The Word of God

Pass the Salt and Light


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 1, 2019

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth.'” Let’s take a look at some of the uses/characteristics of salt. It is a preservative, gives flavor, is bright white, used as a fertilizer and produces thirst. As a preserving agent in this world, every Christian is to be in the world but not of the world and doing whatever is in their power to keep those around from spoiling or degenerating. Christians can add flavor or joy to the world while living a life of purity and understanding while increasing the fruitfulness of those struggling along side of each of us. Just as salty food makes us thirsty, Christians as salt of earth can make others thirsty for Jesus. “I want to be like you because you love God and it is obvious.”

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the light of the world.'”  What does light do and why do we need it so much? It exposes the hidden pockets of evil, enlightens greatness in this world and definitely shows us the way out of a dark space. This is precisely why we, the followers of Jesus need each other so much. We simply cannot do this alone. We need help more than just a few times to point out what is evil in this world to avoid it and to help us realize the many blessings we have been given so we may be grateful lovers of God. We need help at every step and stage of our lives from others who love Jesus to find our way either out of crisis, grief seasons or just painful moments.

“Let your light shine before others That they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Is there some hidden, secret recipe for being salt and light in this life? It has everything to do with living a holy, healthy and happy life full of purpose. This is why we need to beg to be filled with the Holy Spirit while there is breath in our body. We have the Commandments and Beatitudes, we have the Sacraments and the Mass, and we are constantly being challenged to continue to pray without ceasing or losing heart. This will be nourished by our reading and reflecting over the powerful Word of God as we do here. This is our life, our call, our invitation to greatness.

Being salt and light demands two things: we practice purity in the midst of a fallen world and yet we live in proximity to this fallen world. If you don’t hold up both truth in tension, you invariably becomes useless and separated from the world God loves. David Kinnaman

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August 1 – Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


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Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 610

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 – ROM 8:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus
has freed you from the law of sin and death.
For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do,
this God has done:
by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh
and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
so that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who live not according to the flesh but according to the spirit.

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 5:16

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

Gospel – MT 5:13-19

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

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

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August 1, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 404

Reading 1 – EX 40:16-21, 34-38

Moses did exactly as the LORD had commanded him.
On the first day of the first month of the second year
the Dwelling was erected.
It was Moses who erected the Dwelling.
He placed its pedestals, set up its boards, put in its bars,
and set up its columns.
He spread the tent over the Dwelling
and put the covering on top of the tent,
as the LORD had commanded him.
He took the commandments and put them in the ark;
he placed poles alongside the ark and set the propitiatory upon it.
He brought the ark into the Dwelling and hung the curtain veil,
thus screening off the ark of the commandments,
as the LORD had commanded him.

Then the cloud covered the meeting tent,
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Moses could not enter the meeting tent,
because the cloud settled down upon it
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling,
the children of Israel would set out on their journey.
But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward;
only when it lifted did they go forward.
In the daytime the cloud of the LORD was seen over the Dwelling;
whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud
by the whole house of Israel
in all the stages of their journey.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 84:3, 4, 5-6A AND 8A, 11

R. (2) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines 
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia – SEE ACTS 16:14B

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

Gospel – MT 13:47-53

Jesus said to the disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old.”
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

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Please Don’t Forget Me


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 2, 2019

“These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD on which you shall proclaim a sacred assembly.”  Why do we celebrate anything? When you look upon your own life and cultural origins we all realize something: we celebrate many different events and yet all such moments bring people together in peace, harmony and unity. All such holidays make us forget the troubles we face and allow us to be happy and experience the peace that is required to improve and help our world by remember what is good about life and love. Whether or not we resonate with any of that at all, one thing is for sure: God wants us to celebrate great accomplishments in our salvation because He does not want us to forget what has been done for us all the way to Heaven, and yet it does happen.

In the Gospel passage, it looks like the Lord couldn’t count on His own people to put trust in the power of God: “And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”  The result was disastrous. No faith, no miracles, no healing. The lesson seems clear enough: when we overstep our own relationship with the Lord either by trying to “play God” or reduce faith by arrogant grabs for wisdom and insight, nobody wins. Thank God we have a God who loves us and is always ready to forgive. Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

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August 2, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, please go here.

Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 405

Reading 1 – LV 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34B-37

The LORD said to Moses,
“These are the festivals of the LORD which you shall celebrate
at their proper time with a sacred assembly.
The Passover of the LORD falls on the fourteenth day of the first month,
at the evening twilight.
The fifteenth day of this month is the LORD’s feast of Unleavened Bread.
For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
On the first of these days you shall hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work.
On each of the seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD.
Then on the seventh day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work.”

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the children of Israel and tell them:
When you come into the land which I am giving you,
and reap your harvest,
you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest
to the priest, who shall wave the sheaf before the LORD
that it may be acceptable for you.
On the day after the sabbath the priest shall do this.

“Beginning with the day after the sabbath,
the day on which you bring the wave-offering sheaf,
you shall count seven full weeks,
and then on the day after the seventh week, the fiftieth day,
you shall present the new cereal offering to the LORD.

“The tenth of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement,
when you shall hold a sacred assembly and mortify yourselves
and offer an oblation to the LORD.

“The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the LORD’s feast of Booths,
which shall continue for seven days.
On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly,
and you shall do no sort of work.
For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD,
and on the eighth day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and offer an oblation to the LORD.
On that solemn closing you shall do no sort of work.

“These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD
on which you shall proclaim a sacred assembly,
and offer as an oblation to the LORD burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11AB

R. (2A)  Sing with joy to God our help.
Take up a melody, and sound the timbrel,
the pleasant harp and the lyre.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our solemn feast.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
For it is a statute in Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob,
Who made it a decree for Joseph
when he came forth from the land of Egypt.
R.  Sing with joy to God our help.
There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.

Alleluia – 1 PT 1:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of the Lord remains forever;
This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.

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August 2 – Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop


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Optional Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop
Lectionary: 611

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.

Reading 1 – 1 JN  5:1-5

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 21-22, 25 AND 27

R.    (2)  For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.'”
R.    For ever I will sing 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 – MT 5:1-12A

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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August 2 – Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest


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Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, priest
Lectionary: 611A

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 – ACTS 4:32-35

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

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

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.    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.    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.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

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When Faith Fuels The Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 3, 2019

“Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God. I, the LORD, am your God.”  Both Testaments continually reveal the desire on the part of our loving God that we deal morally and justly with one another. All the festivals and feasts that are proclaimed and established for the people of God precisely call all to reconsider where they are on their life’s journeys and make amends wherever and whenever needed and possible, as was once again stated in our First Reading from the Book of Leviticus.

The Gospel then presents us with the “poster-child” of life without proper and appropriate priorities. Enter King Herod. Here is a ruler whose depth of depravity were only matched by his selfish and criminal intentions. Not only was Herod‘s life out of control, it was wreaking havoc, death and destruction on innocent people in his immediate sphere of influence. He had put himself first and center in his universe and thus was understandably perplexed when Jesus came into his world: “But Herod said, ‘John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”

What can we learn from the jewels of the Scriptures today? Consider these: 

1. Stop making excuses: nothing kills the spirit of growth and spiritual maturity more than petty excuses as to why we didn’t do something that we really wanted to accomplish but allowed something (or someone) to get in the way.

2. Stop being selfish: when we forget those around us and what they may need of us in this life, we become hyper-critical and hyper sensitive.

3. Stop being blind: count your blessings not your problems. You’ll really be surprised.

4. Just stop: take time to evaluate your life and examine your motives and intentions. “An unexamined life is not worth living.” (Plato)

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August 3, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 406

Reading 1 – LV 25:1, 8-17

The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,
“Seven weeks of years shall you count–seven times seven years–
so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years.
Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, let the trumpet resound;
on this, the Day of Atonement, the trumpet blast shall re-echo
throughout your land.
This fiftieth year you shall make sacred
by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.
It shall be a jubilee for you,
when every one of you shall return to his own property,
every one to his own family estate.
In this fiftieth year, your year of jubilee,
you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth
or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines.
Since this is the jubilee, which shall be sacred for you,
you may not eat of its produce,
except as taken directly from the field.

“In this year of jubilee, then,
every one of you shall return to his own property.
Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor
or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly.
On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee
shall you purchase the land from your neighbor;
and so also, on the basis of the number of years for crops,
shall he sell it to you.
When the years are many, the price shall be so much the more;
when the years are few, the price shall be so much the less.
For it is really the number of crops that he sells you.
Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God.
I, the LORD, am your God.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 67:2-3, 5, 7-8

R.  (4)  O God, let all the nations praise you!
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R.  O God, let all the nations praise you!
May the nations be glad and exult
 because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R.  O God, let all the nations praise you!
The earth has yielded its fruits;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R.  O God, let all the nations praise you!

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 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
“It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
“Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was distressed, 
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

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The Bottomless Pit Of Greed


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 4, 2019

“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”  Several famous people have been quoted as saying that too many people today know the price of everything and the value of nothing. These people would be classified as cynics. The idea that anyone in the “real world” should even consider ethical, moral, philosophical or cultural values to be on par with financial or economic ‘value’ appears whimsical, sentimental, even romantic. Hard-nosed, sensible, rational, practical people know otherwise. It’s all about money, “they” say…But is it really? The words of the Gospel make it very clear to us that God will have the first and last word.

When I was in high school, there was a dramatic and senseless fight over a stereo sound system over which several people who previously were friends stopped talking to each other and caused great havoc and spiritual harm to many of us. To this very day, those people are still very distant and in some cases, still resentful. A couple of years after graduation, I was visiting a couple of teachers at my old school and one of them asked me for a favor. Since I was driving a truck at the time, he asked me if I could haul a few boxes of trash out to the landfill. Of course, I agreed happily. As I was loading the trash, to my great surprise, among the garbage was that stereo!  All that trouble over something that would end up in the trash! It was one of those important life lessons that I’m glad I’ve never forgotten especially as it is now shared with you. You see, we have forgotten how to value what is most important in life and instead misplace value on things that have a price tag while forgetting all our abundant gifts — like vision, insight, compassion, love and the hope of Heaven — we confuse their worth in a money-hungry world because they are truly priceless. You are more important than you realize.

“Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.” The spiritually dead are all around us. They may look alive and have plenty of possessions, even looks and money, but this does not ensure life, especially eternal life. It is precisely the “age of this world” that promotes that misguided philosophy that you are what you have.  “For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?”  We do not belong to things. We do not essentially consist of material realities because in the end, all we will have could never be measured, touched or counted. Our soul is what is of supreme value.

Greed makes us servants of possessions. We could easily remember this by the quote that “we can’t be possessed by our possessions.” Yet it happens all around us precisely because people have already decided which God they will serve. Greed makes the false and empty promise that things and possessions can save and bring us to eternal happiness and peace. The best way to avoid all this is prayer in thanksgiving to the one who gives us everything we have. If we keep remembering that all I have comes from God then I cannot and will not forget how wonderfully generous my God is to me. Gratitude is the greatest cure for greed.

Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without every reaching satisfaction. Erich Fromm

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August 4, 2019


Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 114

Reading 1 – ECC 1:2; 2:21-23

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities!  All things are vanity!

Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill,
and yet to another who has not labored over it,
he must leave property. 
This also is vanity and a great misfortune. 
For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart
with which he has labored under the sun? 
All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation;
even at night his mind is not at rest. 
This also is vanity.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (1) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
 are as yesterday, now that it is past,
 or as a watch of the night.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
 the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Teach us to number our days aright,
 that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
 Have pity on your servants!
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
 that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
 prosper the work of our hands for us!
 Prosper the work of our hands!
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading 2 – COL 3:1-5, 9-11

Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. 
For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry. 
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator. 
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.

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 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” 
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” 
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable. 
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. 
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. 
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

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Leftovers Again?


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 5, 2019

“They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over–twelve wicker baskets full.”  What can we safely assume when we think of leftovers? Let us begin with our own collective experiences growing up in a family. Leftovers meant that, while there was still food from another previous meal, good money-saving etiquette dictated that we eat what we have first before buying something more. It meant that we were not a wasteful family. It meant that there was more than the distinct possibility that some dishes actually tasted better after a day or two of marinating and bathing in sauces and gravies which made for the repeat even better than the premier.

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”  It also powerfully suggested that somehow, someway we were all going to eat because the Lord Jesus was truly the head and constant guest of the family. With the perennial presence of such over abundance of love and joy, our response to such memories was and is clear. We are to treat each other as members of the much larger family we know as Church and practice the same over generous spirit with which the Lord God shows to us. This mega-generous reveal cannot be lost on any of us today. On that day in the Gospel, the leftovers barely filled vast bread baskets and over-flowing storage because there would literally be billions coming after that miracle to be fed and then finally to a place where there will be no more hunger or pain, only Jesus.

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

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A Midsummer Night’s Narrative


What is it about the month of August that sets it apart from the other months of our lives? I guess you could say that every month has its own character and shades of emotion like individual children that came from the same family. But, August is now upon us and it may be calling us to something deeper and most challenging as we begin to see the end of 2019 not too far in sight.

First, let us take a look at the name of this summer month: “August” comes from the Latin word “augustus” meaning “consecrated” or “venerable.” This rendering is very close to the word, “augur” which refers to a person or a thing which is considered as “consecrated by augury, that is, an omen” or “auspicious.” In 8 BC the Roman Senate honored Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor, by changing the name of their month “Sextilis” to “Augustus.” In the English language, this name became August and then began to refer to someone with imperial qualities.

What makes a person “regal?” Is it the way they walk, or talk. Is it their  mannerism or comportment. Maybe it is the way they handle life and the way they address problems over which they may or not have ultimate control or say so? Here are two very different examples for this August discussion:

A very good friend of mine was forced out of his home because of a whimsical decision on the part of a stereotypical landowner who part-times as Time Magazine’s Vindictive Man of the Year, every year, apparently. In the last three weeks of this month initially named for a Roman Emperor, my friend showed remarkable clarity, insight and most especially, forgiveness. He keeps telling me that there is a very good God watching everything and everyone and he has no doubt that everything is going to work out the way it is supposed to. Amazing. If this had been me or the majority of the people I know, things would look a whole lot differently, I can assure you. I am simply overwhelmed with the ease my evicted friend has just taken everything in stride, planned the move out of his home and serenely looking at all the options he has, moving out and forward with his life. He has become a noble man in my estimation and I am so glad to be called on as his trusted friend.

This weekend I, along with many who love him, will help him pack and move to a temporary location until something more permanent arises. Something tells me it is going to be a celebration of an August life that wakes up every morning with a growing sense of gratitude for life’s little hills and valleys and is committed to turn every moment of disappointment, disillusion and death into a fighting chance to live.

Here is our second August example, which in comparison is quite different but in essence not really:

It seems that one day a terrible fire broke out in a huge woodlands area and within hours the entire forest was suddenly engulfed by this unforgiving and menacing wild fire. Understandably frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and were feeling very discouraged and powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.

This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, “Don’t bother, it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you can’t put out this fire.”

As the animals stood around disparaging and criticizing the hummingbird’s efforts, there appeared a hopeless and forlorn scene. It was pathetic by any measure. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice, “What do you think you are doing?” And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, “I am doing what I can.” And so he was in such an august fashion.

Perhaps the month of August is calling each of us to take new stock of our lives and make deep and significant decisions to do something that will impact the rest of the year and the rest of our lives. If we were to interpret the meaning of this month that will somehow determine or set the stage for things to come, we have even a greater motivation to review and reflect on life itself and make positive, albeit even small changes to make the rest of the year the best of the year. One could argue then that every month has that invigorating character but we are preoccupied by the very name of this month —August! It by its own nature makes for a very different existence that delivers on the promise of the name. Start and end your days with silence, hold your head high, forgive as often as you can and laugh whenever possible. And don’t delay, It’ll be September before you know it.

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August 5, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, please go here.

Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 407

Reading 1 – NM 11:4B-15

The children of Israel lamented,
“Would that we had meat for food!
We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt,
and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks,
the onions, and the garlic.
But now we are famished;
we see nothing before us but this manna.”

Manna was like coriander seed and had the color of resin.
When they had gone about and gathered it up,
the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar,
then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves,
which tasted like cakes made with oil.
At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell. 

When Moses heard the people, family after family,
crying at the entrance of their tents,
so that the LORD became very angry, he was grieved.
“Why do you treat your servant so badly?” Moses asked the LORD.
“Why are you so displeased with me
that you burden me with all this people?
Was it I who conceived all this people? 
Or was it I who gave them birth,
that you tell me to carry them at my bosom,
like a foster father carrying an infant,
to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers?
Where can I get meat to give to all this people?
For they are crying to me,
‘Give us meat for our food.’
I cannot carry all this people by myself,
for they are too heavy for me.
If this is the way you will deal with me,
then please do me the favor of killing me at once,
so that I need no longer face this distress.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R.(2A)Sing with joy to God our help.
“My people heard not my voice,
and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
they walked according to their own counsels.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
“If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
against their foes I would turn my hand.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
“Those who hated the LORD would seek to flatter me,
but their fate would endure forever,
While Israel I would feed with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.

Alleluia – MT 4:4

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

Gospel – MT 14:13-21

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves.”
He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over–
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.

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August 5 – Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome


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Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome
Lectionary: 613

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 – RV 21:1-5A

I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.”

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.”

Responsorial Psalm – JDT 13:18BCDE, 19

R.    (15:9)  You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R.    You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R.    You are the highest honor of our race.

Alleluia – LK 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 11:27-28

While Jesus was speaking,
a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
“Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”

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Transfigure Me O Lord


Reflection on Mass Reflection for August 6, 2019

“Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” Do you realize that you and I have been placed on this earth for a specific reason and purpose? Every day becomes an opportunity to strive and realize that reality, especially when things look dark and bleak. If I have a purpose in life, and I do, then everything that is happening around me today is either a part of that reality and I should stay focused on its messages and lessons, or it is keeping me from my purpose and direction and therefore I should move on and as quickly as possible. This is certainly one very important way we can understand transformation and transfiguration. In our First Reading, the vision was more than remarkable: “His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool; his throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire.”

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

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

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August 6, 2019


Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord Lectionary: 614

DN 7:9-10, 13-14

Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
his throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
and myriads upon myriads attended him.
The court was convened and the books were opened.

As the visions during the night continued, I saw:

One like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 97:1-2, 5-6, 9

R.(1A and 9A) The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods. 
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.

Reading 2 – 2 PT 1:16-19

Beloved:
We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honor and glory from God the Father
when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,
“This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
while we were with him on the holy mountain.
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
You will do well to be attentive to it,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 

Alleluia – MT 17:5C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;
listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 9:28B-36

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

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Disgruntled vs Grateful


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 7, 2019

“How long will this wicked assembly grumble against me?” When we think about the response of people concerning God’s love for us, we might say that there are at least two main groups: there are those who almost casually assume that God loves them and then give it very little thought,  and those who actually doubt His love. Both of these camps base their assertions on their own lives and their particular circumstances. We can also safely ascertain that these two different approaches produce two very different kinds of people. People who were raised in homes of tremendous love and acceptance more times than not have very little problem believing and experiencing God’s love and mercy all around them for the majority of their lives. We might say that these people exude confidence, peace and acceptance for others. Even in times of trouble, these people can find joy and blessings everywhere they look. There is always God’s loving presence and beauty in ordinary things even when they hit rock bottom, because, after all, it is rock.

“Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Can you possibly imagine the very different outcome if the woman to whom Jesus addressed His mysterious comments about  scraps had been a person of the second group of people who are somehow predisposed to doubt God’s love? Disastrous. And yet, we probably know people like those who never see the silver lining and only expect the darkness. This teaches us a very important lesson in life: always be patient with those whose faith is weak and precarious. Invite people to see the Lord in everything and never criticize or condemn them. Look what Jesus did for the one who never gave up and never gave in to her doubts: “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” Trust in the miracle that is within you. God loves you forever. He sent His most cherished and powerful messenger who took that message to the cross and beyond.

Doubts and mistrust are the mere panic of timid imagination, which the steadfast heart will conquer and the large mind transcend. Helen Keller

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August 7, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Sixtus II, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Cajetan, please go here.

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 409

Reading 1 – NM 13:1-2, 25–14:1, 26A-29A, 34-35

The LORD said to Moses [in the desert of Paran,]
“Send men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan,
which I am giving the children of Israel.
You shall send one man from each ancestral tribe,
all of them princes.”

After reconnoitering the land for forty days they returned,
met Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the children of Israel
in the desert of Paran at Kadesh,
made a report to them all,
and showed the fruit of the country
to the whole congregation.
They told Moses:  “We went into the land to which you sent us.
It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit.
However, the people who are living in the land are fierce,
and the towns are fortified and very strong.
Besides, we saw descendants of the Anakim there.
Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb;
Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites dwell in the highlands,
and Canaanites along the seacoast and the banks of the Jordan.”

Caleb, however, to quiet the people toward Moses, said,
“We ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly do so.”
But the men who had gone up with him said,
“We cannot attack these people; they are too strong for us.”
So they spread discouraging reports among the children of Israel
about the land they had scouted, saying,
“The land that we explored is a country that consumes its inhabitants.
And all the people we saw there are huge, veritable giants
(the Anakim were a race of giants);
we felt like mere grasshoppers, and so we must have seemed to them.”

At this, the whole community broke out with loud cries,
and even in the night the people wailed.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
“How long will this wicked assembly grumble against me?
I have heard the grumblings of the children of Israel against me.
Tell them: By my life, says the LORD,
I will do to you just what I have heard you say.
Here in the desert shall your dead bodies fall.
Forty days you spent in scouting the land;
forty years shall you suffer for your crimes:
one year for each day.
Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me.
I, the LORD, have sworn to do this
to all this wicked assembly that conspired against me: 

here in the desert they shall die to the last man.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 106:6-7AB, 13-14, 21-22, 23

R.(4A) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
We have sinned, we and our fathers;
we have committed crimes; we have done wrong.
Our fathers in Egypt
considered not your wonders.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But soon they forgot his works;
they waited not for his counsel.
They gave way to craving in the desert
and tempted God in the wilderness.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
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. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one, 
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia – LK 7:16

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

Gospel – MT 15: 21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But he did not say a word in answer to her.
His disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And her daughter was healed from that hour.

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August 7 – Memorial of Saint Sixtus II, Pope and Martyr, and His Companions, Martyrs


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Optional Memorial of Saint Sixtus II, pope and martyr, and his companions, martyrs
Lectionary: 615

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.

Reading 1 – WIS 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

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 who 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 – JAS 1:12

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation,
for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 10:28-33

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“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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August 7 – Memorial of Saint Cajetan, Priest


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Optional Memorial of Saint Cajetan, priest
Lectionary: 616

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 – SIR 2:7-11

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 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 – MT 5:3

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

Gospel – LK 12:32-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.
Sell your belongings and give alms. 
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”

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Rock And A Hard Place


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 8, 2019

The Scripture passage in our First Reading today speaks directly about the new covenant that God wishes to extend to the chosen people: “Take your staff and assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron, and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters.”  It should not be of any surprise that the Lord seeks and wants to save and protect us all by “writing the law upon our hearts.” However, this is not a random, lifeless or two-dimensional gift of rules and regulations. The Reading closes with this powerful suggestion about how this covenant is to be lived and followed  for the rest of time. “These are the waters of Meribah, where the children of Israel contended against the LORD, and where the LORD revealed his sanctity among them.”

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Today we celebrate the great promise that we as the people of God, the Church, are to be lovingly and essentially part of the covenant literally from here to eternity. This brings us to the completely jubilant truth that God wants, desires and continues to rescue us. However, out of an impetuous and impulsive response to the promise of suffering and carrying the cross, Peter did not want his Lord to suffer. “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” This is an example of a fledgling, growing faith in its very early stages. It certainly reminds us all of our journey towards the Father. It also assures us that we can find the hope of change in our own personalities when we find that our faith is tested. Let us today with these great helpings of Scripture find the courage and motivation to shake free of meanness and weakness and give Jesus the glory in this life as we wait to see Him face to face in the next. Today we are given the choice of finding the opportunities to grow or be an obstacle to a deeper existence with the Lord. May we all choose a clean heart: “Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me.”

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August 8, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest Lectionary: 410

Reading 1 – NM 20:1-13

The whole congregation of the children of Israel
arrived in the desert of Zin in the first month, 
and the people settled at Kadesh.
It was here that Miriam died, and here that she was buried.

As the community had no water,
they held a council against Moses and Aaron. 
The people contended with Moses, exclaiming,
“Would that we too had perished with our kinsmen in the LORD’s presence!
Why have you brought the LORD’s assembly into this desert
where we and our livestock are dying?
Why did you lead us out of Egypt,
only to bring us to this wretched place
which has neither grain nor figs nor vines nor pomegranates?
Here there is not even water to drink!”
But Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly
to the entrance of the meeting tent, where they fell prostrate.

Then the glory of the LORD appeared to them,
and the LORD said to Moses,
“Take your staff and assemble the community,
you and your brother Aaron,
and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters.
From the rock you shall bring forth water for the congregation
and their livestock to drink.”
So Moses took his staff from its place before the LORD, as he was ordered. 
He and Aaron assembled the community in front of the rock,
where he said to them, “Listen to me, you rebels!
Are we to bring water for you out of this rock?”
Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff,
and water gushed out in abundance for the people
and their livestock to drink.
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
“Because you were not faithful to me
in showing forth my sanctity before the children of Israel,
you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them.”

These are the waters of Meribah,
where the children of Israel contended against the LORD,
and where the LORD revealed his sanctity among them.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 16:18

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

Gospel – MT16:13-23

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
and he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord!  No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan!  You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

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August 8 – Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest


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Memorial of Saint Dominic, priest
Lectionary: 617

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

Reading 1 – 1 COR 2:1-10A

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. 
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Yet we do speak a wisdom to those who are mature,
but not a wisdom of this age,
nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.
Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden,
which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
and which none of the rulers of this age knew;
for, if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:

What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him,

this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

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

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

Alleluia – 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 – LK 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey 
someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
He said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

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Carry Not Drag


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 9, 2019

“This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.” As simple as it sounds, the real way to face all of the troubles of life lies squarely and assuredly in the total awareness that God is in complete control of our lives and has provided for each and every eventuality that will befall us. One of the most memorable homilies I have ever heard was the same one our pastor preached on New Year’s Eve and Day. He reminded us that in the upcoming  year we will have our worst day and our best day and the good news for all of us was that God is already there for both!

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” All this is great news for us who wish to follow Christ all the way to Heaven. it also addresses the quality of carrying the cross that we have been assessed and given. Some of us like to complain or make things worse when we suffer which is not usually good witness to the Gospel. When we face powerlessness in this life, perhaps reviewing a few possible approaches to our walk with the Lord, in hopes of making our Christian journey the best it can be.

Calm down. The appearance of powerlessness almost always creates a ripe breeding ground for anger. We can’t do anything about a certain situation so we turn to the only things we have control over which are our emotions. Anger is a volatile and perhaps the most destructive of all the vices. Unbridled, it can destroy us.

Discover your own real motivations. Why do we want justice? Is it really revenge? Justice is a virtue; revenge is perversion of justice.

Consider the source. Who lied about us? Who has besmirched our reputation? Whenever we hear praise or harsh criticism, we must first consider its source. What someone says about us is never more important than the one who said it.

Weigh carefully the consequences. This is where prudence rallies into our discussion. Will I bring more attention to myself and my own emotional spasm?

Wait. Remember Jesus waited three days after His brutal murder to set things straight. Waiting and watching are deep spiritual exercises that separate us from the beasts of this world. My Italian friends put it best when they say, “Let God handle the need for revenge. He is much better at it.”

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August 9 – Memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin and Martyr


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Optional Memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, virgin and martyr
Lectionary: 617A

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 Virgins (#731-736).

Reading 1 – HOS 2:16BC, 17CD, 21-22

Thus says the LORD:
I will lead her into the desert
and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.

I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice,
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17

R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
or:
R. The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord, and you must worship him.  
R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
or:
R. The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord.
All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters;
her raiment is threaded with spun gold.
In embroidered apparel she is borne in to the king;
behind her the virgins of her train are brought to you.
R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
or:
R. The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
The place of your fathers your sons shall have;
you shall make them princes through all the land.
R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
or:
R. The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord.

Alleluia 

R.  Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, bride of Christ, and receive the crown,
which the Lord has prepared for you for ever.  
R.  Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 
Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. 
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’ 
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ 
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. 
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ 
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

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August 9, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, please go here.

Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 411

Reading 1 – DT 4:32-40

Moses said to the people:
“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with his strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
All this you were allowed to see
that you might know the LORD is God and there is no other.
Out of the heavens he let you hear his voice to discipline you;
on earth he let you see his great fire,
and you heard him speaking out of the fire.
For love of your fathers he chose their descendants
and personally led you out of Egypt by his great power,
driving out of your way nations greater and mightier than you,
so as to bring you in
and to make their land your heritage, as it is today.
This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart,
that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 77:12-13, 14-15, 16 AND 21

R.(12A) I remember the deeds of the Lord.
I remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I remember your wonders of old.
And I meditate on your works;
your exploits I ponder.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.
O God, your way is holy;
what great god is there like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
among the peoples you have made known your power.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
the sons of Jacob and Joseph.
You led your people like a flock
under the care of Moses and Aaron.
R. I remember the deeds 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 16:24-28

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

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Service With A Smile


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 10, 2019

“Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Have you ever noticed that generosity makes people happier, even if they are only a little generous? Many people would agree. “Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.”  Generous people tend to be happy, more relaxed, willing to work hard, kind, free, and have better quality relationships and exude confidence. “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Here is the wonderful irony of this comforting Saturday to help us move into the weekend and the week ahead. The more you give, the more you have. Dying to selfishness brings forth an immense flow of love and real life that knows no rival. All this is because of Jesus. He died to set us free and give us true freedom which is beyond measure or value especially in a very selfish world. However, there is a catch and a warning, severe in every way! We must be super careful that we do not become generous people just in order to receive something in return even if that be recognition. We must learn to give as Jesus did. Parents are uniquely exposed to this challenge more than most but all of us can and should have share in this deep call to experience generosity from both sides of the equation. “…but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

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

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley

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August 10, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr Lectionary: 618

Reading 1 – 2 COR 9:6-10

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9

R.(5) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
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 is gracious and lends to those in need.
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 is gracious and lends to those in need.
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 is gracious and lends to those in need.
Lavishly he gives to the poor, 
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.

Alleluia – JN 8:12BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness
but will have the light of life, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 12:24-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.”

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The Expected Unexpected Hour


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 11, 2019

“The night of the Passover was known beforehand to our fathers, that with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage.”  What did slaves and thieves have in common in Roman Antiquity? They were both branded on the forehead with a mark  called a stigma, and thereby said to have been “engraved” like a coin or a medal. Both types of individuals were certainly known to the culture of the time when today’s Scriptures were written. They also shared common punishments such as lashes and beatings, forced to carry a piece of wood around their necks, and in some cases, crucifixion. Of course, these are the same afflictions endured by Jesus as an integral part of the Paschal Mystery by which we are justified, redeemed and saved for a great future in Heaven. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested.”

“Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” These specific references can help us realize several things about living the Christian Life, being a disciple and a follower of Jesus Christ: We have been marked in this life and claimed for someone or something. Our choice now is to determine for whom by how we live. As Christians today, we can expect to be punished as was Our Savior, in the court of popularity, greed, hatred and the Godless. Remaining faithful to the end, which comes secretly or unexpectedly and without being  seen, “like a thief in the night,” we are promised to take our place with the Lamb who has been slain and led to the “springs of life-giving water.” Because the victory is so great and the reward eternal, to those whom much is given, much is expected. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Talent is God-given: be humble. Fame is man-given: be grateful. Conceit is self-given: be careful.

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August 11, 2019


Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 117

Reading 1 – WIS 18:6-9

The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers,
 that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
 they might have courage.
 Your people awaited the salvation of the just
 and the destruction of their foes.
 For when you punished our adversaries,
 in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
 For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice
 and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22

R. (12B) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.B
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
 praise from the upright is fitting.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
 the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
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. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
 who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
 who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Reading 2 – HEB 11:1-2, 8-19

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen. 
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go. 
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God. 
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was 
trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith. 
They did not receive what had been promised
but saw it and greeted it from afar
and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,
for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. 
If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come,
they would have had opportunity to return. 
But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. 
Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son,
of whom it was said,
“Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.” 
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Or – HEB 11:1-2, 8-12

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen. 
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go. 
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God. 
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was
trustworthy.
 So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

Alleluia – MT 24;42A, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stay awake and be ready!
For you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 12:32-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. 
Sell your belongings and give alms. 
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. 
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. 
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.  
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. 
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants. 
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into. 
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” 
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? 
Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. 
Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant
in charge of all his property. 
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful. 
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly. 
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Or – LK 12:35-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. 
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. 
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have the servants recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. 
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants. 
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into. 
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

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Pay The Piper


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 12, 2019

Some of our readers have no doubt heard the phrase, “it’s time to pay the piper,” or something close to that. Many have long thought that it has something to do with the legendary story of the Pied Piper who played tunes for children in a small town but when he asked for payment and was not offered anything for his talent, he led the children out of the town where they were never seen again. Rather, the idea is much simpler. Musicians traditionally and to this day are paid at the end of a performance, so the idea is that if people have been dancing to the music all night, at the end, it is time to pay up. In our Scripture Readings of today, there are two examples of having to settle accounts. The first is from the Book of Deuteronomy: “And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the LORD, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD which I enjoin on you today for your own good?” This becomes a foretaste of the second coming of the Lord in all its splendor and glory. Certainly, it is a graphic and dramatic time to give an account of all we have been given and we have given in return.    

The second is as mundane as our first example is sublime: “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” In this passage, Jesus almost seems dismissive altogether about the question and gives a strange set of instructions on how to obtain the coin in which to pay the tax. What are we to make of this and how are the examples related? First about the mundane: Jesus desires all people to be free to live their lives to the fullest of all providence. Our prayer must always include petitions to free us from the fixations, irritations and trivialities that distract us from the fundamental task of growing in love and of building the Kingdom of God. Our desire to remove silly and artificial obstacles to our salvation helps us understand, appreciate and yes, even embrace our suffering. Suffering disorients us. We cannot understand it fully. Jesus brings meaning from it at a profound level which we cannot grasp, except through a lively and genuine faith that is lived every single day. That is why we must pray for a greater appreciation of the sufferings of Christ. Paying our taxes, putting up with frustrations and disappointments helps us be ready for the great conclusion of our lives which is a vision of glory and justice which is beyond all our understanding:  “God has called you through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

“He who pays the pipe calls the tune.” (Proverb)

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August 12, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Jane Francis de Chantal, please go here.

Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 413

Reading 1 – DT 10:12-22

Moses said to the people:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you
but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly,
to love and serve the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD
which I enjoin on you today for your own good?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the LORD, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods,
the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.
So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,
who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the LORD, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.”

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

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

Alleluia – SEE 2 THES 2:14

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

Gospel – MT 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said. 
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”
When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him,
“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up. 
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”

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August 12 – Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious


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Optional Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, religious
Lectionary: 623A

Previously observed on August 18 in the United States, this Optional Memorial is transferred to this date in the General Roman Calendar.

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 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and makes cloth with skillful hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 131:1 BCDE, 2, 3

R.  In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
R.  In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.
R.  In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O Israel, hope in the LORD,
both now and forever.
R.  In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

Alleluia – JN 8:31B-32

R.  Alleluia, alleluia.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, says the Lord.
R.  Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 3:31-35

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

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Living By Example


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 13, 2019

There is a powerful story about a child’s reaction to the way his parents treated his grandfather, an older man who was living with the family and who had undesirable and understandable trouble and challenges getting through life. Things like spilling food on the floor, knocking over the glass of milk or iced tea, and making grunting sounds while eating all seemed to anger the little boy’s parents which caused them to speak harshly to the old man on a daily basis.

One day, the old man mad a huge mess at the table which caused his own son (the boy’s father) to ban him from eating at the table with the rest of the family. Instead, he brought out a smaller table, very hard and uncomfortable, and gave the elderly relative a wooden bowl and spoon so as not to easily spill food upon the floor or make any further “messes.” All this the young boy watched in sadness as his grandfather was demoted to a corner of the dining room with an occasional tear in his eye. Later in the week, the father of that boy heard something in the garage. He went out to see what was happening and was surprised to find his son working on some project, very focused. He called out, “Hey Son, what are you working on there?” His son replied, “Hi Dad! I’m working on the table and bowls that you and mom will eat on when you both get very old.”

His father was completely astounded and stupefied. That very night, he discarded the crude little table and bowl and brought his father back to eat with the rest of the family. From then on, they didn’t seem to mind all the spills and noises and that little boy was happy to have grandfather back eating with them for as long he lived.

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” The power of example is as much a part of the teaching process as the very content of the lesson. This is critical to understand how our faith is passed down from one generation to another and how we will maintain our fidelity to the God who loves us so much. Jesus himself in the Gospel continues to expound on this very necessary requirement in our journey through life itself: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

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

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August 13 – Memorial of Saint Pontian, Pope and Martyr, and Saint Hippolytus, Priest and Martyr


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Optional Memorial of Saint Pontian, pope and martyr, and Saint Hippolytus, priest and martyr
Lectionary: 620

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 – 1 PT 4:12-19

Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you,     
as if something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But let no one among you be made to suffer
as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.
But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed
but glorify God because of the name.
For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God;
if it begins with us, how will it end
for those who fail to obey the Gospel of God?

And if the righteous one is barely saved,
where will the godless and the sinner appear?

As a result, those who suffer in accord with God’s will
hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 124:2-3, 4-5, 7-8

R.    (7) Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Had not the LORD been with usB
when men rose up against us,
Then would they have swallowed us alive
when their fury was inflamed against us.
R.    Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept 
the raging waters.
R.    Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s 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 soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.

Alleluia See Te Deum

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”

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August 13, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saints Pontian and Hippolytus, please go here.

Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 414

Reading 1 – DT 31:1-8

When Moses had finished speaking to all Israel, he said to them,
“I am now one hundred and twenty years old
and am no longer able to move about freely;
besides, the LORD has told me that I shall not cross this Jordan.
It is the LORD, your God, who will cross before you;
he will destroy these nations before you,
that you may supplant them.
It is Joshua who will cross before you, as the LORD promised.
The LORD will deal with them just as he dealt with Sihon and Og,
the kings of the Amorites whom he destroyed,
and with their country.
When, therefore, the LORD delivers them up to you,
you must deal with them exactly as I have ordered you.
Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them,
for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you;
he will never fail you or forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and in the presence of all Israel
said to him, “Be brave and steadfast,
for you must bring this people into the land
which the LORD swore to their fathers he would give them;
you must put them in possession of their heritage.
It is the LORD who marches before you;
he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you.
So do not fear or be dismayed.”

Responsorial Psalm – DEUTERONOMY 32:3-4AB, 7, 8, 9 AND 12

R.(9A) The portion of the Lord is his people.
For I will sing the LORD’s renown.
Oh, proclaim the greatness of our God!
The Rock–how faultless are his deeds,
how right all his ways!
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
Think back on the days of old,
reflect on the years of age upon age.
Ask your father and he will inform you,
ask your elders and they will tell you.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
When the Most High assigned the nations their heritage,
when he parceled out the descendants of Adam,
He set up the boundaries of the peoples
after the number of the sons of Israel.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
While the LORD’s own portion was Jacob,
his hereditary share was Israel.
The LORD alone was their leader,
no strange god was with him.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.

Alleluia – MT 11:29AB

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

Gospel – MT 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

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Purity and Martyrdom


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 14, 2019

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe who is best known and revered as the priest-monk-prisoner of Auschwitz Concentration Camp during the horrific events in Nazi Germany during the Second World War.  He was very active in promoting the Immaculate Virgin Mary and was strongly influenced by a vision he had of the Virgin Mary when he was 12: “That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.” “Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them.” As in the dramatic call to love in our First Reading, our Saint of the day likewise received the awesome two-fold call to purity and martyrdom which he embraced completely with his entire life. “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”

“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.” We can and should easily recognize the sacrifice imbued by the childlike faith and confidence of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Never abandoning his priesthood while a prisoner, Kolbe was the victim to severe violence and harassment. At the height of perpetrated evil with the death camp, prisoners were chosen to face death by starvation to discourage attempted escapes and although he was not chosen to die, he nonetheless volunteered to take the place of a man who had a wife and children. During the last days of his life, St. Maximilian led prayers and remained calm. After more than twelve days of dehydration and starvation, the guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid after which he raised his left arm and calmly awaited death. He died on August 14, the vigil of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.

While the majority of us will not have these same or even similar events during our existence, we can and should understand that we are, in our own chosen states of life, called to practice a pure and chaste approach to human life and to give witness of our faith wherever and whenever possible. It is the same Jesus through His Mother Mary who inspires us to continue the path of holiness and strength in this life. May we may be encouraged by the heroic witness of St. Maximilian Kolbe, now and always. “I 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.”

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August 14, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr Lectionary: 415

Reading 1 – DT 34:1-12

Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo,
the headland of Pisgah which faces Jericho,
and the LORD showed him all the land—
Gilead, and as far as Dan, all Naphtali,
the land of Ephraim and Manasseh,
all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea,
the Negeb, the circuit of the Jordan
with the lowlands at Jericho, city of palms,
and as far as Zoar.
The LORD then said to him, 
“This is the land
which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
that I would give to their descendants.
I have let you feast your eyes upon it, but you shall not cross over.”
So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD,
died as the LORD had said; and he was buried in the ravine
opposite Beth-peor in the land of Moab,
but to this day no one knows the place of his burial.
Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died,
yet his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated.
For thirty days the children of Israel wept for Moses
in the plains of Moab, till they had completed
the period of grief and mourning for Moses.

Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom,
since Moses had laid his hands upon him;
and so the children of Israel gave him their obedience,
thus carrying out the LORD’s command to Moses.

Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses,
whom the LORD knew face to face.
He had no equal in all the signs and wonders
the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt
against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land,
and for the might and the terrifying power
that Moses exhibited in the sight of all Israel.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 66:1-3A, 5 AND 8, 16-17

R.(see 20A and 10B) Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
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. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
Bless our God, you peoples; 
loudly sound his praise.
R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare 
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!

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 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen, 
take one or two others along with you,
so that  every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

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August 14 – Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest and Martyr


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Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr
Lectionary: 620A

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 – WIS 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Or – 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 no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:10-11, 12-13, 16AC-17

R.    (15)  Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
I believed, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my alarm,
“No man is dependable.”
R.    Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
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.    Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, 
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R.    Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.

Alleluia – JN 12:25

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
If you hate your life in this world,
you will preserve it to life eternal.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:12-16

Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.
I 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.”

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The Greatest Assumption


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 15, 2019

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, a celebration, as we have stated so many times before, which recalls the mystery of Jesus Christ and enlightens and strengthens our faith in our salvation which was lovingly and spectacularly achieved and accomplished by the Lord. Our Reflection will take on three distinct and important segments. First, our First Reading, from the Book of Revelation, gives us a magnificent glimpse of Heaven where the Ark, that which holds the presence of God is opened immediately followed by a “great sign.”  “God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Now we could join the very many who have speculated on who this could be but the description of the sign makes it very clear that this is Jesus: “She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.”

The second point is just as poignant as it is important: “For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man.” The beauty and majesty of God’s love for us in sending us His only Son Jesus lies in the very act of redeeming our race and giving us the second chance to get back into Heaven. The only way this sacrificial and salvific act could be accomplished was and is by God who becomes one of us to completely assume our human nature and unite it back to God. This is why Mary’s role in our destiny is so blessed and crucial. We believe that such a person whose body held the Body of Christ and physically donated her own DNA to her son was theological and spiritual. Her body could not have known corruption and was thus assumed into Heaven to await all of us. 

Finally, the Feast of the Assumption speaks volumes to our attitude on earth while we wait for our Heavenly call to go home. “From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” Truly, the greatest act of love has been presented to us in the Incarnation, God becoming human through the power of the Holy Spirit and the body of the Virgin Mary. The Scriptures speak to the eternal promise which was made to us and our entire history so that no matter where we find ourselves, there is always hope, not only for a better tomorrow but for a life in complete joy that will never end. This has the great potential of shaping our attitudes here on earth and spreading joy rather than heartache while we walk the planet. Live a blessed life and be a blessing to everyone you meet today. “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

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August 15, 2019 – Vigil Mass


Click here for the Mass During the Day

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lectionary: 621

Reading 1 – 1 SM 15:3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2

David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring the ark of the LORD
to the place which he had prepared for it.
David also called together the sons of Aaron and the Levites.

The Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders with poles,
as Moses had ordained according to the word of the LORD.

David commanded the chiefs of the Levites
to appoint their kinsmen as chanters,
to play on musical instruments, harps, lyres, and cymbals,
to make a loud sound of rejoicing.

They brought in the ark of God and set it within the tent
which David had pitched for it.
Then they offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings to God.
When David had finished offering up the burnt offerings and peace offerings,
he blessed the people in the name of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 132:6-7, 9-10, 13-14

R.(8) Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.
Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
Let us enter his dwelling,
let us worship at his footstool.
R. Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.
May your priests be clothed with justice;
let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy.
For the sake of David your servant,
reject not the plea of your anointed.
R. Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.
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. Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 15:54B-57

Brothers and sisters:
When that which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:

Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

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

Alleluia – LK 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 11:27-28

While Jesus was speaking,
a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
“Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied,
“Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”

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August 15, 2019 – Mass During the Day


Click here for the Vigil Mass

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Mass During the Day Lectionary: 622

Reading 1 – RV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 45:10, 11, 12, 16

R.(10BC) The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 15:20-27

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for “he subjected everything under his feet.”

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Mary is taken up to heaven;
a chorus of angels exults.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
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.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
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.
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 forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.

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See How Much I Love You


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 16, 2019

Our beautiful Scripture Readings today help us to remember how much our God loves us throughout our lives and wishes to continue that trail of mercy and care. He gives us a home and a land in which to live: “I gave you a land that you had not tilled and cities that you had not built, to dwell in.”  He give us food and nourishment: “You have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” And He gives us this amazing ability to love and receive the very gift of a loving person in our life.  “Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”

Sometimes when life gets a little too heavy or the days seem long and dark and unfriendly, it helps remarkably to stop and breathe and realize that we are created and surrounded by a God who would rather die than live without us.

The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good but that God will make us good because He loves us.  C. S. Lewis

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August 16, 2019


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

Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 417

Reading 1 – JOS 24:1-13

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges and their officers.
When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people: 
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: 
In times past your fathers, down to Terah,
father of Abraham and Nahor,
dwelt beyond the River and served other gods.
But I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River
and led him through the entire land of Canaan.
I made his descendants numerous, and gave him Isaac.
To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau.
To Esau I assigned the mountain region of Seir in which to settle,
while Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.

“Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and smote Egypt with the prodigies
which I wrought in her midst.
Afterward I led you out of Egypt, and when you reached the sea,
the Egyptians pursued your fathers to the Red Sea
with chariots and horsemen.
Because they cried out to the LORD,
he put darkness between your people and the Egyptians,
upon whom he brought the sea so that it engulfed them.
After you witnessed what I did to Egypt,
and dwelt a long time in the desert,
I brought you into the land of the Amorites
who lived east of the Jordan.
They fought against you, but I delivered them into your power.
You took possession of their land, and I destroyed them, 
the two kings of the Amorites, before you.
Then Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab,
prepared to war against Israel.
He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you;
but I would not listen to Balaam.
On the contrary, he had to bless you, and I saved you from him.
Once you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho,
the men of Jericho fought against you,
but I delivered them also into your power.
And I sent the hornets ahead of you that drove them
(the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, 
Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites)
out of your way; it was not your sword or your bow.

“I gave you a land that you had not tilled
and cities that you had not built, to dwell in;
you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves
which you did not plant.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22 AND 24

R. His mercy endures forever.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever;
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his mercy endures forever;
Give thanks to the LORD of lords,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.
Who led his people through the wilderness,
for his mercy endures forever;
Who smote great kings,
for his mercy endures forever;
And slew powerful kings,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.
And made their land a heritage,
for his mercy endures forever;
The heritage of Israel his servant,
for his mercy endures forever;
And freed us from our foes,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.

Alleluia – SEE 1 THES 2:13

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

Gospel – MT 19:3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,
“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning
the Creator made them male and female and said,
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?

So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.” 
They said to him, “Then why did Moses command
that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?”
He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife
(unless the marriage is unlawful)
and marries another commits adultery.”
His disciples said to him,
“If that is the case of a man with his wife,
it is better not to marry.”
He answered, “Not all can accept this word,
but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so;
some, because they were made so by others;
some, because they have renounced marriage
for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

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August 16 – Memorial of Saint Stephen of Hungary


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Optional Memorial of Saint Stephen of Hungary
Lectionary: 623

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 – DT 6:3-9

Moses said to the people:
“Hear, Israel, and be careful to observe these commandments,
that you may grow and prosper the more,
in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers,
to give you a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel!  The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God,
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength.
Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.
Drill them into your children.
Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.
Bind them at your wrist as a sign
and let them be as a pendant on your forehead.
Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9

R.    (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man who was going on a journey 
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, oneB
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the one who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back 
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him,
‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him,
‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. 
For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth!'”

Or – MT 25:14-23

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man who was going on a journey called in his servants
and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, oneB
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him,
‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him,
‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy!'”

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We Will Serve The Lord


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 17, 2019

“We will serve the LORD, our God, and obey his voice.”  There is certainly another interesting morsel for us to enjoy with the Scriptures on this fine Saturday. The Scriptures always have 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. 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. 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.

Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” It is, however, in the Gospel where the real truth to unlock the mystery of true inner freedom that is characteristic of a child of God and those who desperately want to get to Heaven. It is to take seriously the innocence, total trust and openness of a child. Jesus made this more than crystal clear in the Gospel. It is so easy to make a child happy because they trust that we will do what we say we will do, protect, feed and provide for them. How much more is God our Father that loving, eternal parent?

“The child is in me still and sometimes not so still.”  Fred (Mr.) Rogers

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August 17, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 418

Reading 1 – JOS 24:14-29

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
and addressed them, saying: 
“Fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely.
Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt,
and serve the LORD.
If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

But the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey and among all the peoples
through whom we passed.
At our approach the LORD drove out all the peoples,
including the Amorites who dwelt in the land.
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

Joshua in turn said to the people,
“You may not be able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God;
he is a jealous God who will not forgive
your transgressions or your sins.
If, after the good he has done for you,
you forsake the LORD and serve strange gods,
he will do evil to you and destroy you.”

But the people answered Joshua, “We will still serve the LORD.”
Joshua therefore said to the people,
“You are your own witnesses that you have chosen to serve the LORD.”
They replied, “We are, indeed!”
Joshua continued:
“Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you
and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
Then the people promised Joshua,
“We will serve the LORD, our God, and obey his voice.”

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day
and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem,
which he recorded in the book of the law of God.
Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak
that was in the sanctuary of the LORD.
And Joshua said to all the people, “This stone shall be our witness,

for it has heard all the words which the LORD spoke to us.
It shall be a witness against you, should you wish to deny your God.”
Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his own heritage.

After these events, Joshua, son of Nun, servant of the LORD,
died at the age of a hundred and ten.

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

R.(see 5A) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

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 19:13-15

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

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Let’s Start A Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 18, 2019

What’s behind the use of setting the world aflame 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 50 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 12: 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 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.

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

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August 18, 2019


Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 120

Reading 1 – JER 38:4-6, 8-10

In those days, the princes said to the king:
“Jeremiah ought to be put to death;
he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city,
and all the people, by speaking such things to them;
he is not interested in the welfare of our people,
but in their ruin.” 
King Zedekiah answered: “He is in your power”;
for the king could do nothing with them. 
And so they took Jeremiah
and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah,
which was in the quarters of the guard,
letting him down with ropes. 
There was no water in the cistern, only mud,
and Jeremiah sank into the mud.

Ebed-melech, a court official,
went there from the palace and said to him:
“My lord king,
these men have been at fault
in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah,
casting him into the cistern. 
He will die of famine on the spot,
for there is no more food in the city.” 
Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite
to take three men along with him,
and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before
he should die.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2, 3, 4, 18

R. (14B)  Lord, come to my aid!
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me.
R. Lord, come to my aid!
The LORD heard my cry.
He drew me out of the pit of destruction,
 out of the mud of the swamp;
he set my feet upon a crag;
 he made firm my steps.
R. Lord, come to my aid!
And he put a new song into my mouth,
 a hymn to our God.
Many shall look on in awe
 and trust in the LORD.
R. Lord, come to my aid!
Though I am afflicted and poor,
 yet the LORD thinks of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
 O my God, hold not back!
R. Lord, come to my aid!

Reading 2 – HEB 12:1-4

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

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 – LK 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing! 
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? 
No, I tell you, but rather division. 
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

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Meeting The Shadowy Future


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 19, 2019

“Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.” Reading the Bible always calls out to us to realize that whenever we feel insecure, unloved, or unimportant, we must remember to whom we belong. The very price for our lives was paid by the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross and that payment made all of us not only members as in a club, but actually really parts of the Body of Christ, each having our own individuality and strength, weakness and struggle. This is the great gift of the Church and every day we move closer and closer to the Heavenly City that awaits all the billions that have ever brought the precious name of Jesus to their lips.

“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”  Daily there is a deep call to renew, maintain and nourish this belonging in a world that values selfishness, earthly possessions and power. These unfortunate priorities create such misery and emptiness that even in some circles, from those who should know better, there are vicious attacks on the very source of beauty and healing that are celebrated, proclaimed and lived in the Church.

“When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” Every day, you and I choose how we live and react and respond to the world around us, sometimes seemingly spinning out of control. Every day is a gift, certainly, but also an opportunity to stand as an apostle or slither like a traitor. “Then come, follow me.”

Look not mournfully into the past, it comes not back again. Wisely improve the present, it is yours. Go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear and with a bold, heroic heart.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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August 19, 2019


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

Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 419

Reading 1 – JGS 2:11-19

The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals.
Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers,
who led them out of the land of Egypt,
they followed the other gods of the various nations around them,
and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.

Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth,
the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel,
and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them.
He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about
whom they were no longer able to withstand.
Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them,
as in his warning he had sworn he would do,
till they were in great distress.
Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them
from the power of their despoilers,
they did not listen to their judges,
but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods.
They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken,
and did not follow their example of obedience
to the commandments of the LORD. 
Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge
and save them from the power of their enemies
as long as the judge lived;
it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries
of affliction under their oppressors.
But when the judge died,
they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
following other gods in service and worship,
relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43AB AND 44

R. (4A) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They did not exterminate the peoples,
as the LORD had commanded them,
But mingled with the nations
and learned their works.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They served their idols,
which became a snare for them.
They sacrificed their sons 
and their daughters to demons.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They became defiled by their works,
and wanton in their crimes.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Many times did he rescue them,
but they embittered him with their counsels.
Yet he had regard for their affliction
when he heard their cry.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

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 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

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August 19 – Memorial of Saint John Eudes, Priest


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Optional Memorial of Saint John Eudes, priest
Lectionary: 624

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 – 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 131:1BCDE, 2, 3

R.    In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
R.    In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.
R.    In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O Israel, hope in the LORD,
both now and forever.
R.    In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

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 11:25-30

At that time Jesus answered:
“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.

“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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Needle In Pray-Stack


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 20, 2019

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

“Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.” The real thrust of our readings today is quite clear. If we do not practice humility we will grow into haughty people who do not give God or others the time of day or the respect and care that is deserving. And while all this degradation is occurring slowly, we lose faith and confidence in our Lord God who loves us so much and never takes His eyes off of our paths. The number one cure for this kind of pride which leads to a loss of faith is a deep, personal and engaging prayer life. This is because we must first acknowledge our dependence and need upon God then realize that we are all on this planet together trying desperately to get to Heaven. The camel for us today becomes a symbol for us to remember to uncomplicate our lives from pettiness and the inordinate desire for possessions and get on our knees in prayer as often as we can. The more we do this, the happier we will be.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mark Twain

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August 20 – Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church


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Memorial of Saint Bernard, abbot and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 625

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730, or the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Religious, #737-742.

Reading 1 – SIR 15:1-6

He who fears the LORD will do this;
he who is practiced in the law will come to wisdom.
Motherlike she will meet him,
like a young bride she will embrace him,
Nourish him with the bread of understanding,
and give him the water of learning to drink.
He will lean upon her and not fall,
he will trust in her and not be put to shame.
She will exalt him above his fellows;
and in the midst of the assembly she will open his mouth
and fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
and clothe him with the robe of glory.
Joy and gladness he will find,
an everlasting name he will inherit.

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 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – JN 17:20-26

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

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August 20, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 420

Reading 1 – JGS 6:11-24A

The angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah
that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite.
While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press
to save it from the Midianites,
the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said,
“The LORD is with you, O champion!”
Gideon said to him, “My Lord, if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us?
Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers
told us when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’
For now the LORD has abandoned us
and has delivered us into the power of Midian.”
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have
and save Israel from the power of Midian.
It is I who send you.”
But Gideon answered him, “Please, my lord, how can I save Israel?
My family is the lowliest in Manasseh,
and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.”
“I shall be with you,” the LORD said to him,
“and you will cut down Midian to the last man.”
Gideon answered him, “If I find favor with you,
give me a sign that you are speaking with me.
Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you
and bring out my offering and set it before you.”
He answered, “I will await your return.”

So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour
in the form of unleavened cakes.
Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot,
he brought them out to him under the terebinth
and presented them.
The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unleavened cakes
and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth.”
When he had done so,
the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held,
and touched the meat and unleavened cakes.
Thereupon a fire came up from the rock
that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes,
and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight.
Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the LORD,
said, “Alas, Lord GOD,
that I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”
The LORD answered him,
“Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.”
So Gideon built there an altar to the LORD
and called it Yahweh-shalom.

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

R. (see 9B) The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace
To his people, and to his faithful ones,
and to those who put in him their hope.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

Alleluia – 2 COR 8:9

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

Gospel – MT 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,

“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“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.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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Justice At The End Of The Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 21, 2019

It has been posited that there is no real justice this side of Heaven. We can look at our own human history to see a glimpse of that when we remember that slavery, Apartheid, the horrible Holocaust were legal. Abortion is today a legal matter. With that in mind, we could conclude that legality is a matter of power rather than justice. This is why we begin our Reflection today by remembering and echoing the constant cry for justice that is common throughout all the Scriptures. “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

To bring this discussion to more concrete terms, the Gospel of the day gives us such rich morsels to ponder, wonder and then to act: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his  vineyard.” The vineyard is clearly a metaphor for life in the Kingdom and where we should plant ourselves squarely in it. But there is some element of injustice there, isn’t there? The people who started out early in the morning receive the same wage as those who worked just an hour. Does that seem fair? Of course not. Maybe if this was a lesson in macro-economics, which it is not. Remember, it is about the mysterious life in the Kingdom where not everyone has the same amount of talents, gifts or even opportunities yet everyone is accountable for what they do with what they have. Thus jealousy and envy are vicious poisons that can kill the life of the Spirit in the one trying to follow Jesus. The wages at stake (even at the moment of Jesus’ first telling of the parable) are not actual daily wages for vineyard-laborers, but forgiveness, life, and salvation for believers. Seen like this, it really does not matter when a person receives them whether early or late in life, as long as they do find them before the end of the day, the final call, death, that is. The key here is get working in the Kingdom as soon as possible no matter who is first second, third, fourth, etc…

A very good friend of mine once made an astounding observation which I never forgot. He said that there will be three different surprises when we get to Heaven after death. We will be surprised by those who are there, those who are not there, and that we are there. So you see, real justice is served at the end.

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August 21, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Pius X, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope Lectionary: 421

Reading 1 – JGS 9:6-15

All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together
and proceeded to make Abimelech king
by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.

When this was reported to him,
Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there,
cried out to them in a loud voice:
“Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you!
Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’
But the olive tree answered them, ‘Must I give up my rich oil,
whereby men and gods are honored,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the fig tree answered them,
‘Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’
But the vine answered them,
‘Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the buckthorn replied to the trees,
‘If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith,
come and take refuge in my shadow.
Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.(2A) Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
O LORD, in your strength the king is glad;
in your victory how greatly he rejoices!
You have granted him his heart’s desire;
you refused not the wish of his lips.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
For you welcomed him with goodly blessings,
you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked life of you: you gave him 
length of days forever and ever. 
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
Great is his glory in your victory;
majesty and splendor you conferred upon him.
You made him a blessing forever,
you gladdened him with the joy of your face.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

Alleluia – HEB 4:12

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

Gospel – MT 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off. 
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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August 21 – Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope


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Memorial of Saint Pius X, pope
Lectionary: 626

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors: For a Pope, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 1 THES 2:2B-8

Brothers and sisters:
We drew courage through our God
to speak to you the Gospel of God with much struggle.
Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives,
nor did it work through deception.
But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the Gospel,
that is how we speak,
not as trying to please men,
but rather God, who judges our hearts.
Nor, indeed, did we ever appear with flattering speech, as you know,
or with a pretext for greedCGod is witnessCnor did we seek praise
from men, either from you or from others,
although we were able to impose our weight as Apostles of Christ.
Rather, we were gentle among you,
as a nursing mother cares for her children.
With such affection for you,
we were determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God,
but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 21-22, 25 AND 27

R.    (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.'”
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the 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 – JN 21:15-17

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and
eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” 
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
[Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

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Do You Have A Reservation?


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 22, 2019

“If you deliver the Ammonites into my power, whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites shall belong to the LORD. I shall offer him up as a burnt offering.” There is so much rich symbolism in just this one phase that it bears more enhanced explaining and discovery. It is all about making a promise, a vow and keeping your words with integrity. We can make several poignant references to our own personal lives when we receive an important invitation to any number of significant events and then say and promise that we will be there. We remember how wonderful it feels to be included, to be esteemed and wanting to attend any important moment and enrich it with our presence. We also see that we must be very careful of what we promise because the consequences could be dire. Jephthah learned that lesson the hard way:  “Alas, daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract.”

“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” Here we have an additional and awesome image that opens, if just for a portion of the time, a powerful insight into what the Scriptures mean about living in and for the Kingdom of God here on earth. There is definitely a universal call to holiness that involves a personal relationship with Jesus. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.” Jesus makes Himself readily available and presents a message of hope, salvation and promise but not all are open to that kind of life. “Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’” As a result of that widespread rejection, those whom no one would consider open to the Kingdom are invited and they seem to approach out of a tremendous amount of personal need and circumstance. “My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?” The integrity of the invitation and the one who is inviting must involve a serious and balanced attitude as to what living in the Kingdom actually means and looks like. Even though many will initially respond in the positive and start well in their walk with the Lord, faith and hope must be constantly fed by Word and Sacrament that Jesus gives as mainstay of living in and for the Kingdom. Anything less than that could spell real trouble for the believer who is simply not prepared for the journey. It is tantamount to making a vow that we find horrible to keep and worse not to. When we respond to the Lord’s invitation, let’s make sure we are ready to mean “yes” when we say “yes.”

Do not promise to live forever rather promise to forever live while you are alive. Atticus

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August 22 – Memorial of The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary


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Memorial of The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 627

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 – IS 9:1-6

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
As they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as men make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
And the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.

For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
From David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
By judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R.    (2)  Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R.    Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R.    Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R.    Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
To seat them with princes,
with the princes of his own people.
R.    Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE LK 1:28

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:26-38

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

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August 22, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, please go here.

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lectionary: 422

Reading 1 – JGS 11:29-39A

The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah.
He passed through Gilead and Manasseh,
and through Mizpah-Gilead as well,
and from there he went on to the Ammonites.
Jephthah made a vow to the LORD.
“If you deliver the Ammonites into my power,” he said,
“whoever comes out of the doors of my house
to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites
shall belong to the LORD.
I shall offer him up as a burnt offering.”

Jephthah then went on to the Ammonites to fight against them,
and the LORD delivered them into his power,
so that he inflicted a severe defeat on them,
from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in all)
and as far as Abel-keramim.
Thus were the Ammonites brought into subjection
by the children of Israel.
When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah,
it was his daughter who came forth,
playing the tambourines and dancing.
She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her.
When he saw her, he rent his garments and said,
“Alas, daughter, you have struck me down
and brought calamity upon me.
For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract.”
She replied, “Father, you have made a vow to the LORD.
Do with me as you have vowed,
because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you
on your enemies the Ammonites.”
Then she said to her father, “Let me have this favor.
Spare me for two months, that I may go off down the mountains
to mourn my virginity with my companions.”
“Go,” he replied, and sent her away for two months.
So she departed with her companions
and mourned her virginity on the mountains.
At the end of the two months she returned to her father,
who did to her as he had vowed.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:5, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R.(8A and 9A) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me. 
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – MT 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables
saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

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The Feast Of Friendship


Reflection on Mass Reflection for August 23, 2019

“For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” The touching story of Ruth and Naomi found in our First Reading from the Old Testament highlights the great joy and value of true friendship in our lives. In the wake of famine and the shadow of death, commitment and confidence describe the fruits of a loving friendship that seeks the best of and for the other. This particular passage is often quoted in may different kinds of genres and literary circles, even highlighted in a famous movie about thirty years ago (Fried Green Tomatoes); but all too often the last line of the beautiful sentiment. “Your God will be my God” is omitted or forgotten.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is why the Gospel of today makes the complete point about the endearing and enduring nature of true friendship. Unless it lasts into eternity, it will remain on the level acquaintance or passing memories of a long life. The entire wealth of the Law and thus our true way back to Heaven to live forever with God is summarized beautifully when we first love God with all our being and then love our neighbor as ourselves. The Lord creates a lasting bond that is forever, precisely because He is forever. Today give thanks to God for your friends and if time allows, call them and let them know how much you appreciate them in your life.

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends 

Michael W. Smith

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August 23 – Memorial of Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin


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Optional Memorial of Saint Rose of Lima, virgin
Lectionary: 628

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Virgins, #731-736, or the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Religious, #737-742.

Reading 1 – 2 COR 10:17B-11:2

Brothers and sisters:
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.
For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved,
but he whom the Lord recommends.

If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me!
Please put up with me.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God,
since I betrothed you to one husband
to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 148:1BC-2, 11-13A, 13C-14

R.    (see 12A and 13A) Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels,
praise him, all you his hosts.
R.    Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men, too, and maidens,
old men and boys,
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted.
R.    Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has lifted up the horn of his people.    
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones;
from the children of Israel, the people close to him. Alleluia.
R.    Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in my love, says the Lord;
whoever lives in me and I in him will bear much fruit.
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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August 23, 2019


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

Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 423

Reading 1 – RU 1:1, 3-6, 14B-16, 22

Once in the time of the judges there was a famine in the land;
so a man from Bethlehem of Judah
departed with his wife and two sons
to reside on the plateau of Moab.
Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died,
and she was left with her two sons, who married Moabite women,
one named Orpah, the other Ruth.
When they had lived there about ten years,
both Mahlon and Chilion died also,
and the woman was left with neither her two sons nor her husband.
She then made ready to go back from the plateau of Moab
because word reached her there
that the LORD had visited his people and given them food.

Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her.

Naomi said, “See now! 
Your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god.
Go back after your sister-in-law!”
But Ruth said, “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you!
For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge,
your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

Thus it was that Naomi returned
with the Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth,
who accompanied her back from the plateau of Moab.
They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 146:5-6AB, 6C-7, 8-9A, 9BC-10

R.(1B) Praise the Lord, my soul!
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free. 
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
The LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

Alleluia – PS 25:4B, 5A

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

Gospel – MT 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

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Two-Faced And Counting


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 24, 2019

Today we have a real treat. It is the Feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles identified also with Nathanael as we have just read in the Gospel. “Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” Although at first he was skeptical, he responded to the vigor and enthusiasm of Philip and came to meet Jesus. This is when the first reaction to this encounter was Jesus uttering his now-famous observation: “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Most people would agree with our assessment that a person who is duplicitous is also said to be “two-faced.” Bartholomew (Nathanael) was clearly free from this type of deception and went on to give great honor and glory to God and the early Church which Jesus founded with his death. But what exactly is a two-faced person? It is basically a person who suffers from a lack of self-identity, self-esteem, and integrity. This person is also usually one who fakes compliments to please whomever they meet. In an effort to be accepted by the entire world, a “two-faced” person will socially accommodate anyone in an attempt to be popular and liked by everyone but then later hurls usually vicious and negative barbs in the safety of the darkness of deceit. But this is totally evil because it lacks truth and sincerity, everything that Jesus is and invites us to imitate as His followers. 

What are some of the ways we can be imitators of the Apostles who have given their entire lives to follow Jesus and avoid two-faced people and behavior? First, let us practice honesty in every situation and on every level possible. Little lies become medium-sized and on and on. Although in some circles, being honest means being vulnerable, nothing could be further from the truth. Take the opportunity as often as possible during your day to avoid creating white lies or painting another person’s character as much inferior to yours. You would be surprised how honesty and a strong grasp on the truth actually begins to create a climate of trust and sheds light on elements which are not truthful and good. “Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.” If we truly want to live in peace and have peacefully good nights of sleep, it is best to trust Jesus with all judgments and be as real throughout the day as we are in the silence of our hearts. We simply cannot afford to live in the shadows, the darkness or always in the background offering petty commentary about people because it makes us feel secure. Only mold grows in damp, dark crevices.

“Don’t worry about those who talk behind your back, they’re behind you for a reason.”  Anonymous

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August 24, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle Lectionary: 629

Reading 1 – RV 21:9B-14

The angel spoke to me, saying,
“Come here.
I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18

R.(12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Alleluia – JN 1:49B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:45-51

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

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Not What You Expected


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 25, 2019

“And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.” One of the great pitfalls in the spiritual life can be found in the somewhat inescapable but far from harmless trap of seeing the world from a purely human point of view and not as God does. The conclusion of the great Book of Job underscores that reality quite well in true Old Testament wisdom literature fashion. You see, the Lord sees everything, everywhere, all the time. His perspective is the one we want to approach. “I know their works and their thoughts, and I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.”

“Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.” And if this approach seems too other-worldly and far above the capacity of the human mind to grasp, it is because it is. Without adding more height to the immense challenge to walk with God and grow deeper in love with Him with each breath we take, we simply cannot do this on our own. This is why pride creates critical mistakes of judgment and spiritual attitudes that do nothing but create more chaos and loss of fervor. Remember, Heaven is far more than we can ever imagine and the path to get there must be completely joined with the path Jesus took to the cross so that we, like Him, will find radiant joy after we take our last breath.

It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.  Fulton J. Sheen

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August 25, 2019


Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 123

Reading 1 – IS 66:18-21

Thus says the LORD:
I know their works and their thoughts,
and I come to gather nations of every language;
they shall come and see my glory. 
I will set a sign among them;
from them I will send fugitives to the nations:
to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan,
to the distant coastlands
that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory;
and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. 
They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations
as an offering to the LORD,
on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries,
to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD,
just as the Israelites bring their offering
to the house of the LORD in clean vessels. 
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1, 2

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

Reading 2 – HEB 12:5-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as sons. 
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.

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

Alleluia – JN 14:6

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

Gospel – LK 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. 
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?” 
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough. 
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from. 
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. 
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”

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The Shape Of Things To Come


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 26, 2019

“For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven.” There is a very interesting connection in Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians today that involves the constant and iconic battle between the flesh and the spirit, false gods and the One True God our Father. The fruits of each are easily noticed and those who live by the Gospel experience and exude the power of truth that pierces all pretense and lies. However, he sadly admits that there are those who would prefer to suppress the truth that brings the very shame that Jesus came to eradicate. This, in turn, incurs anger both from Heaven and from nature because living a lie can only bring humiliation, lack of self-respect, and shame. We could summarize a great deal of Paul’s writing (Theology) with this phrase: “You are either being formed by the Gospel or deformed by the world.”

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” As if to apply these lofty principles for us to learn more profoundly, Jesus confronts the scribes and Pharisees lodging a number of very clear and piercing observations that clearly place them in the category of those who live in the flesh. Here is a textbook, working definition of hypocrisy: judge only by appearance, look only how great a person looks rather how good he or she is, notice (and point out) what’s wrong with others and forget the positive, and, of course, throw all the attention away from yourself as if your moral heights defy gravity. Lest we think that being Pharisaical is just silly and idiotic, take a look at the actual Greek word for “fool” that Jesus is ascribed here: mōrós (we get the word, “moron, moronic” in English) – properly, dull (insipid), flat (without an edge); mentally inert; lacking a grip on reality as though brainless. OK, we get it. And before we think that this only happened in the day and time of Jesus, it still happens every time a person prays, goes to Church, talks the talk (invokes the presence of Jesus) and then acts like a Pharisee by embodying the working definition of hypocrisy. It is clear what we must do: Live in the light. Forgive as often as needed. Be real. Knowledge makes people humble. Arrogance make them ignorant. This is how we become formed by the Gospel and find ourselves in the good shape of things to come.

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August 26, 2019


Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 425

Reading 1 – 1 THES 1:1-5, 8B-10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace.

We give thanks to God always for all of you,
remembering you in our prayers,
unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love
and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ,
before our God and Father,
knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.
For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.
You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. 
In every place your faith in God has gone forth,
so that we have no need to say anything.
For they themselves openly declare about us
what sort of reception we had among you,
and how you turned to God from idols
to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven,
whom he raised from the dead, Jesus,
who delivers us from the coming wrath.

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

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

Alleluia – 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 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”

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Remember Me


Reflections on Mass Reading for August 27, 2019

“Rather, after we had suffered and been insolently treated, as you know, in Philippi, we drew courage through our God to speak to you the Gospel of God with much struggle.” One thing is for certain: everyone suffers. There is not one human being who can escape that category of experience while walking any number of years on this earth. And within that stipulation, there are many who suffer for the Church, in the Church and for what is just and right. These provide great moments of inspiration and deep calls for prayer and solidarity. Today is also the Feast of St. Monica who prayed incessantly for her wayward son who would go on to become one of the greatest Saints, writers and examples of complete and remarkable conversion (St. Augustine). Sometimes we think only of the glorious, apparently worry-free and sparsely inhabited areas of problems when we think of a saintly life but actually ordinary people became great saints precisely because of their suffering and their never-ending desire to pray and lift to God those they have loved and wanted heavenly destination. Those who are constantly praying for others can relate the joy and peace that is given that their prayers are not only being heard but are also answered within the divine providence that exists in Heaven as it does here on earth. The Psalmist echoes this ecstatic and loving experience: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain.”

Our prayers are definitely answered and this makes us even more enthused and desirous of continuing their mandate to Heaven, to our loving God who cares for us so much and who is always reaching out to us with inspiration and strength. Jesus Himself made this crystal clear: “Do not weep. He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” Today on the special day of Saint Monica, let us renew our hopes and dreams to never lose heart in praying for everything that we see that we need. Keep remembering those you love and those you have lost at Mass no matter what the situation or how dark things may seem. Jesus is the Light of the World and can and does illumine every dark crevice in our lives, now and at the hour of death.

Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be. (St. Augustine, quoting his mother, St. Monica; Confessions)

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August 27 – Memorial of Saint Monica


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Memorial of Saint Monica
Lectionary: 632

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 – SIR 26:1-4, 13-16

Blessed the husband of a good wife,
twice-lengthened are his days;
A worthy wife brings joy to her husband,
peaceful and full is his life.
A good wife is a generous gift
bestowed upon him who fears the LORD;
Be he rich or poor, his heart is content,
and a smile is ever on his face.

A gracious wife delights her husband,
her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones;
A gift from the LORD is her governed speech,
and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth.
Choicest of blessings is a modest wife,
priceless her chaste soul.
A holy and decent woman adds grace upon grace;
indeed, no price is worthy of her temperate soul.
Like the sun rising in the LORD’s heavens,
the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 131:1BCDE, 2, 3

R.    In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
R.    In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.
R.    In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O Israel, hope in the LORD,
both now and forever.
R.    In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

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 – LK 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.

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August 27, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Monica Lectionary: 426

Reading 1 – 1 THES 2:1-8

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters,
that our reception among you was not without effect.
Rather, after we had suffered and been insolently treated,
as you know, in Philippi,
we drew courage through our God
to speak to you the Gospel of God with much struggle.
Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives,
nor did it work through deception.
But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the Gospel,
that is how we speak,
not as trying to please men,
but rather God, who judges our hearts.
Nor, indeed, did we ever appear with flattering speech, as you know,
or with a pretext for greed–God is witness–
nor did we seek praise from men,
either from you or from others,
although we were able to impose our weight as Apostles of Christ.
Rather, we were gentle among you,
as a nursing mother cares for her children.
With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the Gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 139:1-3, 4-6

R.(1) You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
too lofty for me to attain.
R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.

Alleluia – HEB 4:12

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

Gospel – MT 23:23-26

Jesus said:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.
Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”

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How Late Have I Loved You


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 28, 2019

Following yesterday’s great Feast, we now arrive to another great day, that of St. Augustine who even in his early years possessed an inquisitive mind and an attractive personality who set his sights on a career that would bring him both wealth and fame. Augustine became a teacher of rhetoric, first in his native town, then in Rome and finally in Milan. His journey from city to city, occasioned by various opportunities and challenges, was suggestive of a more important spiritual journey that he made over a long period of time, in search of inner peace and lasting happiness. The example, prayers, and influence of Monica had no little part to play in the drama of her son’s spiritual itinerary, and Augustine ascribes largely to her his conversion to the Catholic faith. He was baptized at the age of 33 by Bishop Ambrose of Milan, another great Saint. Augustine’s decision to embrace the Catholic faith was at the same time a commitment to spend the remainder of his life as a “servant of God,” that is, in celibacy, even though he had been living for years with a woman whom he deeply loved, and with whom he had fathered a son, to whom he gave the name Adeodatus. After his own baptism, he set out for his native town where he wished to pursue a monastic style of life together with other men who had likewise experienced a radical conversion to the faith. On the journey, at Ostia Antica, just outside of Rome, Monica took sick and died suddenly but happily, having witnessed Augustine’s total commitment to Christ and the Church.

“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.” Saint Augustine is often cited for lamenting that he found God all too late in his life but with profound gratitude that he indeed found Him in the depth of his conversion of heart. For that reason, we can all take great hope that our relationship with Jesus will grow and grow no matter how old or young we were when we first met Him. The world is God’s masterpiece and Augustine knew that. Let us spend some time today realizing that the Lord is everywhere, in every situation and in every difficult moment.  We will find Him for whom our heart searches.

Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? St. Augustine of Hippo

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August 28 – Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


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Memorial of Saint Augustine, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 633

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 – 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 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 but one master, the Christ.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 23:8-12

Jesus spoke 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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August 28, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 427

Reading 1 – 1 THES 2:9-13

You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery.
Working night and day in order not to burden any of you,
we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God.
You are witnesses, and so is God,
how devoutly and justly and blamelessly
we behaved toward you believers.
As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children,
exhorting and encouraging you and insisting
that you walk in a manner worthy of the God
who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly,
that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us,
you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God,
which is now at work in you who believe.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 139:7-8, 9-10, 11-12AB

R.(1) You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall hide me,
and night shall be my light”–
For you darkness itself is not dark,
and night shines as the day.
R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord.

Alleluia – 1 JN 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 23:27-32

Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous, 
and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”

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John’s Final Victory


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 29, 2019

“They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.” This is truly an amazing Feast that we have today. It is the day that we remember the death and martyrdom of John the Baptist who occupies a number of wonderful categories including cousin to Jesus, the Last Prophet and outstanding voice that calls us all to listen and be ready for the greatest news we could ever receive. The Readings make this an even more thought-provoking Wednesday as we recall how great it is to love the Lord and follow Him with every fiber of our being. John would later express this very same desire when he stated that he himself should decrease while Jesus must increase. Once we come to realize and accept our purpose here on earth, our lives are much simpler and have the potential of even greater holiness.

“Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress.” The place of John the Baptist could never be overplayed or misunderstood. He forms one of the most significant members of the cloud of witnesses that helps us all look intently at Jesus and never let it stray. For the many of us who are giving all we have to be the best we can be and please the Lord, we are heartened by the fact that God always prepares the way for us to find Jesus and stay ever-so-close to Him in this life and the next. Our call is to let Jesus increase in our lives and our selfishness decrease. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the wonderful Eucharist, success in this field is within our reach. The death of John the Baptist reminds us that following the Lord also has a deep price that sometimes people are unwilling to consider or offer. But in the final analysis, we want to be counted among those who are faithful and loving and true to our calling. Nothing else will do. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”

We remember John the Baptist’s brawny arm pouring some of the Jordan River over Christ. So we remember the central miracle and paradox of the faith that binds us each to each: that we believe, against all evidence and sense, in life and love and light, in the victory of those things over death and evil and darkness. Brian Doyle

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August 29, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist, please go here.

Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist Lectionary: 428/634

Reading 1 – 1 THES 3:7-13

We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters,
in our every distress and affliction, through your faith.
For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you,
for all the joy we feel on your account before our God?
Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person
and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.
Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus
direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts, 
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 90:3-5A, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Alleluia – MT 5:10

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

Gospel – MK 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias, 
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’ own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

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August 29 – Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist


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Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
Lectionary: 634

The Gospel for this memorial is proper. The first reading may be taken from the weekday or from the reading found below.

Reading 1 – JER 1:17-19

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

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

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

Alleluia – MT 5:10

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

Gospel – MK 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias, 
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’ own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

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When The Lamp Goes Out


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 30, 2019

“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.” If we just removed the business-savvy aspect of this parable for a moment, we might be able to unlock what is truly worthwhile and useful for each of us on our journey. Remember that all journeys have an end. This is what both the wise and foolish examples we encountered today realized with sobering results. It was all coming to an end. Just like life. What the parable attempts to unlock is a kind of sobering, “wake-up call” sent out to every listener of every age and culture. You know what’s coming and who’s going to be there. Really? 

Here’s a thought: Do you know how you’re going to die? Think just for a second. Consider all the ways that are possible, of course, without getting melodramatic and heading for nightmares. It’s really simple. We are going to die the way we live. If we have been mean and critical in life, you can safely bet that meanness and harshness will surround the deathbed. If our lives were marked with peace and faith, then we can reasonably hope for happy ending. The ten virgins all knew why they were there but only fifty percent were truly prepared and actually present for the big arrival and the invitation inside. If somehow you knew that in the near future, you would die, what difference would that make right now? Maybe you would spend more time with the Lord praising Him for all the good times and the bad. Or say the things to the people who mean so much how grateful to God you are for them. Or forgive and ask forgiveness. 

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

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August 30, 2019


Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 429

Reading 1 – 1 THES 4:1-8

Brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God– 
and as you are conducting yourselves– 
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

This is the will of God, your holiness:
that you refrain from immorality,
that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself
in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion
as do the Gentiles who do not know God;
not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister in this matter,
for the Lord is an avenger in all these things,
as we told you before and solemnly affirmed.
For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness.
Therefore, whoever disregards this,
disregards not a human being but God,
who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 97:1 AND 2B, 5-6, 10, 11-12

R.(12A) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just! 
The LORD loves those who hate evil;
he guards the lives of his faithful ones;
from the hand of the wicked he delivers them.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Alleluia – LK 21:36

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Be vigilant at all times and pray,
that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 
Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. 
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him!’ 
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’ 
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ 
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. 
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ 
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

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Got Talents?


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 31, 2019

In the Gospel that we are given on this great Sunday we hear of the many  talents that God administers to the world. It seems from the very notable parable that the most he gave were five, as in the five senses.

Talent One: EYES-the gift of sight: Think of the ability to see and comprehend the world around us and God’s presence in it. 

Talent Two: EARS-the gift of listening: Think of the ability to remain quiet in front of a sunrise or sunset, a friend who is telling us about their day and life, and before God in prayer.

Talent Three: NOSE-the gift of smell: Think of the ability to appreciate the fragrance of this created world and be soothed by the rich textures of nature’s aromas. 

Talent Four: MOUTH-the gift of speech: Think of the ability to communicate and heal with words that are formed in your mind and expressed with your heart. 

Talent Five: TOUCH-our affect on others. Think of how wonderful it is to be held, to accept the congratulatory handshake or the firm and reassuring pat on the back. Good touches warm the heart. 

We cannot bury these talents anymore than we can hide from the expectations that are thrust upon us. The lessons are irrefutable. First, this parable teaches us that success is a product of our work. God always gives us everything we need to do what He has called us to do. In the mystery of this awesome human life, we are not all created equally with the same gifts and talents. None of us can render judgment on any other. We work for the Master, not our own selfish purposes and for that very important and critical reason, we will all be held accountable.

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

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August 31, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 430

Reading 1 – 1 THES 4:9-11

Brothers and sisters:
On the subject of fraternal charity
you have no need for anyone to write you,
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more,
and to aspire to live a tranquil life,
to mind your own affairs,
and to work with your own hands,
as we instructed you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 7-8, 9

R.(9) The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Alleluia – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – MT 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey 
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– 
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time 
the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then!  Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

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