The Word of God

April 30, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Pius V, pope, religious, please go here.

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 283

Reading I – Acts 13:26-33

When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
 “My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent. 
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath. 
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb. 
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. 
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
    You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

Responsorial Psalm – 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11AB

R.    (7BC)  You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
“I myself have set up my king
    on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
    The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
    this day I have begotten you.”
R.    You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
“Ask of me and I will give you
    the nations for an inheritance
    and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
    you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R.    You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
And now, O kings, give heed;
    take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
    with trembling rejoice.
R.    You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 14:6

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

Gospel – Jn 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
You have faith in God; have faith also in me. 
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.” 
Thomas said to him, 
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?” 
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

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April 30, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Pius V, pope, religious


For the readings of the Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 558

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

Reading 1 – 1 Cor 4:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Now it is of course required of stewards
that they be found trustworthy.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted;
the one who judges me is the Lord.
Therefore do not make any judgment before the appointed time,
until the Lord comes,
for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts,
and then everyone will receive praise from God.

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 10:14

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

Gospel – Jn 21:15-17

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

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Unarmed Truth


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 30, 2021

“Jesus said to Thomas, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”  How is Jesus “The Way”? Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think about how precious is the time you have to spend, whether it is at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored. (Earl Nightingale) Once we accept Jesus into our hearts and carry Him wherever we go, there is a certain appreciation for life that never leaves us. Once we realize and accept Jesus is the way I want to follow, every minute of my life is a true gift and others begin to see and experience that as well. 

How is Jesus “The Truth”? Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learning. Work hard and never give up on your dreams even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. (Philip Sweet) People all around us worship many things in this life, anything from money to power and pleasure. When Jesus becomes our Truth, everything He has taught us is maintained in a life of remarkable integrity. This is critical, especially in the face of temptation when we must make that daily choice which version of ourselves we chose to be for that moment. It also means that we are now posed to forgive even the meanest and cruelest individuals we will ever meet. Jesus is stronger than any of those! 

How is Jesus “The Life”? There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. (George Sand) When a person accepts Jesus as their universe and pattern of living, love becomes nearly effortless. That is because God is love. Those who truly understand the overwhelming love shown to us, especially in the death and Resurrection of Jesus His Son, then the only response can be a life of generous giving of self, amazing patience, and love. This prepares us for eternal life in Heaven, where there is no more pain, no more guilt, no more tears. “We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that what God promised our fathers he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.” 

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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April 29, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 282

Reading I – Acts 13:13-25

From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. 
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem. 
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. 
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats. 
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
“My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak.”

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt. 
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet. 
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
    I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
    he will carry out my every wish.

From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. 
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’“

Responsorial Psalm – 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27

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

Alleluia – See Rv 1:5AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead,
you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 13:16-20

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
    The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. 
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

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April 29, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, please go here.

Lectionary: 557

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

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 1:5B-2:2

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

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

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

R.    (1)  O, bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and forget not all his benefits.
R.     O, bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R.      O, bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,
For he knows how we are formed;
he remembers that we are dust.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!
But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity
to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward his children’s children
among those who keep his covenant.
R.    O, bless the Lord, my soul!

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 responded:
“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.”

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The Greatest Discovery


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 29, 2021

Imagine the response of the disciples of Jesus when he told them, as we heard today in the Gospel, that the world may hate them! Perhaps they began wondering about all the teaching on love and forgiveness, and then here arrives a lesson on hatred? Part of the problem then (and even today) was that so many were expecting their own created version of the Messiah who would wield such political and military power that anyone associated with him and would be called “his friend” would somehow be so much like the rich and influential who seemed to mistreat and misjudge those whom they thought lower than themselves. Today Jesus continues to invite us into His friendship as he promotes service as a basis for greatness. He even washed feet and wounds and ate with sinners and outcasts: “Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.'”

William Shakespeare once wrote, “Time is very slow for those who wait. Very fast for those who are scared. Very long for those who lament. Very short for those who celebrate. But for those who love, time is eternal.” Those who rejected Jesus when He first came were steeped in their mistaken ideas about who God promised, how He would save them from their sins, and why He opened the mystery of love for the universe. This still happens today as Jesus comes to us every single day of our lives, which calls upon us to set aside any biases or unrealistic expectations and accept the Lord Jesus just as He says He is for the world: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” Love Jesus today with all your heart, and then allow that unprecedented decision to permeate and affect everything you do and say from now on. Sometimes human nature needs more time to accept what the mind already knows. 

“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” William Arthur Ward

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April 28, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chanel, priest and martyr, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Louis Mary de Montfort, priest, please go here.

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 281

Reading I – Acts 12:24—13:5A

The word of God continued to spread and grow. 

After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission,
they returned to Jerusalem,
taking with them John, who is called Mark. 

Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them.” 
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.

So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit,
went down to Seleucia
and from there sailed to Cyprus. 
When they arrived in Salamis,
they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. 

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

R.    (4)  O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
    may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
    among all nations, your salvation.
R.    O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
May the nations be glad and exult
    because you rule the peoples in equity;
    the nations on the earth you guide.
R.    O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
    may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
    and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R.    O God, let all the nations praise you!
or:
R.    Alleluia.

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 – Jn 12:44-50

Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. 
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. 
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. 
And I know that his commandment is eternal life. 
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

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April 28, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Louis Mary de Montfort, priest


For the readings of the Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 556A

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

Reading 1 – 1 Cor 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 40:2 and 4, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R.    (8A and 9A)  Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – Lk 4:18

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

Gospel – 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.”

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April 28, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chanel, priest and martyr


For the readings of the Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 556

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs, #713-718 or the Common of Pastors: For Missionaries, #719-724.

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

Alleluia – 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 left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

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Turn On Your Truth Light


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 28, 2021

“I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” This clear and awesome self-description from Jesus in the Gospel today speaks more than just volumes for us to ponder. It calls out throughout the centuries for a deep and true response to the reality of Whom we follow and whom we love. How is He the light? We immediately realize that this question would automatically posture and position our conversation to drift into philosophy or history or even politics easily. Light, by its very definition, illumines reality. It helps us see clearer and thus walk in a way that moves us toward fulfillment, happiness, and holiness. Let us recall the words of Christ who makes it crystal clear: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.”

We encounter all sorts of people in our lives, some who add to the joy and peace that is ours and those who attempt to rob us of that light that we take so long and with great effort to maintain. Do we surrender power to people who will use it just to destroy us? Jesus saves us from precisely such horrible pitfalls and mental traps. Think of all the conversations you had yesterday, and then think of all the ones you are about to have. How many of them will be about important, eternal matters? Some people feel very uncomfortable and awkward talking about their faith and their relationship with Jesus Christ. However, everything that is true will speak for itself, and we are just its servants. No matter how educated, talented, rich, or “cool” any of us believe that we are, how we treat people ultimately tells everything anyone ever needs to know about who we are versus who we say we are. Go into today and travel into your world armed with what you know is good, sound, and holy!

“The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.” St. Augustine

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April 27, 2021


Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 280

Reading I – Acts 11:19-26

Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord. 
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. 
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Responsorial Psalm – 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.    (117:1A)  All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
    the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
    more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
    O city of God!
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
    among those who know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
    “This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
    “One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
    is the Most High LORD.”
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
    “This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
    “My home is within you.”
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

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 – Jn 10:22-30

The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter. 
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. 
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense? 
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me. 
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. 
No one can take them out of my hand. 
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. 
The Father and I are one.”

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The Suspense Is Filling Me


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 27, 2021

“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?” In the discipline of literature and creative writing, suspense is both fiction and some nonfiction that makes the reader uncertain about the outcome. As an emotional response, to be in suspense could be good or not, depending on how sure we are of the outcome of any given situation. “And a large number of people was added to the Lord.” Humanity has always been in suspense about one thing or another. Perhaps the great number of people who turned their lives over to the Lord Jesus suggests strongly that they knew something better was waiting for them, and they found it all in Jesus. In this regard, the suspense kept the mind and heart open to find the true and lasting answers to life and love, and eternity. 

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” This still happens today, especially with the amount of anxiety and restlessness in the world, especially recently with the outbreak of COVID-19. The task for all of us is clear. We must listen. We must attempt with all our might to recognize the Lord’s voice and heart in this troubled world, and with the divinely inspired help of the Scriptures, the suspense of the future can and should and is resolved in the hearts of those who love Christ first, then all who have been placed alongside us on this earthly journey of ours. It takes true courage inspired by the Holy Spirit to even imagine a greater and fuller existence in anticipation of our life in Heaven. Yet, this adds color and suspense to life, which makes us believe that the best is always yet to come. And so it is. 

“Even cowards can endure hardship; only the brave can endure suspense.” Mignon McLaughlin

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April 26, 2021


Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 279

Reading I – Acts 11:1-18

The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. 
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
‘You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.” 
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
“I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me. 
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky. 
I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’ 
But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’ 
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea. 
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. 
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man’s house. 
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you 
by which you and all your household will be saved.’ 
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
‘John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?”
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
“God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.”

Responsorial Psalm – 42:2-3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 3A) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
    When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
    they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
    to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
    the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
    O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 10:14

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

Gospel – Jn 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

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Climbing The Mountain Of Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 26, 2021

George Mallory was the famed mountain climber who may have been the first person ever to reach the top of Mount Everest. In the early 1920’s he led several attempts to scale the mountain, eventually being killed in the third attempt in 1924. Before that last and fatal attempt, he had said: “I can’t see myself coming down defeated.” Mallory was an extraordinary climber, and nothing would force him to give up. His body was found in 1999, well preserved by the snow and ice, 27,000 feet up the mountain, just 2000 feet from the peak. He never gave up nor looked for the easy way to the top. In that same year, a banquet was held for the team that accompanied George Mallory. A huge picture of Mt. Everest stood behind the banquet table. It is said that the leader of the group stood to be applauded, and with tears streaming down his face, turned and looked at the picture: 

“I speak to you, Mt. Everest, in the name of all brave men living and those yet unborn. Mt Everest, you defeated us once; you defeated us twice; you defeated us three times. But Mt. Everest, we shall someday defeat you, because you can’t get any bigger but we can.” In 1953 two climbers, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzig Norgay, reached the top.

“I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” Today, Jesus invites us with perfect clarity to enter through the narrow gate. This gate path could mean following the Lord Jesus when it is convenient or inconvenient. It could mean doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Entering and climbing through the narrow gate means following Christ, not just sometimes or partway, but completely. It means we persevere and sacrifice and surrender even how we think things should unfold, even in the face of disappointments and sadness. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” 

God never said that the climb up the mountain of life would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worth everything.  

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April 25, 2021


Fourth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 50

Reading I – Acts 4:8-12

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said:
“Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
    which has become the cornerstone.

There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
 

Responsorial Psalm – 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29

R.  (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in princes.
R.  The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
    we bless you from the house of the LORD.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
    for his kindness endures forever.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia. 

Reading II – 1 Jn 3:1-2

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

Alleluia – Jn 10:14

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

Gospel – Jn 10:11-18

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

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Crying Wolf


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 25, 2021

“A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.” Dream beyond all your wildest imaginations! What if you could accomplish the most incredible memory of anyone’s lifetime and have Lord Jesus the Christ walk with you for the entire day. Amazing, no? What would he have for breakfast? We’ve heard that he favors grilled fish. What if He came with you to the nursing home, the hospital, a clinic? They would be empty! Now, what if came with you to all the situations and places that bring out the most fear and anger in your life? With every positive and credible amount of information that we have, we could easily surmise that Jesus has no fear! None whatsoever. He also possesses complete self-mastery and never surrenders his peace or power to anyone. He has seen many a wolf coming and never backed down, especially for all of us, the ones He has loved with an everlasting love. 

“The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.” Instead of running toward self-pity, victimhood, and self-righteousness, we are passionately invited to follow Jesus right into our very heart and soul! Life is filled with obstacles and burdens, and yes, even with those who seem to make it their life’s mission to increase these pains in our lives, the best news today is that Jesus sees the wolf coming and stands right by us all the time. There is true freedom in Christ. No need for excuses, just plain, divine, everlasting love that has set us free. 

“Like crying wolf, if you keep looking for sympathy as a justification for your actions, you will someday be left standing alone when you really need help.” Criss Jami

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April 24, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest and martyr, please go here.

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 278

Reading I – Acts 9:31-42

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
was at peace. 
She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.

As Peter was passing through every region,
he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda. 
There he found a man named Aeneas,
who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed. 
Peter said to him,
“Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” 
He got up at once. 
And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him,
and they turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas). 
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. 
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs. 
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
“Please come to us without delay.” 
So Peter got up and went with them. 
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed. 
Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.” 
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive. 
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord. 

Responsorial Psalm – 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R.    (12) How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R.    Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
    for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD
R.    How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R.    Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
    in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful ones.
R.    How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R.    Alleluia.
O LORD, I am your servant;
    I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
    you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R.    How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – See Jn 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – Jn 6:60-69

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

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April 24, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest and martyr


For the readings of the Saturday of the Third Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 554

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs, #713-718 or the Common of Pastors, #719-724.

Reading 1 – Col 1:24-29

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

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

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

Gospel – Jn 17:20-26

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

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Easter Eggs Of Peace


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 24, 2021

“The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.” Are you at peace today? Why or why not? These questions are sincerely important because of who we are: Christians, that is, people who believe in and follow The Lord Jesus, risen from the tomb. People in our lives who do not have any faith or wondering why we have ours will certainly be looking to us to see how we handle every kind of life situation, especially disappointment, tragedy, and bad treatment. What they may be searching keenly in us is a profound sense of gratitude: “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?” This thankful-for-living attitude can make all the difference in the world, not only in the way we live our daily lives with family and friends but also in how we subtly impact the lives of all those around us who are also searching for meaning in their own lives. 

“It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” This openly optimistic and encouraging attitude has more to do with the grace and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives than it does with just simple cognitive shifts in our personality. It has everything to do with believing that Jesus accomplished everything He said and promised He would do and is highly crucial for us. We have been so immeasurably blessed that the only response for us today is to be a blessing for others. Loved people love people, and freed people lead others to freedom. 

“The Easter eggs symbolize our ability to break out of the hardened, protective shell we’ve surrounded ourselves with that limits our thoughts and beliefs. As we break open our hearts and minds we discover a transformation to a new life enhancing thoughts and beliefs.” Siobhan Shaw

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April 23, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint George, martyr, please go here.
For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Adalbert, bishop and martyr, please go here.

Friday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 277

Reading I – Acts 9:1-20

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

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

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
 

Responsorial Psalm – 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – Jn 6:56

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?” 
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink. 
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven. 
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum

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April 23, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Adalbert, bishop and martyr Memorial of Saint Adalbert, bishop and martyr


For the readings of the Friday of the Third Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 553A

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs, #713-718 or the Common of Pastors, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 2 Cor 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 31:3CD-4, 6 and 8AB, 16BC and 17

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

Alleluia – Jn 17:19

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in the truth.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 10:11-16

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

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April 23, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint George, martyr Memorial of Saint George, martyr


For the readings of the Friday of the Third Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 553

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

Reading 1 – Rv 21:5-7

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

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 126:1BC-2, 2-3, 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 that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R.    Those who sow in tears, shall reap rejoicing.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R.    Those who sow in tears, shall reap rejoicing.

Alleluia – 1 Pt 4:14

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

Gospel – Lk 9:23-26

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

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The Heart Of The Matter


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 23, 2021

“‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ He said, ‘Who are you, sir?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.'” This passage is a very telling and interesting detail in our Scriptural Readings today. It proves that Saul, later the great St. Paul, previously recklessly and heartlessly persecuted the early Christian Church by rounding up anyone who followed the “New Way” of the Lord and imprisoning them for their beliefs. But notice what Jesus asks him: “why are you persecuting me?” What inescapable conclusion can we draw from this telling detail? Jesus is equating the Church with his very person, His own body. His new creation of the Church has everything to do, then, with a deep and lasting, wonderfully engaging personal relationship with Himself, and what a joy it is to discover that in prayer today! 

The effect of this real joy is what we do with the knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. We share! This can and does bring life to others in a very broken world in which we live. “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” If we came across someone in our homes or places of schooling or work literally in obvious distress, our first reaction would be to do something positive and proactive. How much more does that matter when we know that someone needs to hear of the great and marvelous love our God has for us? This is precisely how we can help Jesus and the community of believers. Be a friend to someone in need. It is just too easy to dismiss people who are not like us or perhaps do not even like us! How can you be a blessing for that certain someone today? And even though we cannot expect anyone to change just because we forgive them, it is the change in our hearts and within all our attitudes that we are after. Our prayer reveals that Easter means a new life for all. Imagine all the possibilities! 

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” Mahatma Gandhi

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April 22, 2021


Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 276

Reading I – Acts 8:26-40

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
“Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.” 
So he got up and set out. 
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and join up with that chariot.” 
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
“Do you understand what you are reading?” 
He replied,
“How can I, unless someone instructs me?” 
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. 
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

    Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
        and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
            so he opened not his mouth.
    In his humiliation justice was denied him.
        Who will tell of his posterity?
            For his life is taken from the earth.

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
“I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?” 
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water. 
What is to prevent my being baptized?” 
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him. 
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing. 
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Responsorial Psalm – 66:8-9, 16-17, 20

R.    (1)  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Bless our God, you peoples,
    loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,
    and has not let our feet slip.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
    what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
    praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed be God who refused me not
    my prayer or his kindness!
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

    They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father. 
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life. 
I am the bread of life. 
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die. 
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”

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Share To Remember


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 22, 2021

Edgar Dale was a nineteenth-century American educator who developed the “Cone of Experience” by which he made the following amazing assertions: we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we see and hear, 70% of what we discuss with others, 80% of what we experience, and a whopping 95% of what we teach others. Some of this would probably ignite debate or conversation to any varying degree of an agreement. Still, for our purposes today, let us consider the scene that was presented to us in the First Reading today: “‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone instructs me?'” When it comes to our approach and use and love of the Scriptures, it seems that our reading or listening to the beautiful Word of God is deeply enriched and expanded only when we share the wealth that we have discovered with others who also want to know Christ. 

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” Today, during this great Easter Season, we are passionately called upon to reflect on what difference it makes in our lives. We believe that Jesus has risen from the dead, defeated all the powers of darkness and hatred in this world, and saved us a place in Heaven. Something reasonably must be different in the way we approach life, and one of the more profound ways that are accomplished is how we share our faith. Take a chance today: share with someone who Jesus is for you and what great things He has done for you. Then let’s see how much you remember. 

“If Easter says anything to us today, it says this: You can put truth in a grave but it won’t stay there.” Clarence W. Hall

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April 21, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Anselm, bishop and doctor of the Church, please go here.

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 275

Reading I – Acts 8:1B-8

There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem,
and all were scattered
throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria,
except the Apostles.
Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him.
Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church;
entering house after house and dragging out men and women,
he handed them over for imprisonment.

Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Responsorial Psalm – 66:1-3A, 4-5, 6-7A

R.    (1)  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
    sing praise to the glory of his name;
    proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
    sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
    his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
    through the river they passed on foot;
    therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – See Jn 6:40

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 6:35-40

Jesus said to the crowds,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen me,
you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”

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April 21, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Anselm, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the readings of the Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 552

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

Reading 1 – Eph 3:14-19

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 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

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

Alleluia – Jn 6:63, 68C

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

Gospel – Mt 7:21-29

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

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

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

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For The Smell Of Bread


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 21, 2021

“Jesus said to the crowds, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.'” Have you ever been rushing from Point A to Point B without realizing how fast you are going, and then, all of a sudden, you catch the aroma of something that almost immediately catapults you to another space and time? Ask anyone around you about their favorite smells, and more often than not, in the top 5, you will discover, not unsurprisingly, that the smell of freshly baked bread is there. The more interesting item for today is that the aroma of freshly-baked bread has more than just the power to make your mouth water. According to a new study, it can also make you a kinder person. According to the Daily Mail, researchers at the University of Southern Brittany in France found that shoppers were more likely to alert a random passerby that they had dropped a belonging if, at the time, they were also passing a bakery giving off the sweet scent of baking bread. The findings, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, suggest that certain smells can trigger a more positive mood, which leads to a greater degree of kindness and charity to strangers making for a great level of happiness. “For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city.” In a very similar and mysterious way, Jesus has risen from the dead, giving us Himself as the Bread of Life so that we might go through thigh this life with the immense amount of confidence and joy to face no matter what is right before us, especially the challenge to forgive, move one and thrive in the Spirit of God who in face raised Jesus from the grave. 

This power to thrive, forgive and surrender one’s being is supernatural and requires supernatural food to accomplish: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” It should be clear by now that none of us will make it off this planet alive; that is, we will all come to that door of eternity where we must by definition surrender our spirit and everything else that accompanied it while we spent rented and precious time here. Today we are all called to partake of the most wonderful and miraculous meal known as the Eucharist so that we might truly enter into that mysterious life and move forward in faith toward our destiny which lies in Heaven. In the meantime, there is sufficient power and healthy living right here, right now. It begins with forgiveness and the wonderful smell and presence of bread which brings to life for us today the Bread of Life. 

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. Mahatma Gandhi 

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April 20, 2021


Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 274

Reading I – Acts 7:51—8:1A

Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always oppose the Holy Spirit;
you are just like your ancestors.
Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?
They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one,
whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.
You received the law as transmitted by angels,
but you did not observe it.”

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul. 
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them”;
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Now Saul was consenting to his execution.

Responsorial Psalm – 31:3CD-4, 6 and 7B and 8A, 17 and 21AB

R.    (6A)  Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Be my rock of refuge,
    a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
    for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
    you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
My trust is in the LORD;
    I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
    save me in your kindness.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
    from the plottings of men.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 6:35AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the bread of life, says the Lord;
whoever comes to me will never hunger.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 6:30-35

The crowd said to Jesus:
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:

    He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to Jesus,
“Sir, give us this bread always.” 
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

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What’s In Your Easter Basket?


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 20, 2021

“As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and when he said this, he fell asleep.” The blood of the martyrdom/witness of St. Stephen brings a considerable amount of sobriety to the joy of the Easter Season, but it is remarkably necessary. The gift of Easter has everything to do with where we hope to end our earthly pilgrimage because of the great gift of the Resurrection. We want to go to Heaven after a good and solid life of witness to the real joy and meaning of this great time. We want to have enough happiness and peace in our hearts to say at the end of it all, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”  

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.'” The Resurrection of Christ also brings forth the spiritual nourishment we need to make it to Heaven and find our way in this life by imitating the hope that is ours of and for a much better life. He is the Bread of Life that feeds and takes care of all our needs. Thus we could say that in our Spiritual Easter basket this year, we will find forgiveness, hope, strength, and courage to face whatever is there waiting for us ahead. 

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies. It is the only time of year when it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket.” Kate McGahan

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April 19, 2021


Monday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 273

Reading I – Acts 6:8-15

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say,
“We have heard him speaking blasphemous words
against Moses and God.”
They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,
accosted him, seized him,
and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified,
“This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.
For we have heard him claim
that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place
and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Responsorial Psalm – 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30

R.    (1AB)  Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Though princes meet and talk against me,
    your servant meditates on your statutes.
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
    they are my counselors.
R.    Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I declared my ways, and you answered me;
    teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
    and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.
R.    Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
    and favor me with your law.
The way of truth I have chosen;
    I have set your ordinances before me.
R.    Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Mt 4:4B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 6:22-29

[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea
saw that there had been only one boat there,
and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,
but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias
near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you. 
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” 
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

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Look Who’s Talking


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 19, 2021

A very wise man once attempted to comfort a younger apprentice who seemed to have been the target of several slimy and vicious remarks from a coworker by stating the following: “whatever is ever said to you is never more important than the one who said it.” Now just think about that bit of advice for just a minute and then consider the passages with which we have been gifted today in the Scriptures: “Though princes meet and talk against me, your servant meditates on your statutes. Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.” Do we ever truly realize how many words and phrases are spoken to us in the course of any given day? Some are surely good and others not so. We received a glimpse of this in the First Reading in the ugliness hurled at Stephen: “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” What we can safely conclude from these two Biblical selections that all of us, throughout the entire span of human experience, have to decide quickly and wisely what we will allow settling, grow, and fester into our ears and hearts and minds. 

With that in mind, the Gospel screams for attention to the only voice that we can truly trust 100% of the time and in every situation before us: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.'” Let us call out to one another and challenge each other to pay even more attention to the words of Jesus uttered in the Scriptures for us, especially in the coming week, believing that it is important to see who is talking and what He is saying. 

“Somewhere we know that without silence, words lose their meaning, that without listening, speaking no longer heals, that without distance, closeness cannot cure.” Henri Nouwen

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April 18, 2021


Third Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 47

Reading I – Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

Peter said to the people:
“The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

Responsorial Psalm – 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9

R.  (7A) Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
When I call, answer me, O my just God,
    you who relieve me when I am in distress;
    have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
    the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!
    You put gladness into my heart.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
    for you alone, O LORD,
    bring security to my dwelling.
R.  Lord, let your face shine on us.
or:
R.  Alleluia.

Reading II – 1 Jn 2:1-5A

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.

Alleluia – Cf. Lk 24:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us;
make our hearts burn while you speak to us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 24:35-48

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them 
in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish; 
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

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Ghostly Fears


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 18, 2021

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Take special note of what just happened in the Gospel. The Apostles are talking about life, suffering, God, and the Messiah. Jesus appears to bless everyone, yet their first interpretation of the event is that they are witnessing an episode from the SyFy Channel. The problem here is simple to see while the remedy is close by. Jesus first asks why there are troubled hearts. Right after that remark, He tenderly instructs the only way to combat fear and doubt: “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” We must see today that unreasonable and irrational fear can only successfully be combated by reverting to the entire mystery of Easter, which is the great Truth that Jesus has not only defeated death but also all the forces of evil and darkness. He is on our side. We start to shake and quiver when we forget this wonderful Truth. 

The First Reading also recognizes that human beings, still affected by Original Sin’s vestiges, make mistakes out of many different reasons and faulty mindsets. St. Peter was certainly generous in his assessment of this predicament of ours: Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did,” and then later in that same reading: “For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.” Easter brings light and clarity to our minds because it reveals that the massive, archetypal, and age-old battle between good and evil has already been won. We are now offered the chance to share in that victory should we choose to do so with the freedom and wisdom that has been purchased for us by the blood of the Lamb. Remember once again during this glorious Easter Season that earth’s worst day and best day were just 24 hours apart. 

“In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves.” Laurie Halse Anderson

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April 17, 2021


Saturday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 272

Reading I – Acts 6:1-7

As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows 
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the Apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

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

R.    (22)  Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.    Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.    Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.    Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ is risen, who made all things;
he has shown mercy on all people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 6:16-21

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.

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Storms Of Mystery


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 17, 2021

“The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,

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

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

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

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April 16, 2021


Friday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 271

Reading I – Acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel,
be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
and all those who were loyal to him
were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – 27:1, 4, 13-14

R.    (see 4ABC)  One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
    whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
    of whom should I be afraid?
R.    One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
One thing I ask of the LORD
    this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
    all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
    and contemplate his temple.
R.    One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.    One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Mt 4:4B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples. 
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” 
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. 
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” 
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

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Healthy Gratitude


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 16, 2021

“One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.” When we realize all that we have been through these past few months, how can we not see the great blessings each day? What kind of power or force are we blindly following to make a day, an hour, or even a single minute blessed or cursed? “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” Doubt and pessimism in all their forms are useless and truly squander time and energy. The Pharisee Gamaliel made a very poignant observation that could help our understanding of this: “For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them.” What makes today blessed, fortunate, and awesome has nothing to do with some outside, uncontrollable force over which we have no power, but one simple fact: Jesus died for us sinners, and now we have a shot at eternal life. 

“Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.” We have all been blessed by the complete and selfless act of self-sacrifice that Jesus accomplished on the cross. By His blood, we have been washed and made clean, and we can and should avail ourselves of all the promised blessings every single day we are alive. Shallow people believe in luck; strong people believe in cause and effect; blessed, healthy, and happy people believe in Jesus. 

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Zig Ziglar

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I Can’t Wait Till Morning


man looking out of airplane window

The flight from Dallas to Omaha was mercifully on time while the timing of this little trip could not have come any better. Although it had been a relatively smooth school year, there were the usual pressures and anxious moments ladled with deadlines, broken pipes, leaking roofs, and the occasional unhappy, complaining parent or unsatisfied bureaucrat from Central Office who had to “put their two cents in” and criticize some aspect of how his school was running. Still, he took it all in stride, and with a nod here and a slight smile there, he was able to muddle through it all somehow.

As a former teacher and now a principal of a relatively small but remarkably exciting campus, this man was an amazing example of resilience. Even when personal issues, heartache, or emotional disappointments beset him, he always seemed to have a smile, a quick, pithy remark, and a sincere compliment to offer from how wonderful the sun felt on his face to the “best cup of coffee” he had just enjoyed.

This spontaneous decision to visit old friends in the Midwest was not only welcomed, but it was also necessary. A spot of perspective was just what he needed, and as he began boarding the flight, he knew immediately that it was indeed the right choice. His body already began to relax and move ever so slowly into vacation mode as he found his seat, on the aisle, just as he had reserved, and took out a book on successfully carrying one’s cross in the modern world.

“Oh great,” he said under his breath, “it’s not going to be a full flight,” and then began to watch as the other passengers began to saunter onto the plane. One by one, he surveyed his two-hour companions on this somewhat short flight and began to wonder about the lift stories that each was carrying, just waiting to tell the world. Having dealt with every conceivable type of personality in his school and in his wonderfully full life, he could only imagine what was behind those somewhat hurried faces, some of which looked confused and harried, perhaps because they had just made it in time to make this flight. “And where are they all going?” he thought to himself, “and just what is waiting for them when they get there?”   

Although it was quite a pensive approach to travelling for anyone, it was this same creative imagination that helped him deal with so many kinds of people and situations. Perhaps it was his past that brought him to this way of being. He had not always been a teacher, or principal, or even in education. His first dream was to be a doctor and maybe he had what it took, and maybe he did not, but it simply did not materialize. One setback after another literally brought him to his knees one night when he realized it was not going to happen. Long nights crying in front of all his neatly stacked medical books in his small bedroom brought him only restlessness, high blood pressure, and staggering debt. It was clearly the end of this chapter of his life, but would there be another?

That stream of consciousness seemed to take only a blink of an eye, but it lasted about twenty minutes, just enough time for the last passenger to board and get this Nebraska-bound flight ready to depart. The final one to board was a man in his forties, kind of tall, glasses, and seemingly lost in his thoughts. He sat in the same row as the principal by the window and just began to stare out onto the tarmac, seemingly unconcerned about flight, his surroundings, including the only other person close to him. The flight finally left and achieved a cruising altitude. Most of the others onboard either attached themselves to their headphones, earbuds, or other listening devices so the cabin was generously quiet. The man in the window seat just kept staring out into the clouds emitting sounds ever so often that sounded like whimpering.

“Are you okay?” the principal asked.

Silence.

He thought that perhaps the man just wanted to be left alone so he went back to his book. After about ten minutes, the somber gentleman slowly turned to his right and gently asked, “Do you believe in Heaven?”

“Well, I would have to answer with an overwhelming ‘yes,’ otherwise I don’t think I would have come this far and this much in peace,” came the reply.

The window passenger continued: “Two weeks ago, my six-year-old son didn’t want to go to school because he said he had a headache. My wife gave him a children’s’ aspirin and some cold orange juice and assured him it would be fine. Later in the day, the school called to report that he had a fever, so we brought him home. The next morning, he got worse and fainted in the bathroom. We rushed him to the hospital where after an awfully long day, the doctor informed us that he had an inoperable tumor in his head and there was nothing we could do but just make him comfortable as possible and wait for the end.”

The teacher/principal just listened intensely, feeling as if he and his companion were the only ones in that cabin. His friend continued:

“Finally, on a bright, sunny afternoon, I was with my son, holding his hand, watching him slip away. He weakly asked me, ‘Daddy, is it getting dark outside?’ The sun couldn’t have been shining any brighter at that moment, so I knew what was coming. I told him, ‘Yes, Son, the night is coming. Are you ready? ‘Yes, Daddy. I am. I will see you in the morning,’ and with that, I lost my son in this life.”

The principal fought hard to keep it together and decided that the best thing he could do is just nod in compassionate solidarity. After a brief but poignant moment of silence, the grieving father turned to his fellow passenger, with tears streaming down his face, and quietly uttered:

“I can’t wait till morning.”

“Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, ‘Did you bring joy?’ The second was, ‘Did you find joy?’”  – Leo Buscaglia

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April 15, 2021


Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 270

Reading I – Acts 5:27-33

When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men. 
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

Responsorial Psalm – 34:2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

R.    (7A) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
    his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
    blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
    to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
    and from all their distress he rescues them.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
    and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
    but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 20:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 3:31-36

The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him.

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What’s In A Name?


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 15, 2021

On this beautiful Thursday, we are presented in the First Reading with a dramatic and very telling dialogue that makes perfect sense for all of us who are attempting to follow the light of Christ throughout the days we have been given on this planet. First, the Sanhedrin, clearly angry and disgusted with the Apostles, begin this exchange: “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name.” What is curious about this inflammatory statement is that it seems the high court is more upset about the name of Jesus than the Apostles are still alive and being received with great respect much more than themselves. It is all about the name! Invoking someone’s name like this announces closeness and reverence for the person who bears the name and the willingness to follow, emphasize and share this relationship with everyone in one’s circle of influence, with, in fact, the whole world. The Apostles made this crystal clear in their quick and concise response to the Sanhedrin: “We must obey God rather than men.”

Many years ago, I saw a short film that told an imaginary story that, at the heart of it, asked this question: “If it were a crime to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” With today’s Readings still echoing in our hearts today, we could ask the same question of ourselves. The answer would have to rest on the amount of time, energy, and vigor that we place in following Christ and believing everything He taught and said He would do for us, especially on our last day on earth. Everything depends on this strong relationship which Jesus would prefer to call a “friendship” because it is truly based on love and forgiveness. So, what’s in a name? Everything. 

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  William Shakespeare, Romeo, and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2

“There are two hundred and fifty-six names given in the Bible for the Lord Jesus Christ and I suppose this was because He was infinitely beyond all that any one name could express.” Billy Sunday

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April 14, 2021


Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 269

Reading I – Acts 5:17-26

The high priest rose up and all his companions,
that is, the party of the Sadducees,
and, filled with jealousy,
laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,
led them out, and said,
“Go and take your place in the temple area,
and tell the people everything about this life.”
When they heard this,
they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.
When the high priest and his companions arrived,
they convened the Sanhedrin,
the full senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the jail to have them brought in.
But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison,
so they came back and reported,
“We found the jail securely locked
and the guards stationed outside the doors,
but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, 
they were at a loss about them,
as to what this would come to.
Then someone came in and reported to them,
“The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area
and are teaching the people.” 
Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,
but without force,
because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

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

R.    (7A) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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 hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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 hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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 hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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 hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 3:16

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

Gospel – Jn 3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

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Stained Glass Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 14, 2021

“But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.” So much on our planet needs light to grow and survive. Conversely, things like mold and mildew flourish in the darkness and cause a whole slew of problems ranging all across the board. Amazingly, today we are instructed that the same values and standards apply to our spiritual life and our relationship with God and our present-day happiness, and our future fulfillment. When we expose our lives to the light of Jesus in our prayer and our honest assessment of our conscience, we can expect great things to happen and experience great peace of mind and heart. Guilt does an incredible amount of damage to the human soul. We are the only ones who can make the difference by choosing to be transparent, honest, and truthful, especially in our dealings with one another. 

“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.”  This kind of living is not difficult or complicated. It will involve a deeply open, honest, and loving relationship with Jesus Christ, nourished by prayer and sacrifice and a strong desire to spend more and more time with Him in this busy and frantic life of ours. Perhaps the great gift of our imagination can be a service to us with all this in mind. Let us imagine Jesus sitting right next to us when we are perplexed by anything. Can you see yourself slightly turning toward Him asking for advice? Can you hear Him gently whispering to you? So what are you waiting for?

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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April 13, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Martin I, pope and martyr, please go here.

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 268

Reading I – Acts 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated son of encouragement”),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm – 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5

R.    (1A)  The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
    robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
And he has made the world firm,
    not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
    from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
    holiness befits your house,
    O LORD, for length of days.
R.    The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 3:14-15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man must be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him
may have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 3:7b-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus answered and said to him,
‘How can this happen?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen,
but you people do not accept our testimony.
If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe,
how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

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April 13, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Martin I, pope and martyr


For the readings of the Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 551

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs, #713-718 or the Common of Pastors: For a Pope, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 2 Tm 2:8-13; 3:10-12

Beloved:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:

If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.

You have followed my teaching, way of life,
purpose, faith, patience, love,
endurance, persecutions, and sufferings,
such as happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra,
persecutions that I endured.
Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me.
In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus
will be persecuted.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 126:1BC-2, 2-3, 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 that 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 – See Te Deum

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

Gospel – Jn 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the One who sent me.”

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Lifting Up The Proof Of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 13, 2021

“You must be born from above.” There are not many more phrases in Sacred Scripture than this one that has been interpreted and re-interpreted, applied, and re-applied, both accurately and otherwise, than this one that we find at the beginning of the Gospel of today. How does one understand being re-born or born again? Perhaps there are some clues in the other sections of the Scriptures we have today. We could point first to the generous spirit that has experienced the joy of the Resurrection: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” Then there is the powerful witness that we can give to the Lord as did the Apostles: “With great power, the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” And finally, we can be born again by the sheer and deep confidence we place in God: “Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed: holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days.”

However, the most profound path to rebirth in the power of the Resurrection is simply to gaze upon the Crucified Christ, unite our sufferings with His and hope for all our days in His power to save and the promise that is ours to be held: “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” We must slow down to catch up, pause to soar, and reflect on learning. This we can do with the Lord Jesus right at our side guiding, if we allow Him, every step of the way with the Scriptures as our friend. This is the Easter joy we so desperately seek. 

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'” Billy Graham

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April 12, 2021


Monday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 267

Reading I – Acts 4:23-31

After their release Peter and John went back to their own people
and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them.
And when they heard it,
they raised their voices to God with one accord
and said, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth
and the sea and all that is in them,
you said by the Holy Spirit
through the mouth of our father David, your servant:

    Why did the Gentiles rage
        and the peoples entertain folly?
    The kings of the earth took their stand
        and the princes gathered together
        against the Lord and against his anointed.

Indeed they gathered in this city
against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed,
Herod and Pontius Pilate,
together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
to do what your hand and your will
had long ago planned to take place.
And now, Lord, take note of their threats,
and enable your servants to speak your word
with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are done
through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook,
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Responsorial Psalm – 2:1-3, 4-7A, 7B-9

R.    (see 11D)  Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples utter folly?
The kings of the earth rise up,
    and the princes conspire together
    against the LORD and against his anointed:
“Let us break their fetters
    and cast their bonds from us!”
R.    Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He who is throned in heaven laughs;
    the LORD derides them.
Then in anger he speaks to them;
    he terrifies them in his wrath:
“I myself have set up my king
    on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD.
R.    Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
    this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
    the nations for an inheritance
    and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
    you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R.    Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
 

Alleluia – Col 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 3:1-8

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at night and said to him,
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God,
for no one can do these signs that you are doing
unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 
Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
Jesus answered,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills,
and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

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A New Enjoyment Of Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 12, 2021

“Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man once grown old be born again?” Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin assembly, particularly known for visiting Jesus at night. He couldn’t risk being seen with the Lord during the day because, well, he couldn’t be caught dead speaking with the “rabble-rouser.” Part of him wanted to know and learn and spend time with someone he deeply admired, but the pressure of public and private opinions came at too high a price that it was better to be covered safely by the dead of night than to be associated with such a man in bright sunlight. Time was to eventually change all this and bring both men into each other’s company most dramatically and memorably. This is precisely what it means to have a life-changing encounter with the Lord that changes things forever. This is that new conversion and being born again that is so wanting and needed in our world and Church today. 

“As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” Our deep and lasting call during the Easter Season and, in fact, throughout the rest of our lives, is to live our faith in such a way that is indeed bold, makes a huge difference, and causes us to interpret and face all the crosses of life with deep courage and resilience. All because he lives within me and greater He is in me than he who is in the world. 

“Receive every day as a resurrection from death, as a new enjoyment of life; meet every rising sun with such sentiments of God’s goodness, as if you had seen it, and all things, new-created upon your account and under the sense of so great a blessing. Let your joyful heart praise and magnify so a good and glorious a Creator.” – William Law

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April 11, 2021


Second Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 44

Reading I – Acts 4:32-35

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Responsorial Psalm – 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

R.  (1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
Let the house of Israel say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
R.  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
    but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
    and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
    in the tents of the just:
R.  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
    let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R.  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R.  Alleluia.

Reading II – 1 Jn 5:1-6

Beloved:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one that testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.

Alleluia – Jn 20:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
Blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked, 
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

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Traitor Doubts


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 11, 2021

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” On this Second Sunday of the glorious Easter Season, we are presented as we are every year, with this insight into human behavior related to doubt and confidence, and how the normal process of knowing and believing either feed or starve our doubts. Our main character in this lesson is the Apostle Thomas, who, by most accounts, has been unfortunately dubbed with the nickname “doubting Thomas.” However, it hardly adequately describes his whole life, which in the end, he gave completely to Christ in martyrdom. However, his painful doubts teach us something very real about our faith. You see, perhaps St. Thomas was so used to seeing Jesus right in front of him, talking and teaching daily so that when all of a sudden He was taken away, he refused to believe and get his hopes up and over what he considered a “reasonable” doubt. “You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!”  

“Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them.” Doubt has the potential of strengthening our faith and hope but not if we entertain too much of it and then surround ourselves with people who neither have faith nor hope, which, according to the last survey, are growing in number and kind. In the Gospel, the very opposite was true. The faith spread like wildfire, and the miracles in life began to increase exponentially. This is where a healthy prayer life, a daily dose of Scripture, and adherence to the Eucharist make all the difference in this world and the next. Starve your doubts and feed your faith. 

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene IV

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April 10, 2021


Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 266

Reading I – Acts 4:13-21

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”

So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.

Responsorial Psalm – 118:1 and 14-15AB, 16-18, 19-21

R.    (21A) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
    and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
    in the tents of the just.
R.    I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
    the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
    and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
    yet he has not delivered me to death.
R.    I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
    I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
    the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
    and have been my savior.
R.    I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
 

Alleluia – Ps 118:24

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

Gospel – Mk 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

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Easter Boldness


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 10, 2021

“Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.” Among the nuances in the dictionary world, there seems to be consistent agreement regarding the definition of boldness: a willingness to take risks and act with innovation, confidence, or courage. This would certainly more than adequately describe Peter and John and all those who experienced the first Easter. Some believe that the real challenge in life is to overcome the fear that tends to overwhelm and inhibit real, healthy living. We all truly need the virtues that come from the side of the Resurrected Christ for this level of life. He is who is the source of all we need to make our way through the hills and valleys of the swinging moods and seasons of our journey: “My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.” 

The Gospel for this beautiful Easter Saturday reveals the real purpose and mission of this boldness that is bestowed on all believers at Easter: “He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.'” Now the bulk of us reading this today are not being placed on the next flight into a war-torn area on the planet, nor or we walking into any real danger as so many who have died for the faith. However, we are being sent. Where? We are placed on this earth for a very specific and great purpose. That purpose is all about what happened on that first Easter morning, about life and death,

 and all the elements that form the fabric of existence. Think about all the things you said to others today. Were you bold?

“People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness, and confidence. Don’t be shy or feel intimidated by the experience. You may face some unexpected criticism but be prepared for it with confidence.” – Jack Canfield

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April 9, 2021


Friday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 265

Acts 4:1-12

After the crippled man had been cured,
while Peter and John were still speaking to the people,
the priests, the captain of the temple guard,
and the Sadducees confronted them,
disturbed that they were teaching the people
and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
They laid hands on Peter and John
and put them in custody until the next day,
since it was already evening.
But many of those who heard the word came to believe
and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes
were assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest,
Caiaphas, John, Alexander,
and all who were of the high-priestly class.
They brought them into their presence and questioned them,
“By what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them,
“Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
    which has become the cornerstone.

There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

Responsorial Psalm – 118:1-2 and 4, 22-24, 25-27A

R.    (22)  The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
R.    The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
    it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
    let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R.    The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
O LORD, grant salvation!
    O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
    we bless you from the house of the LORD.
    The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R.    The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Ps 118:24

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

Gospel – Jn 21:1-14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

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What’s In Your Net?


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 9, 2021

Sometimes a great and significant event in life, while answering some very perplexing worries and anxieties, also produces another level of questions that have the potential of taking us to a new and deeper level of living. There is a hint of that aspect of life nudged within the confines of the Psalm today: “The LORD is God, and he has given us light.” The touching scene in the Gospel also supports this approach when Jesus, already risen from the dead, invites his Apostles and closest friends He had on earth to go deeper: “So he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.'” Indeed, they did find something. It was the living, breathing, loving Church that Jesus had died to start and give to the world. 

“There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Like so much of the accumulated wisdom that has been gathered over the centuries over such an amazing period, what is real and holy and immersed in truth is usually quite simple. It is the name of Jesus that has the power to save, producing a true and abiding adherence to Him personally and to all, He has taught and given to us, even today. This is what we search for here on earth. This is what brings us peace. This is yet another wonderful fruit of Easter. Tonight, before retiring from the day, go fishing: call out His name, then listen. 

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” Henry David Thoreau

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April 8, 2021


Thursday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 264

Reading I – Acts 3:11-26

As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.”
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
“You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment
and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration
of which God spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:

    A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
        from among your own kin;
    to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
    Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
        will be cut off from the people.    

“Moreover, all the prophets who spoke,
from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
You are the children of the prophets
and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors
when he said to Abraham,
    In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you
by turning each of you from your evil ways.”

Responsorial Psalm – 8:2AB and 5, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (2AB)  O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
O LORD, our Lord,
    how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
    or the son of man that you should care for him?
R.    O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
You have made him little less than the angels,
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
    putting all things under his feet.
R.    O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
All sheep and oxen,
    yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
    and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R.    O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Ps 118:24

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

Gospel – Lk 24:35-48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish; 
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

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Quintessential “Ghostbuster”


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 8, 2021

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Take special note of what just happened in the Gospel. The Apostles are talking about life, suffering, God, and the Messiah. Jesus appears to bless everyone, yet their first interpretation of the event is that they are witnessing an episode from the SyFy Channel. The problem here is simple to see while the remedy is close by. Jesus first asks why there are troubled hearts. Right after that remark, He tenderly instructs the only way to combat fear and doubt: “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” We must see today that unreasonable and irrational fear can only successfully be combated by reverting to the entire mystery of Easter, which is the great Truth that Jesus has not only defeated death but also all the forces of evil and darkness. He is on our side. We start to shake and quiver when we forget this wonderful Truth. 

The First Reading also recognizes that human beings, still affected by Original Sin’s vestiges, make mistakes out of many different reasons and faulty mindsets. St. Peter was certainly generous in his assessment of this predicament of ours: Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did,” and then later in that same reading: “For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.” Easter brings light and clarity to our minds because it reveals that the massive, archetypal, and age-old battle between good and evil has already been won. We are now offered the chance to share in that victory should we choose to do so with the freedom and wisdom that has been purchased for us by the blood of the Lamb. Remember during this glorious Easter Season that the earth’s worst day and best day were just one day apart. 

“In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves.” – Laurie Halse Anderson

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April 7, 2021


Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 263

Reading I – Acts 3:1-10

Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o’clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day 
to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you: 
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one
who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.

Responsorial Psalm – 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (3B) Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
    make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
    proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R.    Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
    rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
    seek to serve him constantly.
R.    Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
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.    Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
    which he made binding for a thousand generations-
Which he entered into with Abraham
    and by his oath to Isaac.
R.    Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Ps 118:24

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

Gospel – Lk 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, 
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him, 
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning 
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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A Most Precious Name


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 7, 2021

“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” How many times have any of us heard something like, “I would give a million dollars to see my father again!”? What that emotional phrase (and many like it) screams to connect is simple. What is precious to the world is not necessarily dear to my soul. After forty grueling days of Lent, we can begin to see what truly has value and supreme importance, as was described in our First Reading today. The transformed disciples of Jesus now have in their circle of life the most wonderful and awesome of all gifts: the name of Jesus and the faith that supports a life that can have deep meaning, healing, and eternal consequences. 

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” The answer to this surprising revelation of the two travelers who were actually walking with the Lord and even breaking bread with Him is simple: Yes, they were! And the best news for you and me today is that they can continue to burn if we allow them to. This will come from thanking God for the rich blessings and lessons of Lent, asking Him to guide and direct us today, especially in the ongoing effort to change, transform, and become forgiving people, no matter what is happening around us. Remember, Jesus does not want us to be like other people. He wants us to be like Him. This is so much better than silver or gold. 

“To holy people, the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living.” – John Henry Cardinal Newman

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April 6, 2021


Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 262

Reading I – Acts 2:36-41

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people,
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm – 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22

R.    (5B)  The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
    who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
    who have put our hope in you.
R.    The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Ps 118:24

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

Gospel – Jn 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” 
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.

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Why Are You Weeping?


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 6, 2021

“And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?'” With all the wonderful talk and mention of the glorious Resurrection of Jesus at this great time of Easter, there will no doubt be the recollection of the state from which our resurrected bodies will join the Heavenly faithful and crowds of immense joy, which, by definition, is death. In some parts of the world, many flocks to the cemetery to place Easter flowers, mostly lilies which mimic the blare of trumpets of the season at the tombs of those who did not live to see this particular Easter and perhaps those who long been since absent from the table. And because of the humanity we share and the tender hearts that beat within many brave souls, there will be tears today. This is why we need the witness of Mary Magdalene today to bring everything into sharp and hopeful focus: “She said to them, ‘They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.'”  

Like Mary Magdalene, many of our crosses and sufferings that produce crisis phases in our souls momentarily stem from the not-so-obvious fact that we may be looking for God’s comfort and consolation in the places that could never provide them. Once again, Mary points us in the right direction: “Mary went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and then reported what he had told her.” Excited or mournful, the only true way to celebrate the Easter Season, officially fifty days of commemoration, after the forty days of fasting and penance, is to look for Christ and find him in everyday life and then tell others that you have seen Him. Life can not possibly ever be the same. 

“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” Emily Dickinson

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April 5, 2021


Monday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 261

Reading I – Acts 2:14, 22-33

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Ps 118:24

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

Gospel – Mt 28:8-15

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

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

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Fear Is Useless


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 5, 2021

Every so often, we or someone we know has the experience of waking up from a terrible dream nearly paralyzed with fear and even at times unable to speak or move. Likewise, we may have most likely heard well-intentioned people attempt to explain these terrifying moments as attributed to stress or worry over circumstances in our lives. Be that as it may, we must face the glaring fact that life can and often does hurl directly at us episodes of challenge, difficulty, and internal and external struggles that can be frightening and cause us to respond as we do in those terrible dreams. For some others, even more, unfortunately, there seems to be no rest from these terrors. Life itself appears to be a nightmare with no end. It for such as these, the gift of Easter is so precious. Imagine holding Jesus tight and close to us, never to have to be afraid again. The Scriptures today assure us that we can. “God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.”

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.'” Another rich and exciting element of the newly begun Easter Season is the call to engage the time’s spirit with all we meet. We must tell others why we are Easter people and why we must keep singing and remembering that there is always hope in every single situation, no matter how dark it may seem. Let us begin on this first Monday of Easter. Continue to tell all you meet of the hope we celebrate by keep saying “Happy Easter” with a great big ol’ smile on your face. Tell them all, “Jesus sent me.”

“The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” Basil Hume

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April 4, 2021


Easter Sunday The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Day
Lectionary: 42

Reading I – Acts 10:34A, 37-43

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

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

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

Reading II – Col 3:1-4

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

OR:

I Cor 5:6B-8

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

Sequence

Victimae paschali laudes

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

Alleluia – Cf. 1 Cor 5:7B-8A

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

Gospel – Jn 20:1-9

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark, 
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter 
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, 
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, 
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter 
and arrived at the tomb first; 
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, 
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 
and the cloth that had covered his head, 
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in, 
the one who had arrived at the tomb first, 
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture 
that he had to rise from the dead.

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While It Was Still Dark


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 4, 2021

“On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” At this wonderful culmination of these days of Lenting and detachment, we have come to the morning of our dreams. God has accomplished the victory He promised for us, and we are glad indeed. Death has been destroyed forever, and now the gates of Heaven, once closed because of selfishness and sins, are open for all humanity to enter with integrity and hope. It was on the “first day of the week” that this glory was discovered because it is the beginning of all our expectations every time we awaken in the morning. Thus, every beginning we have before us is the glimmer of the bright promise of tomorrow. Mary of Magdala was alone in approaching the burial place of the dead. This detail reminds us that each of us must face this truth on the path that we choose and envision, enlightened by the Church and the Word of God. Then, we join the millions who experience the same longing fulfilled and relieved even in the face of death. Although she did not see the moment of Resurrection, (she) saw the stone removed from the tomb,” Mary knew what the scene meant: death had been conquered, and Jesus is alive. This is assuredly our call for today and every day on this planet. We must look for, find and cling mercifully to the wonders of our lives, which all point to the miraculous endings of all our stories nestled wonderfully in the heart of Jesus the Messiah who has risen from the dead. 

Perhaps the most telling and soothing detail of John’s Easter Gospel today is this tender yet poignant morsel: “while it was still dark.” How often do our lives take swings and turns into chapters that we would never have imagined! How often have we found ourselves “in the dark” as well? And yet, whatever joy and happiness we may feel today must be kept safe and sound deep within the recesses of our hearts so that when we find that it is still dark, we must continue to make our way to the Lord with all the hope and faith that we can muster and share.“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”(St. John Paul II)

On behalf of all those who make CityOfAgape, its mission and its hope to bring the Word of God to everyone hungering for meaning and purpose in this life, please accept our heartfelt wishes for a happy, holy, and beautiful Easter! “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” 

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April 3, 2021


Holy Saturday At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter
Lectionary: 41

Reading I – Gn 1:1—2:2

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss,
while a mighty wind swept over the waters.

Then God said,
“Let there be light,”” and there was light.
God saw how good the light was.
God then separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”
Thus evening came, and morning followed—the first day.

Then God said,
“Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters,
to separate one body of water from the other.”
And so it happened:
God made the dome,
and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it.
God called the dome “the sky.”
Evening came, and morning followed—the second day.

Then God said,
“Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin,
so that the dry land may appear.”
And so it happened:
the water under the sky was gathered into its basin,
and the dry land appeared.
God called the dry land “the earth, “
and the basin of the water he called “the sea.”
God saw how good it was.
Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth vegetation:
every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it.”
And so it happened:
the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed—the third day.

Then God said:
“Let there be lights in the dome of the sky,
to separate day from night.
Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years,
and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth.”
And so it happened:
God made the two great lights,
the greater one to govern the day,
and the lesser one to govern the night;
and he made the stars.
God set them in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth,
to govern the day and the night,
and to separate the light from the darkness.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.

Then God said,
“Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures,
and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.”
And so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters
and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems,
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying,
“Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas;
and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
Evening came, and morning followed—the fifth day.

Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures:
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.”
And so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.
Then God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished
with the work he had been doing,
he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.

Or

Gn 1:1, 26-31A

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35

R. (30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You fixed the earth upon its foundation,
not to be moved forever;
with the ocean, as with a garment, you covered it;
above the mountains the waters stood.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You send forth springs into the watercourses
that wind among the mountains.
Beside them the birds of heaven dwell;
from among the branches they send forth their song.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You water the mountains from your palace;
the earth is replete with the fruit of your works.
You raise grass for the cattle,
and vegetation for man’s use,
Producing bread from the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—
the earth is full of your creatures.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
R.  Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

Or

Ps 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20 and 22

R.  (5B) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
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.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made;
 by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as in a flask;
 in cellars he confines the deep.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
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. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
 who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
 who have put our hope in you.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Reading II – Gn 22:1-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,”  he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.”
Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey,
took with him his son Isaac and two of his servants as well,
and with the wood that he had cut for the holocaust,
set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.
Then he said to his servants:
“Both of you stay here with the donkey,
while the boy and I go on over yonder.
We will worship and then come back to you.”
Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the holocaust
and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders,
while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham:
“Father!” Isaac said.
“Yes, son,” he replied.
Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood,
but where is the sheep for the holocaust?”
“Son,” Abraham answered,
“God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.”
Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Next he tied up his son Isaac,
and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.
Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh;
hence people now say, “On the mountain the LORD will see.”

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing–
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Or

Gn 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.”

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing–
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
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.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
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.

Reading III – Ex 14:15—15:1

The LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the Israelites to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the Israelites may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I receive glory through Pharaoh
and his chariots and charioteers.”

The angel of God, who had been leading Israel’s camp,
now moved and went around behind them.
The column of cloud also, leaving the front,
took up its place behind them,
so that it came between the camp of the Egyptians
and that of Israel.
But the cloud now became dark, and thus the night passed
without the rival camps coming any closer together
all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and the LORD swept the sea
with a strong east wind throughout the night
and so turned it into dry land.
When the water was thus divided,
the Israelites marched into the midst of the sea on dry land,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.

The Egyptians followed in pursuit;
all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and charioteers went after them
right into the midst of the sea.
In the night watch just before dawn
the LORD cast through the column of the fiery cloud
upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic;
and he so clogged their chariot wheels
that they could hardly drive.
With that the Egyptians sounded the retreat before Israel,
because the LORD was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

Then the LORD told Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea,
that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians,
upon their chariots and their charioteers.”
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth.
The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea,
when the LORD hurled them into its midst.
As the water flowed back,
it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh’s whole army
which had followed the Israelites into the sea.
Not a single one of them escaped.
But the Israelites had marched on dry land
through the midst of the sea,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel on that day
from the power of the Egyptians.
When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore
and beheld the great power that the LORD
had shown against the Egyptians,
they feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.

Responsorial Psalm – Ex 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18

R. (1B) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh’s chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
You brought in the people you redeemed
and planted them on the mountain of your inheritance
the place where you made your seat, O LORD,
the sanctuary, LORD, which your hands established.
The LORD shall reign forever and ever.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Reading IV – Is 54:5-14

The One who has become your husband is your Maker;
his name is the LORD of hosts;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.
The LORD calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
a wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.
In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
but with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.
This is for me like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah
should never again deluge the earth;
so I have sworn not to be angry with you,
or to rebuke you.
Though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be shaken,
my love shall never leave you
nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
O afflicted one, storm-battered and unconsoled,
I lay your pavements in carnelians,
and your foundations in sapphires;
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In justice shall you be established,
far from the fear of oppression,
where destruction cannot come near you.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13

R. (2A) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Reading V – Is 55:1-11

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.
As I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of nations,
so shall you summon a nation you knew not,
and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm – Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6

R. (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.

Reading VI – Bar 3:9-15, 32–4:4

Hear, O Israel, the commandments of life:
listen, and know prudence!
How is it, Israel,
that you are in the land of your foes,
grown old in a foreign land,
defiled with the dead,
accounted with those destined for the netherworld?
You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom!
Had you walked in the way of God,
you would have dwelt in enduring peace.
Learn where prudence is,
where strength, where understanding;
that you may know also
where are length of days, and life,
where light of the eyes, and peace.
Who has found the place of wisdom,
who has entered into her treasuries?

The One who knows all things knows her;
he has probed her by his knowledge–
The One who established the earth for all time,
and filled it with four-footed beasts;
he who dismisses the light, and it departs,
calls it, and it obeys him trembling;
before whom the stars at their posts
shine and rejoice;
when he calls them, they answer, “Here we are!”
shining with joy for their Maker.
Such is our God;
no other is to be compared to him:
he has traced out the whole way of understanding,
and has given her to Jacob, his servant,
to Israel, his beloved son.

Since then she has appeared on earth,
and moved among people.
She is the book of the precepts of God,
the law that endures forever;
all who cling to her will live,
but those will die who forsake her.
Turn, O Jacob, and receive her:
walk by her light toward splendor.
Give not your glory to another,
your privileges to an alien race.
Blessed are we, O Israel;
for what pleases God is known to us!

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

R. (John 6:68C) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading VII – Ez 36:16-17A, 18-28

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their land,
they defiled it by their conduct and deeds.
Therefore I poured out my fury upon them
because of the blood that they poured out on the ground,
and because they defiled it with idols.
I scattered them among the nations,
dispersing them over foreign lands;
according to their conduct and deeds I judged them.
But when they came among the nations wherever they came,
they served to profane my holy name,
because it was said of them: “These are the people of the LORD,
yet they had to leave their land.”
So I have relented because of my holy name
which the house of Israel profaned
among the nations where they came.
Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord GOD:
Not for your sakes do I act, house of Israel,
but for the sake of my holy name,
which you profaned among the nations to which you came.
I will prove the holiness of my great name, profaned among the nations,
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD,
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
For I will take you away from among the nations,
gather you from all the foreign lands,
and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.
I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes,
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your fathers;
you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4

When baptism is celebrated.

R.  (42:2) Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my 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. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.

Or 

Is 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6

When baptism is not celebrated.R. (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.

Or

Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

When baptism is not celebrated R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a holocaust, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Epistle – Rom 6:3-11

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him,
so that our sinful body might be done away with,
that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all;
as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.

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

R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mark 16:1-7

When the sabbath was over, 
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome 
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another, 
“Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?”
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter, 
‘He is going before you to Galilee; 
there you will see him, as he told you.’”

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Why This Night Is Different


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 3, 2021

For those among us who are blessed to attend the Easter Vigil tonight will have encountered and entered a most wonderful mystery that the Church has to offer as a way of truly making the Easter experience the great moment it truly is. What we do tonight is nothing more than waiting at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on His passion and death, and awaiting His glorious Resurrection with prayer and fasting. When we think about it, we spend a great part of our lives waiting for everything from simple mundane things like traffic lights and parking spaces to remarkably awesome milestones in life like the announcement of a new baby, job, or the tragic news we have all been waiting for. A vigil is the liturgical commemoration of an unforgettable feast held on the evening preceding the feast, much like Christmas Eve. The actual term means “wakefulness” because we stay awake to pray and prepare for the dawn of Easter and, by extension, for the individual experiences we will have of our death and resurrection and of those we love and cherish in this world. For our purposes here, let us take a look at the diagram of Liturgical Readings for tonight and follow them in our journey toward the empty tomb: 

Reading 1:  Genesis-God creates with His Word and Holy Spirit over the waters.
Reading 2: Genesis-God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. 
Reading 3:  Exodus-Moses parts the Red Sea and leads his people out of slavery through the waters.
Reading 4: Isaiah-The prophet reminds us of the safe passage of Noah through the waters.
Reading 5: Isaiah-The prophet invites all to come to the waters
Reading 6: Baruch-The prophet issues a pledge of wisdom and a return to God
Reading 7: Ezekiel-The people of God will be cleansed by water and live in God’s land
Epistle: Baptism through water and the Holy Spirit is our way to union with God and the promise of Heaven  
Gospel: The tomb is empty; God did not spare His own Son, and thus Jesus has defeated death forever

You see, Easter is about the continuing cycle of life, death, life in an amazingly complicated and mysterious pattern that underscores and straps all reality together. This means so much to our human race and yet different takes and aspects based on the conditions and lived experience of everyone alive. But one thing is certain. Everyone dies; not everyone lives. Let us live in the light of Christ this night and always. 

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April 2, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial Saint Francis of Paola, hermit Memorial Saint Francis of Paola, hermit, please go here.

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Lectionary: 40

Reading I – Is 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
    he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at him
    so marred was his look beyond human semblance
    and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man
so shall he startle many nations,
    because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
    those who have not heard shall ponder it.

Who would believe what we have heard?
    To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him,
    like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
    nor appearance that would attract us to him.
He was spurned and avoided by people,
    a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom people hide their faces,
    spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
    our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
    as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
    crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
    by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
    each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
    the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
    and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
    or a sheep before the shearers,
    he was silent and opened not his mouth.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
    and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
    and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
    and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
    nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
    to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
    he shall see his descendants in a long life,
    and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
    he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
    and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
    and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
    and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
    and win pardon for their offenses.

Responsorial Psalm – 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25

R.   (Lk 23:46) Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me.
    Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R.   Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
    a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
    I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken.
R.  Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
    I say, “You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
    from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.”
R.  Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
    save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted,
    all you who hope in the LORD.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Reading II – Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, 
Jesus, the Son of God, 
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, 
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace 
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

In the days when Christ was in the flesh, 
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears 
to the one who was able to save him from death, 
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; 
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Verse Before the Gospel – Phil 2:8-9

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.

Gospel – Jn 18:1—19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley 
to where there was a garden, 
into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place, 
because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards 
from the chief priests and the Pharisees 
and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, 
went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”
They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
He said to them, “I AM.”
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, “I AM, “ 
they turned away and fell to the ground.
So he again asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
Jesus answered,
“I told you that I AM.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill what he had said, 
“I have not lost any of those you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, 
struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear.
The slave’s name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its scabbard.
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus,
bound him, and brought him to Annas first.
He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, 
who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews 
that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, 
and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.
So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, 
went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, 
“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire
that they had made, because it was cold,
and were warming themselves.
Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus 
about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him,
“I have spoken publicly to the world.
I have always taught in a synagogue 
or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, 
and in secret I have said nothing.  Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them.
They know what I said.”
When he had said this, 
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, 
“Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; 
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.
And they said to him,
“You are not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said,
“I am not.”
One of the slaves of the high priest, 
a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, 
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
Again Peter denied it.
And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.
It was morning.
And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, 
in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and said, 
“What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered and said to him,
“If he were not a criminal, 
we would not have handed him over to you.”
At this, Pilate said to them, 
“Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”
The Jews answered him, 
“We do not have the right to execute anyone,“ 
in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled
that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium 
and summoned Jesus and said to him, 
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered,
“Do you say this on your own 
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered,
“I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered,
“My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world, 
my attendants would be fighting 
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him,
“Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered,
“You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world, 
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this,
he again went out to the Jews and said to them,
“I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again,
“Not this one but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, 
and clothed him in a purple cloak, 
and they came to him and said,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
And they struck him repeatedly.
Once more Pilate went out and said to them, 
“Look, I am bringing him out to you, 
so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out, 
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, 
“Crucify him, crucify him!”

Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered, 
“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, 
because he made himself the Son of God.”
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid, 
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, 
“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
“Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you 
and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me 
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin.”
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, 
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out 
and seated him on the judge’s bench 
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!”
They cried out,
“Take him away, take him away!  Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself, 
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, 
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others, 
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read,
“Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”
Now many of the Jews read this inscription, 
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; 
and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, 
“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’
but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, 
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, 
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, 
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another, 
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, “ 
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
    They divided my garments among them,
        and for my vesture they cast lots.

This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, 
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop 
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

        Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, 
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken 
and that they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first 
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, 
they did not break his legs, 
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, 
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; 
he knows that he is speaking the truth, 
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
    Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
    They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, 
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, 
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, 
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes 
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus 
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, 
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, 
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; 
for the tomb was close by.

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April 2, 2021 – Optional Memorial Saint Francis of Paola, hermit Memorial Saint Francis of Paola, hermit


For the readings of the Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, please go here.

Lectionary: 546

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

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 16:1-2A 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 always 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 – Mt 5:3

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

Gospel – Lk 12:32-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.
Sell your belongings and give alms.
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”

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I Smell Victory


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 2, 2021

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” – from a headstone in Ireland

Today is Good Friday. What do we call “good?” This is the FIRST day of what the Church has long in her Sacred history called the Triduum. These are the three glorious days that end Lent, enter the tomb of Jesus, and rise with Him at Easter. It could be said that we call this “good” because although everyone wears a mask of sorts as we present to the world the person we want others to see, today we remember the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus so that you and I can reach true spiritual maturity which is that point where a person no longer hides behind any pretense, removes the mask of deceit and fear, exchanges the fashion statement for integrity and truly begins to live a holy life. Every year on Good Friday, it is certainly different for each one of us when this day arrives. It’s always different because either someone has died in the last year, a friend has become ill or incapacitated, another year has passed from the time we lost a dear loved one. We have lived another year, presumably, one year closer to our death.

This is why the Scripture passages and the yearly reading of the Passion we have for Good Friday are simply priceless. We came from God, and slowly but surely, we are moving back to him, face to face, to give whatever account we have of how we used these precious pearls of time while we were alive. I guess that’s why some can’t (or won’t) deal with death. The message and experience must be too much, too overwhelming. I have also known people who have downright rejected God with a kind of indignation and misplaced anger for “having taken my loved one away.” That’s more tragic than death itself because there is absolutely no way you can arrive at a spiritual and mental place of peace and comfort – or even effectively through the grieving process – without the One who defeated death on the cross. Grief is the price we pay for loving, and less we think that getting through this life without Love is some kind of viable option when you think about it; it is indeed a fair price.
The readings from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Psalm 31, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the Passion according to St. John all clearly and effectively underscore that truth. God is in control. He sent His Son Jesus to take away the eternal price of our sins, and Jesus gave us the Church so that through the centuries of time and space, we would remain together in hope and prayer until the day comes for us.

May the Divine Assistance always remain with us, and May the souls of all the faithful departed, through your mercy, O God, Rest in Peace. Amen

Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.” Emily Dickinson

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April 1, 2021


Holy Thursday
Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Lectionary: 39

Reading I – Ex 12:1-8, 11-14

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 
“This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; 
you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel: 
On the tenth of this month every one of your families
must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb, 
it shall join the nearest household in procuring one 
and shall share in the lamb 
in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, 
and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, 
it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood 
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel 
of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh 
with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

“This is how you are to eat it: 
with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt, 
striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast,
and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; 
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, 
no destructive blow will come upon you.

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, 
which all your generations shall celebrate 
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

Responsorial Psalm – 116:12-13, 15-16BC, 17-18

R. (cf. 1 Cor 10:16)  Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
    for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
    you have loosed my bonds.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
    in the presence of all his people.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

Reading II – 1 Cor 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, 
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, 
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, 
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, 
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Verse Before the Gospel – Jn 13:34

I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.

Gospel – Jn 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper, 
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power 
and that he had come from God and was returning to God, 
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin 
and began to wash the disciples’ feet 
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him, 
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him, 
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him, 
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
     for he is clean all over; 
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet 
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, 
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’  and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, 
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow, 
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

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This Is My Body, My Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 1, 2021

Although it is not plausible to debate that eating is essential to our survival, that it is deeply symbolic, and that it is enjoyed across the board by every known culture on the planet, we can and should open the debate lines concerning how we have lost the meaning of meals and richness of gathering to feast especially in our modern times. For example, it appears that breakfast is often a shake of everything from protein, fruits, or a soda with ice, lunch a sandwich gobbled in front of the computer, and dinner, when hurriedly arranged or just accidentally falling into place, is quickly consumed usually in front of the television blaring or everyone with their phones checking Facebook posts and or texts. Even though we see commercials to the contrary and movies and listen to heart-felt pitches to act otherwise, we continue with this rapid feeding frenzy. Perhaps it is because eating like this satisfies some basic needs as it fuels our bodies. But being fed is not the same as being nourished. This is how and why we must understand the great significance of Holy Thursday when Jesus the Christ uttered those immortal words that have since been repeated over the centuries and the great period: “This is my body…this is my blood…do this in memory of me.” Our First Reading begins to set the stage for this deeper awareness of the simplicity of eating: “This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.” Our lives have been bought and purchased and at a tremendous cost! None of us are here “by accident.” We each have a deep and enriching purpose which we must find and for that journey must be fed: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” 

While thought-out mealtime practices and rituals can draw us into a state of increased awareness, our appreciation for the Eucharist can give sight to the vision we need to focus on the things that matter in this life and get home safe to Heaven when it is all said and done. Jesus does so much more this night as well. He teaches us that we take meaningful time when we sit and share food and take every opportunity and chance to serve, even to the point of washing each other’s feet. “I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” Today, we need to remember the initial impression of this passage made on the initial First Century audience: even art and literary works have somewhat romanticized this event. It was not beautiful to them. It was not even humbling; it was humiliating. You see, to wash another’s feet was a dirty job reserved for slaves. Today this action would be equivalent to going to someone’s house to clean their bathroom, including the toilet. Maybe caregivers who have to clean and wash and witness the worst in a person’s life are closest to this wonderful gesture’s real meaning. As Jesus feeds us with His very Body and Blood, He is assuring us that He is showing us and expecting us to be the least among us. It is easy to do great things for those we love. What about doing the hard things for those we don’t even know or, even better, know that will never be able or willing to say thank you. This is selfless, and it is what this night is all about: empty yourself as Jesus did so where He has gone, we can follow. 

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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