The Word of God

November 30, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle Lectionary: 684

Reading 1 – ROM 10:9-18

Brothers and sisters:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
The Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
As it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!
But not everyone has heeded the good news;
for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?
Thus faith comes from what is heard,
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
But I ask, did they not hear?
Certainly they did; for

Their voice has gone forth to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

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 – MT 4:19

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

Gospel – MT 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father 
and followed him.

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Gone Fishing


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 30, 2019

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Apart from being so close to the water and thus positioned by the Sea of Galilee, there must be other more powerful reasons why Jesus called Fishermen to follow Him and why fishing has become a very important image for all of us in discipleship. 

What do fishing and living a Christian life have in common? Here are some possibilities:

You’ve got to be prepared.
“For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.” 

You’ve got to get up early.
“At once they left their nets and followed him.”

You’ve got to be quiet.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.”

You’ve got to wait.
“Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” 

You’ve got to be persistent and determined.
“The command of the LORD is clear enlightening the eye.” 

You’ve got to practice and enjoy the process.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” 

Let us conclude our Reflection today with the brilliant prayer of St. Andrew whose feast is today: “O glorious St. Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend, St. John, you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother, St. Peter, to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to Him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him and dedication in His service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.” 

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November 29, 2019


Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 507

Reading 1 – DN 7:2-14

In a vision I, Daniel, saw during the night,
the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea,
from which emerged four immense beasts,
each different from the others.
The first was like a lion, but with eagle’s wings.
While I watched, the wings were plucked;
it was raised from the ground to stand on two feet
like a man, and given a human mind. 
The second was like a bear; it was raised up on one side,
and among the teeth in its mouth were three tusks.
It was given the order, “Up, devour much flesh.” 
After this I looked and saw another beast, like a leopard;
on its back were four wings like those of a bird,
and it had four heads.
To this beast dominion was given.
After this, in the visions of the night I saw the fourth beast,
different from all the others,
terrifying, horrible, and of extraordinary strength;
it had great iron teeth with which it devoured and crushed,
and what was left it trampled with its feet.
I was considering the ten horns it had,
when suddenly another, a little horn, sprang out of their midst,
and three of the previous horns were torn away to make room for it.
This horn had eyes like a man,
and a mouth that spoke arrogantly.
As I watched,

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

The court was convened, and the books were opened.
I watched, then, from the first of the arrogant words
which the horn spoke, until the beast was slain
and its body thrown into the fire to be burnt up.
The other beasts, which also lost their dominion,
were granted a prolongation of life for a time and a season.
As the visions during the night continued, I saw

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

Responsorial Psalm – DANIEL 3:75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81

R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
“Mountains and hills, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
“Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!”
“You springs, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
“Seas and rivers, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
“You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
“All you birds of the air, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!
“All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Alleluia – LK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable.
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
in the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, 
but my words will not pass away.”

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Visions, Parables, And Black Friday


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 29, 2019

We wonder how many of our readers are fighting crowds and over-anxious shoppers at this very moment to participate in the annual rush to save money on all the fantastic deals that were previously unavailable. Hmm? Whether you are one of them or, like many of us, staying home and relaxing ready to reheat Thanksgiving morsels, the Word of God continues to nourish our souls especially as we prepare the great and enlightening time of Advent!

“In a vision, I, Daniel, saw during the night, the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea, from which emerged four immense beasts, each different from the others.” Here we are treated to Daniel’s vision of four world kingdoms replaced by the Kingdom God. The four beasts which come out of the sea prepare for the new kingdom led and ruled by “one like a son of man.” So amidst the clamor and uproar of the background scene, the hope of Jesus is shown through the chaos for all to welcome or fear, depending on the disposition and readiness. 

“Jesus told his disciples a parable. ‘Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near.'” In the Gospel of today, a different kind of imagery takes shape. This time it is the fig tree which is quite obvious in its appearance when it is ready to burst out with fruit for those patiently waiting. 

So you must see the pattern: amidst the chaos, there are those who patiently wait for fulfillment and they are not disappointed. It all depends on which chaos you choose and how much patience you can muster. The time to prepare is now. Let us resolve to take stock in our lives and see what is important and what is not. Jesus is coming!

“In the never-ending battle between order and chaos, clutter sides with chaos every time. Anything that you possess that does not add to your life or your happiness eventually becomes a burden.” John Robbins

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November 28, 2019 – Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time


Click here for Thanksgiving Day

Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 506

Reading 1 – DN 6:12-28

Some men rushed into the upper chamber of Daniel’s home
and found him praying and pleading before his God.
Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition:
“Did you not decree, O king,
that no one is to address a petition to god or man
for thirty days, except to you, O king;
otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions?”
The king answered them, “The decree is absolute,
irrevocable under the Mede and Persian law.”
To this they replied, “Daniel, the Jewish exile,
has paid no attention to you, O king,
or to the decree you issued;
three times a day he offers his prayer.”
The king was deeply grieved at this news
and he made up his mind to save Daniel;
he worked till sunset to rescue him.
But these men insisted.
They said, “Keep in mind, O king,
that under the Mede and Persian law
every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable.”
So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den.
To Daniel he said,
“May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you.”
To forestall any tampering,
the king sealed with his own ring and the rings of the lords
the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den.

Then the king returned to his palace for the night;
he refused to eat and he dismissed the entertainers.
Since sleep was impossible for him,
the king rose very early the next morning
and hastened to the lions’ den.
As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully,
“O Daniel, servant of the living God,
has the God whom you serve so constantly
been able to save you from the lions?”
Daniel answered the king: “O king, live forever! 
My God has sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths
so that they have not hurt me.
For I have been found innocent before him;
neither to you have I done any harm, O king!”
This gave the king great joy.
At his order Daniel was removed from the den,
unhurt because he trusted in his God.
The king then ordered the men who had accused Daniel,
along with their children and their wives,
to be cast into the lions’ den.
Before they reached the bottom of the den,
the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

Then King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language,
wherever they dwell on the earth:  “All peace to you!
I decree that throughout my royal domain
the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared:

“For he is the living God, enduring forever;
his Kingdom shall not be destroyed, 
and his dominion shall be without end.
He is a deliverer and savior,
working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth,
and he delivered Daniel from the lions’ power.”

Responsorial Psalm – DANIEL 3:68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74

R. (59B) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Frost and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Ice and snow, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Nights and days, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Light and darkness, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Let the earth bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Alleluia – LK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”

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November 28, 2019 – Thanksgiving Day


Click here for Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Thanksgiving Day Lectionary: 943-947

Reading 1 – SIR 50:22-24

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure in Israel
to deliver us in our days.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R. (see 1)  I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
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. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works. 
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
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. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
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. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 1:3-9

Brothers and sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alleluia – 1 THES 5:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed. 
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. 
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine? 
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” 
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 28, 2019

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a tin can at his feet.  He emptied it to see if he had enough to buy some food for dinner. There was a sign next to him which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in there. But a man was walking by and took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the can.  He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words. Soon the can began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.  That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were going. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning?  What did you write?” The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.” I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.”

Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were blessed that they were not blind. Their generosity increased exponentially as their gratitude grew within their hearts.

Our First Reading today gives us this inspiring thought: “Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb, and fashions them according to his will!”  What we can learn from this passage is the power and crucial place that God’s will has in the life of the Christian. His Will that takes precedence over everything and everyone. Psalm 145 reiterates this for us: “They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty and tell of your wondrous works.” With this in mind, we can certainly trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—to be perfect, albeit in a strange, mysterious way. The Portuguese have this wonderful saying, “Deus escreve direito por linhas tortas,” which basically translated is, “God writes straight with crooked lines.”  I’ve also heard it expresses like this: “Not everything that looks good at first is actually good, and likewise, not every seemingly bad turns out that way.” The Second Reading underscores that rich idea when it assures us, “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

The Gospel certainly reminds us that there are still so many ungrateful people in the world that make it very hard for us to fully understand and experience what it means to live freely with God’s amazing grace. God does not need for us to say “thank you.” We do. If we are not grateful, we will stop appreciating all that is around us and when that happens, we begin a path along the road of total destruction. Maybe it is because, for some people, life has been hard and disappointing. For these, the great mercy and generous heart of God our Father must be sought and found constantly. Terrible, bad, even horribly tragic and disappointing things will happen to us, but that does not mean it’s the end of the world. A close relative of mine used to invest way-too-much of himself in relationships and when they went sour, he thought his world was over. It was just the world he built, a delicate and unbalanced world of wayward feelings and crushing emotions. He says today with confidence, “in the end, it’s all going to be OK; and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.” 

So today on Thanksgiving: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative, be innovative. Think differently and positively. When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

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November 27, 2019


Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 505

Reading 1 – DN 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his lords,
with whom he drank.
Under the influence of the wine,
he ordered the gold and silver vessels
which Nebuchadnezzar, his father,
had taken from the temple in Jerusalem,
to be brought in so that the king, his lords,
his wives and his entertainers might drink from them.
When the gold and silver vessels
taken from the house of God in Jerusalem had been brought in,
and while the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers
were drinking wine from them,
they praised their gods of gold and silver,
bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Suddenly, opposite the lampstand,
the fingers of a human hand appeared,
writing on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace.
When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, his face blanched;
his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook,
and his knees knocked.

Then Daniel was brought into the presence of the king.
The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel, the Jewish exile,
whom my father, the king, brought from Judah?
I have heard that the Spirit of God is in you,
that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom.
I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties;
if you are able to read the writing and tell me what it means,
you shall be clothed in purple,
wear a gold collar about your neck,
and be third in the government of the kingdom.”

Daniel answered the king:
“You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else;
but the writing I will read for you, O king,
and tell you what it means.
You have rebelled against the Lord of heaven.
You had the vessels of his temple brought before you,
so that you and your nobles, your wives and your entertainers,
might drink wine from them;
and you praised the gods of silver and gold,
bronze and iron, wood and stone,
that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence.
But the God in whose hand is your life breath
and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify.
By him were the wrist and hand sent, and the writing set down.

“This is the writing that was inscribed:
MENE, TEKEL, and PERES.
These words mean:
MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it;
TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting;
PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Responsorial Psalm – DANIEL 3:62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67

R.(59B) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Sun and moon, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Stars of heaven, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you winds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Fire and heat, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Cold and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Alleluia – RV 2:10C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

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How Much Do You Weigh?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 27, 2019

The words “gravity,” “grave,” and “gravitas” all come from a basic concept. If you say that someone has gravitas, you mean that you respect them because they seem serious and intelligent with reserved dignity and good taste in behavior and speech, thus they are “heavy,” as in the concept of gravity. They carry a lot of meaning and importance. They mean a tremendous amount to an individual or to a society. We would unreservedly trust their opinion and take their advice without question. Which is bad news for King Belshazzar who threw his legendary feast for all his friends only to be visited, without invitation, by the original and thereafter proverbial “writing on the wall” with some very harsh and bad news: “…you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” 

How would you and I then gain weight, gravitas, that is? We know we will be put on some kind of scale when it is all said and done. So how will this work?

“By your perseverance, you will secure your lives.” Here are some examples: Keep your promises especially if takes more effort than anticipated; never betray a friend’s trust; avoid gossip; remain true to your friends and spouse; return money that you have found without expecting a reward; always know that Jesus is present when making any choices, big or small. These are but just a few and there will certainly be more revealed throughout the day. 

This is of extreme importance in our walk with God because many times our lives seem out of order, unorganized and even chaotic. Bad and disappointing things happen which may tempt us to believe that somehow the Lord has abandoned us which is precisely why we constantly need to remember what marvels God has done and keeps on accomplishing. How do we translate this into our spiritual lives? This is how the Lord would put it: “Remain faithful until death, And I will give you the crown of life.”

 

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November 26, 2019


Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 504

Reading 1 – DN 2:31-45

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar:
“In your vision, O king, you saw a statue,
very large and exceedingly bright,
terrifying in appearance as it stood before you.
The head of the statue was pure gold,
its chest and arms were silver,
its belly and thighs bronze, the legs iron,
its feet partly iron and partly tile.
While you looked at the statue,
a stone which was hewn from a mountain
without a hand being put to it,
struck its iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces.
The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once,
fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer,
and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace.
But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain
and filled the whole earth.

“This was the dream;
the interpretation we shall also give in the king’s presence.
You, O king, are the king of kings;
to you the God of heaven
has given dominion and strength, power and glory;
men, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell,
he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all;
you are the head of gold.
Another kingdom shall take your place, inferior to yours,
then a third kingdom, of bronze,
which shall rule over the whole earth.
There shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron;
it shall break in pieces and subdue all these others,
just as iron breaks in pieces and crushes everything else.
The feet and toes you saw, partly of potter’s tile and partly of iron,
mean that it shall be a divided kingdom,
but yet have some of the hardness of iron.
As you saw the iron mixed with clay tile,
and the toes partly iron and partly tile,
the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
The iron mixed with clay tile
means that they shall seal their alliances by intermarriage,
but they shall not stay united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
In the lifetime of those kings
the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people;
rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms
and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.
That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain
without a hand being put to it,
which broke in pieces the tile, iron, bronze, silver, and gold.
The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future;
this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.”

Responsorial Psalm – DANIEL 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61

R. (59B) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“You heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Alleluia – RV 2:10C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” 
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ 
Do not follow them! 
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.” 
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

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How Does It Really End?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 26, 2019

After a quick review of human history, it seems as if there has been a long and protracted preoccupation with the idea of how a person’s life and the world will end. The end of the universe as we know it has been a fascination of all cultures and all peoples for a long time including the Scriptures today: “The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future; this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.” (Nebuchadnezzar was concerned about his own demise). In the Gospel, the worry about the last days was becoming neurotic: “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them!”

Imagine spending a pretty penny on a novel or movie only to be told as you began reading and/or watching, how the plot would be resolved and who would die, survive, marry, get arrested, etc. You would probably be thinking: “Spoiler Alert!” Why did you bother spending money on this? That concept works with entertainment venues but it does not work with regards to our Salvation. Jesus has already set the stage for our triumphant and glorious entry into Heaven but we must take the necessary steps to get there. So this is what we know about the end of our world: a) it is going to happen, 2) it is going to happen when we least suspect, 3) there is no need for fear, just action: “Remain faithful until death, And I will give you the crown of life.”

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the Master calls a butterfly.” Richard Bach

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November 25, 2019


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

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 503

Reading 1 – DN 1:1-6, 8-20

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came
and laid siege to Jerusalem.
The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
and some of the vessels of the temple of God;
he carried them off to the land of Shinar,
and placed the vessels in the temple treasury of his god.

The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain,
to bring in some of the children of Israel of royal blood
and of the nobility, young men without any defect,
handsome, intelligent and wise,
quick to learn, and prudent in judgment,
such as could take their place in the king’s palace;
they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans;
after three years’ training they were to enter the king’s service.
The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine
from the royal table.
Among these were men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah.

But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself
with the king’s food or wine;
so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement.
Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy
of the chief chamberlain, he nevertheless said to Daniel,
“I am afraid of my lord the king;
it is he who allotted your food and drink.
If he sees that you look wretched
by comparison with the other young men of your age,
you will endanger my life with the king.”
Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain
had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah,
“Please test your servants for ten days.
Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men
who eat from the royal table,
and treat your servants according to what you see.”
He acceded to this request, and tested them for ten days;
after ten days they looked healthier and better fed
than any of the young men who ate from the royal table.
So the steward continued to take away
the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables.

To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency
in all literature and science,
and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams.
At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation,
the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar.
When the king had spoken with all of them,
none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah;
and so they entered the king’s service.
In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them,
he found them ten times better
than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 24:42A, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stay awake!
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

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November 25 – Memorial of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr


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Optional Memorial of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr
Lectionary: 683C

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs (#713-718), or the Common of Virgins (#731-736).

Reading 1 – RV 21:5-7

The One who was seated on the throne said:
“Behold, I make all things new.”
Then he said, “Write these words down,
for they are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me, “They are accomplished.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
To the thirsty I will give a gift 
from the spring of life-giving water.
The victor will inherit these gifts,
and I shall be his God,
and he will be my son.”

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

R. (7) Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Had not the LORD been with us– 
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive
When their fury was inflamed against us.  
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept 
the raging waters.  
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.  
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.

Alleluia See Te Deum

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


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 25, 2019

There are many of our readers who undoubtedly have heard the phrase, “you are what you eat” in several venues and circumstances most likely in nutritional based conversations. It seems to have its early beginnings in 1826 in a book about physiology which is better translated, “tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” Without straying too far from our intent here, let us all agree on this much: what we allow into our lives, physically or spiritually, even emotionally, will have tremendous, even life-changing effects. Daniel must have known that in our First Reading today. “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men who eat from the royal table and treat your servants according to what you see.” The result there was amazing.

The opposite is also true: what we do NOT allow into our lives also has similar results. Take the poor widow in the Gospel: “…but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” The poor widow lived on a diet of trust and confidence in the Lord for her every need and want. Her selfless act has been sung throughout history and all because she knew how to live, how to give back, how to depend on God and how to avoid selfish foods that just make one arrogant and selfish. What’s on your plate?

“The best things in life aren’t things.” Art Buchwald

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November 24, 2019


The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Lectionary: 162

Reading 1 – 2 SM 5:1-3

In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh. 
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back. 
And the LORD said to you,
‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'” 
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.

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

R. (cf. 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.

Reading 2 – COL 1:12-20

Brothers and sisters:
Let us give 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.

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

Alleluia – MK 11:9, 10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 23:35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” 
Even the soldiers jeered at him. 
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” 
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.” 
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”

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Christ The King


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 24, 2019

“His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.” What a marvelous and glorious way to end the Church’s Calendar Year with the Feast of Christ the King! Next Sunday, we begin all over again with the First Sunday of Advent, but for now, let us finish a full year of faith and hopefully much spiritual growth since the last time we were at this “Movable Feast.” Why “movable”? Because in a very mysterious and providential way, we take this moment with us wherever we go, preparing one day to stand, as it were, face-to-face with Jesus when everything is said and done. “The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.” So my friends, one day it will indeed be our last reflection, our final use of our intellect on this planet, and the final moment to use the time we have been given to discover our purpose in this life and to uncover the courage necessary to meet the challenges we daily face.

What will they write upon your tombstone or grave marker? How will people remember you? How do you remember the people you have loved and miss and cared for? The Gospel today gives us the most impeccable clue. 

“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” We will be remembered based on all the times we sought and found the face of Jesus in the lives in which we were situated, especially the people we did not always see eye to eye or get along with. When did we ever turn and actually see Christ the King in our midst? Every day we got up from sleep and began our day!

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Steve Maraboli

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November 23, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Clement I, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Columban, please go here.

Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 502

Reading 1 – 1 MC 6:1-13

As King Antiochus was traversing the inland provinces,
he heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais,
famous for its wealth in silver and gold,
and that its temple was very rich,
containing gold helmets, breastplates, and weapons
left there by Alexander, son of Philip,
king of Macedon, the first king of the Greeks.
He went therefore and tried to capture and pillage the city.
But he could not do so,
because his plan became known to the people of the city
who rose up in battle against him.
So he retreated and in great dismay withdrew from there
to return to Babylon.

While he was in Persia, a messenger brought him news
that the armies sent into the land of Judah had been put to flight;
that Lysias had gone at first with a strong army
and been driven back by the children of Israel;
that they had grown strong
by reason of the arms, men, and abundant possessions
taken from the armies they had destroyed;
that they had pulled down the Abomination
which he had built upon the altar in Jerusalem;
and that they had surrounded with high walls
both the sanctuary, as it had been before,
and his city of Beth-zur.

When the king heard this news,
he was struck with fear and very much shaken.
Sick with grief because his designs had failed, he took to his bed.
There he remained many days, overwhelmed with sorrow,
for he knew he was going to die.

So he called in all his Friends and said to them:
“Sleep has departed from my eyes,
for my heart is sinking with anxiety.
I said to myself: ‘Into what tribulation have I come,
and in what floods of sorrow am I now!
Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.’
But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem,
when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver
that were in it, and for no cause
gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed.
I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me;
and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 9:2-3, 4 AND 6, 16 AND 19

R. (see 16A) I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.
R. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
Because my enemies are turned back,
overthrown and destroyed before you.
You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.
R. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
The nations are sunk in the pit they have made;
in the snare they set, their foot is caught.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor shall the hope of the afflicted forever perish.
R. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.

Alleluia – SEE 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – LK 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless. 
Finally the woman also died. 
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise. 
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called  ‘Lord’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.” 
Some of the scribes said in reply,
“Teacher, you have answered well.”
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

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November 23 – Memorial of Saint Clement I, Pope and Martyr


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Optional Memorial of Saint Clement I, pope and martyr
Lectionary: 682

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: For a Pope, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 1 PT 5:1-4

Beloved:
I exhort the presbyters among you,
as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ
and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.
Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing it not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

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

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

Alleluia – MK 1:17

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

Gospel – MT 16:13-19

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

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November 23 – Memorial of Saint Columban, Abbot


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Optional Memorial of Saint Columban, abbot
Lectionary: 683

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

Reading 1 – IS 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”

Hark!  Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
For they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts his people,
he redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
All the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

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

R.    (3)  Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R.    Proclaim 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 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 9:57-62

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

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Will You Know My Name?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 23, 2019

There seems a common thread woven throughout all of our lives especially when it comes to issue of death. There certainly does exist a vast disparity in the experience of one’s own end versus the concluding hours of someone we love and over whom we will certainly grieve. That thread expands from deep isolation to outright anger. Worry is another casualty-harbinger. Still, others miss the mark completely when confronted with the heaviness of death and loss as we saw today in the Gospel: “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” There was Jesus standing right in front of these “learned” people with the very answer to life’s most perplexing question “why do we have to die?” and the only intelligent remark offered was hardly astute. And this was because the larger picture was not appreciated because of their lack of faith and grave suspicion of Jesus. “Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.”

The truth is simple. Jesus is Lord of life and death. Everything He touches will be completely transformed and even better than we could ever imagined, both here on earth and in Heaven: “They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” We could certainly learn a tremendous truth here. When we stand in front of Jesus, without the bothers and cares of this world, we simply won’t have any questions, except perhaps, “Do you know who I am?”

I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, “How many good things have you done in your life?” rather He will ask, “How much love did you put into what you did?” St. Teresa of Calcutta 

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November 22 – Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr


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Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr
Lectionary: 681

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs, #713-718, or the Common of Virgins, #726-731.

Reading 1 – HOS 2:16BC, 17CD, 21-22

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

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

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

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

Alleluia 

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the wise bridesmaid, whom the Lord found waiting;
at his coming, she went in with him to the wedding feast.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:1-13

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

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November 22, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr Lectionary: 501

Reading 1 – 1 MC 4:36-37, 52-59

Judas and his brothers said,
“Now that our enemies have been crushed,
let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it.”
So the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion.

Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month,
that is, the month of Chislev,
in the year one hundred and forty-eight,
they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law
on the new altar of burnt offerings that they had made. 
On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it,
on that very day it was reconsecrated
with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals.
All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven,
who had given them success.

For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar
and joyfully offered burnt offerings and sacrifices
of deliverance and praise.
They ornamented the facade of the temple with gold crowns and shields;
they repaired the gates and the priests’ chambers
and furnished them with doors.
There was great joy among the people
now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed.
Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel
decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar
should be observed with joy and gladness
on the anniversary every year for eight days,
from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.

Responsorial Psalm – 1 CHRONICLES 29:10BCD, 11ABC, 11D-12A, 12BCD

R.(13B) We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
“Blessed may you be, O LORD,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity.”
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
“Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory.
For all in heaven and on earth is yours.”
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
“Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor are from you.”
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
“You have dominion over all,
In your hand are power and might;
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all.”
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

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 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.”

And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.

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The Drama Of Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 22, 2019

“Now that our enemies have been crushed, let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it.” The entire wealth of the Holy Scriptures are replete with celebrations. Sacrifices, parties, and celebrations of all kinds literally strewn the panorama of scenes set before us to highlight the kind of activity that accompanies all the experiences that humanity provides as a result of following the Lord and living in His presence. 

Such was the episode when the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus steps into the Gospel with riveting action: “Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” For this and many other actions and confrontations documented throughout the Gospels, the elite class of religiosity and other power enthused leaders wanted to put Christ to death but could not find the effective means or vehicle “because all the people were hanging on his words.”

As we near the great and vigilant Season of Advent, this sweet and sour serving of Scripture has all the potential of the world to prepare us for great things ahead. Realizing that well done is always better than well said, let us begin the gargantuan task of bringing both the attractiveness and inspirational nature of the Word of God and fuse it with good and effective deeds every day we are given. In this way, we will begin to understand Heaven as the celestial banquet and live lives of grateful service to one another.

“Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” Robert Lous Stevenson 

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November 21 – Memorial of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary


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Memorial of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 680

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

Reading 1 – ZEC 2:14-17

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

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

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

Alleluia – LK 11:28

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

Gospel – MT 12:46-50

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

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November 21, 2019


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

Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lectionary: 500

Reading 1 – 1 MC 2:15-29

The officers of the king in charge of enforcing the apostasy
came to the city of Modein to organize the sacrifices.
Many of Israel joined them,
but Mattathias and his sons gathered in a group apart.
Then the officers of the king addressed Mattathias:
“You are a leader, an honorable and great man in this city,
supported by sons and kin.
Come now, be the first to obey the king’s command,
as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah
and those who are left in Jerusalem have done.
Then you and your sons shall be numbered among the King’s Friends,
and shall be enriched with silver and gold and many gifts.”
But Mattathias answered in a loud voice:
“Although all the Gentiles in the king’s realm obey him,
so that each forsakes the religion of his fathers
and consents to the king’s orders,
yet I and my sons and my kin 
will keep to the covenant of our fathers.
God forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments.
We will not obey the words of the king
nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree.”

As he finished saying these words,
a certain Jew came forward in the sight of all
to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein
according to the king’s order.
When Mattathias saw him, he was filled with zeal;
his heart was moved and his just fury was aroused;
he sprang forward and killed him upon the altar.
At the same time, he also killed the messenger of the king
who was forcing them to sacrifice,
and he tore down the altar.
Thus he showed his zeal for the law,
just as Phinehas did with Zimri, son of Salu.

Then Mattathias went through the city shouting,
“Let everyone who is zealous for the law
and who stands by the covenant follow after me!”
Thereupon he fled to the mountains with his sons,
leaving behind in the city all their possessions.
Many who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom
went out into the desert to settle there.

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

R.(23B) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
for God himself is the judge.
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High;
Then call upon me in time of distress;
I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – LK 19:41-44

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your children within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

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If You Only Knew


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 21, 2019

“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Perhaps there are some among us who have come across people in our lives who, as we might say, “just don’t get it.” We should point out quickly, before time and comfort get the better of us, that we are most certainly in that very same category at least a few times in our lives. Why is that the most profound answers and solutions to life’s most perplexing problems are right in front of us and we don’t seem to notice? The answer to that may be found in the question that creeps upon us in the daily doses of Scripture of which we also have today: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

This apparent spiritual blindness was not just a simple, arbitrary aspect of human nature. It made Jesus cry. “How sad!” we might think but let us be careful. Am I making Jesus cry right now as well? We would hope not because that would be an even sadder chapter of the fabric of our lives today. How could this be in a time when we want to be open and disposed to all that the Lord wants to give us and bestow upon us on a daily basis? The only explanation is the daily distraction of life that keeps us from thinking and praying about the things that really matter. The pull of society and even the evil aspects of the world seemed to have propelled the people in the First Reading to remove themselves almost entirely to find peace in their lives: “Many who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom went out into the desert to settle there.”

As we move closer to the end of the Liturgical Year, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and dare we say it, even the New Year, we can and must begin a review of our lives right here and right now. 

“An unexamined life is not worth living, and an unexamined faith is not worth holding.” Ergun Caner

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November 20, 2019


Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 499

Reading 1 – 2 MC 7:1, 20-31

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.

Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother,
who saw her seven sons perish in a single day,
yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.
Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage,
she exhorted each of them
in the language of their ancestors with these words:
“I do not know how you came into existence in my womb;
it was not I who gave you the breath of life,
nor was it I who set in order
the elements of which each of you is composed.
Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe
who shapes each man’s beginning,
as he brings about the origin of everything,
he, in his mercy,
will give you back both breath and life,
because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.”

Antiochus, suspecting insult in her words,
thought he was being ridiculed.
As the youngest brother was still alive, the king appealed to him,
not with mere words, but with promises on oath,
to make him rich and happy if he would abandon his ancestral customs:
he would make him his Friend
and entrust him with high office.
When the youth paid no attention to him at all,
the king appealed to the mother,
urging her to advise her boy to save his life.
After he had urged her for a long time,
she went through the motions of persuading her son.
In derision of the cruel tyrant,
she leaned over close to her son and said in their native language:
“Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months,
nursed you for three years, brought you up,
educated and supported you to your present age.
I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth
and see all that is in them;
then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things;
and in the same way the human race came into existence.
Do not be afraid of this executioner,
but be worthy of your brothers and accept death,
so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them.”

She had scarcely finished speaking when the youth said:
“What are you waiting for?
I will not obey the king’s command.
I obey the command of the law given to our fathers through Moses.
But you, who have contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews,
will not escape the hands of God.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 17:1BCD, 5-6, 8B AND 15

R.(15B) Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
My steps have been steadfast in your paths,
my feet have not faltered.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

Alleluia – SEE JN 15:16

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

Gospel – LK 19:11-28

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’
Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’
He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.'”

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Convenience Vs. Truth


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 20, 2019

Our First Reading today is one of the most dramatic, heart-breaking scenes in all of Scripture: “Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother, who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.” The depth of faith and true integrity of life that existed in the mother of the seven sons is unfortunately sparsely witnessed today and is desperately and sorely needed. What is integrity? Some have stated that it is the choice we make when confronted with paths of doing what is convenient or what is right. It is the manner in which Jesus lived and died and thus calls us to emulate: “I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.”

If the central theme of our Readings today is in fact integrity of life, then the Gospel makes perfect sense: “I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

The gift and presence of integrity in a person’s life give true and lasting freedom. Why? because if we live complete and honest lives we have nothing to fear because he have nothing to hide. Therefore, we are guided by such a strong inner principle that we move toward the right thing to do in every circumstance, every opportunity because there is no pathetic guilt to stand in the way. Selfish, weak and dishonest folks lose what little self-respect they have just to get by and be liked. You see “image” is what we want people to think of us and work hard to maintain; integrity is the real story. It is who we know we are before God. 

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November 19, 2019


Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 498

Reading 1 – 2 MC 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,
a man of advanced age and noble appearance,
was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork. 
But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,
he spat out the meat,
and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,
as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food
which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life. 
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him,
and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,
such as he could legitimately eat,
and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice
prescribed by the king;
in this way he would escape the death penalty,
and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,
worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,
the merited distinction of his gray hair,
and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;
and so he declared that above all
he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once
to the abode of the dead, explaining:
“At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense;
many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar
had gone over to an alien religion.
Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,
they would be led astray by me,
while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age.
Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men,
I shall never, whether alive or dead,
escape the hands of the Almighty.
Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, 
I will prove myself worthy of my old age,
and I will leave to the young a noble example
of how to die willingly and generously
for the revered and holy laws.”

Eleazar spoke thus,
and went immediately to the instrument of torture.
Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed,
now became hostile toward him because what he had said
seemed to them utter madness.
When he was about to die under the blows,

he groaned and said:
“The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that,
although I could have escaped death,
I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging,
but also suffering it with joy in my soul
because of my devotion to him.”
This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

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

R. (6B) The Lord upholds me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”
R. The Lord upholds me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. The Lord upholds me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. The Lord upholds me.

Alleluia – 1 JN 4:10B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God loved us, and sent his Son
as expiation for our sins.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, 
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature. 
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, 
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.” 
And he came down quickly and received him with joy. 
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, 
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” 
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

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Eleazar And Zacchaeus


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 19, 2019

There are two very stellar examples of faith and integrity we have today whose names are also very telling: Eleazar, from the Hebrew meaning “my God has helped and Zacchaeus which means “pure.” “This is how (Eleazar) he died, leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation.”  

Zacchaeus so wanted to see Jesus that he climbed a tree to catch a glimpse and so much more. Let’s take a look at the invitation from Christ and the tree-climber’s response: The Invitation of Jesus: “Zacchaeus (calls by name) come down quickly (there is urgency), for today (now in the present moment) I must stay at your house (upfront and personal).” 

The Response of Zacchaeus: “And he came down quickly and received him with joy (fruit of the decision brings deep happiness)”. “When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.’ (there is always opposition.)” “But Zacchaeus stood there (he faces the opposition in front of and with Jesus) and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.’” (Action follows commitment)

Both men stood their ground with the Lord in their midst. Both men believed that their only long-term (eternal) happiness would depend on one simple decision to follow God. One was at the end of long life of integrity and the other was just beginning it. Jesus went home with Zacchaeus while Eleazar went home to God. 

Definitely a happy ending, wouldn’t you agree?

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November 18 – Memorial of Dedication of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles


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Optional Memorial of Dedication of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Lectionary: 679

The readings for this memorial are proper.

Reading 1 – ACTS 28:11-16, 30-31

After three months 
we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island [of Malta].
It was an Alexandrian ship with the Dioscuri
as its figurehead.
We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days,
and from there we sailed round the coast and arrived at Rhegium.
After a day, a south wind came up and in two days we reached Puteoli.
There we found some brothers
and were urged to stay with them for seven days.
And thus we came to Rome.
The brothers from there heard about us
and came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us.
On seeing them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage.
When he entered Rome,
Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.

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

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

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

Alleluia 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 14:22-33

After the crowd had eaten their fill,
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

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November 18, 2019


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, please go here.

Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 497

Reading 1 – 1 MC 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63

[From the descendants of Alexander’s officers]
there sprang a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes,
son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome.
He became king in the year one hundred and thirty seven
of the kingdom of the Greeks.

In those days there appeared in Israel
men who were breakers of the law,
and they seduced many people, saying:
“Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us;
since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us.”
The proposal was agreeable;
some from among the people promptly went to the king,
and he authorized them to introduce the way of living
of the Gentiles.
Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem
according to the Gentile custom.
They covered over the mark of their circumcision
and abandoned the holy covenant;
they allied themselves with the Gentiles
and sold themselves to wrongdoing.

Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,
each abandoning his particular customs.
All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king,
and many children of Israel were in favor of his religion;
they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.

On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev,
in the year one hundred and forty-five,
the king erected the horrible abomination
upon the altar of burnt offerings
and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars.
They also burned incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.
Any scrolls of the law which they found they tore up and burnt.
Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant,
and whoever observed the law,
was condemned to death by royal decree.
But many in Israel were determined
and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean;
they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food
or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.
Terrible affliction was upon Israel.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158

R.  (see 88) Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Indignation seizes me because of the wicked
who forsake your law.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Though the snares of the wicked are twined about me,
your law I have not forgotten.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Redeem me from the oppression of men,
that I may keep your precepts.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
I am attacked by malicious persecutors
who are far from your law.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Far from sinners is salvation,
because they seek not your statutes.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
I beheld the apostates with loathing,
because they kept not to your promise.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.

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 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

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Seeing Is Believing


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 18, 2019

“But many in Israel were determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean; they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant, and they did die.” The First Reading calls out to us to realize that whenever we are faced with the devious temptations of this world, what is truly evil will attack and feed on and off of our feelings of being unloved, unimportant or insecure. One of the most successful of the devil’s tactics is simple: everyone is doing this, why do you want to be left out? In these moments, we must remember to whom we belong. You see, the very price for our lives was paid by the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross and that payment made all of us not only members as in a club, but actually and really living parts of the Body of Christ, each having our own individuality and strength, weakness and struggles. This is the great gift of the Church and every day we move closer and closer to the Heavenly City that awaits all the billions that have ever brought the precious name of Jesus to their lips. “Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.”

“Lord, please let me see.” Daily there is a deep call to renew, maintain and nourish this belonging in a world that values selfishness, earthly possessions, and power. These unfortunate priorities create such misery and emptiness that even in some circles, from those who should know better, viciously attacks on the very source of beauty and healing that is celebrated, proclaimed and lived in the Church. Resist the urge to settle, give in, go along and participate with evil. On our own, we simply cannot do this. We need a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus who understands every single aspect of our broken world and broken lives. “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”

“One beautiful day, you will open your eyes and recognize that you have no fear or worries, just the pure vibration of love. Then you will see Jesus.”

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November 17, 2019


Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 159

Reading 1 – MAL 3:19-20A

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
 when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
 and the day that is coming will set them on fire,
 leaving them neither root nor branch,
 says the LORD of hosts.
 But for you who fear my name, there will arise
 the sun of justice with its healing rays.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:5-6, 7-8, 9

R. (cf. 9)  The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
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 comes to rule the earth with justice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth,
he will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Reading 2 – 2 THES 3:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
You know how one must imitate us. 
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
nor did we eat food received free from anyone. 
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day
we worked, so as not to burden any of you. 
Not that we do not have the right. 
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
so that you might imitate us. 
In fact, when we were with you,
we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work,
neither should that one eat.
We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a
disorderly way,
by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. 
Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly 
and to eat their own food.

Alleluia – LK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 21:5-19

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” 
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them! 
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.” 
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name. 
It will lead to your giving testimony. 
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. 
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death. 
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

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Only So Many Tomorrows


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 17, 2019

“Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire.” As we move closer and closer to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time and the great Feast of Christ the King, the official end of the Liturgical Calendar, we will be hearing more and more about the final things, the last days and our fulfillment of the time we have spent here on the earth trying to follow Jesus and find our way with all the Saints, all the Holy Souls and live forever in Heaven with Jesus: “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.” Hopefully, our waiting time should not be something of fear or fright, but rather of the kind of anticipation of waiting to see someone that we truly love and miss. 

“Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” Still, the end of anything as wonderful and full as life itself is almost by definition a little traumatic. Questions and tears abound so we are in little need of being convinced to be vigilant. We can always be better and we can always keep asking for forgiveness and forgiving especially members of our own families. “All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” It then becomes overwhelmingly apparent that we must live our lives in the present moment always knowing that this could be our last day. But why so sad? So much more is waiting for us than we can ever imagine! How are we going to die? We are going to die the same way we live, so today is the day we live to the fullest and make each minute count. 

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

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November 16 – Memorial of Saint Gertrude, Virgin


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Optional Memorial of Saint Gertrude, virgin
Lectionary: 677

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

Reading 1 – EPH 3:14-19

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 23:1B-3A, 4, 5, 6

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

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – JN 15:1-8

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

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November 16, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret of Scotland, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Gertrude, please go here.

Saturday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 496

Reading 1 – WIS 18:14-16; 19:6-9

When peaceful stillness compassed everything
and the night in its swift course was half spent,
Your all-powerful word, from heaven’s royal throne
bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land,
bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree.
And as he alighted, he filled every place with death;
he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth.

For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew,
serving its natural laws,
that your children might be preserved unharmed.
The cloud overshadowed their camp;
and out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging:
Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road,
and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood.
Over this crossed the whole nation sheltered by your hand,
after they beheld stupendous wonders.
For they ranged about like horses,
and bounded about like lambs,
praising you, O Lord! their deliverer.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:2-3, 36-37, 42-43

R.(5A) Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Then he struck every first born throughout their land,
the first fruits of all their manhood.
And he led them forth laden with silver and gold,
with not a weakling among their tribes.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
or:
R. Alleluia.
For he remembered his holy word
to his servant Abraham.
And he led forth his people with joy;
with shouts of joy, his chosen ones.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE 2 THES 2:14

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

Gospel – LK 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. 
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'” 
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night? 
Will he be slow to answer them? 
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. 
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

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November 16 – Memorial of Saint Margaret of Scotland


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Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret of Scotland
Lectionary: 676

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

Reading 1 – 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 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9

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

Alleluia – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – JN 15:9-17

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

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

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Pay Attention


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 16, 2019

“Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.” I don’t know about you, but every time I hear someone tell me, “Pay attention!” I tend to stop what I’m doing and take special notice. The judge is being “pestered” by the widow to hear her complaint and do his job. Clearly, the judge is not God and this is no ordinary widow. “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?” God is the one who “pesters” us to answer and act in this adventure we call life. “Will he be slow to answer them?” Clearly God is always poised and ready to answer all of our prayers. “I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.”

Talk to God now.

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November 15, 2019


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

Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 495

Reading 1 – WIS 13:1-9

All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God,
and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is,
and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;
But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.
Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods,
let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.
But yet, for these the blame is less;
For they indeed have gone astray perhaps,
though they seek God and wish to find him.
For they search busily among his works,
but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable.
For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:2-3, 4-5AB

R.(2A) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
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. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
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. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Alleluia – LK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:26-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.” 
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”

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November 15 – Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


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Optional Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 675

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 – SIR 15:1-6

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

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

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

Alleluia – 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 crowds:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.  
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old.”

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Rain In The Forecast


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 15, 2019

“All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God.” Have you ever met anyone who knew a whole lot of trivia and details and seemingly “encyclopedic” references but lacked common sense? The world is full of them. With the advent of Google, anyone can be an “expert” of details but that really doesn’t assure any real measure of happiness, not to mention an clearer shot into Eternal Life. 

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” Noah is a great reference for us today because he had indeed possessed this “inner sense” of wisdom and knew that he should do exactly as the Lord had ordered him. There he was, an engineer of sorts, trying to build a boat in the middle of the desert where it hadn’t rained for months with even less wood to work with. Of course, the people laughed at him, that is until it began to rain. 

Today, ask the Lord God in the depths of your heart to reveal in an even more profound and deep way His will for you in this life. This activity will most likely bring unexpected surprises that are morsels with great delight. 

“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.” Ray Bradbury  

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November 14, 2019


Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 494

Reading 1 – WIS 7:22B–8:1

In Wisdom is a spirit
intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain,
Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil,
all-powerful, all-seeing,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is an aura of the might of God
and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;
And passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.
For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun
and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she takes precedence;
for that, indeed, night supplants,
but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.

Indeed, she reaches from end to end mightily
and governs all things well.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 119:89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175

R.(89A) Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Through all generations your truth endures;
you have established the earth, and it stands firm.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
According to your ordinances they still stand firm:
all things serve you.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Let my soul live to praise you,
and may your ordinances help me.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.

Alleluia – JN 15:5

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

Gospel – LK 17:20-25

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples,
“The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

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You’ll Know When You Know


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 14, 2019

Let’s take a look at this astounding Gospel passage because it so many ways it deals with matters and issues that we must face every single day of our lives on multi-levels of variety:

“Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,” People are seemingly always asking questions that begin with “when.” When will I find a good job? When will I get a raise? When will dinner be served? When will I know when I’m in love?

“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’” We read that Jesus was asked by some Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would finally come because, in their mind, they wanted to be “on top of things” when the big moment finally arrived, with their power and influence all intact. However, as you may have heard, we make plans and God laughs.

“For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” The great and mysterious message for all of us today is simple. The Kingdom cannot be found by looking around for telltale signs so that you can say it is ‘here’ or ‘there’. In other words, it is right in front of us. First and foremost, the Kingdom is in the very person of Jesus, who is the incarnation embodiment of God’s Reign. He is the Messiah-King ruling here right now in the hearts of those who love Him.

“But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” So while The Lord’s reign is already in play, the search for the exact time can stop right here right now and find its resting place among our day-to-day struggles and little deaths along the way. The Kingdom is truly among us and we need look no further than the daily experiences of our own lives to know and experience the power and presence of Jesus. You see, the time of that final coming which will be the end of all suffering and rejection is not for us to decide – nor to worry about.

So when will the Kingdom of God arrive? You’ll know when you know.

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November 13, 2019


Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin Lectionary: 493

Reading 1 – WIS 6:1-11

Hear, O kings, and understand;
learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse!
Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude
and lord it over throngs of peoples!
Because authority was given you by the Lord
and sovereignty by the Most High,
who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels.
Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly,
and did not keep the law,
nor walk according to the will of God,
Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you,
because judgment is stern for the exalted–
For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy
but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.
For the Lord of all shows no partiality,
nor does he fear greatness,
Because he himself made the great as well as the small,
and he provides for all alike;
but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed
that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin.
For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy,
and those learned in them will have ready a response.
Desire therefore my words;
long for them and you shall be instructed.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 82:3-4, 6-7

R. (8A) Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.
Defend the lowly and the fatherless;
render justice to the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the lowly and the poor;
from the hand of the wicked deliver them.
R. Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.
I said: “You are gods,
all of you sons of the Most High;
yet like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
R. Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.

Alleluia – 1 THES 5:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed. 
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. 
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine? 
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” 
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

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Violets, Virtue And Mother Cabrini


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 13, 2019

Violets are a bizarre and eccentric kind of flower. If one could say that they have quirks, then one must point to the fleeting and puzzling aroma of these highly-recognizable purple flowers. Without launching into a lesson in botany, it is sufficed to reveal that these flowers contain a ketone compound called ionone, which temporarily desensitizes the receptors of the nose, thus preventing any further scent being detected from the flower until the nerves recover. Admirers will only sense the smell of violets for only a few moments at a time, before the ionone “blinds” the senses and then the aroma miraculously returns just as fragrant as before.

Mark Twain must also have known of this phenomenon as he once commented: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Thus, forgiving our neighbor may be fleeting, hard to grasp or comprehend but always pleasant and surprising as it makes its way back to the one who forgives.

Today is the Feast of St. Frances Cabrini who as a little girl used to load little paper boats with a single violet flower and drop them into a nearby canal imagining them as individual missionaries spreading the Gospel message to India or China or who knows where. The curious intermittent fragrance image of the violet is perfect for Mother Cabrini whose wondrous missionary works popped up in New York, then Chicago, then Seattle, New Orleans, and Denver.  She was in one spot founding hospitals and schools, then gone, only to reappear in another city working just as tirelessly. She undoubtedly had to face many mean and prejudicial obstacles along the way which meant that she was quite aware of the directives presented to us today in the Gospel: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Maybe we could say that the most effective missionary at our disposal is our desire and ability to forgive. Life has the potential of becoming much more pleasant and wonderful when we learn to accept the apology we may never receive. It is a profound virtue.

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November 12 – Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr


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Memorial of Saint Josaphat, bishop and martyr
Lectionary: 674

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 – 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 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

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

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – JN 17:20-26

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

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November 12, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr Lectionary: 492

Reading 1 – WIS 2:23–3:9

God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made them.
But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world,
and they who are in his possession experience it.

But 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 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19

R.(2A) I will bless the Lord at all times.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – LK 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

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Reasonable Expectations


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 12, 2019

“So should it be with you.” Although it may be debatable to say that each of us begins our day with both reasonable and unreasonable expectations, we can reasonably expect that: The day will have the same amount of hours; that there will most likely be enough ups and down to keep it interesting; and that one way or another it will have an end. Unreasonable or unrealistic expectations always seem to involve the behavior of some people. We might hold hope for that particular person who has made our day harder than it has to be, to somehow make a remarkable change in their course of action. This, as we know, is a recipe for deep disappointment. 

“God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made them.” There can be no disappointment when we look at the expectations we can expect from our Lord. He has made us out of love with every ounce of good intention and deep hope that exists in the universe. Therefore, not only can we expect the goodness placed deep within our souls to surface with practice and determination, but we can also expect great help from God to be good, and stay that way until He comes again.

“Many people feel so pressured by the expectations of others that it causes them to be frustrated, miserable and confused about what they should do. But there is a way to live a simple, joy-filled, peaceful life, and the key is learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit, not the traditions or expectations of man.”  Joyce Meyer

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November 11, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop Lectionary: 491

Reading 1 – WIS 1:1-7

Love justice, you who judge the earth;
think of the Lord in goodness,
and seek him in integrity of heart;
Because he is found by those who test him not, 
and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him.
For perverse counsels separate a man from God,
and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy;
Because into a soul that plots evil, wisdom enters not,
nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin.
For the holy Spirit of discipline flees deceit
and withdraws from senseless counsels;
and when injustice occurs it is rebuked.
For wisdom is a kindly spirit,
yet she acquits not the blasphemer of his guilty lips;
Because God is the witness of his inmost self
and the sure observer of his heart
and the listener to his tongue.
For the Spirit of the Lord fills the world,
is all-embracing, and knows what man says.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 139:1B-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10

R. (24B) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
too lofty for me to attain.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Alleluia – PHIL 2:15D, 16A

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

Gospel – LK 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.  
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day 
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’
you should forgive him.”

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

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November 11 – Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours


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Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, bishop
Lectionary: 673

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 – IS 61:1-3ABCD

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,
to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
To announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God,
to comfort all who mourn;
To place on those who mourn in Zion
a diadem instead of ashes,
To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning,
a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 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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Veterans Day Quiz


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 11, 2019

Question #1: What is the relationship between Wisdom and Gratitude?

From the World of Science: “Two important implications of these findings
are that wisdom entails an appreciation of life and its experiences,
especially the growth opportunities that may result from negative events, and that there may be substantial differences between male and female pathways to wisdom.”  Study by the National Institutes of Health in 2013

From the World of Psychology: “Gratitude is something that can be nurtured and may go towards the development of greater wisdom.” Study by Gluck and König of Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt in Austria in 2014

From the Spiritual World: “Learn, too, to be grateful. May all the wealth of Christ’s inspiration have its shrine among you; now you will have instruction and advice for one another, full of wisdom, now there will be psalms, and hymns, and spiritual music, as you sing with gratitude in your hearts to God. Whatever you are about, in word and action alike, invoke always the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, offering your thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:16-17

Question #2: What is the relationship between the Veteran and The Lord Jesus?

Both rendered remarkable service to the cause closest to their hearts; both sacrificed what they had and who they were; both of their sacrifices had tremendous and remarkable effects on many; However, Jesus is the only one in history whose sacrifice, death and Resurrection would touch the entire course of human history and by that virtue, every human being who would ever live. We say with distinction and deep gratitude about our Veterans that “All gave some and some gave all.” Jesus gave all so all could have everything.

Question #3: What are you going to do today?

In the Gospel today, we hear the most wonderful and hopeful words of Christ: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Faith is everything and it must be fed daily! Today we remember, celebrate, and pray for those who have served and died defending our country by which you and I are free to worship and live in a free republic. We fundamentally thank Jesus for His ultimate sacrifice on the Cross by which all have the opportunity to live in Heaven forever, including those who, like Him, emptied themselves on the cross of battlefields and combat grounds.

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” Abraham Lincoln  

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November 10, 2019


Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 156

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 he 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 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15

R. (15B)  Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
My steps have been steadfast in your paths,
my feet have not faltered.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Keep me as the apple of your eye,
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking I shall be content in your presence.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

Reading 2 – 2 THES 2:16-3:5

Brothers and sisters:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed
and word.

Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us,
so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified,
as it did among you,
and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people,
for not all have faith.
But the Lord is faithful;
he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 
We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you,
you are doing and will continue to do. 
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God
and to the endurance of Christ.

Alleluia – RV 1:5A, 6B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ is the firstborn of the dead;
to him be glory and power, forever and ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 20:27-38

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless. 
Finally the woman also died. 
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise. 
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called out ‘Lord, ‘
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.” 

Or – LK 20:27, 34-38

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward.

Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage. 
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise. 
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called out ‘Lord, ‘
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”

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I Can Only Imagine


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 10, 2019

“Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward…” There is something sad and almost pathetic about the attitude that seems to surround some people who choose not to believe in the afterlife, Heaven, our an eternal reward. They go around, wherever they look, to inject such doubt that it cannot possibly be sustainable in the recipe for a happy life (such as what we see today in the Gospel and perhaps our day to day depending on our own life situation). What they produce is foolish, as if they had some hidden and mystical knowledge of the world. Wouldn’t you like to have seen the face of Jesus as they spoke to Him? I am sure it was kind, gentle and patient. It is certainly a great reminder for each of us in similar situations. 

“They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” What will it be like when we die? It is safe to say that this a question of both the young and the old, the believer and the doubter alike. This is why we are not only called to listen to Jesus but also to follow Him through the dark and threatening moments of our lives but also bright and hopeful ones, too. “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.”

As we near the memory-producing moments of Thanksgiving not so long away, let us make an effort to imagine with the Lord of the great promises and joy waiting for all of us. It will ease the fleeting moments of suffering which will past quickly under the bright lights of eternity that have been promised.

“I can only imagine what it will be like/When I walk, by your side.
I can only imagine what my eyes will see/When you face is before me.
I can only imagine/I can only imagine. Surrounded by You glory/What will my heart feel/Will I dance for you Jesus, Or in awe of You be still/Will I stand in your presence/Or to my knees will I fall. Will I sing hallelujah/Will I be able to speak at all/I can only imagine, I can only imagine.”
Bart Marshall Millard

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November 9, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome Lectionary: 671

Reading 1 – EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R.(5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth. 
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!

Reading 2 – 1 COR 3:9C-11, 16-17

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Alleluia – 2 CHR 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord,
that my name may be there forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 2:13-22

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

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Angels In The Architecture


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 9, 2019

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

History and background: Each Diocese has a cathedral. The cathedral Church in Rome is St. John Lateran. When the Emperor Constantine officially recognized Christianity, he made generous gifts to the church, one of which was a palace and grounds formerly belonging to the Laterani family. In 324, he added a large church on the grounds. Later a Baptistery was added and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. In subsequent years the entire edifice became known as St. John of the Lateran Basilica. It is our oldest church. Despite many fires, earthquakes and wars, it has survived; thereby, becoming a symbol of the endurability of Christianity. The observance of this feast connects our local church with the Church of Rome, which is the center of our unity. The dedication of any church recalls the heavenly Jerusalem that all church buildings symbolize.

The apostles are the pillars of the Church and Christ has given them the spiritual authority to teach and guide, which the Chair, cathedra, symbolizes in every cathedral.  All this is seen within this magnificent structure.

The people are the Church, the living Body of Christ with many members: that much is clear, but that concept or expression of unlocking the mystery of the Church is not exclusive. We are also a “Sacramental” people who have enlisted art and architecture, literature and music to embody and describe tangibly, that is, to the touch and all the senses, what great mystery we not only celebrate but also actually see. The church building is not just a tent or skin in which the People of God gather, but in and of itself a great symbolic and sacramental importance. This is why we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of that first structure in Rome from which all the many millions of structures have been built and dedicated since then.

The Church building is meant to be the Temple. The First Reading from the Prophet Ezekiel describes that. The Psalms, too were actually composed to be chanted and sung as people made their way to the Temple for worship. Today, just as in the Temple of the Old Testament, there are the areas that are set apart in Catholic Churches where we find the Tabernacle, where the Body and Blood of Jesus is conserved, as the “Holy of Holies,” the living presence of God. This is why we bow, genuflect upon entering this space. It also explains why many make the Sign of the Cross when passing by the Church from the outside. We also have altars predominantly and immediately seen in a foremost position. You see, the church building itself is not just a gathering place or hall. So why is there an altar? Because there is a sacrifice to be conducted. And those sacrifices are offered by priests. So you have the same Temple structure that clearly exhibits the elements that were first established in the First, or Old Covenant. The Church, in addition to being a structure that helps gather people, also reflects the mystery of the People as well: Tabernacle, altar, priests, sacrifice.  So when the temple/church building is rightly ordered, then water will be “flowing out” for the renewal of the world. (First Reading)

The Church building is to symbolize the New Jerusalem. In Revelation, the vision describes a magnificent new heavenly city coming down to earth be complete and restore all humanity with God at the end of time. Thus, in addition to a gathering space, church buildings should attempt to draw us into another world, a heavenly experience like the jeweled walls of the New Jerusalem, with sparkling and vivid colors that are filled with signs and symbols of heavenly realities.  We see figures of angels and Saints everywhere in the Church because they are citizens of Heaven, the New Jerusalem, and we join with them in singing praises to God:

“This great company of witnesses spurs us on to victory, to share their prize of everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. With angels and archangels and the whole company of saints we sing our unending hymn of praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord…”

The Church building is meant to signal Noah’s Ark. Since the early installments of Church History, the ark was seen as a symbolic type of the Church. In the same way that Noah and his family were spared the destruction of both the spiritual and physical world around them, so too, are we safe and saved in the Church, the boat, as it were, atop the waters of Baptism. This is an-going occurrence in every age throughout the centuries and the Church is the on-going, continual and steady “rescue mission for humanity.” (Bishop Robert Barron) When we gather for Mass, we remain, close together, huddled for the Eucharist and waiting for “flood waters” to recede and then go out to the world to begin again.

“The Church is like Noah’s ark that was full of both clean and unclean animals. It must have had an unholy smell, and yet it was carrying eight persons to salvation. The world today is tearing up the photographs of a good society, a good family, a happy, individual personal life. But the Church is keeping the negatives. And when the moment comes when the world wants a reprint, we will have them.” —Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen

It is also very interesting to go back to the Scriptures and examine the orders that God gave Noah to build what is most likely the most popular boat in human history found in Genesis, 6:19:  “This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark will be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.”  For St. Augustine and other early Church Fathers, these dimensions of the construction plan for the ark suggest a human body, specifically, the body of Christ: “For even its very dimensions, in length, breadth, and height, represent the human body in which He (Jesus) came as it had been foretold. For the length of the human body, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, is six times its breadth from side to side, and ten times its depth or thickness, measuring from back to front.” The City of God, Book 15

The Church building is meant to symbolize the Mystical Body of Christ. It’s really amazing, when you stop and think about it, so much of both the human and spiritual dimensions of our lives actually happen inside the Church building itself. New life is always being announced with the smell and sound of babies at baptism, children sing and serve Mass, teenagers are confirmed, marriages are celebrated and yes, when the circle of life is completed, there we are again, at the Church where it all spiritually began, tearfully saying goodbye and “until we met again.” It is more than a theater stage or a meeting hall. It is Life.

From life’s start to finish and all the wonderful episodes in between, being in the Church building comprises the place and time in which we hear and experience what some have speculated are three basic sentences that summarize all of Christianity: Please, Thank You and I’m Sorry. And just like the Temple, in both the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem, where there is a convergence of costly, precious and holy stones, so too, the Mystical Body is made up of living stones — the people who are transformed by Grace, the Word of God and the Food of the Eucharist day after day, age after age. We become that New Temple.

“The Church is the Body of Christ, and as such it is both heavenly and earthly. The Church is the communion of saints, and it includes as members both angels and shepherds – cherubim and seraphim, and you, and me.” Scott Hahn

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November 8, 2019


Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 489

Reading 1 – ROM 15:14-21

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another’s foundation,
but as it is written:

Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

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

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

Alleluia – 1 JN 2:5

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

Gospel – LK 16:1-8

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 he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’  
He 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 the children of light.”

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Stewards of All Kinds


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 8, 2019

“What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your Stewardship because you can no longer be my steward.” We should ask God for wisdom on how to use the resources He gives us. He gives us resources like finances and time, talents in a culinary skill or musical ability, the spiritual gifts of encouragement or teaching, and we should commit ourselves to expending them according to His will so that He may be glorified. This is simply responsible stewardship. 

“I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.” We have been given much, and God desires us to use what He has given to further His Kingdom and proclaim His glory. It’s what we were created to do. We are living sacrifices, giving the things God has given us in service to others, and in that we actually find life. Be thankful for what you have. How can we nurture and develop these talents? Based on the clever and wiley steward in the Gospel, let’s take another, more noble route and consider the following: 1. Be creative. 2. Be innovative. 3. Think differently and positively. 4. When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. 5. Face your past without regret. 6. Handle your present with confidence. 7. Prepare for the future without fear. “Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him.”

 

“In whatever way you can do so, according to the talents and gifts God has given you, you are to be salt, and light, and whatever part of the Body of Christ you were made to be. You need to tell us what’s going on with you so the rest of the Body (of which you are a part) can work together with you.”  Chris Manion 

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November 7, 2019


Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 488

Reading 1 – ROM 14:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother or sister?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written:

As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.

So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 27:1BCDE, 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 – 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 15:1-10

The 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 Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“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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I Have Your Back


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 7, 2019

“None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord.” Some might agree with the assertion that a relationship is like a job. You have to work hard to get in it and you have to work even harder to stay in it. Whether or not that aligns with your own experiences with friends and family, one thing is for sure. Love does require work and some days are easier than others. Frustration and disappointment then makes it easier and easier to become judgmental and crass with those around us which is why we need to remember how much the Lord loves us into being and that forgiveness abounds. Today the Scriptures seem to underscore that perception. “Why then do you judge your brother or sister?” We could even go a little further: the depth and quality of our human relationships have much in common and directly correspond with our relationship with God and He with us. 

“In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  We all know how it feels when something is going wrong in a friendship, relationship or even with a close relative. Nobody is happy and nobody wins. The days looks grim and dark. But imagine how wonderful it feels when we make amends, ask forgiveness and restore things back to even a better level of love and respect. “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.” and “Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.” That’s right, rejoice, we have our friend back. Peace has been restored and it is beautiful is it all comes from the Lord to whom we called. Let us do that today: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.”

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer  

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November 6, 2019


Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 487

Reading 1 – ROM 13:8-10

Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill;
you shall not steal;
you shall not covet,

and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1B-2, 4-5, 9

R.( 5A) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
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 is gracious and lends to those in need.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
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 is gracious and lends to those in need.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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 14:25-33

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

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Peace Terms


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 6, 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 God’s 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?” Ten thousand troops vs. twenty thousand 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? “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” 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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November 5, 2019


Tuesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 486

Reading 1 – ROM 12:5-16AB

Brothers and sisters:
We, though many, are one Body in Christ
and individually parts of one another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
let us exercise them:
if prophecy, in proportion to the faith;
if ministry, in ministering;
if one is a teacher, in teaching;
if one exhorts, in exhortation;
if one contributes, in generosity;
if one is over others, with diligence;
if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly.

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

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

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 14:15-24

One of those at table with Jesus said to him,
“Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.”
He replied to him,
“A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many.
When the time for the dinner came,
he dispatched his servant to say to those invited,
‘Come, everything is now ready.’
But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.
The first said to him,
‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen
and am on my way to evaluate them;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have just married a woman,
and therefore I cannot come.’
The servant went and reported this to his master.
Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant,
‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town
and bring in here the poor and the crippled, 
the blind and the lame.’
The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out
and still there is room.’
The master then ordered the servant,
‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows
and make people come in that my home may be filled.
For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’

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Excuses, Excuses


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 5, 2019

“A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many.” Today, we have the conclusion of the three-part, truth-laden, and event-filled description of one powerful dinner attended by Jesus and many other characters which make up Chapter 14 of St. Luke’s Gospel. You may recall that earlier parts one and two were presented: the first involved the man inflicted and cured of dropsy and the second about people scrambling for the best seats at table, partly because of honor and partly because they would be served first. Part three is about excuses and why we make them.

Time for Vocabulary: Concupiscence – This term can refer to any intense form of human desire. It comes down to meaning anything that compels us to act or make a choice that is against the use of our reason and rational abilities. Concupiscence was born out of the Original Sin of disobedience and induces us to commit sins. St. John describes three kinds of this craving: 1 John 2:16: “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, (1) sensual lust, (2) enticement for the eyes, and (3) a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.”

Now, let’s return to the dinner in the Gospel and the man who prepares the feast and invites many who is Jesus who came to save the lost in Israel and all of humanity. Jesus sent His Apostles to call and invite but many did not accept: “he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come…’ but one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.” Take a look at the excuses that are presented in light of the new word we learned today, Concupiscence: “I have purchased a field and must go to examine it” (3) a pretentious life;  “I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them” (2) enticement for the eyes;  “I have just married a woman” (1) sensual lust. Please keep in mind that all these things are good in and of themselves, but remember that these are the “excuses” that are presented as more important than accepting the invitation of Christ to each of us. The sixth Commandment addresses our need for a pure heart “to see God,” while the ninth describes the struggle with carnal desires and the last Commandment about greed and the preoccupation over possessions. Given a talent by God is tantamount to being invited to dine with Him in the Kingdom. Which is precisely why we are called by the Readings today to focus our attention on how to live day by day using all that He has given us. Not only to discover His will for us, but also to love,  live and build up the Body of Christ: “We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them.”

“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.” Edward R. Murrow

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Thanksgiving Chaos of Unpredictable Joy


little skier with helmet and goggles

I know, I know. So many Christmas decorations appeared looming in most stores even before the pumpkins and ghosts arrived– and yes, even before the poor turkey was running for its life. However, have no fear or trepidation, nor any real despair about these assaults on our budgets and nerves because, quite frankly, there is something marvelous happening here: it is all about the deep and endearing love God has for all of us as He reaches into our souls to stir the memories and joys of childhood, even if they were marred or torched, because in fact, you and I were created for joy and celebration. We ponder and present today the possibility how Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas can still touch our deepest being with the vocation we all have to joy. This is because we are not human beings who have, to varying degrees depending on our situations and places in life, spiritual experiences, rather, we are, as Pierre de Chardin wrote, “spiritual beings who have human experiences.”

Hopefully the next couple of weeks will usher in more good memories and create new ones. Where there is fullness of life, joy will naturally overflow. After a certain point, the two concepts of “life” and “joy” naturally blur into each other and the fulfilled person is the one who cannot tell the difference between them. Our focal point for our attitudes and strengths will have to come from the Lord. Wherever we turn we find that Jesus “answers” all the unrelenting hostility around him, mainly from the Pharisees, by offering them and us yet parable after parable. The fact that Jesus replies with parables to the attacks coming at him from all sides and to the unspoken murderous thoughts seething against him is a most incisive commentary on the sort of person Jesus is and on how he intends to fulfill his mission. 

If most every one of our readers has close friends and relatives, then that same number of us have also had many, if not uncountable, opportunities to forgive and ask forgiveness. That is just the human situation which none of us can escape. What does the Lord teach us as we near the Thanksgiving table, the Advent wreath and the Christmas tree? Jesus never retaliates in kind. Every new insult and rejection seems only to stimulate his creativity and desire to persuade. And it is not just any parable he shares with the world, but stories that soar high above the turmoil of base human passions and appeal to our deepest instinct for happiness and thirst for joy. As we move forward toward the end of the year, which, as we all know very well will arrive before we know it, let us consider this time of giving thanks as a rich time of fulfillment and the invitation to joyful living. Consider this amazing opportunity of real grace in real time: 

It was the usual situation of a high school teacher trying to get across to her class a very difficult new math concept. Each day the more she tried, the more plainly students were becoming not only more frustrated, but quite edgy. Sensing a high degree of anxiety one Friday, the teacher said, “Look, put away your books. Everybody take out a piece of paper and list each of the other students’ names on that paper, and write something nice about each one.” 

So that’s what they did for the entire class. She collected the papers, went home, and over the weekend she listed the names of all the students and all of the nice things that people had to say about them. On Monday morning, she gave the papers out to each one. And immediately the tenor of the class changed. She even overheard one of the pupils whisper to another that “I never knew that anybody thought anything nice about me.” And so they were able to progress. 

The years went by, students came and went, and eventually they had one of those necessary class reunions. When they gathered around Helen, their old teacher, one of the fellows opened up his wallet and pulled out a ragged piece of paper that obviously had been folded and refolded many times. Immediately, Helen recognized it as the list she had given to this young man and the others many, many years ago. Another student told her how she had kept that list in her bedroom dresser drawer all these years. Another volunteered that she had this list pasted in her wedding album. Another young pulled out his wallet and showed that he, too, had carried his all this time. 

The teacher was quite overwhelmed to think that a minor gesture to settle down a class many, many years ago had meant this much to these students. Someone had said something nice about them, and during the years when they were feeling low they would pull out this piece of paper and remember that they were of value, that they mattered, and that there was something good in their life.  

Helen never realized that she was planting a small seed; she certainly was not intending a grand gesture. But it was a situation that Jesus would appreciate and say, “The Kingdom of God is like this.” It is a place where the chaos of the holidays and the seemingly endless parade of deadlines and wish lists keep creating a continual stream of consciousness. We must find the joy both in the chaos and in a total acceptance of joy as our vocation, even in the pressure-filled days yet to come—especially in these days beginning today by making these thoughts as part of our “core beliefs.” 

When we believe in something negative or pessimistic so strongly, we tend to look for evidence to support those core beliefs. Unfortunately, when this happens, we see the world through heavily-filtered goggles. In the process, we collect evidence that supports our (usually negative) core beliefs, and fail to recognize any evidence that could contradict these beliefs. We often collect this evidence from people. So ensues the vicious, self-serving, self-fulfilling prophecy cycle, and we now see the world through the eyes of our core beliefs. But just think of the opportunities and possibilities if our core beliefs included the acceptance and adherence to the simple truth that I have been called to a full life full of joy and that every single day of my life I can and will find evidence to support that? The joy and peace in life would be totally and wonderfully unpredictable. We could and should call this the quintessential “abundant life.”

Start your engines.

Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home, everything! It’s your responsibility to love it or change it.  ~Chuck Palahniuk

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November 4, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop Lectionary: 485

Reading 1 – ROM 11:29-36

Brothers and sisters:
The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

Just as you once disobeyed God 
but have now received mercy
because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given him anything
that he may be repaid?

For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To God be glory forever.  Amen.

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

R. (14C) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They shall dwell in the land and own it,
and the descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Alleluia – JN 8:31B-32

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

Gospel – LK 14:12-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
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 sisters
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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November 4 – Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop


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Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop
Lectionary: 670

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

Reading 1 – ROM 12:3-13

Brothers and sisters:
By the grace given to me I tell everyone among you
not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think,
but to think soberly,
each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.
For as in one body we have many parts,
and all the parts do not have the same function,
so we, though many, are one Body in Christ
and individually parts of one another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
let us exercise them:
if prophecy, in proportion to the faith;
if ministry, in ministering;
if one is a teacher, in teaching;
if one exhorts, in exhortation;
if one contributes, in generosity;
if one is over others, with diligence;
if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 10:14

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

Gospel – JN 10:11-16

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

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RSVP


Reflection on Mass Reading For November 4, 2019

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.” Now there have been literally hundreds of opinions and commentaries written that attempt to unlock the mystery and meaning of the beautiful Gospel passage we have today. Some will try to make comments about the social eating practices, pseudoreligions and 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. Excellent point.

“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.” However, there is evidence of deeper meaning present which is suggested by the context of the Readings, 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.

“The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” RSVP is an initialism derived from the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît, meaning “please respond” to require confirmation of an invitation. Concerning our spiritual lives then, to which we are so desperately dedicated, especially as we eye with great expectation the soon-arriving Advent Season, we must respond to the invitation placed before us every single day. Everything happens for a reason and today is no exception. How will you respond? Take some time this week and address the meaning of God’s invitation to you to enter Heaven. He is waiting. 

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” Eckhart Tolle

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November 3, 2019


Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 153

Reading 1 – WIS 11:22-12:2

Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance
 or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
 But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
 and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.
 For you love all things that are
 and loathe nothing that you have made;
 for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
 And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it;
 or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
 But you spare all things, because they are yours,
 O LORD and lover of souls,
 for your imperishable spirit is in all things!
 Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little,
 warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing,
 that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14

R. (cf. 1)  I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
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. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
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. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
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. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.

Reading 2 – 2 THES 1:11-2:2

Brothers and sisters:
We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. 

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed
either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.

Alleluia – JN 3:16

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

Gospel – LK 19:1-10

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. 
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature. 
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.” 
And he came down quickly and received him with joy. 
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” 
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

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Guess Who’s Coming Over?


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 3, 2019

“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” The Reading on this fine Sunday has the potential of filling us with autumn anticipation of the great moments ahead. Moments that help us to put our lives in perspective and deepen our understanding of why we are here and what we are supposed to do while present in this world. Repentance for sins, interior conversion, and joyful participation in the invitation that Jesus wants to “come over to the house” are all aspects of the Christian life that belong together, each step leading to the next. Clearly, the greatest obstacle to admission to the Kingdom is no sin as such, but rather the arrogant attitude that refuses to grasp God’s hand when it is graciously and gladly extended.  “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made;  for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.”

“And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” The problem here is not the same unattainability of our hearts’ deepest desires but rather, the fact that our imaginations and yearngings are not extravagant enough even to begin approaching the reality of what God wants to give us. 

“We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling.” On this first Sunday of this brand new month, a time of remembrance, hope and giving thanks, our call to prayer is only rivaled by our call to repentance and patience with each other. It’s always a good time to pray and just be in God’s presence. How about now?

“Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people…but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.”  Steve Maraboli

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November 2, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls) Lectionary: 668

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 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

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

Reading 2 – ROM 5:5-11

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

Alleluia – MT 25:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, you who are blessed by my Father;
inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 6:37-40

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”

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Day of the Dead for the Living


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 2, 2019

Today, as many of us already know, is also referred as the Day of the Dead, and although that may seem remarkably somber and even morbid, it is the truth. Life is good but it certainly has a beginning and an end with a great filler in-between, and today we are called to reflect on the weighty and sobering aspects of its conclusion. The Scripture Readings for today may in fact sound familiar to some because they are the same, and many of the funeral selections are meant to give witness to the mystery of life and death so we may go forward in faith and love. Let’s take a look at a few gems:

“The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.” We are made timely aware of the truth of things as we experience them, that is, that even in death, we are with the Lord who loves and comforts us especially in our moments of sorrow. “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” No matter where our lives take us, the one constant is change, which includes the dark day of death but the constant presence is Jesus who never abandons those He loves. “If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” What a remarkable statement that is being made here. Death is actually something we share with Jesus and because of that, we also share in His victory over death and all the contraptions that accompany our experience of it especially grief and dark isolation. “And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Perhaps the most poignant and pertinent of all the passages comes to us from the Gospel today. We have been given the opportunity to reach out to Christ in each other everyday we have been alive. It is as if we have been either depositing or withdrawing from a spiritual bank account filled with love, kindness, and generosity. When the bank closes for good, we spend eternity based on the final reckoning. Be hopeful and generous today and pray for those who have died with those you love, knowing full well that they will be praying for you.

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed Us –
The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

Emily Dickinson

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November 1, 2019


Solemnity of All Saints Lectionary: 667

Reading 1 – RV 7:2-4, 9-14

I, John, saw another angel come up from the East,
holding the seal of the living God.
He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels
who were given power to damage the land and the sea,
“Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees
until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal,
one hundred and forty-four thousand marked
from every tribe of the children of Israel.

After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”

All the angels stood around the throne
and around the elders and the four living creatures.
They prostrated themselves before the throne,
worshiped God, and exclaimed:

“Amen.  Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,
honor, power, and might
be to our God forever and ever.  Amen.”

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”
He said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6

R. (see 6)  Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Reading 2 – 1 JN 3:1-3

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – MT 5:1-12A

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

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

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Today Is Your Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 1, 2019

The set of Scriptures we have today are simply breathtaking and inspiring on the Feast of All Saints and critically necessary for us who are trying to “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) in the Lord Jesus without losing hope in the face of all the challenges we face.

Let’s start with the First Reading which is taken from the last book of the Bible, Revelation. I can’t think of another sacred book more controversial than this one; also known as the “Apocalypse.” This fascinating and mysterious text, ever since it was written, has been the topic of countless theories, teachings, movements, books, commentaries, and more recently, films and multi-media television series, episodes, and documentaries. Unfortunately, most of them have strayed from the Theological and Scriptural meaning of the intent of the Apostle John and have clearly done much more harm than good. Because of these wild theories, it seems as if every ten years or so, people have been trying to predict the end of the world every time a certain number lines up in a particular order or because of the discovery of some ingenious mathematical equation that spells horrible and imminent destruction. Remember the Year 2000 scare? Or do you recall the December 21, 2012 prediction based on some data from an ancient calendar chiseled on some huge stone that would run out of days on that date? People, just get a new rock!

G.K. Chesterton was so right when he wrote, “Though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as his own commentators.” St. John is clearly speaking to all Christians, all over the world, and all over time. “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” His great and marvelous vision for us, however, was also shaped by the immense suffering inflicted upon the early Church by the great persecutions by the Roman Empire. The Apostle himself was exiled to the island of Patmos from where he actually wrote the book of Revelation. It was that same political and military power that was complicit in the death of Jesus, who many thought would be the kind of leader that would overthrow these invaders and give His people a power beyond all imagining. But the real force and strength bestowed on all who would follow the Lord in every age is that, “Beloved, we are God’s children now.” And even though “what we shall be has not yet been revealed,” it most certainly will be revealed in the glorious resurrection of those who die believing in Christ. “They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.”

This is all beautifully brought together with the proclamation of St. Matthew’s Gospel. As God’s children now and joyfully anticipating our own resurrection, we reasonably ask, “what do we do and how do we act?” Just as Moses in the Old Testament came down the mountain with the Law in the form of the Ten Commandments, Jesus walked up the mountain and fulfilled what the great Law-giver started and mapped out the way to survive “the time of great distress” for each and everyone of us. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, the meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted and insulted. The Beatitudes create the blueprint of living a beautiful, Christian life. These eight blessings are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching and respond to the natural desire that we all have for true and lasting happiness. This is how we become saints. “Be not afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ! Do not be afraid to become the saints of the new millennium!” ~Saint John Paul the Great. The Beatitudes also proclaim the blessings and rewards that have already been secured for those who love Jesus. Just imagine, there’s a place in Heaven for you and it has your name on it. So once again, happy Feast Day everyone.

If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire. Saint Catherine of Siena

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