The Word of God

June 1, 2019


Memorial of St. Justin

Reading 1 – ACTS 18:23-28

After staying in Antioch some time,
Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence
through the Galatian country and Phrygia,
bringing strength to all the disciples.

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus.
He was an authority on the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and,
with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue;
but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside
and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.
And when he wanted to cross to Achaia,
the brothers encouraged him
and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.
After his arrival he gave great assistance
to those who had come to believe through grace.
He vigorously refuted the Jews in public,
establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 47:2-3, 8-9, 10

R.(8A) God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands;
shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne. 
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The princes of the peoples are gathered together
with the people of the God of Abraham.
For God’s are the guardians of the earth;
he is supreme. 
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 16:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I came from the Father and have come into the world;
now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:23B-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” 

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Leaving The World In Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 1, 2019

“I came from the Father and have come into the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”  What kind of magnificent love is it that inspired and propelled God to send His Son Jesus Christ to be born in a filthy manger, live a poor life, then be crucified for our sins? Perhaps a line from the Gospel of today helps us answer this profound question: “For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God.”

As we near the great Feast of the Ascension and Pentecost we are called to respond with enthusiastic joy of the awareness that is brought to the one who understands this gift and cannot help but be changed forever. My life must be different because of what happened for me and for the world. Death has been defeated and there is a place waiting for me in heaven forever. This, too, is underscored by the opening lines of the Responsorial Psalm of today: “All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with cries of gladness. For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.” Let us move forward this summer with new resolve and new hope. Darkness cannot and will not extinguish what we have been given. 

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains. Anne Frank  

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June 2, 2019 – Seventh Sunday of Easter


Click here for The Ascension of the Lord

Seventh Sunday of Easter Lectionary: 61

Reading 1 – ACTS 7:55-60

Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them;”
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 97:1-2, 6-7, 9

R. (1A and 9A) The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many islands be glad.
Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
All gods are prostrate before him.
R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.
R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – REV 22:12-14, 16-17, 20

I, John, heard a voice saying to me:
“Behold, I am coming soon.
I bring with me the recompense I will give to each
according to his deeds.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,
the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are they who wash their robes
so as to have the right to the tree of life
and enter the city through its gates.

“I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.
I am the root and offspring of David,
the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
Let the hearer say, “Come.”
Let the one who thirsts come forward,
and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.

The one who gives this testimony says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Alleluia – CF. JN 14:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord.
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“Holy Father, I pray not only for them,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”

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Ascension: I’ll Be Back


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 2, 2019

The Feast that we celebrate today brings a newness of understanding and a fresh and bold way to continue the path we have chosen all the way to heaven. This virtual retreat that started on Ash Wednesday, culminating on Easter Sunday, is now being fully realized and planted in our hearts right as Pentecost looms with the promise of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit: “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” You see, this does not mark an end of the relationship Jesus has with us, the Church, but rather a new beginning and new way of how we relate to Him as He returns to the Father. We are the Body of Christ, and thus we have also ascended with Him in a very hopeful and powerful way. This must change how we look at our lives today knowing that the greatest is still yet to come for all of us. “Blessed are they who wash their robes so as to have the right to the tree of life and enter the city through its gates.” Our very nature now is in transition between heaven and earth and it will be up to us to decide how we are to act while we live and move and have our being. That must involve praying for, waiting for and living in the gifts, wisdom, and knowledge. We must be witnesses! 

“We must show our Christian colors if we are to be true to Jesus Christ.” (C.S. Lewis) Perhaps the most awesome lesson to learn from today’s Feast is the the fact that Jesus is in fact coming back just as He said He would. This certainly does not mean that we lie in wait, scared and anxious about the cataclysmic doomsday that is so popular in science-fiction and pop culture. Actually, the opposite is true. Doesn’t it make more sense that if you knew someone you deeply loved was coming to see you, you’d be outside eager and happy to greet them, having prepared a lavish welcome with mind and heart ready and poised to hold and embrace and even shout with song upon seeing them again? Absolutely. To be honest, it is not always easy to maintain such a joyful demeanor, especially when there are crises we must face and problems we must address. Sometimes we are allowed to hit rock bottom so we may discover clearly and know that God is the rock at the bottom. Discovering this mysterious truth, we then are set again to face whatever comes with the strength inside from Him who is actually returning just as He left. Indeed, we could and should shout with the Second Reading today: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them…we must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly. A.W. Tozer

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June 2, 2019 – The Ascension of the Lord


Click here for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

The Ascension of the Lord Lectionary: 58

Reading 1 – ACTS 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R.(6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – EPH 1:17-23

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

Or – HEB 9:24-28; 10:19-23

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

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since through the blood of Jesus 
we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary 
by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, 
that is, his flesh,
and since we have Aa great priest over the house of God, ” 
let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, 
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience 
and our bodies washed in pure water.
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, 
for he who made the promise is trustworthy.

Alleluia – MT 28:19A, 20B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Go and teach all nations, says the Lord;
I am with you always, until the end of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 24:46-53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things. 
And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you;
but stay in the city
until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany,
raised his hands, and blessed them.
As he blessed them he parted from them
and was taken up to heaven.
They did him homage
and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.

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June 3, 2019


Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions

Reading 1 – ACTS 19:1-8

While Apollos was in Corinth,
Paul traveled through the interior of the country
and down to Ephesus where he found some disciples. 
He said to them,
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
They answered him,
“We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
He said, “How were you baptized?”
They replied, “With the baptism of John.”
Paul then said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him,
that is, in Jesus.”
When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul laid his hands on them,
the Holy Spirit came upon them,
and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Altogether there were about twelve men.

He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly
with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 68:2-3AB, 4-5ACD, 6-7AB

R.(33A) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God arises; his enemies are scattered,
and those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so are they driven;
as wax melts before the fire. 
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
But the just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD. 
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – COL 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:29-33

The disciples said to Jesus,
“Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world.” 

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Conquering The World


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 3, 2019

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” Each time we live through the great transforming Seasons of Lent and Easter, there must be some part of us that is changed. Understanding and embracing final justice and the Last Judgment has the remarkable effect of grounding us closer and closer to Jesus knowing that as long as we stand with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit, life can never be the same again.

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

Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever. Brennan Manning

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June 4, 2019


Reading 1 – ACTS 20:17-27

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned. 
When they came to him, he addressed them,
“You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

“But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 68:10-11, 20-21

R.(33A) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
Your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed day by day be the Lord,
who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death. 
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 17:1-11A

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

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This I Leave You


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 4, 2019

“And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” Like the divine parent that He is, God loves us all so very much and sees with the eternal eyes of providence the rich potential in all of us even though we make some really bad choices now and then. As we near the Feast of Pentecost and all the riches that are promised there, what do we hope to learn and guard moving forward? 

“Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.” Throughout the transfiguring Season of Lent, Jesus taught us all some amazing lessons of life. We could summarize some of them thus: 1. Never trade temporary pleasure for permanent regret. 2. Seek wise counsel from people who care about you. 3. Pray and seek wisdom from God’s word for your decisions. Perhaps you have more or even some amendments to these but make no mistake, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit have been promised to us to use and make this life the very best. The rest is up to us.

The most important thing is God’s blessing and if you believe in God and you believe in yourself, you have nothing to worry about. Mohamed Al-Fayed

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June 5, 2019


Memorial of St. Boniface

Reading 1 – ACTS 20:28-38

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 68:29-30, 33-35A, 35BC-36AB

R.(33A) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Show forth, O God, your power,
the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
let the kings bring you gifts.
R. Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
chant praise to the Lord
who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
“Confess the power of God!”
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Allelluia – SEE JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – JN 17:11B-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth. 
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

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Foul Balls And A Father’s Love


baseball batter swing at game

In a most dramatic example of how baseball imitates life, there was an emotional and heart-stopping scene at Minute Maid Park during the Cubs-Astros game last Thursday (5/29) during the last inning. Albert Almora Jr. of the Cubs hit a hard line-drive foul into the stands that hit a young child. He was extremely and visibly affected and shaken by the accident and had to be consoled by security personnel right on the field. According to the latest reports available, the young child was awake, responsive and taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons and is expected to be fine with an amazingly unique baseball memory afforded to few.

“Right now I’m just praying and I’m speechless,” he told the Associated Press. “I’m at loss of words. Being a father, two boys… but God willing I’ll be able to have a relationship with this little girl for the rest of my life. But just prayers right now and that’s all I really can control. It really puts life in perspective.” To watch this great athlete crumble before audiences everywhere spoke volumes of his deep paternal compassion and care. He inadvertently hurt a child and as a father of two, he felt the pain perhaps even more severely.

There is something quite telling in this remarkable slice of life that was witnessed by tens of thousands of people, mostly baseball fans. As we move into yet another month of this, what-seemed-so recently as the “brand new year,” it really has become a call to sit back for a second, take stock in life and consider what is really important and why.

You will no doubt hear that June is the month of Dads and Grads and perhaps that is partly our cue to ask a very important question. What does this amazing occurrence at the stadium in Houston reveal to us about what a father does, acts or feels? Here are a few ideas:

He heals.

“Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:22-28)

A father attempts to stay deeply connected to compassion, always acting what is within his power to do, approaching life with all his heart.

He loves.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the laws and the prophets.”  (Matthew 22:35-40)

A father shows mercy no matter what the circumstances and extends forgiveness without limits, loving the other as his own expression of his love for God.

He prays.

“But when you pray, go into your inner room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

A father prays alone, persistently, with others and simply especially when life deals a hard knock of sorts.

He focuses on his treasure in heaven.

“And he said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’” (Luke 12:15)

A father detaches himself from possessions, believes that God has blessed him abundantly and seeks to act justly in all things with all people, especially his own family.

He seeks God’s will.

“So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.’” (John 8:27-29)

A father relies on the example of Jesus, maintains a sense of urgency by seeking to always be in the state of grace, focus daily on God’s will, and sees all his responsibilities as acts of love by looking upon his own sacrifice as gain for others.

He sees children as precious.

“The children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray,. The disciples rebuked the people; but Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And he laid his hands upon them.”  (Matthew 19:13-15)

A father protects children while welcoming them into a safe and loving world while at the same time seeking to have the innocent heart of a child.

He lives with humility.

“And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them,’ If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’” (Mark 9:33-35)

A father lives in God’s mercy and not on his own merit, presumes the lowest place of consideration and sacrifice his ego for the greater good, especially for his family and neighbors.

That my friends, in a very friendly nutshell, is our reflection for and about fathers today. And to think that it surfaced out of a baseball foul ball in a tight game watched by hundreds of thousands of people, especially the remarkable and memorable foul ball. Baseball does in fact imitate life in several ways and we will close with these interesting comparisons:

In the game of baseball, there is no time limit or “sudden death” overtime. Everyone knows that there is an end to the game, but never exactly when. Just like life. In this great game, players get several chances to win and succeed. During nine innings you should get four at bats, and you get four balls and three strikes and whole bunch of foul balls. As in life, we often have many more failures than successes. But in baseball, like life, it’s those failures that make us better and stronger to be a better competitor the next day. In the game of life and baseball, you and I are sometimes asked to make sacrifices for the good of the team.

Fatherhood is amazing, isn’t? Whether it’s foul ball or a home run, just staying in the game is more than half the victory.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

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Truth: Better To Give Than To Receive


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 5, 2019

“Consecrate them in the truth.” What does it mean to consecrate someone or something? Some definitions render the word as the act by which something or someone is made sacred and or dedicated for a clear and religious purpose. When Jesus continues His prayer to the father in heaven and asks that those who would follow Him, His Apostles, the early Church and all of us who seek the truth in the Church to be consecrated, it is clear that He is asking that we be set apart and made sacred for a specific role and a place in this world. 

“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” How can we live this “consecration” on a daily basis? First, it means that we are people of truth and not lies. Second, we continue to seek to be in union with Jesus always staying in communication with Him just as He was with His Father. And finally, we must keep in mind the powerful description that Jesus gives to all of us today: “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” When worry, anxiety, anger or deep-seated sorrow begin to overtake us, we must cling to this promise. We simply do not belong to this world; we belong to Jesus. Seen in this perspective, even the greatest problems we may ever have to encounter will always be met with Jesus right at our side. “In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

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June 6, 2019


Reading 1 – ACTS 22:30; 23:6-11

Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
“We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R.(1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot. 
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 17:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”

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May We Be One


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 6, 2019

“May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.”  Unity and union have tremendous amount of literary and spiritual appearances in the Scriptures and in the course of everyday life. We are constantly and even sometimes painfully reminded what brings us together and what tears us apart. Our background, whether social background, knowledge, experience, religion can both bring us together, separate us, or even cause conflict between us. Still, even in the face of such daunting challenges, Jesus prays to His Father that we may be one.

“I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”  Why do we need unity? Jesus asserts that it is primarily for our personal benefit. It benefits all God’s people and makes us more effective and shines Christ’s love into the world. When there is no unity in the essential matters of life, we have disastrous effects. Let’s start with our inner circles and immediate spheres of influence. What can and should I do today to make things more unified? How can I be a source of unity rather than disunity? The answer is simple because it is found in the person of Jesus who is love and who taught us that the greatest thing we can do in this life is to love, forgive and serve. Today is a good day to start.

In the essential things, unity; in the non-essential, diversity. In all things, charity. St. Augustine

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Someone Else Will Dress You


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 7, 2019

“…but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  It is an interesting and acquired taste of irony that we enter this life needing someone else to dress, feed and clean up after us only to find that toward the very end of this amazing life, we will depend on others, not the same people, obviously, to do the same for us. What can we learn from this? One aspect is clear. We are brought into the world with the almost inescapable lessons of service and self-emptying to hopefully initiate for the years that we have with the not-so-unrealistic hope that others will still be there for us when we are at the depths of need and dependence.

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  This is precisely why the question that Jesus asks of Peter in the Gospel (and actually three entire times obviously to make a divine point) is startling and realistically geared for each and everyone of us who seeks to live a life of integrity and peace and one day find our eternal home in heaven. Life is certainly too short and too fragile to live selfishly. We are placed here to help each other and everyone has a distinct mission to fulfill. God placed you and me here for a definite and wonderful reason and we first find out what that is and then live life to the absolute fullest. When Jesus asks us, “do you love me?,” the only way to answer is to show Him how much we love each other.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. St. Pope Paul VI

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June 7, 2019


Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter Lectionary: 301

Reading 1 – ACTS 25:13B-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul’s case to the king, saying,
“There is a man here left in custody by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews
brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.
I answered them that it was not Roman practice
to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers
and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.
So when they came together here, I made no delay;
the next day I took my seat on the tribunal
and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor’s decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

Responsorial Psalm – 1 PS 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20AB

R.(19A) The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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 has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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 has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven, 
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, 
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” 
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; 
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

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No Book Big Enough


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 8, 2019

“There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.” The conclusion of the Gospel of St. John with which we have been served today is remarkable in many different ways. First, it clearly shows that not everything that we are to believe is actually written down giving our rich understanding and possession of sacred tradition a much needed boost for understanding. Jesus has in fact left us many wonderful ways to approach, find and love Him.

“He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Never miss an opportunity to share with anyone who would or who might need to listen to your experience meeting and loving the Lord Jesus. Think about this for just a minute: if you had the cure to cancer, wouldn’t you share it? You have the cure to death so why not share that all the time?

There isn’t enough room in your life for both fear and faith. Each day, you must decide which one gets to stay. Dave Willis

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June 8, 2019


Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter – Mass in the Morning Lectionary: 302

Reading 1 – ACTS 28:16-20, 30-31

When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews.
When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or our ancestral customs, I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem. After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me, because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty. But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation. This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.” 

I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.
After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me,
because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.
But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar,
even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.
This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you
and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel
that I wear these chains.” 

He remained for two full years in his lodgings.
He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance
and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 11:4, 5 AND 7

R. (see 7B)  The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold,
his searching glance is on mankind.
R. The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD searches the just and the wicked;
the lover of violence he hates.
For the LORD is just, he loves just deeds;
the upright shall see his face.
R. The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 16:7, 13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord;
he will guide you to all truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 21:20-25

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things
and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
There are also many other things that Jesus did,
but if these were to be described individually,
I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written.

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Gifts And Fruits For Everyone


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 9, 2019

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”  
This is one of those days that we can honestly greet each other with the happy phrase, “Happy Feast Day!” Why is that? Today the Church celebrates Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and many gathered with them and the birth of the Church ensued. In some ways, we could say that this is our birthday celebration because this is how it all began. This is how all of life is transformed and made new again. This is the force of the Gospel especially when it is lived through and in the hearts of believers. This is what motivates the Psalmist to invite us to sing with all our hope and might: “When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”

“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” Our Second Reading clarifies another compelling reason to ask and openly receive all the gifts that God wishes to impart to us through the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in this life. We have great impact and a deep call for service for and with each other. This is what makes the Church a mystery and a hopeful presence in a world that is often without it. Make this day special by renewing your baptism and continuing to ask God for strength of mind and heart. The best, as we have often said here, is yet to come.

Without Pentecost the Christ-event – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now. Henri Nouwen

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June 9, 2019 – Extended Vigil


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Pentecost Sunday – Extended Vigil Lectionary: 62

Reading 1 – GN 11:1-9

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.
While the people were migrating in the east,
they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.
They said to one another,
“Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.”
They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city
and a tower with its top in the sky,
and so make a name for ourselves;
otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower
that the people had built.
Then the LORD said: “If now, while they are one people,
all speaking the same language,
they have started to do this,
nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do.
Let us then go down there and confuse their language,
so that one will not understand what another says.”
Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth,
and they stopped building the city.
That is why it was called Babel,
because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world.
It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations. 
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind. 
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works. 
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Reading 2 – EX 19:3-8A, 16-20B

Moses went up the mountain to God.
Then the LORD called to him and said,
“Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob;
tell the Israelites:
You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians
and how I bore you up on eagle wings
and brought you here to myself.
Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant,
you shall be my special possession,
dearer to me than all other people,
though all the earth is mine.
You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
That is what you must tell the Israelites.”
So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people.
When he set before them
all that the LORD had ordered him to tell them,
the people all answered together,
“Everything the LORD has said, we will do.”

On the morning of the third day
there were peals of thunder and lightning,
and a heavy cloud over the mountain,
and a very loud trumpet blast,
so that all the people in the camp trembled.
But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God,
and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain.
Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke,
for the LORD came down upon it in fire.
The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace,
and the whole mountain trembled violently.
The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking,
and God answering him with thunder.

When the LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai,
he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain.

Responsorial Psalm – DANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R. (52B) Glory and praise forever!
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
and blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.” 
R. Glory and praise forever!
“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.” 
R. Glory and praise forever!
“Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” 
R. Glory and praise forever!
“Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” 
R. Glory and praise forever!
“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, 
praiseworthy and glorious forever.”  
R. Glory and praise forever!

OR – PSALM 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (John 6:68C) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple. 
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye. 
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just. 
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb. 
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading 3 – EZ 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD came upon me,
and he led me out in the spirit of the LORD
and set me in the center of the plain,
which was now filled with bones.
He made me walk among the bones in every direction
so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain.
How dry they were!
He asked me:
Son of man, can these bones come to life?
I answered, “Lord GOD, you alone know that.”
Then he said to me:
Prophesy over these bones, and say to them:
Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones:
See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.
I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you,
cover you with skin, and put spirit in you
so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD.
I, Ezekiel, prophesied as I had been told,
and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise;
it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone.
I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them,
and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them.
Then the LORD said to me:
Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man,
and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord GOD:
From the four winds come, O spirit,
and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.
I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them;
they came alive and stood upright, a vast army.
Then he said to me:
Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They have been saying,
“Our bones are dried up,
our hope is lost, and we are cut off.”
Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say,
those whom he has redeemed from the hand of the foe
And gathered from the lands,
from the east and the west, from the north and the south. 
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They went astray in the desert wilderness;
the way to an inhabited city they did not find.
Hungry and thirsty,
their life was wasting away within them. 
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They cried to the LORD in their distress;
from their straits he rescued them.
And he led them by a direct way
to reach an inhabited city. 
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy
and his wondrous deeds to the children of men,
Because he satisfied the longing soul
and filled the hungry soul with good things. 
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 4 – JL 3:1-5

Thus says the LORD:
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions;
even upon the servants and the handmaids,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
And I will work wonders in the heavens and on the earth,
blood, fire, and columns of smoke;
the sun will be turned to darkness,
and the moon to blood,
at the coming of the day of the LORD,
the great and terrible day.
Then everyone shall be rescued
who calls on the name of the LORD;
for on Mount Zion there shall be a remnant,
as the LORD has said,
and in Jerusalem survivors
whom the LORD shall call.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 104:1-2, 24 AND 35, 27-28, 29-30

R. (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak. 
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—
the earth is full of your creatures;
bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Creatures all look to you
to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth. 
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Epistle – ROM 8:22-27

Brothers and sisters:
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
For in hope we were saved.
Now hope that sees is not hope.
For who hopes for what one sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love. 

Gospel – JN 7:37-39

Jesus stood up and exclaimed,
“Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.
As Scripture says:
Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”

He said this in reference to the Spirit
that those who came to believe in him were to receive.
There was, of course, no Spirit yet,
because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

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June 9, 2019 – Mass During the Day


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Pentecost Sunday – Mass during the Day Lectionary: 63

Reading 1 – ACTS 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven
staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 

R. (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O LORD! 
the earth is full of your creatures;
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 12:3B-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

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

Or – ROM 8:8-17

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you,
although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Consequently, brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a Spirit of adoption,
through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.

Sequence Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
 Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
 Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
 Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
 Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
 And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
 Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
 Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
 Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
 In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
 Give them joys that never end. Amen.
 Alleluia.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Or – JN 14:15-16, 23B-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.

“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.”

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Sorrows And Sanctity


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 10, 2019

“O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord; O blessed mother of the Church, you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.”  Today, the Church remembers and honors the intense suffering and grief of the mother of Jesus during His passion and death and how these were gloriously transformed to bring us Jesus, redemption and the Church. There were actually seven individual sorrows that Mary endured as was foretold to her by Simeon the priest of the Temple on the occasion of the Lord’s presentation. Here is a partial text of a very popular hymn somberly expressing these heartfelt sentiments: At the cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last. Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, all his bitter anguish bearing, now at length the sword had passed. Our present hope for our Christian journey toward heaven is found here in the mystery of today’s Feast.

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?” Let us reflect on the mystery and fruits of suffering as presented by St. John Paul II in a remarkable teaching borne out of his own incredible personal sufferings. First, he says that suffering empowers humility: To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self. Secondly, he teaches that suffering is transformative: Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace many saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but above all that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation. Finally he writes that suffering enlivens and grows charity and love for and of others: We could say that suffering . . . is present in order to unleash love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one’s “I” on behalf of other people, especially those who suffer. The world of human suffering unceasingly calls for, so to speak, another world: the world of human love; and in a certain sense man owes to suffering that unselfish love that stirs in his heart and actions.

Thus, suffering in its purest sense is actually the road to holiness and a closer walk and friendship with the Lord Jesus. His mother shed human tears for the divine Son she helped bring into this world, our world. We cry human tears but not always for what is right and just. Today we seek to move toward complete integrity on this walk of ours toward heaven, knowing and embracing humility, deep-seated change and charity which are all great gifts when we suffer with each other with Jesus always in our hearts and minds as equally dignified members of the Church.

Let me mingle tears with you, Mourning him who mourned for me, All the days that I may live. Christ, when you shall call me hence, Be your Mother my  defense, Be your cross my victory.  Stabat Mater

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June 10, 2019


Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church Lectionary: 572A

Reading 1 – GN 3:9-15, 20

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

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life. 
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Or – ACTS 1:12-14

After Jesus had been taken up to heaven,
the Apostles returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day’s journey away. 

When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 87:1-2, 3 AND 5, 6-7

R. (3) Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord;
O blessed mother of the Church,
you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 19:25-34

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved,
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. 

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately Blood and water flowed out.

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The Secret Of Success


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 11, 2019

“…he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.” In our First Reading today, Barnabas had a front-row seat to the marvelous effects of loving Jesus to the degree that those in Antioch had achieved. It must have been quite a beautiful sight! You see, this is what happiness is when those who are searching for happiness in this world find it in Jesus. Great things always happen! “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; break into song; sing praise.” The Gospel then concludes our Scriptural gifts today by instructing and inspiring just how to go forward in in faith.

“You are the salt of the earth!” Now that is certainly something you don’t hear every day, at least in polite company. If you and I are going to fully understand what Jesus is communicating with us, we are in need of a little research. In New Testament times, salt referred to the leveling agent for paddies made from animal manure, the fuel for outdoor ovens used in the time of Jesus. Young family members would form paddies with animal dung, mix in salt from a salt block into the paddies, and let the paddies dry in the sun. When the fuel paddies were lit in an oven, the mixed-in salt would help the paddies burn longer, with a more even heat. When the family spent the salt block, they would throw it out onto the road to harden a muddy surface. Jesus saw his followers as leveling agents in an impure world. Their example would keep the fire of faith alive even under stress. Their example would spread faith to those stuck in the cultural “dung.” But if their example rang empty, they were worthless; they would be dug into the mud under the heels of critics.

“You are the light of the world.” Jesus also saw his followers as the light of a fire to the world. Placing a lit fire under a basket would put the fire out. No, like a city high on a hill, the fire should be placed for all to see. One cannot hide faith by inaction. One must show faith in action for all to see, so those seeing the witness can be brought to faith and praise God.

In essence, Jesus told his followers they cannot have it both ways. One cannot believe as a Christian, yet act as if faith did not matter. Faith leads to action and the action points to the Kingdom. According to some dictionaries, “salty” as a slang term, can be used to describe a person who is angry, agitated or upset. It can also paint a picture of someone who is mean, annoying and repulsive. Our original question, then becomes more valid and meaningful by the minute. Are we salt or salty? Are we light or darkness? Are we alive or lifeless? Are we who we say we are? Let’s see how the day progresses…

God our Father, You filled Saint Barnabas with faith and the Holy Spirit and sent him to convert the nations. Help us to proclaim the gospel by word and deed. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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June 11, 2019


Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle Lectionary: 580/360

Reading 1 – ACTS 11:21B-26; 12:1-3

In those days a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger,
Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them.”
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.

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

R.(see 2B) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Alleluia – MT 5:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your light shine before others
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”

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Perfect Change


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 12, 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 trees 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 Paul warns us in the Second Letter to the Corinthians: “…for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.”

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

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June 12, 2019


Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 361

Reading 1 – 2 COR 3:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit
for anything as coming from us;
rather, our qualification comes from God,
who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious
that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of its glory that was going to fade,
how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious,
the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.
Indeed, what was endowed with glory
has come to have no glory in this respect
because of the glory that surpasses it.
For if what was going to fade was glorious,
how much more will what endures be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 99:5, 6, 7, 8, 9

R.(see 9C) Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
O LORD, our God, you answered them;
a forgiving God you were to them,
though requiting their misdeeds. 
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.

Alleluia – PS 25:4B, 5A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Teach me your paths, my God,
and guide me in your truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.”

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No Rehearsal Scheduled


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 13, 2019

“Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.” There is a running theme throughout the Scriptures that highlights the wisest way to live on this planet without being distracted, unbearably hurt or ruthlessly disappointed. The simple quotient to life is basically to live it now, here in the present moment. The challenge we face, however, is that we live in a temporal reality where past, present and future are all around us and form an inescapable way of growing, learning and living. Clearly we are to be formed by the past but make choices today in view of what we hope to achieve in the future which is our eternal home in heaven. There must be a way of living with these aspects in mind without losing hope no matter what the circumstance and Jesus has fundamentally shown us what that is.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” Loving each other with the Heart of Christ is the only true and surest way to live in the present moment, look for the best in everyone and for the best possible outcome in every situation no matter how seemingly desperate or hopeless. Let us also all remember that the desire on the part of Jesus to love one another was not just a suggestion. It was and is a commandment.

Stop acting as if life a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed. Wayne Dyer

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June 13, 2019


Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 362

Reading 1 – 2 COR 3:15-4:1, 3-6

Brothers and sisters:
To this day, whenever Moses is read,
a veil lies over the hearts of the children of Israel,
but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is freedom.
All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
as from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us,
we are not discouraged.
And even though our Gospel is veiled,
it is veiled for those who are perishing,
in whose case the god of this age
has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,
so that they may not see the light of the Gospel
of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness,
has shone in our hearts to bring to light
the knowledge of the glory of God
on the face of Jesus Christ.

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

R.(see 10B) The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

Alleluia – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – 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 with him.
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.”

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Hard Words And Hard Hearts


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 14, 2019

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna (Hell).” These words of Jesus we just heard are hard words to hear. They are hard to think about. They are hard to process. They are hard because Jesus is addressing lust and adultery that cause more emotional pain and hurt families perhaps more than just about anything else. Nobody wins when a family breaks apart under the horrible weight of painful pretense and broken dreams. Love is such a supreme and yes, even divine gift, that any alteration or selfishness that enters such a relationship can have the most destructive of consequences.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  We all have endured some of these painful experiences, either directly or indirectly.  Yet, it is precisely because Jesus is speaking about these that we simply cannot ignore what he has to say. We live in a world that is broken, and we pick up knocks and bruises as we go through, and if Jesus has something to say about all that, we need to tune in. If Jesus had nothing to say about the things that cause us the most heartache, he’s not asking us to live in the real world when He calls us to follow him. Love, not lust is at the basis of our hearts. Truth, not lies is the very air our heart and soul needs to approach God and one another. When we give our heart to Jesus we are asking Him to allow us to love the way He does. Completely. Unselfishly. Purely. This is why daily prayer and the Eucharist are absolutely necessary for this spiritual approach to our human existence. What Jesus clearly wants for us is not natural; it is supernatural and only then we will be happy in this life waiting for the one which is to come. “Shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the Word of Life.”

Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Albert Einstein

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June 14, 2019


Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 363

Reading 1 – 2 COR 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, 
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke,”
we too believe and therefore speak, 
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:10-11, 15-16, 17-18

R.(17A) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I believed, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my alarm,
“No man is dependable.” 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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 – MT 5:27-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you, 
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin, 
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin, 
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful)
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

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Say What You Mean


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 15, 2019

“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’” Our speech is a powerful gift that God has given to all humanity. It describes how we live and love and develop relationships with the world and all those who will populate our years and create masterpieces with their friendship and care for us. Our words can also betray us and there is in the present world much temptation to lie and damage the truth and cause pain even to those who want to love us and care for us. We could say that in some ways, our speech is a two-edge sword in that it can create or destroy depending on the integrity of the one who utters the host of words in a given lifetime.

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,’ Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.'”  In the Gospel of today, Jesus also addresses the deep and dynamic power of our words. He goes beyond the legal aspects of vows and promises and makes sure that even our daily conversations, especially our casual conversations, are imbued with truth and light and the desire to serve the truth. Otherwise evil will thrive, not because of the bad people we encounter, but because and mostly due to the good people in our lives who do and say nothing. Silence may be golden, but sometimes it is yellow (cowardice).

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.  William Faulkner

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June 15, 2019


Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 364

Reading 1 – 2 COR 5:14-21

Brothers and sisters:
The love of Christ impels us,
once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh;
even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
And all this is from God,
who has reconciled us to himself through Christ
and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting their trespasses against them
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
So 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.

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.

Alleluia – PS 119:36A, 29B

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

Gospel – MT 5:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.

But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the Evil One.”

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Do You Like A Good Mystery?


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 16, 2019

Today we would like propose at least three reasons why some deeply enjoy mysteries: They are a “safe thrill”: such as an amusement park ride, a fast merry-go-round or a wildly colorful Ferris Wheel. Similarly, mysteries are safe adventures because we get to visit exotic or otherwise interesting places and meet even more intriguing people. We encounter the dark side of people, but somehow we always know that good will overcome evil. We like mysteries because we can often relate to one or several of the characters. People enjoy following the detective or the CSI team because we believe that we can be part of the solution. We belong to the “winning team” and restore justice, love and peace. Or perhaps on the most basic level, we like mysteries for the same reasons others read romance or historical fiction or sci-fi novels. We find ourselves instantly involved in the characters’ lives, and being there with them, feeling what they feel, seeing what they see, experiencing their emotional journey.  What happens is that our world view grows. It fills up our loneliness and helps us figure out how to connect in the world. We learn about how others live and see the world, opening up our perspective and experiences.

Today, we are presented with a magnificent mystery: the Mystery of the Nature of God! It may in fact be the same reasons that people enjoy the literary genre of mystery, that we can find that some inner excitement over what the Church provides for us today.

(1) “Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there and proclaimed his name, ‘LORD.’”  Imagine! A front row seat to the gift of the Ten Commandments is all ours! We meet Moses and the Creator God in the most intriguing of all places on Mt. Sinai. 

(2) And today, on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we are all certainly on the “winning team” as we remind ourselves of this miraculous membership every time we sign ourselves with the Sign of the Cross involving that same Glorious Mystery: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. “ 

(3) Finally, Jesus has been graciously given to us for the most sublime of all reasons: “God so loved the wold that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Jesus said to His Apostles: “Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” 

If we truly enter into the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, even with just a simple act of faith that involves our reason and our intellect, what happens is that our world view grows.  It fills up our loneliness and helps us figure out how to connect in the world.  We learn about how others live and see the world, opening up our perspective and experiences. Remember this every time you make the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Mystery Solved!

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June 16, 2019


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Lectionary: 166

Reading 1 – PRV 8:22-31

Thus says the wisdom of God:
“The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways,
the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;
from of old I was poured forth,
at the first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no fountains or springs of water;
before the mountains were settled into place,
before the hills, I was brought forth;
while as yet the earth and fields were not made,
nor the first clods of the world.

“When the Lord established the heavens I was there,
when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
when he made firm the skies above,
when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;
when he set for the sea its limit,
so that the waters should not transgress his command;
then was I beside him as his craftsman,
and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,
playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race.”

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

R. (2A)    O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place —
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet:
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Reading 2 – ROM 5:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Therefore, 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.
Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions,
knowing that affliction produces endurance,
and endurance, proven character,
and proven character, hope,
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Alleluia – CF. RV 1:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
to God who is, who was, and who is to come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

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What Time Is It?


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 17, 209

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

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.” Jesus gave us this teaching today to help minimize the effects of evil.  Evil escalates when we respond back to it with equal and most times excessive fervor. A small situation can get blown so far out of proportion that it can cause horrible harm. Even in everyday life, when someone wrongs us, the situation can blow up and get out of control, destroying marriages, families, friendships, and even faith without which we simply cannot survive. Frustrating and on-going issues of injustice will simply require more patience, more trust, more Jesus.  “We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful; as unrecognized and yet acknowledged; as dying and behold we live; as chastised and yet not put to death; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things.”

What time is it? Time to run to Jesus!

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June 17, 2019


Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 365

Reading 1 – 2 COR 6:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
As your fellow workers, 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.
We cause no one to stumble in anything,
in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves
as ministers of God, through much endurance,
in afflictions, hardships, constraints,
beatings, imprisonments, riots,
labors, vigils, fasts;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech,
in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.

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

R.(2A) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him, 
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
In the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. 
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

Alleluia – PS 119:105

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

Gospel – MT 5:38-42

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

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When Enemies Become Friends


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 18, 2019

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'” Right. That’s the way it used to be. That may be the way I was raised or learned how to act after many disappointments and stabs in the back. It sure does take a lot of energy, though, and living by “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” just makes for a blind and toothless generation. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Seriously? How is this done especially in a world where cut-throat is the game of the week? What Jesus is asking us to do is not something impossible or unnatural. It is the only thing that makes sense and will bring peace to me and hopefully in time to the person who is hostile to me. It is altogether possible to literally disarm a hating person by acting towards them in a positive and loving way, refusing to be controlled by their negative attitudes and imitating Christ Jesus in every way possible and in any given situation.

Our call today is simple: remember that anyone who really harms us, also harms themselves as well, even if they get a twisted pleasure in the short term. If I have a true Christian spirit I will reach out in compassion to that person. I will want that person to be healed, healed of their hatred, healed of their anger, and to learn how to love. “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This will not be easy but it is not impossible either. The rewards are amazing. It is a phenomenal way to live precisely because it is a call and a challenge to do everything in our power to imitate God in extending our love, respect and forgiveness impartially and unconditionally to every one, especially to the ones who render injustice and sorrow upon us.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” My friends, this is a new commandment because it makes us new and refreshed in the Lord Jesus. This is why many of the saints have referred to it as “perfection.”

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love. Mahatma Gandhi

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June 18, 2019


Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 366

Reading 1 – 2 COR 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For according to their means, I can testify,
and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part
in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun,
he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
Now as you excel in every respect,
in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness,
and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 146:2, 5-6AB, 6C- 7, 8-9A

R.(1B) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free. 
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers. 
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – 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 only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

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Cheerful Generosity


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 19, 2019

“Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” What a blessing it is be generous! Last year in a study published by the University of Zurich, it was found and reported that generosity makes people happier, even if they are only a little generous. People who act solely out of self-interest, the landmark research concluded, are less happy. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” The scientists conducting the study also concluded that even the consideration of being more generous is enough to trigger a change in the brain that oversees the emotional experience of happiness. “Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” In other types of research and studies, the consensus was the same. Generous people are happy, more relaxed, willing to work hard, kind, free, have better quality relationships and exude confidence: “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Here is the wonderful irony of this comforting Wednesday to help us move past the week ahead: The more you give, the more you have. Dying to selfishness brings forth an immense flow of love and real life that knows no rival. All this is because of Jesus. He died to set us free and give us true freedom which is beyond measure or value especially in a very selfish world.

However, there is a catch and a warning, severe in every way! We must be super-careful that we do not become generous people just in order to receive something in return even if that be recognition. We must learn to give as Jesus did. Parents are uniquely exposed to this challenge more than most but all of us can and should share in this deep call to experience generosity from both sides of the equation. “…but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

What do we receive in this life in exchange for generosity? We witness happiness, reach a deeper understanding of life, feel the love of Jesus and receive what money could never buy, a world made more beautiful. Isn’t that the point of living here?

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June 19, 2019


Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 367

Reading 1 – 2 COR 9:6-11

Brothers and sisters, consider this:
whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity,
which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 9

R.(1B) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – 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 others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

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The Adoption That Matters


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 20, 2019

Have you ever noticed how differently we address other people in our lives and how that sometimes differs dramatically from the way others call to them? Let me give you an example. Let’s say your little daughter calls you “Mommy.” That’s all she knows. But then, an old friend of yours comes to the house to see you and calls you, “Linda,” well, because, that is your name. Now you wouldn’t expect your daughter to call you “Linda,” and you certainly wouldn’t want your friend to call you “Mommy,” either. It all depends on the relationship.

In our First Reading today, St. Paul actually gushes with spiritual affection over the Corinthians precisely because of his relationship with Jesus and how much he wants them to love Him and be loved by Christ just as he is. Again, it all depends on the adoptive relationship God wants with each and every one of us: “And why?  Because I do not love you? God knows I do!”

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

The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller

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June 20, 2019


Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 368

Reading 1 – 2 COR 1:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me!
Please put up with me.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God,
since I betrothed you to one husband
to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning,
your thoughts may be corrupted
from a sincere and pure commitment to Christ.
For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached,
or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received
or a different gospel from the one you accepted,
you put up with it well enough.
For I think that I am not in any way inferior to these “superapostles.”
Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge;
in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

Did I make a mistake when I humbled myself so that you might be exalted,
because I preached the Gospel of God to you without charge?
I plundered other churches by accepting from them
in order to minister to you.
And when I was with you and in need, I did not burden anyone,
for the brothers who came from Macedonia
supplied my needs.
So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
By the truth of Christ in me,
this boast of mine shall not be silenced
in the regions of Achaia.
And why?  Because I do not love you?
God knows I do!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 111:1B-2, 3-4, 7-8

R.(7A) Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
wrought in truth and equity. 
R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – ROM 8:15BC

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

Gospel – 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 others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

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The Lamp Of The Body


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 21, 2019

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light.” Today, the Scriptures, among many other issues, address our hold on what we deem important to us, namely, our priorities. Our eyes can be used to see that which is good or evil in this world and thereby make the important decisions that either bring us closer to the Will of God or further away from following the Lord. If we look for the good in this life, we will certainly see and find it and thereby and hopefully follow and imitate it. However, if we allow our eyes and minds to focus and obsess on what is evil in this life, we are so affected by what we see that darkness actually begins to emanate from within and can corrupt us and those around us. If it is important to us, we will find a way. If not, we will somehow and very conveniently find an excuse.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”  One of the greatest spiritual gifts we can hope to find in this life is to first recognize our own weaknesses, accept them as part of our humanity then make every effort to act for the good in this life despite them rather than being a wretched victim to them surrendering all power and control. This is the fruit of loving the Lord admitting all dependence for all things wonderful and begging for strength and forgiveness at every juncture. This is what fills our soul with light: “Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame.”

Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it. Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (161-180 AD)

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June 21, 2019


Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious Lectionary: 369

Reading 1 – 2 COR 11:18, 21-30

Brothers and sisters:
Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast.
To my shame I say that we were too weak!

But what anyone dares to boast of 
(I am speaking in foolishness)
I also dare.
Are they Hebrews?  So am I.
Are they children of Israel?  So am I.
Are they descendants of Abraham?  So am I.
Are they ministers of Christ? 
(I am talking like an insane person).
I am still more, with far greater labors,
far more imprisonments, far worse beatings,
and numerous brushes with death.
Five times at the hands of the Jews
I received forty lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned,
three times I was shipwrecked,
I passed a night and a day on the deep;
on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race,
dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city,
dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea,
dangers among false brothers;
in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights,
through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings,
through cold and exposure.
And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me
of my anxiety for all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak?
Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (see 18B) From all their distress God rescues the just.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. 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.

Alleluia – MT 5:3

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

Gospel – MT 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

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Two Masters, One Headache


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 22, 2019

“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” Conflict is certainly part of life, but an excessive amount is never good for the soul. This is exactly why Jesus warns us and tries to prevent any of us from falling into divided loyalties. The pull and lure of this world with all its empty promises can create a severe split in our lives that spells certain trouble not to mention a chaotic and frenetic lifestyle trying to please everyone, living a two-faced lie and secretly maintaining a hidden life that costs much more than it is ever worth.

Perhaps some of our readers and followers find themselves at a point in their spiritual lives where they know they want to grow deeper and with more integrity but there is weakness in the human condition and often we can clearly commiserate with St. Paul who longs to do the right thing but also experiences the pull of selfishness. This is where this great Biblical writer who has penned the majority of the New Testament is so brilliant.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Clearly, when we accept our humanity and the people we truly are, we will see the great need we have for the Lord Jesus. Nothing and no one else will ever satisfy.

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. Abraham Lincoln

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June 22, 2019


Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 370

Reading 1 – 2 COR 12:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
I must boast; not that it is profitable,
but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago
(whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows),
was caught up to the third heaven.
And I know that this man
(whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows)
was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things,
which no one may utter.
About this man I will boast,
but about myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses.
Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish,
for I would be telling the truth.
But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me
than what he sees in me or hears from me
because of the abundance of the revelations.
Therefore, that I might not become too elated,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:8-9, 10-11, 12-13

R. (9A) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Come, children, hear me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Which of you desires life,
and takes delight in prosperous days?
R. Taste and see the goodness of 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 – MT 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

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Why Am I So Hungry?


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 23, 2019

“Give them some food yourselves.” It has been a couple of years now, but I distinctly remember a talk given by a very wonderful and spiritual-driven woman who presented her answer to the age-old question, “Why do we overeat?” She narrowed it down to five:

1. Panic: reaction to much anxiety, fear and stress.

2. Comfort: the attempt to nurture, soothe and care for unmet needs and feelings.

3. Self-protection: numbing action because we can’t or won’t face our feelings.

4. Frustration: things go wrong so we head for food.

5. Shame and self-pity: whatever is wrong with life, we take the blame and hide and stuff.

Today, we celebrate the Great Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus. In this celebration we proclaim our belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We also proclaim that same Jesus lives within each one of us who are baptized into His holy body, the Church. We call this the mystery of communion because our faith and life is all about relationship with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

“They all ate and were satisfied.” Now let us return to our original question, “why am I so hungry,” and by extension, “why do we overeat?” Whether anything is off-balance or troublesome in our lives, it is because something is troubling inside of us, at our very core which is our soul. Ask yourself about each of the painful reasons we may overeat. Why do we ingest and consume so many things that will never satisfy and actually hurt us? Why do we sometimes gravitate to unhealthy relationships? If we truly believed that Jesus Christ is alive and real in the Eucharist, how would He make a difference in our lives?:

1. Panic: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

2. Comfort: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.”

3. Self-protection: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

4. Frustration: “So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you.”

5. Shame and self-pity: “This is my Body…”

Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you- for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart. Don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love.  St. Therese of Lisieux

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June 23, 2019


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Lectionary: 169

Reading 1 – GN 14:18-20

In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine,
and being a priest of God Most High,
he blessed Abram with these words:
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
the creator of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who delivered your foes into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

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

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

Reading 2 – 1 COR 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, 
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, 
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, 
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, 
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Sequence Lauda Sion

Laud, O Zion, your salvation,
Laud with hymns of exultation,
 Christ, your king and shepherd true:

Bring him all the praise you know,
He is more than you bestow.
 Never can you reach his due.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving
Is the quick’ning and the living
 Bread today before you set:

From his hands of old partaken,
As we know, by faith unshaken,
 Where the Twelve at supper met.

Full and clear ring out your chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
 From your heart let praises burst:

For today the feast is holden,
When the institution olden
 Of that supper was rehearsed.

Here the new law’s new oblation,
By the new king’s revelation,
 Ends the form of ancient rite:

Now the new the old effaces,
Truth away the shadow chases,
 Light dispels the gloom of night.

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
 His memorial ne’er to cease:

And his rule for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
 Thus our sacrifice of peace.

This the truth each Christian learns,
Bread into his flesh he turns,
 To his precious blood the wine:

Sight has fail’d, nor thought conceives,
But a dauntless faith believes,
 Resting on a pow’r divine.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things to sense forbidden;
 Signs, not things are all we see:

Blood is poured and flesh is broken,
Yet in either wondrous token
 Christ entire we know to be.

Whoso of this food partakes,
Does not rend the Lord nor breaks;
 Christ is whole to all that taste:

Thousands are, as one, receivers,
One, as thousands of believers,
 Eats of him who cannot waste.

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
 Endless death, or endless life.

Life to these, to those damnation,
See how like participation
 Is with unlike issues rife.

When the sacrament is broken,
Doubt not, but believe ’tis spoken,
 That each sever’d outward token
 doth the very whole contain.

Nought the precious gift divides,
Breaking but the sign betides
 Jesus still the same abides,
 still unbroken does remain.

The shorter form of the sequence begins here.

Lo! the angel’s food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
 see the children’s bread from heaven,
 which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
 Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
 manna to the fathers sent.

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
 You refresh us, you defend us,
 Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
 Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
 Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 9:11B-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God,
and he healed those who needed to be cured.
As the day was drawing to a close,
the Twelve approached him and said,
“Dismiss the crowd
so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms
and find lodging and provisions;
for we are in a deserted place here.”
He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.”
They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have,
unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.”
Now the men there numbered about five thousand.
Then he said to his disciples,
“Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.”
They did so and made them all sit down.
Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up,
they filled twelve wicker baskets.

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Spiritual Climate Change


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 24, 2019

“Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.” Real climate change has just dawned upon us. The life, teaching and example of St. John the Baptist can never and should never be erased from our understanding of our own salvation which is found squarely and fundamentally in Jesus Christ. He lived in such a way that everything depended on God, and his whole life was dedicated to preparing the way for the Messiah. So why do we say “climate change?” This is a very interesting aspect of today’s feast. 

“What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.”  What is most memorable about the life and death of St. John the Baptist is that he was determined to leave behind the legacy of decrease/increase. Jesus must increase in my life and I, that is, my ego and selfishness, must decrease. Even more interesting is how climate and the seasons exhibit this wonderful style of life throughout the year. You see, after today’s feast, the days will start to grow shorter and shorter while conversely after the birth of Christ in only six short months, the days will grow longer and longer, increase, if you will. The hope is that you and I will decrease so that the Lord can shine through us like the morning dawn. 

Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you. Andrew Murray

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June 24, 2019 – Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist Vigil


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Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist – Vigil Lectionary: 586

Reading 1 – JER 1:4-10

In the days of King Josiah, the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

“Ah, Lord GOD!” I said,
“I know not how to speak; I am too young.”
But the LORD answered me,
Say not, “I am too young.”
To whomever I send you, you shall go;
whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Have no fear before them,
because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying,

See, I place my words in your mouth!
This day I set you
over nations and over kingdoms,
to root up and to tear down,
to destroy and to demolish,
to build and to plant.

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

R. (6) Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R. Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.

Reading 2 – 1 PT 1:8-12

Beloved:
Although you have not seen Jesus Christ you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Concerning this salvation,
prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours
searched and investigated it,
investigating the time and circumstances
that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated
when he testified in advance
to the sufferings destined for Christ
and the glories to follow them.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you
with regard to the things that have now been announced to you
by those who preached the Good News to you
through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels longed to look.

Alleluia – SEE JN 1:7, LK 1:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
He came to testify to the light,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:5-17

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.
Once when he was serving
as priest in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
John will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn their hearts toward their children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

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June 24, 2019 – Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist


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Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist – Mass during the Day Lectionary: 587

Reading 1 – IS 49:1-6

Hear me, O coastlands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

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

R.(14) I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. I praise you for I am wonderfully made.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Reading 2 – ACTS 13:22-26

In those days, Paul said:
“God raised up David as king; 
of him God testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.

From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’

“My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.”

Alleluia – SEE LK 1:76

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel – LK 1:57-66, 80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,                
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.

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Value View


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 25, 2019

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” There is a subtle yet remarkable insight that is being served up to us today in the Scriptures. It matters much and addresses the way we treat the things and people we hold as valuable. It also serves as a warning of how we may lose important people in our lives, especially the Lord Jesus if we are not careful. What does it mean to have value?

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.” Value must stem from the final goal of its possession. A lottery ticket promising ten dollars to the holder of the winning number sequence compared to the keys of a brand new car give us the proportion of which we are speaking. If then, the possession of a moral order in our lives promises heaven which is eternal and glorious and wonderful all wrapped up in a timeless frame of reference is certainly the most valuable of all possessions. And so it is.

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June 25, 2019


Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 372

Reading 1 – GN 13:2, 5-18

Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.

Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,
so that the land could not support them if they stayed together;
their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
There were quarrels between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock
and those of Lot’s.
(At this time the Canaanites and the Perizzites
were occupying the land.)

So Abram said to Lot:
“Let there be no strife between you and me,
or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen.
Is not the whole land at your disposal?
Please separate from me.
If you prefer the left, I will go to the right;
if you prefer the right, I will go to the left.”
Lot looked about and saw how well watered
the whole Jordan Plain was as far as Zoar,
like the LORD’s own garden, or like Egypt.
(This was before the LORD had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
Lot, therefore, chose for himself the whole Jordan Plain
and set out eastward.
Thus they separated from each other;
Abram stayed in the land of Canaan,
while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain,
pitching his tents near Sodom.
Now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked
in the sins they committed against the LORD.

After Lot had left, the LORD said to Abram:
“Look about you, and from where you are,
gaze to the north and south, east and west;
all the land that you see I will give to you
and your descendants forever.
I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth;
if anyone could count the dust of the earth,
your descendants too might be counted.
Set forth and walk about in the land, through its length and breadth,
for to you I will give it.”
Abram moved his tents and went on to settle
near the terebinth of Mamre, which is at Hebron.
There he built an altar to the LORD.

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

R. (1B) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed. 
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – MT 7:6, 12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

“Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.”

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What’s In Your Tree?


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 26, 2019

“Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.” This is yet another profound and useful image to understand our role and purpose in this life. How often have we asked ourselves or heard others ask about why we are here and what exactly is our purpose. Sometimes our vision for ourselves falls short of what is actually going on in our lives. At times our perspective on the world around us becomes bitter and thus our actions and words become rude, unkind and thoughtless with numbing regularity. We mistakenly think there there is no good fruit to be found when the real truth lies in the fact that we haven’t spent enough quality time with our beautiful and loving God. When we allow ourselves the time to realize how great our God is, we begin to see and bear good fruit. Then and only then does it be become much easier to choose gratitude over complaint.

This now brings us to this very telling and provocative warning from the Lord: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.” At the heart of the battle for our soul is a real enemy who prowls around seeking someone to devour. Evil will never stop to gain new ground and move others away from the Lord. This is yet another reason why we must be aware of those who only “talk the talk.” “By their fruits you will know them.” We must also realize that we will be able to recognize the true person living in every human being by their fruits. That includes you and me, especially in our day-to-day interaction with our fellow sojourners on this planet toward heaven, always knowing and trusting that the Lord Jesus will make a great harvest even out of our most humble intentions as long as we remain faithful. Be great today! You may never know what kind of rich harvest you will be planting.

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed. Robert Schuller

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June 26, 2019


Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 373

Reading 1 – GN15:1-12, 17-18

The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:

“Fear not, Abram!
I am your shield;
I will make your reward very great.”

But Abram said,
“O Lord GOD, what good will your gifts be,
if I keep on being childless
and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?”
Abram continued,
“See, you have given me no offspring,
and so one of my servants will be my heir.”
Then the word of the LORD came to him:
“No, that one shall not be your heir;
your own issue shall be your heir.”
He took him 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 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

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

Alleluia – JN 15:4A, 5B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 7:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”

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Talk Is Weak


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 27, 2019

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

Lip service is no service at all. We can believe that actions prove who someone is while their words just prove who they want to be. Nothing prospers when evil is done in the sight of the Lord especially from those from whom so much more is expected. So what are we to make of all this in application to our spiritual lives?

Again, the Gospel takes us even deeper: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” So here we have the trifecta of a very successful spiritual life: listen, act, repeat. Everyone hears something but not everyone listens. Everyone does something but not everyone acts within the will of God. In the end, everything will depend on where we placed our belief and trust and where we built the foundation upon which we will die. We know what happens to those who build on sand. Disaster, plain and simple. Building on Jesus the rock means everything!  

To build your house on rock is to hear what Jesus says and obey.To be foolish and build your house sand is to hear and ignore.  Kevin DeYoung

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June 27, 2019


Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 374

Reading 1 – GN 16:1-12, 15-16

Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children.
She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar.
Sarai said to Abram: 
“The LORD has kept me from bearing children.
Have intercourse, then, with my maid;
perhaps I shall have sons through her.”
Abram heeded Sarai’s request.
Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan,
his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian,
and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine.
He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant.
When she became aware of her pregnancy,
she looked on her mistress with disdain.
So Sarai said to Abram:
“You are responsible for this outrage against me.
I myself gave my maid to your embrace;
but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy,
she has been looking on me with disdain.
May the LORD decide between you and me!”
Abram told Sarai:  “Your maid is in your power.
Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked,
“Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from
and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her:
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.
I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count.
Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you,
God has answered you.

This one shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
In opposition to all his kin
shall he encamp.”

Hagar bore Abram a son,
and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Or – GN 16:6B-12, 15-16

Abram told Sarai:  “Your maid is in your power.
Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked,
“Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from
and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her:
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.
I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count.
Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you,
God has answered you.

This one shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
In opposition to all his kin
shall he encamp.”

Hagar bore Abram a son,
and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 106:1B-2, 3-4A, 4B-5

R. (1B)  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or proclaim all his praises?
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Visit me with your saving help,
that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
rejoice in the joy of your people,
and glory with your inheritance.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – MT 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.

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My Heart Belongs To You


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 28, 2019

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, as we know it, began about the year 1672. On repeated occasions, Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun, in France, and during these apparitions He explained to her the devotion to His Sacred Heart as He wanted people to practice it. He asked to be honored in the symbol of His heart of flesh. There is only one person in Jesus, and that person was at the same time God and man. His heart, too, is Divine — it is the heart of God. “The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal.” (First Reading)

What does it really mean when one person says to another, “I give my heart to you.?” For some, it means that you are ready and truly able to trust another with your feelings, your thoughts and even your future. That person must also clearly demonstrate that they: (1) take time out for you, (2) are honest about themselves and you, (3) share intimate details about themselves, (4) readily show various personal aspects of their own life, and (5) are consistently there for you and talk and listen about anything.

“The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly.” (Second Reading)

What do you think is meant when we read that Jesus gives His Sacred Heart to us and opens the way for a mutual relationship which is forever with Him? Let’s take another look at what we stated earlier. Jesus: (1) always takes time for us, (2) is truth, (3) shared His very life by dying on the cross, (4) invites us to discover who He is in our day-to-day life, and (5) never leaves. 

“I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”  (Gospel)

Jesus calls each and every one of us to love. First, to love God above all things, second, our neighbor as ourselves, and lastly, ourselves. Altogether and all at once.  Throughout our short lives here on earth, it may take a little more effort and time with one or two of these charges, but this is what we call faith in action. People who obey this command change their spiritual live forever. If we are a believer in Jesus Christ, we must ask where He called us to go? Who has God put on your heart to love and share the gift of salvation?

My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness. Michelangelo

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June 28, 2019


Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Lectionary: 172

Reading 1 – EZ 34:11-16

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I will lead them out from among the peoples
and gather them from the foreign lands;
I will bring them back to their own country
and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel
in the land’s ravines and all its inhabited places.
In good pastures will I pasture them,
and on the mountain heights of Israel
shall be their grazing ground.
There they shall lie down on good grazing ground,
and in rich pastures shall they be pastured
on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

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 – ROM 5:5B-11

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

Alleluia – MT 11:29AB

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

Or – JN 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord,
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 15:3-7

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

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To The Rescue!


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 29, 2019

Without a doubt, the beautiful Scripture passages today speak directly about the notion of rescue and God’s hand in this wonderful redemptive activity: “Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting expecting.” (St. Peter) “The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.” (Responsorial Psalm) “And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.” (Second Reading) It should not be of any surprise that the Lord seeks and wants to rescue us all. However, what is interesting is the nature of the word, “rescue.” It is derived from the word meaning “to shake,” which suggests getting rid of something, as it were, to shake something free that is dangerously affixed or stuck to a person or animal.

We have that suggestion explained in the Gospel of today: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Today we celebrate the great Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul with the promise that we as the People of God, the Church, are to be rescued literally from here to eternity. These two great Saints were initially responsible for evangelizing and announcing the truths of our faith to all of the known world at the time of their lives. These formed the concrete basis and foundation of the Christian message for the following two millennia. This brings us to the completely jubilant truth that God wants, desires and continues to rescue us. Evil can and does attach its ugly self to us by two distinct ways: meanness and weakness. By recalling and remembering the great love that Peter and Paul had for the Lord Jesus and the courage that was firmly placed within their hearts when they both faced martyrdom, we can find the hope of change in our own personalities when we find that being or saying something mean is so tempting. Being mean is being lazy and an obvious sign of evil that has crept into our hearts and begun encrustation. Everyone carries human weakness and that often manifests itself when we are tired, frustrated or lacking in patient civility. Let us today with this great commemoration of Peter and Paul find the courage and motivation to shake free of meanness and weakness and give Jesus the glory in this life as we wait to see Him face-to-face in the next.

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June 29, 2019 – Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles – Vigil Mass


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Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles – Vigil Lectionary: 590

Reading 1 – ACTS 12:1-11

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them.
He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword,
and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews
he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
–It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.–
He had him taken into custody and put in prison
under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.
He intended to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter thus was being kept in prison,
but prayer by the Church was fervently being made
to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
“Get up quickly.”
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.”
He did so.
Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
So he followed him out,
not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;
he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first guard, then the second,
and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,
which opened for them by itself.
They emerged and made their way down an alley,
and suddenly the angel left him. 
Then Peter recovered his senses and said,
 “Now I know for certain 
 that the Lord sent his angel 
 and rescued me from the hand of Herod
 and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
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. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
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. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Reading 2 – 2 TM 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Alleluia – MT 16:18

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

Gospel – MT 16:13-19

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

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June 29, 2019 – Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles


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Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles – Mass during the Day Lectionary: 591

Reading 1 – ACTS 12:1-11

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them.
He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword,
and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews
he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
–It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.–
He had him taken into custody and put in prison
under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.
He intended to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter thus was being kept in prison,
but prayer by the Church was fervently being made
to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
“Get up quickly.”
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.”
He did so.
Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
So he followed him out,
not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;
he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first guard, then the second,
and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,
which opened for them by itself.
They emerged and made their way down an alley,
and suddenly the angel left him. 
Then Peter recovered his senses and said,
 “Now I know for certain 
 that the Lord sent his angel 
 and rescued me from the hand of Herod
 and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
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. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
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. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Reading 2 – 2 TM 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Alleluia – MT 16:18

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

Gospel – MT 16:13-19

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

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Excuses, Excuses


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 30, 2019

The beautiful Scriptures today paint a sobering picture that can and should help us and encourage us on our spiritual journey after, perhaps, the sting of truth subsides. The First Book of Kings begins this honest appraisal in the First Reading: “Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and (then) I will follow you.” The text of the Responsorial Psalm also continues the examination of priorities in this life pointing to the next: “I set the LORD ever before me;  with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.”

To be certain, we must make the honest application of our use of excuses and alibis to our daily lives if we are to enjoy any semblance of integrity and the peace which comes from living a life of freedom, respect and trust. Jesus makes it clear that following Him to the brink of eternity is really not an option if we seek the final goal of heaven: “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” First, let us be clear about this statement: please don’t think that the body of someone’s parent lies in state waiting for burial. The real sense of this phrase is rendered, “Let me bury my father when he dies.” Seen in this light, it sounds more like an excuse rather than a real impending need.

Why do you think we stumble and fall at times? What nervous and erroneous mental distractions come between us and true happiness? What excuses do we offer? It will inevitably come down to whether or not we are people who pray. Some have assembled the main reasons why we do not pray. We think we do not have the time, or that it isn’t important, and/or blindly think it makes no difference. All these excuses are beyond silly and are not even true. Today, let us be fed with the wisdom of the Scriptures and make and find the time to pray. The rewards are literally out of this world.

It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. George Washington

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June 30, 2019


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 99

Reading 1 – 1 KGS 19:16B, 19-21

The LORD said to Elijah:
“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah,
as prophet to succeed you.”

Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat,
as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen;
he was following the twelfth.
Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him.
Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said,
“Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,
and I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “Go back!
Have I done anything to you?”
Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them;
he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,
and gave it to his people to eat.
Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (CF. 5A) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
 I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
 you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
 even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
 with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
 my body, too, abides in confidence
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
 nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
 fullness of joys in your presence,
 the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Reading 2 – GAL 5:1, 13-18

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

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. 
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Alleluia – 1 SM 3:9; JN 6:68C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Speak, Lord, your servant is listening;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him. 
On the way they entered a Samaritan village 
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?” 
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.” 
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.” 
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” 
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. 
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” 
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

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