The Word of God

Reasonable Doubt


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 1, 2019

“’Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?’ He replied, ‘For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.’” How many of our readers are blessed to know people who have this wonderful and sincere knack of always finding the best in every situation and in everyone. Haven’t you ever noticed that these individuals seem to radiate a certain spirit about them? They do not judge, they seem to be remarkably patient and they always forgive. What a blessing! This is the example of openness to the goodness of God that we see in the First Reading and the behavior of Abraham. He begs God to spare the cities if he can just find ten good people. What a deal!

“But Jesus answered him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.’” The sad truth about reality is that not only are there those who hide whatever semblance of goodness they may have deep within them but also those who prefer darkness to light, death to life. Once again our beautiful Scripture Readings call us to make daily choices for life and to follow the Lord God in all things and in all circumstances. There must be more than reasonable doubt if there is a question about eternal punishment for any one of us. May the mercy and love of God always be with us now and at the hour of our death.

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. Robert Breault

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July 1, 2019


Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 377

Reading 1 – GN 18:16-33

Abraham and the men who had visited him by the Terebinth of Mamre
set out from there and looked down toward Sodom;
Abraham was walking with them, to see them on their way.
The LORD reflected: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
now that he is to become a great and populous nation,
and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him?
Indeed, I have singled him out
that he may direct his children and his household after him
to keep the way of the LORD
by doing what is right and just,
so that the LORD may carry into effect for Abraham
the promises he made about him.”
Then the LORD said:
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”

While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom,
the LORD remained standing before Abraham.
Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty,
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The LORD replied,
“If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Abraham spoke up again:
“See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes!
What if there are five less than fifty innocent people?
Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it for the sake of forty.”
Then Abraham said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on.
What if only thirty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there.”
Still Abraham went on,
“Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord,
what if there are no more than twenty?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
But he still persisted:
“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

The LORD departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham,
and Abraham returned home.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1B-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11

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.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. 
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – MT 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, 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.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”

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A Whole Lot Of Salt


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 2, 2019

“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.” We have all known people, perhaps offering our very lives as an example as well, of those who leave a sinful way of life behind but still are tempted to return or even if by reminiscing on “good old days” when sinful living was full of harmful pleasures, but pleasurable, nonetheless. Perhaps we could call this “Lot’s Wife Syndrome.” Looking back is dangerous in and of itself; but looking back at a past that should be left there is even more so. It can lead to far worse consequences than the darkness and sinful webs woven in the first place. St. Augustine put it this way: Lot’s wife, indeed, when she looked back, remained, and, being turned into salt, furnished to believing men a condiment by which to savor somewhat the warning to be drawn from that example. City of God 16.30

“He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’ Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.” The Gospel gives us all the very reason and opens up the heart of the matter as to why looking back to evil past can never be a good thing. The beautiful story points to the one who has defeated evil and darkness and still remains as the only solution to all of life’s problems here and later. Jesus can calm all the storms of our existence emphasizing the need not to look back at problems but to look always forward to the solution found in our undying faith in Christ.

I don’t like looking back. I’m always constantly looking forward. I’m not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilt milk. I’m too busy looking for the next cow. Gordon Ramsay

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July 2, 2019


Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 378

Reading 1 – GN 19:15-29

As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, “On your way!
Take with you your wife and your two daughters who are here,
or you will be swept away in the punishment of Sodom.”
When he hesitated, the men, by the LORD’s mercy,
seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters
and led them to safety outside the city.
As soon as they had been brought outside, he was told:
“Flee for your life!
Don’t look back or stop anywhere on the Plain.
Get off to the hills at once, or you will be swept away.”
“Oh, no, my lord!” Lot replied,
“You have already thought enough of your servant
to do me the great kindness of intervening to save my life.
But I cannot flee to the hills to keep the disaster from overtaking me,
and so I shall die. 
Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to.
It’s only a small place.
Let me flee there–it’s a small place, is it not?–
that my life may be saved.”
“Well, then,” he replied,
“I will also grant you the favor you now ask.
I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 
Hurry, escape there!
I cannot do anything until you arrive there.”
That is why the town is called Zoar.

The sun was just rising over the earth as Lot arrived in Zoar;
at the same time the LORD rained down sulphurous fire
upon Sodom and Gomorrah
from the LORD out of heaven.
He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain,
together with the inhabitants of the cities
and the produce of the soil.
But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.

Early the next morning Abraham went to the place
where he had stood in the LORD’s presence.
As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah
and the whole region of the Plain,
he saw dense smoke over the land rising like fumes from a furnace.

Thus it came to pass: when God destroyed the Cities of the Plain,
he was mindful of Abraham by sending Lot away from the upheaval
by which God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 26:2-3, 9-10, 11-12

R.(3A) O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Search me, O LORD, and try me;
test my soul and my heart.
For your mercy is before my eyes,
and I walk in your truth.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Gather not my soul with those of sinners,
nor with men of blood my life.
On their hands are crimes,
and their right hands are full of bribes.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
But I walk in integrity;
redeem me, and have mercy on me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the assemblies I will bless the LORD.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.

Alleluia – PS 130:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

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Hard Boiled Doubt


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 3, 2019

There was a young father who often spoke about a trip he took with his little boy just two-and-a-half years old at the time. It was the first time the father and the boy had been away by themselves, just the two of them. The first night they spent in a hotel, the father moved his bed close to the little boy’s, and when they were both tucked in, he turned out the light. After a few minutes, a little voice said: “It sure is dark isn’t it?” “Yes,” said the father, “it’s pretty dark but everything is going to be all right.” There was silence for a few more minutes, and then a little hand reached over and took his father’s hand. “I’ll just hold your hand,” said the little boy, “in case you get scared.”

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Do we ever doubt the Lord Jesus like Thomas? I am sure we do. However, even though this Apostle earned a negative label, he was not lacking in other very outstanding virtues such as great courage and loyalty. The need and want for proof of our faith in Christ is directly proportionate to the level and depth of our spiritual life. Although the Scriptures today portrays good St. Thomas as a skeptic, he never stayed there in doubt. He still wanted to see. He persisted in knowing. And then, after a life of experience and spreading the faith and preaching the Gospel, he did in fact feel the wounds of Christ in his own body by glorifying God with a martyr’s death.

So how do we keep from doubting our Jesus? First, we must return solidly to God in prayer when experiencing any threat, large or small, to our beliefs. Second, we must recognize that all of us who want to follow Christ actually and daily are involved with a spiritual battle. We can never take anything or anyone for granted.

O St. Thomas, the Apostle, Father of our faith, you spread the light of Christ in the hearts of people. You humbly confessed “My Lord and My God” and sacrificed your life for love of him. We pray to you to strengthen us with love and faith in Jesus Christ so that we may dedicate ourselves totally to the cause of the kingdom of justice, peace and love. We pray that through your intercession we may be protected from all trials, dangers and temptations and be strengthened in the love of the Triune God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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July 3, 2019


Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle Lectionary: 593

Reading 1 – EPH 2:19-22

Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God, 
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – JN 20:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But Thomas said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.

Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

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Find Your Freedom


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 4, 2019

Freedom is a Right. From the very depths of our heart, we celebrate freedom today. On the most outward and national level, we commemorate the historical proceedings that led us here today. Not everyone who is reviewing this commentary is American, but the values for which this country stands, may and should serve as a beacon of life and hope for a better tomorrow. I want to share with you today the peace and joy that is in my heart. Knowing what this day means historically and intellectually, I still want to take it a step further.

“‘But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’– he then said to the paralytic, ‘Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.’  He rose and went home.”  Bottom line: there are real, tangible and on-going miracles all around us. Just think for a minute about your own life and those precious to you. For some, the miracle began when they gave their heart to Jesus early on, while for others, the turning point came when a person welcomed the Holy Spirit and allowed that Spirit to work within them.

Independence is a Choice. Today, this is what I witnessed: we are free. We’ve tasted the slavery of dysfunction and co-dependence and have chosen freedom. We’ve had to struggle to survive financially and we have chosen hope. We’ve tasted lust and selfishness and have chosen love. We know that we are the person we are when no one is looking. We have chosen integrity.

Can we abuse this freedom? Can we ever forget what has brought us to this moment? Can we become yet another statistic? Yes, we can, but we won’t because we have spiritual freedom and nothing in life can replace that.

Let us Pray:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.  AMEN.

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July 4, 2019


Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 380

Reading 1 – GN 22:1B-19

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering
on a height that I will point out to you.”
Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey,
took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well,
and with the wood that he had cut for the burnt offering,
set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.
Then he said to his servants: “Both of you stay here with the donkey,
while the boy and I go on over yonder.
We will worship and then come back to you.” 
Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering
and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders,
while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham:
“Father!” he said.
“Yes, son,” he replied.
Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood,
but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”
“Son,” Abraham answered, 
“God himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.”
Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Next he tied up his son Isaac,
and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he answered. 
“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.
Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh;
hence people now say, “On the mountain the LORD will see.”
Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:

“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessingBall this because you obeyed my command.”

Abraham then returned to his servants,
and they set out together for Beer-sheba,
where Abraham made his home.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R.(9) I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your kindness, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say, 
“Where is their God?”
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone who trusts in them.
The house of Israel trusts in the LORD;
he is their help and their shield.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – 2 COR 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
“This man is blaspheming.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
:Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

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Learn The Meaning


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 5, 2019

“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” A couple of years ago, while I was on my way to work, there was a totally unexpected downpour of rain which forced me to take a different route to the office. This brought me through a couple of residential streets located nearby a school. It was then that I saw the mother and son walking through the water with just one umbrella, which was hardly effective against the wind-driven rain. I am sure that neither of them knew that I was privy to such an upcoming act of selflessness and love as I witnessed this young woman move her umbrella away from herself and beginning to drench herself as they neared the crosswalk. She held it firmly above her little son who was destined to arrive dry, more or less, to school and begin his day. Before he was to walk across the street to his first class, he gently took the hand that was holding his guard against the elements and kissed it. It was all he could do, but it was the very best he could. It was quite moving.   

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.” All too often, the real problems we think we are carrying and have to face are really not those at all. The simple truth for many of us is that we simply do not get enough rest. We tend to be much more merciful, kind and gentle after we’ve had a good night’s rest and we have sufficiently slowed down the pace of our days. It is even better when we realize and constantly understand that everything we have comes from the merciful hand of God. It makes us so appreciative that it spills over into attitudes toward life without even noticing it.

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. Maya Angelou

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July 5, 2019


Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 381

Reading 1 – GN 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67

The span of Sarah’s life was one hundred and twenty-seven years.
She died in Kiriatharba (that is, Hebron)
in the land of Canaan,
and Abraham performed the customary mourning rites for her.
Then he left the side of his dead one and addressed the Hittites:
“Although I am a resident alien among you,
sell me from your holdings a piece of property for a burial ground,
that I may bury my dead wife.”

After the transaction, Abraham buried his wife Sarah
in the cave of the field of Machpelah,
facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.

Abraham had now reached a ripe old age,
and the LORD had blessed him in every way.
Abraham said to the senior servant of his household,
who had charge of all his possessions:
“Put your hand under my thigh,
and I will make you swear by the LORD,
the God of heaven and the God of earth,
that you will not procure a wife for my son
from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live,
but that you will go to my own land and to my kindred
to get a wife for my son Isaac.”
The servant asked him:
“What if the woman is unwilling to follow me to this land?
Should I then take your son back to the land from which you migrated?”
“Never take my son back there for any reason,” Abraham told him.
“The LORD, the God of heaven,
who took me from my father’s house and the land of my kin,
and who confirmed by oath the promise he then made to me,
‘I will give this land to your descendants’–
he will send his messenger before you,
and you will obtain a wife for my son there.
If the woman is unwilling to follow you,
you will be released from this oath.
But never take my son back there!”

A long time later, Isaac went to live in the region of the Negeb.
One day toward evening he went out . . . in the field,
and as he looked around, he noticed that camels were approaching.
Rebekah, too, was looking about, and when she saw him,
she alighted from her camel and asked the servant,
“Who is the man out there, walking through the fields toward us?”
“That is my master,” replied the servant.
Then she covered herself with her veil.

The servant recounted to Isaac all the things he had done.
Then Isaac took Rebekah into his tent;
he married her, and thus she became his wife.
In his love for her, Isaac found solace
after the death of his mother Sarah.

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

R. (1b) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
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.
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.
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.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – MT 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,

many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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From Whine To Wine


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 6, 2019

“Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, which we love.” A great number of people who have experienced a true, eye-opening encounter with the Lord Jesus have remarked that life seems new and fresh even though they may have lived for more that a few number of years. Some have remarked that since they have begun this life-changing relationship with the Lord they never have a bad day anymore, although they would be quick to remind us that some days are definitely better than others. The point is simple: once we meet the Lord Jesus there really is no turning back, not against Him nor back to old, pathetic or unhealthy sinful ways.

“Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” By now, most of our readers and followers can accept the obvious fact that one constant truth in the universe is change. Everything changes. Change is inevitable. The sobering aspect of this truth’s application is even more somber: we are either getting better or worse, that is to say, by definition we really cannot “stay the same.” The hope and desire of Jesus for each one of us is also as clear as a cloudless day. We are invited to change always for the better which means the old self and the old attitudes must give way to new and loving ways that more than not begins with the not so subtle act of forgiveness. Every morning is yet another opportunity to begin a brand new day and a completely new strategy for life. Pour the freshness of this opportunity and this day with all its struggles and hurdles into a soul that is ever new and ever growing.

Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. Eckhart Tolle

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July 6, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 382

Reading 1 – GN 27:1-5, 15-29

When Isaac was so old that his eyesight had failed him,
he called his older son Esau and said to him, “Son!”
“Yes father!” he replied.
Isaac then said, “As you can see, I am so old
that I may now die at any time.
Take your gear, therefore–your quiver and bow–
and go out into the country to hunt some game for me.
With your catch prepare an appetizing dish for me, such as I like,
and bring it to me to eat,
so that I may give you my special blessing before I die.”

Rebekah had been listening
while Isaac was speaking to his son Esau.
So, when Esau went out into the country
to hunt some game for his father,
Rebekah [then] took the best clothes of her older son Esau
that she had in the house,
and gave them to her younger son Jacob to wear;
and with the skins of the kids she covered up his hands
and the hairless parts of his neck.
Then she handed her son Jacob the appetizing dish
and the bread she had prepared.

Bringing them to his father, Jacob said, “Father!”
“Yes?” replied Isaac.  “Which of my sons are you?”
Jacob answered his father:  “I am Esau, your first-born.
I did as you told me.
Please sit up and eat some of my game,
so that you may give me your special blessing.”
But Isaac asked, “How did you succeed so quickly, son?”
He answered,
“The LORD, your God, let things turn out well with me.”
Isaac then said to Jacob,
“Come closer, son, that I may feel you,
to learn whether you really are my son Esau or not.”
So Jacob moved up closer to his father.
When Isaac felt him, he said,
“Although the voice is Jacob’s, the hands are Esau’s.”
(He failed to identify him because his hands were hairy,
like those of his brother Esau;
so in the end he gave him his blessing.)
Again he asked Jacob, “Are you really my son Esau?” 
“Certainly,” Jacob replied.
Then Isaac said, “Serve me your game, son, that I may eat of it
and then give you my blessing.”
Jacob served it to him, and Isaac ate;
he brought him wine, and he drank.

Finally his father Isaac said to Jacob,
“Come closer, son, and kiss me.”
As Jacob went up and kissed him,
Isaac smelled the fragrance of his clothes.
With that, he blessed him saying,

“Ah, the fragrance of my son
is like the fragrance of a field
that the LORD has blessed!

“May God give to you
of the dew of the heavens
And of the fertility of the earth
abundance of grain and wine.

“Let peoples serve you,
and nations pay you homage;
Be master of your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be those who curse you,
and blessed be those who bless you.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 135:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.(3A) Praise the Lord for the Lord is good!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD;
Praise, you servants of the LORD
Who stand in the house of the LORD,
in the courts of the house of our God.
R. Praise the Lord for the Lord is good!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name, which we love;
For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel for his own possession.
R. Praise the Lord for the Lord is good!
or:
R. Alleluia.
For I know that the LORD is great;
our LORD is greater than all gods.
All that the LORD wills he does
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and in all the deeps. 
R. Praise the Lord for the Lord is good!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – MT 9:14-17

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

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Don’t Walk, Run!


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 7, 2019

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

“When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass;  the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.” Following the Lord Jesus must have obvious effects in our lives and help us see things in an entirely different manner. When everything is compared to the source of our salvation and our redemption, our problems and worries begin to shrink and fast! “From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.” Jesus makes all things new again.

When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”  Winston Churchill

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July 7, 2019


Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 102

Reading 1 – IS 66:10-14C

Thus says the LORD:
 Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
 all you who love her;
 exult, exult with her,
 all you who were mourning over her!
 Oh, that you may suck fully
 of the milk of her comfort,
 that you may nurse with delight
 at her abundant breasts!
 For thus says the LORD:
 Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river,
 and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.
 As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
 and fondled in her lap;
 as a mother comforts her child,
 so will I comfort you;
 in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

 When you see this, your heart shall rejoice
 and your bodies flourish like the grass;
 the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
 sing praise to the glory of his name;
 proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
 sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
 his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
 through the river they passed on foot;
 therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. 
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
 what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
 my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Reading – 2 GAL 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world. 
For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation. 
Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule
and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen.

Alleluia – COL 3:15A, 16A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 10:1-12, 17-20 

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit. 
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest. 
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. 
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way. 
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you. 
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment. 
Do not move about from one house to another. 
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. 
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” 
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. 
Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and  scorpions 
and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Or – LK 10:1-9

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit. 
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest. 
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. 
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way. 
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you. 
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment. 
Do not move about from one house to another. 
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”

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Promises, Promises


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 8, 2019

“Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.” How many times have you heard the expression, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is?” The next question is probably a little painful: how many times have we learned the hard way that this adage was spot on? Perhaps too many times to count or remember! But all this changes when we look to the promises that God makes to us. They are too good to be true and they are all so true to be good! 

“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” We are in fact today given the perfect prescription of how we must go forward in this world of so many choices and rejections: The truth of the wealth of meaning found in the Scriptures today is simple but not simplistic. The road to heaven must be taken with great expectation of the great promises that Jesus has sealed with His blood on the cross. It is an exciting adventure toward fulfillment or it is nothing at all.

“No matter what has happened to you in the past or what is going on in your life right now, it has no power to keep you from having an amazingly good future if you will walk by faith in God. God loves you! He wants you to live with victory over sin so you can possess His promises for your life today!” Joyce Meyer

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July 8, 2019


Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 383

Reading 1 – GN 28:10-22A

Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and proceeded toward Haran.
When he came upon a certain shrine, as the sun had already set,
he stopped there for the night.
Taking one of the stones at the shrine, he put it under his head
and lay down to sleep at that spot.
Then he had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground,
with its top reaching to the heavens;
and God’s messengers were going up and down on it.
And there was the LORD standing beside him and saying:
“I, the LORD, am the God of your forefather Abraham
and the God of Isaac;
the land on which you are lying
I will give to you and your descendants.
These shall be as plentiful as the dust of the earth,
and through them you shall spread out east and west, north and south.
In you and your descendants
all the nations of the earth shall find blessing.
Know that I am with you;
I will protect you wherever you go,
and bring you back to this land.
I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he exclaimed,
“Truly, the LORD is in this spot, although I did not know it!”
In solemn wonder he cried out: “How awesome is this shrine!
This is nothing else but an abode of God,
and that is the gateway to heaven!”
Early the next morning Jacob took the stone
that he had put under his head,
set it up as a memorial stone, and poured oil on top of it.
He called the site Bethel,
whereas the former name of the town had been Luz.

Jacob then made this vow: “If God remains with me,
to protect me on this journey I am making
and to give me enough bread to eat and clothing to wear,
and I come back safe to my father’s house, the LORD shall be my God.
This stone that I have set up as a memorial stone shall be God’s abode.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15AB

R.(see 2B) In you, my God, I place my trust.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
Say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.
For he will rescue you from the snare of the fowler,
from the destroying pestilence.
With his pinions he will cover you,
and under his wings you shall take refuge. 
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.
Because he clings to me, I will deliver him;
I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress. 
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.

Alleluia – SEE 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – MT 9:18-26

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
“My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
“Courage, daughter!  Your faith has saved you.”
And from that hour the woman was cured.

When Jesus arrived at the official’s house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.”

And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.

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The Nerve!


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 9, 2019

“You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.”  Today we have been treated to an amazing reflection of human nature dispersed with a timeless wrestling match that still is fought at this very hour. “When the man saw that he could not prevail over him, he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that the hip socket was wrenched as they wrestled.” Jacob’s wrestling match through the night and the wound to his sciatic nerve represents all the battles of our lives, beginning with the biggest battle of them all – between the material and the spiritual, what is of below and what is above. It is the perennial struggle between light and darkness, good and evil. The Lord teaches us that in every struggle we are powerful, and can overcome our evil urges if we so desire. “Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said.” Spiritually and psychologically speaking: Nothing can harm us when we are on a spiritual high and feel strong and committed to our higher calling, that is, when we keep God right in front of us, face-to-face. But then there are times when we may feel overwhelmed by the struggle for material survival, overcome by material pressures, and spiritually disconnected. In times like these, we are vulnerable and prone to be wounded in the process of the struggle. “In justice, I shall behold your face, O Lord.” 

“A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.” We therefore have to acknowledge this weak spot, this exposed nerve by recognizing and remembering Jacob’s wound and the cure of the demoniac. The beginning of all healing is awareness of the problem. We are sensitive to the fact that our mindless immersion in material existence touches a nerve which leaves us wounded.

Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you. Unknown

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July 9, 2019


Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 384

Reading 1 – GN 32:23-33

In the course of the night, Jacob arose, took his two wives,
with the two maidservants and his eleven children,
and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
After he had taken them across the stream
and had brought over all his possessions,
Jacob was left there alone.
Then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.
When the man saw that he could not prevail over him,
he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket,
so that the hip socket was wrenched as they wrestled.
The man then said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
The man asked, “What is your name?”
He answered, “Jacob.”
Then the man said,
“You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel,
because you have contended with divine and human beings
and have prevailed.”
Jacob then asked him, “Do tell me your name, please.”
He answered, “Why should you want to know my name?”
With that, he bade him farewell.
Jacob named the place Peniel,
“Because I have seen God face to face,” he said,
“yet my life has been spared.”

At sunrise, as he left Penuel,
Jacob limped along because of his hip.
That is why, to this day, the children of Israel do not eat
the sciatic muscle that is on the hip socket,
inasmuch as Jacob’s hip socket was struck at the sciatic muscle.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 17:1B, 2-3, 6-7AB, 8B AND 15

R.(15A) In justice, I shall behold your face, O Lord.
Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.
R. In justice, I shall behold your face, O Lord.
From you let my judgment come;
your eyes behold what is right.
Though you test my heart, searching it in the night,
though you try me with fire, you shall find no malice in me.
R. In justice, I shall behold your face, O Lord.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
Show your wondrous mercies,
O savior of those who flee from their foes.
R. In justice, I shall behold your face, O Lord.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence. 
R. In justice, I shall behold your face, O Lord.

Alleluia – 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 – MT 9:32-38

A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus,
and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said,
“Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
But the Pharisees said,
“He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”

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Lost and Found


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 10, 2019

“Alas, we are being punished because of our brother.” The Old and New Testament passages form an excellent merger of faith and wisdom for all of us today! Joseph in the First Reading prepares us to understand Jesus in the Gospel. Let us recall what happened to the youngest brother Joseph earlier in this passage: “Here comes that master dreamer! Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We shall then see what comes of his dreams.” Joseph was clearly overwhelmingly blessed with spiritual gifts beyond measure. Unfortunately, his brothers were cursed, as it were, with insane jealousy and pompous envy. These tragically blocked a clear vision to the values of gifts that God places, not in just one person, but throughout all of humanity so that we may find Him in this world. 

This presupposition is confirmed and further delineated in the Gospel today: “Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.” Jesus was also assailed with the same insanity and pettiness as was Joseph in the First Reading. What we have here today is an  exposition of pretentious attitudes that undermine true faith in Jesus who is pure humility and love. Sincere people who are looking for meaning and truth in this world continue to search with meekness will eventually come across the one who loves them with all the might of heaven. Narrow-minded and frivolous approaches to life block the light of God like the tiny moon obscures the brightness of our sun. The prayer for increased faith  must always accompany the desire for a humble heart. Then, and only then, will we be able to find the beauty of our religion: “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.”

Suppose you could gain everything in the whole world, and lost your soul. Was it worth it?  Billy Graham

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July 10, 2019


Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 385

Reading 1 – GN 41:55-57; 42:5-7A, 17-24A

When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt
and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread,
Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph
and do whatever he told them.
When the famine had spread throughout the land,
Joseph opened all the cities that had grain
and rationed it to the Egyptians,
since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt.
In fact, all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain,
for famine had gripped the whole world.

The sons of Israel were among those
who came to procure rations.

It was Joseph, as governor of the country,
who dispensed the rations to all the people.
When Joseph’s brothers came and knelt down before him
with their faces to the ground,
he recognized them as soon as he saw them.
But Joseph concealed his own identity from them
and spoke sternly to them.

With that, he locked them up in the guardhouse for three days.

On the third day Joseph said to his brothers:
“Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-fearing man.
If you have been honest,
only one of your brothers need be confined in this prison,
while the rest of you may go
and take home provisions for your starving families.
But you must come back to me with your youngest brother.
Your words will thus be verified, and you will not die.”
To this they agreed.
To one another, however, they said:
“Alas, we are being punished because of our brother.
We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us,
yet we paid no heed;
that is why this anguish has now come upon us.”
Reuben broke in,
“Did I not tell you not to do wrong to the boy?
But you would not listen! 
Now comes the reckoning for his blood.”
The brothers did not know, of course,
that Joseph understood what they said,
since he spoke with them through an interpreter.
But turning away from them, he wept.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19

R.(22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of  gladness.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
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. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – MT 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”

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Be The Bible


Reflections on Mass Reading for July 11, 2019

When we look and study all the moments of the life of Jesus, we realize that The Lord does not introduce anything new in terms of human experiences but rather elevates and imbues tremendous meaning and purpose into them. When evil and the demons of our lives approach, we realize first-hand that we truly need faith in the one who can handle and defeat them. These present themselves as conflicts which call us to make choices. 

Conflicts: Every last one of us must face conflicts practically every day of our lives, even if they surface from within us. Therefore, it is not an indication or measurement of how much we are loved when we have issues or problems, but rather what we are going to do with them. 

Choices:  When Jesus calls a person to follow Him, it necessarily involves the fundamental option whether to accept him or to reject him; and the world is always divided into those who have accepted Christ and those who have not. Everyone makes choices every day. This choice, however, affects eternity and forever is a very, very long time.

A Cross. The original audience of Jesus experienced tremendous suffering and loss. They knew very well what a cross was. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions the swift and cruel action of Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman General under the Emperor Augustus who crushed a revolt in Judea in 4 BC. After occupying Jerusalem, he crucified 2000 Jewish rebels and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee. This is why Jesus had and has tremendous compassion for His people, then and now.

Our daily dose of the Word leads us to understand and fully engage the conflicts, choices and crosses in our lives. When we are worried, it is because we are trying to do things ourselves. When we are at peace it is because we remember that God is in control. 

“As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”  So what are we to do next? The Gospel fills in that blank quite eloquently. Live and witness your life always remembering from whence it came. Several times we have mentioned in these reflections that how we live our lives especially through our actions through the course of any given day makes a profound impact on those we meet and encounter. This is no more powerfully and so overwhelmingly true and applicable as when it comes to our children and students. You see it is so true that we can preach a much better sermon with our lives than with just our words. Whether we are aware of it or not, someone is looking up to us or at least waiting for us to act and yes, seeing how long it takes for us to forgive. We influence people every minute and it is clear that they need to see God’s love expressed through us who say that we believe and love God with our whole  heart. This is how we actually proclaim the Kingdom of God: by living it joyfully.

Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.  William J. Toms

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July 11, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Benedict, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot Lectionary: 386

Reading 1 – GN 44:18-21, 23B-29; 45:1-5

Judah approached Joseph and said: “I beg you, my lord,
let your servant speak earnestly to my lord,
and do not become angry with your servant,
for you are the equal of Pharaoh.
My lord asked your servants, ‘Have you a father, or another brother?’
So we said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father,
and a young brother, the child of his old age.
This one’s full brother is dead,
and since he is the only one by that mother who is left,
his father dotes on him.’
Then you told your servants,
‘Bring him down to me that my eyes may look on him.
Unless your youngest brother comes back with you,
you shall not come into my presence again.’
When we returned to your servant our father,
we reported to him the words of my lord.

“Later, our father told us to come back and buy some food for the family.
So we reminded him, ‘We cannot go down there;
only if our youngest brother is with us can we go,
for we may not see the man if our youngest brother is not with us.’
Then your servant our father said to us,
‘As you know, my wife bore me two sons.
One of them, however, disappeared, and I had to conclude
that he must have been torn to pieces by wild beasts;
I have not seen him since.
If you now take this one away from me, too,
and some disaster befalls him,
you will send my white head down to the nether world in grief.'”

Joseph could no longer control himself
in the presence of all his attendants,
so he cried out, “Have everyone withdraw from me!”
Thus no one else was about when he made himself known to his brothers.
But his sobs were so loud that the Egyptians heard him,
and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.
“I am Joseph,” he said to his brothers.
“Is my father still in good health?”
But his brothers could give him no answer,
so dumbfounded were they at him.

“Come closer to me,” he told his brothers. 
When they had done so, he said:
“I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt.
But now do not be distressed,
and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here.
It was really for the sake of saving lives
that God sent me here ahead of you.”

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

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

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – MT 10:7-15

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”

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July 11 – Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot


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Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot Lectionary: 597

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the
Common of Holy Men and Women: For Religious, #737-742.

Reading 1 – PRV 2:1-9

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure my commands,
Turning your ear to wisdom,
inclining your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you call to intelligence,
and to understanding raise your voice;
If you seek her like silver,
and like hidden treasures search her out:

Then will you understand the fear of the LORD;
the knowledge of God you will find;
For the LORD gives wisdom,
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He has counsel in store for the upright,
he is the shield of those who walk honestly,
Guarding the paths of justice,
protecting the way of his pious ones.

Then you will understand rectitude and justice,
honesty, every good path.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (2)  I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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 and be glad.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    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.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – MT 5:3

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

Gospel – MT 19:27-29

Peter said to Jesus,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.”

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No Cue Cards Needed


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 12, 2019

“When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.” Whether you are sitting at lunch at your office or in the cafeteria at school or just hanging out with family and friends, when the tune and familiar words of “Happy Birthday” are initiated, no one has to lead you into a make-shift rehearsal to know how to respond and join in the chorus. Why? Because you are so familiar with the words and the events surrounding the cake and candle carousal that you just jump right in, and rightly so. This aptly reveals the sense of deep and almost automatic confidence which the Lord Jesus is referring to when He instructs all of us on how to live our lives and be poised to face any and all challenges to our journey back to heaven to the Father. It is the most refreshing and rewarding invitation to walk with Jesus throughout the day so as to literally continue an interior conversation with Him interspersed with those around us, pleasant and not so pleasant.  

“I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation.” Our First Readings lathers the icing on the cake for us by instructing us why we can and should have such a close and endearing relationship with God as Jesus so wonderfully and passionately implores us to develop. God loves us like the best father in the universe and promises to make us great. Remember this when something petty, mundane and even monumental tries to steal your peace. You’ll be glad you did.

If we do not fill our mind with prayer, it will fill itself with anxieties, worries, temptations, resentments, and unwelcome memories.  Scott Hahn

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July 12, 2019


Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 387

Reading 1 – GN 46:1-7, 28-30

Israel set out with all that was his.
When he arrived at Beer-sheba,
he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called,
“Jacob! Jacob!”
He answered, “Here I am.”
Then he said: “I am God, the God of your father.
Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt,
for there I will make you a great nation.
Not only will I go down to Egypt with you;
I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes.” 

So Jacob departed from Beer-sheba,
and the sons of Israel
put their father and their wives and children
on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent for his transport.
They took with them their livestock
and the possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan.
Thus Jacob and all his descendants migrated to Egypt.
His sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughtersB
all his descendants—he took with him to Egypt.

Israel had sent Judah ahead to Joseph,
so that he might meet him in Goshen.
On his arrival in the region of Goshen,
Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot
and rode to meet his father Israel in Goshen.
As soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his neck
and wept a long time in his arms.
And Israel said to Joseph, “At last I can die,
now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive.”

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

R.(39A) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
They are not put to shame in an evil time;
in days of famine they have plenty. 
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones. 
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 16:13A, 14:26D

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When the Spirit of truth comes,
he will guide you to all truth
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 10:16-23

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men, 
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.

You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.”

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Forgive Well and Live Well


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 13, 2019

“You shall say to Joseph, Jacob begs you to forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers, who treated you so cruelly.” The remarkable story of Joseph and his brothers is as precious as it is timeless. It is one of untamed jealousy and unbridled forgiveness and the consolation of not only a family but also of a people. And it is all because of forgiveness and the heart which it takes to reveal such love in the midst of burning pain. For just a second, imagine the intensity of loneliness and abandonment coupled with the rejection which Joseph felt as he lay at the bottom of the well waiting for a certain death either at the hands of wild animals or unscrupled slave owners. Yet, the youngest of the brothers had also an intense relationship not only with his earthly father but also with his heavenly Father as well. 

“Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.” This is precisely why the Lord Jesus begs us time and time again to forgive as often and as perfectly as possible. In fact the entire wealth of Sacred Scriptures does the very same, over five hundred times by some estimates to dare to step out of ourselves and let go of the pain and resentment that we most likely experience in this life. Forgiveness affords all of the opportunity, very often in some cases, to acknowledge the great love God has for us and the mercy without bounds that it takes to forgive us our many faults and transgressions. The practice of mercy and foreignness may also have an added bonus: “Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten.”

He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven. George Herbert

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July 13 – Memorial of Saint Henry


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Optional Memorial of Saint Henry
Lectionary: 598

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Holy Men and Women, #737-742.

Reading 1 – MI 6:6-8

With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with myriad streams of oil?
Shall I give my first-born for my crime,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
You have been told, O man, what is good,
and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

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

R.    (40:5A) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
or:
R.    (2A) Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord.
or:
R.    (92:13-14)  The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
or:
R.    Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord.
or:
R.    The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
or:
R.    Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord.
or:
R.    The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.
Not so, the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
or:
R.    Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord.
or:
R.    The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – MT 7:21-27

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.”

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July 13, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Henry, please go here.

Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 388

Reading 1 – GN 49:29-32; 50:15-26A

Jacob gave his sons this charge:
“Since I am about to be taken to my people,
bury me with my fathers in the cave that lies
in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
the cave in the field of Machpelah,
facing on Mamre, in the land of Canaan,
the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite
for a burial ground.
There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried,
and so are Isaac and his wife Rebekah,
and there, too, I buried Leah–
the field and the cave in it
that had been purchased from the Hittites.”

Now that their father was dead,
Joseph’s brothers became fearful and thought,
“Suppose Joseph has been nursing a grudge against us
and now plans to pay us back in full for all the wrong we did him!”
So they approached Joseph and said:
“Before your father died, he gave us these instructions:
‘You shall say to Joseph, Jacob begs you
to forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers,
who treated you so cruelly.’
Please, therefore, forgive the crime that we,
the servants of your father’s God, committed.”
When they spoke these words to him, Joseph broke into tears.
Then his brothers proceeded to fling themselves down before him
and said, “Let us be your slaves!”
But Joseph replied to them:
“Have no fear.  Can I take the place of God?
Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good,
to achieve his present end, the survival of many people.
Therefore have no fear.
I will provide for you and for your children.”
By thus speaking kindly to them, he reassured them.

Joseph remained in Egypt, together with his father’s family.
He lived a hundred and ten years.
He saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation,
and the children of Manasseh’s son Machir
were also born on Joseph’s knees.

Joseph said to his brothers: “I am about to die.
God will surely take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land
that he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
Then, putting the sons of Israel under oath, he continued,
“When God thus takes care of you,

you must bring my bones up with you from this place.”
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten.

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

R.(see Psalm 69:33) Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!
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. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!
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. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!
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. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!

Alleluia – 1 PT 4:14

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

Gospel – MT 10:24-33

Jesus said to his Apostles: 
“No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!

“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 14, 2019

“No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” It would be more than just a simple sadness if we allowed another summer to come and go and were not in possession with just a little more desire and ease when confronted with the need and call to love, forgive and create community in our troubled world. And yet, if we were to speak realistically, the lack of ability may equal the lack of desire to even approach any semblance of being generous to anyone because of a horrible selfishness that never allows a person to grow in healthy maturity.

In an obvious sincere and hopeful attempt to avoid any sadness for us as we move forward in this year, the Scriptures provide us with an even better reason to continue to work toward a generous, giving heart and a life dedicated to the mercy of our loving Father. And this is wonderfully found in such delightful and poignant details that is found wedged gently within the phrases of the parable that Christ presents to us in the Gospel. That is important when we ask who is the Good Samaritan? To answer that, let’s look at the story: “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” The words, a man, in Hebrew, is the same for humanity. That changes things, doesn’t it? So if the the story is about humanity that has been jumped by the evil one, then it is Jesus who is the only one who can help, seeing how the Old Priesthood (the unhelpful cleric) and the Old Law (the Levite) cannot help by themselves. So He approaches the victim, coming down as He did from heaven in Bethlehem (Christmas), pours wine and oil in the wound (Sacramental Life), lifts the wounded, lifts him upon His own animal (becomes human through the Incarnation), takes him to an inn (the Church), leaves two coins, (Scripture and Tradition) and then utters those immortal words by promising that He’ll take care of everything “on my way back” (the end of the world, or Apocalypse). So in a phrase, what does this all mean? The Psalm gives us the words for the  prayer that will lead us to lasting joy. “In your great kindness answer me with your constant help. Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness: in your great mercy turn toward me.”

The world needs a sense of worth and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.  Mr. Fred Rogers.

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July 14, 2019


Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 105

Reading 1 – DT 30:10-14

Moses said to the people:
“If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God,
and keep his commandments and statutes
that are written in this book of the law,
when you return to the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul.

“For this command that I enjoin on you today
is not too mysterious and remote for you.
It is not up in the sky, that you should say,
‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,
‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
No, it is something very near to you,
already in your mouths and in your hearts;
you have only to carry it out.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37

R. (cf. 33)  Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I pray to you, O LORD,
 for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
 with your constant help.
Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness:
 in your great mercy turn toward me.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I am afflicted and in pain;
 let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
 and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
 you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
 and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
For God will save Zion
 and rebuild the cities of Judah.
The descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
 and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

Or – PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R.(9A) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
 refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
 giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
 rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
 enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
 enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
 all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
They are more precious than gold,
 than a heap of purest gold;
sweeter also than syrup
 or honey from the comb.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Reading 2 – COL1:15-20

Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Alleluia – CF. JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – LK 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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Wanted List: Dead or Alive


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 15, 2019

We are most likely all aware there are criminals and nefarious types of people wanted for crimes by lawful authorities who wanted to catch them and bring them to justice. Typically there is a set monetary reward offered to whomever catches the wanted criminal that is advertised on the poster and pertinent websites. Rewards from $100,000 to $25 Million are currently being offered by the United States Government and other international agencies. In an analogous and similar way, we could make the case that you and I are wanted by the Lord who also offers a reward for our acquisition. Let’s see how far we can take this.

“Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews, but you may let all the girls live.” From the First Reading we remember that a new king came into the land who had no knowledge or personal experience of Joseph or the God of the Hebrews who is all powerful and true. Therefore, he saw how numerous the people of God were growing and with a murderous heart, he sought to put an end to that by killing all of their first born. They were certainly wanted and they were destroyed. But there would be a new dawn and a new reason to hope. “We were rescued like a bird from the fowlers’ snare; Broken was the snare, and we were freed. Our help is in the name of the Lord.” The rewards to those who believe in the Lord’s goodness and promises are immense and illicit great and joyful reactions, a reward of hope and fidelity, clearly.

“And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple—Amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” Jesus spoke of reward.  The concept can be misunderstood.  Jesus was not speaking in terms of something extrinsic – a prize or payment of some kind.  The reward would rather be the reality (and the experience) of human and personal growth. This could mean growth in love, truth and inner freedom, in the enjoyed intimacy of love for God, which is its own reward. We could also posit that loving God with every fiber of our being is in fact itself its own reward. Therefore, being wanted by God and sought “to be brought in (heaven) alive,” ranks above all the most desired of conditions we could ever imagine! He wants us! Alive!

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July 15 – Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


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Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 600

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724, or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

Reading 1 – EPH 3:14-19

Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

R.    (12)  Lord, teach me your statutes.
How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
By keeping to your words.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.

Alleluia – MT 23:9B, 10B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
You have but one Father in heaven;
you have one master, the Christ.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 23:8-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

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July 15, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 389

Reading 1 – EX 1:8-14, 22

A new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.
He said to his subjects, “Look how numerous and powerful
the people of the children of Israel are growing, more so than we ourselves!
Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase;
otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies
to fight against us, and so leave our country.”

Accordingly, taskmasters were set over the children of Israel
to oppress them with forced labor.
Thus they had to build for Pharaoh
the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.
Yet the more they were oppressed,
the more they multiplied and spread.
The Egyptians, then, dreaded the children of Israel
and reduced them to cruel slavery,
making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick
and all kinds of field work—the whole cruel fate of slaves.

Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects,
“Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews,
but you may let all the girls live.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 124:1B-3, 4-6, 7-8

R.(8A) Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Had not the LORD been with us–
let Israel say, had not the LORD been with us–
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us. 
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept 
the raging waters.
Blessed be the LORD, who did not leave us
a prey to their teeth. 
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord. 
We were rescued like a bird 
from the fowlers’ snare;
Broken was the snare, 
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Alleluia – MT 5:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel -MT 10:34—11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous 
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

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A Prophet’s Profit


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 16, 2019

“When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her son and called him Moses; for she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.'” Today in these sweltering summer months, we have this brilliant juxtaposition of the two giants of the Old and New Testaments, respectively, Moses and the Lord Jesus. Together they form an amazing insight into the wealth of revelation that we desperately need in order to find our place within our eternal reward. Moses would rise as the Lawgiver and quintessential prophet to bring the people of God out of the dessert and the evil auras of the captivity in Egypt even though he had a very difficult beginning. “Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us?” But those Hebrews who accepted his leadership profited greatly with their freedom and the beginnings of a great people destined for a promised land here on earth and later in heaven. “Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.”  “Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.”What profit does the prophet make? Eternal life.

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July 16 – Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel


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Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Lectionary: 601

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, #707-712.

Reading 1 – ZEC 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! 
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all, in the presence of the LORD! 
for he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

Responsorial Psalm – LK 1:46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

R.    (49)  The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.

Alleluia – LK 11:28

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who hear the word of God
and observe it.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

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July 16, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, please go here.

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 390

Reading 1 – EX 2:1-15A

A certain man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman,
who conceived and bore a son.
Seeing that he was a goodly child, she hid him for three months.
When she could hide him no longer, she took a papyrus basket,
daubed it with bitumen and pitch,
and putting the child in it,
placed it among the reeds on the river bank.
His sister stationed herself at a distance
to find out what would happen to him.

Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the river to bathe,
while her maids walked along the river bank.
Noticing the basket among the reeds, she sent her handmaid to fetch it.
On opening it, she looked, and lo, there was a baby boy, crying!
She was moved with pity for him and said,
“It is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter,
“Shall I go and call one of the Hebrew women
to nurse the child for you?”
“Yes, do so,” she answered.
So the maiden went and called the child’s own mother.
Pharaoh’s daughter said to her,
“Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will repay you.”
The woman therefore took the child and nursed it.
When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter,
who adopted him as her son and called him Moses;
for she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

On one occasion, after Moses had grown up,
when he visited his kinsmen and witnessed their forced labor,
he saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his own kinsmen.
Looking about and seeing no one,
he slew the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
The next day he went out again, and now two Hebrews were fighting!
So he asked the culprit,
“Why are you striking your fellow Hebrew?”
But the culprit replied,
“Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us?
Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?”
Then Moses became afraid and thought,
“The affair must certainly be known.”

Pharaoh, too, heard of the affair and sought to put Moses to death.
But Moses fled from him and stayed in the land of Midian.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34

R. (see 33)  Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I am sunk in the abysmal swamp
where there is no foothold;
I have reached the watery depths;
the flood overwhelms me.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
But I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me;
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

Alleluia – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – MT 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

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Burning Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 17, 2019

What’s behind the call by Jesus in the Gospel today? Keep in mind that the Bible is to be seen as a complete unity, the Old preparing for the New, the New ratifying the Old. When the Lord uses the image of fire, then it is advantageous for us to go deeper into the meaning and purpose and background of certain words and phrases to truly grasp all the spiritual wealth that is waiting for us, ripe for the picking. 

Fire in Exodus 3, the Burning Bush: God is truly present, “you are standing on Holy Ground.” Fire in Ezekiel 1, a broad cloud of fire looms large: God’s glory is magnificent. Fire in 2 Kings 1, fire from heaven wiped out fifty  soldiers: Power over life & death. Fire in Matthew 25,  Eternal fire is destination for devil and demons: Hell is real & horrible. Fire in Acts 2, tongues of fire descend on the twelve: The Holy Spirit “enflames” the Church. Fire in Revelation 21, a lake of fire and sulfur awaits the faithless: a second death.

From this small sampling of fire images from the Scriptures, we can safely determine that Jesus clearly wants to purify and cleanse all of humanity, instill a reverent and holy fear in us (awesome approach to God) and establish His Kingdom where there will be both judgment and serious consequences to our responses, both here and now and much later. Because of His reign over us and remembering the dire consequences of the refusal to love, there will be division starting in one’s own family, household and beyond. When the word ‘family’ is used in the Bible, it usually means either the clan or the extended family group, and could very easily include as many as two hundred people, or as few as fifteen. Thus, Jesus is describing the essence of a true disciple as one who loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Him. He insists that His disciples give him the loyalty which is only due to God, a loyalty which is higher than spouse or relatives or circle of friends. This is why the constant use of the mind and heart of a child is so beautiful throughout the New Testament. 

Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in. Aim at Earth and you get neither.  C.S. Lewis

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July 17, 2019


Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 391

Reading 1 – EX 3:1-6, 9-12

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian.
Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb,
the mountain of God.
There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire
flaming out of a bush.
As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush,
though on fire, was not consumed.
So Moses decided,
“I must go over to look at this remarkable sight,
and see why the bush is not burned.”

When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely,
God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
He answered, “Here I am.”
God said, “Come no nearer!
Remove the sandals from your feet,
for the place where you stand is holy ground.
I am the God of your father,” he continued,
“the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.
The cry of the children of Israel has reached me,
and I have truly noted that the Egyptians are oppressing them.
Come, now!  I will send you to Pharaoh to lead my people,
the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God,
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh
and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
He answered, “I will be with you;
and this shall be your proof that it is I who have sent you:
when you bring my people out of Egypt,
you will worship God on this very mountain.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1B-2, 3-4, 6-7

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.
The LORD secures justice
and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
and his deeds to the children of  Israel. 
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – MT 11:25-27

At that time Jesus exclaimed: 
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

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The Yoke’s On You


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 18, 2019

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Back in 1994, two memorable events took place. The release of the widely popular movie, The Lion King and the death of my father. I imagine that for many of our readers, these two events do not seem to have any obvious connection, but they do and here it is. 

I took my two nephews who were age four and six at the time to watch this very engaging cartoon movie. Those of you who know the story, and I doubt this requires any kind of “spoiler alert” now that it has been twenty-five years since the premiere, will remember that Mufasa, the Lion King par excellence, dies midway through the story. Having just lost my own ‘king” I immediately broke down in the theater. Thank God it was dark! Without missing a beat, my older nephew saw that I was crying and simply crawled in my lap and remained there for the rest of the movie. He clearly made my burden light. 

I have no doubt that many if not all of us have a similar story, where someone eased our pain by just being there. Because our lives truly are spiritual in nature as we move toward the most excellent destination of heaven, the words of Jesus today make or should make all the sense in the world. The Messiah makes the burden of life easy by just being there beside us. His presence and grace communicated as they are through the Sacraments, the Word of God and a deep, nourished life of prayer make it less cumbersome and more bearable. 

My friends, we are not in the flesh, we are with the Lord and He with us. He longs to share the walk so that we might find Him alive in every situation. The yolk is in fact easy because he is nestled next to us all the way. Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of Jesus yolked to our very souls. “‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest,’ says the Lord.”

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July 18 – Memorial of Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest


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Optional Memorial of Saint Camillus de Lellis, priest
Lectionary: 601A

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Those Who Work for the Underprivileged, #737-742.

Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:14-18

Beloved:
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that anyone who is a murderer 
does not have eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-7A, 7B-8, 9

R.    (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
An evil report he shall not fear.
His heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
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 13:34

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

Gospel – JN 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you 
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you:  love one another.”

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July 18, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Camillus de Lellis, please go here.

Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 392

Reading 1 – EX 3:13-20

Moses, hearing the voice of the LORD from the burning bush, said to him,
“When I go to the children of Israel and say to them,
‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
God replied, “I am who am.”
Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the children of Israel:
I AM sent me to you.”

God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the children of Israel:
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.

“This is my name forever;
this my title for all generations.

“Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and tell them: 
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
has appeared to me and said:
I am concerned about you
and about the way you are being treated in Egypt;
so I have decided to lead you up out of the misery of Egypt
into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, 
Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites,
a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Thus they will heed your message. 
Then you and the elders of Israel
shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him:
“The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent us word.
Permit us, then, to go a three-days’ journey in the desert,
that we may offer sacrifice to the LORD, our God.

“Yet I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go
unless he is forced.
I will stretch out my hand, therefore,
and smite Egypt by doing all kinds of wondrous deeds there.
After that he will send you away.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:1 AND 5, 8-9, 24-25, 26-27

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.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered. 
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generationsB
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac. 
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He greatly increased his people
and made them stronger than their foes,
Whose hearts he changed, so that they hated his people,
and dealt deceitfully with his servants.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He sent Moses his servant;
Aaron, whom he had chosen.
They wrought his signs among them,
and wonders in the land of Ham.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – MT 11:28-30

Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

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Passover, Present, and Future


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 19, 2019

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.” In our First Reading, we witnessed the beautiful and meaningful establishment of the Passover celebrations, commemorations and definitely the quintessential precursor to the Eucharist of the Lord Jesus. He clearly understood the right order of things in the spiritual universe, as Jesus recalled and reminded the Pharisees in St. Mark’s Gospel: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” You see, the Sabbath is much more than law, but truly a gift of God’s care for all of us. He rested on the seventh day not out of fatigue, but to show how a fruitful life should be lived, with enough time for re-creation and renewal.  Our redemption from sin and death are truly the work of God and not us. He has literally “done all the work.” Now, for this glorious break, He wants us to enjoy!

“I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.” You and I unfortunately tend to rush through our busy week, maybe offering God a fleeting wave or a passing prayer. Sunday, the Sabbath, however, calls us to a true and thought out decision with real intention. We are simply to stop from all the other things we had to do or must do or have to do, and spend quality time with Him and focus attention on Him. When we decide to obey, that is, listen to the Fourth Commandment, we become aware of the astounding and comforting truth that we really belong to God. It is not the Sabbath that we worship but the one who has initiated the Sabbath as we swim in a sort of a memorial in time, a useful tool to help us focus our attention on our awesome destiny. “Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” This Sunday, try to remember this Reflection. Take a different approach to Sunday and let God be at peace with you and for you. Cut out any unnecessary activity and focus on your hope of heaven. Then perhaps we may truly appreciate the blessing of St. John for us in the Alleluia verse: “My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord, I know them, and they follow me.”

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July 19, 2019


Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 393

Reading 1 – EX 11:10—12:14

Although Moses and Aaron performed various wonders
in Pharaoh’s presence,
the LORD made Pharaoh obstinate,
and he would not let the children of Israel leave his land.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
“This month shall stand at the head of your calendar;
you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel:  On the tenth of this month
every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb,
one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb,
it shall join the nearest household in procuring one
and shall share in the lamb
in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then,
with the whole assembly of Israel present,
it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel
of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh
with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole,
with its head and shanks and inner organs.
None of it must be kept beyond the next morning;
whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up.

“This is how you are to eat it: 
with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt,
striking down every first born of the land, both man and beast,
and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you;
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt,
no destructive blow will come upon you.

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:12-13, 15 AND 16BC, 17-18

R.(13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
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. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – MT 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?

Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

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The Yeast Also Rises


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 20, 2019

“Since the dough they had brought out of Egypt was not leavened, they baked it into unleavened loaves. They had rushed out of Egypt and had no opportunity even to prepare food for the journey.” The world is filled with tremendous goodness and terrible evil. This much is painfully, yet hopefully clear. It all began with the events we have come to know as original sin. The condition in which we have found ourselves has deeply affected every strata of our human experience bringing death and darkness into the world but which has joyfully necessitated Jesus Christ to come into our world to save us from our very selves. That is precisely why the image of yeast is so keen and insightful. In the batch of dough in the kitchen, the tiny, microscopic yeast cells break down large starch molecules into sugars for energy. They use this energy for survival and literally “burp out” carbon dioxide into existing air bubbles in the dough which in turn causes the dough to rise. Our example of faith and our readiness to carry the cross no matter what circumstances, convenient or inconvenient, actually infuse our surroundings with spiritual energy and help raise the hopes and spirits of people all around us, including ourselves. 

“The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.” However and even more pointedly, the Gospel of today points us to another condition of spiritual infection that is all around us. The pettiness and the self-inflated importance of the Pharisees remind us of those who have and exercise authority over us but under the lure and seduction of power on every scale which is immense depending on the degree of the power one possesses. The abuse of authority has inflicted great harm upon individuals and societies and has harmed the possibility of peace and forgiveness in our world. Jesus cuts through the very heart of the problem in the Gospel today which should ring loudly in everyone one of us no matter what state of life we occupy. He is the Lord of the Sabbath, of our days and nights and of all authority that ever existed over human beings. 

One of the basic and forgone conclusions we can draw from all of this is really quite simple: Everyone has a God. There is a single place at the center of the human heart and there is only one entity that can dwell there. If it is not the God who has been revealed to us by his Son, Jesus, then something or someone else is there in that space. It can be power, fame, money, or any other hidden vestige of selfishness, but it is certainly not the One True God whom we adore and love. No, to find complete happiness in this life that will last, even unto forever, we must fall in love with God. Consider again the words of Pedro Arupe, SJ:

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

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July 20 – Memorial of Saint Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr


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Optional Memorial of Saint Apollinaris, bishop and martyr
Lectionary: 601B

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs (#713-718), or the Common of Pastors (#719-724).

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, 4, 5, 6

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

Alleluia – 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 – JN 10:11-16

Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

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July 20, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Apollinaris, please go here.

Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 394

Reading 1 – EX 12:37-42

The children of Israel set out from Rameses for Succoth,
about six hundred thousand men on foot,
not counting the little ones.
A crowd of mixed ancestry also went up with them,
besides their livestock, very numerous flocks and herds.
Since the dough they had brought out of Egypt was not leavened,
they baked it into unleavened loaves.
They had rushed out of Egypt and had no opportunity
even to prepare food for the journey.

The time the children of Israel had stayed in Egypt
was four hundred and thirty years.
At the end of four hundred and thirty years,
all the hosts of the LORD left the land of Egypt on this very date.
This was a night of vigil for the LORD,
as he led them out of the land of Egypt;
so on this same night
all the children of Israel must keep a vigil for the LORD
throughout their generations.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 136:1 AND 23-24, 10-12, 13-15

R. His mercy endures forever. 
or: 
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever;
Who remembered us in our abjection,
for his mercy endures forever;
And freed us from our foes,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.
or: 
R. Alleluia.
Who smote the Egyptians in their first-born,
for his mercy endures forever;
And brought out Israel from their midst,
for his mercy endures forever;
With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.
or: 
R. Alleluia.
Who split the Red Sea in twain,
for his mercy endures forever;
And led Israel through its midst,
for his mercy endures forever;
But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.    
or: 
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – 2 COR 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 12:14-21

The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus
to put him to death.

When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place.
Many people followed him, and he cured them all,
but he warned them not to make him known.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not contend or cry out,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

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The Irony of Hospitality


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 21, 2019

“The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot.” Hospitality brings remarkable blessings upon all those who dip their finger into the water of generosity toward others, especially strangers. Abraham and Sarah were primary beneficiaries of these blessings in our First  Reading. In front of this all-encompassing mercy of God that marvels as well as redeems, we can understand and agree with the Psalmist who is so insistent with the only recourse we have when we have made that tumultuous leap of complete trust. 

“He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” The benefits of this leap of faith are then made crystal clear and even more desirable in the Gospel today. The scene there is similar to the many experiences that we have had when we become anxious and worried about too many things. There is sometimes sorrow, then doubt and sometimes there is darkness. This is certainly true today in the Gospel with the two famous sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha begins with Jesus suggesting that somehow Jesus doesn’t really care or have any interest in her plight: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?” Although the answer Jesus give her may seem even more distant and detached, it is full of wisdom and understanding and a call for more courage and faith. “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” This will be overwhelmingly critical when later in their lives they experience the tragic death of their brother Lazarus and the next conversation Martha has with the Lord takes a bizarre turn when she suggests that all of the  tragedy their lives could have been avoided if the Lord had just planned his schedule a little differently. However, before Jesus had a chance to respond to that statement, Martha quickly added that no matter what the reason or course of events, she was ready to make that leap of faith and trust Him with all her heart and mind as to the outcome. Then Jesus reveals why the trusting moment is pivotal for all of us: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  

It seems that the irony of hospitality depends not so much on the person who receives our love, but is rather the quality of love in our heart. A hospitable person loves all kinds of people and wants to be sure that no one in the room feels like a stranger. Indeed, the great irony of a hospitable man is that people say of him, “He’s never met a stranger.”  Sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it?

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July 21, 2019


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 108

Reading 1 – GN 18:1-10A

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre,
as he sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot. 
Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby. 
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant. 
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree. 
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way.” 
The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.”

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
“Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.” 
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it. 
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before the three men;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.” 
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”

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

R.(1A) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
One 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.
One who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Reading 2 – COL 1:24-28

Brothers and sisters:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his body, which is the church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. 
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Alleluia – CF. LK 8:15

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

Gospel – LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village 
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
Tell her to help me.” 
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 
There is need of only one thing. 
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

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July 22, 2019


Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene Lectionary: 603

Reading 1 – SGS 3:1-4B

The Bride says:
On my bed at night I sought him
whom my heart loves–
I sought him but I did not find him.
I will rise then and go about the city;
in the streets and crossings I will seek
Him whom my heart loves.
I sought him but I did not find him.
The watchmen came upon me,
as they made their rounds of the city:
Have you seen him whom my heart loves?
I had hardly left them
when I found him whom my heart loves.

OR – 2 COR 5:14-17

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.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (2) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way?
I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.” 

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
“Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

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Looking For Love In All The Right Places


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 22, 2019

“I sought him but I did not find him. I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek Him whom my heart loves.”  I have often wondered what significance there might be between the incident in St. Luke’s Gospel when Joseph and Mary “lost” Jesus and later “found” Him in the Temple—and the experience of St. Mary Magdalene in the Gospel today. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.”  (Luke 2:41-51) Mary Magdalene: “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”

What the two Scriptural references clearly have in common is the simple fact that finding Jesus has everything to do with where you look for Him. Mary and Joseph thought that their son was among all the crowds with whom they were travelling and only at the end of their frenetic search did they actually find him in the Temple. St. Mary Magdalene thought only to look in the tomb for her risen Lord when it would have been the very last place to find Him, that is, among the dead.

Today, which is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, you and I have been presented with the opportunity to experience, if only in a spiritual or even symbolic way, the search for God that has been chronicled throughout the Old Testament, right through the Gospels and all the way to the outstanding hopeful days that followed the Resurrection of Christ. That search goes on right here, right now.

All the great Saints are great precisely because they have longed for Christ more than for life itself, continued their search even though at times it may have come up empty, and found Him because they looked in the right place. May you be great in your search! Let us pray:

“Saint Mary Magdalene, woman of many sins, who by conversion became the beloved of Jesus, thank you for your witness that Jesus forgives through the miracle of love. You, who already possess eternal happiness in His glorious presence, please intercede for me, so that some day I may share in the same everlasting joy. Amen.”

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The Lord’s Family Circle


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 23, 2019

From the very beginning of the Revelation that we have received starting with the Old Testament, we encounter the notion and the nature of the kind of deep and lasting relationship that the Lord has always wanted for us. Like a good earthly father who wants to give his own family all he has for love and survival, we look to our Heavenly Father who does the same. When we realize and accept this truth, we can easily join the Psalmist in the moment of pure joy: “Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.”

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

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

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July 23 – Memorial of Saint Bridget of Sweden, Religious


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Optional Memorial of Saint Bridget of Sweden, religious
Lectionary: 604

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Religious, #737-742.

Reading 1 – GAL 2:19-20

Brothers and sisters:
Through the law I died to the law,
that I might live for God.
I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;
insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God
who has loved me and given himself up for me.

Responsorial Psalm – PS  34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (2)  I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in my love, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

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July 23, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Bridget, please go here.

Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 396

Reading 1 – EX 14:21—15:1

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and the LORD swept the sea
with a strong east wind throughout the night
and so turned it into dry land.
When the water was thus divided,
the children of Israel marched into the midst of the sea on dry land,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.

The Egyptians followed in pursuit;
all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and charioteers went after them
right into the midst of the sea.
In the night watch just before dawn
the LORD cast through the column of the fiery cloud
upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic;
and he so clogged their chariot wheels
that they could hardly drive.
With that the Egyptians sounded the retreat before Israel,
because the LORD was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

Then the LORD told Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea,
that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians,
upon their chariots and their charioteers.”
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, 
and at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth.
The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea,
when the LORD hurled them into its midst.
As the water flowed back,
it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh’s whole army
that had followed the children of Israel into the sea.
Not a single one of them escaped.
But the children of Israel had marched on dry land
through the midst of the sea,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel on that day
from the power of the Egyptians.
When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore
and beheld the great power that the LORD
had shown against the Egyptians,
they feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.

Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD:

I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.

Responsorial Psalm – EXODUS 15:8-9, 10 AND 12, 17

R.(1B) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
At the breath of your anger the waters piled up,
the flowing waters stood like a mound,
the flood waters congealed in the midst of the sea.
The enemy boasted, “I will pursue and overtake them;
I will divide the spoils and have my fill of them;
I will draw my sword; my hand shall despoil them!” 
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
When your wind blew, the sea covered them;
like lead they sank in the mighty waters.
When you stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them!
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
And you brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place where you made your seat, O LORD,
the sanctuary, O LORD, which your hands established. 
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

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 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

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Seeds and Consequences


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 24, 2019

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

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

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July 24, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Sharbel Makhluf, please go here.

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 397

Reading 1 – EX 16:1-5, 9-15

The children of Israel set out from Elim, 
and came into the desert of Sin,
which is between Elim and Sinai,
on the fifteenth day of the second month
after their departure from the land of Egypt.
Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel
grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The children of Israel said to them,
“Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses,
“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.
On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in,
let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole congregation 
of the children of Israel:
Present yourselves before the LORD,
for he has heard your grumbling.”
When Aaron announced this to the whole assembly of the children of Israel,
they turned toward the desert, and lo,
the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud!
The LORD spoke to Moses and said,
“I have heard the grumbling of the children of Israel.
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the children of Israel asked one another, “What is this?”
for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,
“This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 78:18-19, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28

R. (24B) The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
They tempted God in their hearts
by demanding the food they craved.
Yes, they spoke against God, saying,
“Can God spread a table in the desert?”
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Yet he commanded the skies above
and the doors of heaven he opened;
He rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread. 
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
He stirred up the east wind in the heavens,
and by his power brought on the south wind.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
And he rained meat upon them like dust,
and, like the sand of the sea, winged fowl,
Which fell in the midst of their camp
round about their tents. 
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Alleluia

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

Gospel – MT 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.

Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

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July 24 – Memorial of Saint Sharbel Makhlūf, Priest


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Optional Memorial of Saint Sharbel Makhlūf, priest
Lectionary: 604A

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors (#719-724), or the Common of Holy Men and Women (#737-742).

Reading 1 – SIR 3:17-24

My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.
The greater you are, 
the more you must humble yourself in all things,
and you will find grace before God.
For great is the power of God;
by the humble he is glorified.
What is too sublime for you, seek not,
into things beyond your strength search not.
What is committed to you, attend to;
for it is not necessary for you to see with your eyes 
those things which are hidden.
With what is too much for you meddle not,
when shown things beyond human understanding.
Their own opinion has misled many,
and false reasoning unbalanced their judgment.
Where the pupil of the eye is missing, there is no light,
and where there is no knowledge, there is no wisdom.

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

R. (1) The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.  
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O 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. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O 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. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.

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 19:27-29

Peter said to Jesus,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you 
that you who have followed me, in the new age, 
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.”

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We Hold A Treasure


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 25, 2019

In just one short month from now, it will be eighty years to the date (August 25) that one of the most famous movies ever produced was initially released to its first of many millions of movie-goers. This is, of course, the musical fantasy film of The Wizard of Oz and according to the Library of Congress, it is the most seen film in movie history. Believing that most, if not all of our readers know the basic plot, it is not necessary to review the unfolding scenes of this timeless wonder but suffice to say, for our spiritual purposes here, that there is a lot to learn from the famous journey to Oz, and back. The basic premise is quite simple: all that you need for this life, you already have. “We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.”

The miracle of the Incarnation, that is, the Word becoming Flesh in Jesus, has bestowed on all of us a remarkably present miracle that lies deep within us and is destined to grow and mature through our own Baptism and constant communion with the same God who has loved us so very much. “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.” Our goal in life, then, is to believe that this treasure exists and then to spend every waking moment that we have to dig and discover the beauty that has been placed deep within our very being. 

“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” The treasure map, if you will, will be read much easier and with much more clarity with the attitude of service and generosity to each other while we walk this path together. Inviting and cultivating the disposition of service to each other brings about the transformation in the human spirit that readily and specifically finds the great treasure of Jesus present within us and willing to share that happiness with those with whom we have been given. This is so because this is precisely why Jesus was sent to us, as true God and true man, to begin the total transformation of our society and world. However, this work must continue with us and invigorate our desire to get up every morning and go forth: “Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living. Albert Einstein

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July 25, 2019


Feast of Saint James, Apostle Lectionary: 605

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 126:1BC-2AB, 2CD-3, 4-5, 6

R.(5) Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing. 
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves. 
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Alleluia – SEE JN 15:16

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

Gospel – MT 20:20-28

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

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Great Grandparents


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 26, 2019

“…bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Today we celebrate the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and reasonably, the grandparents of Jesus. It is very likely that today you ask any grandparent about their grandchild, they will have limitless positive things to say about them. It would be clear that they love fulfilling their duties as “grandma” or “grandpa.” There is an obvious and special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren and has become, for a great amount of people, one of the most meaningful relationships of their whole lives.  

“But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”  Today happily reminds us that faith is a family affair and that we are all in this together with remarkable benefits as we move through this awesome journey called “life.” This is why sharing and mirroring our fidelity to Christ is of utmost importance because the new and growing generations in our families are watching everything we do and listening to everything we say, and rightly so. Imagine if you could speak with Joachim and Anna from heaven and ask them what they did to raise such a fine daughter as they did with the Virgin Mary. Perhaps they would answer with just one simple phrase: We taught her how to love.

“Young people need something stable to hang on to — a culture connection, a  sense of their own past, a hope for their own future. Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them.”  Jay Kesler

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July 26, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anna, please go here.

Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lectionary: 399

Reading 1 – EX 20:1-17

In those days:
God delivered all these commandments:

“I, the LORD, am your God, 
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves 
in the shape of anything in the sky above 
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; 
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, 
inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness 
on the children of those who hate me, 
down to the third and fourth generation; 
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation 
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished 
him who takes his name in vain.

“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work, 
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, 
or your male or female slave, or your beast, 
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, 
the sea and all that is in them; 
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, 
that you may have a long life in the land 
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.

“You shall not kill.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, 
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, 

nor anything else that belongs to him.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 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.

Alleluia – SEE LK 8:15

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

Gospel – MT 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Hear the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it,
and the Evil One comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

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July 26 – Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary


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Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 606

Reading 1 – SIR 44:1, 10-15

Now will I praise those godly men,
our ancestors, each in his own time:
These were godly men
whose virtues have not been forgotten;
Their wealth remains in their families,
their heritage with their descendants;
Through God’s covenant with them their family endures,
their posterity for their sake.

And for all time their progeny will endure,
their glory will never be blotted out;
Their bodies are peacefully laid away,
but their name lives on and on.
At gatherings their wisdom is retold,
and the assembly proclaims their praise.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 132:11, 13-14, 17-18

R.    (Luke 1:32)  God will give him the throne of David, his father.
The LORD swore to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
“Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne.”
R.    God will give him the throne of David, his father.
For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he prefers her for his dwelling.
“Zion is my resting place forever;
in her will I dwell, for I prefer her.”
R.    God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David;
I will place a lamp for my anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but upon him my crown shall shine.”
R.    God will give him the throne of David, his father.

Alleluia – SEE LK 2:25C

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
They yearned for the comforting of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit rested upon them.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 13:16-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

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Wait Till The End Of The Play


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 27, 2019

“Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.‘”  There is certainly another interesting morsel for us to enjoy with the Scriptures on this fine Saturday. The Gospel especially has the potential of unleashing a flurry of conversational bits and pieces about asking God to change the course of history, both universal and personal, to suit the ends of what we hope for and desire, believing that our way must be the only true way of providence. But, there is a problem with this line of thinking and this was raised in the conversation between the farmer and his well-intentioned friends. If we pull up and destroy the destructive effect of weeds in our lives we may also endanger what is good with our lives (the wheat) and, for that matter, all of humanity. No, says he, we must wait to the end, the harvest, the hour of our death to see what must really happen and which side in this life we chose to live. This is a frightening prospect. The only real choice we have in this life is to proclaim with our lives the God we love and serve, and then await the final approach of the One who loved us into existence: “Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.”  This means that every day is a dress rehearsal for eternity. In this very moment we find all of our lives without the need to wait for something more to happen. We are called to reform what is before us right here, right now.

We cannot allow this week to end without calling special attention to this wonderful phrase, “humbly welcome.” How does anyone welcome the Word with humility? The truth is that so much happens in this life that we do not and cannot understand with the limited amount of intellect and wisdom that each of us possesses. This is why with the gentle and unpretentious acceptance of the things we simply cannot change and the drive to reform those that we can, especially within ourselves, is the path to holiness and happiness until we await the Author of Life. “Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.” Until then, we pray, we live and move and place our entire being into the safe hands of the Lord Jesus. The best is yet to come. 

But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over.  ~C.S. Lewis

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July 27, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 400

Reading 1 – EX 24:3-8

When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,  
they all answered with one voice,
“We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 
Then, having sent certain young men of the children of Israel
to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 50:1B-2, 5-6, 14-15

R.(14A) Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
for God himself is the judge.
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High;
Then call upon me in time of distress;
I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.”
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Alleluia – JAS 1:21BC

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

Gospel – MT 13:24-30

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

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Persistence Always Wins


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 28, 2019

The First Book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, is one of the oldest in the Old Testament and was written nearly 1400 years before the birth of Christ. But in many ways, it reads as if it were written last week. God loves His people but it looks like many reject this awesome gift. Religious leaders are negligent and just tell people what they want to hear, faithful couples are leaving their loves preferring sorcerers, liars and insanity-driven power trips while the world seems to be bent on destroying itself. Sounds like a description of the news this morning. The First Reading today is taken from the eighteenth chapter of this book where God is not vague about how the earth’s cliffhanger is resolved. “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.”  If we stopped right there, we would no doubt be swallowed up in fatalism and despair and that is why the Psalmist bids us to repeat several times over: “Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.” So what are we to do? Once again, the answer comes to us through the Gospel of the day with the keywords: ask, seek, and knock.

Prayer is the life of the new heart and Christians throughout the centuries have maintained three main expressions of prayer: vocal, meditation, and 
contemplation. Together, they make a phenomenal path to peace and holiness, not to mention sanity. 

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

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

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

The one who asks through vocal prayer, receives; the one who seeks through meditation, finds; and the one who knocks at the door of contemplation, can change the world, one soul at a time. We must remember and never give up on our prayer life. In the confrontation between water and the rock, the water always wins. Not through strength but through persistence.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  Calvin Coolidge

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July 28, 2019


Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 111

Reading 1 – GN 18:20-32

In those days, the LORD said: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. 
I mean to find out.”

While Abraham’s visitors walked on farther toward Sodom,
the LORD remained standing before Abraham. 
Then Abraham drew nearer and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? 
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? 
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! 
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?” 
The LORD replied,
“If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.” 
Abraham spoke up again:
“See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes! 
What if there are five less than fifty innocent people? 
Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” 
He answered, “I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there.”
But Abraham persisted, saying “What if only forty are found there?” 
He replied, “I will forbear doing it for the sake of the forty.” 
Then Abraham said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. 
What if only thirty are found there?” 
He replied, “I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there.” 
Still Abraham went on,
“Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord,
what if there are no more than twenty?” 
The LORD answered, “I will not destroy it, for the sake of the twenty.”
But he still persisted:
“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. 
What if there are at least ten there?” 
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8

R.(3A) Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
The LORD is exalted, yet the lowly he sees,
and the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk amid distress, you preserve me;
against the anger of my enemies you raise your hand.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Reading 2 – COL 2:12-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead. 
And even when you were dead
in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
he brought you to life along with him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions;
 obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims,
which was opposed to us,
he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.

Alleluia – ROM 8:15BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a Spirit of adoption,
through which we cry, Abba, Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” 
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed. 
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you. 
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish? 
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

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Believing Is Not Seeing


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 29, 2019

“Moses turned and came down the mountain with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, tablets that were written on both sides, front and back; tablets that were made by God, having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself.” One thing is very clear and actually demanded from the one who hears the call of discipleship to follow Jesus and wishes to answer it. It will always involve a leap of faith, an extra helping of courage and a sometimes small, sometimes monumental act of faith. Such was the case of Moses of which we heard in our First Reading after he came down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets of the Law.

In front of this all-encompassing mercy of God that marvels as well as redeems, we can understand and agree with the Psalmist who is so insistent with the only recourse we have when we have made that tumultuous leap of complete trust: “Then he spoke of exterminating them, but Moses, his chosen one, Withstood him in the breach to turn back his destructive wrath.”

The benefits of this leap of faith are then made crystal clear and even more desirable in the Gospel today. The scene there is similar to the many experiences that we have had when someone once close to us has died. There is sorrow, there is doubt and sometimes there is darkness. This is certainly true today in the Gospel with the two famous sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha begins with suggesting to Jesus that somehow all of the present tragedy in their lives could have been avoided if the Lord had just planned his schedule a little differently. However, before Jesus has a chance to respond to that statement, Martha quickly adds that no matter what the reason or course of events, she is ready to make that leap of faith and trust with all her heart and mind as to the outcome. Then Jesus reveals why the trusting moment is pivotal for all of us: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Without faith, hope and trust, there is no promise for the future, and without a promising future, life has no direction, no meaning and no justification.  Adlin Sinclair

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July 29, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Martha, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Martha Lectionary: 401/607

Reading 1 – EX 32:15-24, 30-34

Moses turned and came down the mountain
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
tablets that were written on both sides, front and back;
tablets that were made by God,
having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself.
Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting,
he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.”
But Moses answered, “It does not sound like cries of victory,
nor does it sound like cries of defeat;
the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry.”
As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing.
With that, Moses’ wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down
and broke them on the base of the mountain.
Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire
and then ground it down to powder,
which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, “What did this people ever do to you
that you should lead them into so grave a sin?”
Aaron replied, “Let not my lord be angry.
You know well enough how prone the people are to evil.
They said to me, ‘Make us a god to be our leader;
as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt,
we do not know what has happened to him.’
So I told them, ‘Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.’
They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

On the next day Moses said to the people,
“You have committed a grave sin.
I will go up to the LORD, then;
perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin.”
So Moses went back to the LORD and said,
“Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin
in making a god of gold for themselves!
If you would only forgive their sin!
If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written.”
The LORD answered, “Him only who has sinned against me
will I strike out of my book.
Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you.
My angel will go before you.
When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R.(1A) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

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 – JN 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

Or – LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village 
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
Tell her to help me.” 
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 
There is need of only one thing. 
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

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July 29 – Memorial of Saint Martha


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Memorial of Saint Martha
Lectionary: 607

The Gospel for this memorial is proper. The first reading may be taken from the weekday, the reading found here below, or from the Common of Holy Men and Women, #737-742.

Reading 1 – 1 JN 4:7-16

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

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

God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS  34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (2)  I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 – 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 – JN 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

Or – LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village 
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
Tell her to help me.” 
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 
There is need of only one thing. 
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

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Seeds, Deeds, and Weeds


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 30, 2019

“If I find favor with you, O LORD, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.” Everyone has a mission in life. Everyone spends their life searching for that mission and when one finds it, they hang on for dear life. Others, never discover it and live out their days in less than quiet desperation. This is what we can gather from the Readings today. The Lord has fashioned us and sends us forward into this world for a definite purpose and that purpose has everything to do with bearing fruit that will last. That means eternal fruit and eternal life. “Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.”

“He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.” This directive is never easy. There will always be those around us who will fight and attempt to destroy the harvest. The Scriptures assure each and everyone of us that He will be there to strengthen and guide, and yet, even to protect us from the plotting of those who would pull up the wheat instead of the weeds. We are all called then to respond to this great invitation. Every day presents itself with a new opportunity to spread the Gospel and the message of love and forgiveness that is contained right there all the time.

Don’t wait for a feeling or love in order to share Christ with a stranger. You already love your heavenly Father, and you know that this stranger is created by Him, but separated from Him, so take those first steps because you love God. It is not primarily out of compassion for humanity that we share our faith or pray for the lost; it is first of all, love for God.  John Piper

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July 30 – Memorial of Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


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Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 608

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724, or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

Reading 1 – EPH 3:8-12

Brothers and sisters:
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the Church
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose
that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

R.    (12) Lord, teach me your statutes.
How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
By keeping to your words.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.

Alleluia – JN 15:5

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

Gospel – LK 6:43-45

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

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July 30, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chrysologus, please go here.

Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 402

Reading 1 – EX 33:7-11; 34:5B-9, 28

The tent, which was called the meeting tent,
Moses used to pitch at some distance away, outside the camp.
Anyone who wished to consult the LORD
would go to this meeting tent outside the camp.
Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the people would all rise
and stand at the entrance of their own tents,
watching Moses until he entered the tent.
As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down
and stand at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses.
On seeing the column of cloud stand at the entrance of the tent,
all the people would rise and worship
at the entrance of their own tents.
The LORD used to speak to Moses face to face,
as one man speaks to another.
Moses would then return to the camp,
but his young assistant, Joshua, son of Nun,
would not move out of the tent.

Moses stood there with the LORD and proclaimed his name, “LORD.”
Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out,
“The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity,
continuing his kindness for a thousand generations,
and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin;
yet not declaring the guilty guiltless,
but punishing children and grandchildren
to the third and fourth generation for their fathers’ wickedness!”
Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.
Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O LORD,
do come along in our company.
This is indeed a stiff-necked people; 
yet pardon our wickedness and sins,
and receive us as your own.”

So Moses stayed there with the LORD for forty days and forty nights,
without eating any food or drinking any water,
and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant,
the ten commandments.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13

R.(8A) The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice 
and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
and his deeds to the children of Israel.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia

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

Gospel – MT 13:36-43

Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

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Treasure Tears


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 31, 2019

What happens when we cry, exactly? A salty fluid full of protein, water, mucus and oil is released from a gland in the upper, outer region of the eye. This fluid is called tears. According to most researchers, it all starts in the cerebrum where sadness is registered and then, we begin to cry. Emotional tears are common among us when we see something terribly sad or suffer a personal loss. The phrase “having a good cry” suggests that crying can actually make us feel physically and emotionally better, which many people believe. Some scientists agree with this theory, asserting that chemicals build up in the body during times of elevated stress. These researchers believe that emotional crying is the body’s way of ridding itself of these toxins and waste products.

This analogy should signal a deep sigh of relief for all of us who are attempting to keep the Lord Jesus right in front of our eyes especially as we begin a brand new month of our journey toward heaven. It is clear that we suffer and it also is a great effort to lift those groans towards the only one who can help us in our moments of crisis, sadness and pain: “I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.”

“When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”  Interestingly enough, when the oyster has an irritation seep into the its shell, it too produces a type of tear which the civilized world calls a pearl. Imagine something so precious caused by discomfort. It is a good image for the spiritual life because it is the deep and lasting confidence in the Lord that He has everything in His sacred hands and every eventuality planned and ready to bring into existence. Nothing is more valuable in this life than the faith that can withstand every crisis, and disappointments dark night. This is why the gospel expresses the desire to forsake everything to get that awesome bead and never lose it. This is what it means to follow Jesus. It produces a pearl of great price as a result of unrelenting hope in the face of pain.

As we close down this month and anticipate the blessings and challenges of the new month tomorrow, let us ask the Lord for courage to enter the fields of the future with great hope and faith in Jesus who has already defeated evil and has planted a harvest of hope in our hearts. Thank you, Jesus for everything!

We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.  C.S. Lewis

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July 31, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest Lectionary: 403

Reading 1 – EX 34:29-35

As Moses came down from Mount Sinai
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant
while he conversed with the LORD.
When Aaron, then, and the other children of Israel saw Moses
and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become,
they were afraid to come near him.
Only after Moses called to them did Aaron
and all the rulers of the community come back to him.
Moses then spoke to them.
Later on, all the children of Israel came up to him,
and he enjoined on them all that the LORD
had told him on Mount Sinai.
When he finished speaking with them,
he put a veil over his face.
Whenever Moses entered the presence of the LORD to converse with him,
he removed the veil until he came out again.
On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel
all that had been commanded.
Then the children of Israel would see
that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant;
so he would again put the veil over his face
until he went in to converse with the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 99:5, 6, 7, 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.
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 – JN 15:15B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 13:44-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

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July 31 – Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest


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Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, priest
Lectionary: 609

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724, or the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Religious, #737-742.

Reading 1 – 1 COR 10:31-11:1

Brothers and sisters:
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do everything for the glory of God.
Avoid giving offense, whether to Jews or Greeks
or the Church of God,
just as I try to please everyone in every way,
not seeking my own benefit but that of the many,
that they may be saved.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (2)  I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
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.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – MT 5:3

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

Gospel – LK 14:25-33

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

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