The Word of God

Where’s The Fire?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 31, 2020

Passion is a very complicated element of the human experience. By definition, the term “passions” refers to the affections or the feelings by which we are able to understand and navigate through a world that is filled with both good and evil. This also means that God must have an equal counterpart within what it means to be divine as He imparts to us a similar creative and energetic force as His created loved ones. Everyone needs passion to accomplish anything worthwhile in life but it a power that has led so many to both victory and failure. Take for instance the unfortunate episode in the life of King David: “The sword shall never depart from your house because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.”

The Church defines the principal passions as love and hatred, desire and fear, joy, sadness, and anger which in turn can be mastered and formed by virtue or perverted by vice. (CCC 1771-1775) It is analogous to the created element of fire which can be of great assistance or great destruction. How are we to deal with this magnificent force in our lives?
King David returned to the Lord God and repented. He was wounded but still continued to serve God and His people with great distinction and love. Jesus used simple and deep concepts to explain and reveal the wonders of living in the Kingdom: “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.” The Life indeed is a mystery filled with passion and action from start to finish. Our work must include the discovery of our own purpose and direction by staying as close to the Lord as possible. Only through that intimacy will we ever find fulfillment, happiness, and Heaven.

 

“Strong emotions such as passion and bliss are indications that you’re connected to Spirit, or ‘inspired,’ if you will. When you’re inspired, you activate dormant forces, and the abundance you seek in any form comes streaming into your life.” Wayne Dyer

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January 31, 2020 – Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest


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

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest
Lectionary: 523

Reading 1 – PHIL 4:4-9

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again:  rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1BC-2, 3-4, 8-9, 13-14, 17-18

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,
heals all your ills,
He redeems your life from destruction,
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.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,
For he knows how we are formed;
he remembers that we are dust.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!
But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity
to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward his children’s children
among those who keep his covenant.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!

Alleluia – MT 23:11, 12B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 18:1-5

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

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When Much Is Expected


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 30, 2020

“Therefore your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer to you. And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth; you have made this generous promise to your servant.” What did slaves, servants, and thieves have in common in Roman Antiquity? They were often branded on the forehead with a mark, called a stigma, and thereby said to have been “engraved” like a coin or a medal. Both types of individuals were certainly known to the culture of the time when today’s Scriptures were written (Romans around 56-58 AD and Luke’s Gospel between 80-100 AD). They also shared common punishments: lashes and beatings, forced to carry a piece of wood around their necks, and in some cases, crucifixion. Of course, these are the same afflictions endured by Jesus as an integral part of the Paschal Mystery by which we are justified, redeemed and saved for a great future in Heaven. In Revelation 7:3-4, we read: “Then I saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea. Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God. I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the Israelites.”

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” These specific references can help us realize several things about living the Christian Life, being a disciple and a follower of Jesus Christ: We have been marked in this life and claimed for someone or something. Our choice now is to determine for whom by how we live. As Christians today, we can expect to be punished as was Our Savior, in the court of popularity, greed, hatred and the Godless. Remaining faithful to the end, which comes secretly or unexpectedly and without being seen, “like a thief in the night,” we are promised to take our place with the Lamb who has been slain and led to the “springs of life-giving water.” (Rev 7:17) Because the Victory is so great and the reward eternal, to those whom much is given, much is expected.

 

“Talent is God-given: Be humble. Fame is man-given: Be grateful. Conceit is self-given: Be careful.”

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January 30, 2020


Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 320

Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:18-19, 24-29

After Nathan had spoken to King David,
the king went in and sat before the LORD and said,
“Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house,
that you have brought me to this point?
Yet even this you see as too little, Lord GOD;
you have also spoken of the house of your servant
for a long time to come:
this too you have shown to man, Lord GOD!

“You have established for yourself your people Israel as yours forever,
and you, LORD, have become their God.
And now, LORD God, confirm for all time the prophecy you have made
concerning your servant and his house,
and do as you have promised.
Your name will be forever great, when men say,
‘The LORD of hosts is God of Israel,’
and the house of your servant David stands firm before you.
It is you, LORD of hosts, God of Israel,
who said in a revelation to your servant,
‘I will build a house for you.’
Therefore your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer to you.
And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth;
you have made this generous promise to your servant.
Do, then, bless the house of your servant
that it may be before you forever;
for you, Lord GOD, have promised,
and by your blessing the house of your servant
shall be blessed forever.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 132:1-2, 3-5, 11, 12, 13-14

R. (Lk 1:32b)  The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
LORD, remember David
and all his anxious care;
How he swore an oath to the LORD,
vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob.
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“I will not enter the house where I live,
nor lie on the couch where I sleep;
I will give my eyes no sleep,
my eyelids no rest,
Till I find a home for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
The LORD swore an oath to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
“Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“If your sons keep my covenant,
and the decrees which I shall teach them,
Their sons, too, forever
shall sit upon your throne.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
For the LORD has chosen Zion,
he prefers her for his dwelling:
“Zion is my resting place forever;
in her I will dwell, for I prefer her.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.

Alleluia – PS 119:105

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

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January 29, 2020


Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 319

Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:4-17

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?
I have not dwelt in a house
from the day on which I led the children of Israel
out of Egypt to the present,
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel,
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask:
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’

“Now then, speak thus to my servant David,
‘The LORD of hosts has this to say:
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.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
And if he does wrong,
I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements;
but I will not withdraw my favor from him
as I withdrew it from your predecessor Saul,
whom I removed from my presence.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:4-5, 27-28, 29-30

R. (29a)  Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will make your dynasty stand forever
and establish your throne through all ages.”
R. Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“He shall cry to me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock that brings me victory!’
I myself make him firstborn,
Most High over the kings of the earth.”
R. Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“Forever I will maintain my love for him;
my covenant with him stands firm.
I will establish his dynasty forever,
his throne as the days of the heavens.”
R. Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.

Alleluia 

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

Gospel – MK 4:1-20

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

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”

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

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January 28, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 318

Reading 1 – 2 SM 6:12B-15, 17-19

David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom
into the City of David amid festivities.
As soon as the bearers of the ark of the LORD had advanced six steps,
he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
Then David, girt with a linen apron,
came dancing before the LORD with abandon,
as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD
with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.
The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place
within the tent David had pitched for it.
Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
When he finished making these offerings,
he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
He then distributed among all the people,
to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel,
a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake.
With this, all the people left for their homes.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R. (8)  Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!

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 3:31-35

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

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The Lord’s Family Circle


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 28, 2020

From the very beginning of the Revelation we have received beginning in the Old Testament, we encounter the notion and the nature of the kind of deep and lasting relationship the Lord has always wanted for us. Like a good earthly father who wants to give his own family all he has for love and survival, we look to our Heavenly Father Who does the same. When we realize and accept this truth, we can easily join the Psalmist in the moment of pure joy: “Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may come in!”

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

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

“Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.” Brene Brown

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January 28, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 522

Reading 1 – WIS 7:7-10, 15-16

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – MT 23:9B, 10B

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

Gospel – MT 23:8-12

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

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June 27, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop and doctor of the Church


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

Optional Memorial of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 588

Reading 12 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 PsalmPS 89:2-3, 4-5, 21-22, 25 AND 27

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

AlleluiaMT 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.

GospelMT 5:13-19

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

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

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January 27, 2020


For the optional memorial of Saint Angela Merici, please go here.

Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 317

Reading 1 – 2 SM 5:1-7, 10

All the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the children of Israel out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.’”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.
David was thirty years old when he became king,
and he reigned for forty years:
seven years and six months in Hebron over Judah,
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem
over all Israel and Judah.

Then the king and his men set out for Jerusalem
against the Jebusites who inhabited the region.
David was told, “You cannot enter here:
the blind and the lame will drive you away!”
which was their way of saying, “David cannot enter here.”
But David did take the stronghold of Zion, which is the City of David.

David grew steadily more powerful,
for the LORD of hosts was with him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:20, 21-22, 25-26

R. (25a)  My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth.”
R. My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
“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. My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
I will set his hand upon the sea,
his right hand upon the rivers.”
R. My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.

Alleluia – 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – MK 3:22-30

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder his house. 
Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

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January 27, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Angela Merici, virgin


For the optional memorial of Saint Angela Merici, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Angela Merici, virgin
Lectionary: 521

Reading 1 – 1 PT 4:7B-11

Beloved:
Be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense,
because love covers a multitude of sins.
Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another
as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God;
whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies,
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

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

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

Alleluia – 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 9:34B-37

The disciples of Jesus had been discussing on the way
who was the greatest.
Jesus sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around him, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

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What We Despise In Ourselves


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 27, 2020

“David was told, ‘You cannot enter here: the blind and the lame will drive you away!’ which was their way of saying, ‘David cannot enter here.’” (King David’s encounter with the Jebusites in the First Reading) and “The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.'” (Jesus’ encounter with the scribes in the Gospel)

These two encounters that are presented to us today in the Scriptures truly relay to us the sense of viciousness and ferocity of the climate into which both King David and Jesus the Christ (and our King) had to begin their respective reign and ministry. What we have here is an excellent example of character assassination in the Bible. We know that from the text in the Old Testament Reading that David hardly gave the comment any thought at all. Jesus addressed the issue in a very beautiful and Messianic way. He confronted evil by the sheer power of his own truth and love and invited those present and us this very day to enter a deeper reflection on the mystery of His Kingdom and the invitation to live there for all eternity.

You see, when individuals are not aware of the evil within their very heart and personality, they project it onto others whom they believe to be the very existence of evil in their own twisted and malformed perspectives. Because the scribes were blind they were trapped and looked completely foolish and pathetic. We often despise in others what we despise in our own lives. Make sure Jesus lives and moves and breathes in yours.

“Don’t be a reflection of your depression, your dark, or your ugly. Reflect what you want. Your light, your beauty, & your strength. Aspire for greatness – reflect who you are; not which deficits you maintain. Showcase the hidden treasures.” Tiffany Luard

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Abundant Joy On The Menu


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 26, 2020

“You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.” If you think about it for just a minute, you might be able to arrive at a couple of words that probably do not go well together. Here are maybe a few, long shorts, authentic reproduction, partial cease-fire, limited lifetime guarantee, mandatory options, and my personal favorite, jumbo shrimp. Today, however, thanks to the great and timely gift of the Scriptures, we could posit the combination of two more unlikely candidates to fit together, joy and strength. Our First Reading from the Old Testament certainly makes that claim that we can and must find true spiritual strength in the moments where we choose to look for, find and experience joy in this life. This comes from being opened to the Holy Spirit and listening intensely upon His Word: “Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.”

The Second Reading and the beautiful words of the Gospel drive this point home even better: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, you and I belong to Jesus all the days of our lives. When one of us is sad, we are all sharers of the sadness; when one of us finds joy in the Lord and in this life, that joy becomes the strength of all who believe and witness the great gift that God places within our hearts if only we discover and share the joy that is there.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We know Jesus came to save us. He accomplished that by announcing good news to us every single day. This truly is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and joyful in it!

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell

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January 26, 2020


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 67

Reading 1 – IS 8:23—9:3

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
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.

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.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 1:10-13, 17

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”
or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

Alleluia – MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 4:12-23 OR 4:12-17

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

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

or


When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

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Conversion 101


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 25, 2020

“On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’” Today the Church celebrates that magnificent moment in the life of St. Paul when his whole turned upside down and great things followed him all the days of his life. Because of that powerful epiphany in St. Paul’s life, the Christian Church was strengthened in its infancy and the bulk of the New Testament would be written. Let us take a closer look at what conversion is and understand what it is not before moving forward.

First, a true conversion must involve a deep, personal and breath-taking encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus: “I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.” The point here is rather obvious. We should avoid calling our experience after a tear-jerking movie or the overwhelming relief after a near-death encounter as a conversion unless somehow and integrally that brings us to a face-to-face meeting with the Lord. Second, it must involve action: “Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.” Conversion without action is as useful as a glass hammer. Finally, but by no means the end of our essential elements, conversion must be ongoing: “But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.” The reason that Saul became the Great St. Paul was that his name change reflected his life change. Everything was different now and it would continue to be so until that day when Paul glorified God with his martyrdom. May it be the same with each one of us!

A prayer for conversions

O blessed apostle, St. Paul, greatest of all converts, who labored unceasingly for the conversion of other souls, inspire me with the ardor of your zeal that I may pray and work for the conversion of my brethren, redeemed in the blood of Christ but not as yet blessed with the full light of his truth.

Mindful of the loving concern of the Divine Shepherd for the salvation of the “other sheep that are not of this fold,” I now beg your intercession to obtain the grace of conversion for (name of a family member, friend or others).

May God, the Holy Spirit from whom alone this gift can come, hear my humble prayer and thus enable me to share with others the riches of my heritage of faith through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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January 25, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Lectionary: 519

Reading 1 – ACTS 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

“A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.’”

Or

Acts 9:1-22

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his  journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, AAnanias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – JN 15:16

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

Gospel – MK 16:15-18

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.”

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Freedom, Friendship And Faith


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 24, 2020

This indeed is a great day to reflect upon the intrinsic and deep relationship between what it means to have good, close and encouraging friends, the freedom it takes to maintain those friendships and the faith in Jesus that makes us friends with Him. “For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed? May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day. And now, I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.” Review once again what David accomplished in our First reading today. The depth of love in his hearts for friendship gushed over into the way he dealt with his enemies: with total and complete mercy. In many ways, you can tell how great a friend will be to the extent that he or she can forgive and show compassion. This is certainly true with David and Saul.

This element is underscored in the Gospel of today: Jesus knew that one of the friends/apostles He would choose would eventually betray Him, and still, in perfect freedom, he asked Him to follow Him, that is, be His friend any way: “He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him…and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.” The application for us today is simply stunning. In order for love to grow within any relationship there must be faith in the One who is love and the only One who will sustain that love until eternity, and especially for the grace both to forgive and show mercy. What is also remarkable is that love, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion never leave us empty-handed or return with nothing. It is a classic win-win situation: “I call to God the Most High, to God, my benefactor. May he send from heaven and save me; may he make those a reproach who trample upon me; may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.”

“Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.” Elie Wiesel

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January 24, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop, and doctor of the Church


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

Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop, and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 518

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 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 requests.
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 man 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 – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – JN 15:9-17

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

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

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January 24, 2020


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

Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop, and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 315

Reading 1 – 1 SM 24:3-21

Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel
and went in search of David and his men
in the direction of the wild goat crags.
When he came to the sheepfolds along the way, he found a cave,
which he entered to relieve himself.
David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave.

David’s servants said to him,
“This is the day of which the LORD said to you,
‘I will deliver your enemy into your grasp;
do with him as you see fit.’”
So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul’s mantle.
Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off
an end of Saul’s mantle.
He said to his men,
“The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master,
the LORD’s anointed, as to lay a hand on him,
for he is the LORD’s anointed.”
With these words David restrained his men
and would not permit them to attack Saul.
Saul then left the cave and went on his way.
David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul,
“My lord the king!”
When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul:
“Why do you listen to those who say,
‘David is trying to harm you’?
You see for yourself today that the Lord just now delivered you
into my grasp in the cave.
I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead.
I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord,
for he is the LORD’s anointed and a father to me.’
Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold.
Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you,
see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion.
I have done you no wrong,
though you are hunting me down to take my life.
The LORD will judge between me and you,
and the LORD will exact justice from you in my case.
I shall not touch you.
The old proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes forth wickedness.’
So I will take no action against you.
Against whom are you on campaign, O king of Israel?
Whom are you pursuing?  A dead dog, or a single flea!
The LORD will be the judge; he will decide between me and you.
May he see this, and take my part,
and grant me justice beyond your reach!”
When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul answered,
“Is that your voice, my son David?”
And Saul wept aloud.
Saul then said to David: “You are in the right rather than I;
you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.
Great is the generosity you showed me today,
when the LORD delivered me into your grasp
and you did not kill me.
For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed?
May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day.
And now, I know that you shall surely be king
and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 57:2, 3-4, 6 AND 11

R. (2a)  Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Have mercy on me, O God; have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
In the shadow of your wings I take refuge,
till harm pass by.
R. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
I call to God the Most High,
to God, my benefactor.
May he send from heaven and save me;
may he make those a reproach who trample upon me;
may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.
R. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies.
R. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.

Alleluia – 2 COR 5:19

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

Gospel – MK 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

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January 23, 2020


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

Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 314

Reading 1 – 1 SM 18:6-9; 19:1-7

When David and Saul approached
(on David’s return after slaying the Philistine),
women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul,
singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums.
The women played and sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”

Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought:
“They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me.
All that remains for him is the kingship.”
And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.

Saul discussed his intention of killing David
with his son Jonathan and with all his servants.
But Saul’s son Jonathan, who was very fond of David, told him:
“My father Saul is trying to kill you.
Therefore, please be on your guard tomorrow morning;
get out of sight and remain in hiding.
I, however, will go out and stand beside my father
in the countryside where you are, and will speak to him about you.
If I learn anything, I will let you know.”

Jonathan then spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him:
“Let not your majesty sin against his servant David,
for he has committed no offense against you,
but has helped you very much by his deeds.
When he took his life in his hands and slew the Philistine,
and the LORD brought about a great victory
for all Israel through him,
you were glad to see it.
Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood
by killing David without cause?”
Saul heeded Jonathan’s plea and swore,
“As the LORD lives, he shall not be killed.”
So Jonathan summoned David and repeated the whole conversation to him.
Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and David served him as before.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 56:2-3, 9-10A, 10B-11, 12-13

R. (5b) In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Have mercy on me, O God, for men trample upon me;
all the day they press their attack against me.
My adversaries trample upon me all the day;
yes, many fight against me.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
My wanderings you have counted;
my tears are stored in your flask;
are they not recorded in your book?
Then do my enemies turn back,
when I call upon you.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Now I know that God is with me.
In God, in whose promise I glory,
in God I trust without fear;
what can flesh do against me?
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
I am bound, O God, by vows to you;
your thank offerings I will fulfill.
For you have rescued me from death,
my feet, too, from stumbling;
that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.

Alleluia – 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – MK 3:7-12

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.

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January 23, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Vincent, deacon and martyr


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

Optional Memorial of Saint Vincent, deacon and martyr
Lectionary: 517

Reading 1 – 2 COR 4:7-15

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

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

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

R.    (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.

Alleluia – MT 5:10

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

Gospel – MT 10:17-22

Jesus said to the Twelve:
“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.”

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The Cure For Jealousy


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 23, 2020

“And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.” For the first time in the brave and bold new year of following the Lord, we have mentioned in our First Reading of a horribly insidious and destructive monster known as jealousy. It seems that from the dawn of time, we human beings have been assaulted and exposed to this treacherous aspect of our fallen human nature which shows itself as resentment against another’s success and an irrational fear of anyone bringing competition to the table of dealings with each other, no matter how large or small the matter may be. We could say for the needs of our reflection today that jealousy is a spiritual disease that has no good consequence. We know this because even though Saul’s fear-rage personal affront to David was abated for a while, it would not stay contained for long. Bad things are ahead for us to watch and learn.

However, great things are offered for us in the Gospel of the day: “He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.” There is in fact a cure for jealousy. It is Jesus. And why is that? If we believe that every good gift comes from the Lord, and they actually do, then every talent, gift, raise, and/or blessing emanates from the loving hand of God who sees everything and apportions all gifts according to His plan for the salvation of all. Who are we to question that decision? “Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” Therefore, when someone in our lives receives an accolade, praise or even award or recognition that they may or may not have earned (according to our own biased opinion), rather than grumbling, let us praise and thank God for all His wonders. This starts and ends with an undying trust in His ways: “Now I know that God is with me. In God, in whose promise I glory, in God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?”

“A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.” Robert A. Heinlein

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Facing Our Goliaths


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 22, 2020

Who among us doesn’t remember our first hearing about the momentous encounter of David and Goliath? No doubt, this famous unequal fight and unsuspected victory of the young David has taken all kinds of different nuances and meanings as we have lived the years we have been given: “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand.” And with one swift and precisely aimed shot, the out-muscled, overpowered and seemingly least likely winner in the fight won a sound victory. The Lord was with David that day. And the Lord was with the disfigured and probably foredoomed man in the Gospel: “Jesus said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.”

There is something very real and applicable here today for you and me, we all face giants. These may be insurmountable problems and unexpected issues. This could be fear, or anxiety or some other great and personal vexing struggle. What can we learn from David and the Lord Jesus today? First, let us admit that we all have giants: hardships, seemingly unbeatable obstacles, problems, and temptations. Secondly, let us realize that the battle belongs to the Lord as David bravely told Goliath, “For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.” Thirdly, we cannot nor should not run from our giants or even attempt to negotiate with an enemy that seeks only to destroy us if not defeated. David faced Goliath as the enemy got close, David ran right at him: “The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine.”

This is precisely why the Sabbath is given to us to renew and resurrect our trust in the Lord for His power and strength to meet our Goliaths as Jesus reminded the Pharisees in the Gospel today: “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Many of our readers may remember an excellent phrase with which we close today: “Don’t tell God how big your problems are; rather tell your problems how big your God is.” Amen.

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January 22, 2020


Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Lectionary: 313

Reading 1 – 1 SM 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

David spoke to Saul:
“Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.”
But Saul answered David,
“You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”David continued:
“The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine.”
Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag.

With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.
With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
“Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?”
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, “Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field.”
David answered him:
“You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves.
For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.”The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 144:1B, 2, 9-10

R. (1)  Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My refuge and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Alleluia – MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

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Let’s Take A Sabbatical


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 21, 2020

In our First Reading, we witnessed the beautiful and meaningful anointing of David, the once and future King of Israel, and definitely the quintessential precursor to the Lord Jesus. “I have found David, my servant.” He clearly understood the right order of things in the Spiritual Universe, as Jesus recalled and reminded the Pharisees in St. Mark’s Gospel: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” You see, the Sabbath is much more than law, but truly a gift of God’s care for all of us. He rested on the seventh day not out of fatigue, but to show how a fruitful life should be lived, with enough time for re-creation and renewal. Our redemption from sin and death is truly the work of God and not us. He has literally “done all the work.” Now, for this glorious break, He wants us to enjoy!

You and I, unfortunately, tend to rush through our busy week, maybe offering God a fleeting wave or a passing prayer. Sunday, the Sabbath, however, calls us to true and thought-out decision with real intention. We are simply to stop from all the other things we had to do or must do or have to do, and spend quality time with Him and focus attention on Him. When we decide to obey, that is, listen to the Fourth Commandment, we become aware of the astounding and comforting truth that we really belong to God. It is not the Sabbath that we worship but the One who has initiated the Sabbath as we swim in a sort of a memorial in time, a useful tool to help us focus our attention on our awesome destiny. “Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” This Sunday, try to remember this Reflection. Take a different approach to Sunday and let God be at peace with you and for you. Cut out any unnecessary activity and focus on your hope of Heaven. Then perhaps we may truly appreciate the blessing of St. Paul for us as cited from the Letter to the Ephesians in the Alleluia Verse of today: “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.”

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January 21, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr


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

Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr
Lectionary: 516

Reading 1 – 1 COR 1:26-31

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – MT 13:44-46

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

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January 21, 2020


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

Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr
Lectionary: 312

Reading 1 – 1 SM 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel:
“How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
But Samuel replied:
“How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me.”
To this the LORD answered:
“Take a heifer along and say,
‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
“Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”
He replied:
“Yes!  I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
“The LORD has not chosen this one either.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There–anoint him, for this is he!” 
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

Responsorial Psalm – 89:20, 21-22, 27-28

R. (21a)  I  have found David, my servant.
Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth.”
R. I  have found David, my servant.
“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. I  have found David, my servant.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
And I will make him the first-born,
highest of the kings of the earth.”
R. I  have found David, my servant.

Alleluia – EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

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January 20, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Fabian, pope and martyr


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

Optional Memorial of Saint Fabian, pope and martyr
Lectionary: 514

Reading 1 – 1 PT 5:1-4

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

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

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.

Alleluia – JN 10:14

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

Gospel – JN 21:15-17

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

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January 20, 2020


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

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

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 311

Reading 1 – 1 SM 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!”
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel:  “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
“Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23

R. (23b)  To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia – HEB 4:12

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

Gospel –  MK 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

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January 20, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Sebastian, martyr


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

Optional Memorial of Saint Sebastian, martyr
Lectionary: 515

Reading 1 – 1 PT 3:14-17

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

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

R.    (5)  The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord delivered me from all my fears.

Alleluia – JAS 1:12

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

Gospel – MT 10:28-33

Jesus said to the Twelve:
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

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Silence Of The Sheep


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 20, 2020

The word “obey” is perhaps among the top ten most understood terms used in common speech today and in some circles is remains wide open for debate. Obedience means to blindly follow the order of another, usually one in authority or with power over us, given or taken, usually with dire consequences if the orders are not completed or compliant. This is certainly understandably being that if a person in the military or other chains of command formats does not follow orders, that is, to obey a command, then there are serious and disastrous repercussions. However, to play this right, the word at its very heart means to be subject, serve, pay attention to, give ear, and thus literally, “to listen to.” This hopefully adds much-needed understanding to our First Reading today and what awesome application it has for us: “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams.” Samuel makes a deep and accurate claim: listening to God is all He asks. How could you reject what you have not heard?

The Gospel, then, completes these thought developments with a very insightful and clever image: “Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined.” We live in a sinful and wounded world. This much is true. But we also live in a milieu of darkness with the brightest of Lights deep within us. This much is certain because of Jesus. Then, at last, before going out into this bold universe, we must first listen, that is, obey the Lord and attempt to conduct ourselves with the Truth of the Gospel and navigate through a veritable labyrinth or maze of choices enlightened by the Word: “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” So today, take some time and just be with God even if it is in your vehicle or in between some necessary chore that was due two hours ago. Shhhhhhhh! Just listen.

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I Saw The Spirit


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 19, 2020

Last Friday morning, I stopped on my way to work at a local gas station that had a convenience store, a vegetable market, a breakfast and lunch counter, and a stage of on-going human drama. Of course, I arrived when there was a long line already formed for everything from unleaded gas to lottery tickets. I poured myself a cup of coffee and picked up some other items and placed them on a small table toward the back of the convenience store because I realized that I had left my wallet in the car. And as I returned, I witnessed a man of about twenty-five years of age stumble by the table, sit down and literally spill over the coffee onto the fruit and the newspaper which I was about to purchase.

“Breathe, breathe…” I continued to think to myself. I began to walk over to the table and once again, “breathe again, it’s the beginning of your day, please God help me right now…” Slowing down, I was glad the hot coffee had not spilled over his clothes and with no one else was around, I guess I could’ve just left everything as it was, but that’s really not my way of doing things. I saw a mop in the nearby closet and just accepted the fact that this nice, freshly ironed and dry cleaned yellow shirt of mine would be less than crisp and ready for my desk work. When I turned around, I was so thankful for God’s grace and mercy. That young man was blind.

As I neared the table with the mop, I began to say as gently and as slowly as I could, “I’m sorry about all this. It’s my coffee. Don’t worry, I’ll clean it up. No worries.” He tried to apologize as well and before you know it, it was all better and all cleaned. I suggested that we thank God that no one was burned or hurt and that we were both able to walk and still make this day good no matter what. “Jesus defeated death,” I said, “and he can surely take care of little spilled coffee.” One of the attendants, who apparently had been up all night on the graveyard shift, suddenly appeared and barked at both of us, “who’s going to pay for the coffee and all this other stuff?” I looked up and surveyed the man who was easily half a foot taller than me and who obviously played football in high school, and I said “I guess I will, sir.”

“No you won’t!” came a fierce response from the refrigerated coolers around the corner. It came from an older woman, dressed for work, and apparently for action, who continued, “I saw the whole thing. Get away from there! I’ll take care of it!” And with that, she not only paid for my items but yet another set for me and for my blind friend and a coffee for herself and all three of sat for about 10 minutes just talking about nothing. It was later that I realized the deep meaning of two powerful passages from today’s Scriptures. “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth,” and “Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will.”

By now, most veritable accounts, 99% of the Christmas decorations have been removed or at least unplugged and loyally still in place for the day after Thanksgiving. We can safely say that we are ready to face the open waters of ordinary time and put in place everything we have learned through Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. Our message is simple and beautiful: Amen, amen. Let God teach you today. Your next lesson begins before you know it. “The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him, he gave power to become children of God.”

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January 19, 2020


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 64

Reading 1 – IS 49:3, 5-6

The LORD said to me: You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10

R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, 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 am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts 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 am I, 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 am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 2 – 1 COR 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia – JN 1:14A, 12A

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

Gospel – JN 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

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January 18, 2020


Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 310

Reading 1 – 1 SM 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1

There was a stalwart man from Benjamin named Kish,
who was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror,
son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite.
He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man.
There was no other child of Israel more handsome than Saul;
he stood head and shoulders above the people.

Now the asses of Saul’s father, Kish, had wandered off.
Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you
and go out and hunt for the asses.”
Accordingly they went through the hill country of Ephraim,
and through the land of Shalishah.
Not finding them there,
they continued through the land of Shaalim without success.
They also went through the land of Benjamin,
but they failed to find the animals.

When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him,
“This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people.”

Saul met Samuel in the gateway and said,
“Please tell me where the seer lives.”
Samuel answered Saul: “I am the seer.
Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today.
In the morning, before dismissing you,
I will tell you whatever you wish.”

Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head;
he also kissed him, saying:
“The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage.
You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel,
and to save them from the grasp of their enemies roundabout.
“This will be the sign for you
that the LORD has anointed you commander over his heritage.”

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

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

Alleluia – 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 – MK 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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A Two-Edged Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 18, 2020

“The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Several dictionary entries describe the condition of a two or double edge sword as something that has or can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences. Since the Letter to the Hebrews describes the Word of God as sharper than a two-edged sword, we must conclude and accept the awesome fact that every time we hear them or read the Scriptures, especially the account of King Saul’s humble beginnings, there is the not-so-remote possibility that something good, as well as something tragic, could happen. The first concern perhaps held by many of our Readers would be surrounding the strategy or ways we can know how to keep the optimum consequences flowing over and above the negative ones. This would certainly become the proverbial case with Saul who could not find a healthy way to deal with his insane jealousy over his own son, the iconic King David.

The Gospel of this same day provides us all with such a methodology and comforting resolution to handling the two-edged sword of the most powerful words we should ever want to hear on the planet: “Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me.’” The only sure-fire way to approach the daily call to holiness and avoiding the dangerous but likewise appealing calls to be selfish leading us all the way to our final destination in Heaven is simple and beautiful. We follow Jesus. We listen to Him, immerse ourselves in fruitful and comforting prayer and then repeat this life-giving cycle every single morning of our lives.

“The sharp two-edged sword of the Word of God is without a dull book, a blunt chapter, or a flat verse.” Steven Lawson

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May 21, 2020 – Day


For the Readings of The Ascension of the Lord, please go here.

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

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 294

Reading 1 – ACTS 18:1-8

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 14:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

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With Friends Like These


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 17, 2020

Someone once wrote that true friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. The advice is quite simple: Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island and thereby to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune and to maintain that friend, a blessing. If this is true, then we can learn much about the two different kinds of relationships we have placed before us in the Readings today. First, take a look at the people who are approaching Samuel demanding a king. On the surface, it seems like a reasonable request but below the veneer, there is something almost criminal. God let us know exactly what was going on: “Grant the people’s every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.” This breach of friendship would not end well for the elders. They may have learned too late that an honest enemy is always better than a friend who lies.

Then, paradoxically in the Gospel of today, we see another form of acting in a different kind of trusting, life-giving friendship: “They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.” This has to rank in the top 10 most dramatic scenes of the New Testament. Visualize the moment, if you can. Four friends who are convinced that if Jesus can just touch their friend, he would be saved. And he was. Note well that Jesus was also moved by this act of friendship because he clearly noticed the faith of ALL the group of friends: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.’”

This has ramifications for all of us. We are here to help each other, but more critically in the milieu that is created when we call someone a friend. With that comes true responsibility and care yielding magnificent consequences. Pray for your friends today and ask God to shine His face upon all of them. With friends like these, we may just in fact see God.

“To love another person is to see the face of God.” Victor Hugo

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January 17, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot


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

Memorial of Saint Anthony, abbot
Lectionary: 513

Reading 1 – EPH 6:10-13, 18

Brothers and sisters:
Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm
against the tactics of the Devil.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood
but with the principalities, with the powers,
with the world rulers of this present darkness,
with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Therefore, put on the armor of God,
that you may be able to resist on the evil day
and, having done everything, to hold your ground.

With all prayer and supplication,
pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.
To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication
for all the holy ones.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 8:31B-32

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

Gospel – MT 19:16-26

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

The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed.  What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”

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January 17, 2020


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

Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbott
Lectionary: 309

Reading 1 – 1 SM 8:4-7, 10-22A

All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, “Now that you are old,
and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”

Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them.
He prayed to the LORD, however, who said in answer:
“Grant the people’s every request.
It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.”

Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full
to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them:
“The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:
He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses,
and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups
of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers.
He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting,
and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you.”

The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said,
“Not so!  There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles.”
When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say,
he repeated it to the LORD, who then said to him,
“Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:16-17, 18-19

R. (2) 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.
For you are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – LK 7:16

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

Gospel – MK 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

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Arrogant Diseases


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 16, 2020

It is a very sad day for Israel today as we read in our First Reading: “The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated; every man fled to his own tent. It was a disastrous defeat, in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured.” However, it isn’t the defeat that makes the account miserable, it is precisely why the Chosen People were crushed in a battle that should have been won. Arrogance, plain and simple. The Lord permitted them to be defeated today because of the swollen egotistical and misguided, misinformed confidence which insanely believed that God’s will must surely reflect their own, as they carry the ark of the Lord onto the battlefield against the Philistines. Their silliness is compounded and confirmed by their reaction after this stunning outcome; instead of humility and crying out to God for help, they lament in confusion. This is similar to those who attempt to put words in God’s mouth to justify their own positions and biases and then don’t “get it” when everything backfires. Arrogance, as the proverb says, is a kingdom without a crown.

Then the Gospel places the capstone upon our reflection. The Law strictly forbade anyone from touching the leper. When Jesus touched and healed the one with this horrible, disfiguring disease, the humble, sorrowful but believing leper gave us the very opposite of arrogance and reminded us that no one should be deemed untouchable, nor are we ever capable of judging who is worthy of receiving God’s love and mercy: “‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.'” While it is very easy to sit on our self-made perches and self-taught premises and comment on the plight and weaknesses of everybody else except the one in the mirror, it is never sustainable. Defeat is inevitable. There is indeed a thin line between confidence and arrogance. It is called humility. Confidence smiles. Arrogance smirks.

 

“The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.” Albert Einstein

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January 16, 2020


Thursday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 308

Reading 1 – 1 SM 4:1-11

The Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel.
Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.
The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel.
After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines,
who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.
When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said,
“Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the Lord from Shiloh
that it may go into battle among us
and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”

So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there
the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.
When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.
The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked,
“What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”
On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were frightened.
They said, “Gods have come to their camp.”
They said also, “Woe to us! This has never happened before. Woe to us!
Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?
These are the gods that struck the Egyptians
with various plagues and with pestilence.
Take courage and be manly, Philistines;
otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews,
as they were your slaves.
So fight manfully!”
The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated;
every man fled to his own tent.
It was a disastrous defeat,
in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured,
and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead. 

Responsorial Psalm – PS 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25

R. (27b)  Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Yet now you have cast us off and put us in disgrace,
and you go not forth with our armies.
You have let us be driven back by our foes;
those who hated us plundered us at will.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
You made us the reproach of our neighbors,
the mockery and the scorn of those around us.
You made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

Alleluia – MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

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Here I Am


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 15, 2020

There was a very interesting article published recently suggesting five positive ways to stay close to someone whom you love and whose friendship you enjoy and want to maintain.
Here they are in a nutshell:
1. Practice mindfulness
2. Be open to forgive and ask forgiveness
3. Know your own weaknesses
4. Listen actively
5. Stay calm and always communicate your feelings and thoughts.

While these things can certainly (and should be) debated, they do carry some merit. They also shed some interesting light on a particular motif and thread weaving in and out of all our beautiful Scriptural Readings today. They are all about staying very close to the Lord so as to be safe and warm with a truly fulfilling and happy life.

(Practice mindfulness) “Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.” Whether in Church or alone in solitude, resting with God is truly a blessing.

(Know your own weaknesses) “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.” Being humble and not judging anyone else helps us hear the kind words God always has for us.

(Practice forgiveness) “Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me.” We all need God to forgive us. Forgiving others helps us realize that He hears our own requests for peace and absolution.

(Stay calm and communicate) “My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord. I know them, and they follow me.” Worry does not serve at all. Trust in the One who is already looking for us to give us hope. Share your faith with others.

(Listen actively) “Everyone is looking for you.” Jesus is always reaching out to us in situations that may even surprise the heftiest of skeptics. Listen with the determined intent to learn something every day. Then ask God for guidance to move forward. “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” Wherever you live, make sure you are staying close to the Lord.

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January 15, 2020


Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 307

Reading 1 – 1 SM 3:1-10, 19-20

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli,
a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.
One day Eli was asleep in his usual place.
His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.
The lamp of God was not yet extinguished,
and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am.  You called me.”
“I did not call you,” Eli said.  “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am,” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am.
You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
Thus all Israel from Dan to Beersheba
came to know that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2 AND 5, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R. (8a and 9a)  Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood.
R. Here am I, 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 am I, 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 am I, 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 am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – MK 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.

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Astonished


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 14, 2020

“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” To be astonished is no laughing matter, literally. It means that something very urgent and dramatic has occurred that has caused you to stop and wonder, “what just happened here?” This is what we have encountered today in the Gospel:
“What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” This passage is specially interesting because it is the first time in St. Mark’s Gospel where we encounter demonic possession. The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits which sought entry into everyone and furthermore taught that they did enter through food or drink. All illness was caused by them. The Egyptians believed there were thirty-six different parts of the human body and any of them could be entered and controlled by one of these evil spirits. There were spirits of deafness, of dumbness, of fever; spirits which took a man’s sanity and wits away; spirits of lying and of deceit and of uncleanness. It was such a spirit that Jesus exorcised here. “Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’”

However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for each and every one of us: every day is a challenge and a struggle to live this life and walk this walk. We live in a world of darkness and terror and unless we hold the Light of Christ within us, we will indeed be swallowed up in despair. Thus, the battle of light and darkness is not just outside of us, it is also within us. And we have Jesus especially in the Eucharist to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team: “My heart exults in the LORD, my horn is exalted in my God. I have swallowed up my enemies; I rejoice in my victory.”

 

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

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January 14, 2020


Tuesday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 306

Reading 1 – 1 SM 1:9-20

Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh,
and presented herself before the LORD;
at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair
near the doorpost of the LORD’s temple.
In her bitterness she prayed to the LORD, weeping copiously,
and she made a vow, promising: “O LORD of hosts,
if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid,
if you remember me and do not forget me,
if you give your handmaid a male child,
I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives;
neither wine nor liquor shall he drink,
and no razor shall ever touch his head.”
As she remained long at prayer before the LORD,
Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently;
though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard.
Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her,
“How long will you make a drunken show of yourself?
Sober up from your wine!”
“It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered.
“I am an unhappy woman.
I have had neither wine nor liquor;
I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD.
Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well;
my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.”
Eli said, “Go in peace,
and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She replied, “Think kindly of your maidservant,” and left.
She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband,
and no longer appeared downcast.
Early the next morning they worshiped before the LORD,
and then returned to their home in Ramah.

When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah,
the LORD remembered her.
She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son
whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him.

Responsorial Psalm – 1 SM 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD

R. (see 1) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he humbles, he also exalts.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

Alleluia – 1 THES 2:13

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

Gospel – MK 1:21-28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.

All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

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January 13, 2020


For the readings of Saint Hilary, please go here.

Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 305

Reading 1 – 1 SM 1:1-8

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Elkanah by name,
a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim.
He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu,
son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
He had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah;
Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.
This man regularly went on pilgrimage from his city
to worship the LORD of hosts and to sacrifice to him at Shiloh,
where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas,
were ministering as priests of the LORD.
When the day came for Elkanah to offer sacrifice,
he used to give a portion each to his wife Peninnah
and to all her sons and daughters,
but a double portion to Hannah because he loved her,
though the LORD had made her barren.
Her rival, to upset her, turned it into a constant reproach to her
that the LORD had left her barren.
This went on year after year;
each time they made their pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the LORD,
Peninnah would approach her,
and Hannah would weep and refuse to eat.
Her husband Elkanah used to ask her:
“Hannah, why do you weep, and why do you refuse to eat?
Why do you grieve?
Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:12-13, 14-17, 18-19

R. (17a)  To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – MK 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

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April 13, 2020


Monday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 261

Reading 1 – ACTS 2:14, 22-33


On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.

“You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, 
because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit 
that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – PS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, 
and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

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Give Me What Is Real


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 13, 2020

The Gallup News Service has issued their finding about Faith and the impact on the life of Americans. They discovered that when people do finally show up at church, the clergy often has its work cut out for it, because some in attendance may not fully appreciate why they are there. An earlier Gallup survey found that just eight in ten Protestant and Catholic adults understand the religious significance of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, while two in ten either misunderstood it or readily admitted they could not even hazard a guess. If we were approached by anyone who really did not have a clue and wanted sincerely to know more about Christ, the simple answer is most likely the best one. Let’s look at three overwhelmingly beautiful significantly bold statements we can make to the world about the meaning of our faith in the Lord:

Jesus is Real: Someone responded beautifully and sincerely to a person who claimed that God is dead, or at least, dead to that person. He just turned to him and said, “Oh, I know He is alive and real…I just spoke with Him this morning!” Jesus Loves us and wants us to be close to Him: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” “I asked Jesus, ‘How much do you love me?’ Jesus replied, ‘This much.” And he stretched his arms on the cross and died. Jesus has a mission for all of us: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

“Only Jesus can turn a mess to a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory.” Poster hanging in a classroom

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January 13, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Hilary, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the readings of Saint Hilary, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Hilary, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 512

Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:18-25

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.
Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us:  eternal life.

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 – MT 5:16

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

Gospel – MT 5:13-19

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

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

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Alive With Baptism


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 12, 2020

Today is the Great Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus. On this day, we have reason to ask ourselves some very important questions about our destiny and our future. Why were we born into this World? What is our purpose? Where are we going? These very deep and important questions are found providentially in our Readings today. “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.” The basic truth that is worth our deliberations and content of our prayers is simply this: We have been saved by the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came so that we might live. No mere human being could ever achieve this. He was sent by the Father and enriched and empowered by the Holy Spirit. “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” This truly makes us “alive” with the Baptism that breathes into our very being and souls to become one with Him and bring hope to a despairing world.

“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.” When we accept the full ramifications and responsibilities of being baptized Christians in this world, our lives change, our perspectives change, then, slowly but surely, the world changes. It changes because it becomes alive, alive with Baptism, water made holy when Jesus stepped into the Jordan River. Baptism is an outward testimony of an inward transformation. It is the first step of obedience for a disciple of Christ and by it, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.

“God brings us into deep waters not to drown us but to cleanse us.” James H. Aughey

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April 12, 2020


Easter Sunday
The Resurrection of the Lord
Lectionary: 42

Reading 1 – ACTS 10:34A, 37-43

Peter proceeded to speak and said:
“You know what has happened all over Judea, 
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached, 
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil, 
for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.

R.  (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
  Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
  Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.”
R.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
  Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
  Alleluia.

Reading 2 – COL 3:1-4

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

or

I Cor 5:6B-8

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, 
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, 
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, 
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Sequence 

Victimae paschali laudesChristians, to the Paschal Victim
    Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
    Christ, who only is sinless,
    Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
    The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
    What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
    The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
    The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
    to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
    Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
    Amen. Alleluia.

Alleluia – 1 COR 5:7B-8A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed;
let us then feast with joy in the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 20:1-9

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

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January 12, 2020


The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Lectionary: 21

Reading 1 – IS 42:1-4, 6-7

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10

R. (11b)  The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Reading 2 – ACTS 10:34-38

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.”

Alleluia – MK 9:7

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

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The Demand Of Improvement


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 11, 2020

“We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” In many if not in all walks of life, there seems to be a delicate balance and struggle with the notion of confidence. Too little of it creates an emotional vacuum which spells disaster and harm while an overabundance of it has the enormous potential of terrible results and inflated egos that could fill several football stadiums. How do we reach a healthy and holy balance? “We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.” Precisely. Once we acknowledge and work tirelessly for that heart-beating, eye-opening relationship with Jesus we would never have a clue what is true humility and what is false confidence.

“So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease.” Perhaps if we were to return to the very meaning of the word, we would almost immediately realize that it comes from the two words “with faith.” Right there we have an almost immediate revealing clue as to the depth of richness that is ours when we place all our hope and trust in the Lord. Then and only then would we have an opening into solid strength and growing holiness which we all need to survive in this world. Our ego and selfish tendencies must decrease while our time spent with the Lord must in fact increase to make a solid return to Him without reserve. This is what is meant by waling out of the darkness in the light of the Lord: “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

“Be patient with yourself. Perfection comes not in this life, but in the next life. Don’t demand things that are unreasonable, but demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord help you through that, He will make the difference.” Russell M. Nelson

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January 11, 2020


Saturday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 217

Reading 1 – 1 JN 5:14-21

Beloved:
We have this confidence in him
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask,
we know that what we have asked him for is ours.
If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly,
he should pray to God and he will give him life.
This is only for those whose sin is not deadly.
There is such a thing as deadly sin,
about which I do not say that you should pray.
All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.

We know that anyone begotten by God does not sin;
but the one begotten by God he protects,
and the Evil One cannot touch him.
We know that we belong to God,
and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.
We also know that the Son of God has come
and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.
And we are in the one who is true,
in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Children, be on your guard against idols.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 4:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”

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The Victory Of Humility


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 10, 2020

“Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” The same misinterpretation of the nature and person of Christ in the first moments that Our Savior walked the planet is often the same misappropriations that are made in the modern age that keep so many others from recognizing and thus loving the One who died to free us. It was His complete and pure humility that placed Jesus in complete and unyielding union with God that brought victory to all He touched and endeavored. The same is true for every believer. This is why arrogance and pride are such horrible enemies of the Gospel and the believer. Arrogance, as the proverb says, is a kingdom without a crown.

Then the Gospel places the capstone upon our reflection. The Law strictly forbade anyone from touching the leper. When Jesus touched and healed the one with this horrible, disfiguring disease, the humble, sorrowful but believing leper gave us the very opposite of arrogance and reminded us that no one should be deemed untouchable, nor are we ever capable of judging who is worthy of receiving God’s love and mercy: “‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.'” While it is very easy to sit on our self-made perches and self-taught premises and comment on the plight and weaknesses of everybody else except the one in the mirror, it is never sustainable. Defeat is inevitable. There is indeed a thin line between confidence and arrogance. It is called humility. Confidence smiles. Arrogance smirks.

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” C. S. Lewis

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January 10, 2020


Friday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 216

Reading 1 – 1 JN 5:5-13

Beloved:
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three who testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the Blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
Whoever possesses the Son has life;
whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.I write these things to you so that you may know
that you have eternal life,
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I do will it.  Be made clean.”
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

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I Love You More


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 9, 2020

“Beloved, we love God because he first loved us.” From time to time, we hear people in a relationship say things like “I loved you first,” and “I love you more.” At times, this can be troubling because it could appear that someone is about to start a fight or worse, trying to out-do the other or belittle the other. When God says this to us, it takes on a completely wonderful and different perspective, one, hopefully, that brings us into His loving heart and thus allows us to love each other with a deeper sense of compassion, honesty, and selflessness. “This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

God’s love for us is as mysterious as the very nature of God Himself. it is completely awesome and overwhelming especially when you realize how you and I utter these words and act upon our love for one another. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him.” There is yet another magnificent aspect to all this for us today who are reading the Scriptures and are attempting to live a good life full of love. There is a deep and intricate connection between the love we have for God, for others and ourselves. The stronger the one, the stronger the others. But they are not the same nor could they be. If we accept that God has loved us first with an everlasting love, then it will undoubtedly translate into a very patient and loving approach to everyone we meet today, even those who make life harder for us. Especially for those.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” St. Augustine

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January 9, 2020


Thursday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 215

Reading 1 – 1 JN 4:19–5:4

Beloved, we love God because
he first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,”
but hates his brother, he is a liar;
for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen
cannot love God whom he has not seen.
This is the commandment we have from him:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 14 AND 15BC, 17

R. (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
From fraud and violence he shall redeem them,
and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
May they be prayed for continually;
day by day shall they bless him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – LK 4:14-22

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll,
he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the
synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious
words that came from his mouth.

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First Storm Of The Year


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 8, 2020

“Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea.” In today’s Gospel, we have all been gifted with one of the more famous and breathtaking moments in all of the Scriptures, at least in the top ten! Try to imagine the scene where hurricane-force gale winds are blowing mercilessly against a tiny boat while the crashing sounds of the thunder in the distance are only rivaled by the crashing of the waves. The drama unfolds in three distinct phases: first, there’s a horrible storm that scares everyone on board; second, they see Jesus walking over the storm, literally, thinking He is a ghost; third, Jesus utters the most iconic words of comfort born from faith, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” and then calms everyone’s storm. This process is the quintessential outline and summary of our spiritual lives! We face our storms of doubt, we call upon Jesus, He makes His loving presence known and empowers us to believe, then we doubt again and the cycle starts all over again but each time it does, we are actually closer and closer to Jesus who never leaves our ship of life.

This episode raises the age-long question that has faced every Christian since Jesus first walked the earth: why do we doubt and how do we deal with this very human and expected experience? First, doubt is a natural process of every intellectual and moral process. It is almost necessary because it is a way of strengthening our ideals and beliefs but it must never overtake the very treasure we are trying to discover. We must realize that doubt is part of the natural growing pains of faith and having said that, it is also a mystery. No one human being could ever totally grasp the fullness of who God is, so understandably there will be gaps due to our limitations. “No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” Gaps do not make for abandoning Jesus or why we are here on this planet. Perhaps the greatest spiritual gift we need when confronted with doubt is humility. Humility reminds us that faith is a powerful gift that must be opened slowly and without pretense. This is precisely how we run to Jesus through every storm we encounter on the water and everywhere else.

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” Brene Brown

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January 8, 2020


Wednesday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 214

Reading 1 – 1 JN 4:11-18

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 10, 12-13

R. (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – 1 TM 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to you, O Christ, proclaimed to the Gentiles.
Glory to you, O Christ, believed in throughout the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them. 
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

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Give Them Some Food


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 7, 2020

“He said to them in reply, ‘Give them some food yourselves.’” It is perhaps some of the greatest Scriptural advice we can receive in this brave new year which we have been presented in the Readings today when we are invited to look around our lives and see those who are in need and who are literally calling out for help and sustenance. “Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.” The Lord’s promise to each and every one of us today is complete with His desire that all be fed and all be comforted. His wonderful invitation also includes a personal guarantee: I will be there among you when you act in My Name.

All this is predicated and dependent on one simple but extraordinary aspect: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” Love is everything. It is what drove the Son of Man from Heaven to earth to suffer, die and rise on the Third Day for all our sins. It is what moves the wheels of history and our own lives to the great, bright promise of immortality. We are hence convinced and motivated by the truth that we all have a mission and the power from the Holy Spirit to accomplish it: “The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives.” Today and every day we will encounter a large field of life filled with opportunities to serve and be the Light of Christ to others. This is how we feed each other. Let us all be that “movable feast” for others to meet the Lord Jesus.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

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January 7, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Raymond of Peñafort, Priest


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

Optional memorial of Saint Raymond of Peñafort, priest
Lectionary: 511

Reading 1 – 2 COR 5:14-20

Brothers and sisters:
The love of Christ impels us,
once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh;
even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
And all this is from God,
who has reconciled us to himself through Christ
and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting their trespasses against them
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
So we are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 103:1BC-2, 3-4, 8-9, 13-14, 17-18

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.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,
For he knows how we are formed;
he remembers that we are dust.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!
But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity
to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward their children’s children
among those who keep his covenant.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!

Alleluia – LK 21:36

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

Gospel – LK 12:35-40

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

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January 7, 2020


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

Tuesday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 213

Reading 1 – 1 JN 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

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

R. (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

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

Gospel – MK 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?  Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

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Epiphany 2020


epiphany bread with plates and cups on table

One of the reasons that I love Christmas so much partly lies in the fact that every year it takes on a certain hue, texture, or flavor based on what is happening around me both internally and externally. Epiphany is that crowning moment (pun intended) where I ask God to show me what He wants me to learn and experience from the recent weeks and from the past year. Some would say, rightly, that hindsight is 2020, but I want to believe that foresight must be more than that, even crystal-clear, if we are going to walk boldly with our good Jesus.

Whereas life often separates meaning from emotion, the spiritual life brings them together to create remarkable epiphanies that harmonize all life to give us a heightened awareness of our place in this world. This is what I believe happened to the Magi after following the star in the East that took them to places they had never dreamed of going and were, by extension, never the same again.

My prayer for you and me today is that we remain true to ourselves in order to rise to greater consciousness, awareness, and love; to be thankful for the scars and for the insight we’ve been given, moving forward so that everything that rises must converge and lift us to a higher possession of our own existence. Because after today, we begin to follow the East Star all the way to Easter where we find an empty grave, where all of our fears die in the hands of a man who was born in a lonely manger so that we may never be alone.

“Waking up to a new sunrise
Looking back from the other side
I can see now with open eyes
Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
‘Cause my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You’ll use

So I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars” – Scars (I Am They)

January 6, 2020


Monday After Epiphany
Lectionary: 212

Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:22–4:6

Beloved:
We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 2:7BC-8, 10-12A

R. (8ab)  I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, “you are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

Alleluia – MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
 He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

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Racked With Pain


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 6, 2020

“His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them.” Of the many aspects of the mission of Jesus to the human race as chronicled in the Scriptures, we can most certainly all agree that He came to relieve pain and cure those who are broken. This should be of remarkable comfort and relief especially for those among us who are carrying huge burdens. The world was waiting for such a Savior with such a realm of healing and resolution that when Jesus finally came, many were still so absorbed by their own pain that they could not or perhaps would not recognize Him: “…the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

As we proceed with somewhat great haste through this new year, it makes perfect sense to remember two levels and realms of pain: the pain we carry and that of others around us. Suffering can make us feel isolated and exiled from the human race and it can also numb us to the crosses that others are bearing all around us. Thus, the presence of suffering in our lives can propel or repel us from the light of Christ. We must make the fundamental option to love Jesus first above all and then move forward with the Spirit that He so generously gave us: “Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us.”

“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” Anne Frank

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January 6, 2016


Monday After Epiphany
Lectionary: 212

Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:22–4:6

Beloved:
We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 2:7BC-8, 10-12A

R. (8ab)  I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, “you are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

Alleluia – MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
 He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

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January 5, 2020


The Epiphany of the Lord
Lectionary: 20

Reading 1 – IS 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13.

R. (cf. 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Reading 2 – EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Alleluia – MT 2:2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

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What Did You Get For Christmas?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 5, 2020

Today is the “official” close of the glorious Christmas Season and with that, we witness the famous visit of the Magi, also known as the Three Kings and still further as the Three Wise Men. “Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Their gifts to the New-born King, however, are pretty steady and universally familiar. Did you notice anything about the gifts that were exchanged last month? Some would say that the gifts one receives reflect the recipient. If that is true, and it is in some cases, let’s take a look at the three special gifts that Jesus received on this great day of the Epiphany. Gold is certainly for a King and clearly Jesus is the Newborn King for us; incense is for worship and worship is for God. Jesus is certainly the God-made-man for us, Emmanuel. Myrrh is an anointing oil that seems to suggest the person who receives it is destined for a divine purpose and destiny. It was also used as a way of preserving the body after death. The application, then, is clear for us. This God-King, Jesus who is called and destined to save His people will also one day be prepared for death.

Today is also called Epiphany which adds another great dimension to the day. The First Reading gives us a little clue here as to what to expect this to be: “Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.” In some circles, an “epiphany” is defined as usually a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something that has occurred that brings about an intuitive and sometimes startling realization, discovery or disclosure that had previously been hidden or at least unseen. People usually exclaim, “Oh, I get it now!” when chancing upon an epiphany-like experience in life. As we close once again this great Christmas Season and continue to embark upon the ocean of God’s providence before us in the New Year, may we all have an epiphany of sorts that makes a positive and spiritual impact on our lives that will last a very long time. This necessarily means making some basic change that improves the world outside of us and especially within us. May we see what previously was not seen and understand at least one part of the mystery of Christ this year. It is waiting right there for all of us. Then we might truly understand what was said about the first group who encountered their own epiphany when the Gospel recounted that the Magi “departed for their country by another way.”

“Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit, you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.” Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

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January 4, 2020


Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious
Lectionary: 207

Reading 1 – 1 JN 3:7-10

Children, let no one deceive you.
The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
Whoever sins belongs to the Devil,
because the Devil has sinned from the beginning.
Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil.
No one who is begotten by God commits sin,
because God’s seed remains in him;
he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.
In this way,
the children of God and the children of the Devil are made plain;
no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God,
nor anyone who does not love his brother.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 7-8, 9

R. (3CD) 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.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy before the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD comes;
he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets:
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher),
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter.

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Seeing Is Believing


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 4, 2020

One of the reasons that there are so many visuals at this “most wonderful time of the year” is because there were so many at the First Christmas. Just think about it: the lights, the angels, the manger, the Baby Himself! That observation may, in fact, bring a little sadness even disappointment if we were thinking that we have somehow missed all those sights and wonders. But have we really? “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.” The Responsorial Psalm of today shouts with Christmas joy that the entire planet has witnessed something awesome within our very midst. The rest of the mission is up to us to find and discover each and every day that we are alive.

“What are you looking for?” Perhaps the Gospel account reveals the curious nature of our spiritual lives that has been inspired and ignited by the Christmas mystery. What or rather, who are we looking for? First, the “what” is most likely happiness and fulfillment. Who wouldn’t’ want that? Unfortunately, many look in dark and unlit places for such treasures. This is how fundamentally evil entered the world. “Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil.” We are looking for light and life that can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ who was born to save us from treacherous forces of darkness. This is the source and summit of the Christmas Season. We must continue the search for all that is good and fulfilling. We can believe what is sung today in the Alleluia Verse: “In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.” Then and only then will we understand that seeing is truly believing.

“It’s often been said that “seeing is believing”, but in many cases, the reverse is also true. Believing results in seeing.” Donald L. Hicks

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Foresight is 2020


closeup of open eye staring

It was New Year’s Eve-eve if such a phrase really exists, but for some mysterious reason, something kept me in bed longer than I have been for quite a while. It was a different kind of fatigue, one that seemed to start in the very center of my being, like a nagging case of indigestion or that queasy experience when you realize you forgot something important such as a passport or your wallet. A few minutes later, it became obvious to me that the feeling was caused by silly, petty and pesky-irritating anxiety. Gratefully, this emotional boomerang hadn’t reappeared for quite some time and I surmise it surfaced this morning because, not only have we come to the end of the quarter, the month, the year but also to the end of a decade, and by most intelligent accounts, beginning of a new one. Perhaps that was why it hit me with the suddenness of a car wreck. I knew it was kind-of-serious because, unlike 99.4% of my mornings, I was not hungry, at all.

At first, I was angry because these last two months had been excellent. Lots of fun, excitement, creativity, conversations, a healthy share of drama, physical achievements such as individual accomplishments at swimming, weight loss, and intense cardio thresholds, not to mention two of the finest, choicest Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations that I could remember. For much of those hallmark memorable goals, I had some very close friends to thank. Anyone looking in on my life from any vantage point could probably comment that given all the slings and arrows of more than outrageous fortune and power-driven meanness thrust my way, I have done rather well. And for that, I have my Jesus to thank! But this all-too-familiar pain-in-the-impasse wasn’t going anywhere for a while and I knew I had to do something. In keeping with the good news of this glorious Christmas Season, I will share what was done and what worked.

I stopped. Plain and simple. I made sure I was sure of my self-diagnosis and begged God for help. I then went for a long walk and let the air run through my hair and just started thinking about how many wonderful blessings I have and how happy I’ve been. I then welcomed the anxious feelings and made peace with them. You see, this little bout of troubling worry and uneasiness is helpful if it doesn’t last too long, which it shouldn’t, if I simply face it, walk with it, talk it through, celebrate it, then send it on its merry way.

It was right about this time that I began to think about our CityofAgape Foundation readers and supporters, and everything that has led us to the current moments of our lives. We are very blessed and joyful for having the awesome ability to distribute the Word of God.

It is no accident that the 2020 new year has been referred to as hindsight. I think 2020 should also be boldly applied to looking ahead into the depths of the future still waiting for us.

If anxious feelings and sleepless nights have any value whatsoever, they at least have the potential of drawing us out of ourselves, inviting us to take stock in all we have and give us the hope and the desire to keep going into tomorrow and calling out the Lord’s name for the help that He is always wanting and waiting to give.

That’s why anxiety, in healthy doses, is an old friend.

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January 3, 2020 – Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus


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

Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lectionary: 510/1

Reading 1 – PHIL 2:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind,
with the same love, united in heart,
thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.

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

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

R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars which you set in place—
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?  
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.  
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.  
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Alleluia – MT 1:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:21-24

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
the child was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
they took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

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January 3, 2020


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

Christmas Weekday
Lectionary: 206

Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:29–3:6

If you consider that God is righteous,
you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness
is begotten by him.
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.
Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness,
for sin is lawlessness.
You know that he was revealed to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.
No one who remains in him sins;
no one who sins has seen him or known him.

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

R. (3cd) 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.
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.

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 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.

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What’s In A Name?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 3, 2020

In 1811, a remarkably beautiful hymn was written entitled with a question that we could address to ourselves today: “What Wondrous Love is This?” When you think about it, it truly is an amazing question to ask in the first week of the New Year and on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. What kind of magnificent love is it that inspired and propelled God to send His Son Jesus Christ to be born in a filthy manger, live a poor life, then be crucified for our sins? Perhaps a line from our First Reading helps us answer this profound question: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.”

The third verse of the hymn then explodes with enthusiastic joy of the awareness that is brought to the one who understands this gift and cannot help but be changed forever: “To God and to the Lamb, who is the great I AM, while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing, while millions join the theme, I will sing!” This, too, is underscored by the opening lines of the Responsorial Psalm of today: “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm.”

This wondrous, wonderful love that still echoes for us in this beautiful Christmas Season reveals the height and depth of such a love that carries us beyond our life here on earth to an eternal Christmas in Heaven: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Let us move forward in this New Year with new resolve and new hope. Darkness cannot and will not extinguish what we have been given. We will sing: “And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and through eternity I’ll sing on!”

Tonight, as you place the final touches on this day and continue to drink in all the hope for a brand new year, slowly and every-so-gently say the name of Jesus. Say it again and know that He is right there with you. It will be glorious.

“As many have learned and later taught, you don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” Tim Keller

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January 2, 2020 – Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church


For the readings of the Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, please go here.

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
Lectionary: 510

Reading 1 – EPH 4:1-7, 11-13

I, a prisoner of the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

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

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

R. 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 – MT 23:9B, 10B

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

Gospel – MT 23:8-12

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

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January 2, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, please go here.

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
Lectionary: 205

Reading 1 –  1 JN 2:22-28

Beloved:
Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
I write you these things about those who would deceive you.
As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you.
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false;
just as it taught you, remain in him.And now, children, remain in him,
so that when he appears we may have confidence
and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

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

R. (3cd)  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.

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In times, past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets:
in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him, 
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’

 as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

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More Than Pants On Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 2, 2020

“Who is the liar?” According to a very interesting study about human behavior, the astounding conclusion was made as to the number one reason why people lie: They do not tell the truth because lying does matter to them. The liar, then, is that person who realizes and believes that by telling the truth, their lives must be somehow unalterably changed, sometimes forever. This makes perfect sense given the text of our First Reading today from St. John, the beloved Apostle: “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.”

Another St. John today, that being John the Baptist, adds even a more telling, rich and gut-wrenching fabric to our reflection. “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” These words would cost him his earthly life at the hands of one of the most notorious liars in Biblical history, that of King Herod the Madman. You see, Herodious, and by extension, her second husband, Herod, would not accept the message of the Baptist and the One who was to come and therefore attempted to snuff out the truth with a lie’s most awful and horrendous logical conclusion, death.

In these literally first few hours of the New Year, we have been invited, once again, to live in the light of truth and never look back. That Light is Jesus and His words are Truth: “And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.”

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.” Mahatma Gandhi

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January 1, 2020


The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Lectionary: 18

Reading 1 – NM 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

R. (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.

Reading 2 – GAL 4:4-7

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

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem 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.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

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A New Year, A New Career


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 1, 2020

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” It seems that everyone who had any kind of encounter with the First Christmas was never, ever the same again. Just think about this for a minute: everyone directly or indirectly touched by that first night that has transformed the world every December 25, was somehow internally transformed and their world was changed forever. The shepherds, in particular, would never look at their sheep in the same way. They could never gaze up into the cold night sky and forget how the blackness of the universe opened up like a gushing flow of light and song. Never.

As you and I begin a brand new year with all the promises and hopes and dreams that we can muster, we think of those lowly shepherds who faced a new career, of sorts. None of them could have stayed quiet. How could it be so? Christ’s birth shone upon not only great light but a new a glorious morning. It was the quintessential “thrill of hope” and it still rings out today. It is indeed a most powerful and loving blessing: “The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!”

The same miracle can happen to you and me if we allow this past Christmas and the Birth of Jesus Christ to impact us the way the First Christmas did. It truly is up to us to make this Christmas gift keep giving day after day into the New Year. What do you say? Let’s do this! Happy New Year! Happy New Career!

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Carl Bard

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