The Word of God

May 31, 2021


Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 572

Reading I – Zep 3:14-18A

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

OR:    

Rom 12:9-16

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

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

R.    (6)  Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
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.    Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
    among the nations make known his deeds,
    proclaim how exalted is his name.
R.    Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
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.    Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Alleluia – See Lk 1:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 1:39-56

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

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
    my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
    the Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
    in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
    and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
    for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
    the promise he made to our fathers,
    to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.

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Setting The World On Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 31, 2021

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

The most excellent example of Generosity (after Jesus Himself): The Blessed Virgin Mary. In the fullness of grace, our Blessed Mother exhibits the fullness of love and truth. She is generous in charity, patient, kind and gentle; she is good and faithful, chaste, modest, and temperate. Her spirit rejoices in God her savior, and she is at peace even in trying times because she trusted in the Lord: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” (Gospel)

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

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

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” St. Catherine of Siena

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May 30, 2021


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Lectionary: 165

Reading I – Dt 4:32-34, 39-40

Moses said to the people:
“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
This is why you must now know,
and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God
in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”

Responsorial Psalm – 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22

R. (12B)  Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
    and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
    of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made;
    by the breath of his mouth all their host.
For he spoke, and it was made;
    he commanded, and it stood forth.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
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. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
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. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Reading II – Rom 8:14-17

Brothers and sisters:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a Spirit of adoption,
through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.

Alleluia – Rv 1:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
to God who is, who was, and who is to come.
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 all 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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Do You Like A Good Mystery?


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 30, 2021

I know many who do, and I’ll bet, so do you! I would like to propose at least (3) three reasons why some deeply enjoy mysteries:

1. They are a “safe thrill”: an amusement park ride, a fast merry-go-round, or a wildly colorful Ferris Wheel. Similarly, mysteries are safe adventures because we get to visit exotic or otherwise interesting places and meet even more intriguing people. We encounter the dark side of people, but somehow we always know that good will overcome evil.

2.
We like mysteries because we can often relate to one or several characters. People enjoy following the detective or the CSI team because we believe that we can be part of the solution. We belong to the “winning team” and restore justice, love, and peace.

3.
On perhaps the most basic level, we like mysteries for the same reasons others read romance or historical fiction or sci-fi novels. We find ourselves instantly involved in the characters’ lives, being there with them, feeling what they feel, seeing what they see, and experiencing their emotional journeys. What happens is that our worldview grows. It fills up our loneliness and helps us figure out how to connect in the world. We learn about how others live and see the world, opening up our perspective and experiences.
Today, you and I presented with a magnificent mystery: the Mystery of the Nature of God! It may be the same reasons that people enjoy the literary genre of a puzzle, that we can find some inner excitement over what the Church provides for us today.

“Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there and proclaimed his name, “LORD.” (First Reading) Imagine! A front-row seat to the gift of the Ten Commandments is all ours! We meet Moses and the Creator God in the most intriguing of all places on Mt. Sinai. And today, on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we are all certainly on the “winning team” as we remind ourselves of this miraculous membership every time we sign ourselves with the Sign of the Cross involving that same Glorious Mystery: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. “(Second Reading) Finally, The Most holy Trinity has been graciously given to us for the most sublime of all reasons: “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” Jesus said to His Apostles… “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…” (Gospel)

If we truly enter into the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, even with just a simple act of Faith that involves our reason and our intellect, what happens is that our worldview grows. It fills up our loneliness and helps us figure out how to connect in the world. We learn about how others live and see the world, opening up our perspective and experiences. Remember this every time you make the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Mystery Solved!!

“The mystery of God hugs you in its all-encompassing arms.” St. Hildegard of Bingen

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May 29, 2021


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

Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 352

Reading I – Sir 51:12CD-20

I thank the LORD and I praise him;
    I bless the name of the LORD.
When I was young and innocent,
    I sought wisdom openly in my prayer
I prayed for her before the temple,
    and I will seek her until the end,
    and she flourished as a grape soon ripe.
My heart delighted in her,
My feet kept to the level path
    because from earliest youth I was familiar with her.
In the short time I paid heed,
    I met with great instruction.
Since in this way I have profited,
    I will give my teacher grateful praise.
I became resolutely devoted to her—
    the good I persistently strove for.
My soul was tormented in seeking her, 
My hand opened her gate
    and I came to know her secrets.
I directed my soul to her,
    and in cleanness I attained to her.

Responsorial Psalm – 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R.     (9AB)  The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R.     The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
R.    The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R.    The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
They are more precious than gold,
    than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
    or honey from the comb.
R.    The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Alleluia – See Col 3:16A, 17C

R.     Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly;
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mk 11:27-33

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem.
As he was walking in the temple area,
the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders
approached him and said to him,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
Or who gave you this authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question.
Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 
Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin?  Answer me.”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”–
they feared the crowd,
for they all thought John really was a prophet.
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
Then Jesus said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

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May 29, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Paul VI, Pope


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

Lectionary: 571A

From the Common of Pastors: For a Pope,  
OR:

Reading 1 – 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mk 1:17

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

Gospel – Mt 16:13-19

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

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Real Spiritual Authority


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 29, 2021

“My hand opened her gate and I came to know her secrets. I directed my soul to her, and in cleanness I attained to her.” Depending on who is holding it or wielding it, authority can be of great service to us or a means for utter destruction. History is filled with examples of those who have taken the limits of their power and turned promised peace into a nightmare. This happens on a global and personal basis. The difference in the lives of each individual lies in the ability and desire to reach for and cultivate Wisdom which is the very gist of the Readings today and the call for each of us to be wise according to the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

“By what authority are you doing these things?” Although this question from the powerful chief priests and scribes in the Gospel was motivated by corrupt desires, it is a valid question that we can and should ask of ourselves. Power is an elusive, seductive, and often mysterious force in our lives that always need to be in check. We never have the right to hurt another human being, but we are given the spiritual power to make as great a difference as possible. Let’s see what kind of difference we can make today!

“Real spiritual authority has to do with the truth of the actual words being spoken, and the spirit of the person behind the words. Really, authority is about truth: honest-living truth.” John Ortberg

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May 28, 2021


Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 351

Reading I – Sir 44:1, 9-13

Now will I praise those godly men,
    our ancestors, each in his own time.
But of others there is no memory,
    for when they ceased, they ceased.
And they are as though they had not lived,
    they and their children after them.
Yet these also were godly men
    whose virtues have not been forgotten;
Their wealth remains in their families,
    their heritage with their descendants;
Through God’s covenant with them their family endures,
    their posterity, for their sake.

And for all time their progeny will endure,
    their glory will never be blotted out.

Responsorial Psalm – 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6B and 9B

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

Alleluia – See JN 15:16

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

Gospel – Mk 11:11-26

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,
he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.

They came to Jerusalem,
and on entering the temple area
he began to drive out those selling and buying there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers
and the seats of those who were selling doves.
He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.
Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:

    My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples?
    But you have made it a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it
and were seeking a way to put him to death,
yet they feared him
because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.

Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart
but believes that what he says will happen,
it shall be done for him.
Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer,
believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.
When you stand to pray,
forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance,
so that your heavenly Father may in turn
forgive you your transgressions.”

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Figs Or No Figs


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 28, 2021

“When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. And he said to it in reply, ‘May no one ever eat of your fruit again!'” There is an interesting encounter between Jesus and a fig tree that should, in some ways, be of great concern for many of us. Plainly, the issue here is whether or not the Lord can find fruit in our lives. It also concerns the timing of that fruit search. “The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.” Jesus was hungry, and this hunger could be seen at least on two different and wonderful levels; first, the physical hunger of wanting to enjoy something that the earth bountifully produces and spiritual fruit which abides in all of us to one extent or another. The fig tree often symbolized the people of Israel as the Chosen Ones who first heard the message of the Gospel and then, by extension, the Church for all people to live and move and have their being. Thus, it is not an overreach to think that the Lord is looking for great fruit in all of us because He hungers for our faith to grow and prosper and spread. All this takes place in the present moment.

“Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf.” There is, moreover, another interesting insight that we can learn from today’s Scriptural offerings. Where was the last time we heard of the mention of a fig tree, and, more specifically, the fig leaf? Yes, in Genesis (3,7): “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.” They were guilty and felt shame because of their sin. Jesus curses the fig tree, and by way of extension, does away with its leaves and, because of His great love and sacrifice for us, does away with the shame and guilt that keeps us from loving Him and each other. Seek today to develop an even deeper relationship with the Lord so much so that you can sense that great and wonderful release from all the forces of darkness that keep us beaten and alone.

“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” Brené Brown

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May 27, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, bishop, please go here.

Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 350

Reading I – Sir 42:15-25

Now will I recall God’s works;
    what I have seen, I will describe.
At God’s word were his works brought into being;
    they do his will as he has ordained for them.
As the rising sun is clear to all,
    so the glory of the LORD fills all his works;
Yet even God’s holy ones must fail
    in recounting the wonders of the LORD,
Though God has given these, his hosts, the strength
    to stand firm before his glory.
He plumbs the depths and penetrates the heart;
    their innermost being he understands.
The Most High possesses all knowledge,
    and sees from of old the things that are to come:
He makes known the past and the future,
    and reveals the deepest secrets.
No understanding does he lack;
    no single thing escapes him.
Perennial is his almighty wisdom;
    he is from all eternity one and the same,
With nothing added, nothing taken away;
    no need of a counselor for him!
How beautiful are all his works!
    even to the spark and fleeting vision!
The universe lives and abides forever;
    to meet each need, each creature is preserved.
All of them differ, one from another,
    yet none of them has he made in vain,
For each in turn, as it comes, is good;
    can one ever see enough of their splendor?

Responsorial Psalm – 33:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (6A)  By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
    with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
    pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R.    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.
For upright is the word of the LORD
    and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
    of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R.    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.
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.    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all who dwell in the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it was made;
    he commanded, and it stood forth.
R.    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.

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 – Mk 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” 
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.

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May 27, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, bishop


For the readings of the Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 571

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 Thes 2:2B-8

Brothers and sisters:
We drew courage through our God
to speak to you the Gospel of God with much struggle.
Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives,
nor did it work through deception.
But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the Gospel,
that is how we speak,
not as trying to please men,
but rather God, who judges our hearts.
Nor, indeed, did we ever appear with flattering speech, as you know,
or with a pretext for greed–God is witness–
nor did we seek praise from men,
either from you or from others,
although we were able to impose our weight as Apostles of Christ.
Rather, we were gentle among you,
as a nursing mother cares for her children.
With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the Gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us.

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 10:14

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

Gospel – Mt 9:35-38

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

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The Light Of Trust


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 27, 2021

“How beautiful are all his works! Even to the spark and fleeting vision! The universe lives and abides forever; to meet each need, each creature is preserved.” Since the dawn of all the ages, there has been this remarkable and dramatic contest of strength between light and darkness, clarity and delusion, sight and blindness. These are all eternally wrapped up into our human existence, which by definition means they all have deep, spiritual roots over which our sweet Jesus holds sway. If all this is true, and we all know that it is, then each time we approach the Bible and the treasure lode of wisdom found there, we must address the issue of blindness in our lives and the continuing resolutions to this plight. The Psalm begins to prepare us for the only solution in sight: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made!”

For any of us struggling with the day-to-day pull of responsibilities, deadlines, or even seemingly endless worries, the Gospel is relief and miracle all bound up into one passage of pure magnificence. Let’s take a closer look at this: “Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.” The blindness of all sorts creates this mindless inertia and apathy within us, which makes an empty life full of taking and no giving. “On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.'” Jesus is always speaking to us, and just the slightest whisper from Heaven can make all the difference in the world to which our only response is to cry out to Him with everything we have in store of our being to which the Lord promises response. “And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more.” There will be negative and unbelieving voices in our lives trying to move us away from the battle victory we desire in prayer, but we must not stop or give up. “So they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” And there will be sane and rational people who believe with all their hearts and minds who continue to encourage and nourish us with their prayers. “He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.” Bartimaeus, remember, was blind and throwing off his clothing and springing anywhere could have meant a dangerous physical move, but he trusted with everything he had left to face Jesus to which “Jesus said to him in reply, ‘What do you want me to do for you?'” This is exactly the point in prayer where we must be solidly aware of our true needs, trust 100% in the Lord and then ask boldly with faith: “The blind man replied to him, ‘Master, I want to see.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.'” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.”

“There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.” Helen Keller

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May 26, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, priest, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest
Lectionary: 349

Reading I – Sir 36:1, 4-5A, 10-17

Come to our aid, O God of the universe,
    look upon us, show us the light of your mercies,
    and put all the nations in dread of you!
Thus they will know, as we know,
    that there is no God but you, O Lord.

Give new signs and work new wonders.

Gather all the tribes of Jacob,
    that they may inherit the land as of old,
Show mercy to the people called by your name;
    Israel, whom you named your firstborn.
Take pity on your holy city,
    Jerusalem, your dwelling place.
Fill Zion with your majesty,
    your temple with your glory.

Give evidence of your deeds of old;
    fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name,
Reward those who have hoped in you,
    and let your prophets be proved true.
Hear the prayer of your servants,
    for you are ever gracious to your people;
    and lead us in the way of justice.
Thus it will be known to the very ends of the earth
    that you are the eternal God.

Responsorial Psalm – 79:8, 9, 11 and 13

R.    (Sirach 36:1B)  Show us, O Lord, the light of your kindness.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
    may your compassion quickly come to us,
    for we are brought very low.
R.    Show us, O Lord, the light of your kindness.
Help us, O God our savior,
    because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
    for your name’s sake.
R.    Show us, O Lord, the light of your kindness.
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before you;
    with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
    will give thanks to you forever;
    through all generations we will declare your praise.
R.    Show us, O Lord, the light of your kindness.

Alleluia – Mk 10:45

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mk 10:32-45

The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem,
and Jesus went ahead of them.
They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them
what was going to happen to him.
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man
will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, 
and they will condemn him to death
and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him,
spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death,
but after three days he will rise.”
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came to Jesus and said to him,
‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, ‘What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him,
“Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, ‘We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The chalice that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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Serve To Live, Live To Serve


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 26, 2021

“Hear the prayer of your servants, for you are ever gracious to your people; and lead us in the way of justice.” Sociologist Robert Wuthnow of Princeton University has explored how it is that people make everyday ethical decisions. Many people, he found, perform deeds of compassion, service, and mercy because at some point in their past, someone acted with compassion toward them. He wrote, “The caring we receive may touch us so deeply that we feel especially gratified when we are able to pass it on to someone else.” He tells the story of Jack Casey, who was employed as an emergency worker on an ambulance rescue squad. When Jack was a child, he had oral surgery. Five teeth were to be pulled under general anesthetic, and Jack was fearful. What he remembers most, though, was the operating room nurse who, sensing the boy’s terror, said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be right here beside you no matter what happens.” When Jack woke up after the surgery, she was true to her word, standing right there with him.

Nearly 20 years later, Jack’s ambulance team is called to the scene of a highway accident. A truck has overturned, the driver is pinned in the cab, and power tools are necessary to get him out. However, gasoline is dripping onto the driver’s clothes, and one spark from the tools could have spelled disaster. The driver is terrified, crying out that he is scared of dying. So, Jack crawls into the cab next to him and says, “Look, don’t worry, I’m right here with you; I’m not going anywhere.” And Jack was true to his word; he stayed with the man until he was safely removed from the wreckage. Later the truck driver told Jack, “You were an idiot; you know that the whole thing could have exploded, and we’d have both been burned up!” Jack told him that he felt that he just couldn’t leave him.

Many years before, Jack had been treated compassionately by the nurse, and because of that experience, he could now show that same compassion to another. His experience of an act of loving service enabled him to do the same for another. In the Alleluia Verse for today, Jesus made it clear: “The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Following Jesus and living a Christian life that is authentic and inspiring is much more than having a hobby or belonging to a particular political party. It is even more than having a job or a career. Our faith not only points us to what is eternal but also follows us into that existence. If we live with Jesus here and now, we will enjoy His wonderful presence forever. That is why the Eucharist must understand that this life is passing and Heaven is the only real goal worth living and dying for. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!” St. Maximilian Kolbe

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May 26, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, priest


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest, please go here.

Lectionary: 570

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

Reading 1 – Phil 4:4-9

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 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 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – Jn 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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May 25, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Bede the Venerable, priest and doctor of the Church, please go here.

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Gregory VII, pope, religious, please go here.

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, virgin, please go here.

Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 348

Reading I – Sir 35:1-12

To keep the law is a great oblation,
    and he who observes the 
    commandments sacrifices a peace offering.
In works of charity one offers fine flour,
    and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise.
To refrain from evil pleases the LORD,
    and to avoid injustice is an atonement.
Appear not before the LORD empty-handed,
    for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts.
The just one’s offering enriches the altar
    and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High.
The just one’s sacrifice is most pleasing,
    nor will it ever be forgotten.
In a generous spirit pay homage to the LORD,
    be not sparing of freewill gifts.
With each contribution show a cheerful countenance,
    and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy.
Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
    generously, according to your means.

For the LORD is one who always repays,
    and he will give back to you sevenfold.
But offer no bribes, these he does not accept!
    Trust not in sacrifice of the fruits of extortion.
For he is a God of justice,
    who knows no favorites.

Responsorial Psalm – 50:5-6, 7-8, 14 and 23

R.    (23B)  To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Gather my faithful ones before me,
    those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
    for God himself is the judge.
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Hear, my people, and I will speak;
    Israel, I will testify against you;
    God, your God, am I.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
    for your burnt offerings are before me always.”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
    and fulfill your vows to the Most High.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
    and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia – 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 – Mk 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus,
‘We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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Relax And Float


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 25, 2021

“We have given up everything and followed you.” Have you heard someone go on and on about how successful they are and how much they have accomplished in their short life? Depending on how you view this scenario, one thing is for certain. There is no such thing as a self-made person. No one is born with everything they need to move forward in this life. Wisdom comes to each person at different times, and when it does, the same response is heard. “I owe everything to God.” And so it is. We owe God for everything, even these little breaths we take as we read the Scriptures of the Day and this Reflection. When we recount what St. Peter related to Jesus, we could add, “but God gave up His Son for all of us!” And so He did.

“For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold.” Faith is a fundamental part of life for the ones intent on seeing God face-to-face in heaven. Many of us were taught from a very young age that learning on faith in difficult situations helps us overcome even the most challenging times we will face during our lives. However, things don’t go according to plan, and we can be left feeling hopeless, broken, and desperate. That is why total trust, not part or even half-trust, is going to work.

Total trust = total surrender = total joy in the Lord Jesus!

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” Alan Watts

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May 25, 2021 – Optional memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, virgin


For the readings of the Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 569

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

Reading 1 – 1 Cor 7:25-35

In regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord,
but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
So this is what I think best because of the present distress:
that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is.
Are you bound to a wife?  Do not seek a separation.
Are you free of a wife?  Then do not look for a wife.
If you marry, however, you do not sin,
nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries;
but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life,
and I would like to spare you that.

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.

I should like you to be free of anxieties.
An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord,
how he may please the Lord.
But a married man is anxious about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife, and he is divided.
An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord,
so that she may be holy in both body and spirit.
A married woman, on the other hand,
is anxious about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband.
I am telling you this for your own benefit,
not to impose a restraint upon you,
but for the sake of propriety
and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 148:1-2, 11-13, 13-14

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

Alleluia – Jn 8:31B-32

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

Gospel – Mk 3:31-35

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

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May 25, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Gregory VII, pope, religious


For the readings of the Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 568

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

Reading 1 – Acts 20:17-18A, 28-32, 36

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mk 1:17

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

Gospel – Mt 16:13-19

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

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May 25 – Optional Memorial of Saint Bede the Venerable, priest and doctor of the Church


For the readings of the Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 567

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

Reading 1 – 1 Cor 2:10B-16

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Among men, who knows what pertains to the man
except his spirit that is within?
Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom,
but with words taught by the Spirit,
describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.

Now the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God,
for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it,
because it is judged spiritually.
The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything
but is not subject to judgment by anyone.

For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?
But we have the mind of Christ.

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

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

Reading 2 – See Jn 6:63, 68C

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting 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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May 24, 2021


Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Lectionary: 572A

Reading I – Gn 3:9-15, 20

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

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
    from all the animals
    and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
    and dirt shall you eat
    all the days of your life. 
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
    while you strike at his heel.”
The man called his wife Eve,
    because she became the mother of all the living.

OR:

Acts 1:12-14

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – 87:1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7

R. (3) Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
    the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
    more than any dwelling of Jacob.
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
Glorious things are said of you,
    O city of God!
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. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
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. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord;
O blessed mother of the Church,
you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 19:25-34

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. 

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 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.

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Your Mother My Defense


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 24, 2021

“O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord; O blessed mother of the Church, you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.” Today, the Church remembers and honors the intense suffering and grief of the Mother of Jesus during His Passion and Death and how these were gloriously transformed to bring us Jesus, Redemption, and the Church. Mary endured seven personal sorrows as was foretold to her by Simeon, the Temple priest, on the occasion of the Lord’s Presentation. Here is a partial text of a very popular hymn somberly expressing these heartfelt sentiments: At the cross, her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last. Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length the sword had passed. Our present hope for our Christian journey toward Heaven is found here in the mystery of today’s feast.

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?” Let us reflect on the mystery and fruits of suffering presented by St. John Paul II in the remarkable teaching borne out of his own incredible personal sufferings. First, he says that suffering empowers humility: To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him, God has confirmed his desire to act, especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self. Secondly, he teaches that suffering is transformative: Down through the centuries and generations, it has been seen that in suffering, there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. Many saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others, owe their profound conversion to this grace. A result of such a conversion is that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering, but above all, he becomes a completely new person. He finds a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation. Finally, he writes that suffering enlivens and grows charity and love for and of others: We could say that suffering is present to unleash love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one’s “I” on behalf of others people, especially those who suffer. The world of human suffering unceasingly calls for, so to speak, another world: the world of human love, and in a certain sense, man owes to suffering that unselfish love that stirs in his heart and actions.
Thus, suffering in its purest sense is the road to holiness and a closer walk and friendship with the Lord Jesus. His mother shed human tears for the Divine Son she helped bring into this world, our world. We cry human tears but not always for what is right and just. Today we seek to move toward complete integrity on this walk of ours toward Heaven, knowing and embracing humility, deep-seated change, and charity which are all great gifts when we suffer from each other with Jesus always in our hearts and minds as equally dignified members of the Church.

“Let me mingle tears with you, Mourning him who mourned for me, All the days that I may live. Christ, when you shall call me hence, Be your Mother my defense, Be your cross my victory.” Stabat Mater

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May 23, 2021


Pentecost Sunday Mass during the Day

For the readings of the Pentecost Sunday Extended Vigil, please go here.
For the readings of the Pentecost Sunday At the Vigil Mass, please go here.

Lectionary: 63

Reading I – Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

Responsorial Psalm – 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

R. (CF. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
    O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
    the earth is full of your creatures.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
    may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
    I will be glad in the LORD.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
If you take away their breath, they perish
    and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – 1 Cor 12:3B-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

OR:

Gal 5:16-25

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

Sequence

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
    Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
    Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
    Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
    Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
    And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
    Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
    Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
    Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
    In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
    Give them joys that never end. Amen.
    Alleluia.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 20:19-23

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.”

OR:

Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

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We Are Living Christs


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 23, 2021

“‘Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. As Scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.’ He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive.” This is one of those days that we can honestly greet each other with the happy phrase, “Happy Feast Day!” Why is that? Today the Church celebrates Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles, and many gathered with them, and the birth of the Church ensued. In some ways, we could say that this is our Birthday celebration because this is how it all began. This is how all of life is transformed and made new again. This is the force of the Gospel, especially when it is lived through and in the hearts of believers. This is what motivates the Psalmist to invite us to sing with all our hope and might: “When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.” Our Second Reading clarifies another compelling reason to ask and openly receive all the gifts that God wishes to impart to us through the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in this life. We have a great impact on and a deep call for service for and with each other. This makes the Church a mystery and a reassuring presence in a world that is often without it. Make this day special by renewing your Baptism and continuing to ask God for the strength of mind and heart. The best, as we have often said here, is yet to come. 

“Without Pentecost, the “Christ-event, ” that is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, remains imprisoned in history as something just to remember, think about and merely reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us so that we can become “living Christs” here and now.” Henri Nouwen

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May 23, 2021 – Pentecost Sunday At the Vigil Mass


For the readings of the Pentecost Sunday Mass during the Day, please go here.

Lectionary: 62

Reading I – Gn 11:1-9

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.
While the people were migrating in the east,
they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.
They said to one another,
“Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.”
They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city
and a tower with its top in the sky,
and so make a name for ourselves;
otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower
that the people had built.
Then the LORD said: “If now, while they are one people,
all speaking the same language,
they have started to do this,
nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do.
Let us then go down there and confuse their language,
so that one will not understand what another says.”
Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth,
and they stopped building the city.
That is why it was called Babel,
because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world.
It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.

OR:

Ex 19:3-8A, 16-20B

Moses went up the mountain to God.
Then the LORD called to him and said,
“Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob;

tell the Israelites:
You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians
and how I bore you up on eagle wings
and brought you here to myself.
Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant,
you shall be my special possession,
dearer to me than all other people,
though all the earth is mine.
You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
That is what you must tell the Israelites.”
So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people.
When he set before them
all that the LORD had ordered him to tell them,
the people all answered together,
“Everything the LORD has said, we will do.”

On the morning of the third day
there were peals of thunder and lightning,
and a heavy cloud over the mountain,
and a very loud trumpet blast,
so that all the people in the camp trembled.
But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God,
and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain.
Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke,
for the LORD came down upon it in fire.
The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace,
and the whole mountain trembled violently.
The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking,
and God answering him with thunder.

When the LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai,
he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain.

OR:

EZ 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD came upon me,
and he led me out in the spirit of the LORD
and set me in the center of the plain,
which was now filled with bones.
He made me walk among the bones in every direction
so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain.
How dry they were!
He asked me:

Son of man, can these bones come to life?
I answered, “Lord GOD, you alone know that.”
Then he said to me:
Prophesy over these bones, and say to them:
Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones:
See!  I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.
I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you,
cover you with skin, and put spirit in you
so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD.
I, Ezekiel, prophesied as I had been told,
and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise;
it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone.
I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them,
and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them.
Then the LORD said to me:
Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man,
and say to the spirit:  Thus says the Lord GOD:
From the four winds come, O spirit,
and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.
I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them;
they came alive and stood upright, a vast army.
Then he said to me:
Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They have been saying,
“Our bones are dried up,
our hope is lost, and we are cut off.”
Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

OR:    

Jl 3:1-5

Thus says the LORD:
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    your young men shall see visions;
even upon the servants and the handmaids,
    in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
And I will work wonders in the heavens and on the earth,
    blood, fire, and columns of smoke;
the sun will be turned to darkness,
    and the moon to blood,
at the coming of the day of the LORD,
    the great and terrible day.
Then everyone shall be rescued
    who calls on the name of the LORD;
for on Mount Zion there shall be a remnant,
    as the LORD has said,
and in Jerusalem survivors
    whom the LORD shall call.

Responsorial Psalm – 104:1-2, 24, 35, 27-28, 29, 30

R. (CF. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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!  Alleluia.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Creatures all look to you
    to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
If you take away their breath, they perish
    and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – Rom 8:22-27

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

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

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 7:37-39

On the last and greatest day of the feast,
Jesus stood up and exclaimed,
“Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.
As Scripture says:
    Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”

He said this in reference to the Spirit
that those who came to believe in him were to receive.
There was, of course, no Spirit yet,
because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

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May 23, 2021 – Pentecost Sunday Extended Vigil


For the readings of the Pentecost Sunday Mass during the Day, please go here.

Lectionary: 62 (Supplement)

Reading 1 – Genesis 11:1-9

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.
While the people were migrating in the east,
they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.
They said to one another,
“Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.”
They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city
and a tower with its top in the sky,
and so make a name for ourselves;
otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower
that the people had built.
Then the LORD said: “”If now, while they are one people,
all speaking the same language,
they have started to do this,
nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do.
Let us then go down there and confuse their language,
so that one will not understand what another says.””
Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth,
and they stopped building the city.
That is why it was called Babel,
because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world.
It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – PSALM 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Reading 2 – EX 19:3-8A, 16-20B

Moses went up the mountain to God.
Then the LORD called to him and said,
“”Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob;
tell the Israelites:
You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians
and how I bore you up on eagle wings
and brought you here to myself.
Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant,
you shall be my special possession,
dearer to me than all other people,
though all the earth is mine.
You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
That is what you must tell the Israelites.””
So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people.
When he set before them
all that the LORD had ordered him to tell them,
the people all answered together,
“”Everything the LORD has said, we will do.””

On the morning of the third day
there were peals of thunder and lightning,
and a heavy cloud over the mountain,
and a very loud trumpet blast,
so that all the people in the camp trembled.
But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God,
and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain.
Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke,
for the LORD came down upon it in fire.
The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace,
and the whole mountain trembled violently.
The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking,
and God answering him with thunder.

When the LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai,
he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain.

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

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


OR:

 PSALM 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 3 – EZ 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD came upon me,
and he led me out in the spirit of the LORD
and set me in the center of the plain,
which was now filled with bones.
He made me walk among the bones in every direction
so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain.
How dry they were!
He asked me:
Son of man, can these bones come to life?
I answered, “”Lord GOD, you alone know that.””
Then he said to me:
Prophesy over these bones, and say to them:
Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones:
See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.
I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you,
cover you with skin, and put spirit in you
so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD.
I, Ezekiel, prophesied as I had been told,
and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise;
it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone.
I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them,
and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them.
Then the LORD said to me:
Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man,
and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord GOD:
From the four winds come, O spirit,
and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.
I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them;
they came alive and stood upright, a vast army.
Then he said to me:
Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They have been saying,
“”Our bones are dried up,
our hope is lost, and we are cut off.””
Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PSALM 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say,
those whom he has redeemed from the hand of the foe
And gathered from the lands,
from the east and the west, from the north and the south.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They went astray in the desert wilderness;
the way to an inhabited city they did not find.
Hungry and thirsty,
their life was wasting away within them.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They cried to the LORD in their distress;
from their straits he rescued them.
And he led them by a direct way
to reach an inhabited city.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy
and his wondrous deeds to the children of men,
Because he satisfied the longing soul
and filled the hungry soul with good things.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 4  – JL 3:1-5                                      

Thus says the LORD:
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions;
even upon the servants and the handmaids,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
And I will work wonders in the heavens and on the earth,
blood, fire, and columns of smoke;
the sun will be turned to darkness,
and the moon to blood,
at the coming of the day of the LORD,
the great and terrible day.
Then everyone shall be rescued
who calls on the name of the LORD;
for on Mount Zion there shall be a remnant,
as the LORD has said,
and in Jerusalem survivors
whom the LORD shall call.

Responsorial Psalm – PSALM 104:1-2, 24 AND 35, 27-28, 29-30

R. (CF. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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! Alleluia.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Creatures all look to you
to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Epistle – ROM 8:22-27

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

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

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Gospel – JN 7:37-39

Jesus stood up and exclaimed,
“”Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.
As Scripture says:
Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.””

He said this in reference to the Spirit
that those who came to believe in him were to receive.
There was, of course, no Spirit yet,
because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

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May 22, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, religious, please go here.

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Mass in the Morning
Lectionary: 302

Acts 28:16-20, 30-31 – Acts 28:16-20, 30-31

When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews.
When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers,
although I had done nothing against our people
or our ancestral customs,
I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.
After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me,
because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.
But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar,
even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.
This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you
and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel
that I wear these chains.” 

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

Responsorial Psalm – 11:4, 5 and 7

R.    (see 7B)  The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is in his holy temple;
    the LORD’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold,
    his searching glance is on mankind.
R.    The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD searches the just and the wicked;
    the lover of violence he hates.
For the LORD is just, he loves just deeds;
    the upright shall see his face.
R.    The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 16:7, 13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord;
he will guide you to all truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 21:20-25

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved,
the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper
and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?  
You follow me.”
So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die.
But Jesus had not told him that he would not die,
just “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things
and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
There are also many other things that Jesus did,
but if these were to be described individually,
I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written.

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Consecrate The Person I Am Meant To Be


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 22, 2021

“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” When you and I were baptized, we were marked with oil to signify that we are consecrated to God and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Our anointing is also a powerful sacramental sign that means that we are joined to Christ and share in His threefold mission as Priest, Prophet, and King. The Israelites anointed their priests and kings with oil. They spoke of their prophets as being anointed with the Spirit. Jesus fulfilled all these as is evidenced in the dialogue in St. Mark’s Gospel of today when discussing how Christ is the Son of David: “David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.'” and proclaimed this these very words referred to him:

A priest is a mediator, or bridge, between God and human beings. He offers sacrifice to God on behalf of all. Once a year, the Jewish high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Temple on the Day of Atonement. There he offered sacrifice to God to make up for his sins and the sins of the people.

A prophet is a messenger sent by God, a person who speaks for God. They witness to God, call people to conversion, and are killed for their message. Jesus fits this description perfectly. He is the Word of God made flesh and called the world to turn away from sin and return to the Father and was put to death for it. Crowds identified him as “Jesus the prophet” (Matthew 21:11). He spoke of himself as a prophet: “No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” (Luke 4:24) He even foretold–prophesized– His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

A king is a person who has supreme authority over land and people. When kings ruled the Jewish people, they became a nation. They longed for a Messiah who would again make them great and free them from the oppression of the Roman Empire.

The references to Jesus as King in the Gospels are both amazing and meaningful: The Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that the Lord God would give her son the throne of King David, his father, and he would rule over the house of Jacob forever.

What was the most important day of your life? Earlier in our Reflections, I mentioned that Mark Twain said that there were two: 1. the day we were born and 2. the day we realized why. That certainly is accurate, but let’s reflect on what the Scripture has shown us today: the best day of our life was the day we were baptized into Christ! It was there that we received our three-fold mission to go forward in this life and anointed Priest, Prophet, and King:

Priest: As Baptized Christians, we pray and lift each other to God
and assist and partake in the great Sacrifice of the Mass.

Prophet: As Baptized Christians, we teach by both word and example
and stand up when necessary for the Gospel and the poor and defenseless.
King: As Baptized Christians, we act kingly when we serve, act selflessly
and practice noble generosity.

“Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be – and becoming that person.” St. Thérèse of Lisieux

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May 22, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, religious


For the readings of the Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Mass in the Morning, please go here.

Lectionary: 566B

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 4:4-9

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

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

Alleluia – Mt 11:28

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

Gospel – Lk 6:27-38

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

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

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May 21, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Christopher Magallanes, priest, and Companions, martyrs, please go here.

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 301

Reading I – Acts 25:13B-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul’s case to the king, saying,
“There is a man here left in custody by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews
brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.
I answered them that it was not Roman practice
to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers
and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.
So when they came together here, I made no delay;
the next day I took my seat on the tribunal
and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor’s decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

Responsorial Psalm – 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20AB

R.    (19A)  The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.    The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R.    The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven, 
    and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
    you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R.    The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, 
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” 
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; 
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

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Only So Many Tomorrows


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 21, 2021

“…but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” It is an interesting and acquired taste of irony that we enter this life needing someone else to dress, feed and clean up after us only to find that toward the very end of this amazing life, we will depend on others, not the same people to do the same for us. What can we learn from this? One aspect is clear. We are brought into the world with the almost inescapable lessons of service and self-emptying to hopefully initiate for the years that we have with the not-so-unrealistic hope that others will still be there for us are at the depths of need and dependence. 

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  This is precisely why the question that Jesus asks of Peter in the Gospel (and three entire times obviously to make a divine point) is startling and realistically geared for every one of us who seeks to live a life of integrity and peace and one day finds our eternal home in Heaven. Life is certainly too short and too fragile to live selfishly. We are placed here to help each other, and everyone has a distinct mission to fulfill. God put you and me here for a definite and wonderful reason, and we first find out what that is and then live life to the absolute fullest. When Jesus asks us, “do you love me?,” the only way to answer is to show Him how much we love each other. 

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

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May 21, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Christopher Magallanes, priest, and Companions, martyrs


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

Lectionary: 566A

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 7:9-17

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

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

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

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

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

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne
and worship him day and night in his temple.
The One who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them
and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

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

R. (5) The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.  
R. The Lord delivered me from all my fears.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.  
R. The Lord 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 afflicted man 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.

Reading 2 – Mt 5:10

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

Gospel – Jn 12:24-26

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

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May 20, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest, please go here.

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 300

Reading I – Acts 22:30; 23:6-11

Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
“We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

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 – Jn 17:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 17:21

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“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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E Pluribus Unum*


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 20, 2021

“May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.” Unity and union have tremendous amounts of literary and spiritual appearances in the Scriptures and the course of everyday life. We are constantly and even sometimes painfully reminded of what brings us together and what tears us apart. Our background, whether social background, knowledge, experience, or religion, can bring us together, separate us, or even cause conflict. Still, even in the face of such daunting challenges, Jesus prays to His Father that we may be one. 

“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.” Why do we need unity? Jesus asserts that it is primarily for our benefit. It benefits all God’s people and makes us more effective, and shines Christ’s love into the world. When there is no unity in the essential matters of life, we have disastrous effects. Let’s start with our inner circles and immediate spheres of influence. What can and should I do today to make things more unified? How can I be a source of unity rather than disunity? The answer is simple because it is found in the person of Jesus who is love and who taught us that the greatest thing we can do in this life is to love, forgive and serve. Today is a good day to start. Out of many, let us be one. 

*E pluribus unum – Latin for “Out of many, one” – is a traditional motto of the United States, appearing on the Great Seal; its inclusion on the seal was approved by an Act of Congress in 1782.

“In the essential things, unity; in the non-essential, diversity. In all things, charity.” St. Augustine

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May 20, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest


For the readings of the Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 566

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, #713-718.

Reading 1 – Acts 4:8-12

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 – Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10, 11

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

Reading 2 – Jn 8:12

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

Gospel – Lk 9:57-62

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

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May 19, 2021


Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 299

Reading I – Acts 20:28-38

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.

Responsorial Psalm – 68:29-30, 33-35A, 35BC-36AB

R.    (33A)  Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Show forth, O God, your power,
    the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
    let the kings bring you gifts.
R.    Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth. 
or:
R.    Alleluia.
You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
    chant praise to the Lord
    who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
    “Confess the power of God!”
R.    Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Over Israel is his majesty;
    his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
    he gives power and strength to his people.
R.    Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia- See Jn 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – Jn 17:11B-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth. 
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

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Smile, Breathe, Give.


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 19, 2021

“Consecrate them in the truth.” What does it mean to consecrate someone or something? Some definitions render the word as the act by which something or someone is made sacred and or dedicated for a clear and religious purpose when Jesus continues His prayer to the Father in Heaven and asks that those who would follow Him, His Apostles, the early Church, and all of us who seek the truth in the Church to be consecrated, it is clear that He is asking that we be set apart and made sacred for a specific role and place in this world. 

“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” How can we live this “consecration” daily? First, it means that we are people of truth and not lies. Second, we continue to seek to be in union with Jesus, always staying in communication with Him just as He was with His Father. And finally, we must keep in mind the powerful description that Jesus gives to all of us today: “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” When worry, anxiety, anger, or deep-seated sorrow begin to overtake us, we must cling to this promise. We simply do not belong to this world; we belong to Jesus. Seen in this perspective, even the greatest problems we may ever have to encounter will always be met with Jesus right at our side. “In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”  

“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”  Steve Maraboli

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May 18, 2021


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

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 298

Reading I – Acts 20:17-27

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned. 
When they came to him, he addressed them,
“You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

“But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

Responsorial Psalm – 68:10-11, 20-21

R.    (33A)  Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
    you restored the land when it languished;
Your flock settled in it;
    in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R.    Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed day by day be the Lord,
    who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
    the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death. 
R.    Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 17:1-11A

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

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The Most Important Lesson


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 18, 2021

“And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” Like the Divine Parent that He is, God loves us all so very much and sees with the eternal eyes of providence the rich potential in all of us even though we do make some really bad choices now and then. As we near the Feast of Pentecost and all the riches that are promised there, what do we hope to learn and guard moving forward? 

“Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.” Throughout the transfiguring Season of Lent, Jesus taught us all some amazing lessons of life. We could summarize some of them thus:

1. Never trade temporary pleasure for permanent regret.
2. Seek wise counsel from people who care about you.
3. Pray and seek wisdom from God’s word for your decisions.

Perhaps you have more or even some amendments to these but make no mistake, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit have been promised to us to use and make this life the very best. The rest is up to us. 

“The most important thing is God’s blessing and if you believe in God and you believe in yourself, you have nothing to worry about.” Mohamed Al-Fayed

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May 18, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint John I, pope, martyr


For the readings of the Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter, pope, martyr, please go here.

Lectionary: 565

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 – Rv 3:14B, 20-22

“‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the source of God’s creation, says this:

“‘”Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
then I will enter his house and dine with him
and he with me.
I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne,
as I myself first won the victory
and sit with my Father on his throne.

” ‘”Whoever has ears ought to hear
what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘”

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:15

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

Gospel – Lk 22:24-30

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

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May 17, 2021


Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 297

Reading I – Acts 19:1-8

While Apollos was in Corinth,
Paul traveled through the interior of the country
and down to Ephesus where he found some disciples. 
He said to them,
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
They answered him,
“We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
He said, “How were you baptized?”
They replied, “With the baptism of John.”
Paul then said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him,
that is, in Jesus.”
When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul laid his hands on them,
the Holy Spirit came upon them,
and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Altogether there were about twelve men.

He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly
with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God. 

Responsorial Psalm – 68:2-3AB, 4-5ACD, 6-7AB

R.    (33A)  Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
God arises; his enemies are scattered,
    and those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so are they driven;
    as wax melts before the fire. 
R.    Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
But the just rejoice and exult before God;
    they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
    whose name is the LORD. 
R.    Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
    is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
    he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R.    Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
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 16:29-33

The disciples said to Jesus,
“Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world.” 

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Conquering In The Struggle


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 17, 2021

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” Each time we live through the great transforming Seasons of Lent and Easter, some part of us must be changed. Understanding and embracing final justice and the Last Judgement has the remarkable effect of grounding us closer and closer to Jesus, knowing that as long as we stand with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit, life can never be the same again.

So my dear friends, what are we to do as we bathe in the grace of these powerful proclamations from Scripture? First, practice the faith. Of course, the spiritual life is a struggle, but within that grind, we find ourselves and our road to holiness. Second, be generous in the things of God and pray for the spirit of detachment. The early Christians lived this remarkable spirit. Even though their lifestyle didn’t amount to much in monetary terms, their intention and hearts certainly did, as they were poised for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Finally, reject discouragement: “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” 

Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.” Brennan Manning

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May 16, 2021


For the readings of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, please go here.

Seventh Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 60

Reading I – Acts 1:15-17, 20A, 20C-26

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers
—there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place —.
He said, “My brothers,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
He was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.

“For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
    May another take his office.

“Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men
who accompanied us the whole time
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Judas called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the eleven apostles.

Responsorial Psalm – 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20

R. (19A) The Lord has set his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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. The Lord has set his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord has set his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
    you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has set his throne in heaven.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – 1 Jn 4:11-16

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.

Alleluia – Cf. Jn 14:18

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

Gospel – Jn 17:11B-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.  Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

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Ascension: “I’ll Be Back”


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 16, 2021

The Feast that we celebrate today brings a newness of understanding and a fresh and bold way to continue the path we have chosen all the way to Heaven. This virtual retreat that started on Ash Wednesday, culminating on Easter Sunday, is now being fully realized and planted in our hearts right as Pentecost looms with the promise of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit: “So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.”   You see, this does not mark an end of the relationship Jesus has with us, the Church, but rather a new beginning and new way of how we relate to Him as He returns to the Father. We are the Body of Christ, and thus we have also ascended with Him in a very hopeful and powerful way. This must change how we look at our lives today, knowing that the greatest is still yet to come for all of us. Our very nature now is in transition between Heaven and earth, and it will be up to us to decide how we are to act while we live and move and have our being. That must involve praying for, waiting for, and living in the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. We must be witnesses! 

“We must show our Christian colors if we are to be true to Jesus Christ.” (C. S. Lewis) Perhaps the most awesome lesson to learn from today’s Feast is the fact that Jesus is coming back just as He said He would. This certainly does NOT mean that we lie in wait, scared and anxious about the cataclysmic doomsday that is so popular in science-fiction and pop culture. The opposite is true: doesn’t it make more sense than if you knew someone you deeply loved was coming to see you, wouldn’t you be outside eager and happy to greet them, having prepared a lavish welcome with mind and heart ready and poised to hold and embrace and even shout with a song upon seeing them again? Absolutely! It is not always easy to maintain such a joyful demeanor, especially when we must face crises and problems. Sometimes we are allowed to hit rock bottom to know that God is The Rock at the bottom. Discovering this mysterious truth, we then are set again to face whatever comes with the strength inside from Him, who is returning just as He left. Indeed, we could and should shout with the Second Reading today: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”  

“What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them…we must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly.”  A.W. Tozer 

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May 16, 2021 – Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord


For the readings of the Seventh Sunday of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 58

Reading I – Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
    shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
    is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
    the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
    sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
    sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
    God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – Eph 1:17-23

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

OR:

Eph 4:1-13 or 4:1-7, 11-13

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

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 
Therefore, it says:
    He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
    he gave gifts to men.

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

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith

and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ. 

OR:

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

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 

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

Alleluia – Mt 28:19A, 20B

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

Gospel – Mk 16:15-20

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

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

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The Shadow of Your Smile


two adult men on grass smiling

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”  St. Francis of Assisi

“The shadow of your smile, when you are gone, will color all my dreams and light the dawn. Look into my eyes, my love and see all the lovely things you are to me.” Songwriters Johnny Mandel/Paul Webster, “The Shadow Of Your Smile” lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

His father was turning seventy and he was literally scrambling for the most clever and appropriate surprise to provide to mark this wonderful and yet overwhelming occasion. Theirs was a unique relationship, as so many are. They did not spend that much time together, yet, if you were to ask either of them, it was as if they talked every day, and perhaps they did, in a spiritual, almost mysterious sort of way. When they would gather for a quick lunch or an occasional steak dinner at one of their favorite “mom-and-pop” steak houses that looked more like an abandoned laundromat, they laughed quite often at the way they would finish each other’s sentences.

As a father of four himself, he had understood and accepted the awesome responsibilities of parenthood and on this particular day, he was walking into a dental office with his youngest son, who by far was the most extensive patient and costly of all his four children. Perhaps, he was also the least appreciative. As he stepped inside, the aroma of the office assaulted him. It was the smell of the toothpaste-cleansing materials, the sterilized dental equipment mixed in with the freshly washed floors and polished sinks which created that mysterious scent associated with all dental offices. Slowing down, he took a deep breath, clouded his eyes, and was transported back to his youth, to the first time he went to the dentist’s office with his dad. He did not know what braces were when he first heard the word, but he would never forget them after that. His teeth were in horrible need of costly work that already begun to inhibit him to hide the smile that was growing alongside the rest of his body. 

One thing was for sure, there was going to be a whole lot of sacrifices to be made to make this work. But he was still a kid and could not appreciate all the ups and downs of keeping a family financially afloat. Then came that one day after school that he came home early and walked down the hall in their modest house and heard his parents talking. His mother seemed a little upset with his dad, and then he heard his name mentioned. They were not really fighting but for a small kid, it just sounded like he was the reason for an argument. This dental expense was not “absolutely” necessary and because of struggling times, there was this thought floating between them that maybe he could get his own teeth worked on when he arrived into his adult years. But his dad would not hear of it. He was going to sell a few prized collector’s items, pick up a second job doing security work at the nearby mall, and that would be it.

Here was yet another example of what Mother Teresa meant when she said that we need to give until it hurts. That young man, wise beyond his years, realized the sacrifice his father was about to make made for him and he could still remember that night moistening his pillow with his tears, tears of pure joy that he had a father who loved him so much and would practically do anything for his happiness. He made a silent but powerful promise to God that he would never forget him for it. For the next couple of years or so, his dad would call out to him whether they were outside working on the yard, at the supper table, or maybe coming back from the gas station, and then flash this playful, Cheshire-cat type of wide-grin, and say the same thing each time: “You see, everything always works out!”

Now as an adult with his own growing family, he found that these were challenging days, maybe even a little on the dark side. Everything seemingly was falling apart for him as he began to witness some of his dreams go up in smoke. He just could not catch a break, and all the while he did not want to worry his father who was equally growing anxious about his son’s anxiety levels affecting everything from his marriage to his appreciation of the man he had become. However, the biggest test of faith and family was about to be served to both men. His father had asked him for a ride to the doctor’s office so they could grab a steak afterwards. There was an unusual quiet during the relatively short ride to the medical center, and it seemed that both had much weighing on their minds, first for themselves, then for the other.

After waiting almost an hour, he witnessed his dad step out of the doctor’s office as if he had just put gas in the sedan, with nothing seemingly out of the ordinary. He provided the copay and the two walked out of the clinic and got in the vehicle. Right away, there was something very wrong that made that deep aching pain in the stomach so much worse. “Let’s go,” his dad said and with that his son knew something was very wrong. They drove for a while in silence, and his son knew that his dad would tell him what was wrong in his own way. They took the long way to the little restaurant, and as they drove down past their old house, the baseball field where they made such wonderful memories, and of course, their old dentist’s office, the older of the pair started talking about life and the memories each place helped to create. That’s when the younger man knew his dad was dying. They looked at each other and nodded. No words, as usual, were needed. They understood.

And there it was again, that smile. The smile that says what words can hardly convey between the souls that truly have been placed on this earth for each other. Sometimes it is in marriage, sometimes great friends, and sometimes, in the most amazing of moments, between those who are called fathers and sons. Under the shadow of that smile, great things grow. And they grow into a gift that is not only hard to describe or put into words, but also impossible to share without breaking down in a pool of cathartic tears. This is the story of so many who live and move and have their being walking around us every day. Perhaps we know their stories and most likely, we do not. But they are there. And wouldn’t be just a little gift we could give to ourselves today, deserved or not, that at the end of our lives, when we open our eyes after this earthly journey is completed, we could hope to see the face of Jesus. Of course, he is smiling. And what do you think he’ll say?

“You see, everything always works out!”

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”  Erma Bombeck

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May 15, 2021


Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 296

Reading I – Acts 18:23-28

After staying in Antioch some time,
Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence
through the Galatian country and Phrygia,
bringing strength to all the disciples.

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus.
He was an authority on the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and,
with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue;
but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside
and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.
And when he wanted to cross to Achaia,
the brothers encouraged him
and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.
After his arrival he gave great assistance
to those who had come to believe through grace.
He vigorously refuted the Jews in public,
establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – 47:2-3, 8-9, 10

R.    (8A)  God is king of all the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands;
    shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
    is the great king over all the earth.
R.    God is king of all the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
    sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
    God sits upon his holy throne. 
R.    God is king of all the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The princes of the peoples are gathered together
    with the people of the God of Abraham.
For God’s are the guardians of the earth;
    he is supreme. 
R.    God is king of all the earth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 16:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I came from the Father and have come into the world;
now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 16:23b-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

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Beauty Not Misery


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 15, 2021

“I came from the Father and have come into the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”  What kind of magnificent love is it that inspired and propelled God to send His Son Jesus Christ to be born in a filthy manger, live a poor life, then be crucified for our sins? Perhaps a line from the Gospel of today helps us answer this profound question: “For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God.”

As we are surrounded by the great Feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost, we are called to respond with the enthusiastic joy of the awareness brought to the one who understands this gift and cannot help but be changed forever. My life must be different because of what happened to me and the world. Death has been defeated, and there is a place waiting for me in Heaven forever. This, too, is underscored by the opening lines of the Responsorial Psalm of today: “All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with cries of gladness. For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.” Let us move forward into this weekend with new resolve and new hope. Darkness cannot and will not extinguish what we have been given. 

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” Anne Frank

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May 14, 2021


Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle
Lectionary: 564

Reading I – Acts 1:15-17, 20-26

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters
(there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place).
He said, “My brothers and sisters,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
Judas was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

    Let his encampment become desolate,
        and may no one dwell in it.

and:
    May another take his office.

Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men 
who accompanied us the whole time 
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm – 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R.    (8)  The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
    praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
    both now and forever.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
    is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
    above the heavens is his glory.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
    and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
    from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
To seat them with princes,
    with the princes of his own people.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – See Jn 15:16

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

Gospel – Jn 15:9-17

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

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

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St. Matthias: Love In The Time Of Christ


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 14, 2021

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Here we have the most awesome and life-changing promise that the Lord offers to us to ensure that we know that He is absolutely and eternally serious about what he intends to provide for us for all time: He promises to make the ultimate sacrifice for those He loves intensely. Do you personally know anyone who would die for you? If you did, would they be able to assure your entrance into Heaven? Only Jesus can do both. 

“Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.” Today is also the Feast of St. Matthias, who in effect “replaced” the fallen traitor Judas after the horrible sequence of events after the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. Again, we have an example of the love Christ has for His Church by continually stocking and staffing good and solid leaders to shepherd and protect the flock. God never leaves us, orphans, because we live in the time of Christ until we live with Him forever in Heaven. 

“If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him. It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is. Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. And Jesus says to us, “…I have called you friends….” Remain faithful to your Friend, and remember that His honor is at stake in your bodily life.”
Oswald Chambers

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May 13, 2021


For the readings of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, please go here.

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 294

In Provinces where the celebration of Ascension is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the following readings are used on this Thursday.

Reading I – Acts 18:1-8

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – See Jn 14:18

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

Gospel – Jn 16:16-20

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

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Such Sweet Sorrow


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 13, 2021

“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I’ll say good night until tonight becomes tomorrow.” –Shakespeare, (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Line 185)  “I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.” How can separation and painful longing be good? Perhaps we could also remember the adage repeated a million times all over the globe, which states emphatically that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Is that true? Because of our weakened humanity always longing for things that will never disappoint, anger or end, we can see how separation allows us to be much more aware and grateful of the people and the things around us. Think of the ailing patient in a cold, removed hospital room who misses the outdoors. Then imagine the first day out of the hospital. What joy it would be! 

And there is yet another sweetening factor here: “ Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

Please realize today and for the rest of our tomorrows what access we have been given after the Ascension and in the power of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost. We can and must ask God for all of our needs with the assurance and confidence that the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus has given us. “Ask and you will receive” is better than all the promises of the world combined! That is why the parting of Christ at the Ascension is such sweet sorrow. 

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” A.A. Milne 

So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” Helen Keller

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May 13, 2021 – Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord


For the readings of the Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, please go here.

Lectionary: 58

Reading I – Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
    shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
    is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
    the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
    sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
    sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
    God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – Eph 1:17-23

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

OR:

Eph 4:1-13 or 4:1-7, 11-13

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

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 
Therefore, it says:
    He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
    he gave gifts to men.

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

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith

and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ. 

OR:

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

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 

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

Alleluia – Mt 28:19A, 20B

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

Gospel – Mk 16:15-20

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

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

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May 12, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Pancras, martyr, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saints Nereus and Achilleus, martyrs, please go here.

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 293

Reading I – Acts 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
“We should like to hear you on this some other time.”
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth. 

Responsorial Psalm – 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

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

Alleluia – Jn 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

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May 12, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Pancras, martyr


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

Lectionary: 563

Reading I – Acts 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
“We should like to hear you on this some other time.”
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth. 

Responsorial Psalm – 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

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

Alleluia – Jn 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

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May 12, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saints Nereus and Achilleus, martyrs


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

Lectionary: 562

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 7:9-17

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

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

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

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

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

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne
and worship him day and night in his temple.
The One who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne
will shepherd them
and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 5:10

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

Gospel – Mt 10:17-22

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

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Gods Of Our Own Making


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 12, 2021

Our First Reading today reveals a remarkable experience which St. Paul had when speaking to the deeply religious Greeks living in Athens at that time: “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious.” As we recall, the Greeks had an altar to an unknown or unrecognizable deity, and the brilliant St. Paul utilized this moment in what had to have been a breath-taking moment. He built on their spiritual experience of something beyond their immediate grasp. He began to introduce the wonders and miraculous comfort of our God who clearly does not want to remain hidden or distant and who has been and will always be patiently awaiting an epiphany on the part of every individual who is looking for truth and meaning their lives: “God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent.”

“But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” These wonderful passages prepare us for the great Feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost, which are being anticipated by the whole Church in the coming weeks. First, Jesus must physically leave to prepare a place for us. Second, The Holy Spirit must come down upon the Church so that Christians everywhere may fully enter the mystery of grace and salvation at a level of comfort, vision, and understanding. We pray during this time for an infusion of wisdom so that we might comprehend what is happening in our lives and place all those events, good and bad, happy and tragic, onto the backdrop and perspective of our eternal life in Heaven. Allow these days of waiting for Pentecost to make a real impact on your life. It promises to be amazing, even if it is just one small insight that is received. It could make a huge difference. 

Our society worships gods of our own making. Our culture is saturated with the worship of sports, sex and pleasure. We are busy humanizing God and deifying man. Our idols are not statues of gold and marble; our idols come from the things we love the most. Life does not have to be filled with such emptiness, but we can fill our minds and hearts with the things that bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Dr.Billy Graham

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May 11, 2021


Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 292

Reading I – Acts 16:22-34

The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. 
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
“Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.”
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved.”
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.

Responsorial Psalm – 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8

R.    (7C)  Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
    for you have heard the words of my mouth;
    in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
    and give thanks to your name.
R.    Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Because of your kindness and your truth,
    you have made great above all things
    your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
    you built up strength within me.
R.    Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
    your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
    forsake not the work of your hands.
R.    Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – See Jn 16:7, 13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord;
he will guide you to all truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 16:5-11

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me; 
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

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Never Alone


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 11, 2021

“Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.'” If someone were to ask you what you thought marks the life of a Christian, what do you think you would say? No doubt, some would say that they are nice, friendly, and generous with their time and possessions. Others might also chime in and say that the mark of a Christian is a thirst for God’s Word. Even though answers like these are correct, there is one hallmark that is often forgotten. It is the hallmark of love. Christians should love each other. That means that at every opportunity we approach, especially in the face of evil and hatred, if we truly want to look like a Christian, then we must act like one and forgive and love as often as humanly possible. 

“And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation.” This is why the promise on the part of Jesus for the Holy Spirit, called the Advocate in these passages, is of the most remarkable and utmost importance. You see, without the help of the Holy Spirit, we couldn’t possibly know what it means to forgive and move on with our lives. We would not know what it means to trust and place all of our lives, especially its worries and difficulties, at the foot of the cross and know that we are never alone. 

You are never left alone when you are alone with God.” Woodrow Kroll

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May 10, 2021


Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 291

Reading I – Acts 16:11-15

We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace,
and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We spent some time in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river
where we thought there would be a place of prayer.
We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.
One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth,
from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened,
and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention
to what Paul was saying.
After she and her household had been baptized,
she offered us an invitation,
“If you consider me a believer in the Lord,
come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us.

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:26B, 27A

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

Gospel – Jn 15:26—16:4A

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you.”

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Lydia’s Legacy


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 10, 2021

“One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying.” From time to time, the Scriptures unfold and reveal certain special treasures that make sense to a handful of believers, even more so than to others. Today is one of those days. Although we may not have ever heard of Saint Lydia, she did exist, and in some parts of the Church on the planet, her veneration and memory are still celebrated. The site where she was baptized is marked with a modern Greek Orthodox chapel just outside the NW gate of Roman Philippi in Greece. 

“And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.” Although for most Catholics, praying to Saint Lydia for her intercession to the Lord for us would be very innovative and unique, there is something wonderful and insightful here. What she models for us is not new. In his 1995 Letter to Women, Saint John Paul II wrote, “In this vast domain of service, the Church’s two-thousand-year history, for all its historical conditioning, has truly experienced the ‘genius of woman’; from the heart of the Church there have emerged women of the highest caliber who have left an impressive and beneficial mark in history.” St. Lydia’s genius is instructive and worthy of our consideration for knowing the desires of her heart: She was a businesswoman who lived the virtue of hospitality, a leader of people, and a follower of Jesus Christ. She knew her own heart and followed its inspirations and attractions to the person of Jesus Christ. Let us ask Lydia to guide all women, indeed, all Christians, in their responding sacrificially to the holy desires of their hearts. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home.” 

Pour out upon us, Lord, the spirit of knowledge and love of you, with which you filled your handmaid blessed Lydia, so that, serving you sincerely in imitation of her, we may be pleasing to you by our faith and our works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

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May 9, 2021


Sixth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 56

Reading I – Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

When Peter entered, Cornelius met him
and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.
Peter, however, raised him up, saying,
“Get up. I myself am also a human being.”

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.”

While Peter was still speaking these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.
The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter
were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit
should have been poured out on the Gentiles also,
for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.
Then Peter responded,
“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people,
who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?”
He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – 98:1, 2-3, 3-4

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

Reading II – 1 Jn 4:7-10

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

Alleluia – Jn 14:23

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

Gospel – Jn 15:9-17

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

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

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I Chose You


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 9, 2021

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

One day an older gentleman received a call from his fifty-something son whose relationship was always good but lived far away in another state. It was a brief call only to say that the younger man had been in a larger meeting, and the man sitting next to him had used the same kind of hair gel his dad had used for all these years (when he had hair). He just wanted his dad to know that he remembered his father, missed him, and loved him with all his heart. Can you imagine how that older man must have felt? What a great and comforting surprise. “He remembers me, still!”

“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?” This is a little of what it is for those chosen by the Lord to follow Him, which truly includes all of us. This must be the Holy Spirit at great work in the world if it is so personal and yet so universal. The Lord is hungering for our faith while every one of us remains so special and truly close to His Heart. We exist as if there were only one of us in the entire universe. This is what the Holy Spirit does for the one who seeks God in this life. 

“In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” Today in the United States, we celebrate Mother’s Day, and with that, there is unleashed all kinds of memories, thoughts, and emotions. Today, we hope that whatever is going through the human heart of our readers, one thing will be clear: God chose you to bring life into this world and make a positive difference precisely because you know that Heaven is waiting for us all. Like our loving God, Moms are the people who know us the best and love us the most.  

Happy Mother’s Day!

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May 8, 2021


Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 290

Reading I – Acts 16:1-10

Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once, 
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial Psalm – 100:1B-2, 3, 5

R.    (2A)  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    serve the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful song.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
    he made us, his we are;
    his people, the flock he tends.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is good:
    his kindness endures forever,
    and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
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 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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Love’s Search For Happiness


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 8, 2021

Imagine the disappointment of those over 2,000 years ago who were expecting their own created version of the Messiah! They expected a revolutionary who would wield such political and military power that anyone associated with him and is called “his friend.” They would then somehow share in that tremendous and overwhelmingly amassed power. It is little wonder why such as these rejected Jesus Christ flat out because, astoundingly, he promoted service as a basis for greatness. He even washed feet and wounds and ate with sinners and outcasts: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.”

William Shakespeare once wrote, “Expectation is the root of all heartache,” and although there is much truth in that statement, there perhaps is more that resonates with reality to say that unrealistic expectation is the blueprint for disaster. Those who rejected Jesus when He first came were steeped in their mistaken ideas about who God promised and how he would save them from their sins. 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: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Love Jesus today with all your heart, and then allow that remarkable decision to permeate and affect everything you do and say from now on. Sometimes the human heart needs more time to accept what the mind already knows. 

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” C. S. Lewis

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May 7, 2021


Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 289

Reading I – Acts 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. 
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
“The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’“

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

Responsorial Psalm – 57:8-9, 10 and 12

R.    (10A)  I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp!
    I will wake the dawn.
R.    I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD,
    I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
    and your faithfulness to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
    above all the earth be your glory!
R.    I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 15:15B

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

Gospel – Jn 15:12-17

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

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To Live As Friends


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 7, 2021

“I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.” Perhaps one of the greatest gifts we each have in this life is that of solid, lasting, and supportive friendship. We often do not think about this treasure in our lives, but it is one that we certainly miss when it is gone. Jesus offers the most remarkable share in His life by calling us His friends and providing the same comforts and encouragements that come from good friends. And He promises that He is also present in those relationships that bring us closer and closer to Heaven and help build our relationship with Jesus Himself. “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” 

The Lord also offers a deeper insight into love and friendship when he states what might have been so obvious beforehand: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The utmost extent of a loving commitment of one friend to another is found in the ultimate sacrifice that people make for each other. Sometimes that sacrifice is carried out in one singular moment or lived out over many, many years of life. Nevertheless, friendship in the Lord Jesus is the greatest gift of all nourished by the Word of the Scriptures and the Bread of Life. 

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

Michael W. Smith

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May 6, 2021


Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 288

Reading I – Acts 15:7-21

After much debate had taken place,
Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters,
“My brothers, you are well aware that from early days
God made his choice among you that through my mouth
the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe.
And God, who knows the heart,
bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit
just as he did us.
He made no distinction between us and them,
for by faith he purified their hearts.
Why, then, are you now putting God to the test
by placing on the shoulders of the disciples
a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe that we are saved
through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.”
The whole assembly fell silent,
and they listened
while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders
God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

After they had fallen silent, James responded,
“My brothers, listen to me.
Symeon has described how God first concerned himself
with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name.
The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written:

    After this I shall return
        and rebuild the fallen hut of David;
    from its ruins I shall rebuild it
        and raise it up again,
    so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord,
        even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked.
    Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things,
        known from of old.

It is my judgment, therefore,
that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God,
but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols,
unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.
For Moses, for generations now,
has had those who proclaim him in every town,
as he has been read in the synagogues every sabbath.”

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

R.    (3)  Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
    sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
    among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
    he governs the peoples with equity.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
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 15:9-11

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

“I have told you this so that
my joy might be in you and
your joy might be complete.”

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Complete Joy


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 6, 2021

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” Joy is both a mysterious and complicated matter for some reason. What brings joy to one and not to another? Why do some people avoid being happy while others thrive on it? Perhaps part of understanding human nature is revealed within each person who feels and experiences life through their prism of life and love. Each person makes a fundamental decision practically every day of their lives as to what will make them happy, sad, angry, or even apathetic. For our purposes in trying to unlock the Scriptures, we could say that joy, like happiness, is a choice, and from the looks of things, a very important one. 

“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” What it comes down to is this: it all depends on who you listen to.

  • We all have friends and acquaintances who claim to be news buffs and have their hands on the pulse of all things newsworthy.
  • We know people whose worldview is only determined by those who occupy their inner circles.
  • And, of course, we know some people who seem to be aimlessly lost because they claim to have no real-world connections.

Are you listening for the voice of Jesus today? What is He saying to you, right here, right now? There is so much riding on the answer to this question and if you want complete joy in Christ, then you must listen. Because if we listen, we follow. Then our joy might be complete. 

“Prayer is first of all listening to God. It’s openness. God is always speaking; he’s always doing something. Prayer is to enter into that activity… Convert your thoughts into prayer. As we are involved in unceasing thinking, so we are called to unceasing prayer. The difference is not that prayer is thinking about other things, but that prayer is thinking in dialogue,… a conversation with God.” Henri Nouwen

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May 5, 2021


Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 287

Reading I – Acts 15:1-6

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
“Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved.”
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question. 
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.”

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:4A, 5B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 15:1-8

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

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Remain In Me


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 5, 2021

“Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.” This is yet another profound and useful image to understand our role and purpose in this life. How often have we asked ourselves or heard others ask about why we are here and what exactly our purpose is? Sometimes our vision for ourselves falls short of what is going on in our lives. At times our perspective on the world around us becomes bitter, and thus our actions and words become rude, unkind, and thoughtless with numbing regularity. We mistakenly think there is no good fruit to be found, but the real truth lies in the fact that we haven’t spent enough quality time with our beautiful and loving God. When we allow ourselves to realize how great our God is, we begin to see and bear good fruit. Then and only then does it become much easier to choose gratitude over complaining.

This now brings us to this very telling and provocative warning from the Lord: “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.” At the heart of the battle for our souls is a real enemy who prowls around seeking someone to devour. Evil will never stop to gain new ground and move others away from the Lord. This is yet another reason why we must be aware of those who just “talk the talk.” “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” We must also realize that we will recognize the true person living in every human being by their fruits. That includes you and me, especially in our day-to-day interaction with our fellow sojourners on this planet toward Heaven, always knowing and trusting that the Lord Jesus will make a great harvest even out of our most humble intentions as long as we remain faithful. Be great today! You may never know what kind of rich harvest you will be planting. 

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” Robert Schuller

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May 4, 2021


Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 286

Reading I – Acts 14:19-28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds. 
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city. 
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished. 
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial Psalm – 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21

R.    (see 12)  Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
    and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might.
R.    Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R.    Alleluia. 
Making known to men your might
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.
R.    Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
    and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R.    Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – See Lk 24:46, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 14:27-31A

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

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Slow Down Today


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 4, 2021

“And when they arrived, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent no little time with the disciples.” When everything is so clear and lucid at that wonderful moment in life, you just do not want time to end. We might say that in those special episodes around us, time was relative. “Time is relative” means that the rate of time is not the same for every frame of reference. Two people sitting in two other frames of reference can measure different time rates, i.e., one’s clocks can tick faster than others or vice-versa. When the grace of God surrounds you, time stands still, and everything comes into such clear focus that we just do not ever want to leave that space. But unfortunately, reality knocks relentlessly, and there we go back to the grime and gristle of it all. The joy that overwhelmed the disciples in our First Reading understood that very well. They knew and quickly realized that great things take great sacrifices but yield even greater rewards: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” They couldn’t spend enough time listening to all the wonders that God had done for those who never lost trust or faith in Him. 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” To find these deep, wonderful moments of clarity, we must slow down. If we think that somehow and somehow we will finish everything we think we need to accomplish, we will wear ourselves down. This leaves little time to survey and realize how God our God is to us. Try slowing today. You’ll be so glad you did. 

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” Saint Francis de Sales

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May 3, 2021


Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles
Lectionary: 561

Reading I – 1 Cor 15:1-8

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the Gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more
than five hundred brothers and sisters at once,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.

Responsorial Psalm – 19:2-3, 4-5

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

Alleluia – Jn 14:6B, 9C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord;
Philip, whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 14:6-14

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, 
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

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The Holy Trifecta


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 3, 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 the time you have to spend 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. “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

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May 2, 2021


Fifth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 53

Reading I – Acts 9:26-31

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples,
but they were all afraid of him,
not believing that he was a disciple.
Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles,
and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord,
and that he had spoken to him,
and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem,
and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.
He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists,
but they tried to kill him.
And when the brothers learned of this,
they took him down to Caesarea
and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

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

Responsorial Psalm – 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32

R. (26A) I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD.
    The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
    “May your hearts live forever!”
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth
    shall remember and turn to the LORD;
all the families of the nations
    shall bow down before him.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
To him alone shall bow down
    all who sleep in the earth;
before him shall bend
    all who go down into the dust. 
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
And to him my soul shall live;
    my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
    that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
    the justice he has shown.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – 1 Jn 3:18-24

Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit he gave us.

Alleluia – Jn 15:4A, 5B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord.
Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 15:1-8

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

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Fresh Off The Vine


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 2, 2021

There is no such thing as a gardener without passion. Nor could there be one without creativity or deep insight about the earth and what comes out of it. We could even say for our purposes here that working with the soil and growing food and flowers that enrich our lives is an art that employs the hand, the head, and the heart altogether. During the Easter Season, we are witnesses through the Scriptures of the “first fruits” of the sowing and planting of the Gospel enriched by the Sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to produce this wonderful and life-giving fruit world’s garden, the Church. “The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.”  God is like the Supreme Gardener who has placed all of creation in place and order and brings all the blossoms in an all-powerful and all-loving gentle manner. This very truth inspired the Psalmist to invite us to sing with him today and forever: I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.”

And while we are living in a whole world of gratitude and the overwhelming sense that Jesus is right here with us through thick and thin, our behavior then reflects such living: “Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.”  Today’s Scriptures proclaim the deep and life-giving connection with the integrity of life because of the One who has loved us into existence. If we believe in Jesus and follow Him, our entire lives must strive to live as redeemed and ransomed people. This is how we exhibit closeness to our hearts with the divine mysteries of creation and redemption. Jesus, using the imagery of gardening and farming, reminds all of us of this intimate relationship in the Gospel today: “I am the vine, you are the branches.” If it is true and that you can always tell a tree by its fruit, then who will people see and experience in us today. Will they see Jesus? Who, then?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

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May 1, 2021


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

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 284

Reading I – Acts 13:44-52

On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. 
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles. 
For so the Lord has commanded us,
    I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
    that you may be an instrument of salvation
    to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord. 
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region. 
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory. 
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium. 
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

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

R.    (3CD)  All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
    for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
    his holy arm.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
    in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
    toward the house of Israel.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    break into song; sing praise.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
 

Alleluia – Jn 8:31B-32

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

Gospel – Jn 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father. 
From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 
Philip said to Jesus, 
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip? 
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. 
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? 
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. 
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves. 
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father. 
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

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May 1, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker


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

Lectionary: 559

The Gospel for this memorial is proper.

Reading 1 – Gn 1:26B-2:3

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 divine image 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,
God rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

Or

Col 3:14-15, 17, 23-24

Brothers and sisters:
Over all these things put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.
And be thankful.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Whatever you do, do from the heart,
as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that you will receive from the Lord
the due payment of the inheritance;
be slaves of the Lord Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 90:2, 3-4, 12-13, 14 and 16

R.    (see 17b)  Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R.    Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
You turn men back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R.    Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R.    Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children.
R.    Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Ps 68:20

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed be the Lord day by day,
God, our salvation, who bears our burdens.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.

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A Quiet Mind


Reflection on Mass Reading for May 1, 2021

“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.” Have you ever wondered how many early Christians faced martyrdom and certain deaths with such peace in their hearts? Do you know people, the bedrock of faith, who face trial after trial, disappointment after languishing moments, and still smile? Our First Reading today is just one of those examples of the deep and abiding love that Jesus places in those who truly love Him and want to spend quality time with the Lord. This is what you are doing today, reading the Scriptures, letting them permeate and sink into the folds of your existence, then try to apply them in a powerful way. This is what is meant by remaining in the word. It means being so comfortable with the words of the Bible that they become a deep reference point to all of life’s ups and downs, hills, and valleys. We see things as part of God’s plan and not just in terms of my little world with its fads and issues. 

“The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” This is also the perfect recipe for living a full, abundant life of joy because the Christian who has met Jesus and never looks back never has a bad day. Perhaps, some days are better than others, but still, the fullness of joy and hope never leaves that soul. As some among us are slowly but carefully returning to a more integrated, social life, patience, and forgiveness must be in our hearts and minds so they can easily be radiated through our speech and actions. Quiet your mind today and let the Lord lead you today and beyond. 

“A quiet mind married to integrity of heart is the birth of wisdom.” Richard Grey

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