The Word of God

Very Unmusical Chairs


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 31, 2020

Again we have one of the three installments from Luke’s 14th Chapter of that same evening when Jesus went to eat at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. The first involved the healing of the man with dropsy (yesterday); this is the second incident when Jesus notices that people are scrambling for the places of honor. The third moment will conclude with His parable about the great feast thrown by a wealthy guest whose invitees all had excuses and declined the invitation. That must have been some dinner!

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

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

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

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 31, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 484

Reading 1 – PHIL 1:18B-26

Brothers and sisters:
As long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth,
Christ is being proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Indeed I shall continue to rejoice,
for I know that this will result in deliverance for me
through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
My eager expectation and hope
is that I shall not be put to shame in any way,
but that with all boldness, now as always,
Christ will be magnified in my body,
whether by life or by death.
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.
If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.
And I do not know which I shall choose.
I am caught between the two.
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better.
Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit.
And this I know with confidence,
that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you
for your progress and joy in the faith,
so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me
when I come to you again.

Responsorial – PSALM 42:2, 3, 5CDEF

R.    My soul is thirsting for the living God.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
R.    My soul is thirsting for the living God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R.    My soul is thirsting for the living God.
I went with the throng
and led them in procession to the house of God.
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
with the multitude keeping festival.
R.    My soul is thirsting for the living God.

Alleluia – MATTHEW 11:29AB

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

Gospel – LK 14:1, 7-11

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

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Reviewing A Case Of The Dropsy


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 30, 2020

Let’s begin today with St. Luke’s description of a casual but remarkably significant dinner gathering on the Sabbath somewhere in Jerusalem. On that invitation list are Jesus, a leader of the Pharisees, presumably more members of that group, many onlookers and curiosity-seekers, and a man suffering and then healed from dropsy. It is the only recorded instance of the healing of this particular disease by the Lord in the New Testament. Dropsy (ύδρωψ), derived from “hudor,” the Greek word for water, is essentially an abnormal swelling of fluids in different parts of the body, mostly the abdomen and known today as edema. As we look around the room, there is certainly a clear parallel being drawn between the Pharisees inflicted with a spiritual disease and the man suffering from dropsy, a physical disease.

Here is another interesting detail that supports the parallel in the text: “In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.” Why doesn’t it say, “in front of them?” The room was apparently crowded, so this detail is critical to unlocking the deeper meaning here. It says only “him” because Jesus was alone in seeing right before him what the others in the same room could not see in themselves. Jesus could see the dropsy, the swelling of water and fluids in the body, the physical sickness of the suffering man, and, he was keenly aware of the spiritual dropsy of the Pharisees: “a drunkard’s thirst, a glutton’s hunger, water (like the swelling bodily fluid) that was on fire,” referring to their self-righteous hypocrisy that increases rather than quenches the spiritual thirst of the soul.* You see, the Pharisees added burdens for the people to follow because they used religion as a cover to do whatever they wanted. Rules, regulations, commandments are all good guides and clear posts to follow the Lord. Still, if one’s heart is full of pride and sin without love, grace, mercy, and freedom, it is then full of disease, empty of virtue, overflowing with evil, and completely devoid of wisdom.

And here is the underlining application for our spiritual lives: we know the Pharisees are the real diseased folks in that room because they did not recognize Jesus, even as He was standing there right in front of them, ready to recline among all of them to eat. Imagine further, the moment when the man with all the swelling was suddenly healed: it must have been an astounding sight. And all they had to say was that he shouldn’t have been healed on the Sabbath? I’m sure the man with dropsy was sure glad he was!

One thing is for certain in this Christian life we are trying to follow: we will face rejection, endure conflict, and either be harshly judged or even be the one who is judging. And through it all, we pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that wants to recognize the face of Jesus as often as possible.

“The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.” John Mark Green

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 30, 2020


Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 483

Reading 1 – PHIL 1:1-11

Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus,
to all the holy ones in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi,
with the bishops and deacons:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you,
praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the Gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right that I should think this way about all of you,
because I hold you in my heart,
you who are all partners with me in grace,
both in my imprisonment
and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel.
For God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.

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

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

Alleluia – JOHN 10:27

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

Gospel – LK 14:1-6

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them   
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”  
But they were unable to answer his question.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 29, 2020


Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 482

Reading 1 – EPH 6:10-20

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.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth,
clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,
to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.

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 and also for me,
that speech may be given me to open my mouth,
to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel
for which I am an ambassador in chains,
so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.

Responsorial Psalm – 144:1B, 2, 9-10

R.    (1B) 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 mercy 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 – SEE LUKE 19:38; 2:14

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 13:31-35

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said,
“Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go and tell that fox,
‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.
Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day,
for it is impossible that a prophet should die
outside of Jerusalem.’

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how many times I yearned to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were unwilling!
Behold, your house will be abandoned.
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Our Armor Of God


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 29, 2020

Every so often, we are blessed to have the words of our very first Reading offered to us today as we near the end of this great month of October: “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.” What does that mean, and what are we to learn from these powerful messages of the Bible today? Here are a few clear and accessible clues:

We are strongly urged to make sure our speech is not embarrassing or obscene: We are likewise challenged to harbor no hatred or animosity toward anyone even to those whom we believe, along with the opinion of others, has merited justification for our personal hatred. And perhaps the most telling of all, live a life of integrity and avoid hypocrisy at every juncture: “So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace.”

Imagine just one day of your life when all these are in place! How about one week, one year, one life?

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

The Last Laugh


parked white funeral hearse

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has prepared in advance that we should live in them.”  Ephesians 2:10

The slices of life pared up in any given funeral home are like no other. Apart from being a terribly misplaced oxymoron, one still can ask: why they call them, “homes?”

Perhaps it is because so much drama takes place there just like our own home, but there is probably more to it than that. Consider the life of Mr. Jenkins who managed Bucktrout of Williamsburg, Virginia which is considered by some to be the oldest funeral home in America. Opened in 1759, it began as a cabinetmaker shoppe and to this very day boasts of remarkable service and client care.  For Mr. Jenkins, the funeral home was his home, at least emotionally as he poured out his soul to grieving families and always seemed to act that it was his loss as much as it was theirs.

It was the last funeral service of the day and the week. It was also the final amount of paperwork that the aged and wise director would ever have to complete before his long-awaited retirement. He had done well for himself and his family. His hope was that he might recapture all those moments that he seemed to miss because of the emergencies of so many others. He thought he would get a head start of all the packing of thirty years of memories by going room by room to collect the relics of his past service as an “undertaker” as his wife would often remind him, and to wipe clean the layers of memories accumulated like dust upon the shelves of unread books.

In one particular area of his large and specious office, amidst the couches and sofas that held grieving families and their tears and their stories all these years, there were little spots and interesting gifts from people that would always hold a special place in his heart as he began to pack up and leave that building for the last time, alive, anyway. Some brought sadness to his heart like the teddy bear of the child he helped bury who died of a rare heart disease or the framed high school diploma of the young student who was killed in a car crash just days after graduation, a gift from his parents with the undying hope that he would never forget their son and the family and friends he left behind. It was successful.

One of the last things he had to either pack or throw away was an old set of car keys. At first, he couldn’t seem to remember where they belonged because it had apparently not been used for quite some time. He could tell by the key chain that it had to belong to a vehicle not in use for more than forty years, if then. And then it hit him. It was not from his time as director at the funeral home, but from a time when he first started, and what an overwhelming memory that was. He had to sit down and smile. As he held the keys in his hands, he began to replay that remarkable moment that had become a kind of a fabled urban legend in the area. “What a great life this has been,” he whispered under his breath, and with that small phrase, he was immediately mentally catapulted to his late teen years looking for a job upon graduation. It didn’t have to be much, but something to pay the bills, help him through school, and be respectable. And, of course, to help him move out of his parents’ home to start his new life and the dreams of his youth.

He had appeared at the front office of Bucktrout’s hoping to not only catch a glimpse of the manager but to boldly ask for work. He had put on the only suit he owned, a black one, with a clean, white, well-pressed shirt and the shiniest shoes he could have mastered. He was kind of a tall young man, at least comparatively speaking with the others in his community and so the jet-black hair along with the matching suit made him stand out and was actually quite impressive. It took him more than a couple of tries to get in front of the middle-aged manager and when the chance finally presented itself, he jumped at it like one of the hungry squirrels on the fallen acorns that seemed to teem the park-like surroundings of the funeral home. 

“Sir, sir, may I please have a moment of your time?” was the best phrase he could utter with the limited and quickly closing window of opportunity he had.

“Uh-huh,” came the stereotypically expected response from one whom had garnered the reputation of the classic undertaker as they were traditionally called back then. Solemn, stayed, and certainly no-nonsense are some of the descriptions that could best paint the picture of the scene right about now. 

After seconds of very uncomfortable moments of silence and intense glares, the manager sternly and directly asked, “Can you drive a hearse?”

With lightning speed, the answer came quickly. “Yes sir! I can also wash and wax and clean them inside and out!”

“Allright, Son. We’ll give you a chance. Let’s see what you got,” was the closest sentence that would be offered anywhere close to “You got the job,” that Jenkins would hear and it was certainly enough. In fact, it was sufficient for him to be able to start right then, right there. 

And so the career began. He turned out to be the most energetic and accomplished worker they had seen there in quite a while. Jenkins always arrived early, stayed late, and made sure that the expectations placed upon him were more than adequately met. There was not a whole lot of smiles or laughter around that place, but it did not matter. His paycheck was healthy enough and he was happy to get his life started.

About six months into his new employment, there came one of those big services of a local “big-wig,” as his boss would call them, and all hands were to be on deck and every eye focused on even the most infinitesimally nondescript detail. That included Jenkins.

His orders could not have been any less clear: “Make sure the hearse is filled with gas.” For emphasis sake, this particular instruction had been repeated at least three times and at first it appeared that it had registered. However, the bevy of young ladies who were attending the evening wake services may have played a part in this probably expected scenario. Jenkins found himself the topic of their adulations and attention and as fate would have it, and probably most of our readers suspicions, he forgot to fill the hearse with gas.

The Funeral Mass was as long as it was packed. People from all over were in attendance and finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, it was time to make the arduous trek from the church to the cemetery which in this case was located at least forty minutes driving toward the west. There were at least forty cars in the procession and of course it was one of the hottest days of the summer. Going about fifteen miles an hour, with police escort and many faces drenched with sweat and tears, the nightmare of every funeral director was about to ensue. The hearse ran out of gas. Jenkins who was behind the wheel, turned the palest pale he had every mustered. He immediately sprung into action and was able to enlist a buddy of his, a friend of the bereaved family, to take him as quickly as possible to the nearest gas station to obtain some fuel to complete the journey. That took a painful half hour or so. However, it was not the success he needed. The carburetor had flooded and was not starting the engine. The only recourse they had was to call for a tow truck and after forty-five minutes of waiting in the blistering sun, it finally arrived, and for the first time in funeral history, and probably the last, the hearse was latched up by the portable crane from the back of the truck and slowly pulled into the cemetery followed by a load of very hot, angry and very frustrated mourners.

The usually simple and uncomplicated graveside service started and ended with little fanfare except for the very nervous and even forlorn hearse driver who was literally shaking in his now sweat-drenched black suit. His manager very stealthily and deliberately approached: “That woman soaked in tears and embarrassment sitting over there under the pantheon (tent) is the deceased’s widow. Go, let her know that this was all your fault; you better hope she won’t sue us!”

And there he went, sheepishly oozing his way to the bereaved woman with a suit that looked liked it had been shrink-wrapped around his body and a face that screamed “humiliation” within a tri-county area.

“Ma’am? Ma’am?, excuse me. I am so sorry. All this was my fault. Please forgive me,” were the only words that he could emit with any semblance of dignified comprehension.

The widow looked up at him and appeared to be in a strange daze with an even stranger smile running across her face.

The young Jenkins continued: “I am sorry, Ma’am, all this was my fault. I, I,” was all he could say before breaking down with a soft, sniffling, crying sound.

Apparently the widow had raised a quiver of children herself with her departed husband, strong-willed and well-adjusted men who were also pall bearers that day, which became the needed backdrop and impetus for her most timely response to the young hearse driver:

“Oh, Son, don’t worry. You didn’t know my husband. He was an amazing man, was always in the best of health, and never spent a day in the hospital. He would always tell us, ‘I am so strong, they’re going to have to drag me to the cemetery!”

The elderly Jenkins must have been sitting at the old desk for about an hour replaying that scene and thanking God that he had not been fired. And that was it. Everything was ready to close one chapter and begin another, perhaps the last and he was ready. He laid all of keys on his desk, made one last cup of coffee from the new-fangled Keurig coffee maker that had taken him months to figure out, and shook the hands of the new manager whom he had hired and trained and mentored with this very day in mind. It was late in the afternoon and cars were beginning to line up for a wake service within the hour. He would be home by the time it would start. He started his car but before he could back out of the same space he had occupied for more than thirty years, he spotted a young man spiffy and quite sharply dressed in a dark gray coat with black pants and shoes that probably needed some polishing. At first he thought that it might be one of the pall bearers or family members related to the service set to start, and then placed his car in park and stepped out of his vehicle to see what it was this young man wanted.

“Mr. Jenkins?” the young man inquired.

“Yes, that’s me. What can I do for you?” came the quick response from the nearly fully-retired funeral director as he noticed the beige colored file his visitor was carrying. 

“Mr. Jenkins, I lived here all my life and all my grandparents and even my father have been buried out of this funeral home. I’m starting out my life, sir, and I’m a good worker. Can you give me chance and give me a job, here?”

For a split second, the wise and perhaps most compassionate of most directors you would ever want to meet, did not know whether he should laugh, cry, or just remain fixed on the moment. However, there was really only one thing he could say to fit the moment:

“Can you drive a hearse?”

Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” Elbert Hubbard

A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” William Arthur Ward

Leave a comment (22 comments)

To Live As Friends


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 28, 2020

“Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.” This Feast of the Apostles, Sts. Simon and Jude is indeed 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. Review once again what Jesus accomplished throughout the New Testament: The depth of love in his heart 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 everyone the Lord ever met, especially Judas, Peter, and Thomas.

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: “When the day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them, he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles…and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” The application for us today is simply stunning. 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, especially for the grace 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:

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

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 28, 2020


Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
Lectionary: 666

Reading 1 – EPH 2:19-22

Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – 19:2-3, 4-5

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

Alleluia Te Deum

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

Gospel – LK 6:12-16

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 27, 2020


Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 480

Reading 1 – EPH 5:21-33

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the Church,
he himself the savior of the Body.
As the Church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the Church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the Church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the Church,
because we are members of his Body.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,
and the wife should respect her husband.

Responsorial Psalm – 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

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

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – LK 13:18-21

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?
To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush
and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?
It is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

A Kingdom Of Food


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 27, 2020

“For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the Church, because we are members of His Body.” Have you ever noticed how many references to the food we have in the Holy Scriptures? They frequently mention eating and intaking nourishment in various contexts while encouraging us to nourish our bodies and souls with a nutritional and spiritual fare. Today is no exception.

“It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.” And today, once again, our favorite condiment (at least in the top 5) makes yet another splendid appearance. Apart from being uniquely tasty and earthy, the very fact that the mustard seed is so small yet produces so much is yet another insightful metaphor and comparison about the Kingdom of God in which we long so desperately to live. Great things come in small and unassuming packages.

“It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” Anyone who has ever baked bread or loaves knows all too well what happens to the mixture once yeast is added. We can safely assume that a very little goes a very long way!

“It is not what we do that matters, but what a sovereign God chooses to do through us. God doesn’t want our success; He wants us. He doesn’t demand our achievements; He demands our obedience. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of paradox, where through the ugly defeat of a cross, a holy God is utterly glorified. Victory comes through defeat; healing through brokenness; finding self through losing self.” Charles Colson

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

Like Very Dear Children


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 26, 2020

Every so often, we are blessed to have the words of the very first Psalm offered to us at the celebration of the Mass in which we repeat either in words and/or in song, the mighty and comforting promises made there to all of us. The refrain for us today is equally inspiring: “Behave like God as his very dear children.” What does that mean, and what are we to learn from these powerful messages from the Bible today? Here are a few clear and accessible clues:

– Show the type of kindness that always forgives and understands: “Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.”

– Avoid evil in all its forms, especially when it comes to offensive or avaricious behavior: “Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you.”

– Make sure our speech is not embarrassing or obscene: “No obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving.”

– And perhaps the most telling of all, live a life of integrity and avoid hypocrisy at every juncture: The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?'”

Can you imagine the day when all these are in place in your life? How about one week? One year? One life?

 

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 26, 2020


Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 479

Reading 1 – EPH 4:32–5:8

Brothers and sisters:
Be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you,
as is fitting among holy ones,
no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place,
but instead, thanksgiving.
Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person,
that is, an idolater,
has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments,
for because of these things
the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
So do not be associated with them.
For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.

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

R.    (see Eph. 5:1) Behave like God as his very dear children.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R.    Behave like God as his very dear children.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R.    Behave like God as his very dear children.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R.    Behave like God as his very dear children.

Alleluia – JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – LK 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 25, 2020


Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 148

Reading 1 – EX 22:20-26

Thus says the LORD:
“You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.
If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me,
I will surely hear their cry.
My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword;
then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.

“If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people,
you shall not act like an extortioner toward him
by demanding interest from him.
If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge,
you shall return it to him before sunset;
for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body.
What else has he to sleep in?
If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51

R. (2) I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
The LORD lives and blessed be my rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.

Reading 2 – 1 THES 1:5C-10

Brothers and sisters:
You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake.
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord,
receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit,
so that you became a model for all the believers
in Macedonia and in Achaia.
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth
not only in Macedonia and in Achaia,
but in every place your faith in God has gone forth,
so that we have no need to say anything.
For they themselves openly declare about us
what sort of reception we had among you,
and how you turned to God from idols
to serve the living and true God
and to await his Son from heaven,
whom he raised from the dead,
Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – MT 22:34-40

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Liberating Power Of Humility


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 25, 2020

“You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.” People who are in the greatest need of mercy and forgiveness, and truly acknowledge it, are the ones who recognize God’s love and presence when they see it. The “professional-religious class” in both the Old and New Testaments were certainly too jaded and overwhelmed with their own sanctimonious perceptions to recognize wisdom, God’s presence, His love, and mercy. It was this group of folks who were always judging, criticizing, condemning, and even acting superior to others that stirred the words of today’s Psalm into action: “My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Praised be the LORD, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies.”

Here is the remedy to haughty, senseless pride – pure and simple: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Every day we are alive on this planet, we are given plenty of opportunities to forgive, be merciful, practice patience, and beg for God’s mercy. Instead, at times, we take the easy path and turn that humility into a raw grab for power over another, a quick salve to feel better about ourselves, and an underhanded way to escape responsibility for our behavior and actions. Today is yet another opportunity to be humble before God.

Here are some practical ideas:
1. Strive to do your best without complaining
2. Recognize and accept your own flaws
3. Be grateful for everything, even on the hard days
4. Give credit and praise where it is due especially to others around you
5. Admit when you are wrong and ask forgiveness
6. Forgive and move on

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes us as angels.” St. Augustine

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 24, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

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

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 478

Reading 1 – EPH 4:7-16

Brothers and sisters:
Grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore, it says:

He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.

What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended
into the lower regions of the earth?
The one who descended is also the one who ascended
far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.

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,
so that we may no longer be infants,
tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching
arising from human trickery,
from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.
Rather, living the truth in love,
we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ,
from whom the whole Body,
joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
with the proper functioning of each part,
brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.

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

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

Alleluia – EZ 33:11

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion that he may live.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them–
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Faith And Fig Trees


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 24, 2020

“Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ.” You can always tell a whole lot about a person or, for that matter, a group of people by listening to their conversation. In some cases, the high price of gossip seems to take center stage at any given time, and if we are not careful, there we are, too, enveloped in a miasma of treacherous talk that does no good for any of us. We are then painfully reminded that the people who gossip with you will indeed gossip about you at a much later and convenient time. This is because, as the Scriptures of the day clearly remind us that we encounter two diversely different kinds of people every day. Those who live in the flesh and those who live in the spirit. What are we to do?

“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion that he may live.” The solution is simple but not simplistic: it is simple in its formation but high on the charts in terms of operation and achievement. We must die to ourselves daily throughout the day, really finding every opportunity to dig deeper and find the ways to true holiness and sacrifice so that we might Jesus in every situation, especially the difficult ones. In this way, we may find the joy of living the Christan faith in good times and in bad, in and out of season. “Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.”

Whether it is the parking space that someone “stole” from you or the lack of recognition for a job well done, at least to your humble standard but unseen or appreciated by those in authority over you, we have found that time and space to grow our faith and bear fruit. It is truly amazing! Open the possibilities for yourself this weekend and the new week not-so-far-away. You will be delighted you did.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” C. S. Lewis

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 24, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Anthony Mary Claret, bishop


For the readings on Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Anthony Mary Claret, bishop
Lectionary: 665

Reading 1 – IS 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”
Hark!  Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
For they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts his people,
he redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
All the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

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

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

Alleluia – MK 1:17

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

Gospel – MK 1:14-20

After John the Baptist 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 abandoned 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.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop
1807 – 1870

A tireless priest founds an Order, becomes a bishop, and moves mountains

Today’s saint was a finely tuned, high-octane engine of evangelization. Anthony Claret was from Catalonia, the region around Barcelona, Spain. He studied for the priesthood in Rome, was ordained in 1835, and then returned to Spain to spend ten years giving missions. In 1849 he founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, more commonly known as the Claretians in honor of their founder. The Order was particularly focused on publishing works of devotion and piety, books offering spiritual advice, and numerous pamphlets of basic catechesis. The Claretians filled a need and, as publishers, enjoyed enormous success. They published millions and millions of books and pamphlets. And all of this was spearheaded by Anthony, who not only generated doctrinal content but who also mastered the technical details of printing, learned the business side of the industry, and edited the published works himself.

In 1851, when Anthony was appointed the Archbishop of Santiago Cuba, the full array of his talents were put on display. He added the name of “Mary” to his baptismal name at his episcopal consecration and began a remarkably fruitful seven years as Archbishop.  He traveled incessantly throughout his territory, restored the seminary, established hospitals and dozens of new parishes, and personally visited the sick and dying. He was ever present and provocative in his pastoral outreach, so much so that attempts were made on his life by the apathetic offended by his success. He was severely injured by one of these attempts but survived. Bishop Anthony was a true man of action. Creative ideas on how to spread the Gospel flowed constantly from his mind. Every tribulation and hardship was, for him, just an invitation to deeper commitment. It was nothing for Anthony to expend all of his energy one day and to wake up and do the same the next day. He was replenished by exhausting himself.

In 1857 he resigned as Archbishop when he was recalled to Spain to become the personal chaplain to the Queen. This more sedentary life was a cross for Anthony, who was a born missionary. But he continued to dedicate himself to apostolic activity as much as his court obligations allowed. At the Royal Monastery outside of Madrid where he was assigned, he set up a science library, a school for music and languages, a museum of natural history, and a fraternity composed of cultural leaders and intellectuals that grew to national prominence. Anthony was such a robust motor of evangelization and cultural advancement that he earned powerful enemies who feared his success. They eventually drove him from Spain to France, where he died in 1870.

Like so many saints, Anthony Mary Claret was a double or triple threat. He was so multi-faceted, so skilled in so many diverse fields that it is hard to believe that one man accomplished so much. He worked well and he worked quickly. Also like many other saints, behind Anthony’s labors was a regimented life of prayer, daily Mass, the rosary, fasting, spiritual reading, self discipline and moral strictness. He was perpetually in the presence of God, and in his later years experienced spiritual ecstasies and performed miraculous healings. This incredible man of action and prayer was canonized in 1950.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret, you outdid all your peers in dedication to Christ, Mary and the Church. We pray that you intercede in heaven to give all bishops the graces and the skills to lead their flocks in prayer, education and devotion as you did.

Leave a comment

October 23, 2020


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

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 477

Reading 1 – EPH 4:1-6

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

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

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

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – LK 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 23, 2020 – Memorial of Saint John of Capistrano, priest


For the readings on Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint John of Capistrano, priest
Lectionary: 664

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 16:1B-2A AND 5, 7-8, 11

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

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 9:57-62

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

St. John of Capistrano, Priest
1386 – 1456

A worldly man converts and becomes a rigorous Franciscan and great preacher

Today’s saint, like Saints Francis of Assisi, Maximilian Kolbe, Jerome Emiliani and many other male saints, was a prisoner of war. And just like all the others, imprisonment changed John of Capistrano forever. Being confined to the four walls of a prison made him realize how precious was the life that God had given him and how sad it was to waste it on frivolities. John had studied law before he was captured in battle and had even become the mayor of the major Italian city of Perugia. He was bright, energetic, and successful. Life was his oyster. John’s mature decision to enter religious life was not, then, an escape hatch from real life or the last exit on a dead-end road. He had silver in his hands but dropped it to stretch for the gold. In a shocking display of humility after giving his life to Christ, John mounted a donkey backwards and rode through the streets of his town wearing only a list of his worst sins. People ridiculed him and pelted him with mud and dung. In this forlorn state, he presented himself at the door of a Franciscan monastery to seek admission. He was immediately accepted. After studies, he was ordained a priest in 1421.

John’s well of humility had no bottom, and his physical austerities never ceased. He continually mortified himself. He fasted, went barefoot, and slept little throughout his life. He was a protégé of the great Saint Bernardino of Siena, a fellow Franciscan. Like Bernardino, John became a renowned preacher and traveled throughout Central and Northern Europe drawing vast crowds. John lived poverty so totally that he, along with other reforming Franciscans of his generation, made it appear as if they were the measure for Christ’s poverty, instead of Christ being the example and inspiration for Franciscan poverty. John’s radical poverty and other reforming efforts were also the beginning of the divisions that would eventually cleave the body Franciscan into three distinct Orders.

Already famous in his mid-sixties as a theologian, preacher, and inquisitor, John was appointed by the Pope to lead a team of Franciscan missionaries to Hungary and the Bohemian peoples of Central Europe. John Hus, a Bohemian priest, had been burned at the stake by the Church for heresy in 1415. This searing event had caused his followers, known as Hussites, to increasingly separate themselves from the Church. Hussite theology was a precursor to the Protestant movement that engulfed Northern Europe one hundred years after Hus’ death. The Pope wanted John of Capistrano to either convert the Hussites or to subjugate them.

John’s mission to Hungary and Central Europe produced mixed results. He was an effective crusher of heretics, but his techniques did not always display the tact such a delicate mission required. After the shocking fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, John led a preaching crusade to unify a Christian response to the threat of impending Muslim expansion. At the age of seventy, Saint John personally led troops in a successful battle to defend Belgrade from the Turks, but he died soon afterward. Over two centuries after his death, John and his melodic last name of Capistrano were immortalized by his Franciscan brothers when they named a large mission in Southern California in his honor. The Mission of San Juan Capistrano, although ruined by earthquakes, is a much visited stop on the famous chain of missions that wind up and down the spine of California. This soldier-priest and tireless reformer and preacher was canonized in 1724.

Saint John of Capistrano, we ask your intercession to embolden all preachers to present the truths of Catholicism in all their fullness and vigor, and to buttress that preaching by an impeccable life of virtue and apostolic activity.

Leave a comment

Prisoner Of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 23, 2020

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

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

“Teach me to feel another’s woe, To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show, That mercy show to me.”

Alexander Pope (from The Universal Prayer)

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 22, 2020


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

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 476

Reading 1 – EPH 3:14-21

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

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.

Responsorial Psalm – 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19

R.    (5B) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R.    The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R.    The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R.    The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of  famine.
R.    The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – PHIL 3:8-9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 12:49-53

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Fire!


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 22, 2020

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” What is behind the use of setting the world aflame by Jesus in the Gospel today? Keep in mind that the Bible is to be seen as a complete unity, the Old preparing for the New, the New ratifying the Old. When the Lord uses the image of fire, it is advantageous for us to go deeper into the meaning and purpose and background of certain words and phrases to truly grasp all the spiritual wealth waiting for us, ripe for the picking. Here are but a few:

Exodus 3 – The Burning Bush:
God is truly present, “you are standing on Holy Ground.”

Ezekiel 1 – A cloud of fire:
God’s glory is magnificent.

II Kings 1 – Fire from Heaven wiped out 50 soldiers:
Power over life & death.

Matthew 25 – Eternal fire is the destination for
devil and demons: Hell is real & horrible.

Acts 2 – Tongues of fire descend on the 12:
The Holy Spirit “enflames” the Church.

Revelation 21 – A lake of fire and sulfur awaits
the faithless: A second death.

From this small sampling of fire images from the Scriptures, we can safely determine that Jesus clearly wants to purify and cleanse all of humanity, instill a reverent and holy fear in us (awesome approach to God) and establish His Kingdom where there will be both judgment and serious consequences to our responses, both here and now and much later.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Because of His Reign over us and remembering the dire consequences of the refusal to love, there will be division starting in one’s own family, household, and beyond: when the word ‘family’ is used in the Bible, it usually means either the clan or the extended family group, and could very easily include as many as two hundred people or as few as fifteen. Thus, Jesus is describing the essence of a true disciple as one who loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Him. He insists that His disciples give him loyalty, which is only due to God, a higher loyalty than spouse or relatives or circle of friends.

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

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 22, 2020 – Memorial of Saint John Paul II, pope


For the readings on Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint John Paul II, pope
Lectionary: 663A

Reading 1 – IS 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”
Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
For they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts his people,
he redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
All the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 10:14

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

Gospel – JN 21:15-17

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

St. John Paul II (the Great), Pope
1920 – 2005

Fully prepared, possessing every skill, a pope for the ages makes maximum impact

Thirty-three years after the dark cloud of communism had settled over Eastern Europe, on a crisp autumn night, heavy bells across Poland began to sway and toll in their high towers. Their clangs peeled down the valleys, thundered through the town squares, and reverberated off every city street. Men and women spilled like water into the streets. Songs. Candles. Prayers. Flowers. Tears. Flags. Embraces. Champagne. Could it be true? A son of Poland had been elected Pope! The impossible had become possible! In the town of Wadowice, Fr. Edward Zacher was paralyzed by emotion. He could not summon a single word for the faithful who crammed the church in thanksgiving. Late that night, he slowly opened the sacramental register of the parish. He leafed through the yellowed pages back to May 1920. Carolus Joseph Wojtyła. Father Zacher had taught him catechism as a boy. The register duly noted, in Latin, Karol’s dates of Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Priestly and Episcopal Ordination, and consecration as Cardinal. In a margin at the bottom of the page, the old priest’s hand trembled as he made a new entry: “Die 16 X 1978 in Summum Pontificem electus et sibi nomen Ioannem Paulum II imposuit.”

Pope Saint John Paul II was a titan. He was as prepared as any man before him to be pope. He was all things—a highly educated European intellectual, a philosophy professor with two Doctorates, a mystic of intense spirituality, a working bishop of a large and dynamic Archdiocese behind the iron curtain, a Cardinal whose counsel was valued by the Pope, an active contributor at the Second Vatican Council, a polyglot, and a world traveler. Adding to this embarrassment of riches, he was an athlete and outdoorsman, had palpable charisma, an open personality, a manly presence, vast circles of lay friends, a resonant voice, and he was just 58 years old when elected. Never had a conclave of Cardinals made a bolder, wiser choice. That John Paul II was the first Slavic pope, and the first non-Italian in centuries, was also interesting and became more significant as his papacy unfolded. The times and the man were a match. He was simply the perfect man for the hour and his long papacy disappointed in almost nothing.

The catalogue of accomplishments of John Paul II, both before and after his papal election, is long. He was a tornado of activity and displayed a physical stamina which might have buried a man half his age. He wrote profoundly on every subject: Saint Mary, the Trinity, the Church’ social teachings, suffering, Christ, work, moral theology, philosophy, and on and on. Every subject found ample space to grow in his capacious mind. His personal narrative was also compelling. He had personally experienced the effects of the twentieth century’s twin horrors, Nazism and Communism, both efforts to create a perfect society without regard for God or man’s dignity. He knew what it was to be personally degraded, to come close to death, to go into hiding. He had seen his entire nation brought to its knees in humiliation. He understood, at the deepest level, what the Church meant to the world.

The papacy of our Saint built on the international Petrine ministry first initiated, in small steps, by Pope Saint Paul VI. John Paul II made this universal ministry an enduring part of every pope’s profile. He said Mass on the altar of the world, where humanity itself was his congregation. He had the piety of a humble Mexican peasant and the sophistication of an erudite German professor. No one, and no type, was a stranger to him. An assassin’s bullet almost killed him on May 13, 1981, but he survived, barely. The physical effects of his injuries, and other illnesses, laid bare his sufferings for all to see. On the night of April 2, 2005, this giant, this father to the world, this Moses to the Slavs, died as tens of thousands gathered in prayerful vigil outside his window in Saint Peter’s Square. His funeral Mass was timeless and supernatural in a manner felt by all, but difficult to capture in words. He was canonized in 2014 and is buried in a side nave of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Saint Pope John Paul II, you laid your superabundant gifts on God’s altar as a teen, and God used them to the fullest extent until your death. Help all Christians to put their talents at God’s service to help lead others to Christ and to His Church.

Leave a comment

October 21, 2020


Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 475

Reading 1 – EPH 3:2-12

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,
as I have written briefly earlier.
When you read this
you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
which was not made known to human beings 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.

Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace
that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.
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 – ISAIAH 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6

R.    (see 3)  You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R.    You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R.    You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R.    You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Alleluia – MT 24:42A, 44

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

Gospel – LK 12:39-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

What Is Expected


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 21, 2020

“My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.” There comes a point in every believer’s life where all the prayers and worship and thoughts about who God is and what is truly expected of us come into remarkable, and at times, troubling disguise. For many, it is an earth-shattering crisis, while for others, it is the death of someone close and beloved. No matter the circumstance, these “moments of truth” become focal points when our faith is tested, made stronger, and clarity becomes ours.

“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.

You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 20, 2020


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

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 474

Reading 1 – EPH 2:12-22

Brothers and sisters:
You were at that time without Christ,
alienated from the community of Israel
and strangers to the covenants of promise,
without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the Blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one Body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – 85:9AB-10, 11-12, 13-14

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

Alleluia – 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 12:35-38

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.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Trusting Attitudes And Vigilance


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 20, 2020

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.” Over thirty years ago, there was a ship off Massachusetts’s coast that was reported lost at sea. There were a reported 45 men on board, most of whom were residents from a small fishing town near Plymouth. For the first week, wives, children, and family members set up make-shift camps along the seashore to wait and watch for any recovery signs. After ten days, some of those grew tired and even discouraged and began to make their way back to their homes, still leaving a smaller remnant of those who would stay vigilant. Finally, on the 15th day of their disappearance, the vessel sailed back into the harbor, all aboard hungry and tired, but certainly safe and alive. It was said that one of the men looked sad as he disembarked. He just shrugged and walked his way to his little cottage of a home to the surprise of his wife and children. But he still looked upset. “What’s wrong, dear?” asked his wife. “Why weren’t you out there with the other families on the shore when we arrived?” he responded. “We were waiting for you, honey,” came his wife’s explanation.

“But you weren’t watching…”

“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.” Do you think that’s splitting hairs? Maybe. However, the slight difference in the words can be of dramatic importance when we apply them to waiting for the Lord. Waiting seems to be passive as if I can have many other priorities or concerns because, after all, “when He comes He comes, right?” Watching implies vigilance, continued hope, and deep resolve. Watching is active, on-going, and, yes, life-changing. Let’s be sure. Whether you and I are waiting or watching, it will be the same Lord. But how will we be different?

God is worth waiting for; His time is always best. Watching for Him makes our hearts ready and open and joyful to meet Him at any given moment, and that makes a difference in how we live.

“I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life. And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient. Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.” Joyce Meyer

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 20, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Paul of the Cross, priest


For the readings on Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Paul of the Cross, priest
Lectionary: 663

Reading 1 – 1 COR 1:18-25

Brothers and sisters:
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.

Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – MT 5:6

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness;
for they will be satisfied.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 16:24-27

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each one according to his conduct.”

St. Paul of the Cross, Priest
1694–1775

He was a spiritual marathoner whose “runner’s high” lasted a lifetime

After unsuccessfully living the life of a soldier, today’s saint left the military to live a secluded life of prayer for over five years. But then in 1720, he received a vision instructing him to found a Congregation devoted to Christ’s passion. In 1727 he was ordained a priest by the pope, along with his brother, and novices began to come to his new Congregation in greater numbers. Paul was not a frivolous man, though, and the Congregation’s Rule was grueling. He and his brethren lived strict austerity, and their ministry focused on preaching the passion to the poor. The new priests did not socialize with people of means and lived as desperately poor as those they served. The effects of poverty encompass more than economic deprivation. Poverty means lack of privacy, bed bugs, rotten teeth, soft apples, little rest, flea-infested clothes, open wounds, infection, putrid water, cold nights, going to bed hungry, violent fights over a handful of coins, lack of hope, and bitterness at one’s own miserable plight. The deep resentment poverty can engender powers the poor man’s emotions over the cliffs of envy and hate. 

Living radical poverty, and experiencing life among the poor and their emotional plight, was too much for some of Father Paul’s novices. Rigors such as this were for the few, and many novices abandoned ship. But enough hardy and faithful men remained to enable the new Congregation to succeed. Provisional church approval came in the 1740s on the condition that the Congregation ameliorate its tough-as-nails Rule. Full papal approval for the Congregation came slowly, in 1769. The Congregation’s members were known as the Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They were more simply known as Passionists. All Passionists took a special fourth vow to preach Christ’s passion so that it never faded from the faithful’s memory. The Passionists’ black habits bore the distinctive badge of their brotherhood—a heart emblazoned with the words JESU XPI PASSIO mounted by a white cross with instruments of Christ’s crucifixion displayed below. 

Saint Paul of the Cross was so united to the passion that it was said that his heart pulsated more quickly on Fridays.  He was a powerful preacher, and both he and the Passionist fathers in general became known as expert retreat masters, confessors, and directors of parish missions. Paul’s heart melted with love for Christ his entire life. He spent hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, never failed to subjugate his body with mortifications and austerities, and was insistent about living radical poverty. Paul seemed to experience a type of spiritual “runner’s high,” something common to many saints known more for their ardor than their originality. As Paul fasted and prayed and lived poverty, it became easier and more joyful for him to fast and pray and live poverty. His virtues gained steam as he rolled through life and as his body sunk deeper and deeper into the person of Christ. 

Paul also founded a Congregation of contemplative nuns devoted to the passion. The Passionists remained a relatively small order until they spread beyond Italy in the mid-1800s, including to England, a country which Paul always intended to bring back to the Church. Providentially, it was a Passionist priest, Blessed Dominic Barberi, who received the great Englishman Saint John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church. Saint Paul of the Cross’ legacy is his Congregation more than his few published works. He even developed a reputation as a miracle worker and healer in his old age. He was raised to the altars in 1867.

Saint Paul of the Cross, you lived an exemplary life of poverty, obedience, prayer, and mortification throughout your span of many years. May your followers remain faithful to your charism, and may all priests see in you an example of holiness.

Leave a comment

October 19, 2020


For the readings on the Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues and Companions, please go here.

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 473

Reading 1 – EPH 2:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
You were dead in your transgressions and sins
in which you once lived following the age of this world,
following the ruler of the power of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.
All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh,
following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses,
and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.

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

R.    (3B) The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R.    The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
     his people, the flock he tends.
R.    The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise.
R.    The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Give thanks to him; bless his name, for he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R.    The Lord made us, we belong to him.

Alleluia – MT 5:3

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

Gospel – LK 12:13-21

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

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

The Art Of Re-Invention


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 19, 2020

“For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” From time to time, we all find ourselves at a crossroads of sorts. Crises, major setbacks, and even disappointments from people and places which we would have never expected. It is as if we are called to “re-invent ourselves.” But how does one re-invent anything? Is there really such a word? Yes, there is. It means to invent again without knowing that the invention already exists; to remake or make over, as in a different form, and to bring back, revive. Now let’s look at each part of the definition.

To invent again. The art of re-invention has already been fifty-two percent accomplished in most of us. We are who we are, and the best description of life around us can be found in the little phrase, “it is what it is.” Before moving forward, I must realize that adversity and problems do not create character and strength; they reveal them. When you crush an olive, you get olive oil. When you crush a grape, you get fine wine. When you crush a noble human being, the result is a holy life ready for anything and waiting upon the Lord. True enough, right? So why can’t we stop there and go on our merry way? Because we will undoubtedly end up where we left off, like some revision of Groundhog Day, where every twenty minutes or so, the plot starts all over again. Although we have been assured that the re-invented hope of our true self already exists, we must move forward.

To remake or makeover. Something has to change. It has to look, feel, and sound different. Although the essential items of life remain intact, there have to be solid, tangible changes that he knows he can even if no one else can see. Then all the change and attitude shifts can take hold. “Know that the LORD is God; He made us, His we are.”

To bring back, revive. I love the word revival. You can almost see life being poured back into an empty canvass, scenario, and most especially a heart-broken warrior and sojourner who will not stop until he wins. Stop with all the activity that drains energy and life. Cease listening to negative and judgmental rhetoric. Enough with enabling. Right. Now life starts pouring in like a sweet forest waterfall.

“God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.” Max Lucado

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 19, 2020 – Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and their companions, martyrs


For the readings on Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, please go here.

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and their companions, martyrs
Lectionary: 662

Reading 1 – 2 COR 4:7-15

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

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

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

R.    (5)  Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Alleluia – MT 28:19A, 20B

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

Gospel – MT 28:16-20

The Eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Saints Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues and Companions, Martyrs
Saint Jean: 1593-1649;
Saint Isaac Jogues: 1607-1646;
Frs. Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel;
laymen René Goupil & Jean de Lalande

French priests and laity leave hearth and home to be slaughtered on the edge of nowhere

Deep in the dense and endless forests of Iroquois nation, Jean de Brébeuf, bound tightly to a post, slowly stretched his neck and head toward the canopy high above, and prayed. An Iroquois war party had attacked his Huron mission the day before. He had a chance to escape but he chose to stay. The baptized and neophytes looked to him, needed him, and were captured with him. Saint Jean had long before witnessed, and chronicled, the Iroquois’ depraved treatment of their Indian enemies. Now he was the captive and now he would be the victim. The painted braves prepared their instruments of torture and the ritual butchery commenced. The Iroquis peeled Jean’s lips from his face and cut off his nose and ears. Saint Jean was as silent as a rock. They poured boiling water over his head in a mock baptism and pressed hatchets, glowing red hot, against his open wounds. A hard blow to the face split his jaw in two. This was pain beyond pain, a living holocaust. When the saint tried to encourage his fellow captives with holy words, the Indians cut out his tongue. Near the end, they cut out his heart and ate it. Raw. Then they drank his warm blood. They wanted the blood of this lion to course in their own veins. Eye witnesses to Saint Jean’s torture and death, which took place alongside that of Fr. Gabriel Lalemant, escaped captivity and gave detailed accounts of what they had seen. Fellow Jesuits recovered the two bodies days later and verified their wounds. Brébeuf’s skull was placed in a reliquary in a convent in Quebec City. It is still there today.

St. Jean de Brébeuf was born in Bayeux France. Bayeux is a comfortable town with low, sturdy buildings and a handsome Cathedral. It’s the kind of town people want to move to. But Saint Jean went in the opposite direction. He left Bayeux to become a Jesuit priest. When he was chosen to become a missionary, he crossed an ocean to New France (Canada). He was well educated and was the first European to master the Huron language, to study their customs, and to write a Huron-French dictionary. He was a mystic who had an intimate relationship with Our Lord and a vivid spirituality full of saints and angels. He took a vow of personal perfection, striving to rid himself of every sin, no matter how small. He canoed thousands of miles over open waters, and trekked and portaged vast expanses of prairie and woods in search of a congregation for the Truth. In a frontier culture of trappers, loggers, and ruffians, he held his own. The Indians called him “Echon”—one who carries his own weight. His oar was always in the water. For all this missionary labor, there was some success. But there was more disappointment. Some of his assassins were Huron apostates.

A heroic death is not the fruit of a lukewarm life. Saint Jean was prepared for his gruesome martyrdom by many years of struggling to breathe inside of smoke-filled cabins, by suffering the bites of swarms of mosquitoes all night long, by shivering through cold nights, by eating disgusting food without complaint, and by trekking rugged terrain while poorly shod. Once, he fell on the ice and broke his collarbone, making it impossible for him to navigate jagged terrain upright. He crawled thirty-six miles on his hands and knees back to his mission. Saint Jean prepared himself for death through disciplined prayer and meditation. He prepared himself out of a profound acceptance of God’s will. Our faith teaches that grace builds on nature. This just means that a plant grows in the ground. Bad soil; sick plant. Rich soil; healthy plant. The seed of faith planted in Saint Jean by his parents and priests was dropped into rich, black, human soil. God’s grace grew in him. God’s grace thrived in him. God’s grace never died in him. And that same powerful grace comes to us today through the intercession of this mighty oak of a man.

Saint Isaac Jogues came as near to martyrdom as any man who ever lived to tell about it. Jogues was a professor in France who crossed the ocean to work among the Huron. For six years he labored as far west as Lake Superior, one of the first French men to see that lake of lakes. He was kidnapped by Mohawks in 1642 and held captive for thirteen months, during which time he witnessed, and suffered from, an orgy of barbarity similar to that later suffered by Brébeuf: torture by fire, removal of fingernails, gnawing away of fingers, whippings with thorn bush branches, cuttings, etc. Jogues’ companion, Jesuit lay brother René Goupil, a trained medic, was tomahawked to death for making the sign of the cross on the forehead of a Mohawk boy. Incredibly, just when Jogues was about to be burned alive he was rescued by Dutch traders from present-day Albany, New York. Jogues returned to France half a man; skeletal, lame, and with stumps where some fingers had been chewed down to their knuckles. On home soil again, he went to the local Jesuit house, where the porter assumed he was an indigent beggar.

Jogues specifically requested to return to Canada, and crossed the Atlantic one last time in 1644. He was assigned to Montreal, where he crossed paths with Jean de Brébeuf, who thought Jogues was a living saint. When Jogues asked permission from his superiors to again evangelize among the Mohawks, he told a friend “Ibo, sed non redibo.” “I will go, but I will not return.” He was a prophet. He and layman Jean Lalande were captured and tomahawked to death on October 18, 1646. Their severed heads were placed as trophies on Indian pikes. The North American martyrs were canonized in 1930.

Saints Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, and companions, you died far from the comforts of home and family. You accepted sufferings you did not deserve for the greater glory of God. Grant us patience when we are impetuous, endurance when tempted to quit, humility when confronted with ignorance, and physical toughness when the comforts of life are not to be found.

Leave a comment

Taxing Questions


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 18, 2020

“Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Depending on how you view the scene, this question has traveled down as famous or infamous throughout the centuries. It has become a famous question because it almost always begins the age-old discussion about the relationship between the Church and the Government, or the State. It has become infamous because of the sinister motivation behind the ones asking this “trick-question” of Jesus. “Knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ‘Why are you testing me?'”

Both perspectives are actually beneficial for us on the journey toward Heaven. The discussion about the Church-State relationship is important to distinguish authority, power, and society’s greater good. The Church should never be in the governing business, and the government should not be established as a spiritual force that mandates or even polices morality. And in this same paragraph, it is important to remember that not everyone who asks “religious” questions is really out for a religious outcome. People can hide behind the veil of piety to be right, access power, or obtain the upper hand in any given situation. Our First Reading gives us plenty of insight as to how to follow a straight and narrow path toward justice and peace: “I am the LORD and there is no other, there is no God besides me.”

As we begin a brand new week, let us keep the Lord always in our sights. What we believe defines who we are. The way we act, especially toward each other, announces to the world who we really are and what we truly believe. “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.”

“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” Sonia Ricotti

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 18, 2020


Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 145

Reading 1 – IS 45:1, 4-6

Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus,
whose right hand I grasp,
subduing nations before him,
and making kings run in his service,
opening doors before him
and leaving the gates unbarred:
For the sake of Jacob, my servant,
of Israel, my chosen one,
I have called you by your name,
giving you a title, though you knew me not.
I am the LORD and there is no other,
there is no God besides me.
It is I who arm you, though you know me not,
so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun
people may know that there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, there is no other.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10

R. (7B) Give the Lord glory and honor.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Give the Lord glory and honor.
For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the LORD made the heavens.
R. Give the Lord glory and honor.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts.
R. Give the Lord glory and honor.
Worship the LORD, in holy attire;
tremble before him, all the earth;
say among the nations: The LORD is king,
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Give the Lord glory and honor.

Reading 2 – 1 THES 1:1-5B

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace.
We give thanks to God always for all of you,
remembering you in our prayers,
unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love
and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ,
before our God and Father,
knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God,
how you were chosen.
For our gospel did not come to you in word alone,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.

Alleluia – PHIL 2:15D, 16A

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

Gospel – MT 22:15-21

The Pharisees went off
and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.
They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion,
for you do not regard a person’s status.
Tell us, then, what is your opinion:
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
Knowing their malice, Jesus said,
“Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?
Show me the coin that pays the census tax.”
Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
They replied, “Caesar’s.”
At that he said to them,
“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 17, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 472

Reading 1 – EPH 1:15-23

Brothers and sisters:
Hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus
and of your love for all the holy ones,
I do not cease giving thanks for you,
remembering you in my prayers,
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation
resulting in knowledge of him.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of his power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might,
which he worked in Christ,
raising him from the dead
and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion,
and every name that is named
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And he put all things beneath his feet
and gave him as head over all things to the Church,
which is his Body,
the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Responsorial Psalm – 8:2-3AB, 4-5, 6-7

R.    (7) You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
O LORD, our LORD,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
You have exalted your majesty above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings
you have fashioned praise because of your foes.
R.    You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the 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.    You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
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.    You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

Alleluia – JN 15:26B, 27A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
 “I tell you,
everyone who acknowledges me before others
the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others
will be denied before the angels of God.

“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will not be forgiven.
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities,
do not worry about how or what your defense will be
or about what you are to say.
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 17, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr


For the readings on Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr
Lectionary: 660

Reading 1 – PHIL 3:17C-4:1

Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters,
and observe those who thus conduct themselves
according to the model you have in us.
For many, as I have often told you
and now tell you even in tears,
conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction.
Their God is their stomach;
their glory is in their “shame.”
Their minds are occupied with earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified Body
by the power that enables him also
to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved.

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

R.    (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R.    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 set me free 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 – JN 12:24-26

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

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop, Martyr
c. Mid First Century – c. 110

An early Bishop welcomes his coming martyrdom and elaborates on Catholic theology

Although not the most famous Saint Ignatius in the Church, today’s saint was the first to offer a theology of martyrdom. He also wrote seven famous letters en route to his ritual death in Rome, which set forth, with surprising vigor for so early a Christian, some fundamental Catholic beliefs. Saint Ignatius was a successor to Saint Peter as Bishop of Antioch in Syria. Antioch is an ancient ecclesiastical see where the followers of Christ were first called Christians. Bishop Ignatius was arrested in Antioch and, for unknown reasons, was transported across half of the empire to Rome for punishment. During this long trek, Ignatius wrote seven hastily composed letters to seven cities. He also visited with Saint Polycarp, who referenced Ignatius’ letters in a subsequent letter of his own. Ignatius’ letters, perhaps miraculously, have survived. They paint a vivid picture of first century Christianity and prove that what an educated bishop believed in 110 A.D. is essentially what Catholics believe today.

Some suffering souls have experienced the passion of Christ in the very same manner that Christ did. Stigmatists have had bloody holes pierce their palms, felt the pressure of a crown of thorns on their skull, or the pain of an open wound in their side. Such re-livings of the passion show an advanced spirituality and detailed meditation on Christ’s final hours. The earliest Christian martyrs, such as today’s saint, speak more generally. They want to offer their entire lives as a holocaust or to be ground like wheat in the jaws of lions. They want to emulate the Son of God in emptying themselves in an ultimate witness. Only later saints endured physically parallel sufferings to those of Christ. The original martyrs were just open to dying. Period.

Ignatius wrote in such explicit language about the Holy Eucharist, the Catholic Church, and the importance of bishops that modern Protestants have sought to cast doubt on the authenticity of his letters or, at a minimum, on their ancient pedigree. Yet there is no reason to doubt Ignatius’ words or when he wrote them, and neither the early Church historian Eusebius nor the fourth century Saint Jerome doubted Ignatius. Ignatius was the first to use the word “Catholic” in reference to the Church: “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” He repeatedly understands the bishop as the image of God the Father, telling the faithful to “defer to him, or, rather, not to him, but to the Father of Jesus Christ, the bishop of all men.” Ignatius had a balanced Christology: “There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God…” He understands the Eucharist as literally the flesh of Christ. Writing against heretics he states: “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ… Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again.”

Like Saints Polycarp and Maximilian Kolbe, Ignatius became what he celebrated, a living sacrifice offered to the Father. His body became the offering, a Roman amphitheater the church, the blood-soaked sand his marble floor, the spectators his congregation, and the cacophony of screams of bloodlust the sacred music that guided him in his last liturgical act, the gift of himself as he was torn apart by the powerful jaws of lions. Although Ignatius’ body was ripped to pieces, some few bones were picked out of the grains of sand and brought back to Antioch. They are now found in the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome.

Saint Ignatius of Antioch, your courageous acceptance of your impending martyrdom was an inspiration to your fellow Christians then and remains an inspiration today. Give all who seek your intercession just a small portion of your steely courage in the face of real danger.

Leave a comment

Two Most Important Days


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 17, 2020

“I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.” There is an interesting connection between three key elements that Jesus presents to us today:

1) Denial of God
2) Denial of the Holy Spirit
3) Defense of our Faith

Let’s take them in that order:
First, we are clearly told that if we live as if Jesus never came and/or we never met Him, we should expect the same treatment, that is, He will do the same.

Second, if we speak with words of hatred and defiance against the Holy Spirit, and surely against God in any way, shape, or form, we are to expect serious consequences.

And lastly, if we neither deny nor defy God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, but rather live in Him and through Him, then we can and should expect that our very speech, our lives, our thoughts, and all that makes us who we are will be defined by the depth and breadth of our love of God in everyday life. In other words, we will certainly shine.

And here is the major connection: All three warnings and predictions have to do with the next life. Jesus promises if we recognize Him now on earth, He will recognize us later in Heaven. Suppose anyone repeatedly closes their eyes to God and shuts their ears to His voice now. In that case, they will most certainly come to a point where they can no longer recognize God. Thus they see evil as good and good as evil even to that tragic point of that person’s last breath in which they could very well miss any chance of living forever with God in eternity, that is, later. Finally, if our deep trust is with the Lord, His Holy Spirit is promised to us as it was to Abraham and all his descendants as we read in the First reading so that we will never have to worry what to say before this world’s authority, now, or to the Authority of Heaven, later.

Question for the Day: What are the two most important moments of our life? Now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 16, 2020


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

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, please go here.

Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 471

Reading 1 – EPH 1:11-14

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

Responsorial Psalm – 33:1-2, 4-5, 12-13

R.    (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R.    Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R.    Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R.    Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Alleluia – PS 33:22

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us;
who have put our hope in you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 12:1-7

At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Purpose-Driven Process


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 16, 2020

“In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will.” We can and should often say that the life we have been given, the Christian way toward Heaven, is definitely a work in progress. In some circles, this is called justification. Justification describes the transition from the original state in which we were born into this world (sinfulness) to the state of grace and adoption through Jesus Christ, our Savior (holiness). It is a process. It is something that begins when we first become Christian, which continues in our life, and which will be completed when we stand before God at the end of our life and on the last day.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” And since it is a process, there are certain powerful consequences:

First:
No one that we meet today will be
at the same point at the same time in this process.

Second:
It can be lost.

Third:
It can be found again when a believer
returns to the faith.

Fourth:
It’s probably not a good idea to criticize
or judge others based on these previous three points.

Because when it is all said and done, and we all stand before God for the Last Review, everything will be out in the open: “Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.” What is crystal-clear is that God loves us more than anything He has created and can’t wait to get us all home again. See you there!

“Learn to dance, so when you get to Heaven, the Angels know what to do with you.” St. Augustine

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 16, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, virgin


For the readings on Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, virgin
Lectionary: 659

Reading 1 – EPH 3:14-19

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

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

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

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – MT 11:25-30

At that time Jesus answered:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

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

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin
1647 – 1690

A cloistered 17th century nun’s Sacred Heart visions impact the church like a meteor

Today’s saint, in the eyes of the world, was nothing special. She grew up in a medium-sized town, never traveled, received a standard education, was not wealthy, had normal intelligence, and died at the age of forty-three. But she had visions. Powerful, thought-provoking, descriptive visions. If she were not a nun, people would probably have whispered that Margaret was eccentric and politely ignored her. But Margaret’s austere life as a cloistered nun buttressed her credibility. And when a holy Jesuit priest, Saint Claude de la Colombière, disseminated the content of her visions, it sparked broader interest which eventually spread like wildfire around the globe. The innumerable cells in the body of Christ carried Margaret Mary’s visions one to the other, until devotion to the Sacred Heart became so common as to be prototypically Catholic. But it was not always so. It was today’s saint who made devotion to the Sacred Heart commonplace.

Saint Margaret Mary grew up in a large, pious, middle-class family in France in the middle of its great century of Catholic revival. She was a daughter, so to speak, of Saints Francis de Sales and Jane Frances de Chantal. The latter founded the Order of the Visitation after being inspired by the life and writings of Francis de Sales. Margaret joined her local Visitandine convent in 1671 in Paray-le-Monial, just ten years after Jane had died. Margaret suffered from serious physical ailments and so was not outstanding for her practical service to the convent. But she was especially devout and dedicated to mental prayer. From her childhood she had experienced a closeness to Jesus Christ so unique that she thought everyone experienced it. In the convent Jesus visited her often, speaking to her as if they were old friends. And like an old friend, He opened His heart to her and told her things He told no one else. He said He was sad. He said He was disappointed in the laxity of so many of the faithful, especially those consecrated to Him. And then one day He did something extraordinary – He showed Margaret His human, red as a ruby, heart.

These were not visions of the exalted, seated Christ as King of the Universe, nor of Jesus the High Priest consecrating the world to the Father surrounded by saints and angels. This was the humble, slightly sad and discouraged Jesus wondering where all his friends had gone: “I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in this sacrament of love….” It was all about the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus wanted more devotion to Him in the tabernacle, and He wanted it at specific times. He asked Margaret to come before Him for one hour at 11 p.m. every first Thursday of the month. He made promises to those who received Holy Communion on nine consecutive First Fridays. This was the seventeenth century version of the twentieth century Divine Mercy devotion.

Saint Margaret Mary was not the first person, nor the first saint, to talk about the Sacred Heart. But she was the first dedicated ambassador of this message of mercy. And God used her effectively. As part of her canonization process her tomb was opened in 1830 and she worked a miracle of healing. Images of the Sacred Heart were commonly enthroned in Catholic homes with its promises described in detail. In 1919 in Paris an enormous Basilica on Montmartre was dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Saint Margaret Mary was canonized in 1920. Her body can be seen under an altar in the chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart at Paray-le-Monial.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, your life of prayer and devotion to Jesus was that of a prolonged discussion with an intimate friend. Help us to dialogue with Jesus like you, knowing Him and loving Him in the hiddenness of the tabernacle.

Leave a comment

October 16, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Hedwig, religious


For the readings on Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Hedwig, religious
Lectionary: 658

Reading 1 – SIR 26:1-4, 13-16

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

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

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

R.    (1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R.    Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R.    Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R.    Blessed are those who fear the 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 – MK 3:31-35

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

Saint Hedwig, Religious
1174–1243 

A wife and mother does as much as a bishop to spread the faith

On every limb of the tangled branches of Saint Hedwig’s family tree sits a duke, landgrave, prince, king, queen, and count. The roots of Hedwig’s aristocratic tree likewise spread up and down the hills and valleys of Europe’s heartland. Her uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews occupied duchies, governed dioceses, sat on thrones, ran monasteries, and reigned over realms large and small in the medieval  core of Christendom. Hedwig was born in a castle to a duke. At the age of twelve, she married a duke, Henry the Bearded of Silesia, a region straddling present day Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Hedwig lived when the mortar in the walls of Europe’s castles was still wet, and their moats still freshly dug. She and her kind, the early nobility of Europe, correctly understood that culture and Catholicism were synonymous. To bring the Church to a people just stepping out of the darkness of paganism was to bring hospitals, monogamy, the Mass, literacy, knowledge, schools, law, monasteries, farms, care for the poor and widows, and the hope of the Gospel. Hedwig understood this perfectly. She unapologetically promoted the faith of Jesus Christ because it was as good for the people as it was for God.

Hedwig bore her husband seven children. She and Henry were a generous couple who personally cared for the sick, founded and patronized hospitals, and who promoted Catholicism through the establishment and endowment of religious houses. They established Cistercian, Augustinian, Premonstratensian, Dominican, and even very early Franciscan foundations. After their last child was born, Duke Henry and Hedwig took a mutual vow of chastity before their bishop and lived mostly apart. Henry received the tonsure and let his beard grow long. Hedwig moved close to the convent of Trebnitz, in present day Wrocław, Poland, which she and Henry had previously founded. It was the first women’s religious house in Silesia and part of Henry and Hedwig’s broader effort to develop Christian life and German culture throughout Central Europe. 

After Henry died in 1238, the widow Hedwig took the grey habit of the Cistercian nuns at Trebnitz Abbey, where her daughter Gertrude was abbess. It was likely not easy for Hedwig, the mother, to live in obedience to her very own daughter. Hedwig did not, however, take formal religious vows, because her wealth was still needed to support the monastery. But Hedwig otherwise lived the austere life of prayer, mortification, fasting, and poverty, which the monastic community itself lived. Early biographies relate that Hedwig also performed miracles, saw into the future, and had the gift of prophecy, even foretelling her own date of death.

Saint Hedwig did not kiss the chains of her captivity, bleed to death as a martyr in the arena, or boycott her womb as a vowed and perpetual virgin. She was the wife of a powerful man and the mother of a large family. She walked the wide and well-traveled road of marriage and family domesticity. And it was along that path that she found holiness, carried the burdens of the Church’s mission on her shoulders, and left a legacy of church building normally associated with an indefatigable bishop. This wife and mother was canonized in 1267 and is buried near her husband in the abbey church at Trebnitz, where she last closed her eyes in 1243. 

Saint Hedwig, your missionary fervor helped build the church in your native land. May your tireless work be an example to all the faithful to use whatever station in life they occupy as a platform to better know love, and serve God and His Church.

Leave a comment

October 15, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 470

Reading 1 – EPH 1:1-10

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
to the holy ones who are in Ephesus
and faithful in Christ Jesus:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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

In Christ we have redemption by his Blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favor
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

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

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

Alleluia – JOHN 14:6

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

Gospel – LK 11:47-54

The Lord said:
“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets
whom your fathers killed.
Consequently, you bear witness and give consent
to the deeds of your ancestors,
for they killed them and you do the building.
Therefore, the wisdom of God said,
‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles;
some of them they will kill and persecute’
in order that this generation might be charged
with the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!
Woe to you, scholars of the law!
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

We Will Get Through This Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 15, 2020

Today is the feast of St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), probably the female saint and mystic with the greatest influence on the world on so many levels. Below is one of her most famous poems, which we will intersperse with passages from the Scriptures today.

Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee: All things pass. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.” God never changes. “He chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.” Patience attains all that it strives for. “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds.” He who has God finds he lacks nothing. “He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.” God alone suffices. “In Christ we have redemption by his Blood, the forgiveness of transgressions.”

We are free because of God’s desire to send to us His only Begotten Son, the One who enwraps his mercy and love all around us every single day. Do not let anything rob you of any joy or peace today. You will get through this day because you started with Jesus and you will end with Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 15, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church


For the readings on Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 657

Reading 1 – ROM 8:22-27

Brothers and sisters:
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
For in hope we were saved.
Now hope that sees for itself is not hope.
For who hopes for what one sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – JN 15:1-8

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

St. Teresa of Ávila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
1515 – 1582

A rich, fiery personality purifies herself and the Carmelites 

The call for reform of the Church has rung out through the centuries down to today. However, it is largely misplaced. Reform of Church structures is required periodically for her internal well-running. But purification is needed more than reform. The constant purification in holiness of the baptized is harder, more efficacious, and more enduring than the reform of Church organs of governance. Today’s saint was a reformer, yes, but she was first a purifier. She purified herself, her religious sisters, and then the Carmelite Order. Structural reform came last, after she had died. Saint Teresa of Jesus, commonly known as Saint Teresa of Ávila, was the inspiration for the great Teresas who followed her: Saints Thérèse of Lisieux, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 

Saint Teresa was born behind the high and thick walls of Ávila in Central Spain, amidst that country’s greatest century. She was from a large, middle-class and pious family. As a girl, Teresa dreamed of being a martyr, or a hermit, and loved to repeat the words “forever and ever and ever.” When she decided to become a religious, she entered Ávila’s Carmelite convent mostly because it was there. The convent was large and the nuns serious. But it was a bit too comfortable. Many nuns brought their social status into the cloister and had private kitchens, oratories, and guest rooms. Teresa was one of these. Visitors came and went at will. While the convent caused no scandal, it produced no saints either. Even so, Teresa remained faithful—she prayed, observed the rule, and endured the normal fasts and mortifications. But by the mid-1500s, the wave of Church reform, even spiritual reform, which had been rising in Central Europe for decades, finally broke on the shores of Catholic Spain. 

Teresa suffered various health scares, read some seminal works on mental prayer, had mystical experiences, and slowly became convinced that her convent was too lax. The Church and Christ demanded more. She had developed the practice in examining her conscience to not just weigh her virtues and vices but to consider all the graces, all the good, and all the holiness God desired of her which she had impeded. Inspired by the great reformers of her century, many of them fellow Spaniards, Teresa decided to found a new Carmelite convent. There was fierce opposition from within her own convent and from the Carmelite Order more generally. Her odyssey of reform, begun in the mid-1550s, bore fruit when her first convent opened in Ávila in 1562. Her sisters wore no shoes (the meaning of the word “Discalced”), were limited to thirteen per convent, and would accept neither dowries nor endowments. The Discalced Carmelites were to be utterly poor, to fast, to mortify, and to pray intensely. But Teresa also wanted no gloomy saints. She practiced, and expected her nuns to emulate, being ever more sociable as she progressed in holiness. Everyone liked Teresa, and she liked to be liked. 

Teresa spent her last twenty years founding new convents as she traveled throughout Spain, all the while living in the most primitive conditions. By middle age she had earned a reputation for holiness, for legitimate mysticism, for affability, and for total obedience to the Church. She lived what she demanded of others. She led by example. And she did it all with a cheerful disposition and a rich personality that overcame deep-seated opposition. The Discalced Carmelites were given their own Spanish province in 1580 and were recognized as a distinct Order in 1594, twelve years after Teresa’s death. On a banner day in 1622, Teresa was canonized with Saints Philip Neri, Ignatius of Loyola, and Francis Xavier. Teresa was the first female non-martyr to have her feast day extended to the universal Church, and due to the profundity of her mystical writings, she was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Saint Paul VI in 1970.

Saint Teresa of Jesus, your colorful character and recollected soul merged into a powerful personality that brought about needed change. Through your intercession in heaven, assist all religious to purify themselves and their orders in accord with God’s will for the Church.

Leave a comment

The Longest Drive


football player ready to run

“I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.”  2 Timothy 4:7-8

Life is an amazing adventure and every single day brings forth endless possibilities in shaping us into the miracles that we are. If we wait too long to finally realize that, we just might discover the beauty we have been missing. Sometimes those lessons are learned early while others quite late in life, but the bottom line is simple. Learn all you can while you can when you can. 

Take Jerry for instance. He grew up in rural Oklahoma, raised on rodeos, grilled hamburgers, and football, lots of it. He loved the game and was quite talented at it with all the God-given talent that he nurtured and fostered keeping two strong feet planted on the ground and never ever getting “too big for his britches,” as his mom would say as often as she could and as often as he needed to hear it. 

However, his biggest fan was his father who realized from a very early age that being a sports fan required more than just casual dedication. Having a son who loved the game and worked hard at it made him more than proud. It made him devoted. He realized that no team wins it each and every year and this means there are ups and downs constantly. Sticking with his son and his teammates through thick and thin is exactly what being a fan is all about. 

Struggling as they were to keep afloat financially in raising a family, Jerry’s family rejoiced when  upon graduation from high school, he received a full, four-year football scholarship to the prestigious University of Oklahoma. Although things would still be tight, it was all right because they were used to hard sacrifices and loving returns. Their family was so close and yet as generous as they were industrious. Jerry’s teammates found another in his own father and the dedicated biggest fan was never a stranger, especially at home-sponsored games and even during the team’s long, protracted and grueling practices. All the coaches knew at least two things about Jerry: he was the most polite, respectful, and loyal member of the team, and he was close to his dad and never had to apologize for it. This father-son relationship actually gave spirit to the team and encouraged other families to work at unity and mutual love and support for their sons on the field. 

In his senior year, getting ready to head out to the world to pursue his dream of being a Chemical  Engineer in nearby Tulsa after graduation, the team made it to the playoffs. What an amazing time to be alive. The final year for many of his teammates to ever pick up the pigskin collegiately or professionally was coming to an end along with an array of wonderful and profound memories that would take them all into adulthood and to their places in the world. Practices were brutal in preparation for the big day. Of course, as the excitement mounted, there were two clearly and totally expected sights: Jerry would be at every practice and his dad would be in the stands quietly and majestically supporting his son and his team on the path to a prized victory. 

As the days grew closer to the championship that was to be played in Dallas, the pressure was definitely at a frenetic level. The campus was buzzing and the student body stood squarely behind their team and the hopes for the future of the Senior Class poised to graduate just days after the game. But a week before the buses were to leave for Texas, shocking news reached the locker room. Jerry’s dad had died suddenly from a massive heart attack. The team was thrown into a heartbreak mode of existence and prayers poured in from seemingly everywhere. The coaches took up a special collection to help the family with funeral arrangements and a grieving family buried their loving father with six rather large and strapping pallbearers, among them, a forlorn, devastated, but very grateful son. 

Life, as it usually does, went on, and the university community continued moving forward to thoughts of greatness in Dallas, although tempered by a severe loss, it was business as usual. However, there were two missing lights at the practice field. Jerry and his dad were painfully missing but a make-shift wreath made of football gear stood at the entrance of the locker room. Then it was time to pack and get ready for the journey south. The Head Coach was the last one in the sports complex having overseen the final preparation for the game, and just as he was ready to turn out the lights and close down, a shadow of a figure loomed at his opaque glass paned door. A slight knock ensued upon the large plate glass enclosed within the coach’s office door. It was Jerry, looking a little worn and obviously deeply affected by the loss of his mentor, paternal coach, and light of his life. Quickly the coach invited him in and pulled up a chair. After a few minutes of outreach and the expressions of hope and condolences, Jerry had one favor to ask.

“Hey, Coach. I never missed a practice these past four years except when my father died. Can I please start tomorrow in Dallas?”

As remarkable as such a request sounds, it was a moment of conflict for the coach who knew of Jerry’s dedication but also of his abilities. He was a good player but maybe not the kind of lineman who would start a championship, but what could he do? Something deep inside echoed the only answer he could give.

“Sure, Jerry! Bus leaves at 5:00 am.”

During that short night of sleep, the coach kept tossing and turning. He could envision starting this outstanding mountain of a man, he could see the coin toss, his team would have to receive, he heard the kickoff, the ball coming to Jerry and he fumbling the ball only for the opposing team to score on the first play of the game. Should he go back on his word? Should he risk the championship? Before he could even give any real thought to these burning questions, the alarm went off and it was time to start the wheels in motion. After having quickly showered and dressed, he and his wife arrived at the university sports complex about two hours before departure only to see a tall, excited, and anxious student waiting by the bus pacing about as if he had been there forever.

“You haven’t changed your mind, have you Coach?!,” came that familiar voice. 

His deeply respected coach had only one thing to say: “No, Son. You’re in. Get on the bus.” 

But even on the way down to Texas, the coach kept having flashbacks of his semi-contentious nightmares of losing the toss, fumbling the ball and losing the championship, but then again, as a man of his word, he stayed the course and remained resolute. 

The sunrise could not have been more spectacular. The day was clear and sharp and the stadium was packed with wild enthusiastic voices with marching bands, the smell of popcorn, and the rush of adrenaline on both sides of the football field. Both teams made their way to their assigned sides while a colorful honor guard began the pledge of allegiance, the anthem, and special dedications and announcements were made over the booming speakers. Perhaps the two most anxious men in that whole stadium had to have been Jerry and his coach, but that was inconsequential now as the moment of truth finally arrived.

Jerry’s team lost the toss and the opposing team chose to kick. The starting gun was fired, the cheering rose to fever pitch, the ball sailed into that magnificent blue sky heading straight for Jerry. The coach found it altogether too much to watch. He turned his gaze downward as if to pick something up from the ground, squinching and scrunching as if he were preparing for a devastating blow; but the roar of the crowd from his side of the stadium told him everything he needed and wanted to know. Jerry had caught the ball, ran fifteen yards for the first down. With an immense spurt of synergy whirling around the team like a bolt of lightning, they left him in the game and within fifteen minutes they scored. And they kept on scoring even until the end and a championship for the books. Even the opposing team was in awe. So were both men.

After the traditional handshakes, presentation of trophies with a field teeming with bursts of wild joy and relief, the coach began to look for Jerry. He couldn’t find him among the “stars” of the game, the more notable names, or the favorites. Finally, he was found deep in the recesses of the locker room, with a uniform practically in shreds, covered in mud and probably some blood as well. And he was crying softly, this giant of a man on several meaningful levels.  

The coach gently asked, “Hey man, what happened out there. That was awesome! I would never have imagined you had that in you.”

“Hey Coach, you know my father died, right?,” came the carefully uttered response. 

“Of course, Jerry. We know how much you’ve hurt, but we are hurting too, for you and your family,” continued the wise teacher. 

Jerry slowly lifted his head, wiped away the tears mixed with grime and blood and then uttered effortlessly and profoundly, “What you didn’t know was that my father was blind, and this was the first time he got to see me play.” 

Ours is a magnificent life filled with the stuff of legends, sagas, and epics being written all around us, every day. We simply cannot afford to miss a moment to cry, to forgive, to sing out loud in praise of what the Lord Jesus has done for us even in the most dark and desolate of moments because it is precisely in these human passages of time and space that we come to discover the beauty that has made us His sons and daughters whom He loves eternally. 

Your Father sees you. Always has. Always will. 

“But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”  Matthew 6:6

Leave a comment (26 comments)

October 14, 2020


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

Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 469

Reading 1 – GAL 5:18-25

Brothers and sisters:
If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

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

R.    (see Jn 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R.    Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R.    Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R.    Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – LK 11:42-46

The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.  
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Blind Harshness Pharisee-Style


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 14, 2020

“Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” So how does Jesus respond to our “old friends” today? Well, to say the least, it wasn’t pretty. Why the harshness of reaction? That’s what happens when we won’t see how incredibly God is working in our life or the lives of others. It is the expected consequence when we hide behind the Law and miss the Law-giver in our midst. The people who understand this always rejoice, but the ones who judge and criticize and try to “fix” everyone else except themselves are almost always humiliated. It all depends on the quality of the relationship we have with the Lord Jesus. This is what is meant by this powerful image of walking over someone’s grave, unknowingly. You think you are in the right, but obviously, someone else is being disrespected.

“Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.” Today, let us first give thanks that Our Lord loves us so much that we are constantly being exposed to the truth in our lives, ugly at times, but always liberating. Second, let us ask again for the courage to see Jesus in others as we look for Him in our own souls. This is definitely the recipe for true happiness. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.”

“Sometimes, you will go through awful trials in your life and then a miracle happens–God heals you. Don’t be disheartened when the people you love don’t see things like you do. There will be Pharisees in your life that will laugh it off, deny that it happened, or will mock your experience based on righteousness they think you don’t possess. God won’t deny you a spiritual experience because you are not a spiritual leader. He loves everyone equal. The only people that really matter in life are the people that can “see” your heart and rejoice with you.” Shannon L. Alder

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment (2 comments)

October 14, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Callistus I, pope and martyr


For the readings on Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Callistus I, pope and martyr
Lectionary: 656

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, 11

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

Alleluia – JN 15:15B

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

Gospel – LK 22:24-30

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

St. Callistus, Pope, Martyr
Late Second Century – 222

A slave takes charge of the premier Roman catacomb and rises to the papacy

Popes owned slaves for centuries to row their boats, cook their meals, and care for their horses and carriages. Kings, nobles, and middle class families owned slaves. It was a ubiquitous institution not necessarily rooted in racism, which was a latecomer as a rationale for enslavement. Rather, prisoners of war and criminals of every skin color were enslaved as alternatives to capital punishment. Others were born into slavery from slave mothers, and still others in desperate circumstances sold themselves into slavery in exchange for food, shelter, and security. Today’s saint, according to ancient sources, served as a slave in a Roman home for many years and thus was part of that massive social reality of slavery that not even Saint Paul explicitly condemned in his letter to Philemon. Since he was an intelligent and resourceful servant, Callistus’ master put him in charge of his personal bank. But when Callistus lost its deposits, he was blamed and was eventually exiled to the mines of Sardinia. At some point he was released from this hard labor and earned freedom from his slave status.

Pope Zephyrinus, elected in 199, placed the capable Callistus in charge of the most important underground Christian cemetery in Rome. Under Callistus it eventually grew into a sprawling, thirteen mile warren of dark, narrow tunnels lined with tombs chiseled out of the soft tufa stone. 500,000 bodies were encased in its walls! Callistus was so successful in managing the cemetery that it came to bear his name, and bears it still—the Catacombs of Saint Callistus. Besides numerous martyrs, it also houses a famous chapel for nine third-century popes. The Catacombs were ground zero for early Christian devotion in Rome. They were not hiding places from persecution but sacred ground on which to kneel beside a martyr’s lifeless body. Saint Jerome himself writes about his regular visits to pray at the martyrs’ tombs in the catacombs a century and a half after Callistus expanded them. There were no Viking funerals, Hindu pyres, or urns on the mantle for these early Christians. They believed in the resurrection of the body, as the Church still does. They knew, instinctively, that it was more fitting to bury a body, to keep watch with the dead, than to casually dispose of a body or to bake it like a pie.

The same Pope Zephyrinus ordained Callistus a deacon. Deacons have a tighter bond, theologically, with bishops than with priests. Since the Acts of the Apostles, they were ordained specifically to assist the first bishops, the Apostles. The first three centuries of the Church resound with the names of deacons, such as Saints Lawrence and Vincent, who were martyred alongside the popes and bishops they served. Pope Saint Sixtus II was killed, in fact, along with his coterie of deacons after they were all arrested in the Catacombs of Callistus in 258. In approximately 217, Deacon Callistus was elected the Bishop of Rome, crowning his long and arduous path from slavery to a more exalted form of service to the Divine Master. 

Pope Callistus encountered resistance over the perennial third-century theological-pastoral issue of how to reintegrate into the Body of Christ Catholics who had been forced to engage in emperor worship. Callistus held that if God could forgive murder and adultery he could forgive idolatry too. No sin was unforgivable. His bitter enemies, including the first antipope, Hippolytus, considered Callistus too lax and committed their calumnies to writing. This damaged Callistus’ reputation into modern times, when scholarship finally called into question the veracity of his enemies’ accounts. Saint Callistus’ life is not richly detailed, but he died in 222, most likely by martyrdom and, ironically, was not buried in his eponymous Catacomb. His tomb was rediscovered in 1960. His remains were transferred in the ninth century to Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, which tradition holds was built over, or next to, an earlier church of which Callistus was the patron.

Saint Callistus, you served an earthly master as a slave and a heavenly master as a deacon and pope. You made Christian burial and praying for the dead a defining feature of the Church of Rome. May we honor you in death just as you honored so well your own forebearers in the faith.

Leave a comment

The Remarkable Gift Of Freedom


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 13, 2020

“For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” Many of us swear by the deep, internal cleansing and the detoxifying process whereby the poisons and noxious substances are purged from the bloodstream. And while this is neither the time nor place to have an intelligent conversation about these purported benefits, it is safe to say that there is a deep and beneficial connection to our spiritual lives. Using another medical analogy, sin and selfishness can creep into our lives like plaque upon our gum lines. Following the Lord and being completely honest with ourselves is like floss, which seeks to go deep and eradicate the hidden filth that seems to accumulate without our realizing it. The Psalm today also opens the heart to listen carefully in prayer to the promptings and inspiration from the Holy Spirit: “Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.”

“Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.” Another crucial part of a spiritual life filled with integrity is humility and honesty. Many have to understand that we are only as sick as our secrets, which means that a secret kept in the dark usually grows and festers and ultimately destroys a person. The good news is that once it is exposed to light and released, all its ugly power is gone. This is real, long-lasting, and sustainable freedom. Unfortunately, some people are proud and refuse to admit that issues and areas need a spiritual detox to clear and eradicate this lack of self-knowledge. Tragically, this leads to growing negativity and self-loathing while keeping them sick and trapped in sinful behavior. The awesome truth about life is this: we are sick, and we need Jesus. Once we accept this fact, invite Him into our lives -in every aspect- the battle is more than half-won as he revealed so beautifully: “Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?”

“The spiritual freedom we seek cannot be found by grasping at, retreating to, or protecting our perceived safe spaces. Our freedom lies in remaining open continuously, not only to Life’s changes but also to the Divine Light within us and others. This is our choice. Although often perceived as a weakness, being open and surrendering to the experience of the present moment is our greatest strength. By authentically living Life in the Now, we submit to Divine guidance where we find the freedom to see everything equally and sacred in Truth.” Peter Santos

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 13, 2020


Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 468

Reading 1 – GAL 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

It is I, Paul, who am telling you
that if you have yourselves circumcised,
Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised
that he is bound to observe the entire law.
You are separated from Christ,
you who are trying to be justified by law;
you have fallen from grace.
For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness.
For in Christ Jesus,
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
but only faith working through love.

Responsorial Psalm – 119:41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48

R.    (41A) Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Let your mercy come to me, O LORD,
your salvation according to your promise.
R.    Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Take not the word of truth from my mouth,
for in your ordinances is my hope.
R.    Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
R.    Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will walk at liberty,
because I seek your precepts.
R.    Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will delight in your commands,
which I love.
R.    Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will lift up my hands to your commands
and meditate on your statutes.
R.    Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.

Alleluia – HEB 4:12

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

Gospel – LK 11:37-41

After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 12, 2020


Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 467

Reading 1 – GAL 4:22-24, 26-27, 31–5:1

Brothers and sisters:
It is written that Abraham had two sons,
one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman.
The son of the slave woman was born naturally,
the son of the freeborn through a promise.
Now this is an allegory.
These women represent two covenants.
One was from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery;
this is Hagar.
But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother.
For it is written:
Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children;
break forth and shout, you who were not in labor;
for more numerous are the children of the deserted one
than of her who has a husband.

Therefore, brothers and sisters,
we are children not of the slave woman
but of the freeborn woman.

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm
and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Responsorial Psalm – 113:1B-2, 3-4, 5A AND 6-7

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

Alleluia – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – LK 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Curious Listening


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 12, 2020

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” What a powerful image we have been given today as we begin a brand new week in walking with the Lord Jesus! To be so attuned to the voice of Christ and to be so drawn and driven in listening to it no matter what the cost is the goal of all who want to find their way to Heaven with the great and powerfully loving assistance of the Good Shepherd. However, this search must not become one of superstition and doubt: “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.” There is no website, Twitter account, or Facebook page that accomplishes the value and depth of speaking and listening directly with the Lord in prayer strengthened by our daily dose of the Scriptures and Eucharistic nourishment. Let us decide this week to take the time and listen intensely to our Master’s voice. He is always ready to start a conversation.

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” Roy T. Bennett

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

An Invitation Like No Other


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 11, 2020

“The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face.” There is such joy and hope in the Sunday readings for all of us today. They are words and sounds of hope and love waiting for us. God’s invitation is one of deep love, grace, and miraculous grace. It is not an invitation to do something, nor is it an invitation to a physical place. It is an invitation to live with a new heart and a new spirit. When we receive this call, our souls naturally want to rebel and become stubborn. In humility, however, we know our own fallen nature and we then call out for help with the deepest faith that He will answer since he issued the invitation with the grace to help us fulfill the task. The will of God will never take us where the Grace of God will not protect and empower us. “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” What a marvelous image for Heaven! It reminds us that the invitation of God is to a feast as joyous as a wedding feast. If we refuse the invitation of Christ, someday our greatest pain will be, not in the things we suffer, but in the realization of the precious things we have missed. It also reminds us that when we answer the invitation, we must come ready: “My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?”

Jesus, thank you for this awesome invitation! I’m getting ready. Keep the door open. I can’t wait to see You!

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 11, 2020


Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 142

Reading 1 – IS 25:6-10A

On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
a feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
the web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from every face;
the reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

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

R. (6CD) I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Reading 2 – PHIL 4:12-14, 19-20

Brothers and sisters:
I know how to live in humble circumstances;
I know also how to live with abundance.
In every circumstance and in all things
I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry,
of living in abundance and of being in need.
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.

My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia – CF. EPH 1:17-18

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

Gospel – MT 22:1-14 OR 22:1-10

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

or

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Words Whisper, Actions Scream


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 10, 2020

“Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Although our Gospel passage today is quite small, it truly packs a big punch! It should not amaze any of our readers how many times people use words and have no intention of following through with promises or even do anything more than offer empty compliments that go nowhere. This clearly is not of God or the ideal or natural approach to the great gift of speech and communication that we have been given. The situation in our Gospel of today reminds us, among other things, that actions speak louder than words. Think of the people in your life that you can truly count on whenever necessary.

“For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” The selection we have from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians gives us an even more powerful incentive to practice integrity of speech and action. When we give our word when we make promises, and we extend our trust in the commitments we make, we have the opportunity to confirm who we really are in this world. We belong to Christ.

“People of integrity and honesty not only practice what they preach, they are what they preach.” David A. Bednar

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 10, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 466

Reading 1 – GAL 3:22-29

Brothers and sisters:
Scripture confined all things under the power of sin,
that through faith in Jesus Christ
the promise might be given to those who believe.

Before faith came, we were held in custody under law,
confined for the faith that was to be revealed.
Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ,
that we might be justified by faith.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian.
For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ
have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person,
there is not male and female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants,
heirs according to the promise.

Responsorial Psalm – 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.    (8A) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – LK 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 11:27-28

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 9, 2020


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Denis and Companions, please go here.

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

Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 465

Reading 1 – GAL 3:7-14

Brothers and sisters:
Realize that it is those who have faith
who are children of Abraham.
Scripture, which saw in advance that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith,
foretold the good news to Abraham, saying,
Through you shall all the nations be blessed.
Consequently, those who have faith are blessed
along with Abraham who had faith.
For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse;
for it is written, Cursed be everyone
who does not persevere in doing all the things
written in the book of the law.

And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear,
for the one who is righteous by faith will live.
But the law does not depend on faith;
rather, the one who does these things will live by them.
Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,
for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,
that the blessing of Abraham might be extended
to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,
so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

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

R.    (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.

Alleluia – JN 12:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The prince of this world will now be cast out,
and when I am lifted up from the earth
I will draw all to myself, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 11:15-26

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 9, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Denis, bishop and martyr, and his companions, martyrs


For the reading on Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Denis, bishop and martyr, and his companions, martyrs
Lectionary: 654

Reading 1 – 2 COR 6:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
In everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God,
through much endurance, in afflictions, hardships, constraints,
beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech,
in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.

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

R.    (5)  Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R.    Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – MT 5:13-16

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.”

St. Denis and Companions
3rd century

A missionary bishop is beheaded and the Church’s eldest daughter thrives

Therapod, Spinosaurus, Ornithopod, Ceratopsid, Triceratops. Creatures with strange names from long ago with three toes, sharp protruding vertebrae, duck heads, three horns and jaws that crushed like the serrated walls of a trash compactor. A cephalophore? A theological neologism for another creature from long ago—a martyr who carries his own head after being decapitated. Today’s saint, Denis, is the most well-known cephalophore. He cradled his own head in his arms as proof of his sacrifice, much like a soldier might point to his battle scars to prove his valor. An early medieval tradition states that Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris, after being beheaded, preached a sermon on forgiving his assassins from the mouth of his own severed head while walking seven miles from his execution site to his grave. This legend is, historically, as flimsy as tissue paper, but theologically as solid as granite.

Saint Denis was a missionary bishop sent to Gaul in the mid-third century, perhaps by the martyr Pope Saint Fabian. By that time, Gaul had been evangelized only in pockets. Blanket conversion of its numerous tribes was destined for a later century, when a unified kingdom imposed a unified faith. Even great movements must have modest beginnings. So the bishop Denis, the priest Rusticus, and the deacon Eleutherius made their way north to a small Roman city called Lutetia, on the banks of the Seine River, where they served both native Romans and the Parisii, the local Gallic tribe. Denis and his companions settled on an island next to Lutetia called, today, Île de la Cité. It is the heart of Paris, the site of Notre Dame Cathedral, and the zero point from which all distances are measured in France. Denis and his companions, embodying the three Holy Orders, were successful enough to provoke the envy of pagan priests who convinced the local governor to imprison and torture them.

Tradition relates that around 275 A.D., the martyrs were led to a pagan height overlooking Lutetia for their ritual beheading, thus lending the hill its name, Montmartre, or martyrs’ hill. After the sword dropped and Denis’ head separated from his torso, legend relates that he chose his own place of burial by walking, head in his arms, from Montmartre to the present day site of the Basilica for which he is the eponym. This church became the burial place of the kings of France, who strove to surpass each other in devotion to Paris’ patron.

The form of capital punishment speaks, consciously or unconsciously, to the crime being punished. The heretic is burned, like his books, his flesh melting in the fires which replicate on earth those waiting for him in eternal damnation for having led the faithful astray. Every false clause, sentence, and paragraph of the heretic’s books must float into the air as cinders, never to mislead again. Death by drowning during the Reformation killed those who rejected or taught falsehoods concerning the saving waters of baptism. Hanging, a firing squad, lethal injection, suicide by jumping, the electric chair: all convey subtle meaning via the manner in which they extinguish life.

Decapitation is the purest form of capital punishment, caput being Latin for “head.” The decapitation of a bishop, in particular, was meant to separate the head of the Church from its body, leaving the ship without its pilot. Saint John the Baptist, Saint Paul, Saint Cyprian, Pope Saint Sixtus II, were all Christian leaders and were all beheaded. The legend of Saint Denis is fanciful but profound. The story captures the meaning of decapitation and responds to it. Bishop Denis’ head is cleaved from his body but still united to it. Christ’s head can never be separated from His body the Church. Christ is one, head and body, and every bishop stands in Christ’s stead to exercise the fullness of Christ’s priestly ministry to teach, govern, and sanctify the people of God. A shepherd always pastors a flock, a pilot always helms a ship, and a bishop always—always—fathers a diocese. The bishop images Christ the head to the earthly members of Christ’s body. 

Saint Denis and companions, you died in the mission fields of the Church’s eldest daughter, France. Your blood spilled long ago so that our blood would not spill today. We thank you for your witness and ask your intercession to make us fearless like you.

Leave a comment

October 9, 2020 – Memorial of Saint John Leonardi, priest


For the reading on Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint John Leonardi, priest
Lectionary: 655

Reading 1 – 2 COR 4:1-2, 5-7

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – MK 1:17

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

Gospel – LK 5:1-11

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

Saint John Leonardi, Priest
1541–1609 

“Either Christ or nothing!” was his cure for every ill

Today’s saint was among that first wave of post Council of Trent priests and founders whose purification of the Church started with themselves. Saint John Leonardi was a man ardently in love with Christ and Mary and the sacred field of the Catholic Church, where theological truths grow tall and dense in the richest soil. Because that sacred field was so in need of clearing, pruning, and weeding in his era, Saint John stripped from himself every single personal interest, desire, or goal and merged his life totally with that of Christ. John was like a small twig grafted onto the verdant root-stem of Christ. John, Christ, and the Church all grew and thrived together as one living thing. 

Like so many saints, John Leonardi was born into a large family. The hum and whistle of daily life, work, meals, conversation and prayer in large families is a small school where children learn generosity in a natural atmosphere. The large family’s numerous siblings serve as proxies for the diverse personalities found in the broader culture, better preparing the children for life outside the home. John’s parents won the battle for his soul early. He was a religiously inclined boy from the start. As a teenager, John studied to be a pharmacist under a local mentor for many years and later maintained a life-long interest in medicine. But mature reflection eventually took him down another path. He would not apply essences, compounds, or poultices to patients’ bodies but rather feed the sacraments to people’s souls. John studied for the priesthood and was ordained in 1572.

Father John served among the youth at parishes in his native city of Lucca, Italy, and was active in visiting hospitals and prisons. His ardour attracted a loyal following of laymen with whom he lived and worked and prayed. John’s life and priesthood flowed effortlessly into the great river of reforms that gushed from the Council of Trent, which had concluded just a few years before John was ordained. John was intensely focused on implementing the Council’s teachings. His local bishop tasked John with preaching in all of Lucca’s churches to straighten the crooked lines sketched by some theologically confused priests. Father John’s experience of orthodox preaching, and of the fierce resistance it generated, convinced him that only an impeccable moral and spiritual life could draw people to self reform and conversion. John thus sought to mirror every virtue, to be a lighthouse on the rugged cliff, drawing all people safely into the harbor of Christ.

John’s small band of brothers were eventually recognized as a Congregation by successive popes, but due to local resistance, John had to move his work to Rome. He befriended Saint Philip Neri, was entrusted with reforming several monasteries, and was instrumental in founding the seminary for the future Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, a successful Vatican entity which formed priests for service in the foreign missions. John advocated the Forty Hours Devotion, frequent reception of Holy Communion, and the Christian formation of children at as early an age as possible. By 1600 Father John Leonardi was a well-known Counter-Reformation force in Italy not due to his books, new ideas, or charisma, but due to his virtue and zeal for the house of the Lord. In 1609 our saint died well but too soon. He was infected with the plague while visiting the sick. The small Congregation he founded, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca, continues until today, purposely small and focused on their important work. Father John Leonardo was canonized in 1938 and is buried in a handsome baroque church near the Roman Forum. 

Saint John Leonardi, may your generous example of priestly service inspire a holy jealousy among priests so that they burn with the same desire that consumed you in service to Christ and Mary in the heart of the Church.

Leave a comment

What We Despise In Others


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 9, 2020

“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.'” This encounter that was presented to us today in the Gospel truly relays to us the sense of viciousness and ferocity of the climate into which Jesus the Christ (and our King) began His ministry. What we have here is an excellent example of character assassination in the Bible. 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.

“If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out?” 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.

“Unless you learn to face your own shadows, you will continue to see them in others, because the world outside you is only a reflection of the world inside you.” Caro Vanni

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

Prayer Garden


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 8, 2020

“Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.” One of the greatest truths and comforting aspects of our journey with the Lord Jesus is that we have been assured time and time again that God listens to all of our prayers all of the time with all the intensity of divine love and immense care for each and every one of us. This is why today we must recommit and renew our efforts to pray. Prayer is the life of the new heart (CCC 2697) Christians throughout the centuries have maintained three main expressions of prayer: Vocal, Meditation, and Contemplation. Together, they make a phenomenal path to peace and holiness, not to mention sanity:

Vocal: We are body and spirit so it is important to express our spiritually feelings outwardly [we speak]
Meditation: The mind searches to understand what God is saying [we think, imagine, desire and feel]
Contemplation: “We are alone with the One who loves us.” [God speaks, we listen and experience]

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” The one who asks through vocal prayer receives; the one who seeks through meditation finds, and the one who knocks at the door of contemplation can change the world one soul at a time.

“A beginner must look on himself as one setting out to make a garden for his Lord’s pleasure, on most unfruitful soil which abounds in weeds. His Majesty roots up the weeds and will put in good plants instead. Let us reckon that this is already done when the soul decides to practice prayer and has begun to do so.” Saint Teresa of Avila

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 8, 2020


Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 464

Reading 1 – GAL 3:1-5

O stupid Galatians!
Who has bewitched you,
before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
I want to learn only this from you:
did you receive the Spirit from works of the law,
or from faith in what you heard?
Are you so stupid?
After beginning with the Spirit,
are you now ending with the flesh?
Did you experience so many things in vain?–
if indeed it was in vain.
Does, then, the one who supplies the Spirit to you
and works mighty deeds among you
do so from works of the law
or from faith in what you heard?

Responsorial Psalm – LUKE 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R.    (68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R.    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
R.    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R.    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
R.    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to his people.

Alleluia – SEE ACTS 16:14B

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

Gospel – LK 11:5-13

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father  among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 7, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, please go here.

Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
Lectionary: 463

Reading 1 – GAL 2:1-2, 7-14

Brothers and sisters:
After fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas,
taking Titus along also.
I went up in accord with a revelation,
and I presented to them the Gospel that I preach to the Gentiles–
but privately to those of repute–
so that I might not be running, or have run, in vain.
On the contrary,
when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised,
just as Peter to the circumcised,
for the one who worked in Peter for an apostolate to the circumcised
worked also in me for the Gentiles,
and when they recognized the grace bestowed upon me,
James and Cephas and John,
who were reputed to be pillars,
gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership,
that we should go to the Gentiles
and they to the circumcised.
Only, we were to be mindful of the poor,
which is the very thing I was eager to do.

And when Cephas came to Antioch,
I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong.
For, until some people came from James,
he used to eat with the Gentiles;
but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself,
because he was afraid of the circumcised.
And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him,
with the result that even Barnabas
was carried away by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not on the right road
in line with the truth of the Gospel,
I said to Cephas in front of all,
“If you, though a Jew,
are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew,
how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Responsorial Psalm – 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – ROM 8:15BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons
through which we cry: Abba! Father!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 7, 2020 – Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary


For the reading on Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, please go here.

Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
Lectionary: 653

Reading 1 – ACTS 1:12-14

After Jesus had been taken up into heaven,
the Apostles returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day’s journey away.

When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

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

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

Alleluia – SEE LK 1:28

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

Gospel – LK 1:26-38

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

Our Lady of the Rosary

October 7 – Memorial

Mary comes to the rescue, and the Catholic West avoids the fate of the Orthodox East

In 1204 Venetian Crusaders traveling to the Holy Land sacked Constantinople. Debts were not being paid, so something had to be done. Relics were packed up and shipped back to Italy, as well as gold, silver, precious stones, art, vestments, and booty. The city was stripped clean. The conquered have much longer memories than the conquerors, and Constantinople, the New Rome, never forgot 1204. So, in the first half of the 1400s, when Ottoman Turks ringed the walls of Constantinople, making it a tiny Christian island in a vast Islamic sea, unifying with Rome for common defense was not an option for the Orthodox. As the Muslim noose tightened around the city’s neck, little by little, year after year, Constantinople was struggling for air. Emperor and Patriarch were desperate. They approached the Pope and Western princes. Help us! A deal was struck. The Orthodox would unify with Rome, just in time to save Constantinople! But the memories of 1204 were too much to overcome. The faithful rejected the rapprochement. Westerners were hated; their help unwelcome. A Byzantine official, when asked about unifying with Rome, said, “I would rather see the Muslim turban in the midst of the city than the Latin mitre.”

And so in 1453 the thick, high walls of Constantinople were breached. The Turks let loose on the city, slaves were taken, churches desecrated, the Hagia Sophia turned into a mosque, and the last Roman Byzantine Emperor, ironically named Constantine XI, was killed. New Rome having been taken, Old Rome was next. All of Europe now lay before the Turks like an empty table. No one and nothing stopped the Ottoman Turks until Our Lady did. The naval battle of Lepanto was the “September 11, 2001” moment of its generation. On the first Sunday of October, 1571, the ships of a Holy League of Catholic Kingdoms and the Papal States defeated the Ottoman navy decisively in the seas off of Greece. Islam was stopped in its tracks. There would be no repeat of 1453 in Old Rome. No desecration or pillaging, no murder of the Pope. A line had been drawn which has still yet to be crossed.

Pope Saint Pius V, a Dominican, animated and organized the Holy League. He implored the faithful throughout Europe to pray the rosary, and himself led a rosary procession in the Eternal City, for Christian triumph. The ships of the Holy League were outmatched and outnumbered and needed all the divine assistance prayer could muster. These prayers were answered. The doors to the Mediterranean, and to the Atlantic beyond, were shut on the Turks. In thanksgiving for this miraculous victory, Pius V instituted the “Feast of Our Lady of Victory,” later changed to “Feast of the Holy Rosary” and finally “Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.” Pope Leo XIII added the title “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary” to the Litany of Loreto in honor of Mary’s powerful intercession through the rosary.

It may seem redundant to give Mary the title “Our Lady of the Rosary.” It sounds a bit like saying “Jesus of the Cross.” Of course she is Our Lady of the Rosary and of course He is Jesus of the Cross. Mary and Jesus are like diamonds whose facets sparkle as they rotate in our palms. One mystery, then another, and then a third flash and blink as we contemplate and study them. A title is like a facet. One aspect of a mystery shines and we appreciate the totality of it all the more. When we can’t take in the entire image, we focus on this or that feature. Today we focus on Saint Mary who loves to hear us call her by name, over and over and over again as our fingers run up the beads.

Our Lady of the Rosary, we implore your intercession day in and day out, in the morning and in the evening, because we love to say your name and you love to hear us invoke you. You defeated vast armies seeking to destroy the Church. Help us to conquer our sins.

Leave a comment

The Mystery Of The Rosary


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 7, 2020

There is something so wonderfully comforting and uplifting when we fervently pray the Holy Rosary and beg God for the graces we need to walk this beautiful life with the Lord Jesus. By remembering those specific moments and Theological teachings, we prepare for the bright promise of tomorrow and the wisdom we so desperately need. Now it is time for us to go even deeper.

Last year, during a prayer procession, Pope Francis referred to the rosary, noting that, “Praying the rosary does not remove us from the problems of life. On the contrary, it demands that we immerse ourselves in the history of each day, so as to grasp the signs of Christ’s presence in our midst.” What a beautiful and insightful thought! Not only do we hold the rosary close and assured in our hands but we also hold the Mysteries close to our heart and ask God for the strength to imitate them. This takes us to the topic of the “scriptural rosary,” which may or may not be as familiar to people as the traditional rosary. The rosary, of course, is always based on Scripture, with each of its mysteries coming from the Gospels and events in the lives of Mary and her Son, Jesus; The Nativity, the Agony in the Garden, and the Resurrection are just three of the mysteries. While praying each decade (ten beads of Hail Mary prayers, along with an Our Father and “Glory Be,” one reflects on these instances in the Bible. (Two mysteries: the Assumption and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin do not have direct scriptural texts, but have been doctrines of the church since ancient times.)

However, as anyone who regularly prays the rosary knows, it can be difficult to maintain focus during each decade. As someone once wrote, “Yet often we find our minds wandering off when praying this special prayer. … Most people find themselves thinking of more mundane matters (like work, sports, relationships and such) rather than heavenly mysteries.”

This is why various “scriptural rosaries” developed: to help us focus. In “scriptural rosaries,” each Hail Mary prayer (one rosary bead) in each mystery is accompanied by a scripture verse. For example, one suggested verse for the first bead of the Annunciation Mystery is Isaiah 9:2): “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; …”

This type of rosary will certainly help one focus and may work very well with group prayer of the rosary. However, at other times, the traditional style of the rosary may work better. The rosary, which developed out of the daily praying of the 150 psalms in ancient monasteries, has also become a form of contemplative prayer. Its repetition of Hail Marys, Our Fathers and Glory Be, serve to place us in a state of quiet and meditation that relaxes us, places us in God’s presence, and helps to pray as Mary did: “pondering all these things in her heart” (Lk 2:19).

For a complete guide to the Scriptural Rosary and a free .PDF download booklet provided by the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus Please go here: A Scriptural Rosary For The Family

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 6, 2020


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

Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 462

Reading 1 – GAL 1:13-24

Brothers and sisters:
You heard of my former way of life in Judaism,
how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure
and tried to destroy it,
and progressed in Judaism
beyond many of my contemporaries among my race,
since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions.
But when he, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart
and called me through his grace,
was pleased to reveal his Son to me,
so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles,
I did not immediately consult flesh and blood,
nor did I go up to Jerusalem
to those who were Apostles before me;
rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas
and remained with him for fifteen days.
But I did not see any other of the Apostles,
only James the brother of the Lord.
(As to what I am writing to you, behold,
before God, I am not lying.)
Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea
that are in Christ;
they only kept hearing that “the one who once was persecuting us
is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”
So they glorified God because of me.

Responsorial Psalm – 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15

R.    (24B) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R.    Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R.    Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R.    Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Alleluia – LK 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Let God Be God


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 6, 2020

One thing is very clear and actually demanded from the one who hears the call of discipleship to follow Jesus and wishes to answer it: it will always involve a leap of faith, an extra helping of courage, and a sometimes small, sometimes monumental act of faith. Such was the case of St. Paul of which we heard in our First Reading describing his conversion from a very evil and destructive past: “You heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.” His conversion was no easy task and neither was the awesome, even unexpected outcome: “And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only kept hearing that ‘the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ So they glorified God because of me.”

In front of this all-encompassing mercy of God that marvels as well as redeems, we can understand and agree with the Psalmist who is so insistent with the only recourse we have when we have made that tumultuous leap of complete trust: “O LORD, you have probed me and you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar.” The benefits of this leap of faith are then made crystal clear and even more desirable in the Gospel today. The scene there is similar to the many experiences that we have had when we become anxious and worried about too many things. There is sometimes sorrow, then doubt and sometimes there is darkness. This is certainly true today in the Gospel with the two famous sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha begins with Jesus suggesting that somehow Jesus doesn’t really care or have any interest in her plight: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?” Although the answer Jesus gave her may seem even more distant and detached, it is full of wisdom and understanding and a call for more courage and faith. “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” This will be overwhelmingly critical when later in their lives they experience the tragic death of their brother Lazarus and the next conversation Martha has with the Lord takes a bizarre turn when she suggests that all of the tragedy their lives could have been avoided if the Lord had just planned his schedule a little differently. However, before Jesus had a chance to respond to that statement, Martha quickly added that no matter what the reason or course of events, she was ready to make that leap of faith and trust Him with all her heart and mind as to the outcome. Then Jesus reveals why the trusting moment is pivotal for all of us: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

“The more you trust Jesus and keep your eyes focused on Him, the more life you’ll have. Trusting God brings life. Believing brings rest. So stop trying to figure everything out, and let God be God in your life.” Joyce Meyer

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 6, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Bruno, priest


For the readings on Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Optional Memorial of Saint Bruno, priest
Lectionary: 652

Reading 1 – PHIL 3:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
I consider everything as a loss
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things
and I consider them so much rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having any righteousness of my own based on the law
but that which comes through faith in Christ,
the righteousness from God,
depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection
and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death,
if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It is not that I have already taken hold of it
or have already attained perfect maturity,
but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it,
since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part
do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 9:57-62

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

Saint Bruno, Priest
c. 1030 – 1101

Solitary confinement is not a punishment when it is voluntary and shared with God

Today’s saint was born in an unknown year. He left his native Cologne to study in Rheims, France, as a young man and was ordained a priest around 1055. Aware of Bruno’s obvious talents, the Bishop of Rheims demanded that the young priest remain in his diocese, where Bruno became the head of Rheims’ most illustrious school for almost two decades and then Chancellor of the diocese. Bruno’s trajectory was, at this point in his life, typical of talented, educated, and well-connected priests of his era. He was destined to become a good, scholarly, and politically aware medieval bishop, the kind whose graves fill the floors and stuff the side chapels of many Gothic cathedrals. But a bad bishop altered the arc of Bruno’s trajectory. Bruno’s bishop-patron died and was succeeded by a corrupt aristocrat who had bought his office. This ecclesiastic had little concern for the Church except as a well of money and power from which he could freely drink. Revolt, sharp tensions, recriminations, and violence ensued. Everyone was damaged.  Bruno withdrew from the scene, partly to avoid being named a bishop himself and partly to reevaluate what prize he was truly seeking in life.

Bruno and some companions then sought out a well-known hermit in Southern France who, a few years later, would go on to found the Monastery of Citeaux, the mother foundation of the Cistercian Order. Citeaux was the very same monastery which had such an influence on Bruno’s contemporary Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. But Bruno was not meant to be a Cistercian. Still searching, Bruno and six companions approached the Bishop of Grenoble, France, who was favorable to their plan and granted them a remote location in the French Alps called Chartreuse. It was 1085. Saint Bruno’s successors reside at the Grande Chartreuse to this day, living the part hermit, part community of prayer, part work, part study, all poor, and all silent existence of Carthusian monks that Bruno envisioned.

Though Bruno founded the Grande Chartreuse, he did not remain there for long. A former pupil of Bruno’s had become Pope, and he needed Bruno’s hand on the rudder to help him navigate the ship of the Church in the rough seas of medieval ecclesiastical politics. So Bruno moved to Rome and lived in a cell amidst the crumbled arches and half walls of the Baths of Diocletian. His every intention of returning to the Grande Chartreuse was frustrated. The Pope compelled Bruno to remain in Italy in case his services were needed, even as the Pope and his court were on the run from determined enemies. Resigned to his exile, and refusing an appointment as bishop in Southern Italy, in about 1094 Bruno and some followers spawned a mini-Chartreuse in Calabria, Italy, called La Torre, although this second foundation was later to be absorbed into the Cistercian Order. Bruno died there, living in silence as a monk. He was never formally canonized and left no rule for his Order, leaving that task to a successor.  

Saint Bruno had a burning love for the Holy Eucharist and for the Virgin Mary. Silence was also his muse. God speaks beautifully through His creation, but one must “hear“ God’s silence to understand Him. Silence is a powerful form of speech, a negative word which God, as the Father of a large family, often uses to communicate. The internal word is not less of a word because it remains unspoken. A word is an internal mental tool for organizing thought before it is a means of communication. God’s own internal Word was so powerful that it became flesh and blood, a living Word more powerful than mere spoken language. Words are a form of action, but they can also limit meaning. God speaks most deeply in the action of creation, through His Son and in silence. As lovers know, a glance, a touch, a smile, a thought is sufficient. Words may add to these things, but they can also subtract from them. It has been said that even if a marble statue of Saint Bruno could stretch open its mouth, he would still keep his vow and remain silent, for “When words are many, transgression is not lacking.” (You can find this passage in Proverbs, Chapter 10, verse 19.)

Saint Bruno, your life of generous and active service to the Church was curtailed, and you chose the better portion, seeking God in silence, poverty, study, and prayer. Help all who are in the world to emulate your quiet dedication, focus, and endurance.

Leave a comment

October 5, 2020


Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 461

Reading 1 – GAL 1:6-12

Brothers and sisters:
I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking
the one who called you by the grace of Christ
for a different gospel (not that there is another).
But there are some who are disturbing you
and wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven
should preach to you a gospel
other than the one that we preached to you,
let that one be accursed!
As we have said before, and now I say again,
if anyone preaches to you a gospel
other than the one that you received,
let that one be accursed!

Am I now currying favor with human beings or God?
Or am I seeking to please people?
If I were still trying to please people,
I would not be a slave of Christ.

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,
that the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin.
For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it,
but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – 111:1B-2, 7-8, 9 AND 10C

R.    (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:    
R.    Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:    
R.    Alleluia.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
wrought in truth and equity.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:    
R.    Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:    
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 13:34

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

Gospel – LK 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 5, 2020

“No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” It would be more than just a simple sadness if we allowed another week to come and go and were not in possession of just a little more desire and ease when confronted with the need and call to love, to forgive, and to create a sense of community in our troubled world. And yet, if we were to speak realistically, the lack of ability may equal the lack of desire to even approach any semblance of being generous to anyone because of that horrible selfishness that never allows a person to grow in healthy maturity.

In an obvious, sincere, and hopeful attempt to avoid any sadness for us as we move forward in this new month, the Scriptures provide us with an even better reason to continue to work toward a generous, giving heart and a life dedicated to the mercy of our loving Father. And this is wonderfully found in such delightful and poignant details that are found wedged gently within the phrases of the parable that Christ presents to us in the Gospel: That is important when we ask who is the Good Samaritan? To answer that, let’s look at the story: “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” The words, a man, in Hebrew, is the same for humanity. That changes things, doesn’t it?

So if the story is about humanity that has been jumped by the evil one, then it is Jesus who is the only One who can help, seeing how the Old Priesthood (the unhelpful cleric) and the Old Law (the Levite) cannot help by themselves. So He approaches the victim, coming down as He did from Heaven in Bethlehem (Christmas), pours wine and oil in the wound (Sacramental Life) lifts the wounded, lifts him upon His own animal (becomes Human through the Incarnation), takes him to an inn (The Church), leaves two coins, (Scripture and Tradition) and then utters those immortal words by promising that He’ll take care of everything “on my way back” (The End of the World, or Apocalypse). So in a phrase, what does this all mean? The Psalm gives us the words for the prayer that will lead us to lasting joy: “In your great kindness answer me with your constant help. Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness: in your great mercy turn toward me.”

Jesus gifted us with the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Look around everyone at work, school, and in your immediate and not-so-immediate circle of friends and family. There they are. They who are near to you (nigh) are your neighbors. Be the Good Samaritan to them. Be like Jesus!

“The world needs a sense of worth and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.” Mr. Fred Rogers

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

The Danger Of Rejection


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 4, 2020

“‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.” The sad turn of events in the parable that Jesus uses to continue to get through to the chief priests, scribes, and elders is one of rejection. The truth is, we make literally hundreds of choices every day we walk on this planet from what we will eat and not eat to whom we will call or not. The wisdom here is what to reject and what not to reject. “Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

We are in fact today given the perfect prescription of how we must move forward in this world of so many choices and rejections: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” The truth of the wealth of meaning found in the Scriptures today is simple but not simplistic. The road to Heaven must be taken with great expectation of the great promises that Jesus has sealed with His blood on the cross. It is an exciting adventure toward fulfillment or it is nothing at all.

“We may not be aware of it, but we choose either heaven or hell all the time. Everytime we choose to hope, everytime we choose to forgive and to let go of our resentments, we choose heaven, we choose life.” Jocelyn Soriano

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 4, 2020


Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 139

Reading 1 – IS 5:1-7

Let me now sing of my friend,
my friend’s song concerning his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside;
he spaded it, cleared it of stones,
and planted the choicest vines;
within it he built a watchtower,
and hewed out a wine press.
Then he looked for the crop of grapes,
but what it yielded was wild grapes.

Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard:
What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I had not done?
Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes,
did it bring forth wild grapes?
Now, I will let you know
what I mean to do with my vineyard:
take away its hedge, give it to grazing,
break through its wall, let it be trampled!
Yes, I will make it a ruin:
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
but overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds
not to send rain upon it.
The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah are his cherished plant;
he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed!
for justice, but hark, the outcry!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20

R. (Is 5:7A) The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
A vine from Egypt you transplanted;
you drove away the nations and planted it.
It put forth its foliage to the Sea,
its shoots as far as the River.
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
Why have you broken down its walls,
so that every passer-by plucks its fruit,
The boar from the forest lays it waste,
and the beasts of the field feed upon it?
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
O LORD, God of hosts, restore us;
if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved.
R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

Reading 2 – PHIL 4:6-9

Brothers and sisters:
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.

Alleluia – CF. JN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord,
to go and bear fruit that will remain.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 21:33-43

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Razor Thin Finish


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 3, 2020

William Somerset Maugham was a British playwright, novelist, and short-story writer. He is probably most widely known for his novel, The Razor’s Edge. He wrote, “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard,” in the opening pages of the book. Mr. Maugham wrote once about his mother. She was lovely and charming and beloved by all. His father was not by any means handsome and had few social and surface gifts and graces. Someone once said to his mother, “When everyone is in love with you, and when you could have anyone you liked, how can you remain faithful to that ugly little man you married?” She answered simply: “He never hurts my feelings.” There could be no finer tribute.

Human love on earth mirrors and foreshadows the love waiting for us in heaven. That is because it involves a covenant, the same kind of trust-filled, powerfully alive promise that is based on complete and lasting hope, the fruit of complete and tender love between both God and human beings who enter its promise. Job in our First Reading understood this with keen and beautifully expressed insight: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered. I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.” When people entered into that loving promise with God, there was always deep joy present. Only with the help of Jesus Christ can any of us truly develop the sympathy, the understanding, a forgiving spirit, and considerate love, which is what true discipleship and a true, authentic Christian life requires. Without that help these things are impossible. “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”

Like all things that come from the hand of God directly into our laps and lives, the best is the hardest, and the most difficult yields the most satisfying reward. Some would say that we should all walk boldly through life with an open, broken heart but we would have to add to that: we shall walk boldly perhaps, even through a burning house, but love is what moves the universe, it is the source of all life in the One who is Love and who heals the broken-hearted. Homer wrote that “Life and death are balanced on the edge of a razor,” and even though he never knew of Christ or given the opportunity to write about the universal claim of Christianity to have changed the course of human history, I believe he is right. The good news for us who believe and love in this world is that Jesus is on either side of the blade ready and waiting to catch us.

“I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn’t come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man. Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be content with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one. But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.” Robert Baden-Powell

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 3, 2020


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 460

Reading 1 – JB 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17

Job answered the LORD and said:

I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be hindered.
I have dealt with great things that I do not understand;
things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.
I had heard of you by word of mouth,
but now my eye has seen you.
Therefore I disown what I have said,
and repent in dust and ashes.

Thus the LORD blessed the latter days of Job
more than his earlier ones.
For he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels,
a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses.
And he had seven sons and three daughters,
of whom he called the first Jemimah,
the second Keziah, and the third Kerenhappuch.
In all the land no other women were as beautiful
as the daughters of Job;
and their father gave them an inheritance
along with their brothers.
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years;
and he saw his children, his grandchildren,
and even his great-grandchildren.
Then Job died, old and full of years.

Responsorial Psalm – 119:66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130

R.    (135) Lord, let your face shine on me.
Teach me wisdom and knowledge,
for in your commands I trust.
R.    Lord, let your face shine on me.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn your statutes.
R.    Lord, let your face shine on me.
I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just,
and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me.
R.    Lord, let your face shine on me.
According to your ordinances they still stand firm:
all things serve you.
R.    Lord, let your face shine on me.
I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may know your decrees.
R.    Lord, let your face shine on me.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R.    Lord, let your face shine on me.

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – LK 10:17-24

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 2, 2020 – Memorial of the Guardian Angels


For the readings on the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, please go here.

Memorial of the Guardian Angels
Lectionary: 650

Reading 1 – EX 23:20-23

Thus says the LORD:
“See, I am sending an angel before you,
to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.
Be attentive to him and heed his voice.
Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin.
My authority resides in him.
If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you,
I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.

“My angel will go before you and bring you to the
Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites,
Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites;
and I will wipe them out.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 91:1-2, 3-4AB, 4C-6, 10-11

R.    (11) The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
Say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
R.    The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.
For he will rescue you from the snare of the fowler,
from the destroying pestilence.
With his pinions he will cover you,
and under his wings you shall take refuge.
R.    The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.
His faithfulness is a buckler and a shield.
You shall not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day;
Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness,
nor the devastating plague at noon.
R.    The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.
No evil shall befall you,
nor shall affliction come near your tent,
For to his angels he has given command about you,
that they guard you in all your ways.
R.    The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.

Alleluia – PS 103:21

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Bless the LORD, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 18:1-5, 10

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.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

Guardian Angels

A personal spiritual bodyguard watches your back

Intuition is a fully formed way of thinking. It is more than just the occasional hunch or subtle perception. Native instinct, or “gut,” is used to calculate, discern, and decide on matters big and small throughout daily life. We think we are dryly logical about a decision to trust one accountant and not another, to frequent this store over that, or to confide in this new friend rather than that old one. But in reality it may just be a small mustard stain on the accountant’s shirt collar that convinces us that he is not the right man for the job. Squinty eyes, a weak handshake, a laugh, or just the way someone holds open the door or sips their coffee. We pay very close attention to the slightest nuances of facial gestures, body language, and tone of voice to draw immediate conclusions about people. We are not as coldly rational as we like to think. So when an atheist, for example, walks alone down a remote country road in the dark of night and hears a long lost voice in the whistling wind, or sees tree branches twist themselves into a bony finger, he grows frightened. If he were to feel the breathy presence of someone hovering just over his shoulder at that same moment, the atheist’s sober rationality would be worth nothing. His throttle of feeling and intuition would be fully open, the pores of his mind would absorb every ounce of strange reality, and a shiver of fright would run up his spine like an electrical charge. He would be in full contact with a reality as elusive to describe, yet as normal to experience, as intuition itself. 

The holy guardian angels are created spirits, whereas God is an uncreated spirit. A man, however, is more than a spirit. He is an enfleshed soul procreated by parents who participate in God’s creative act. Though we are part spirit and part matter, we can nonetheless imagine what it would be like to be a pure spirit, like an angel. We close our eyes and imagine standing at the pinnacle of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and suddenly we are there, gazing over the City of Lights. The mind travels, the imagination soars, the soul reflects. It’s our body that keeps our feet planted in one place and time. But if mind, soul, and imagination were not so tethered, then we would zip around the universe like an angel, a spirit unleashed, held back by nothing. God created the angels like He created us, out of nothing. God’s will is creative in the strict sense of that word. “Let there be light,” He said, and there was light. His will brings worlds into creation and maintains them there. God willed the angels into creation to communicate His messages, to protect mankind, and to engage in spiritual battle with fallen demon angels.

The age-old tradition of the Church is that every Christian, and perhaps every human being, has an angel guardian protecting him from physical and spiritual harm. Christ warned, “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven” (Mt 18:10). An angel was at Christ’s side in the Garden of Gethsemane, and an angel delivered Saint Peter from prison. The Fathers of the early Church wrote prolifically about the dense realm of the spirit inhabited by angels. The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that the angels belong to Christ. “They are his angels” (CCC #331). The Catechism also quotes Saint Basil, “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (CCC #336).

We intuit that the world was made for more than just us, whether those “others” are lit with holiness or obscured by darkness. Some people scan the skies for alien ships in Low-Earth Orbit. Others listen for strange patterns of speech transmitted like radio signals through the cosmos. Is there life on Mars? Are there colonies behind the sun? There is no need to search so far, to seek life in the cold blackness of space. There are spirits all around us. Some need to walk down a dark country road to finally touch the realm of the spirit. Others are more fortunate and know from childhood that our guardian angels are present and accounted for, standing right over our shoulder, at God’s constant command to serve and protect. 

Holy Guardian Angels, we implore your continued vigilance over our lives. Keep us from physical and spiritual harm, increase our trust in your presence, and remind us to turn to you when our well-being is threatened in any way.

Leave a comment

“Guardians Of The Galaxy”


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 2, 2020

“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” Do you want to be the greatest at anything? I can only imagine that in this highly competitive yet entitlement-minded society, people are either trying to get ahead or just exist and coast. Both are extreme ways of living. Some would call this “all-or-nothing” thinking which has traditionally led many down a dark and lonely path. You see, Jesus changes all that: “Do you want to be great?” He asks. And before answering, Our Lord places right in front of all the readers of the Gospel throughout the centuries, a child. An innocent, loving, trusting child cries when he or she is angry or has acted selfishly.

Trust the Lord, He loves you! And if you need a little more help, guess what? It will be there: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Did you catch that? Every child has their own, personal angel constantly in touch with the Father. You and I were all once children, so we still have them. This is precisely what the Scripture says and what the Church teaches today on the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Now take a moment to name your angel, take a deep breath, move forward, and trust Jesus. Now, wasn’t that great?

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this night/day be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide.

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 2, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, please go here.

Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels
Lectionary: 459

Reading 1 – JB 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5

The LORD addressed Job out of the storm and said:

Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning
and shown the dawn its place
For taking hold of the ends of the earth,
till the wicked are shaken from its surface?
The earth is changed as is clay by the seal,
and dyed as though it were a garment;
But from the wicked the light is withheld,
and the arm of pride is shattered.

Have you entered into the sources of the sea,
or walked about in the depths of the abyss?
Have the gates of death been shown to you,
or have you seen the gates of darkness?
Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all:
Which is the way to the dwelling place of light,
and where is the abode of darkness,
That you may take them to their boundaries
and set them on their homeward paths?
You know, because you were born before them,
and the number of your years is great!

Then Job answered the LORD and said:

Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again;
though twice, I will do so no more.

Responsorial Psalm – 139:1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13-14AB

R.    (24B) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R.    Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R.    Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R.    Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R.    Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Alleluia – PS 103:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Bless the LORD, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 18:1-5, 10

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.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

October 1, 2020


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 458

Reading 1 – JB 19:21-27

Job said:

Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has struck me!
Why do you hound me as though you were divine,
and insatiably prey upon me?

Oh, would that my words were written down!
Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him,
And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.

Responsorial Psalm – 27:7-8A, 8B-9ABC, 13-14

R.    (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Hear, O LORD, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R.    I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R.    I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R.    I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – LK 10:1-12

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

Read Today’s Reflection

Leave a comment

Dust In The Wind


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 1, 2020

“Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’” Everyone wants to feel welcomed. Hospitality is one of the oldest themes in human literature spanning from early Greek epics to Shakespeare, and even to the modern fascination of humanizing dogs and cats who make us feel loved and needed. The Lord Jesus knows exactly the kind of world we occupy and the simple but poignant needs of the human heart. We hurt when we are not welcomed and the sting of rejection can be deep especially when it comes from family and/or close friends. The world, too, is full of negative and sinful postures that seek to choke and stifle the beautiful Gospel message of welcome and this is why Jesus knows that we can trust Him with every good gift and wise choice. This is why we are forewarned and thus forearmed: any belligerent or hyper-critical encounter over the Gospel must end with an encounter with the closest door and move to the next page that God has already written and waiting for us.

“But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust.” Following the Lord Jesus must have obvious effects in our lives and help us see things in an entirely different manner. When everything is compared to the source of our salvation and our redemption, our problems and worries begin to shrink and fast. Jesus makes all things new again.

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” Winston Churchill

View COVID-19 NOVENA 

Leave a comment

October 1, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 649

Reading 1 – IS 66:10-14C

Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
all you who love her;
Exult, exult with her,
all you who were mourning over her!
Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort,
That you may nurse with delight
at her abundant breasts!
For thus says the LORD:
Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like
an overflowing torrent.
As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
and fondled in her lap;
As a mother comforts her son,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
and your bodies flourish like the grass;
The LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.

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

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

Alleluia – SEE MT 11:25

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

Gospel – MT 18:1-4

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.”

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Religious
1873 – 1897

A sensitive country girl confines herself to a convent and writes about spiritual truths

Thérèse Martin was a weepy child, as emotionally brittle as porcelain. She was easily offended and easily pleased. A furled brow or a sideways glance from her father would dissolve her into tears. A beautiful flower or a kind word and she would beam a smile. She grew up in a brotherless home. Her father, an uncle, and priests were the men in her life. Her parents were canonized in 2015, the only married couple ever raised to the altars. Thérèse and her four sisters all became nuns, with the cause for beatification and canonization of her sister Léonie being opened in 2015. The Martin home was totally absorbed in the mysteries of God, prayer, saints, the Sacraments, and the Church. 

Thérèse grew up in Normandy, a region of Northern France. She left only once, to go on a month-long pilgrimage to Italy, where she met Pope Leo XIII at a public audience and begged his special permission to enter the Carmelites before the required age. On this trip she was also the object of some tender male glances. Conscious of her delicate emotions and eager to flee the world’s “poisonous breath,” upon returning from Italy Thérèse pulled every lever to enter her local Carmel. She finally entered at the age of fifteen in 1888. She was given the religious name “of the Child Jesus” and received permission to adopt a second name too, “of the Holy Face.” Once the door of the convent shut behind her, it never reopened. Her short life ended there just nine years later. Thérèse was a dedicated nun who strictly followed the demanding Carmelite rule. She kept silence when required, avoided seeking out her blood sisters, fasted, ingratiated herself with nuns she did not naturally find sympathetic, and spent long hours in prayer and work. 

In the convent, Thérèse’s childish sweetness matured into a more durable spirituality. Her sensitivity mellowed. She was able to accept criticism. Her youthful presumption that all priests were as perfect as diamonds became more realistic, and she prayed and sacrificed ardently for priests. The hard realities of convent life narrowed Thérèse’s spiritual goals. She no longer desired to be a great soul like Saint Joan of Arc. But with this narrowing came a deepening, a concentrated focus. She decided she would be God’s heart, not His hands or feet or mind. She decided that the only way she could fly close to the blazing sun of the Holy Trinity would be to become small. Her petite voie (“little way” or “by small means”) was to spiritually reduce herself to a tiny creature carried in the claws of the divine eagle, Jesus Christ. As Christ soared in the heavens, she would be in His grasp, going only where He could go, until she was burned up in the Father-Son-Spirit love of the fireball of the Trinity. This was no broad path or wide way, but a little way for a great soul. The goal was to reduce oneself to nothing so the Lord could transport you. The goal was to remove the “self” from “oneself.” 

When Thérèse’s sister Céline entered the convent in 1894, she was given permission to bring her camera. Céline’s pictures of Thérèse would be among the first ever taken of a saint. They complimented Thérèse’s letters and spiritual writings perfectly, heightening interest in Thérèse after she died. The intriguing photos and profound writings hinted at the secret depths concealed behind a convent’s four walls. Saint Thérèse suffered intensely from tuberculosis and died at an age when many lives are just beginning to flower. She was canonized in 1925, declared co-patron of France in 1944, and named the thirty-third Doctor of the Church by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1997, the youngest Doctor to date and probably the youngest the Church will ever recognize. 

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, you discovered deep truths in a confined space. Your soul was fertile ground for the mysteries of our faith. Lend heavenly assistance to all who try to emulate your example of suffering, prayer, and tender dedication to God.

Leave a comment