The Word of God

December 31 – Memorial of Saint Sylvester I


Click Here for Daily Reading

Optional Memorial of Saint Sylvester I, pope
Lectionary: 700

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

Reading 1 – EZ 34:11-16

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

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

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

Alleluia – 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.”

Leave a comment

December 31, 2019


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

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas Lectionary: 204

Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour; 
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared. 
Thus we know this is the last hour. 
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us. 
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. 
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge. 
I write to you not because you do not know the truth 
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:1-2, 11-12, 13

R. (11A) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day. 
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia – JN 1:14A, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. 
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light, 
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God, 
to those who believe in his name, 
who were born not by natural generation 
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision 
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying, 
“This was he of whom I said, 
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me 
because he existed before me.'”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, 
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, 
has revealed him.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Last And First Hour


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 31, 2019

“Children, it is the last hour.” Wherever we are right now as we read this last Reflection of 2019, we realize that the time has come, in these last hours, to gather all that we did and said in the last twelve months and offer this as our gift to God for all the hours He gave us. No doubt, there will be memories of some wonderful highlights and some painful setbacks and the temptation will be to only remember the low moments and let them overshadow the necessary gratitude to keep going, to be creative, to be innovative and to think differently and positively: “Sing to the LORD a new song.” On this New Year’s Eve, we must remember the newness of life and the strength we receive that comes from the Lord Jesus and the Gospel that cries out for life-long and complete acceptance: “But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name.”

In just a few hours we will begin again. We must begin again. The New Year of 2020 will no doubt be similar in at least two ways to the year we will soon put to rest. There will be the absolute best and marvelous moment and the most terrifying and sad one. The good news is, Jesus is already there, waiting for us to find Him and love Him, holding on and never letting go. May the Lord God strengthen all of us in the New Year and may His love and tenderness shower mercy and grace over each month, each week, each day, each hour, each minute, and yes, each second of 2020! Light is awaiting us in every opportunity and challenge of the next twelve months. There will be darkness and dark days, no doubt, but patience will reveal a victory of light and hope. This is promised and should we find ourselves wondering what the future will bring, we already have a definite clue and cue: “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. To make an end is to make a beginning.” T.S. Eliot

Leave a comment

December 30, 2019


The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas Lectionary: 203

Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:12-17

I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

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,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and 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.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R.(11A) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
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. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
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. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. 
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. 
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. 
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth. 
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Love Begins At Home


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 30, 2019

“I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.” On December 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, now a Saint, received the Nobel Peace Prize. During her acceptance speech, she said the following: “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there.” How very awesome and simple! Today in our First Reading, St. John makes the case even stronger as he writes to children, fathers, young men, and every member of the family. “Do not love the world or the things of the world.” Can you begin to imagine what kind of world this would be if every person we met was raised in a home like that? Amazing, simply amazing!

The Gospel crowns this notion with the figure of Anna, a prophetess from the tribe of Asher. (Asher is Hebrew for “Happy One.” Makes perfect sense.) She, very much like St. Teresa of Calcutta, anticipated her final and momentous encounter with the Lord and also gave thanks to God for such a gift for all families. Let us continue to love, continue to forgive, and continue to live in the Spirit of Love who is born at Christmas. If we decide to do so, this New Year almost upon us can be the very best of our lives. That will be because Jesus will grow in our hearts just as He did in His own family: “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” He will do the same for and with us if we let Him.

“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.” Trenton Lee Stewart

Leave a comment

December 29, 2019


The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Lectionary: 17

Reading 1 – SIR 3:2-6, 12-14

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

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

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

Reading 2 – COL 3:12-21

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

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, 
as is proper in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives, 
and avoid any bitterness toward them.
Children, obey your parents in everything, 
for this is pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, 
so they may not become discouraged.

Or – COL 3:12-17

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

Alleluia – COL 3:15A, 16A

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

Gospel – MT 2:13-15, 19-23

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, 
and stay there until I tell you.

Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night 
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod, 
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod had died, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, 
for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
He rose, took the child and his mother, 
and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea 
in place of his father Herod, 
he was afraid to go back there.
And because he had been warned in a dream, 
he departed for the region of Galilee.
He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,
so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled, 
He shall be called a Nazorean.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

A Family For Christmas


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 29, 2019

More than a couple of decades ago, a young boy lay in his hospital room trying to recover from a respiratory disease that almost cost him his life. He was asleep late one night at the hospital with his father sleeping in a cot next to his bed when he suddenly lost his air and began to choke to death. The nurses were as professional and helpful as they could be and saved his young life. Minutes later, the little boy sat up in the bed and asked his father a most surprising question: “Daddy, am I going to die?” His father, who was about 30 years young thought hard and prayed over his answer. “Why do you ask me that, Son? Are you afraid to die and go to Heaven and see God?” His response was as touching as it was profound: “Oh no, Daddy! I’m not afraid to go see God. Not if He is like you, Daddy.” “God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.”

The role of each family member in a home is so crucial and critical but none are so central as that of a father. Fatherhood propels the dynamic of the family as it was with the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We can easily see the blueprints for a happy and blessed family in the very core of those three wonderful holy and saintly figures that maintained Jesus in his infancy and adolescence. “The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him.”

Not everyone, however, is given the same abilities or situations. Many of us come from hurting and broken families. The path ahead for those may be daunting and difficult but not impossible. Because of the Holy Family, we have the hope and the instruction to become whole and integral members not only of our family systems but also and more important in society. “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.”

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” Desmond Tutu

Leave a comment

December 28, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs Lectionary: 698

Reading 1 – 1 JN 1:5—2:2

Beloved:
This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ
and proclaim to you:
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.
If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” 
while we continue to walk in darkness,
we lie and do not act in truth.
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light,
then we have fellowship with one another,
and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
If we say, “We are without sin,”
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just 
and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, 
and his word is not in us.

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, 
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

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 praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Ultimate Christmas Sacrifice


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 28, 2019

“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled since they were no more.” The haunting refrain from the near-funeral dirge sounding quote of Jeremiah from the Gospel Reading is quite sadly and horribly fulfilled with the memories of today’s Feast of the Holy Innocents. “When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under.” Herod, the blood-thirsty, criminally insane monarch was so consumed with his own power and self-importance that he truly lived in darkness, an evil-worn abyss that truly consumed him and fueled his destructive tendencies.

“If we say, ‘We have fellowship with him,’ while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth.” One of the greatest gifts of Christmas is the interior light that shines within us all year long if we allow truth and humility to reign in our hearts. This begins with the miraculous moment when we forgive the person whom we think is responsible for our unhappiness. Jesus teaches us clearly that the place to happy is here, the time to be happy, now. This is living in the light of truth that dispels the darkness first within us because of grudges and rancor, and even in those around us. “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.”

“Jesus, live in me, shine in me, rescue me from darkness.” Amen.

Leave a comment

December 27, 2019


Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist Lectionary: 697

Reading 1 – 1 JN 1:1-4

Beloved:
What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us— 
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

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

R. (12) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are around him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R.  Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Alleluia – 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 – JN 20:1A AND 2-8

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed. 

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

I Got There First: Saint John


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 27, 2019

“So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple (John) ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.” This detail is one of the most interesting in all of the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection. Why was it important to have John, the youngest Apostle (perhaps eighteen years old) reach the empty tomb of Jesus first, then waited for Peter, then go in and witness the moment that truly changed the rest of his life forever? We could say he got there first in two ways: “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.” Although it was clearly not a race, John, the younger Apostle, allowed Peter, the first and head of the Apostles, to go into the tomb first to witness first-hand see the miracle of the Resurrection we celebrate at Easter.

The second way is deep in so many ways. By some accounts, he lived nearly ninety years which means he had over seventy years to reflect and remember all that Jesus had taught him. It was also amazing that as the only Apostle who never abandoned Jesus in His darkest hour did not suffer a martyr’s death. His perspective on the whole of Jesus’ teaching was both mystical and simple: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life — for the life was made visible.” (First Reading) “Love One Another” (1 John 4:8)

Leave a comment

December 26, 2019


Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr Lectionary: 696

Reading 1 – ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.  
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 8AB, 16BC AND 17

R.(6) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Alleluia – PS 118:26A, 27A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD:
the LORD is God and has given us light.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 10:17-22

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Red & Green For Christmas


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 26, 2019

In some circles, the traditional colors of Christmas are red and green, which may explain why the unofficial flower of this great time of year is the poinsettia: bright red and green colors all wrapped in a single potted plant. Red and green are also powerfully symbolically rich colors for life as well. Perhaps we have a clue in our First Reading as to the explanation of the red hue today, the Second Day of Christmas: “Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.” The blood of the martyrdom/witness of St. Stephen brings a considerable amount of sobriety to the joy of the time but it is so necessary. The gift of Christmas has everything to do with where we hope to end our earthly pilgrimage because of the great gift of Christmas. We want to go to Heaven after a good and solid life of witness to the real joy and meaning of this great time. We want to have enough happiness and peace in our hearts to say at the end of it all, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”

So what about the green color? Likewise in many cultures and thoughts, green is the color of hope, a rich, fertile expectation that all will be well even after the harshness that life often brings to us. “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.” And certainly, we can believe every word of this. Red and green, not one without the other, comprise the Christmas mystery. There will be moments where we must die to ourselves supported by the hopeful way we live our lives in and around those painful moments. “Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors. Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness.” And so He does.

Leave a comment

December 25, 2019 – Mass During the Night


Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – At the Vigil Mass
Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass at Dawn
Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Day

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Night Lectionary: 14

Reading 1 – IS 9:1-6

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13

R. (Lk 2:11)  Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.

Reading 2 – TI 2:11-14

Beloved:
The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires 
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, 
as we await the blessed hope, 
the appearance of the glory of our great God 
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness 
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, 
eager to do what is good.

Alleluia – LK 2:10-11

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I proclaim to you good news of great joy:
today a Savior is born for us,
Christ the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment, 
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth 
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, 
because he was of the house and family of David, 
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child, 
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, 
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields 
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them 
and the glory of the Lord shone around them, 
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy 
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David 
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: 
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes 
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 25, 2019 – Mass During the Day


Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – At the Vigil Mass
Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass at Dawn
Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Night

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Day Lectionary: 16

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 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6

R. (3C)  All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
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. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
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. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
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. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
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. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Reading 2 – HEB 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways 
to our ancestors through the prophets; 
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, 
whom he made heir of all things 
and through whom he created the universe,
who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my son; this day I have begotten you?
Or again:
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me?
And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
For today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. 
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light, 
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God, 
to those who believe in his name, 
who were born not by natural generation 
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision 
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, 
“This was he of whom I said, 
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me 
because he existed before me.'”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, 
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, 
has revealed him.

Or – JN 1:1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. 
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God, 
to those who believe in his name, 
who were born not by natural generation 
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision 
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 25, 2019 – At the Vigil Mass


Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass at Dawn
Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Day
Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Night

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – At the Vigil Mass Lectionary: 13

Reading 1 – IS 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken,”
or your land “Desolate,”
but you shall be called “My Delight,”
and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29

R. (2A)  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.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
He shall say of me, “You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.”
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 – ACTS 13:16-17, 22-25

When Paul reached Antioch in Pisidia and entered the synagogue,
he stood up, motioned with his hand, and said, 
“Fellow Israelites and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors 
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the
land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out of it.
Then he removed Saul and raised up David as king;
of him he testified,
‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.’
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, 
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance 
to all the people of Israel; 
and as John was completing his course, he would say, 
‘What do you suppose that I am?  I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me; 
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'”

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Tomorrow the wickedness of the earth will be destroyed:
the Savior of the world will reign over us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:1-25

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, 
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob, 
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram, 
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon, 
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz, 
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, 
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud, 
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob, 
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations; 
from David to the Babylonian exile,
fourteen generations; 
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations. 

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, 
but before they lived together, 
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, 
yet unwilling to expose her to shame, 
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 
“Joseph, son of David, 
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit 
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, 
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel, 

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him 
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son, 
and he named him Jesus.

Or – MT 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, 
but before they lived together, 
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, 
yet unwilling to expose her to shame, 
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 
“Joseph, son of David, 
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit 
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, 
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him 
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son, 
and he named him Jesus.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 25, 2019 – Mass at Dawn


Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – At the Vigil Mass
Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Day
Click here for The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Night

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass at Dawn Lectionary: 15

Reading 1 – IS 62:11-12

See, the LORD proclaims
to the ends of the earth:
say to daughter Zion,
your savior comes!
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
They shall be called the holy people,
the redeemed of the LORD,
and you shall be called “Frequented,”
a city that is not forsaken.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 97:1, 6, 11-12

R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Reading 2 – TI 3:4-7

Beloved:
When the kindness and generous love 
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Alleluia – LK 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to those
on whom his favor rests.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another, 
“Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place, 
which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, 
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God 
for all they had heard and seen, 
just as it had been told to them.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

I Will Not Be Silent


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 25, 2019

Our First Reading on this beautiful Christmas Day hails from the great Prophet Isaiah who speaks with the most profound enthusiasm about what can and should be in our hearts today: “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.” There is simply an entire breed of announcements that simply cannot be made without singing and deep joy literally bubbling over the top of the message itself. Today is one of those announcements; Christ is Born! “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”

The Genealogy of Jesus the Christ: Today in the Gospel we have presented the famous lineage of the Messiah from Abraham all the way to Jesus Christ right before our ears and eyes. Why? “From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.” The very reason for our songs and carols and a burst of joy on this day is that from all time the One who was promised to us has finally arrived and we are now safe and saved and empowered to walk in the light of Christ for the rest of our lives. This was no accident.

And you and I are no accident, either. We were meant to be here and to make a kind of great impact on those around us with the same hope and anticipation of the first Christmas Day. Attempt to spend this night, the First day of Christmas, as the famous carol implores, “counting your blessings instead of sheep.” There is simply to much joy to go around for each and every one of us. Merry Christmas. God bless us all, everyone.

“Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.” Harlan Miller

Leave a comment

Peace on Earth, Peace in Me


nativity scene of baby Jesus in stable

There is something quite marvelous that has happened every Christmas Eve in Finland since the early 14th Century: it is simply known as the Declaration of Peace. It is accompanied by all kinds of musical instruments including drums, choral singing and even symphonic strings. What is it? It is basically a highly anticipated announcement made in the old capital that attests and demands everyone to act with peace and love during the Christmas Season. Here is the actual text:

“Tomorrow, God willing, is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior; and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully, because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behavior shall under aggravating circumstances be guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offense separately. Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city.”

At Christmas, we are called to be people of peace and comfort for each other. We are to be people of faith and hope that call upon the name of Christ in every situation. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Let us, you and I, declare peace tonight as we enjoy beautiful Christmas music. The time is right. How do we accomplish this? Here is one way…

Many years ago, a young innocent child whom today we call Aaron,  virtually fell in love with Christmas and wanted nothing more than anything in his life than to play the pivotal role of St. Joseph in the huge Christmas play in his local small town at a time when the real meaning of Christmas was not an issue. However, this year would turn out to be something marvelous for him, his family, classmates, and everyone involved for years to come.

This particular year, little Aaron, all grown up and in the third grade came home as excited as ever announcing to his parents that auditions were about to begin for the town’s annual Christmas Play and he of course already had lines from the role of his Holy Patron and needed his parents’ help to practice. This went on for days and when the day arrived for the auditions, his parents were just a little worried and with reason. Aaron returned very sad and disappointed because some Senior in High School  received the role over him. All was not totally lost for Aaron did get a part,  but even that did not comfort him. It was the simple role of the Innkeeper in Bethlehem whose only line would be uttered after high school students playing Mary and Joseph would ask if there was any room in the Inn: “NO!! THERE IS NO ROOM HERE!” and then he would slam the door shut very loudly in the face of the Holy Family. Clearly, he was not impressed!

But his parents had a great love for their son and enough sense that they needed to act and act quickly here in this situation otherwise this young child would lose the excitement and reverence for the most wonderful time of the year. His father immediately began: “Well, if you are going to be the innkeeper in this play, you are going to have the best and most elegant Inn in all the land!” (You see, Aaron’s dad was an experienced carpenter)  Aaron’s Mom was not too far behind: “And on top of that, you are going to be the best-dressed innkeeper in all of Christmas Play history!” (You see, Aaron’s mom was an experienced seamstress) The next two months of rehearsals were just wonderful! While Dad was carefully constructing an amazing background set with an elaborate inn with lights and mechanical details, Aaron’s costume was prize-worthy. And all the while, that little boy was getting more and more and more excited!

Finally, the day arrived and it seemed the entire town was ready for it. The auditorium at City Hall was packed to the brim and the choirs and music and decorations were all to the max. Aaron peeked through the curtain and saw not only all his relatives, including grandparents, but all his friends and their families from the neighborhood. Then the lights dimmed and the music began. There was Mary and Joseph entering the stage accompanied by a real donkey! You could see our little innkeeper all dressed up looking more like Aladdin than a precious third-grader beaming through the actual window of the Inn. Mary and Joseph slowly made their way to the door while their special song began and the stars started to blink in the background.

Then it happened. Becoming completely lost in the moment, Aaron could hear nothing else except his little heart beating. He had been transported to Bethlehem, and as Mary and Joseph neared the door, his eyes became large with wonder and love. Then Joseph stopped, turned to the audience and called out, “Please, please Mr. Innkeeper! Is there any room for me and my wife so she can give birth to Jesus?” At that moment, Aaron could no longer contain himself. He burst through the door of the Inn and shouted with all his might: “Of course there’s plenty of room! Come on in! There’s plenty of room!”

Well, the audience started to engage in a tender laugh for a while and that little special boy caught himself and his innocent error. The stage director approached him from a safe distance to whisper emphatically, “NO! NO! You’re supposed to say ‘there’s no room!'” Stunned and embarrassed, Aaron  turned to Mary and Joseph and shouted out his original lines with all he had left, “NO!! There is no room here!” then he slammed the door and fell to the ground crying almost uncontrollably.

Well now, that young man playing Joseph, a senior in high school and clearly raised with a lot of little brothers and sisters, had the right sense to go back in that Inn, pick up the Innkeeper and hug him assuring him that everything would be okay. And then, for the first time in Christmas Play history, that Innkeeper joined the Holy Family to kneel at the manger to welcome the birth of Jesus the Christ and our Messiah!

Wherever you are right now, we invite you to open your heart amidst the songs and readings and make a place for Jesus this Christmas. Perhaps you could shout to God that there’s plenty of room in your heart while making sure that you invite others to join you as well. You see, “It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.”

We welcome you to another Christmas Season and thank you for sharing this memory with us. God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Leave a comment

December 24, 2019


Click here for Christmas Vigil Mass

Tuesday in the Fourth Week of Advent – Mass in the Morning Lectionary: 200

Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16

When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!” 
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.” 
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?

“‘It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel. 
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you. 
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth. 
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies. 
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you. 
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 AND 29

R.(2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:67-79

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Build Me A Manger


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 24, 2019

“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in?” Well, here it is! It is Christmas Eve and whether or not we think we are ready for Christmas 2019, it is just a few hours away. Everyone will be getting ready for the many wonderful local and familial traditions including the special foods, visits, Masses and of course gathering around the nativity scenes to finally place that last missing piece of the Baby Jesus. As we move forward with joyous expectation and the hope of glancing at Christmas through the eyes of children and the child-like, let us consider the entire mystery behind placing the Christ Child in the manger of our homes and churches. it is a powerful reminder that the Lord wishes to be born and alive and living within our own hearts, a personal manger, if you will.

“In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” So tonight, let us place the last few details to make this manger the most safe, warm and inviting place for Jesus. Forgive those whom you need to forgive, let go of the mistakes that have haunted you this year and just count all the magnificent blessings that have been our in abundance. Clear a special spot in your manger-heart right here, right now. “O Radiant Dawn, Splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.” Behold, Christmas has arrived and the Lord is here!

“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” W.T. Ellis

Leave a comment

December 23 – Memorial of Saint John of Kanty, Priest


Click Here for Daily Reading

Optional Memorial of Saint John of Kanty, priest
Lectionary: 695

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

Reading 1 – JAS 2:14-17

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works? 
Can that faith save him? 
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it? 
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

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

Reading 2 – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – LK 6:27-38

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

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

Leave a comment

December 23, 2019


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

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent Lectionary: 199

Reading 1 – MAL 3:1-4, 23-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,1
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Lo, I will send you
Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with doom.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 25:4-5AB, 8-9, 10 AND 14

R.(see Luke 21:28)  Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church;
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:57-66

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Silence As A Pre-Christmas Gift


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 23, 2019

“Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.” It may be hard to believe that one of the most obvious aspects of the First Christmas was that of silence. Just think about that for a minute. In all of the more significant moments of this great time, there was silence before, during and after for a variety of reasons. This is important for us to realize just days away from that “Most Holy Night.” This has been more than substantiated by the mention of Zechariah’s plight in the New Testament Gospel of today and is also revealed in the process by which silver is purified as was described in our First Reading of today: “For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye.” Both references open the door to us about the mystery of becoming silent and still especially today.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. The next ten days will probably seem like a blur and then we get back to the same grind and routine that we left, if we did at all. This is why in some ways the time is really running out on the quality of our Christmas this year and perhaps for the rest of the year. When we walk into the inner room of silence we are able to discover gifts that renew and strengthen our very souls. We find God. We chance upon compassion and humility. And we find peace if we can slow down that inner voice and frenetic pace and just breathe. God’s presence now more than ever at Christmas is beyond words. As we venture more and more into this inner quiet, we find our own lightness of being, our true selves, the end to worry and a front-row seat at the manger. God is very close in these moments. Make yourself an appointment with the quiet.

Out of the silence, there was music.
Out of the darkness, there was light.
Out of uncertainty, there was promise.
You see, Hope was born that night.

Leave a comment

December 22, 2019


Fourth Sunday of Advent Lectionary: 10

Reading 1 – IS 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying: 
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; 
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask!  I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people, 
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: 
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, 
and shall name him Emmanuel.

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

R. (7C and 10B) Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
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. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
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. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.

Reading 2 – ROM 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, 
but established as Son of God in power 
according to the Spirit of holiness 
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, 
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia – MT 1:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, 
but before they lived together, 
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame, 
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 
“Joseph, son of David, 
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit 
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, 
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel, 

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him 
and took his wife into his home.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

I’m Dreaming Of A Kind Christmas


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 22, 2019

It seems everyone is dreaming at Christmastime: “‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.” – Clement Clarke Moore

Even amid the Holy Family: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.”

As we continue our Advent journey toward a splendid Christmas moment, let us dare to dream: of a life that is truly free and devoid of hatred, arrogance or selfishness; let us dream of world that is full of peace and understanding; and let us dream of a life that beings with each one of us serving our Lord and King of Kings: “As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.” We can start right now. Where is that person that needs extra patience? When is the next opportunity to be gentle and understanding? Who will go to the manger with us? Behold! The time approaches quickly!

“When it comes to kindness, paying it forward, and good deeds, every day should be like Christmas.”  – Brenda Priddy

Leave a comment

December 21, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

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

Saturday of the Third Week of Advent Lectionary: 197

Reading 1 – SG 2:8-14

Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
and come!
“For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice, 
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”

Or – ZEP 3:14-18A

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21

R.(1A; 3A) Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever; 
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust. 
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:39-45

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 21 – Memorial of Saint Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church


Click Here for Daily Reading

Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Canisius, priest and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 694

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 – 2 TM 4:1-5

Beloved:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but,
following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,
will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth
and will be diverted to myths.
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry.

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

R.    (8A and 9A)  Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – MT 5:16

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

Gospel – MT 5:13-19

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

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

Leave a comment

Up For A Visit?


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 21, 2019

Many of the better known and greatly loved Christmas carols speak of this time of preparing for Christmas with deep references to generosity and kindness especially when there are so many who are not in that mind frame. Generosity is a willingness to give even at a cost to oneself. It expresses concern for meeting the needs of others even if it means sacrificing something of one’s own. We are to extend ourselves to all of mankind, especially the most in need. To do so, we are emulating Jesus who went after the one lost sheep. To love is to give. God loves us and He gives us everything He wants us to have. When we give, as our Lord encourages, we truly deny ourselves. Generosity must be done in silence in order to merit grace from God and not merely the thanksgiving of mortal men. It is very easy to be generous to our relatives or friends but that is not generosity since we will be repaid for that with friendship, thanksgiving and praise. Generosity must extend to the poor and the needy. It is a quest for justice as we have the work of God to provide for those who don’t have.

The most excellent example of Generosity (after Jesus Himself): The Blessed Virgin Mary. In the fullness of grace, our Blessed Mother exhibits the fullness of love and truth. She is generous in charity, patient, kind and gentle; she is good and faithful, chaste, modest, and temperate. Her spirit rejoices in God her savior and she is at peace even in trying times because of her trust in the Lord: “For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Three times in this life Mary was blessed in a special way by the Holy Spirit – at her Immaculate Conception, at the Annunciation and at Pentecost – and we are the beneficiaries of the immeasurable fruits of the Spirit produced in her. Through her maternal protection and intercession, we obtain pardon for our sins, health in times of sickness, strength of heart when we are weak, consolation in the face of affliction and help when we are in danger. Above all, she is the Mother of Christ our Redeemer, and our Mother.

Today as we move even closer to Christmas, we recall her famous visit to her cousin Elizabeth. John the Baptist leaped in her womb foreshadowing our joy at the Birth of Mary’s Son, Jesus. She also shows us quintessentially how to evangelize, bringing Jesus to others at every opportunity. Mary also powerfully reminds us that every encounter we have has the potential of bringing the Good News to someone who truly needs it. Thank you, Mary, for your wonderful yes!

“The nativity mystery “conceived from the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary”, means, that God became human, truly human out of his own grace. The miracle of the existence of Jesus, his “climbing down of God” is Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary! Here is a human being, the Virgin Mary, and as he comes from God, Jesus comes also from this human being. Born of the Virgin Mary means a human origin for God. Jesus Christ is not only truly God, he is human like every one of us. He is human without limitation. He is not only similar to us, he is like us.”  – Karl Barth

Leave a comment

December 20, 2019


Friday of the Third Week of Advent Lectionary: 196

Reading 1 – IS 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” 
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David! 
Is it not enough for you to weary men,
must you also weary my God? 
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

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

R.(see 7C and 10B) Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
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. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:26-38

In the sixth month,
the angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Christmas Signs And Wonders


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 20, 2019

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us!’” Today we receive good news for this amazing trying struggle of our wills against the push and pull of shopping, gift-bearing and last-minute preparations for Christmas. For many of our readers, today is the last day of school, work and the otherwise routine leading up to a wonderfully awe-inspiring week that could do much to shift our attention away from our problems and on to the great promise of tomorrow. The goal of finding Jesus and embracing His spirit into our souls forever is coming near. This is the basis of the announcement or annunciation that we celebrate today as described in the Gospel when the Angel Gabriel informs Mary that she has been chosen to be the Mother of Our Savior and while her freedom was completely intact throughout the encounter. This underscores why we wait and prepare spiritually during these days so that our hearts and souls will be ever ready for the Lord to enter our hearts and our entire lives to make sense of this life now and later. It also reminds us of the sacred moment when Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother. It also means that Christmas is now just five days away!

“Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.” Our response is to be patterned after the same as the Virgin Mary responded to the Angel Gabriel. This is what is meant by total openness to God to accomplish on earth what is according to the mind and of the heart of God. Once we trust that Jesus loves us and wants only the best for us, then all we can do is open our souls in total confidence to His most holy will as pray in the Our Father, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Today, as it is the custom in some cultures, is the day where we ask the Lord for the most profound, awesome and seemingly unattainable miracle that we could ever need. This is the day that the Holy Spirit descended onto earth to bring us the tiniest beginnings of our salvation. Ask and you shall receive, “…for nothing will be impossible for God.”

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” C. S. Lewis

Leave a comment

December 19, 2019


Thursday of the Third Week of Advent Lectionary: 195

Reading 1 – JGS 13:2-7, 24-25A

There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites,
whose name was Manoah. 
His wife was barren and had borne no children. 
An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her,
“Though you are barren and have had no children,
yet you will conceive and bear a son. 
Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink
and to eat nothing unclean.
As for the son you will conceive and bear,
no razor shall touch his head,
for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb. 
It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel
from the power of the Philistines.”

The woman went and told her husband,
“A man of God came to me;
he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed. 
I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 
But he said to me,
‘You will be with child and will bear a son. 
So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. 
For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb,
until the day of his death.’”

The woman bore a son and named him Samson. 
The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him;
the Spirit of the LORD stirred him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 71:3-4A, 5-6AB, 16-17

R. (see 8)  My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. 
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength. 
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
I will treat of the mighty works of the LORD;
O God, I will tell of your singular justice.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people;
come to save us without delay!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth. 
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years. 

Once when he was serving as priest
in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. 
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense. 
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. 

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard. 
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John. 
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. 
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. 
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God. 
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” 

Then Zechariah said to the angel,
“How shall I know this? 
For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 
And the angel said to him in reply,
“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. 
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah
and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. 
He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. 

After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived,
and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit
to take away my disgrace before others.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Samson And John


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 19, 2019

One of the fascinating aspects of our Advent Season is that we are introduced to so many intriguing and wonderful characters and personalities that, taken together, make for a remarkable preamble and preface for the Gret Mystery of Christmas. At the very top of that list, we could easily find Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and Magi, and a slew of others. Among them, we would include Samson from the Old Testament and John from the New as highlighted in our Readings today. Let’s start with both Readings have in common: “You will be with child and will bear a son. So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean.” (Samson) “He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.” (John) Both Samson and John were Nazirites from birth which meant that they were permanently under this vow to keep them safe, sacred and holy to accomplish something magnificent for God. And both certainly did.

But there is something else about these two men: Samson and John died in “seeming” defeat. When Samson died, he died a death that seemed to terminate an unsuccessful ministry and never lived to see the complete conquest of the Philistines. John was beheaded during imprisonment, struggling with doubts that Jesus really was the Messiah. Although they were both men God used in great ways, their special roles to prepare for the Messiah was their absolute and true calling. Despite their differences, they were dramatic preludes to what would follow.

And what about us? How does this affect you and me as we near Christmas?
Here are a few thoughts:
1) Everyone has a special calling. Happiness will depend on its discovery.
2) The greatest moments of our lives need both preparation and the element of surprise-filled joy.
3) Disappointments will certainly be present but they never define the meaning of one’s life.

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” – Sigrid Undset

Leave a comment

February 8, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Jerome Emiliani, priest


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

Optional Memorial of Saint Jerome Emiliani, priest
Lectionary: 529

Reading 1 – TB 12:6-13

The angel Raphael said to Tobit and his son:
“Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory.
Before all the living,
acknowledge the many good things he has done for you,
by blessing and extolling his name in song.
Honor and proclaim God’s deeds,
and do not be slack in praising him.
A king’s secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be declared and made known.
Praise them with due honor.
Do good, and evil will not find its way to you.
Prayer and fasting are good,
but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness.
A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness.
It is better to give alms than to store up gold;
for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin.
Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;
but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.

“I will now tell you the whole truth;
I will conceal nothing at all from you.
I have already said to you,
‘A king’s secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be made known with due honor.’
I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed,
it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer
before the Glory of the Lord;
and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.
When you did not hesitate to get up
and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead,
I was sent to put you to the test.”

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

R.    (2)  I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – MT 5:3

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

Gospel – MK 10:17-30

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;

honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him,  loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

 OrMK 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

Leave a comment

December 18, 2019


Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent Lectionary: 194

Reading 1 – JER 23:5-8

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.”

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”;
but rather, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north”– 
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

R.(see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. 
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. 
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly. 
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. 
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her. 
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.” 
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.” 
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home. 
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Signs And Symptoms


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 18, 2019

Around this time of the year, a scratchy throat, watery or dry eyes, and a pounding, relentless headache could all be signs of the flu or much worse. With our informational technology, the internet, and a myriad of medical shows and programs on TV, you and I have become “mini-doctors” able to diagnose and recognize everything from cancer to broken hearts just by reviewing the signs. How do we recognize the true meaning of Christmas?: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.”

Great. We are to look for the sign of the Baby born in Bethlehem and accept this as the utmost important sign of Christmas: “O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!” So how do we now that we have let Him in our hearts? What indications might be present to prove such a thought? What are the symptoms of a great Christmas? Here are a few: 1. We have slowed down and begun to notice the little beautiful gifts from God everywhere, 2. We have learned to be patient with the most difficult people around us, 3. We have stopped to pray for those we love and those we don’t know who need the prayers nonetheless and 4. We have forgive everyone. Impossible, you think?

Think again: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

“Jesus gave His life for you; this Christmas, give Him yours.” Sign outside a local church

Leave a comment

December 17, 2019


Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent Lectionary: 193

Reading 1 – GN 49:2, 8-10

Jacob called his sons and said to them:
“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel, your father.

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise
–your hand on the neck of your enemies;
the sons of your father shall bow down to you.
Judah, like a lion’s whelp,
you have grown up on prey, my son.
He crouches like a lion recumbent,
the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him?
The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
or the mace from between his legs,
While tribute is brought to him,
and he receives the people’s homage.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 3-4AB, 7-8, 17

R.(see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment. 
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness. 
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. 
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar. 
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab. 
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab. 
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth. 
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. 
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph. 
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah. 
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. 
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok. 
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar. 
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. 
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

It’s In The Genes


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 17, 2019

“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father.” At very well-placed times of the year, especially around the dates that are most famous for the gatherings of families like right now, you will see a literal cascade of advertisements concerning the discovery of one’s family roots through DNA testing. Commercials abound with different companies competing for curious dollars to discover not only where families originated, but also identifying certain traits. Many believe they can learn significantly about where they are going by discovering where they are from. “In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.”

With just a week away from Christmas Eve, we have been generously served the Genealogy Account from the Gospel of St. Matthew that traces the lineage of Jesus all the way back to Abraham: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The importance of this moment is quite similar to the DNA searches that have grown into popularity in the last ten years or so. We want to know who Jesus is so as to know why He came. When we realize why He came, we will embrace Him into our hearts and families like a newborn invigorating all of our lives with a freshness and transforming passage into a brand new year. We know where we are going because we know Who is leading us. And we know exactly His origins and final destiny in Heaven.

“God walked down the stairs of heaven with a Baby in His arms.” Paul Scherer

Leave a comment

December 16, 2019


Monday of the Third Week of Advent Lectionary: 187

Reading 1 – NM 24:2-7, 15-17A

When Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe,
the spirit of God came upon him,
and he gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of a man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled:
How goodly are your tents, O Jacob;
your encampments, O Israel!
They are like gardens beside a stream,
like the cedars planted by the LORD.
His wells shall yield free-flowing waters,
he shall have the sea within reach;
His king shall rise higher,
and his royalty shall be exalted.

Then Balaam gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of the man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled.
I see him, though not now;
I behold him, though not near:
A star shall advance from Jacob,
and a staff shall rise from Israel.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 25:4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9

R.(4) Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Alleluia – PS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us, LORD, your love,
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 21:23-27

When Jesus had come into the temple area,
the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him
as he was teaching and said,
“By what authority are you doing these things? 
And who gave you this authority?” 
Jesus said to them in reply,
“I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me,
then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. 
Where was John’s baptism from?
Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” 
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 
But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd,
for they all regard John as a prophet.” 
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” 
He himself said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

A Different Kind Of Christmas Gift


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 16, 2019

“A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel. ” Sometimes we think of Christmas gifts that come in brightly wrapped packages and delightful bows of many colors. But what about another kind of gift? In the Great Season of Advent, the Lord Jesus through the Scriptures asks us all to consider the powerfully wonderful and awesome gift of actually forgiving another human being for Christmas. The healing nature of letting go of past and ugly hurts is made clear by the entire life and body of teaching of Christ the Lord who perfect birthday gift could in fact be Forgiveness. It is safe to safe to say that he teaches us that you and I are the ones who are being forgiven every time we forgive another. person. It is like the oil of relationships that does not change the past but only the future. We can hear the energy of this awesome message in the Responsorial Psalm: “Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way.”

This concept was also made crystal clear in the Gospel of today: “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” The Baby Jesus was brought to earth to expose and propose love and forgiveness as a means to set a prisoner free, only for us to discover that the prisoner is us! We could also call this the “Authority of Love” and accept this as one of the supreme non-refundable, non-returnable Christmas gifts of all of our lives. How beautiful!

“The first to apologize is the Bravest. The first to forgive is the Strongest. and the first to forget is the Happiest.” – Unknown

Leave a comment

December 15, 2019


Third Sunday of Advent Lectionary: 7

Reading 1 – IS 35:1-6A, 10

The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
they will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10.

R. (cf. Is 35:4)  Lord, come and save us.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD God keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free. 
R. Lord, come and save us.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Lord, come and save us.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations.
R. Lord, come and save us.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – JAS 5:7-10

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, 
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, 
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Alleluia – IS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18)

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

Gospel – MT 11:2-11

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, 
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, 
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply, 
“Go and tell John what you hear and see: 
the blind regain their sight, 
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed, 
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

As they were going off,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, 
“What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out?  To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way before you.

Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women 
there has been none greater than John the Baptist; 
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Christmas As A Wonderful Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 15, 2019

Christmas is about giving from the heart more than giving from the store. Toni Sorenson

One day on Christmas Eve, a man found himself at the very depths and the bottom of the darkest point of his life and in the famous movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” he discovers through a Christmas “Angel” what life would have been like if he had never been born. It gave him a new sense of purpose and a joy to be alive giving him every reasonable reason to be happy and overjoyed: “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song.” This is our goal today as we near Christmas Eve ourselves, just one week away! How do we do this?

“Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.” During these last few days that we have, let us consider accomplishing the following: 1) Slow Down, 2) Forgive, 3) Remember those who have less than we do. This we do to prepare for our Jesus who comes to save, comfort and forgive us: “…the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” This is where the wisdom, experience, and values of this Advent Season truly come into play. Only those things that we do for others, including the souls we try to rescue, will pass from this earth to the next. Everything else will burn up someday but those things done for Christ and for His glory will endure forever. You can’t take it with you but you can certainly send it ahead and have it waiting for you when you use your time, talents, and treasure for the kingdom of God and for the glory of Jesus Christ: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” If we can enter into the true Spirit of Christmas, then it is truly a wonderful life!

“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.” on George Bailey’s office wall from the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life

Leave a comment

December 14, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

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

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 186

Reading 1 – SIR 48:1-4, 9-11

In those days,
like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Their staff of bread he shattered,
in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire,
in a chariot with fiery horses.
You were destined, it is written, in time to come
to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD,
To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons,
and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.
Blessed is he who shall have seen you 
and who falls asleep in your friendship.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 80:2AC AND 3B, 15-16, 18-19

R.(4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Alleluia – LK 3:4, 6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
All flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 17:9A, 10-13

As they were coming down from the mountain,
the disciples asked Jesus,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. 
So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
Then the disciples understood
that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 14 – Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church


Click Here for Daily Reading

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 693

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

Reading 1 – 1 COR 2:1-10A

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

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

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

this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 37:3-4, 5-6, 30-31

R.    (30A)  The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s request.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
The mouth of the just tells of wisdom
and his tongue utters what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart,
and his steps do not falter.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

Alleluia – MT 5:3

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.
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,
every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”

Leave a comment

Johns’ Crosses


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 14, 2019

“So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” As we move closer and closer to the Great Feast of Christmas, it becomes more and more necessary to introduce a little more realism into the mystery of what we are celebrating, what it means to us now and for the rest of our lives. The message here is quite simple and should explain much in terms of how most of us experienced this wonderful time of the year as children. Life will always involve suffering and true happiness will depend not on the absence of pain but on the effective and positive ways we deal with it. 

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Thus the way we prepare for Christmas, the First Coming of Christ, will form and standardize the way we live all of the rest of the year, and for that matter, for the rest of our lives, that is to say, the Second Coming.  This is why many of us believe that the “magic” and splendor of Christmas that we remember from childhood were placed there precisely because our parents and extended family knew what was waiting for us ahead. 

“Blessed is he who shall have seen you and who falls asleep in your friendship.” It would just take a few minutes to realize something that we all tend to overlook every Christmas about the first Christmas: The Baby Jesus was born most cruelly and inefficiently with a price tag on his head and filth all around him not to mention the fear and trepidation surrounding his first few minutes alive on our planet. Yet, there is so much joy and relief that is to be shared universally that it tends to overshadow the meanness of the world into which the Author of Love was born. Sandwiched in between our memorable Advent Sundays is this moment today when we celebrate two great Saints in two very different times of Church History, St. John the Baptist and St. John of the Cross whose messages truly prepare us all for the deep and sometimes unfathomable mysteries of Christmas. Take some time today and let these messages sink in and make a difference in how we approach Christmas Eve and the rest of life that is waiting. It will be festive as it will be glorious.

 

“In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human success, but rather on much we have loved. In the inner stillness where mediation leads, the Spirit secretly anoints the soul and heals our deepest wounds.” St. John of the Cross

“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” St. John the Baptist

Leave a comment

December 13, 2019


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

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr Lectionary: 185

Reading 1 – IS 48:17-19

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I, the LORD, your God,
teach you what is for your good,
and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
and those born of your stock like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.

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

R.(see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
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. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
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. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
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. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord will come; go out to meet him!
He is the prince of peace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare this generation? 
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ 
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
‘He is possessed by a demon.’ 
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 
But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 13 – Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr


Click Here for Daily Reading

Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr
Lectionary: 692

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 – 2 COR 10:17B-11:2

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 8AB, 16BC AND 17

R.    (6)  Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Alleluia

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the wise virgin, 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.”

Leave a comment

Humbug Or Happiness


Reflection on Mass Reading of December 13, 2019

“We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.” There seem to be two diametrically different prevailing attitudes around this time of year concerning the playing and singing of Christmas Carols. On the one hand, there are people who appear to lament and even disdain their playing partly because it is constant reminder of the pressure of the season to shop and spend and who maintain the attitude that “they can’t wait till it’s all over.” On the other hand, there are those who start playing those wonderfully memorable songs even before Thanksgiving. Imagine if people from both groups actually have to work together!

“If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea.” The problem is probably a very old one, one of which may not have ever found a peaceful solution but the underlying issue is what is really at stake here. It has everything to do with what is inside the human heart at any time of the year. We have called these “core beliefs” which everyone has. 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.”

It is what we hold in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds and they truly shape how we look at everything in life from a stalled car on the freeway to the meaning of life itself. So choose today: “Bah, humbug,” or “Come, Lord, Jesus.”

Leave a comment

February 6, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Saints Paul Miki and Companions, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, martyrs
Lectionary: 326

Reading 1 – 1 KGS 2:1-4, 10-1

When the time of David’s death drew near,
he gave these instructions to his son Solomon:
“I am going the way of all flesh.
Take courage and be a man.
Keep the mandate of the Lord, your God, following his ways
and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees
as they are written in the law of Moses,
that you may succeed in whatever you do,
wherever you turn, and the Lord may fulfill
the promise he made on my behalf when he said,
‘If your sons so conduct themselves
that they remain faithful to me with their whole heart
and with their whole soul,
you shall always have someone of your line
on the throne of Israel.’”

David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
The length of David’s reign over Israel was forty years:
he reigned seven years in Hebron
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.

Solomon was seated on the throne of his father David,
with his sovereignty firmly established. 

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

R. (12b)  Lord, you are exalted over all.
“Blessed may you be, O LORD,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity.”
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
“Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory.”
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
“LORD, you are exalted over all.
Yours, O Lord, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor are from you.”
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
“In your hand are power and might;
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all.”
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – MK 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Leave a comment

December 12, 2019


Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Lectionary: 690A

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!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

Or – RV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – JUDITH 13:18BCDE, 19

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

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:26-38

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

Or – LK 1:39-47

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

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Roses In December


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 12, 2019

“God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.” Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, perhaps one of the most world-wide and recognized celebrations of the place of the Virgin Mary not only in the story of Christmas but in the whole of our Salvation. She said, “Yes!” to the invitation bestowed upon her to become the Mother of Jesus and, because the Church is the Body of Christ, she is our Mother, too.

“You are the highest honor of our race.” This particular apparition of Mary is drenched in meaning and significance especially when one considers the horrible and destructive cult of human sacrifice that had been perpetuated in Aztec culture. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the tilma of St. Juan Diego presents a greatly different message. “I am bringing you life, life to the fullest through Jesus Christ!” is clearly the message of the Virgin for today. and always. It is yet another beautiful reminder as we near the Birth of Jesus this Christmas of the real reason and purpose of everything Christmas. “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.”

Christmas joy can only be found in the real meaning and deep experience of the birth of a defenseless, innocent baby with a price tag on his head issued by a criminally insane power-hungry madman bent on death. Life wins when we celebrate and protect it.

Leave a comment

December 11 – Memorial of Saint Damasus I, Pope


Click Here for Daily Reading

Optional Memorial of Saint Damasus I, pope
Lectionary: 690

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

Reading 1 – ACTS 20:17-18A, 28-32, 36

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group,
men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.”

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:15B

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

Gospel – 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.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 11, 2019


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

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent Lectionary: 183

Reading 1 – IS 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 AND 10

R.(1)  O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. 
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 11:28-30

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Yoking Around The Christmas Tree


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 11, 2019

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Today we readers of the Scriptures are treated to a lesson in word usage and phrasing that will hopefully help us remember the great wisdom that is contained for our use on our spiritual journey. If you were just listening to the Word proclaimed today, you might think that the word “yolk” was meant instead of “yoke.” Most people know that a yolk is that soft, yellow center of an egg that comes to our plates in a myriad of uses and presentations. However, a yoke, as is mentioned in the Gospel today is a very large piece of word or even a metal composition that is placed on the top of the necks of beasts of burden in order to drag and complete the unearthing of the land to plant and sometimes harvest. But this does present even more issues as to why this large, obstructive tool could be easy or even light. There must be something more to this. And there is especially during the Advent Season.

“They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” When you think of the yoke, there is always room for two. When Christ offers his won yoke what is clear about the invitation is both simple and stunning. It is as if the Lord is saying to us, “I am asking you to cry this heavy load but I will be one side of the yoke while you are on the other. We will do this together. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.” This is truly great news. No matter what I have to carry today, no matter how great or small, this will pale in comparison if I had to carry this cross alone. We are never alone and this promise Jesus always completes and answers. This is why the daily regimen of the Scriptures linked with solid prayer and devoted reception of the Eucharist is absolutely necessary if we are going to make it to Heaven. You see, when we put our problems in His hands, He puts peace in our hearts. This is what we call “Christmas joy.”

“The one who prays is never alone.” Pope Benedict XVI

Leave a comment

January 31, 2020


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

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
Lectionary: 321

Reading 1 – 2 SM 1:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel,
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told,
“She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam,
and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite.”
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived,
and sent the information to David, “I am with child.”

David therefore sent a message to Joab,
“Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers,
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.” 
Uriah left the palace,
and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him,
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed
among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
“Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.”
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab,
some officers of David’s army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 5-6A, 6BCD-7, 10-11

R. (see 3a)  Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned

Alleluia – MT 11:25

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

Gospel – MK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Leave a comment

December 10, 2019


Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent Lectionary: 182

Reading 1 – IS 40:1-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

A voice says, “Cry out!”
I answer, “What shall I cry out?”
“All flesh is grass,
and all their glory like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower wilts,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it.
So then, the people is the grass.
Though the grass withers and the flower wilts,
the word of our God stands forever.”

Go up onto a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
Cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:1-2, 3 AND 10AC, 11-12, 13

R.(see Isaiah 40:10ab)  The Lord our God comes with power.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The day of the Lord is near;
Behold, he comes to save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion? 
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray? 
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Comfort And Joy


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 10, 2019

“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.” God rest ye merry gentlemen/ Let nothing you dismay./ Remember Christ our Savior/ Was born on Christmas Day./ To save us all from Satan’s pow’r/ When we were gone astray/  Oh tidings of comfort and joy/Comfort and joy/Oh tidings of comfort and joy.

Years ago, a young pastor would seize on the anticipation between Thanksgiving and Christmas to teach the history of Christmas Carols. What a joy! One evening we learned about the carol referred above. What an eye opener! We learned that there was an almost hidden meaning behind this song. You see, back in the Middle Ages, the word “merry” meant great and mighty. Then, the word “rest.” really meant to keep or make. Thus, today, to arrive at the true meaning of this carol, we should sing, “May God make you all great and mighty people!” So how would this bring us “Comfort and Joy“? 

Men and women who are great are also just and kind. They follow the Law of God but with a heart of mercy of love and forgiveness: “They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy.” These attitudes help produce a clean conscience “that can sleep through storms” and spread the real message of Christmas even though all the cumbersome activities, distractions, lack of time and money which invariably rob most people of the true spirit of Christmas.  As great and mighty Christians, we can make a difference this Christmas by living our faith before everyone we meet, especially our families. The next time someone asks us what we are doing or getting for Christmas, we can tell them and remind each other that Christ was born to die and that, in Him, we might live forever, the greatest gift we could or ever receive in this lifetime and the next. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen is more than just a Christmas carol. It can be our way of thanking God for being rescued and saved by Jesus to live forever in our true home in Heaven. “In just the same way way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

Now to the Lord sing praises/ All you within this place/ And with true love and brotherhood/ Each other now embrace/ This holy tide of Christmas/ All other doth deface. Oh tidings of comfort and joy/Comfort and joy/Oh tidings of comfort and joy.

Leave a comment

December 9, 2019


Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lectionary: 689

Reading 1 – GN 3:9-15, 20

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

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

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

R.(1) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
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. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
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. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
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. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Reading 2 – EPH 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him. 
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

Alleluia – SEE LK 1:28

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

Gospel – LK 1:26-38

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Out Of The Blue


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 9, 2019

Today we celebrate the glorious Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary which has a long and complex history. It goes back to the understanding of the mystery of Mary in her privileged relationship with God and with the mystery of salvation, to which she is associated from the first moment of her existence, as being “full of grace” and love of God. In a particular way, the expression “full of grace” has been rediscovered in its most profound sense that she was prepared from the beginning of time for this remarkably pivotal role in all of Salvation:

“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” The very words that the Angel Gabriel addressed to Mary were placed front and center at the moment that Jesus Christ became incarnate in her body and as true God and true Man, who sacrifices everything for our salvation to Heaven. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it this way: (490) To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace. (491) Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”

For us today, this is truly overwhelming: God wants all of us to be saved and only one like us (Jesus) and one like Him (God) could accomplish that. Our humanity with all its weaknesses and damage still has the potential of true greatness. The disobedience of Eve has been forgiven and humanity has been restored by the obedience of Mary. This is why the two are will always be inextricably intertwined for all humanity: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” (Exodus) 

Prayer: O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through her intercession, to come to You. Amen.

*The color blue traditionally is the symbolic color for the Virgin Mary. 

Leave a comment

December 8, 2019


Second Sunday of Advent Lectionary: 4

Reading 1 – IS 11:1-10

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R. (cf. 7)  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
he shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Reading 2 – ROM 15:4-9

Brothers and sisters:
Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, 
that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures 
we might have hope.
May the God of endurance and encouragement 
grant you to think in harmony with one another, 
in keeping with Christ Jesus, 
that with one accord you may with one voice 
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, 
for the glory of God.
For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised
to show God’s truthfulness, 
to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, 
but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written:
Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
and sing praises to your name.

Alleluia – LK 3:4, 6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 3:1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair 
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves, 
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you, 
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit 
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, 
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor 
and gather his wheat into his barn, 
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Geese Are Getting Fat


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 8, 2019

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, would you please to put a penny in an old man’s hat? Clearly, we begin this reflection with one of those references that perhaps may be lost on a number of our readers, but then again, maybe not. It is the opening line from a very familiar Christmas rhyme which hails from England and basically signals to all who would hear, that Christmas is a time to be generous especially to the poor, elderly and downtrodden, basically, all those in need of anything this time of year. 

“Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.” Sometimes we think of Christmas gifts that come in brightly wrapped packages and delightful bows of many colors. But what about another kind of gift? In the Great Season of Advent, the Lord Jesus through the Scriptures asks us all to consider the powerfully wonderful and awesome gift of actually forgiving another human being for Christmas. The healing nature of letting go of past and ugly hurts is made clear by the entire life and body of teaching of Christ the Lord whose perfect birthday gift could, in fact, be forgiveness. It is safe to safe to say that he teaches us that you and I are the ones who are being forgiven every time we forgive another person. It is like the oil of relationships that does not change the past but only the future. We can hear the energy of this awesome message in the First Reading: “Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,  and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.”  

This concept was also made crystal clear in the Gospel of today: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  Jesus proposes forgiveness as a means to set a prisoner free, only for us to discover that the prisoner was us! Indeed, it is a great thought to ponder on this second installment of Advent this year. The Christmas rhymes ties all together at the end: If you haven’t got a penny a half-penny will do, and if you haven’t got a half-penny, well then, God bless you. The first to apologize is the Bravest. The first to forgive is the Strongest. and the first to forget is the Happiest.   

Leave a comment

December 7 – Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


Click Here for Daily Reading

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 688

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

Reading 1 – EPH 3:8-12

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 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 – 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.”

Leave a comment

December 7, 2019


Sunday Vigil Mass

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

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 180

Reading 1 – IS 30:19-21, 23-26

Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.

He will give rain for the seed
that you sow in the ground,
And the wheat that the soil produces
will be rich and abundant.
On that day your flock will be given pasture
and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows;
The oxen and the asses that till the ground
will eat silage tossed to them
with shovel and pitchfork.
Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall,
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.(see Isaiah 30:18d) Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Praise the LORD, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers. 
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Great is our LORD and mighty in power:
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The LORD sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

Alleluia – IS 33:22

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The LORD is our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King;
he it is who will save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8

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

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness. 

Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Our Shepherd’s Coming


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 7, 2019

“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them  because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” There was a remarkable encounter with a visiting and potential donor to one of the many outreach clinics in the poorest part of Calcutta, India where the Sisters of Charity and Mother Teresa served the poor and dying. This visitor saw a young nun tendering washing a gaping wound of a man who was clearly dying of malnutrition and infection. Her response to the young religious sister was surprising: “I wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world!” The nun’s response was equally surprising: “Neither would I, Ma’am. Neither would I.”   

The great Advent lesson for all of us today is simple: God loves us and that is the only reason for His divine sacrifice for our eternal happiness. “He will be gracious to you when you cry out, as soon as he hears he will answer you. The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst.” There is no money possibly gathered in all the lifetimes and eons of history on this planet that could even come close to what the Father has done for us in giving us His only begotten Son, Jesus for our salvation. In the light of all this, what is our response to others? Love often takes the form of forgiveness and patience even when it does not appear to be merited or proper. Yet, if we truly wish to honor what has been done for us by the birth of Christ and His subsequent death and Resurrection of Christ, then perhaps we could learn much from The Good Shepherd about to born in our midst: God loves me more in a single moment than anyone could in a lifetime. 

Leave a comment

December 6 – Memorial of Saint Nicholas, Bishop


Click Here for Daily Reading

Optional Memorial of Saint  Nicholas, bishop
Lectionary: 687

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 – IS 6:1-8

In the year King Uzziah died,
I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,
with the train of his garment filling the temple.
Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings:
with two they veiled their faces,
with two they veiled their feet,
and with two they hovered aloft.

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!”
they cried, one to the other.
“All the earth is filled with his glory!”
At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook
and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
living among a people of unclean lips;
yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me,
holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it and said,
“See, now that this has touched your lips,
your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

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

R.    (8A and 9A)  Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – LK 10:1-9

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

Leave a comment

December 6, 2019


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

Friday of the First Week of Advent Lectionary: 179

Reading 1 – IS 29:17-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
But a very little while,
and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book;
And out of gloom and darkness,
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.
Therefore thus says the LORD,
the God of the house of Jacob,
who redeemed Abraham:
Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of,
nor shall his face grow pale.
When his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall keep my name holy;
they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
and be in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

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

R. (1A)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
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. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
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. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
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. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 9:27-31

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
“Son of David, have pity on us!” 
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
“Do you believe that I can do this?” 
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him. 
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.” 
And their eyes were opened. 
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.” 
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Nicholas In Us


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 6, 2019

Today is the time-honored, child-revered, legend-laden Feast of St. Nicholas. Let us celebrate as co-travelers through what is left of mystery and grace left in our world! Something is certainly different about today, and perhaps this is why. 

The one everyone knows as Santa Claus has a remarkable history all his own reaching all the way back to the 3rd century to a monk named Nicholas. Most historians place his birth around 280 A.D. in modern-day Turkey and describe him as someone much admired for his beautiful generosity and kindness. Many sources reveal that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick, including three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. For the next seventeen centuries, Santa Claus has evolved and become the virtual symbol of happy, childlike innocent fun together with an almost magical sense of giving and receiving and spreading goodness throughout the entire year. 

It is the kind of existence that is painted by our First Reading today: “The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” Without drifting needlessly into cynicism, let us state that St. Nicholas is still alive and well in the hearts of those who love Christmas and who never forget the true source and power of the season, Jesus Christ. If we accept the Lord Jesus into our everyday thinking and acting, then St. Nick is alive THROUGH us because Jesus is alive IN us. In this first week of Advent waiting and watching for the Birth of Jesus, consider how Christmas both amazes and mystifies our families and friends, especially children. Let us be the miracle people are seeking, the hope they look for and the true spirit of love and peace that we all need to experience. It is clearly straight from the mind and heart of Christ: “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”

Prayer: O good St. Nicholas, you who are the joy of the children, put in my heart the spirit of childhood, which the Gospel speaks, and teach me to seed happiness around me. You, whose feast prepares us for Christmas, open my faith to the mystery of God made man. You good bishop and shepherd, help me to find my place in the Church and inspire the Church to be faithful to the Gospel. O good Saint Nicholas, patron of children, sailors and the helpless, watch over those who pray to Jesus, your Lord and theirs, as well as over those who humble themselves before you. Bring us all in reverence to the Holy Child of Bethlehem, when true joy and peace are found. Amen.

Leave a comment

December 5, 2019


Thursday of the First Week of Advent Lectionary: 178

Reading 1 – IS 26:1-6

On that day they will sing this song in the land of Judah:

“A strong city have we;
he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.
Open up the gates
to let in a nation that is just,
one that keeps faith.
A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
in peace, for its trust in you.”

Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 118:1 AND 8-9, 19-21, 25-27A

R.(26A)  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, 
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes. 
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This gate is the LORD’s;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – IS 55:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call him while he is near.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 7:21, 24-27

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

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Storm Warnings In Advent


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 5, 2019

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Everyone builds their very existence (house) on something. You could say that every person we meet already has a foundation underneath everything they do and say. The one true revelation as to that base of life is what happens to a person when a storm or severe crisis hits. What do they do? Who do they turn to? What is their strategy? Rock (Jesus) or Sand (the world)?

Here is what St. John Chrysostom has to say about it: “By ‘rain’ here, and ‘floods,’ and ‘winds,’ He is expressing metaphorically the calamities and afflictions that befall everyone; such as false accusations, plots, bereavements, deaths, loss of friends, vexations from strangers, all the ills in our life that any one could mention. ‘But to none of these,’ says He, ‘does such a soul give way; and the cause is, it is founded on the rock.’”

“Trust in the LORD forever! For the LORD is an eternal Rock.”  Both the Old and New Testaments have produced outstanding witnesses to this point for our consideration. Job is one of them who received all the assaults of the devil, and stood unmovable; and the Apostles, too for that when the waves of the whole world were beating against them, when both nations and princes, both their own people and strangers, both the evil spirits, and the devil, and every engine was set in motion, they stood firmer than a rock, and dispersed it all. The non-believer says, “Why me?” The Disciple says, “Why not me?”

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

Leave a comment

December 4, 2019


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

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent Lectionary: 177

Reading 1 – IS 25:6-10A

On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.

On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

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

R. (6CD) I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
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. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
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. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
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. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 15:29-37

At that time:
Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee,
went up on the mountain, and sat down there. 
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others. 
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. 
The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking,
the deformed made whole, 
the lame walking, 
and the blind able to see,
and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat. 
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way.” 
The disciples said to him,
“Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?” 
Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” 
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” 
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. 
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. 
They all ate and were satisfied. 
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 4 – Memorial of Saint John of Damascus, Priest, Religious, Doctor of the Church


Click Here for Daily Reading

Optional Memorial of Saint John of Damascus, priest, religious, doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 686

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 – 2 TM 1:13-14; 2:1-3

Beloved:
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.

My child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And what you heard from me through many witnesses
entrust to faithful people
who will have the ability to teach others as well.
Bear your share of hardship along with me
like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

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 – JN 14:23

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
All who love me will keep my words,
and my Father will love them,
and we will come to them.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 25:14-30

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

Or – MT 25:14-23

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

Leave a comment

House Of Bread


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 4, 2019

There is a very interesting bit of Christmas trivia that should be part of our collected batch of important points of reference as we move closer and closer to this Christmas and beyond. It has to do with the name of the ever-so-famous little town where our Savior was born: Bethlehem. The actual name in Hebrew sounds more like Betel-lehem which are two different words basically combined to make the phrase, “House of Bread.”

“Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied.” This Christmas morsel is quite significant because of the nature of Jesus Himself, the Bread of Life for the world. Christmas can be a time where we could look to experience not only healing but also a moment of nourishment for our tired souls and the remedy for which problems we might be experiencing here and now. Do you realize that God wants all of us to be happy? This is the one of the deepest most wonderful goals of the season to make things bright, both internally and externally. Open your heart to accepting this wonderful invitation to receive the Body of Christ and be filled with a divine love which knows no end. This is precisely why Christmas is merry.

“Christ knew that by bread alone you cannot reanimate man. If there were no spiritual life, no ideal of Beauty, man would pine away, die, go mad, kill himself or give himself to pagan fantasies. And as Christ, the ideal of Beauty in Himself and his Word, he decided it was better to implant the ideal of Beauty in the soul. If it exists in the soul, each would be the brother of everyone else and then, of course, working for each other, all would also be rich.”  Fyodor Dostoevsky

Leave a comment

December 3, 2019


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest Lectionary: 176

Reading 1 – IS 11:1-10

On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R.(see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment. 
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save. 
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 10:21-24

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

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

December 3 – Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest


Click Here for Daily Reading

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest
Lectionary: 685

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.

Reading 1 – 1 COR 9:16-19, 22-23

Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach,
I offer the Gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the Gospel.
Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the Gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – MT 28:19A, 20B

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

Gospel – MK 16:15-20

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Giving As A Gift Itself


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 3, 2019

One day in the Jubilee Year 2000, a young and very curious 5-year-old son of a very busy and dedicated Mom, approached her just days before the Great Holiday of Christmas and asked, “What does Jesus get for His birthday?” That one very honest and simple question launched years of joy-giving traditions with this particular family that turned wish-lists into giving lists, love packages of baked goods for lonely neighbors and looking through special catalogs to purchase food and much-needed items for poor children all across the globe. Can you just stop for a minute and try to imagine the kind of adult that little boy has become today? Yes, you can: “I give you praise, Father, Lord of Heaven and earthy, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” 

This Advent time invites us all to accomplish many fine things. Among them, we can possibly make a list of all the blessings we have received and not a list of all the things we want or even need. There is also the pull upon all our hearts to spend more time in silence and then listen intensely. We can share our faith in ways that we never thought possible. This would be the voice of hope and comfort for those around us whom we would never have imagined: “Behold, our Lord shall come with power; he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.”

“The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.” Thomas S. Monson

Leave a comment

December 2, 2019


Monday of the First Week of Advent Lectionary: 175

Reading 1 – IS 4:2-6

On that day,
The branch of the LORD will be luster and glory,
and the fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor
for the survivors of Israel.
He who remains in Zion
and he who is left in Jerusalem
Will be called holy:
every one marked down for life in Jerusalem.
When the LORD washes away
the filth of the daughters of Zion,
And purges Jerusalem’s blood from her midst
with a blast of searing judgment,
Then will the LORD create,
over the whole site of Mount Zion
and over her place of assembly,
A smoking cloud by day
and a light of flaming fire by night.
For over all, the LORD’s glory will be shelter and protection:
shade from the parching heat of day,
refuge and cover from storm and rain.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 122:1-2, 3-4B, 4CD-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. 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.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! 
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls, 
prosperity in your buildings. 
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Alleluia – SEE PS 80:4

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come and save us, LORD our God;
let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”  
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”  
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. 
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Declaration Of Peace


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 2, 2019

There is something quite marvelous that has happened every Christmas Eve in Finland since the early 14th century: it is simply known as the Declaration of Peace. It is accompanied by all kinds of musical instruments including drums, choral singing, and even symphonic strings. What is it? It is basically a highly anticipated announcement made in the old capital of Turku that attests and demands everyone to act with peace and love during the Christmas Season. 

Here is the actual text: “Tomorrow, God willing, is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior; and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully, because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behavior shall under aggravating circumstances be guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offense separately. Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city.”  

This Declaration helps us understand and work for the meanings found in our Readings today: “On that day, The branch of the LORD will be luster and glory, and the fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor for the survivors of Israel,”  and in the Responsorial Psalm: “Because of my relatives and friends I will say, ‘Peace be within you!’” The great Season of Advent attempt the same as the Finnish declaration: we are called to people of peace and comfort for each other and we are to be people of faith and hope that call upon the name of Christ in every situation. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”

“Peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day.” Helen Steiner Rice

Leave a comment

December 1, 2019


First Sunday of Advent Lectionary: 1

Reading 1 – IS 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come,
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. 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.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my brothers and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Reading 2 – ROM 13:11-14

Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

Alleluia – CF. PS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left. 
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left. 
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. 
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Climb, Conduct And Carry On: Advent


Reflection on Mass Reading for December 1, 2019

Brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus. We are here again at yet another installment of this adventure we call life, sandwiched between the two memory-seeking holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although those super-technically astute would not agree, time is about to move faster and faster right about now. This we know from previous experiences of these days that are so filled with grace and opportunities for growth that there could be a time where time itself stands still. This is now the Advent Season which has its own character and texture and if we understand it and move forward with it, we not only stand to have an awesome Christmas but also an amazing year and life ahead. What do the Scriptures beckon us to accomplish? 

“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” Have you ever climbed anything really tall and overwhelming There are several aspects of such a feat that are also applicable to our reflection. You’ve got to prepare, you must know the terrain, and you must decide that you are going to finish. During this spiritual season of Advent, our whole focus in on preparation, preparing to prepare, as it were. We are getting ready for yet another Christmas but it cannot be the same old same old. Our hearts must be open to wonderful moments of grace and beauty, and yes, joy as we await these beautiful celebrations. 

“Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day.” Have you ever noticed how our lives can be divided into the two segments of our 24-hour existence daily?  Light and darkness. The Scriptures are clearly referring to good deeds and evil deeds of which temptations constantly surround our day-to-day living. It appears we are going to have to make choices all day and all night long. It is precisely in these choices where we will find the recipe for deep happiness or disaster. And thank God we will have the Scriptures to guide us through these moments leading up to the great experience of Christmas.  

“So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Carry on with our eyes wide open and ready for anything. In many ways, Advent is like a dress rehearsal for our last breath before seeing God face-to-face. Just think about the image for just a second. Christmas is the First Coming of Christ. The Second Coming will arrive when our time on this planet is finished. Will we be sad or worried? If we approach Christmas with the joy and love of a child’s heart, then we can hope to face our own death in the same way.

“The problem is solved. Now go and utterly enjoy all remaining days. Not only is it “Always Advent,” but every day can now be Christmas because the one we thought we were just waiting for has come once and for all.”  Richard Rohr  

Leave a comment