another bold claim: in everyone’s life, there is an archetypal Ash Wednesday and a Good Friday, perhaps several days like these, that is to say, there are those days of going without, emptiness, distance, silence and the pain of separation through death or some other terrible loss. They rarely fall on the day assigned for any given year, but make no mistake, they are always there, placed strategically on our life’s calendar and appearing at the least expected moment, often with all rage and fury of a mid-western tornado leaving nothing but emotional darkness and mental debris in its wake. What do you do when you find yourself face-to-face with all the worst possible scenarios that you would have ever imagined appearing all at once and then challenged to the degree you would never have expected, to follow your own advice, your own counsel and to live what you have told so many others to do in the face of remarkable despair and trial?

You keep walking and wondering and asking God how all this happened so quickly. And while you face microcosmic episodes of death, separation and rejection every day, you also find new and amazing opportunities to learn, to cope and to reveal something remarkable about God, the world, love and yourself. And you don’t ever stop because you know if you do, the villains of self-pity and rage will swallow you whole.

These moments will face every human being at one time or another. The goal is to find the greatest amount of emotional and spiritual maturity throughout it all before we get too old not to care enough about anything. This is precisely why the Season of Lent is such a powerful series of days and nights that can and will determine our experience of Easter, the rest of the year but truly, my friends, the rest of our lives—and beyond. Notice the words that accompany the distribution of ashes: “Remember! You are dust and unto dust you shall return.” We might add, for the sake of our present reflection before you today, the following : “Remember! You were made for love and unto love you must return!” Thus we will return to the amazing, remarkable, and incredible plethora of uses for ashes. Let us compare the natural use of ashes in nature and home care with the spiritual value that ashes may have on our spiritual lives if we truly allow them to take root and substance. Prepare for a journey like no other that has the potential of reaping eternal fruit!

In the natural world, a few logs of firewood can produce as much as fifty pounds of ashes—a formidable heap of soot but also a great source for mineral-rich dust that has practical and supernatural purposes. Here are some of the most noteworthy:

  1. De-skunk pets and neutralize evil.  In those areas of the world where humans and skunks must share space, it is helpful to know that just a handful of ashes rubbed on your dog’s or cat’s coat neutralizes the lingering odor of a most unfortunate encounter with Pepé Le Pew. This Lent, let us name at least one very unhealthy and destructive habit or attachment that is nagging our peace of mind and spiritual aroma. Everyone can. As we move forward in this great season, claim victory over that persistent sin remembering that we are made for love and not for selfishness. When we pray, remember to call out the name of Jesus in our lifted words to heaven.
  1. Block garden pests and tireless temptations.  Amazingly, firewood ashes evenly spread in garden beds actually repel slugs, snails and a variety of nasty garden pests.  Fasting from sugar or meat or alcohol have the real ability to strengthen our resolve against the temptations that bring us down and cause us to doubt God. Declare Lent as a time for real renewal and never give up the fight to resist what we know is wrong, unhealthy and unholy. Victory belongs to the most persevering.
  1. Melt ice and cold hearts.  In many parts of the world, wood ashes are thrown over walkways and sidewalks to add traction and de-ice the surface without hurting soil or concrete underneath. The human heart cannot survive without a healthy mixture of justice and mercy, integrity and compassion. Just because you look down on someone does not mean that somehow, even magically, they are going to get up and surprise you. Practicing real and daily compassion makes our faith in Jesus very real because that is how He treats each one of us with divine and endless mercy. An attitude of compassion is a little thing that makes a huge difference.
  1. Control pond algae and unhealthy attitudes.  As little as one tablespoon of dried ashes in a medium-sized pond adds enough potassium to strengthen other aquatic plants that compete with algae, slowing its growth allowing for the moral floral and decorative life to flourish. Grudges, unforgiveness, hateful judgmental attitudes can easily creep into the soul especially if we have opened ourselves to the harsh words and actions of others close around us. This Lent, make a serious and honest inventory of what is in your heart as often as you can, remembering that an unreflective life is not worth living. If you find something unhealthy, expose it to Jesus the Light of the World in your prayers and thoughts and make slow but serious changes to move forward. More prayer, more power.
  1. Enliven tomatoes and spiritual fruit.  For the benefit of most calcium-loving plants, experienced gardeners place about a quarter cup of ashes right in the hole before placing saplings or seeds in the ground. This can actually increase the size and tastiness of the fruit by twenty percent according to some estimates. In the forty days of Lenten Journey, make every effort to spend just a little more time with God every day, which has the potential of making all the difference in the world. You make time for everyone and everything that is important to you in this life. Make time for God and keep your special appointment with the one who has never forgotten you. Like a rudder on a ship, this small, seemingly insignificant detail can position the difference between merely surviving to thriving.
  1. Shine silver and the soul.  A paste of ash and water makes a surprisingly nontoxic metal polisher that makes the best pieces of the cabinet glimmer and shine. A real and honest intention to keep our Lenten promises with the hope of becoming more and more like Christ will allow us to shine before even the more skeptical in our world. Every night before going to bed during these forty days of transformation, reflect on what you have done with what was presented to you. Celebrate when it was great and re-commit for another day should it be His most holy will for you.

In everyone’s life there are days that feel just like Christmas and as gloriously, personally triumphant as Easter and just like the other two famous archetypal dates, these bright moments actually come much more often, although, while we are in the midst of fasting and grieving, it does not always feel that way. The truth for all of us today, however, is simple. It is precisely how we handle going without, self-denial, painful self-awareness and courageous wishes to change internally that determines how we experience and employ feasting, friendship and life to its very fullest, the way God intended for us to live it.

I can’t believe that I would want it any other way.

Leave a comment

March 2, 2019


Reading 1 – SIR 17:1-15

God from the earth created man,
and in his own image he made him.
He makes man return to earth again,
and endows him with a strength of his own.
Limited days of life he gives him,
with power over all things else on earth.
He puts the fear of him in all flesh,
and gives him rule over beasts and birds.
He created for them counsel, and a tongue and eyes and ears,  
and an inventive heart,
and filled them with the discipline of understanding.
He created in them knowledge of the spirit;
With wisdom he fills their heart;
good and evil he shows them.
He put the fear of himself upon their hearts,
and showed them his mighty works,
That they might glory in the wonder of his deeds
and praise his holy name.
He has set before them knowledge,
a law of life as their inheritance;
An everlasting covenant he has made with them,
his justice and his judgments he has revealed to them.
His majestic glory their eyes beheld,
his glorious voice their ears heard.
He says to them, “Avoid all evil”;
each of them he gives precepts about his fellow men.
Their ways are ever known to him,
they cannot be hidden from his eyes.
Over every nation he places a ruler,
but God’s own portion is Israel.
All their actions are clear as the sun to him,
his eyes are ever upon their ways.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:13-14, 15-16, 17-18

R. (see 17)  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.
Man’s days are like those of grass;
like a flower of the field he blooms;
The wind sweeps over him and he is gone,
and his place knows him no more.
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 – 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 10:13-16

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Love’s Awesome Source


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 2, 2019

“He created in them knowledge of the spirit; With wisdom he fills their heart; good and evil he shows them.”  Everything and everyone created by God reflects the intrinsic and overwhelming goodness of the Creator. This we must hold fast to our thinking, otherwise the whole fabric of reality will become undone if at the very core all that is, is anything but good because of God. So much more does this apply to each one of us who have the marks and signs of the one who loves us so much and fills us with wisdom. “Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” The Readings for today also reflect this very nature of what makes something real and naturally good so that we might choose those pockets of greatness and stay close to our ultimate goal which is final perfection in heaven. 

“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” The Gospel sustains this line of thinking and Jesus brings us to the age-old source of wisdom of how one can approach the world and avoid cynicism and hateful pessimism. We must adopt the heart, not necessarily the mind, of a child as we move forward in this life. Trust must be tempered with wisdom and a natural caution for all things because of the nature and presence of evil around us. But the presence of Jesus shines light onto the darkness wherever we may find it so we are at peace and supported by the light of truth which emanates from Jesus Himself. The imagination, total confidence and unconditional love nestled sweetly in the heart of a child is the magnet that brings us closer to a wonderful existence with the Lord. 

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

Leave a comment

March 3, 2019


Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 – SIR 27:4-7

When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear;
so do one’s faults when one speaks.
As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace,
so in tribulation is the test of the just.
The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had;
so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.
Praise no one before he speaks,
for it is then that people are tested.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

R. (cf. 2A) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 15:54-58

Brothers and sisters:
When this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility
and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters,
be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Alleluia – PHIL 2:15D, 16A

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

Gospel – LK 6:39-45

Jesus told his disciples a parable,
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.

“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Fruit Or Fruity?


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 3, 2019

The definition of fruit is the result or reward of work or activity and the definition of fruity is eccentric or crazy. “The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.” It is quite an interesting language we have, isn’t it? Some say that the way words and meanings change depicts the way a given society is heading or already arrived. Take for example the two words, fruit and fruity, that describe two very similar but perhaps very different ideas. “For every tree is known by its own fruit.” Do we hear enough about “good” fruit? You see, there is a great deal of consequences resulting from horrible choices that others make which stand in direct opposition to God, in opposition to the sanctity of life and the sacredness of marriage and the truth about human love. Some among us commonly mistake popularity, charm, charisma even attractive looks as good fruits. But this cannot truly be the case. It is deeds, not words or appearances, which always tell the full story and give greatest insight into the soul of an individual. You will know much about a person by the result of their lives and not the eccentricity or notoriety of their behavior. “Shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life.”

It is easy to become blinded and even seduced by the standards the world places on what makes something or someone “good.” The standard for us who profess to follow Jesus and carry the cross in our lives is simply and powerfully Jesus. This is true because we can do nothing apart from this starting point just as Christ himself explained it: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” There are both great fruit and loud fruitiness all around us. It is up to us, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to be encouraged by the Word of God poured out over us today and continue to look for opportunities to be bearers of good spiritual produce in a world that hungers desperately for them.

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

Leave a comment

March 4, 2019


Reading 1 – SIR 17:20-24

To the penitent God provides a way back,
he encourages those who are losing hope
and has chosen for them the lot of truth.
Return to him and give up sin,
pray to the LORD and make your offenses few.
Turn again to the Most High and away from your sin,
hate intensely what he loathes,
and know the justice and judgments of God,
Stand firm in the way set before you,
in prayer to the Most High God.

Who in the nether world can glorify the Most High
in place of the living who offer their praise?
Dwell no longer in the error of the ungodly,
but offer your praise before death.
No more can the dead give praise 
than those who have never lived;
You who are alive and well 
shall praise and glorify God in his mercies.
How great the mercy of the LORD,
his forgiveness of those who return to him!

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

R. (11A)  Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
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. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
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. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you 
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.

Alleluia – 2 COR 8:9

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

Gospel – MK 10:17-27

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

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

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Tie Up Your Camel


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 4, 2019

“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.” We have arrived once again, intrepid readers, to one of the most famous of phrases that is quoted by Christians and philosophers alike concerning the improbability of a large beast of burden being able to squeeze through the most tiny of all crevices. The stunning truth behind this wonderful selection has been treated before in these pages and shall be repeated in a condensed form. Clearly Jesus was not actually talking about a sewing needle but rather about a narrow entrance into the city of Jerusalem, a gate known locally as “the eye of the needle.” This gate was so small that a camel could only be brought through with great difficulty, squeezed through on its knees only after all the load of goods to be sold and traded were removed from its tired back. Unburdened and prayerful is the way to enter the Kingdom.

“To the penitent God provides a way back, he encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth.” The real thrust of our readings today is quite clear. If we do not practice humility we will grow into haughty people who do not give God or others the time of day or the respect and care that is deserving. The number one cure for pride and a bloated spirit is prayer because we must first acknowledge our dependence and need upon God then realize that we are all on this planet together trying desperately to get to heaven. The camel for us today becomes a symbol for us to remember to uncomplicate our lives from pettiness and the inordinate desire for possessions and get on our knees in prayer as often as we can. The more we do this, the happier we will be. 

“Trust in God but tie up your camel.” Arabic Proverb

Leave a comment

March 5, 2019


Mardi Gras

Reading 1 – SIR 35:1-12

To keep the law is a great oblation,
and he who observes the 
commandments sacrifices a peace offering.
In works of charity one offers fine flour,
and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise.
To refrain from evil pleases the LORD,
and to avoid injustice is an atonement.
Appear not before the LORD empty-handed,
for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts.
The just one’s offering enriches the altar
and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High.
The just one’s sacrifice is most pleasing,
nor will it ever be forgotten.
In a generous spirit pay homage to the LORD,
be not sparing of freewill gifts.
With each contribution show a cheerful countenance,
and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy.
Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
generously, according to your means.

For the LORD is one who always repays,
and he will give back to you sevenfold.
But offer no bribes, these he does not accept!
Trust not in sacrifice of the fruits of extortion.
For he is a God of justice,
who knows no favorites.

Responsorial Psalm – 50:5-6, 7-8, 14 And 23

R. (23B)  To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
for God himself is the judge.
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Hear, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you;
God, your God, am I.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.” 
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

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 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus,
‘We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Farewell To The Flesh


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 5, 2019

“We have given up everything and followed you.” Today around the world and much more emphatically in some parts like Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans, many are celebrating Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” with an array of spectacular events and parades and foods and festivals that could ever be imagined. The exhortation from St. Peter in our Gospel today almost seems to announce the hope and desire to enter the wondrous time of Lent tomorrow with the onset of Ash Wednesday and mover forward to our eternal reward. 

“To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is an atonement.” The interesting phenomenon behind today’s wild and colorful celebrations is actually a sober one. The word, “carnival” is derived from two distinct Latin phrases which come to be translated as “say goodbye to the flesh.” In doing so, people declare their seeming dependence of the pleasures of the world, hold them up for the world to see, then only twenty-four hours later renounce them as we begin a forty day journey into light and transfiguration, helping us be more like Christ in every possible way. Celebrate today with an eye on tomorrow when things make a dramatic change for the better. It will be the most glorious Easter experience if we do so. 

“Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once.”   Chris Rose

Leave a comment

March 6, 2019


Ash Wednesday

Reading 1 – JL 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?'”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (see 3A)  Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 2 – 2 COR 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, 
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Verse Before The Gospel – SEE PS 95:8

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

Gospel – MT 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Ashes For The Masses


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 6, 2019

“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.” Today we begin a most wonderful and challenging season of self-denial and hungering for the earthly pleasure that we may or may not have become overly attached to. The reason for the Season of Lent which begins today is to deeply understand mercy and to practice compassion and forgiveness every chance and opportunity we have. “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” Even though this special time appears on our calendars every single year, it is not pertinent or helpful to recall how many Lents we have lived through but rather and most importantly how many Lents have successfully lived through our own lives and existence. Remember, we live in the present moment and this is the time to act if we are going to make a difference between a life well lived and merely days and weeks to fill. “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 

“And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” Let us keep in mind as well as a precautionary and important caveat as we move forward. Lent does not end at the end of the day on Ash Wednesday. It is not even for only a week. It is a journey of forty days and forty nights which is remarkably Biblical and critical. If we truly want to glean all the spiritual and emotional benefits of such a powerful trek, we need to be ready to fall in place with all our hearts and minds and not anything that resembles a half-hearted effort. This is not only a thinly layered attempt to lose weight and look better. The role of hypocrisy is waiting to take center stage during this time and the Gospel was not unclear about the attitudes that must be present if we are to encounter a true moment of lasting integrity. Finally, this Lenten Season is about our relationship with Our Heavenly Father just as it was for the First Lent between Jesus and His Father. Just as the Body of Christ is the Church, so this global initiative to reform and change is all about our love for God and experiencing his reciprocating love for each and every one of us. Onward and upward!

“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”   St. John Chrysostom

Read Ashes-to-Ashes, Love-to-Love

Leave a comment

March 7, 2019


Reading 1 – DT 30:15-20

Moses said to the people:
“Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

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.

Verse Before The Gospel – MT 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Gospel – LK 9:22-25

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

Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Deny Self, Choose Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 7, 2019

“Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.” For some around us, this obvious choice that is offered by the Lord seems a little awkward. How? Why wouldn’t anyone not want to choose life in this world? Who would even think about choosing death? And here is the problem: some people misunderstand the life choices before them and instead of choosing the very gift of life in the world, they rather choose “living,” that is to say, they would rather let others suffer and die so that they can live the life of selfishness and betrayal that is clearly available and easy. It is similar to the person who claims they are free to abuse drugs and yet are slaves of the very substances they assert gives them freedom. The very opposite is true. Anything or anyone that enslaves is no friend of freedom, nor for that matter, of the Lord. 

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” The real question about this life-giving choice of and for life is found replete in the Gospel in the very words of the quintessential invitation Jesus provides for us. The only path to true freedom is to deny oneself and cling to Christ with every ounce of strength that we have. To accomplish this, we embrace our sufferings, heartaches and headaches to be redeemed and find life in the one who is leading us through these forty days and nights. 

“Teach self-denial, and make its practice pleasurable, and you create for the world a destiny more sublime than ever issued from the brain of the wildest dreamer.” Walter Scott 

Leave a comment

March 8, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 58:1-9A

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; 
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins. 
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 18-19

R. (19B) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before The Gospel – SEE AM 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.

Gospel – MT 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Fasting Improved


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 8, 2019

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish.” We have now arrived at the First Friday of Lent where we are reminded of that particular Friday when Jesus gave us His entire being on the cross for our salvation and eternal happiness. We are also reminded of the call to fast and go without to strengthen our resolve and our wish to be holy and ever so close to the Lord. Here we can visualize and follow the radical connection between the paths of Lent by which we are made wondrously ready for Easter.

“Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord will be with you.” Fasting assists our prayer life by helping us focus on the things in this life that really matter starting with our relationship with God and spreading into our dealings with one another. This supports our prayer life which in turn feeds our desire to do good and avoid the near temptation of sin that we may grow in holiness and deep and lasting friendships in this life. What we know by now is certain: we cannot do this alone and we need Jesus and each other to make or break this Lent. 

Only in eternity shall we see the beauty of the soul, and only then shall we realize what great things were accomplished by interior suffering. Mother Angelica 

Leave a comment

March 9, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 58:9B-14

Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.”

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with maliceB
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (11AB)  Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you. 
You are my God.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

Verse Before The Gospel – EZ 33:11

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

Gospel – LK 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Walking The Truth


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 9, 2019

“He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.” The Prophet Isaiah reveals more elements of the nature of this Season that have the great potential of making the grandest difference in our lives. In our First Reading of the day, we are clearly told that if we remove ugliness from our speech and selfishness from our mindsets, we can expect with the very promise of God Himself that life will be much better for us and for those around us. 

“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” Jesus crowns this wonderful insight by reminding us that before we can get better and grow in this life we must be honest with ourselves. If we think everything is fine and perfect and just “okay” then we have little hope of any transformation during Lent or at any other time of the year. As we prepare the First Sunday of Lent tomorrow, we could say that self-awareness and personal integrity form the bedrock and basis for an awesome life and full life. God has done His part; the rest is up to us. 

Lent is about becoming, doing, and changing, whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now. Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

Leave a comment

March 10, 2019


First Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 – DT 26:4-10

Moses spoke to the people, saying: 
“The priest shall receive the basket from you 
and shall set it in front of the altar of the LORD, your God.
Then you shall declare before the Lord, your God, 
‘My father was a wandering Aramean 
who went down to Egypt with a small household 
and lived there as an alien.
But there he became a nation 
great, strong, and numerous.
When the Egyptians maltreated and oppressed us, 
imposing hard labor upon us, 
we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, 
and he heard our cry
and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.
He brought us out of Egypt
with his strong hand and outstretched arm,
with terrifying power, with signs and wonders;
and bringing us into this country,
he gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.
Therefore, I have now brought you the firstfruits
of the products of the soil 
which you, O LORD, have given me.’
And having set them before the Lord, your God, 
you shall bow down in his presence.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15.

R. (cf. 15B)  Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
say to the LORD, “My refuge and fortress,
my God in whom I trust.”
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
No evil shall befall you,
nor shall affliction come near your tent,
For to his angels he has given command about you,
that they guard you in all your ways.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
Upon their hands they shall bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the asp and the viper;
you shall trample down the lion and the dragon.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
Because he clings to me, I will deliver him;
I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress;
I will deliver him and glorify him.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

Reading 2 – ROM 10:8-13

Brothers and sisters:
What does Scripture say?
The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart

—that is, the word of faith that we preach—, 
for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord 
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, 
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified, 
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
For the Scripture says, 
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; 
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Verse Before The Gospel – MT 4:4B

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

Gospel – LK 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan 
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, 
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days, 
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, 
command this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered him, 
“It is written, One does not live on bread alone.”
Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
The devil said to him,
“I shall give to you all this power and glory; 
for it has been handed over to me, 
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“It is written:
You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve.”

Then he led him to Jerusalem, 
made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
throw yourself down from here, for it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
and:
With their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

Jesus said to him in reply,
“It also says,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
When the devil had finished every temptation, 
he departed from him for a time.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Temptations And Triumph


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 10, 2019

“Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.” On this First Sunday of Lent, we are alerted to the very core reason for our journey these days. Jesus was in the desert for a very specific and wonderful reason: He is showing us how to live and how to face the temptations of this life. He was strengthened by his fasting and supported by His very love for you and me. The Psalm of today also confirms this belief: “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.” The three famous temptations of Christ could be saddled in the categories that should be more than familiar to us: passion, power and position. These passing commodities in this life can actually aid our demise if we are not careful and lose our focus on the things that really matter in this life which always outlive and outlast our existence here and pass into the next life.           

“He brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders; and bringing us into this country, he gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.” Moses knew this firsthand. The chosen people, a precursor of the entire Church of God, was under attack and tremendous burden. The Lord heard their cry and was given yet another chance to find salvation and hope in this life. This “second chance” involves our entrance into the mystical Body of Christ which also has prepared us not only for the forty days of Lent but all the days we have left on this planet. Just like the manna by day and the pillar of fire by night protected all those following Moses through the dessert, the Church protects all within her through the waters of Baptism that put an end to the reign of sin and death around us and assures our arrival to the Promised land of heaven. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” As we continue this great and marvelous time of renewal, we call upon the Spirit of God who led Jesus into the desert, who helps us maintain our Lenten focus and who inspires us with love and forgiveness now and forever. 

Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, and what path we must take in life. Pope Benedict XVI 

Leave a comment

March 11, 2019


Reading 1 – LV 19:1-2, 11-18

The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not steal.
You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another.
You shall not swear falsely by my name,
thus profaning the name of your God.
I am the LORD.

“You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor.
You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer.
You shall not curse the deaf,
or put a stumbling block in front of the blind,
but you shall fear your God.
I am the LORD.

“You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment.
Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty,
but judge your fellow men justly.
You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin;
nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. 
I am the LORD.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. 
Though you may have to reprove him,
do not incur sin because of him. 
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”

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

R. (John 6:63B)  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Verse Before The Gospel – 2 COR 6:2B

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Gospel – MT 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him. 
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

That Was Me


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 11, 2019

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” One of more astounding truths we encounter throughout Lent is the realization that there are many people in our immediate circle of contact and influence who are challenged and burdened much like ourselves and carrying similar crosses that we are bearing. Yet, because of our attachment to routine and preconceived notions and prejudices throughout the day, we are blind to the plight of others around us perhaps made that way because of our own struggles which tend to make us insensitive. Very unfortunately, it sometimes takes a tragedy or horrible instance to open our eyes and see what we have been missing all along. That is why the time to act is now: “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 

“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.” Today we are also given an added touch to this reflection. Those people in our lives which we treat with infrequent and perhaps unthinking care, could in fact be Jesus Himself. He said as much. His words and promise are better than gold so we can rest assured that all that is presented here is at least worthy of more than casual thought. What if that was Jesus I passed today? What if that person who pains me the most is in fact the Lord watching how I will return responses and invitations to greatness? Let’s see.

Lent is a call to renew a commitment grown dull, perhaps, by a life more marked by routine than by reflection. Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

Leave a comment

March 12, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

R. (18B)  From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. 
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

Verse Before The Gospel – MT 4:4B

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

Gospel – MT 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Lent’s Anthem


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 12, 2019

As the first full week of Lent concludes and we prepare for yet another wonderful installment of grace and direction, we are served with the timeless and excellent anthem for our spiritual journey in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, known to most of the world as the “Our Father” prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it brilliantly as it teaches that The Lord’s Prayer is truly the summary of the whole gospel. Since the Lord . . . after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, ‘Ask and you will receive,’ and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer [the Lord’s Prayer] is said first, as the foundation of further desires. (2761)

“Our Father who art in heaven” We acknowledge we are His children.
“hallowed be thy name” We acknowledge power in His name.
“thy Kingdom come” We acknowledge and desire His Kingdom.
“thy will be done” We desire to follow God.
“on earth as it is in heaven.” We realize there is this life and the next.
“Give us this day our daily bread,” We ask for all of our needs.
“and forgive us our trespasses,” We beg forgiveness. 
“as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We pledge forgiveness.
“and lead us not into temptation,” We ask for courage and strength.
“but deliver us from evil.” We ask for protection from the devil.

Sometime today, even late this evening when all is said and done, reflect slowly on the words of this incredible gift of a prayer and allow the Lord Jesus to hold you safe within his most Sacred Heart. 

Leave a comment

March 13, 2019


Reading 1 – JON 3:1-10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
“Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. 
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.”
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19

R. (19B) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me. 
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before The Gospel – JL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel – LK 11:29-32

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Learning How To Fly


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 13, 2019

One thing is very clear and actually demanded from the one who hears the call of discipleship to follow Jesus and wishes to answer it: it will always involve a leap of faith, an extra helping of courage and sometimes small or monumental act of faith. Such was the case of Jonah of which we heard in our First Reading after he was first charged to warn and issue an apocalyptic message to the Ninevites: “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” This was no easy task and neither was the awesome, even unexpected outcome: “When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.”  What a relief that must have been! In front of this all-encompassing mercy of God that marvels as well as redeems, we can understand and agree with the Psalmist who is insistent with the only recourse we have when we have made that tumultuous leap of complete trust: “A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” 

The benefits of this leap of faith are then made crystal clear and even more desirable in the Gospel today which re-addresses the nature of Jonah’s mission and our own hopes for a successful Lenten Season. Jesus is the last installment of any hope to return to the most excellent existence that could only possibly be had in heaven, Our life here on earth, much like these forty days of Lent preparing us for Easter, is like an “extended Lent” bringing us to new heights and clarity so that we may continue onward. 

Perhaps we could agree with a statement that was posted in a church lobby some years ago: “When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty, trust Him fully because two things will happen. Either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly.”

Leave a comment

March 14, 2019


Reading 1 – EST C:12, 14-16, 23-25

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, 
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. 
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8

R. (3A)  Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
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. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
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. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
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. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Verse Before The Gospel – PS 51:12A, 14A

A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the  joy of your salvation.

Gospel – MT 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. 
This is the law and the prophets.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Knock, Knock


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 14, 2019

“Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD… Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O LORD, my God.” Our Scriptures open today with a dramatic scene in the life of Queen Esther, a most remarkable Biblical figure in the Old Testament, who, at a serious moment in her life, had only the recourse to serious and complete self-emptying prayer that would move anyone to tears. This becomes a great image for us to factor in the way we lift our prayers to God. Do we just rattle-off words? Do we think about what we are saying? Does the level of faith reach deep within our souls? Queen Esther would certainly answer easily. 

“For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Prayer is the life of the new heart (CCC 2697) Christians throughout the centuries have maintained three main expressions of  prayer: vocal, meditation and contemplation. Together, they make a phenomenal path to peace and holiness, not to mention sanity.

Vocal: We are body and spirit, so it is important to express our spiritual  feelings outwardly [we speak].

Meditation:  The mind searches to understand what God is saying [we think, imagine, desire and feel].

Contemplation: We are alone with the One who loves us. [God speaks, we listen and experience].

The one who asks through vocal prayer, receives; the one who seeks through meditation, finds; and the one who knocks at the door of contemplation, can change the world one soul at a time. 

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

Leave a comment

March 15, 2019


Reading 1 – EZ 18:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, 
if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,
he shall surely live, he shall not die. 
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;
he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. 
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?
says the Lord GOD. 
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,
can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because he has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, he shall die. 
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!” 
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,
does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, 
he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7A, 7BC-8

R. (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered. 
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Verse Before The Gospel – EZ 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel – MT 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“I tell you, 
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, 
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Ides Of March


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 15, 2019

The term, “ides” is not a common household word and may only be recognized by those who know more than average about world history, particularly of the Roman Empire. It literally means the halfway point of the month and was made famous by the Ides of March in 44 BC on which the Emperor Caesar was warned and subsequently assassinated. We could say, then, that today, the midway point of the month of March, has at least some impending and demanding aspects to it having to deal with the following introspective questions: what have I done with my time in the first half of this gift of time and what do I intend to do with the last part of it? This is especially pertinent as we find ourselves nestled well into the great Season of Lent. 

Let us begin by reviewing the Scriptures of today: “If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die.”  Have I truly repented of all evil and malice and selfishness in my life in light of the great call to fasting and penance? “I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn.” Have I truly trusted the Lord Jesus with all my heart and soul and thus experienced  peace and calm even through heavy decisions and life demands? “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Have I been obedient without grumbling or complaining, especially when it was hard to do so? 

Now, in looking forward to the rest of this Lenten month of March, what could be our guiding principle?: “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” Perhaps we could make a commitment in the next two weeks to recall on a daily basis the great sacrifice Jesus made for each one of us and how that one single event has to make a difference in the way I act especially with my family and those around me. This deep and meaningful shift within us toward the Messiah can determine the kindness, faithful and hopeful living that needs to be seen in all of us who are Easter people purified, as it were, in these absolutely necessary days of cleansing and renewal. 

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Julius Caesar, (I, ii, 140-141)

Leave a comment

March 16, 2019


Reading 1 – DT 26:16-19

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“This day the LORD, your God,
commands you to observe these statutes and decrees.
Be careful, then,
to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.
Today you are making this agreement with the LORD:
he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways
and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees,
and to hearken to his voice.
And today the LORD is making this agreement with you:
you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you;
and provided you keep all his commandments,
he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory
above all other nations he has made,
and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God,
as he promised.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8

R. (1B)  Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
You have commanded that your precepts
be diligently kept.
Oh, that I might be firm in the ways
of keeping your statutes!
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
I will give you thanks with an upright heart,
when I have learned your just ordinances.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Verse Before The Gospel – 2 COR 6:2B

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Gospel – MT 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Love My What?


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 16, 2019

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  Once again, Jesus, the new Moses and Lawgiver, transforms our way of life by exacting upon us which some believe is virtually impossible. However, it is not impossible. In the First Reading, Moses reminds us of the ultimate source of all power in this universe who is the ultimate judge and dispenser of all justice. “This day the LORD, your God, commands you to observe these statutes and decrees. Be careful, then, to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.” 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.

“For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that?” 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

Leave a comment

March 17, 2019


Second Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 – GN 15:5-12, 17-18

The Lord God took Abram outside and said, 
“Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”
Abram put his faith in the LORD, 
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

He then said to him, 
“I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans 
to give you this land as a possession.”
“O Lord GOD,” he asked, 
“how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
He answered him, 
“Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, 
a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
Abram brought him all these, split them in two, 
and placed each half opposite the other; 
but the birds he did not cut up.
Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, 
but Abram stayed with them.
As the sun was about to set, a trance fell upon Abram, 
and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him.

When the sun had set and it was dark, 
there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, 
which passed between those pieces.
It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram,
saying: “To your descendants I give this land, 
from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14.

R. (1A)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Hear, O LORD, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. 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.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Reading 2 – PHIL 3:17—4:1

Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters, 
and observe those who thus conduct themselves 
according to the model you have in us.
For many, as I have often told you 
and now tell you even in tears, 
conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction.
Their God is their stomach; 
their glory is in their “shame.”
Their minds are occupied with earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven, 
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified body 
by the power that enables him also 
to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, 
in this way stand firm in the Lord.

Or – PHIL 3:20—4:1

Brothers and sisters:
Our citizenship is in heaven, 
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified body 
by the power that enables him also 
to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, 
in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved.

Verse Before The Gospel – CF. MT 17:5

From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, hear him.

Gospel – LK 9:28B-36

Jesus took Peter, John, and James 
and went up the mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance 
and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, 
who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus 
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, 
but becoming fully awake, 
they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, 
“Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But he did not know what he was saying.
While he was still speaking, 
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, 
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said, 
“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
They fell silent and did not at that time 
tell anyone what they had seen.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Time To Shine


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 17, 2019

“He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.” 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 transformation and transfiguration from the hands of Christ who leads through this Lenten Season. “Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” 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. 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 in this vision of glory the real hope of 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 Second Sunday of Lent, 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: “From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard: This is my beloved Son, hear him.”

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

Leave a comment

March 18, 2019


Reading 1 – DN 9:4B-10

“Lord, great and awesome God,
you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you
and observe your commandments!
We have sinned, been wicked and done evil;
we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.
We have not obeyed your servants the prophets,
who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes,
our fathers, and all the people of the land.
Justice, O Lord, is on your side;
we are shamefaced even to this day:
we, the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem,
and all Israel, near and far,
in all the countries to which you have scattered them
because of their treachery toward you.
O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers,
for having sinned against you.
But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!
Yet we rebelled against you
and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God,
to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 79:8, 9, 11 AND 13

R. (see 103:10A)  Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before you;
with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
through all generations we will declare your praise.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.

Verse Before The Gospel See – JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – LK 6:36-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Measure The Treasure


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 18, 2019

It may take the death of someone very dear to us or some horrendous tragedy or life-altering disappointment to finally take us to the brink of existence to realize that we truly belong to God. Some among us have been blessed from the beginning with a child-like and total trust in God, but for many of us it seems as if we have to grow gradually into that space where we know without a doubt that God exists, that He made me, and that I can trust my entire life to Him. Daniel of our First Reading was one of those totally trusting God-fearing individuals. Yet, he was also ready to beg  forgiveness for straying from the fold: “But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness! Yet we rebelled against you and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God, to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.” The two apparently opposing attitudes are actually quite linked in the depths of love and mercy a person who loves God completely understands. Love and mercy are essential elements of a holy, happy and healthy life in Christ. 

No one can claim seriously that they are “self-made.” That simply is not possible. We did not create ourselves as much as some might insist. Precisely because God created and designed and loved us all into existence means that we belong to Him. We can trust that. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned…For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” When one trusts the Lord with everything they have, acknowledges their sinfulness and failings before the Lord, they are much less ready to judge and short-change people around them. Thus, the same standards we apply to others will indeed be applied to us, one way or another, sooner or later. Since we deeply and fundamentally belong to God, then we have an even stronger and compelling reason to get along with each other and practice what we preach. Since all have been created by God, then all have an equal dignity, and the more we can recognize that quality in everyone, even if they themselves do not see it, the closer we come to fulfilling the destiny God has invited us to follow. 

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people don’t just happen. 
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Leave a comment

March 19, 2019


Feast of St. Joseph

Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:4-5A, 12-14A, 16

The LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David,
‘When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 AND 29

R. (37)  The son of David will live for ever.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness,
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. The son of David will live for ever.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R. The son of David will live for ever.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R. The son of David will live for ever.

Reading 2 – ROM 4:13, 16-18, 22

Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith,
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.

Verse Before The Gospel – PS 84:5

Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord;
they never cease to praise you.

Gospel – MT 1:16, 18-21, 24A

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

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

Or LK 2:41-51A

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Good Saint Joseph


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 19, 2019

Today we joyfully celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, the father of Jesus and another excellent installment of our Lenten journey as we continue closer and closer to Holy Week and the glorious Feast of Easter. St. Joseph is the patron of the Church, of all fathers and of a happy death. How can all these three essential elements of life be brought together for our spiritual benefit to undergo the great mysteries of Easter waiting for us at the end of these forty days? As always, we return to the precious Word of God beginning with our First Reading: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me,” and from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: “I have made you father of many nations.” It is clear that the Lord God wished not only to shepherd us through this valley of tears but also show us a father’s love and guidance just as He bestowed upon His only begotten Son with the awesome figure of Joseph, husband of Mary. Imagine the interaction and parenting that was occurring in the first years of the human formation of the Savior of the world. The Gospel also deepens this desire for loving obedience for us all through Jesus: “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded  him and took his wife into his home.” 

What is also remarkably profound about today’s Feast and the Patron Saint of the Church, the Body of Christ, is the lesson or true and unrelenting obedience to the will of God the Father and the acceptance of what lies ahead in our spiritual lives. St. Joseph accepted everything no matter how difficult or mysterious in his vocation and helped raise and protect Jesus the Messiah, true God and true Man. While it is true that there is no objective magic formula for success, there is an unconditional acceptance of God’s gift of life to us and all that it brings. This he lived even unto his death, premature by some estimates. This is why St. Joseph is the Patron of a happy death because the last face he saw on earth was the first he saw in Heaven. May it be the same for us!    

Go, then to Joseph, and do all that he shall say to you;
Go to Joseph, and obey him as Jesus and Mary obeyed him;
Go to Joseph, and speak to him as they spoke to him;
Go to Joseph, and consult him as they consulted him;
Go to Joseph, and honor him as they honored him;

Go to Joseph, and be grateful to him as they were grateful to him;
Go to Joseph, and love him, as they love him still.

~St. Alphonsus Liguori

Leave a comment

March 20, 2019


Reading 1 – JER 18:18-20

The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word.”

Heed me, O LORD,
and listen to what my adversaries say.
Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before you
to speak in their behalf,
to turn away your wrath from them.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 31:5-6, 14, 15-16

R. (17B)  Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
You will free me from the snare they set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side,
as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Verse Before The Gospel – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – MT 20:17-28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Serve To Live, Live To Serve


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 20, 2019

“Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.” Sociologist Robert Wuthnow of Princeton University has explored how it is that people make everyday ethical decisions. Many people, he found, perform deeds of compassion, service, and mercy because at some point in their past someone acted with compassion toward them. He wrote, “The caring we receive may touch us so deeply that we feel especially gratified when we are able to pass it on to someone else.” He tells the story of Jack Casey, who was employed as an emergency worker on an ambulance rescue squad. When Jack was a child, he had oral surgery. Five teeth were to be pulled under general anesthetic, and Jack was fearful. What he remembers most, though, was the operating room nurse who, sensing the boy’s terror, said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be right here beside you no matter what happens.” When Jack woke up after the surgery, she was true to her word, standing right there with him. Nearly twenty years later, Jack’s ambulance team is called to the scene of a highway accident. A truck has overturned, the driver is pinned in the cab and power tools are necessary to get him out. However, gasoline is dripping onto the driver’s clothes, and one spark from the tools could have spelled disaster. The driver is terrified, crying out that he is scared of dying. So, Jack crawls into the cab next to him and says, “Look, don’t worry, I’m right here with you; I’m not going anywhere.” And Jack was true to his word; he stayed with the man until he was safely removed from the wreckage. Later the truck driver told Jack, “You were an idiot; you know that the whole thing could have exploded, and we’d have both been burned up!” Jack told him that he felt that he just couldn’t leave him. 

Many years before, Jack had been treated compassionately by the nurse, and because of that experience, he could now show that same compassion to another. His experience of an act of loving service enabled him to do the same for another. In the Alleluia Verse for today, Jesus made it clear: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.”

Following Jesus and living a Christian life which is authentic and inspiring is much more than having a hobby or belonging to a particular political party. It is even more than having a job or a career. Our faith not only points us to what is eternal, but also follows us into that existence. If we live with Jesus here and now, we will enjoy His wonderful presence forever. That is why the Eucharist is essential to the one who understands that this life is passing and heaven is the only real goal worth living and dying for. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. Kallam Anji Reddy

Leave a comment

March 21, 2019


Reading 1 – JER 17:5-10

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man 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 man 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.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,
according to the merit of his deeds.

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.

Verse Before The Gospel – SEE LK 8:15

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

Gospel – LK 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Sores And Scraps


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 21, 2019

The pages of all the Scriptures literally shout out with warnings and desperate pleas concerning neglect for the poor and hungry in our world. This seems also to be a theme that has never been applied to just one culture or time period but for all of humanity in every age. The words of the Prophet Jeremiah are as fierce as they are clear about the pride and selfishness that produces this kind of woeful abandonment of the most vulnerable around us: “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD.”  

The Gospel today makes even a stronger case for realizing our responsibilities for the poor and neglected in this world and the serious consequences that await those who live very selfishly and even hatefully while they walk the earth with the many blessings abounding. “My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad.” The rich man in our passage literally had to walk over Lazarus who was literally covered with sores and longed to eat scraps that fell from the opulent table of the palace in front of which he is begging. This is a powerful Lenten lesson for each and every one of us. Let us all carefully look around our lives to make sure we are not “walking over” people who need us. Negligence is a terrible thing that brings much worse than sores and scraps for those who remain blind. 

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. St. Augustine

Leave a comment

March 22, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 37:3-4, 12-13A, 17B-28A

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph, 
“Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
“We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood,” he continued,
“just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright.”
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father. 
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
“What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? 
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R. (5A) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Verse Before The Gospel – JN 3:16

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

Gospel – MT 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: 
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
AHe will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Tales From The Vineyard


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 22, 2019

We have noted many times in our Reflections that more than a few Old Testament accounts of people and events tell of a foreshadowing of that which is yet to come. For example, Moses told the Jewish people of another lawgiver, like him, who would come later and who would require the people’s total allegiance and obedience; the Psalms describe the experiences of David; yet they also speak of David’s greater son, the Messiah. In our First Reading of today, We heard of Joseph son of Israel, who was deeply loved and cherished by his father but who would also face awful rejection: “When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.” The Scriptural lesson for us today is that for centuries humanity had been waiting for the Messiah, the landowner of heaven and earth, and still many rejected Him. That unfortunately goes on today in our time as was described dramatically in the timely threat that if we cannot produce good fruit with what we have been given, someone else will: “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”  

We clearly have been given a vineyard and a charge: You have a life now use it wisely and carefully. This means, among many other, things, that our very demeanor and actions especially around our families and friends, and co-workers alike must in fact radiate the fact that we do believe that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah and that I have in fact accepted Him here and now.

Every day, especially in these wondrous days of Lenten journey, you and I have wondrous and numerous opportunities to accomplish this. One of the best ways is through forgiveness whenever possible and necessary. Even for our friends. Especially for our friends. The sad turn of events in the parable that Jesus uses to continue to get through to the chief priests, scribes and elders is one of rejection. The truth is, we make literally hundreds of choices every day we walk on this planet from what we will eat and not eat to whom we we will call or not. The wisdom here is found in what to reject and what not to reject. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

What feels like rejection is often God’s protection when we are heading in the wrong direction. Donna Partow

Leave a comment

March 23, 2019


Reading 1 – MI 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

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,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
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.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Verse Before The Gospel – LK 15:18

I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him,
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

Gospel – LK 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.'”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Prodigal, Indulgent Father


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 23, 2019

“Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance.” It would be more than just a simple sadness if we found ourselves finishing another great Season of Lent and were not in possession with just a little more desire and ease when confronted with the need and call to forgive. And yet, if we were to speak realistically, the lack of ability may equal the lack of desire to even approach any semblance of forgiving someone and letting everything go especially when there is a deep and lasting wound or infraction that is at stake. Why do you think some people will not forgive, at least not yet? Here are just a couple: Some will not forgive another because they want more proof of repentance; others because they are still carrying another hurt from their not-too-distant past and we may have just opened a scab, the proverbial “old wound.” However there is a more deep and inherent reason why some refuse to forgive and it is simple. They have lost the true and essential truth of what Jesus has accomplished for them and for all of us. Redemption!

In an obvious sincere and hopeful attempt to avoid any sadness for us on Easter Sunday, the Scriptures provide us with an even better reason to continue to work toward a forgiving heart and a life dedicated to the mercy of our loving Father. And this is wonderfully found in such a delightful and poignant detail that is found wedged gently within the phrases of the parable that Christ presents to us in the Gospel: “So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.” Could you picture this? The prodigal son has left everything that was important to him and all the people who loved him. The pain caused to his father must have been horrible but even with this hurt, this holy parent still waited outside for his son to return home and then ran to accept him back into his arms. This is God who always is poised to forgive and love. This wondrous love is enough to bring us to forgive everyone who has ever caused us pain. The Psalm gives us the words for the prayer that will lead us to lasting joy: “He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion.”

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. C.S. Lewis

Leave a comment

March 24, 2019


 Third Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 – EX 17:3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst 
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD, 
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people, 
along with some of the elders of Israel, 
holding in your hand, as you go, 
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it 
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah, 
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9.

R. (8)  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
 as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
 they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading 2 – ROM 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith, 
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
through whom we have gained access by faith 
to this grace in which we stand, 
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint, 
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless, 
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, 
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Verse Before The Gospel – CF. JN 4:42, 15

Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world;
give me living water, that I may never thirst again.

Gospel – JN 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, 
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him 
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him, 
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; 
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, 
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself 
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, 
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; 
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; 
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty 
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands, 
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; 
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand; 
we worship what we understand, 
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, 
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; 
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; 
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned, 
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, 
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” 
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar 
and went into the town and said to the people, 
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another, 
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment 
and gathering crops for eternal life, 
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; 
others have done the work, 
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.” 

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified, 
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; 
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word, 
and they said to the woman, 
“We no longer believe because of your word; 
for we have heard for ourselves, 
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Or – JN 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, 
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him, 
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him 
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him, 
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; 
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, 
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself 
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, 
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; 
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; 
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

“I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; 
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father 
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand; 
we worship what we understand, 
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, 
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; 
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him 
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; 
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them; 
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word, 
and they said to the woman, 
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves, 
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Truth About Water


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 24, 2019

The truth about water is both obvious and critical because it is absolutely fundamental to lasting health, peace of mind and survival. Our bodies are about sixty percent water which, and without it, a person will die within just a few days. Perhaps water is also an important aspect to our spiritual lives while we examine the beautiful readings that are given to us on this Second Sunday of Lent: “Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” However, this Scriptural lesson cannot be concerned with just the nutritional aspects of water. The clear connection is with Baptism and the new life that is promised in the Old Testament and then fulfilled by Jesus with whom we travel these days of Lent. 

“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.'” Just as the human body actually pangs and thirsts for water, the soul also desires fulfillment and complete nourishment that can only be satisfied and found in the Lord Jesus. The remarkable aspect of the scene at the well is that it Jesus asking for a drink. What could that possibly signify? Jesus thirsts for the faith of the woman at the well and He is thirsting for you and me to make a commitment to Him and be completely nourished with His presence and His love. The truth is simple: without Jesus we will die; with Him we will constantly be refreshed in His great love. This is the truth about water. 

Like water in the desert is wisdom to the soul. Edward Counsel

Leave a comment

March 25, 2019


Feast of the Annunciation

Reading 1 – IS 7:10-14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said: 
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us!” 

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11

R. (8A and 9A) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 2 – HEB 10:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats 
take away sins.
For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said:

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

First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.”
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Verse Before The Gospel – JN 1:14AB

The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us;
and we saw his glory.

Gospel – LK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Good News In Lent


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 25, 2019

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us!’” Today we receive good news for this trying struggle of our wills during the Lenten Season. The goal of finding Jesus and embracing His spirit into our souls forever is coming near. This is the basis of the announcement, or annunciation that we celebrate today. The Feast of the Annunciation remembers and celebrates that moment when the angel Gabriel informed Mary that she had been chosen to be the mother of our Savior while her freedom was completely intact throughout the encounter. This underscores why we wait and fast and abstain during these days so that our hearts and souls will be ever ready for the Lord to enter our hearts and our entire lives to make sense of this life now and later. It also reminds us of the sacred moment when Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother. It also means that Christmas is now just nine months away!

“Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.” Our response is to be patterned after the same as the Virgin Mary responded to the Angel Gabriel. This is what is meant by total openness to God to accomplish on earth what is according to the mind and heart of God. Once we trust that Jesus loves us and wants only the best for us, then all we can do is open our souls in total confidence to His most holy will and pray in the Our Father, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in\heaven.” Today, as it is the custom in some cultures, is the day where we ask the Lord for the most profound, awesome and seemingly unattainable miracle that we could ever need. This is the day that the Holy Spirit descended onto earth to bring us the tiniest beginnings of our salvation. Ask and you shall receive, “…for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. C. S. Lewis

Leave a comment

March 26, 2019


Reading 1 – DN 3:25, 34-43

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 25:4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9

R. (6A)  Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Verse Before The Gospel – JL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel – MT 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Fire Of Forgiveness


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 26, 2019

“Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud: ‘For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant.'” There have been a number of insights shared over the years about the measure of what it means to be a Christian and stay like that until death calls. One year, during a very random series of polls to decipher American opinions and attitudes concerning what a Christian actually looks like. The majority of responses about this question surrounded the notion that a Christian is someone who is nice, let’s you go in before you and says “thank you.” But all that just describes common courtesy, which by some standards, is not that common after all. But there was probably no more insightful and pithy approach to this line of thinking was uttered by G. K. Chesterton when he wrote that “just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.” Well said. Thank God we have a sense of humor and a deeper sense of gratitude: “Remember your mercies, O Lord.”  

It is a fair question to ask this time around the Lenten track to wonder what we would do differently if this was our last forty days of fasting and prayer before our final curtain call to heaven. It would certainly be worth considering. Maybe we would spend more time with the Lord, or praise Him for all the good times and the bad, or say the things to the people who mean so much how grateful to God we are for them, and forgive and ask for forgiveness. 

The future starts today, not tomorrow. St. John Paul II

Leave a comment

March 27, 2019


Reading 1 – DT 4:1, 5-9

Moses spoke to the people and said:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land 
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20

R. (12A)  Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Verse Before The Gospel – SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – MT 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Try To Remember Then Follow


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 27, 2019

In our Gospel reading today, Jesus makes an astounding statement: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” So nothing is going to be altered from the basic understanding and meaning of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. And He continues: “Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” 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. The traditions of the past are still valid but we must never get bogged down in them to the extent that we do not respond to the clear signs of the times. Tradition can be understood in two ways: either as a fundamental belief that has existed from the very beginning or simply a way of doing or understanding things which has been around for a long time.

Every year leaves fall from orange and apple tress all across our land. In the spring, newness explodes but every year, even after the changes of time and winter, those are still providing oranges and apples, as opposed to lemons and grapefruit. Yes, lots of change, but the fundamental essence remains. The day we close ourselves to change as well as the fundamental truths of our walk with Jesus, is the day we die, as Moses begs the Israelites to remember: “However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen.”

To live is to change; to be perfect is to have changed often. John Henry Cardinal Newman

Leave a comment

March 28, 2019


Reading 1 – JER 7:23-28

Thus says the LORD: 
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Verse Before The Gospel – JL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel – LK 11:14-23

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

His Master’s Voice


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 28, 2019

“Thus says the LORD: This is what I commanded my people: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people.” Those who are into music and the recognition some musicians receive for their craft are certainly familiar with The Grammy Awards. They are named such because of the miniature gramophone affixed to the coveted prize. This, moreover has its roots from the trademark image originated from a painting by Francis Barraud which is famously known and entitled, “His Master’s Voice.” The painting famously showing a cute dog apparently listening intensely to the original record player which was then later adopted as the trademark by the Victor Talking Machine Company.  According to available publicity material, the dog, a terrier named Nipper, had originally belonged to Barraud’s brother, Mark. When Mark Barraud died, Francis inherited Nipper along with a cylinder phonograph and recordings of Mark’s voice. Francis noted the peculiar interest that the dog took in the recorded voice of his late master emanating from the horn, and conceived the idea of committing the scene to canvas.

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” What a powerful image we have been given today as we continue our days of Lenten journey. To be so attuned to the voice of Christ and to be so drawn and driven in listening to it no matter what the cost is the goal of all who want to find their way to heaven with the great and powerfully loving assistance of the Good Shepherd. However, this search must not become one of superstition and doubt: “Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Clearly these people had no idea of who was standing right in front of them. Ignorance is certainly not bliss! You see, there is no website, Twitter account or Facebook page that accomplishes the value and depth of speaking and listening directly with the Lord in daily prayer, strengthened by our daily dose of the Scriptures and Eucharistic nourishment. Let us decide this week to make the time and listen intensely to our Master’s voice. He is always ready to start a conversation. 

Listen in silence because if your heart is full of other things you cannot hear the voice of God. St. Teresa of Calcutta

Leave a comment

March 29, 2019


Reading 1 – HOS 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”– 
Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 81:6C-8A, 8BC-9, 10-11AB, 14 AND 17

R. (see 11 and 9a)  I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:
“I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you.”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, will you not hear me?”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“There shall be no strange god among you
 nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

Verse Before The Gospel – MT 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Gospel – MK 12:28-34

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

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding, 
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Two-Edged Sword Of Guilt


Reflections on Mass Reading for March 29, 2019

“Thus says the LORD: Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt.” When we stop and think about it for a while, Lent is consumed with remembering the most important things in life and realizing how at times our guilt and fear can be so paralyzing. That is why we sacrifice (give up) mundane things which we really do not need so that we can focus on the things in this world that we truly need. This is supported by the underlining meaning from our First Reading today: “Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.”

“But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” Remembering the most important things in life is one of the most important things to do in life. All of what we have experienced and lived must form the fabric of the wisdom and the philosophy of life that we exist and use as we move into the future, which is all in the mind of God who cares and loves us with an everlasting love. During the awesome Season of Lent, we are called and pulled toward memory and freedom. Guilt hurts at first but if it motivates us to change and reform our lives according to Christ, then we will in fact remember how it is that we can find our way to heaven by following the Lord God with every fiber of our being. In turn, we are compelled to pass that on to those we love, especially our children. May we remember the name of the one who has saved us! “I will heal their defection, says the LORD, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them.”

A man once wrote to his teenage son: “God is the reason why even in pain, I smile, in confusion I understand, in betrayal I trust and in fear I continue to fight.” These are not just words if they are put into practice and lived as best as possible. You and I must remember, even long after this particular Lenten Season is over, that our children, students and friends will not follow our advice—they will indeed follow and remember our example. “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

Leave a comment

March 30, 2019


Reading 1 – HOS 6:1-6

“Come, let us return to the LORD,
it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.
He will revive us after two days;
on the third day he will raise us up,
to live in his presence.
Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD;
as certain as the dawn is his coming,
and his judgment shines forth like the light of day!
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.”

What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your piety is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that early passes away.
For this reason I smote them through the prophets,
I slew them by the words of my mouth;
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21AB

R. (see Hosea 6:6)  It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
Be bountiful, O LORD, to Zion in your kindness
by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem;
Then shall you be pleased with due sacrifices,
burnt offerings and holocausts.
R. It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.

Verse Before The Gospel – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – LK 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — 
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Return to Sender


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 30, 2019

“Come, let us return to the LORD, it is he who has rent, but he will heal us; he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.” Have you ever had the need to return something? It could have been something you ordered through the mail, or perhaps some food item which was damaged or not all that ripe, or even an entree at a restaurant which just did not make the grade. Why did we do that? We did it precisely because it was not acceptable or good enough for our use and/or consumption. Perhaps in this Lenten Season, we could apply a similar application to our efforts to return to the Lord what we want to change or reform. None of us can rationally say that we are perfect but we can also say with much assurance that we are in need of transformation all the time, up until the day we die. This is why humility is such a gift and a basic need for the spiritual journey as well, in and outside of Lent. 

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” From time to time, we are given a unique perspective into the disputes which Jesus faced while He walked the earth. Today in the Gospel we find the haughty, arrogant attitude detailed in one of the visitors to the Temple. He was a Pharisee, and Pharisees were very concerned about the national identity of Israel, rooted in the covenant between God and the chosen people. The Torah (or Law), contained in the first five books of the Old Testament, gave concrete instructions on how to live the covenant faithfully. Although they seemed to have meant well, the problem with their position was that their teaching actually robbed the Law – the Word of God, after all – of its dynamism and life-giving power. “Blind guides,” Jesus called them and rightly so because we read today that this particular Pharisee and all his ilk were not justified. Time for a return to sender.

For today, how about we send the following? To an enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, our heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity, To every child, a good example, To ourselves, respect.

Leave a comment

March 31, 2019


Fourth Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 – 1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A

The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, 
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice, 
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, 
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel: 
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, 
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see, 
because man sees the appearance 
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, 
but Samuel said to Jesse, 
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him; 
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold 
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There—anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, 
anointed David in the presence of his brothers; 
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

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.

Reading 2 – EPH 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness, 
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light, 
for light produces every kind of goodness 
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; 
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention 
the things done by them in secret; 
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Verse Before The Gospel – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – JN 9:1-41

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, 
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned; 
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him, 
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, 
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
He replied,
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again, 
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe 
that he had been blind and gained his sight 
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said, 
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid
of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed 
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind 
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
He replied,
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?

Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said, 
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses, 
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing, 
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners, 
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, ADo you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said, 
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment, 
so that those who do not see might see, 
and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this 
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin; 
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

Or – JN 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him, 
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent —.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, 
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again, 
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said, 
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him, and
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Blindness And Sight


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 31, 2019

One morning, I stopped on my way to work at a local gas station that is also a convenience store, a vegetable market, a breakfast and lunch counter, and a stage of on-going human drama. Of course, I arrived when there was a long line already formed for everything from unleaded gas to lottery tickets, so I purchased a cup of coffee and some other items and placed them on a small table toward the back while I realized that I left my wallet in my car. As I returned, I witnessed a man of about twenty-five years of age stumble by the table, sit down and literally spill over the coffee onto the fruit and the newspaper which I was about to purchase. “Breathe, breathe…” I continued to think to myself. I began to walk over to the table and once again, “breathe again, it’s the beginning of your day….please God help me right now…”

Slowing down, I was glad the hot coffee had not spilled over his clothes and with no one else around, I guess I could’ve just left everything as it was, but that’s really not my way of doing things. I saw a mop in the nearby closet and just accepted the fact that this nice, freshly ironed and dry cleaned yellow shirt of mine would be less than crisp and ready for my desk work today. When I turned around, I was so thankful for God’s grace and mercy. That young man was blind.

As I neared the table with the mop, I began to say as gently and as slowly as I could, “I’m sorry about all this. It’s my coffee. Don’t worry, I’ll clean it up. No worries.” He tried to apologize as well and before you know it, it was all better and all cleaned. I suggested that we thank God that no one was burned or hurt and that we were both able to walk and still make this day good no matter what. “Jesus defeated death,” I said, “and he can surely take care of little spilled coffee.” One of the attendants, who apparently had been up all night on the graveyard shift, suddenly appeared and barked at both of us, “who’s going to pay for the coffee and all this other stuff?” I looked up and surveyed the man who was easily half a foot taller than me and who obviously played football in high school: “I guess I will, sir.”

“No you won’t!” came a fierce response from the refrigerated coolers around the corner. It came from an older woman, dressed for work, and apparently for action, who continued, “I saw the whole thing. Get away from there! I’ll take care of it!” And with that she not only paid for my items, but yet another set for me and for my blind friend and a coffee for herself and all three of us sat for about ten minutes talking about nothing.

Today we are celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Lent and are now more than halfway through this remarkable season of transformation and growth. What could we learn from what God has exposed us to open our hearts and minds? Let’s take a look: 

“Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” Let us not rush to judgment and quick to rely on the appearances of things. Treasures are lurking. “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” When we trust in Jesus, even through the toughest of moments, light will shine. “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” We can never be lost if we follow close by the Light of the World because that is precisely why he came to us: “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”  

Leave a comment