The Word of God

September 30, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 455

Reading 1 – ZEC 8:1-8

This word of the LORD of hosts came:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

I am intensely jealous for Zion,
stirred to jealous wrath for her.
Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
the holy mountain.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:  Old men and old women,
each with staff in hand because of old age,
shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.
The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Even if this should seem impossible
in the eyes of the remnant of this people,
shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also,
says the LORD of hosts?
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun,
and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God,
with faithfulness and justice.

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

R.  (17) The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence.
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

Alleluia – MK 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest. 
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John said in reply, 
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name 
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him, 
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

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September 30 – Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church


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Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 648

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 Pastors, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 2 TM 3:14-17

Beloved:
Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God
and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness,
so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.

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 – 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 13:47-52

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.”
Jesus asked them:
“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.”

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Danger Is Real; Fear Is A Choice


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 30, 2019

“The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”  There once was this criminal who had been accused of a crime and sentenced. He was sent to the king for his punishment. The king told him he had a choice of two punishments. He could be hung by a rope or take what’s behind the big, dark, scary, iron door. The criminal quickly decided on the rope. As the noose was being slipped on him, he turned to the king and asked. “By the way, out of curiosity, what’s behind that door?” The king laughed and said: “You know, it’s funny, I offer everyone the same choice, and nearly everyone picks the rope.” “So,” said the criminal, “Tell me. What’s behind the door? I mean, obviously, I won’t tell anyone,” he said, pointing to the noose around his neck. The king paused then answered, “Freedom, but it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope.”

“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” As we conclude yet another September of our lives, our thoughts and attention will draw ever more close to the gifts awaiting us in the remaining weeks of the Liturgical Year including, All Saints and All Souls Days, Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas. Today, let us examine the place and power of fear in our lives and adopt the childlike trust and faith in our loving God. I read once that people really do not fear the unknown, rather, they fear what they think they know about the unknown. That always made sense to me: fear is truly useless. It has stalled great decisions, and prevented great people to rise above the wickedness and pettiness around them. Do you remember how much damage was inflicted when people allowed fear to decide their future? Religious leaders plotted and conspired to murder; healed people turned on their healer; strong Apostles (for the most part) fled, denied and betrayed their Master. However now, the scenes have changed: the miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus has allowed once fearful people to change their thinking and readjust their life paths. The words of the Alleluia Verse have become the lyrics of a new song in the hearts of those who believe: “The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that Jesus is with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.  St. John Paul II

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September 29, 2019


Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 138

Reading 1 – AM 6:1A, 4-7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
 Woe to the complacent in Zion!
 Lying upon beds of ivory,
 stretched comfortably on their couches,
 they eat lambs taken from the flock,
 and calves from the stall!
 Improvising to the music of the harp,
 like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
 They drink wine from bowls
 and anoint themselves with the best oils;
 yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
 Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
 and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1B) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
 secures justice for the oppressed,
 gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
 The LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just.
 The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
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!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 1 TM 6:11-16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 
Compete well for the faith. 
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see. 
To him be honor and eternal power.  Amen.

Alleluia – CF. 2 COR 8:9

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

Gospel – LK 16:19-31

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

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The Warm Grip of Complacency


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 29, 2019

“Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall! The pages of all the Scriptures literally shout out with warnings and desperate pleas concerning neglect for the poor and hungry in our world. This seems also to be a theme that has never been applied to just one culture or time period but for all of humanity in every age. The words of the Prophet Amos are as fierce as they are clear about the pride and selfishness that produces this kind of woeful abandonment of the most vulnerable around us: “Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.”  

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

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

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September 28, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Wenceslaus, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, please go here.

Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 454

Reading 1 – ZEC 2:5-9, 14-15A

I, Zechariah, raised my eyes and looked:
there was a man with a measuring line in his hand.
I asked, “Where are you going?”
He answered, “To measure Jerusalem,
to see how great is its width and how great its length.”

Then the angel who spoke with me advanced,
and another angel came out to meet him and said to him,
“Run, tell this to that young man:
People will live in Jerusalem as though in open country,
because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst.
But I will be for her an encircling wall of fire, says the LORD,
and I will be the glory in her midst.”

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people and he will dwell among you.

Responsorial Psalm – JEREMIAH 31:10, 11-12AB, 13

R.(see 10D)  The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd guards his flock.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Alleluia – SEE 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – LK 9:43B-45

While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” 
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

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September 28 – Memorial of Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs


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Optional Memorial of Saint Lawrence Ruiz and companions, martyrs
Lectionary: 645A

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 – 2 MC 7:1-2, 9-14

It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested
and tortured with whips and scourges by the king,
to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law.
One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said:
“What do you expect to achieve by questioning us?
We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”

At the point of death, the second brother said:
“You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life,
but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.
It is for his laws that we are dying.”

After him the third suffered their cruel sport.
He put out his tongue at once when told to do so,
and bravely held out his hands, as he spoke these noble words:
“It was from Heaven that I received these;
for the sake of his laws I disdain them;
from him I hope to receive them again.”
Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man’s courage,
because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.

After he had died,
they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way.
When he was near death, he said,
“It is my choice to die at the hands of men
with the hope God gives of being raised up by him;
but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.”

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

R. (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
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. (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the afflicted man called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
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. (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.

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 – 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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September 28 – Memorial of Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr


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Optional Memorial of Saint Wenceslaus, martyr
Lectionary: 646

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 – 1 PT 3:14-17

Beloved:
Even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you.
Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them,
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence,
keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned,
those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good,
if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

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 – MT 5:10

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

Gospel – MT 10:34-39

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set

a man ‘against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’

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

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Please Pay Attention


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 28, 2019

“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”  A pair of proud grandparents went to their five-year-old grandson’s basketball game. All those tiny athletes were adorable. Their lack of knowledge and expertise were clear as they ran without dribbling the ball, went down the court and shot at the wrong basket, and wandered aimlessly across the floor. Let’s just say it was highly entertaining. But those basketball stars are four and five. It’s what we’d expect from them at this age. Their games are a great way for them to work off excess energy, learn to work together as a team and discover more about the sport of basketball. With players this young, multiple coaches stay on the floor with them, literally moving them around to their proper positions—it works well until the children lose focus. Partway through the game, they heard their daughter calling out to her son, “Ethan, watch the coach. Listen to him.” Immediately the two elderly fans together heard a whisper in their heart as if it came straight from God: “That’s what you need to do to Me.” 

“Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” Today our Scriptures beg us to please pay attention to all the wonders around us. No matter how small or insignificant they may seem, you and I will be able to decipher and discover great mysteries of life if we just pay attention to the voice and footprints of Jesus on our life. Try it today.

We learn to praise God not by paying compliments but by paying attention. Frederick Buechner

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September 27, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest Lectionary: 453

Reading 1 – HG 2:1-9

In the second year of King Darius,
on the twenty-first day of the seventh month,
the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:
Tell this to the governor of Judah,
Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak,
and to the remnant of the people:

Who is left among you
that saw this house in its former glory?
And how do you see it now?
Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?
But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD,
and take courage, Joshua, high priest, son of Jehozadak,
And take courage, all you people of the land,
says the LORD, and work!
For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!
For thus says the LORD of hosts:
One moment yet, a little while,
and I will shake the heavens and the earth,
the sea and the dry land.
I will shake all the nations,
and the treasures of all the nations will come in,
And I will fill this house with glory,
says the LORD of hosts.
Mine is the silver and mine the gold,
says the LORD of hosts.
Greater will be the future glory of this house
than the former, says the LORD of hosts;
And in this place I will give you peace,
says the LORD of hosts!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 43:1, 2, 3, 4

R.(5) Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight
against a faithless people;
from the deceitful and impious man rescue me. 
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
For you, O God, are my strength.
Why do you keep me so far away?
Why must I go about in mourning,
with the enemy oppressing me?
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling place.
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.

Alleluia – MK 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

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

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September 27 – Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest


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Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, priest
Lectionary: 645

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 Those Who Work for the Underprivileged, #737-742.

Reading 1 – 1 COR 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-7, 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 – JN 10:14

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

Gospel – MT 9:35-38

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

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Vincent’s Victory


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 27, 2019

“And take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD, and work!” It is important to remember that the prophets Haggai and Zechariah played an important role in encouraging the Jewish people and their leaders to return to their homeland and rebuild the Jerusalem Temple following the Babylonian exile. The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah are also key literary sources on the Restoration of the Jewish religious community. What our First Reading underscores is both quite simple and beautiful: The ultimate depth of any of our prayers must slowly and surely reach the ultimate surrender of everything to the one who made us out of pure love. This sentiment is captured throughout the Psalm of today and is echoed brilliantly and with great comfort throughout the Gospels. The rain must fall but with dawn comes rejoicing because of the very one who died for us. 

“The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And how do we know all this is true? Jesus lived it and won for us the crown of victory which is custom-shaped to each one of us depending on our own situations and life settings. We also have today the example of St. Vincent de Paul who lifted up the poor and hungry and sought to educate the clergy. Suffering will always be with us which means that we must always seek to understand the deep misery of despair, unite those sufferings to Jesus and thus reach to the other side of glory. Consider this from St. Teresa of Calcutta on the occasion of her first visit to the United States:

I suppose that some of you are feeling that you would have to buy a plane ticket and travel to India if you were to give effective help to the poor. There is no need. The poor are right here in your own country… In developed nations like yours, there is an abundance of food. But there is often a famine of the heart due to a lack of love. The victims of this famine of love are the new poor. And who are these poor people? They are the people sitting next to you.

Look around you today. There are others who are hurting. Together we are going to win this. Jesus promised.

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September 26, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saints Cosmas and Damian, please go here.

Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 452

Reading 1 – HG 1:1-8

On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius,
The word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai
to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:  
This people says:
“The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.”
(Then this word of the LORD came through Haggai, the prophet:)
Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses,
while this house lies in ruins?

Now thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
You have sown much, but have brought in little;
you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated;
have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed;
And whoever earned wages
earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
Go up into the hill country;
bring timber, and build the house
That I may take pleasure in it
and receive my glory, says the LORD.

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

R.(see 4A) The Lord takes delight in his people.
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.
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.
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.

Alleluia – JN 14:6

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

Gospel – LK 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.

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September 26 – Memorial of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs


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Optional Memorial of Saints Cosmas and Damian, martyrs
Lectionary: 644

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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First Things First


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 26, 2019

“Go up into the hill country; bring timber, and build the house that I may take pleasure in it and receive my glory, says the LORD.” Our First Reading is fascinating on a whole slew of levels. It comes to us from the prophet Haggai who was charged to bring God’s timely message to the Jewish people who had just returned to the homeland in Jerusalem after having endured a wretched captivity among the Babylonians. History records that about 70 years earlier, the Temple had been destroyed along with most of the cherished city. Now, the duty rested heavily upon them to rebuild everything. However, there was a problem. In a strange turn of events, work on the Temple was stopped while the other elements of Jewish life continued to prosper and return to their pre-captivity moments. Enter Haggai with his terribly clear message: put first things first and rebuild the Temple!

The Gospel then presents us with the “poster-child” of life without proper and appropriate priorities, boundaries or purpose. 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 and 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 hypercritical and hypersensitive.

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. 

Finally, the crazed madman Herod did get at least one thing right: “And he kept trying to see him.” When we desire wisdom and holiness as much as we need the air to breathe, we will find both and the face of Jesus smiling widely upon us.

An unexamined life is not worth living. Plato 

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September 25, 2019


Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 451

Reading 1 – EZR 9:5-9

At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness,
and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees,
stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.

I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you,
O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads
and our guilt reaches up to heaven.
From the time of our fathers even to this day
great has been our guilt,
and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up,
we and our kings and our priests,
to the will of the kings of foreign lands,
to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace,
as is the case today.

“And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God,
who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place;
thus our God has brightened our eyes
and given us relief in our servitude.
For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us;
rather, he has turned the good will
of the kings of Persia toward us.
Thus he has given us new life
to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins,
and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”

Responsorial Psalm – TOBIT 13:2, 3-4A, 4BEFGHN, 7-8

R.(1B) Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
He scourges and then has mercy;
he casts down to the depths of the nether world,
and he brings up from the great abyss.
No one can escape his hand.
R.Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Praise him, you children of Israel, before the Gentiles,
for though he has scattered you among them,
he has shown you his greatness even there.
R.Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
So now consider what he has done for you,
and praise him with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of ages.
R.Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
In the land of my exile I praise him
and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
R.Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
and may all of you praise his majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
R.Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – LK 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

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Let It Go


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 25, 2019

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

“Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins.” The great news today, among the many other blessings we see and cannot see, is the fact that the Lord has once again reaffirmed His great love for us and His constant protection over every single step we take no matter what kind of encounter is waiting for us. All we have to do is remain faithful to His Word, be fed constantly with the Eucharist, and never ever lose hope even in the face of seemingly hostile and hateful rejection. 

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

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September 24, 2019


Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 450

Reading 1 – EZR 6:7-8, 12B, 14-20

King Darius issued an order to the officials
of West-of-Euphrates:
“Let the governor and the elders of the Jews
continue the work on that house of God;
they are to rebuild it on its former site.
I also issue this decree
concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews
in the rebuilding of that house of God:
From the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-Euphrates,
let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay.
I, Darius, have issued this decree;
let it be carefully executed.”

The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building,
supported by the message of the prophets,
Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo.
They finished the building according to the command
of the God of Israel
and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius
and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia.
They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar,
in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
The children of Israel–priests, Levites,
and the other returned exiles–
celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.
For the dedication of this house of God,
they offered one hundred bulls,
two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs,
together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel,
in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel.
Finally, they set up the priests in their classes
and the Levites in their divisions
for the service of God in Jerusalem,
as is prescribed in the book of Moses.

The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion,
sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles,
for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5

R.(1)  Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Alleluia – LK 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 8:19-21

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers 
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

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Keep It In The Family


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 24, 2019

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” From the very beginning of the Revelation we have received beginning in the Old Testament, we encounter the notion and the nature of the kind of deep and lasting relationship that the Lord has always wanted for us. Like a good earthly father who wants to give his own family all he has for love and survival, we look to our Heavenly Father who does the same. When we realize and accept this truth, we can easily join the Psalmist in the moment of pure joy: “I rejoiced because they said to me, ‘We will go up to the house of the LORD.’And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem.”

Today’s Gospel brings closely to us the moment where Jesus makes this intimate relationship so much more clear and meaningful: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Jesus was not minimizing His relationship with His mother through these words. He was expanding it. He hungers, through Divine love, to include all of us in the “family circle” of God. In doing so, He invites us on the journey home. In this exchange, Jesus really opens up the interior importance and meaning of the motherhood of Mary – and through that relationship – the interior meaning of all family relationships. 

“Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” The Church is a family. Understanding this insight, and living it, is a key to a deep and wonderful spiritual life. Our vocation is fundamentally about relationship and communion. All who are incorporated into the Body of Jesus Christ through Baptism begin even now to experience the intimacy, (expressed in family relationships), that is the essence of the very life of the Most Holy Trinity. Through His life, death and Resurrection, Jesus opens a way for every man, woman and child, who chooses to do the will of His Father, to enter into the very family circle of God through truly living our lives in Him.

Cherish your family connections. They are one of God’s greatest ways of demonstrating His love and fellowship. Norman Vincent Peale

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September 23 – Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest


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Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, priest
Lectionary: 643A

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 – GAL 2:19-20

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

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

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

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 16:24-27

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 one according to his conduct.”

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September 23, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest Lectionary: 449

Reading 1 – EZR 1:1-6

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia,
in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah,
the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia
to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom,
both by word of mouth and in writing:
“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:
‘All the kingdoms of the earth
the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me,
and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem,
which is in Judah.
Therefore, whoever among you belongs to any part of his people,
let him go up, and may his God be with him!
Let everyone who has survived, in whatever place he may have dwelt,
be assisted by the people of that place
with silver, gold, goods, and cattle,
together with free-will offerings
for the house of God in Jerusalem.'”

Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin
and the priests and Levites–
everyone, that is, whom God had inspired to do so– 
prepared to go up to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
All their neighbors gave them help in every way,
with silver, gold, goods, and cattle,
and with many precious gifts
besides all their free-will offerings.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 126:1B-2AB, 2CD-3, 4-5, 6

R.(3) The Lord has done marvels for us.
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.The Lord has done marvels for us.
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.The Lord has done marvels for us.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R.The Lord has done marvels for us.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R.The Lord has done marvels for us.

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 – LK 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd:
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

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Light Living


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 23, 2019

“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.” With age, I hope I can see the world much more clearly. There are a good number of people that I love and cherish dearly and while there are a good many others that have seemingly dropped out of my life, there is a definite pattern that has emerged that deepens respect and admiration for all the people who have populated my life. I have loved them because they have shown me Jesus. Their ways of handling death, disappointment, fun, friends and family have all slowly formed a clear picture of character that is unmistakably the mark of one who truly loves God. Imagine how the crowd in today’s Gospel must have felt when they heard that they must live their life in the light of truth before the world.  What goes through your mind? 

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Today, no matter what you have to face or confront or carry, keep those words of Christ alive in your heart. Perhaps you could ask yourself, “who do people see in me?” If we can honestly say that others have seen or heard the Lord in something we said or did, then we can sleep calmly and without fear.

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.  St. Francis of Assisi

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September 22, 2019


Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 135

Reading 1 – AM 8:4-7

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy
 and destroy the poor of the land!
 “When will the new moon be over,” you ask,
 “that we may sell our grain,
 and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?
 We will diminish the ephah,
 add to the shekel,
 and fix our scales for cheating!
 We will buy the lowly for silver,
 and the poor for a pair of sandals;
 even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!”
 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
 Never will I forget a thing they have done!

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

R. (cf. 1A, 7B) Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
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. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
High above all nations is the LORD;
 above the heavens is his glory.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
 and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
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. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 1 TM 2:1-8

Beloved:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity. 
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
     the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as ransom for all.
This was the testimony at the proper time. 
For this I was appointed preacher and apostle
— I am speaking the truth, I am not lying —,
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Alleluia – CF. 2 COR 8:9

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

Gospel – LK 16:1-13

Jesus said to his disciples,
“A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property. 
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you? 
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? 
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. 
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one. 
To the first he said,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. 
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’
The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light. 
I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones. 
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth? 
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours? 
No servant can serve two masters. 
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other. 
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

Or – LK 16:10-13

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones. 
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth? 
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours? 
No servant can serve two masters. 
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other. 
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

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Divided Loyalties, Miserable Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 22, 2019

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

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

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

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September 21, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist Lectionary: 643

Reading 1 – EPH 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ. 

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:2-3, 4-5

R.(5)  Their message goes out through all the earth.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R.Their message goes out through all the earth.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R.Their message goes out through all the earth.

Alleluia – See Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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Prisoner of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 21, 2019

“I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” How can we say that someone who is a prisoner is actually in a good place? This would have to be determined by a number of factors such as the prison itself, the prisoner and of course, the jailer. On this beautiful Friday, we have encountered such a mission of understanding and belief that will hopefully expand our notions of faith and to the awesome extent that Jesus loves us “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience.” The word, “prison” has been defined in some circles as a state of confinement while awaiting trial. In many ways, we could stretch that meaning just a bit and see how life itself can be a sort of prison because we are confined in space and time awaiting the final judgment of all that we have said and done while here on this earth. Thus, while we are “confined” we have been given instructions while we are here. We are to be humble and gentle and as much can be grasped, patient with as many as possible “…bearing with one another through love.” If we see everyone in our life as fellow-prisoners, then we could find the strength and the power to love because we are all awaiting the same trial. That in and of itself will bring us to unity and peace “…striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

“Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” This particular phrase from the Gospel describes and determines the attitude of the “jailer” in our little analogy of this Reflection. God has placed us here on earth “in confinement” and Jesus will come one day to lead us out of this existence to another which is complete and eternal freedom. In the meantime, then, we are to concentrate on living, acting with and living in mercy. Showing mercy to each other is indeed a pledge and promise that mercy will be shown to us.

Teach me to feel another’s woe, to hide the fault I see; that mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.  Alexander Pope (from The Universal Prayer)

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September 20 – Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr, and Saint Paul Chong Hasang, Catechist and Martyr, and their companions, Martyrs


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Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr, and Saint Paul Chong Hasang, catechist and martyr, and their companions, martyrs
Lectionary: 642A

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.

Or – ROM 8:31B-39

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written:

For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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 – 1 PT 4:14

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

Gospel – LK 9:23-26

Jesus said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory
and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

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September 20, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gon and Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions, please go here.

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs Lectionary: 447

Reading 1 – 1 TM 6:2C-12

Beloved:
Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God, avoid all this.
Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life,
to which you were called when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20

R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
“They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

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 – LK 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources.

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Morbid Dispositions vs Life Ethic


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 20, 2019

“Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.” What an interesting phrase we have been served today. What is a morbid disposition? You may or may not be surprised as to the frequency that we encounter such an attitude, perhaps even on a daily basis. Let us start with the phrase itself: morbid describes anything pathological and thereby characterized by or appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects, especially death and disease. Imagine having to deal with people with this frame of mind on a daily basis. The obvious conclusion would have to include that the more we encounter such attitudes the more we imitate them and that is precisely what the Scriptures are asking us to do in our walk with God: avoid evil and follow the light of Christ. “Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.” 

More than a handful of years ago, I was speaking with an acquaintance of mine, whose life was clearly, diametrically opposed to my own. He told me, “The difference between my life and yours is that you could compare my life to a beautiful ship anchored in the harbor, with the sails blowing gently in the wind, a gallant sight to see for all to visit and watch. My boat, safe and magnificent in a calm sea!” “I agree totally with your assessment,” I added. “There is just one problem.” “That’s not what ships are made for.” “Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.”

It doesn’t really matter how much of the rules or the dogma we accepted and lived by if we’re not really living by the fundamental creed of the Catholic Church, which is service to others and finding God in ourselves and then seeing God in everyone – including our enemies. Martin Sheen

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September 19, 2019


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

Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 446

Reading 1 – 1 TM 4:12-16

Beloved:
Let no one have contempt for your youth,
but set an example for those who believe,
in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.
Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching.
Do not neglect the gift you have,
which was conferred on you through the prophetic word
with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate.
Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them,
so that your progress may be evident to everyone.
Attend to yourself and to your teaching;
persevere in both tasks,
for by doing so you will save 
both yourself and those who listen to you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 111:7-8, 9, 10

R.(2) How great are the works of the Lord!
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
wrought in truth and equity.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
prudent are all who live by it.
His praise endures forever.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?”
Simon said in reply,
“The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
“Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The others at table said to themselves,
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
But he said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

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September 19 – Memorial of Saint Januarius, Bishop and Martyr


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Optional Memorial of Saint Januarius, bishop and martyr
Lectionary: 642

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 – HEB 10:32-36

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

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 – 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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Faith Saves Not Judgment


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 19, 2019

“Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” St. Paul makes it very clear most emphatically in his Letter to Timothy that humanity is lost without the Gospel. And yet, he warns all of us Christians that we cannot hide behind precepts and regulations and mount some kind of superior plane or landing from which to judge people and forget that we, that is, all of humanity, are in the same boat. Clearly we have no right to judge other people just because they do not sin like we do. St. Paul explains that the final judgment will be a review of performance, not of privilege. From this perspective, everyone stands on an equal footing with each other and thus we cannot realistically condemn others without condemning ourselves. 

“But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”  St. Luke continues and completes this thought for us by making sure that the Pharisees know that mere possession of laws is no evidence of virtue. Mark Twain once responded to a man who was going to the Holy Land to see where the Ten Commandments were given with, “Why don’t you just stay home and live them?” Good point, Mr. Clemens. 

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  “The worse prison,” St. John Paul wrote, “would be a closed heart,” and this is precisely why you and I must know the difference between judging and admonishing. Arrogant judgment condemns because it is motivated by pride; admonishing the sinner liberates because it is motivated by love. Each produces very different results.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. St. Teresa of Calcutta

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September 18, 2019


Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 445

Reading 1 – 1 TM 3:14-16

Beloved:
I am writing you,
although I hope to visit you soon.
But if I should be delayed,
you should know how to behave in the household of God,
which is the Church of the living God,
the pillar and foundation of truth.
Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion,

Who was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated in the spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed to the Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.(2) How great are the works of the Lord!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!

Alleluia – SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – LK 7:31-35

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare the people of this generation?
What are they like?
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine,
and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

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This Song Is For You


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 18, 2019

“We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.” Unfortunately, there are many around us who hear the refrains of hope and salvation that you and I hear but continue to go forward blindly. We must pray for each other constantly until that day that we all see clearly what Christianity and following Jesus really means and what greatness in Heaven and eternal life is just waiting for us. Today, you and I must be that voice, that speaker to announce the Good News: Jesus Christ is Lord!

“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life, you have the words of everlasting life.” Life has a lot to do with listening. Think of all the different sounds we hear every single day. We listen for important announcements and information that we deem pertinent to us. We also listen for the voices of those whom we love. So does God. What we hear during this great adventure following the Lord is the call to get real with our lives and with each other. There are many other voices shouting out at us all year long. Only one voice matters: “He has made known to his people the power of his works, giving them the inheritance of the nations.”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  Leo Buscaglia

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September 17 – Memorial of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


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Optional Memorial of Saint Robert Bellarmine, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 641

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 – WIS 7:7-10, 15-16

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.

Now God grant I speak suitably
and value these endowments at their worth:
For he is the guide of Wisdom
and the director of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand,
as well as all prudence and knowledge of crafts.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R.    (10)  The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    (John 6:63)  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R.    The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R.    The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R.    The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R.    The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia – SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – MT 7:21-29

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

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

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

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September 17, 2019


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

Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 444

Reading 1 – 1 TM 3:1-13

Beloved, this saying is trustworthy:
whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable,
married only once, temperate, self-controlled,
decent, hospitable, able to teach,
not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle,
not contentious, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well,
keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;
for if a man does not know how to manage his own household,
how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert,
so that he may not become conceited
and thus incur the Devil’s punishment.
He must also have a good reputation among outsiders,
so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap.

Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful,
not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Moreover, they should be tested first;
then, if there is nothing against them,
let them serve as deacons.
Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers,
but temperate and faithful in everything.
Deacons may be married only once
and must manage their children and their households well.
Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing
and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 101:1B-2AB, 2CD-3AB, 5, 6

R.(2) I will walk with blameless heart.
Of mercy and judgment I will sing;
to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will persevere in the way of integrity;
when will you come to me?
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
I will walk with blameless heart,
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
any base thing.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret,
him will I destroy.
The man of haughty eyes and puffed up heart
I will not endure.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
My eyes are upon the faithful of the land,
that they may dwell with me.
He who walks in the way of integrity
shall be in my service.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.

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 – 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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Drying the Tears on the Face of Christ


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 17, 2019

“Do not weep.” Today, the Scriptures give us, what may appear, two very different topics and issues to examine and apply to our spiritual lives. However, after some considerable time resting with each of them, one from the Letter of Timothy and the Gospel from St. Luke, there is in fact a very deep and moving connection. Let’s begin.

The first selection is really all about the qualifications for service. What it takes to be a good bishop and a good deacon are at the center of the instruction and in this piece of advice we can spot at least one important similarity. To be effective and integral in ministry, the very hand of Christ to all, there must be two areas of life that are solid and sincere for the would-be bishop or deacon and (by means of deduction) all who would rise to authority in the Church. Their own family life and their world view, that is, the understanding of human nature and how Jesus seeks even today to redeem it. Why the need for this? Consider these three possible inerrant and unhealthy desires for service:

1. There is the desire for prestige. When anyone works for God, prestige will be the last thing that should enter the equation. A servant in the Church does not want the approval of everyone, just God.

2. There is the desire for position: There are those who serve within the Church who really are not thinking of those they serve, but only themselves. This is selfish.

3. There is the desire for importance: Anyone entering ministerial service and expects constant thanks and recognition has clearly lost the mark. If anyone gives only to gain something out of the giving for themselves has unfortunately undone anything good that was attempted, especially comforting the afflicted. 

This is fundamentally crucial because the world that desperately seeks the face of Jesus must address and manage the relationship between love and fear. Perhaps our point of departure could be the investigation of their opposites. Many believe that the opposite of love is hate but I think there would be an overwhelming gush of contrary opinions about that analysis especially from those who have lived more than a handful of years. The opposite of love is really apathy. Apathy has been described in several places as the lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern. What about the opposite of fear? Again, in some places, that answer has been revealed as assurance and/or confidence.

What about the opposite of fear? A person who is unafraid has assurance that there is no real basis for fear. We could call that confidence or true acceptance of how things are. That does not mean that we do not experience the emotion of fear, but rather we confront it with assurance no matter how we feel. The great General Patton said: “All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty.”

Let’s hold on to those thoughts as we move to reflect on the meaning of the Gospel today: “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.” Anyone who wishes to follow the Lord, serve His Church, comfort the mourning and suffering, must have their heart in the right place. Otherwise, the world will just keep on suffering and even worse, fall pathetic prey to the wolves of the world. 

You and I face storms every single day. Sometimes they take the form of horrible traffic jams, excruciating headaches, disappointments at work and in our relationships, even “life or death, “do or die” situations. It’s dark and terrifying. So are we afraid and why? If the opposite of fear has to do with having God “in us,” then perhaps the remedy for you and me not only has to do with seeing and experiencing Jesus walking on the stormy water towards us but also getting up, shaking off the emotional baggage and walking towards Him as well. This is why Jesus came and called and keeps calling gallant and selfless people to serve the Gospel and wipe the tears from our own faces and lives.

Perhaps He is calling you.

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September 16, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, please go here.

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs Lectionary: 443

Reading 1 – 1 TM 2:1-8

Beloved:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity. 
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as ransom for all.

This was the testimony at the proper time. 
For this I was appointed preacher and Apostle
(I am speaking the truth, I am not lying),
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. 

Responsorial Psalm – PS 28:2, 7, 8-9

R.(6) Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
Hear the sound of my pleading, when I cry to you,
lifting up my hands toward your holy shrine.
R.Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
The LORD is my strength and my shield.
In him my heart trusts, and I find help;
then my heart exults, and with my song I give him thanks.
R.Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
the saving refuge of his anointed.
Save your people, and bless your inheritance;
feed them, and carry them forever!
R.Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.

Alleluia – JN 3:16

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

Gospel – LK 7:1-10

When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
“He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, Go, and he goes;
and to another, Come here, and he comes;
and to my slave, Do this, and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

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September 16 – Memorial of Saint Cornelius, Pope and Martyr, and Saint Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr


Click Here for Daily Reading

Memorial of Saint Cornelius, pope and martyr, and Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr
Lectionary: 640

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 – 2 COR 4:7-15

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 126:1BC-2AB, 2CD-3, 4-5, 6

R.    (5)  Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those 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 – 2 COR 1:3B-4

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed be the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, 
who encourages us in our every affliction.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 17:11B-19

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

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Under My Roof


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 16, 2019

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Here, halfway through the month, we are greeted and challenged by this very familiar phrase from the Scriptures which are recalled during the Sacrifice of the Mass right before the Body and Blood of Christ are to be received. The term, “under my roof” refers primarily to the authority that one is called to acknowledge and respect when living or even visiting someone else’s home or abode. At the core of all courtesies known to us is the deference and dignity we show to those whose homes we enter, that is, while we are “under their roof.” What is at issue for us today is that of authority or in other words, the power to achieve something great. 

“And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.’ And at that very hour his servant was healed.”  We have in fact witnessed something great happen as the Gospel continues: a miracle! Perhaps we could say that the centurion told Jesus that He did not have to come under his own roof but rather, the centurion had to submit and believe and trust by living in the Kingdom, virtually, under God’s roof. When each of us lives our life so completely in trust in the wonderful grace that God provides, with the ultimate assurance that all is well and all will be well, we, too will have our own miracle, right under our roof.

God will always give us more than we deserve. St. Padre Pio

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While Still A Long Way Off


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 15, 2019

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.”  It would be more than just a simple sadness if we came to the end of our life and were not in possession with just a little more desire and ease when confronted with the need and call to forgive. And yet, if we were to speak realistically, the lack of ability may equal the lack of desire to even approach any semblance of forgiving someone and letting everything go especially when there are deep and lasting wounds or infractions. Why do you think some people will not forgive, at least not yet? Here are just a couple: Some will not forgive another because they want more proof of repentance; others because they are still carrying another hurt from their not-too-distant past and we may have just opened a scab, the proverbial “old wound.” However there is a more deep and inherent why some refuse to forgive and it is simple. They have lost the true and essential truth of what Jesus has accomplished for them and for all of us. Redemption!

In an obvious sincere and hopeful attempt to avoid any sadness for us on the Day of the Lord, when He comes to us face-to-face, the Scriptures provide us with an even better reason to continue to work toward a forgiving heart and a life dedicated to the mercy of our loving Father. And this is wonderfully found in such a delightful and poignant detail that is found wedged gently within the phrases of the parable that Christ presents to us in the Gospel: “So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.” Could you picture this? The prodigal son has left everything that was important to him and all the people who loved him. The pain caused to his father must have been horrible but even with this hurt, this holy parent still waited outside for his son to return home and then ran to accept him back into his arms. This is God who is always poised to forgive and love. This wondrous love is enough to bring us to forgive everyone who has every caused us pain. The Psalm gives us the words for the prayer that will lead us to lasting joy: “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.”

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

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September 15, 2019


Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 132

Reading 1 – EX 32:7-11, 13-14

The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved. 
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
“I see how stiff-necked this people is, ” continued the LORD to Moses.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. 
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand? 
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'” 
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19

R. (Lk 15:18)  I will rise and go to my father.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. I will rise and go to my father.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. I will rise and go to my father.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. I will rise and go to my father.

Reading 2 – 1 TM 1:12-17

Beloved:
I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because he considered me trustworthy
in appointing me to the ministry. 
I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant,
but I have been mercifully treated
because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. 
Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 
Of these I am the foremost. 
But for that reason I was mercifully treated,
so that in me, as the foremost,
Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. 
To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,
honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.

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 – LK 15:1-32

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

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

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

Or – LK 15:1-10

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

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

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September 14, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Lectionary: 638

Reading 1 – NM 21:4B-9

With their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent 
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 78:1BC-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38

R.(see 7B) Do not forget the works of the Lord!
Hearken, my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable,
I will utter mysteries from of old.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
While he slew them they sought him
and inquired after God again,
Remembering that God was their rock
and the Most High God, their redeemer.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But they flattered him with their mouths
and lied to him with their tongues,
Though their hearts were not steadfast toward him,
nor were they faithful to his covenant.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But he, being merciful, forgave their sin
and destroyed them not;
Often he turned back his anger
and let none of his wrath be roused.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!

Reading 2 – PHIL 2:6-11

Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him. 

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A Grief Observed


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 14, 2019

What is the mystery of suffering? Maybe we should begin with the penalty for complaining. It did not go well for the people in the First Reading: “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.” The problem was simple: they forgot how good God had been to them and just focused on the things in the present moment without giving thanks to the one who always took care of them. Thus, the Psalmist made it clear to them and us what we must all do: “Do not forget the works of the Lord!” 

None of us like to suffer. We avoid pain and discomfort. Our whole society and culture is seemingly built around the basic premise that we must avoid all pain. The problem, however, is simple and tragic. No one can avoid suffering. No one can escape death. The simple message of today is that life is not a question about whether or not you are going to suffer, it is a question of how. We who believe in Jesus know the answer to that question. We suffer with Him so that we can rise with Him. “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” 

Again, this awakens the thoughts we raised yesterday. Which path will I take today? Whose promise will I place my entire trust?

When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.  St. Sebastian Valfre

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September 13 – Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


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Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 637

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

Reading 1 – EPH 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2 AND 4, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11

R.    (8A and 9A)  Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
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.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia

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

Gospel – MK 4:1-10, 13-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this!  A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
Jesus answered them,
“Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word. 
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no root; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

Or – MK 4:1-9

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this!  A sower went out to sow. 
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

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Don’t Push Your Luck


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 13, 2019

Have you ever wondered why so many (maybe yourself included) consider Friday the thirteenth such an ominous and almost terrifying event? As you might imagine, the association with numbers and symbolic days have long been a part of lore and legend of our human race. It is likely that there would be a larger base of agreement that since it was on a Friday that Jesus was crucified, the day itself has been associated with “general ill omen.” In the Middle Ages, for instance, weddings were not held on Fridays and it was usually avoided as a day someone would set out on a long trip or journey. It was also the day in medieval times when executions took place known as “hangman’s day.” As for the “unlucky” or ill-fortunate number thirteen, since Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus was the last and thirteenth guest, the scary number almost seemed to ask for trouble. 

“I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord.” However, the greater issue must not be ignored or forgotten. How can any day be unlucky? What kind of power or force are we blindly following to make a day, an hour or even a single minute blessed or cursed? “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.” Superstition in every form is a useless use of time and waste of energy. Jesus made a very poignant observation that could help our understanding of this. “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” What makes today blessed, fortunate, and lucky (if you will) has nothing to do with some outside uncontrollable force over which we have no power, but on one simple fact: Jesus died for us sinners and now we have a shot at eternal life. 

Today is hardly an unlucky day. We have all been blessed by the complete and selfless act of self sacrifice that Jesus accomplished on the cross. By His blood we have been washed and made clean and we can and should avail ourselves of all the promised blessings every single day we are alive. Shallow people believe in luck; strong people believe in cause and effect; blessed, healthy and happy people believe in Jesus.

Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. St. John Paul II

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September 13, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 441

Reading 1 – 1 TM 1:1-2, 12-14

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our savior
and of Christ Jesus our hope,
to Timothy, my true child in faith:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because he considered me trustworthy
in appointing me to the ministry.
I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man,
but I have been mercifully treated
because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.
Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

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

R.(see 5) 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 JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – LK 6:39-42

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

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September 12 – Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary


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Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary
Lectionary: 636B

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 – GAL 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law, 
to ransom those under the law, 
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons, 
God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, 
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son, 
and if a son then also an heir, through God.

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

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

Alleluia – SEE LK 1:45

R.  Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed 
that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
R.  Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:39-47

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,
“Most 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.”

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The Mystery of Forgiveness


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 12, 2019

“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” There have been a number of insights shared over the years about the measure of what it means to be a Christian and stay like that until death calls. One year, during a very random series of polls to decipher American opinions and attitudes concerning what a Christian actually looks life, it was found that the majority of responses about this question surrounded the notion that a Christian is someone who is nice, let’s you go in before you and says “thank you.” But all that just describes common courtesy, which by some standards, is not that common after all. But there was probably no more insightful and pithy approach to this line of thinking than that which was uttered by G. K. Chesterton when he wrote, “just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.” Well said. Thank God we have a sense of humor and a deeper sense of gratitude: “And let the peace of Christ control your  hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one Body. And be thankful.”

“Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you.”  When you get right down to the heart of the mater, the one true sign that someone has not only understood why Jesus came but also how we must embody the entire spirit of the Gospel is the willingness and the ability to forgive: “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Jesus Christ came to us to save us from the darkness and empty tragedy of sinfulness which by design and definition includes the refusal to forgive. How can anyone seriously hope to enter into heaven with even the slightest of resentment? This is precisely why Jesus begged us to forgive as often and as necessary as possible. It was not for the sake of those who hurt but for our own sake. We must arrive fully alive in heaven. Nothing else will do.

Our lack of forgiveness makes us hate, and our lack of compassion makes us hard-hearted. Pride in our hearts makes us resentful and keeps our memory in a constant whirlwind of passion and self-pity. Mother Angelica

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September 12, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary, please go here.

Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 440

Reading 1 – COL 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 150:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.(6) Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty. 
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Alleluia – 1 JN 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another,
God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 6:27-38

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

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

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September 11, 2019


Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 439

Reading 1 – COL 3:1-11

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.
Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way.
But now you must put them all away:
anger, fury, malice, slander,
and obscene language out of your mouths. 
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.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:2-3, 10-11, 12-13AB

R. (9) The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
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. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
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. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Alleluia – LK 6:23AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rejoice and leap for joy!
Your reward will be great in heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 6:20-26

Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.

“Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. 
For their ancestors treated the prophets 
in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”

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Remembering and Praying Over 911


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 11, 2019

“Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Today is a difficult one for some, problematic for others, and still a puzzle for many. What happened? Why did it happen? Is it going to happen again? You see, for all of the above segments of our society, there must be a common, stable and universal answer. And there is. God’s patience mercifully calls forth in us the courage to return to Him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of His heart. “Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.” Saint Bernard goes on to ask, “But what can I count on? My own merits? No, My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as He is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits.” This is important for today. Our goal must be the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in His patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of His love. We must seek mercy in the very heart of our understanding of who God is for the whole world. Let us Pray: 

God, we come to you today in remembrance of the lives lost to unspeakable violence, especially those on September 11th and in its aftermath. All of us were touched by this day – from the loss of loved ones to changes in the national mood. We remember our anger and fear, gritty like sand in our teeth – anger at lives lost, at words and actions of retaliation, at excuses to oppress people in our country and around the world, fear over what might happen, over losing our own lives. We remember our sorrow, salty water flowing from our eyes, grief at loss, at the deep pain and suffering of our sisters and brothers. But we also pray that this salty water will become seed for a better tomorrow. Like these seeds, we have hope that your kingdom of peace and justice will take root and flourish in our world. And we remember the fabric of life of which we are all a part – from workers at the Pentagon to the undocumented workers at the top of the World Trade Towers to people in Afghanistan who had never heard of New York City.

May we learn to sew together this fabric, with unbreakable threads so that we may cling together in solidarity and such violence may never be repeated. (Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet)

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September 10, 2019


Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 438

Reading 1 – COL 2:6-15

Brothers and sisters:
As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him,
rooted in him and built upon him
and established in the faith as you were taught,
abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy
according to the tradition of men,
according to the elemental powers of the world
and not according to Christ.

For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily,
and you share in this fullness in him,
who is the head of every principality and power.
In him you were also circumcised
with a circumcision not administered by hand,
by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ.
You were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead.
And even when you were dead in transgressions
and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
he brought you to life along with him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions;
obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims,
which was opposed to us,
he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross;
despoiling the principalities and the powers,
he made a public spectacle of them,
leading them away in triumph by it.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:1B-2, 8-9, 10-11

R.(9) The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
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. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Alleluia – SEE JN 15:16

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

Gospel – LK 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people 
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.

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Scraps of Milk and Honey


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 10, 2019

“We went into the land to which you sent us. It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit.” Our very interesting complicated and tender-loving human race has had quite a historic-involved relationship with the living God since we first appeared on this planet. Not many would argue with that assessment. What is likely unarguable is the way we seem to go back and forth with God that can be described in terms of “hit and miss.” Things get really great for a stretch then people get a little too complacent and even feel entitled then something bad happens, then there’s suffering, forgiveness, redemption, and the cycle seems to begin all over again. After all that the Lord had accomplished for the chosen people, they still found it in their heart to complain and grumble, which literally set them back forty years. “Forty days you spent in scouting the land; forty years shall you suffer for your crimes: one year for each day.”

Now fast forward to the scene in the Gospel today and discover the fruit of deep humility rooted in an undying and mystical faith. “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” We are looking seriously at two different attitudes when dealing with our awesome God. One was petty and selfish and cost the people a lifelong purge in the desert. The other brought healing and a changed life that continued to aim at eternity. Today, you and I can make a similar choice of how we are going to approach the events, large and small, of this day. What will we do?

Never waste a second of your life complaining. Complaining doesn’t solve problems, it attracts them. The more you complain, the more problems you’ll have. And the more you infect other people with your problems. Don’t be an infection. Be a cure.  Isaiah Hankel

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September 9 – Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest


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Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, priest
Lectionary: 636A

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 Those Who Work for the Underprivileged (#737-742).

Reading 1 – IS 58:6-11

Thus says the LORD:
This is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.

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

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

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 25:31-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine you did for me.'”

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Withering Heights


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 9, 2019

“On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.” In the Gospel today, we witnessed yet another pathetic example of hypocrisy taken to its unusual conclusion.  The scribes and Pharisees would rather a man suffer with a horribly deformed hand than to be cured on the Sabbath. This is because they prefer to maintain a deformed view of reality and others suffer who do not fit into their constructs and mindsets.  You see, the Sabbath is much more than law, but truly a gift of God’s care for all of us. He rested on the seventh day not out of fatigue, but to show how a fruitful life should be lived, with enough time for re-creation and renewal.  Our redemption from sin and death are truly the work of God and not us. He has literally “done all the work.” Now, for this glorious break, He wants us to enjoy!

You and I unfortunately tend to rush through our busy week, maybe offering God a fleeting wave or a passing prayer. Sunday, the Sabbath, however, calls us to true and thought-out decision with real intention. We are simply to stop from all the other things we had to do or must do or have to do, and spend quality time with Him and focus attention on Him. When we decide to obey, that is, listen to the Fourth Commandment, we become aware of the astounding and comforting truth that we really belong to God. It is not the Sabbath that we worship but the one who has initiated the Sabbath as we swim in a sort of a memorial in time, a useful tool to help us focus our attention on our awesome destiny. It has the great chance of avoiding spiritual withering within us and awaken the great promise of our Faith:  “It is Christ in you, the hope for glory.” 

On Sundays, try to remember this Reflection. Consider taking a different approach to the Sabbath and let God be at peace with you and for you. Cut out any unnecessary activity and focus on your hope of heaven. Then perhaps we may truly appreciate the blessing of St. John for us as cited from his Gospel in the Alleluia Verse of today: “My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” 

I am like the sick sheep that strays from the rest of the flock. Unless the Good Shepherd takes me on His shoulders and carries me back to His fold, my steps will falter, and in the very effort of rising, my feet will give way. St. Jerome

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September 9, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest Lectionary: 437

Reading 1 – COL1:24–2:3

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

For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you
and for those in Laodicea
and all who have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged
as they are brought together in love,
to have all the richness of assured understanding,
for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 62:6-7, 9

R.(8) In God is my safety and my glory.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R. In God is my safety and my glory.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!
R. In God is my safety and my glory.

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 6:6-11

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

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September 8, 2019


Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 129

Reading 1 – WIS 9:13-18B

 Who can know God’s counsel,
 or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
 For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
 and unsure are our plans.
 For the corruptible body burdens the soul
 and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
 And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
 and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
 but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
 Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
 and sent your holy spirit from on high?
 And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.

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

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

Reading 2 – PHMN 9-10, 12-17

I, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment;
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord. 
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.

Alleluia – PS 119:135

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
and teach me your laws.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 14:25-33

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

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Peace Terms


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 8, 2019

“Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?” The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) was the penultimate metaphor of people trying to reach heaven without the assistance of God. That is precisely why they were thrown into a huge and overwhelming state of confusion where no one could understand each other. That scene prepared us for Pentecost and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit which endow with the potential to understand everyone in their spheres of life because of the presence of love in their lives. Thus the reference in the Gospel is made to the tower that someone starts to build but cannot finish. 

“Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?” 10K troops vs. 20K troops? Is this a battle hard to call? The answer is absolutely “no,” but this passage is not about military exercises. It is about the impending confrontation that each of us has with death. Will we be ready?  It is time for “peace terms.” Thus, the Gospel of today gives to all of us the specifics of those terms. Before the final call, you and I must be sufficiently detached from this world but at the same time attached to living in the world walking in the light of truth. How is that done? “For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.”  Simply we are called to love in the power of the Holy Spirit which is freely given to those who love in the name of Jesus the Lord.

If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive. St. Teresa of Calcutta

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September 7, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 436

Reading 1 – COL1:21-23

Brothers and sisters:
You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds;
God has now reconciled you
in the fleshly Body of Christ through his death,
to present you holy, without blemish,
and irreproachable before him,
provided that you persevere in the faith,
firmly grounded, stable,
and not shifting from the hope of the Gospel that you heard,
which has been preached to every creature under heaven,
of which I, Paul, am a minister.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 54:3-4, 6 AND 8

R.(6) God himself is my help.
O God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. God himself is my help.
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. God himself is my help.

Alleluia – JN 14:6

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

Gospel – LK 6:1-5

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

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Picking Sabbath Grain


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 7, 2019

“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”  The Gospel of today points us to a condition of spiritual infection that is all around us. The pettiness and the self-inflated importance of the Pharisees remind us of those who have and exercise authority over us but under the lure and seduction of power on every scale which is immense depending on the degree of the power one possesses. The abuse of authority has inflicted great harm upon individuals and societies and has harmed the possibility of peace and forgiveness in our world. Jesus cuts through the very heart of the problem in the Gospel today which should ring loudly in every one of us no matter what state of life we occupy. He is the Lord of the Sabbath, of our days and nights and of all authority that ever existed over human beings. 

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

To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement. St. Augustine

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September 6, 2019


Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 435

Reading 1 – COL 1:15-20

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (2B) Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
For he is good,
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 5:33-39

The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers,
and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same;
but yours eat and drink.”
Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast
while the bridegroom is with them?
But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
then they will fast in those days.”
And he also told them a parable.
“No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one.
Otherwise, he will tear the new
and the piece from it will not match the old cloak.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins,
and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.
Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.
And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new,
for he says, ‘The old is good.'”

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Obvious Observations


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 6, 2019

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson went on a camping trip. After sharing a good meal and a bottle of fine French wine, they retire to their tent for the night. At about 3 AM, Holmes nudges Watson and asks, “Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?” Watson says, “I see millions of Stars.” 

Holmes asks, “And, what does that tell you?” Watson replies, “Astronomically, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, it tells me that it’s about 3 AM. Meteorologically, it tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Holmes?” 

Holmes retorts, “Someone stole our tent.” 

“No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. 

Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.”  Perhaps the most obvious hurdles Christians face in following the Lord are the many distractions that soon become almost expected and then ignored. They come in all shapes and sizes from the most usual places to the most surprising places. The issue here is how to spot the obvious signs and wonders which Jesus places right in front of our eyes. The obvious instructions concerning sewing patches or storing wine are funny, in a way, but they point to something quite telling. If we truly want to be happy and find our way to Heaven, we know we can call out to Jesus and He will hear us but when He answers will He find the same conditions in our souls that led us to fall and lose faith? There must be external change to match the internal desire for transformation.

So as we move through this First Friday of the month, look around: The blessings, the crosses, the tears and laughter and the ability to just breathe. What do you see? Isn’t it obvious?

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September 5, 2019


Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 434

Reading 1 – COL 1:9-14

Brothers and sisters:
From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you
and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding
to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit
and growing in the knowledge of God,
strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might,
for all endurance and patience,
with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

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

R. (2) The Lord has made known his salvation.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

Alleluia – MT 4:19

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

Gospel – LK 5:1-11

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

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How Deep Is Your Love?


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 5, 2019

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” In both the Old and New Testaments, the references to fish and fishing are many and significant. The very fact that the majority of Apostles whom Jesus called to found and build the Church were fishermen is not a causal reference. There are profound reasons that makes this quite significant for our own understanding of the Bible and of the Church itself. This also has implications concerning our own individual call to be good and faithful followers of Christ in this world. Let’s explore a few of them:

1. Fishing takes patience.

Good things, like waiting for the fish to bite, take time and this is certainly the case with our spiritual lives. Overcoming harmful habits and unhealthy attitudes means that we be patient with ourselves first before moving to evangelize our family and friends. 

2. Fishing requires humility.

The proverbial description of “the one that got away” and the exaggerated size of the alleged near-catch humorously illustrates the need for humility out on the water and for every Christian out in the world. For the follower of Jesus, there are no more bad days, but certainly some days are better than others. 

3. Fishing involves a team of people.

Keep in mind the kind of fishing that is referenced in the Scriptures. It is not the sole figure on the lake with one rod waiting patiently for the long-awaited prize for supper. No, rather the kind of fishing in both the Old and New Testaments involved using nets, large nets, that required a team of people to bring in the haul. This is clearly good when we think that it takes a community gathered of one mind to effectively bring the Gospel to a displaced and broken world. 

4. Fishing feeds people.

In early Christian churches, the Greek word for fish (ichthus) came to be interpreted as a sort of code word for the name of Jesus. You see, when you take the first letter of each of the Greek words for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” they spell “ichthus.” Although we cannot be sure when this identification first began or where it was first introduced, the fish has certainly become a standard Christian symbol. Perfect. We fish for Jesus, we fish with Him, and we bring Jesus to a hungering and starving people, all the while we become closer and closer. “’Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.” 

Jesus, like any good fisherman, first catches the fish then cleans them. Mark Potter

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September 4, 2019


Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 433

Reading 1 – COL1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Timothy our brother, 
to the holy ones and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:
grace to you and peace from God our Father.

We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you,
for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
and the love that you have for all the holy ones
because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.
Of this you have already heard 
through the word of truth, the Gospel, that has come to you.
Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing,
so also among you, 
from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth,
as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave,
who is a trustworthy minister of Christ on your behalf
and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 52:10, 11

R. (10) I trust in the mercy of God for ever.
I, like a green olive tree
in the house of God,
Trust in the mercy of God
forever and ever.
R. I trust in the mercy of God for ever.
I will thank you always for what you have done,
and proclaim the goodness of your name
before your faithful ones.
R. I trust in the mercy of God for ever.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – LK 4:38-44

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him,
they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
But he said to them, “To the other towns also
I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God,
because for this purpose I have been sent.”
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

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Fever Pitch


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 4, 2019

Each one of us woke up this morning and began this day with literally a million different possibilities as to how our lives would unravel as each minute ticked away. For some, it was a bright and glorious beginning, while for others, problems made their way onto our patch almost immediately. One thing is for certain, however, and that is we all have the same Shepherd: Jesus. We are in fact His own loved ones: “We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.” Every single moment of every single day, we belong to Him and He is always watching over us. That’s the kind of love He has for us which is why we can echo the words of the Psalmist today in the very depths of our hearts: “I will thank you always for what you have done proclaim the goodness of your name before your faithful ones.”

In the Gospel today, Jesus’ healing of the fever-ravishing Simon’s mother-in-law and his confrontation with the demons tells us all right here and right now that He has the power and the love to do the same for each one of us wherever we are, in whatever station of life. These particular Scriptures call out to do a number of things today: 1) acknowledge He is present to you, 2) lift and present to Him all the matters and people you have to confront today, especially sickness, 3) believe both in His power and love, and 4) wait patiently. Perhaps we could say today that we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that we must confront sickness and evil on daily basis with numbing regularity. The good news is that we are not alone in these confrontations. We carry with us the one who has defeated both now and forever.

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible. St. Francis of Assisi

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September 3 – Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church


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Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 635

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, or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

Reading 1 – 2 COR 4:1-2, 5-7

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us,
we are not discouraged.
Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden things;
not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God,
but by the open declaration of the truth
we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
has shone in our hearts to bring to light
the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.

But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 7-8, 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 God’s 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 15:15B

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

Gospel – LK 22:24-30

An argument broke out among the Apostles
about which of them should be regarded as the greatest.
Jesus said to them,
“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them
and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’;
but among you it shall not be so.
Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest,
and the leader as the servant.
For who is greater:
the one seated at table or the one who serves?
Is it not the one seated at table?
I am among you as the one who serves.
It is you who have stood by me in my trials;
and I confer a kingdom on you,
just as my Father has conferred one on me,
that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom;
and you will sit on thrones
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

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September 3, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 432

Reading 1 – 1 THES 5:1-6, 9-11

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know very well
that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
When people are saying, “Peace and security,”
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, 
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief.
For all of you are children of the light 
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.
For God did not destine us for wrath,
but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep
we may live together with him.
Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up,
as indeed you do.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

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 – LK 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, 
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

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Conflicts, Choices and the Cross


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 3, 2019

“Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.” When we look and study all the moments of the life of Jesus, we realize that the Lord does not introduce anything new in terms of human experiences but rather elevates and imbues tremendous meaning and purpose into them. When evil and the demons of our lives approach, we realize first-hand that we truly need faith in the one who can handle and defeat them. These present themselves as conflicts which call us to make choices.

Conflicts: “Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.” Every last one of us must face conflicts practically every day of our lives, even if they surface from with us. Therefore, it is not an indication or measurement of how much we are loved when we have issues or problems, but rather what we are going to do with them.

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

A Cross. The original audience of Jesus experienced tremendous suffering and loss. They knew very well what a cross was. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions the swift & cruel action of Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman General under the Emperor Augustus who crushed a revolt in Judea in 4 BC. After occupying Jerusalem, he crucified 2000 Jewish rebels and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee. This is why Jesus had and has tremendous compassion for His people, then and now: “For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.”

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

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September 2, 2019


Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 431

Reading 1 – 1 THES 4:13-18

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
about those who have fallen asleep,
so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose,
so too will God, through Jesus,
bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord,
will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God,
will come down from heaven, 
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left,
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:1 AND 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13

R. (13B) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the LORD made the heavens.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia – SEE LK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

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

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Good Grief


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 2, 2019

“We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” One of the most deep and mystifying elements of all the Scriptures that reveals the most fundamental face of God is that not only does God love us but He also wants intimately to be with us especially while we are suffering. This involves all kinds of hurt and burdensome worry and heaviness, especially grief when we mourn the loss of anything even our peace of mind. 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” This beautiful facet of our faith is completely substantiated by the double-reference of this astounding statement. Double because it is a quote in Luke’s Gospel from the Prophet Isaiah in the Old and totally fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, true God and true man. When faced with any of life’s most difficult moments, especially that of losing someone so dear and so loving, the Spirit of the Lord rests upon us through the grace of our faith and our acceptance of God’s will for our lives. We call this good grief because it reveals the very nature of God’s love for us if we just open the deepest recesses of our hearts and allow Him to hold us and dry away our tears. 

The darker the night, the brighter the stars, 
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!” 

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment 

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September 1, 2019


Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 126

Reading 1 – SIR 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
 and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
 Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
 and you will find favor with God.
 What is too sublime for you, seek not,
 into things beyond your strength search not.
 The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
 and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
 Water quenches a flaming fire,
 and alms atone for sins.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11

R. (cf. 11B)  God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.

Reading 2 – HEB 12:18-19, 22-24A

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

Alleluia – MT 11:29AB

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

Gospel – LK 14:1, 7-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor. 
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place. 
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. 
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

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Very Unmusical Chairs


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 1, 2019

“Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” When people ask us what humility truly is, we could start with the base meaning of the word which comes from the word for dirt, earth, or ground. All these words indicate someone who is grounded or as we say, “down to earth.” While Jesus notices all those people in the Gospel who are scrambling for the places of honor, one has to wonder if they are practicing humility. Probably not. 

Now there have been literally hundreds of opinions and commentaries written that attempt to unlock the mystery and meaning of these beautiful passages. Some try to make comments about social eating practices and pseudo-religious self-righteousness of the people of that time, others will comment on the aspects of humility and generosity, while still others make direct application to feeding the poor and hungry and doing things for people who could never repay you. Trust me, each of these angles certainly have great merit.  A humble person does not have to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others who do not know who he really is. A giving person is clearly happier than a stingy one. Hypocrisy is a real disease. 

However, there is evidence of deeper meaning present which is suggested by the context of the passages, namely, the banquet. In the Scriptures, there are many mentions of meals and celebrations which clearly point to the heavenly banquet after we finish this life. Thus, spiritual disease down here translates to a quarantine for the eternal celebration; neglecting the poor and starving now means we become spiritually impoverished and famished for heaven later, and collecting rewards and accolades from the audiences of this world powerfully suggests there’ll be no applause, added benefit or honor in the next world that never ends.

This particular approach to Chapter 14 also sheds light on the Gospel of today, hidden, perhaps, in the two different directions that a person is directed after entering the banquet hall and before the meal is served: “My friend, move up to a higher position…..you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.” Higher or lower. Up or Down. Heaven or Hell. Therefore, when Jesus comments on all the folks who are scrambling to get to the really good seats, it is very likely that the inescapable lesson not to be missed is about presumption. Just because in our mind, based on all the limited information and knowledge at our earthly disposal, we assume that we are definitely going to heaven or that awful neighbor of ours is certainly not, that might not be the case.

Thank God for Mercy! The Psalm echoes our gratitude: “God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.”  Thank you, Jesus! He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His great mercy. 

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