The Word of God

June 30, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of the First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church, please go here.

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 379

Reading I – 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Isaac grew, and on the day of the child’s weaning
Abraham held a great feast.

Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian
had borne to Abraham
playing with her son Isaac;
so she demanded of Abraham:
“Drive out that slave and her son! 
No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance
with my son Isaac!”
Abraham was greatly distressed,
especially on account of his son Ishmael.
But God said to Abraham: “Do not be distressed about the boy
or about your slave woman.
Heed the demands of Sarah, no matter what she is asking of you;
for it is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name.
As for the son of the slave woman,
I will make a great nation of him also,
since he too is your offspring.”

Early the next morning Abraham got some bread and a skin of water
and gave them to Hagar.
Then, placing the child on her back, he sent her away.
As she roamed aimlessly in the wilderness of Beer-sheba,
the water in the skin was used up.
So she put the child down under a shrub,
and then went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away;
for she said to herself, “Let me not watch to see the child die.” 
As she sat opposite Ishmael, he began to cry.
God heard the boy’s cry,
and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven:
“What is the matter, Hagar?
Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his.
Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand;
for I will make of him a great nation.”
Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.
She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink.

God was with the boy as he grew up.

Responsorial Psalm – 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13

R. (7A) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
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. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Come, children, hear me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Which of you desires life,
and takes delight in prosperous days?
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia – Jas 1:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 8:28-34

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
“If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
And he said to them, “Go then!”
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.

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From Here To Eternity


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 30, 2021

“When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.” This passage is especially interesting because the Gadara was a pagan-infested area east of the sea of Galilee where evil had its way with the people. This was because God was not mentioned, worshipped, or loved. Let’s not miss the interesting detail that they were coming from the graveyard (tombs). What on earth were they doing there? The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits that sought entry into everyone. Often they did enter through food or drink. All illness was caused by them. The Egyptians believed there were thirty-six different parts of the human body and any of them could be entered and controlled by one of these evil spirits. There were spirits of deafness, of dumbness, of fever; spirits which took a man’s sanity and wits away; spirits of lying and of deceit and of uncleanness. It was such demonic spirits that Jesus exorcised here. “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”

However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for each and every one of us: every day is a challenge and struggle to live this life and walk this walk. Keep in mind as a result of reading the Scriptures today, especially the Gospel of today, that Jesus truly intended to confront these evil spirits, that is to say, it was no accident. We live in a world of darkness and terror and unless we hold the Light of Christ within us, we will indeed be swallowed up in despair. We also learn from this passage that the envious and godless people in this world are actually tormented at the sight of generosity as were the possessed grave dwellers in the Gospel. This is yet another sobering lesson for all of us. You see, the battle of light and darkness is not just outside of us, it is also within us as in every human being who grows And we have Jesus especially in the Eucharist to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, free from me all that is not of You and cleanse my soul from all deceit, worry, and shame. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

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June 30, 2021 – Memorial of the First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church


For the readings of the Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 592

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

Reading 1 – ROM 8:31B-39

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written:
For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 124:2-3, 4-5, 7B-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 24:4-13

Jesus said to his disciples:
“See that no one deceives you.
For many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am the Christ,’ and they will deceive many.
You will hear of wars and reports of wars;
see that you are not alarmed,
for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;
there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place.
All these are the beginning of the labor pains.
Then they will hand you over to persecution,
and they will kill you.
You will be hated by all nations because of my name.
And then many will be led into sin;
they will betray and hate one another.
Many false prophets will arise and deceive many;
and because of the increase of evildoing,
the love of many will grow cold.
But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.”

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June 29, 2021


Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles Vigil
Lectionary: 590

Reading I – Acts 3:1-10

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

Responsorial Psalm – 19:2-3, 4-5

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

Reading II – Gal 1:11-20

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

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

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem
to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.
But I did not see any other of the Apostles,
only James the brother of the Lord.
–As to what I am writing to you, behold,
before God, I am not lying.

Alleluia – Jn 21:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Lord, you know everything:

you know that I love you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 21:15-19

Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples 
and, when they had finished breakfast, 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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Shaking Free


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 29, 2021

“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Without a doubt, the beautiful Scripture passages today speak directly about the notion of rescue and God’s hand in this wonderful redemptive activity: It should not be of any surprise that the Lord seeks and wants to heal us all. Gold, silver, money, and riches do not have the power to bring our lives to a level of complete trust and understanding as we near the Promised Land of Heaven.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.'” Today we celebrate the great Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul promise that we as the People of God, the Church, are to be rescued literally from here to eternity. These two great Saints were initially responsible for evangelizing and announcing the truths of our faith to all of the known world at the time of their lives. These formed the concrete basis and foundation of the Christian message for the following two millennia. This brings us to the completely jubilant truth that God wants, desires, and continues to rescue us. Evil can and does attach its ugly self to us in two distinct ways: meanness and weakness. By recalling and remembering the great love that Peter and Paul had for the Lord Jesus and the courage firmly placed within their hearts when they both faced martyrdom, we can find the hope of change in our personalities when we find that being or saying something mean is so tempting. Being mean is lazy and an obvious sign of evil that has crept into our hearts and begun encrustation. Everyone carries human weakness, which often manifests itself when we are tired, frustrated, or lacking inpatient civility. Let us today, with this great commemoration of Peter and Paul, find the courage and motivation to shake free of meanness and weakness and give Jesus the glory in this life as we wait to see Him face to face in the next.

“When someone would mistreat, misinform, misuse, misguide, mishandle, mislead… or any other “mis”… to others, they’re obviously missing something from their lives.” Donald L. Hicks

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June 28, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 377

Reading I – Gn 18:16-33

Abraham and the men who had visited him by the Terebinth of Mamre
set out from there and looked down toward Sodom;
Abraham was walking with them, to see them on their way.
The LORD reflected: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
now that he is to become a great and populous nation,
and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him?
Indeed, I have singled him out
that he may direct his children and his household after him
to keep the way of the LORD
by doing what is right and just,
so that the LORD may carry into effect for Abraham
the promises he made about him.”
Then the LORD said:
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”

While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom,
the LORD remained standing before Abraham.
Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty,
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The LORD replied,
“If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Abraham spoke up again:
“See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes!
What if there are five less than fifty innocent people?
Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it for the sake of forty.”
Then Abraham said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on.
What if only thirty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there.”
Still Abraham went on,
“Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord,
what if there are no more than twenty?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
But he still persisted:
“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

The LORD departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham,
and Abraham returned home.

Responsorial Psalm – 103:1B-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (8A)  The Lord is kind and merciful.
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 is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
    he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
    he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R.    The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
    slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
    nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R.    The Lord is kind and merciful.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
    nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. 
R.    The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia – Ps 95:8

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

Gospel – Mt 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, 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.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”

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Excuses, Excuses


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 28, 2021

“‘Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?’ He replied, ‘For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.'” Today, the beautiful Scriptures paint a wonderfully comforting picture that can and should help us and encourage us on our spiritual journey. What should be more than crystal clear is that God never gives us on us even if we may have surrendered hope ourselves. There can never be a valid excuse for denying this awesome truth.

Jesus makes it clear that following Him to the brink of suffering and death is not an option if we seek the final goal of heaven: “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” First, let us be clear about this statement: please don’t think that he was speaking of the body of someone’s parent as it was waiting for burial. The real sense of this phrase is rendered, “Let me bury my father when he dies.” Seen in this light, it sounds more like an excuse rather than a real impending need. The issue here is a call for us to review and discover any excuses we are making either consciously or unconsciously in answering our call to follow Jesus.

Why do you think we stumble and fall at times? What nervous and erroneous mental distractions come between us and true happiness? What excuses do we offer? It will inevitably come down to whether or not we are people who pray. Some have assembled the main reasons we do not pray: We think we do not have the time or that it is important, and we believe it makes no difference. All these excuses are beyond silly; they are not even true. Today, let us be fed with the wisdom of the Scriptures and make and find the time to pray. The rewards are literally out of this world.

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” George Washington

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June 28, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr, please go here.

Lectionary: 589

From the Common of Martyrs, #713-718 or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

Reading 1 – 2 Tm 2:22B-26

Beloved:
Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace,
along with those who call on the Lord with purity of heart.
Avoid foolish and ignorant debates,
for you know that they breed quarrels.
A slave of the Lord should not quarrel,
but should be gentle with everyone,
able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness.
It may be that God will grant them repentance
that leads to knowledge of the truth,
and that they may return to their senses out of the Devil’s snare,
where they are entrapped by him, for his will.
 

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 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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June 27, 2021


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 98

Reading I – Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24

God did not make death,
    nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
    and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
    nor any domain of the netherworld on earth,
    for justice is undying.
For God formed man to be imperishable;
    the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
    and they who belong to his company experience it.

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

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

Reading II – 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15

Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, 
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
    Whoever had much did not have more,
        and whoever had little did not have less.

Alleluia – Cf. 2 Tm 1:10

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

Gospel – Mk 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35B-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to Jesus,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” 
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

OR:

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. 
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” 
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

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Greatness Awaits


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 27, 2021

“God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” On this very first Monday of our new month, we are greeted by this most heart-lifting message about life. Our God wants us to live and breathe and have our being solely and completely in Him. In a world where there is so much destruction and death, this message is certainly wonderfully needed and appreciated by those of us who want to seek life and love in this world. We also believe that we have all been espoused, that is, totally loved and accepted as we have been reminded through the Scriptures practically throughout the previous month and even today: “For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.” This truly is an amazing concept and the most excellent way to begin a brand new month this week: God loves us all so much that he wants to move into the closest spiritually intimate relationship that could ever exist. How often have we experienced sometimes lonely bouts of sadness and feelings of rejection? All these Jesus has faced and conquered, and we are the direct beneficiaries of His victories. This is why the best news we have today is that we worship a God who loves us and is the source of all life and love that flows through our veins and breathes through our lungs.

“Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” What we have been gifted today is yet another glimpse into the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, that is, the Word Made Flesh. God became one of us so that all the misery and suffering we endure would be sacrificed and taken up into His being and then redeemed. We have been set free, but even that gift of freedom must be fully and freely accepted and lived. Without freedom, we could never appreciate or understand the powerful opportunity that we have right here in front of us. We have two remarkable examples of the power of miraculous love that was showered upon a little girl who had died and a woman who had been suffering horribly with a twelve-year hemorrhage. Both of these examples show us very important aspects of following Jesus: “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you,” and “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”

Interestingly enough, they are quite related; that is to say, the more fear we allow, the less faith we experience, and consequently, the more faith we grow the less fear fills our days and nights as we witnessed in the deep trust the woman in the Gospel displayed. With just a little faith, miracles can begin to appear everywhere we look. Let us start today remembering that there truly is not enough space in our souls for both worry and faith. We must decide which one will occupy our space.

“Doubt and delay are evidence of a disconnection from faith and courage. Do not doubt that you can be a person of greatness, nor delay the acts of strength and love that will prove it.” Brendon Burchard

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June 26, 2021


Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 376

Reading I – Gn 8:1-15

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the Terebinth of Mamre,
as Abraham sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way.”
The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.”

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
“Quick, three measures of fine flour! 
Knead it and make rolls.”
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before them;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” 
He replied, “There in the tent.” 
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years,
and Sarah had stopped having her womanly periods.
So Sarah laughed to herself and said,
“Now that I am so withered and my husband is so old,
am I still to have sexual pleasure?”
But the LORD said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say,
‘Shall I really bear a child, old as I am?’
Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do?
At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you,
and Sarah will have a son.”
Because she was afraid, Sarah dissembled, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”
But he replied, “Yes you did.”

Responsorial Psalm – Luke 1:46-47, 48-49, 50 and 53, 54-55

R. (see 54B) The Lord has remembered his mercy.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.
“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.”
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.
“He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.
“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.”
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.

Alleluia – Mt 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities

and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 8:5-17

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

Jesus entered the house of Peter,
and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand, the fever left her,
and she rose and waited on him. 

When it was evening, they brought him many
who were possessed by demons,
and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick,
to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:

He took away our infirmities 
and bore our diseases.

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Under My Roof


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 26, 2021

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Here on the last Saturday of the month, we are greeted and challenged by this very familiar phrase from the Scriptures, which are recalled during the Sacrifice of the Mass right before the Body and Blood of Christ are to be received. The term “under my roof” refers primarily to the authority one is called to acknowledge and respect when living or even visiting someone else’s home or abode. At the core of all courtesies known to us is the deference and dignity we show to those whose homes we enter, that is, while we are “under their roof.” What is at issue for us today is that of authority or, in other words, the power to achieve something great.

“And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.’ And at that very hour his servant was healed.” We have witnessed something great happen as the Gospel continues: a miracle! Perhaps we could say that the centurion told Jesus that He did not have to come under his roof, but rather, the centurion had to submit and believe and trust by living in the Kingdom, virtually, under God’s roof. When each of us lives our lives so completely in trust in the wonderful grace that God provides, with the ultimate assurance that all is well and all will be well, we, too, will have our miracle right under our roof.

“God will always give us more than we deserve.” St. Padre Pio

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June 25, 2021


Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 375

Reading I – Gn 17:1, 9-10, 15-22

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him
and said: “I am God the Almighty.
Walk in my presence and be blameless.”

God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.
This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you
that you must keep:
every male among you shall be circumcised.”

God further said to Abraham:
“As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai;
her name shall be Sarah.
I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her.
Him also will I bless; he shall give rise to nations,
and rulers of peoples shall issue from him.”
Abraham prostrated himself and laughed as he said to himself,
“Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?
Or can Sarah give birth at ninety?”
Then Abraham said to God,
“Let but Ishmael live on by your favor!”
God replied: “Nevertheless, your wife Sarah is to bear you a son,
and you shall call him Isaac.
I will maintain my covenant with him as an everlasting pact,
to be his God and the God of his descendants after him.
As for Ishmael, I am heeding you: I hereby bless him.
I will make him fertile and will multiply him exceedingly.
He shall become the father of twelve chieftains,
and I will make of him a great nation.
But my covenant I will maintain with Isaac,
whom Sarah shall bear to you by this time next year.”
When he had finished speaking with him, God departed from Abraham.

Responsorial Psalm – 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

R. (4) See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.

Alleluia – Mt 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 8:1-4

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I will do it. Be made clean.”
His leprosy was cleansed immediately.
Then Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one,
but go show yourself to the priest,
and offer the gift that Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”

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Leave The World Happier


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 25, 2021

“I do will it. Be made clean.” As we continue on our spiritual journey toward our final goal of Heaven, we encounter challenges, problems, and serious issues that befall us along the way. One of the very obvious hurdles we face is illness and sickness, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. As we review and reflect on the wonderful Scriptures for today, we realize that not only do we want peace and health in this life, Our Lord Jesus wants the very same thing for us. He wants us to praise Him with all our heart and mind, and soul intact, and that means a constant approach to praying for and seeking healing in our lives and the lives of those around us. “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”

Make every effort throughout this day and week, ensuring that our heart is pure, our motives are upright, and our intentions are good and forgiving. “Christ took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.” In this very positive way of living, we become co-workers of the Gospel with each other and remarkable close friends with Jesus. This is what He asks of us today, and we are given all the grace we need to fulfill it. Let’s see what this day brings for us and others. Remember, some people bring joy wherever they go and some whenever they go.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

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June 24, 2021


For the readings of the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
Mass during the Day, please go here.

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist Vigil
Lectionary: 586

Reading I – Jer 1:4-10

In the days of King Josiah, the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
        before you were born I dedicated you,
        a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

    “Ah, Lord GOD!” I said,
        “I know not how to speak; I am too young.”
    But the LORD answered me,
    Say not, “I am too young.”
        To whomever I send you, you shall go;
        whatever I command you, you shall speak.
    Have no fear before them,
        because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying,

    See, I place my words in your mouth!
        This day I set you
        over nations and over kingdoms,
    to root up and to tear down,
        to destroy and to demolish,
        to build and to plant.

Responsorial Psalm – 71:1-2, 3-4A, 5-6AB, 15AB and 17

R.    (6)  Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
    incline your ear to me, and save me.
R.    Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
Be my rock of refuge,
    a stronghold to give me safety,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R.    Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
    my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
    from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R.    Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
    day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
    and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R.    Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.

Reading II – 1 Pt 1:8-12

Beloved:
Although you have not seen Jesus Christ you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Concerning this salvation,
prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours
searched and investigated it,
investigating the time and circumstances
that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated
when he testified in advance
to the sufferings destined for Christ
and the glories to follow them.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you
with regard to the things that have now been announced to you
by those who preached the Good News to you
through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels longed to look.

Alleluia – See Jn 1:7; Lk 1:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
He came to testify to the light,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 1:5-17

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.
Once when he was serving
as priest in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
John will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn their hearts toward their children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

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I Must Decrease


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 24, 2021

Today is a very special day on several different levels. Let’s begin our journey through this little mystery that presents itself: First, if your name is John, Johnny, Ian, John, Jane, Janis, Jean, Joann, you can claim a Feast Day. If you get a free lunch or a cake or something special, please let me know: maybe we can start a trend and a tradition! Currently, by some accounts, the name “John” and its derivatives comprise anywhere from 25-33% of the world’s names. Wow!

Second, let’s look at the meteorological information we have to date—specifically the June and December Solstice. Without launching into a Weather Channel presentation, the bottom line is this: After today, more or less, the days start getting shorter, and after December 24, they are prolonged. Today is the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, and December 24, well, everyone knows it is Christmas Eve. The days are decreasing, while in December, they will start to increase.

Third and most importantly, we place all this together: Today for each and everyone one of us, who, safe to say, knows at least one or two people whose name is John or derived from that name, that Jesus must increase in our lives and I, you and me, we must decrease.

For spiritual help and assistance with this very tall order, let us take another look at the Litany of Humility that we have shared before. It is called the Litany of Humility. Pray this slowly and see what happens.
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected …Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
others may increase and I may decrease …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

He Must Increase

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June 24, 2021 – Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist Mass During the Day


For the readings of the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist Vigil, please go here.

Lectionary: 587

Reading I – Is 49:1-6

Hear me, O coastlands,
    listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
    from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
    and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
    in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
    Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
    and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
yet my reward is with the LORD,
    my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
    who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
    and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
    and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
    and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

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

R.    (14)  I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
    you know when I sit and when I stand;
    you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
    with all my ways you are familiar.
R.    I praise you for I am wonderfully made.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
    you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
    wonderful are your works.
R.    I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
My soul also you knew full well;
    nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
    when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R.    I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Reading II – Acts 13:22-26

In those days, Paul said:
“God raised up David as king; 
of him God testified,
    I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
    he will carry out my every wish.

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

“My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.”

Alleluia – See Lk 1:76

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 1:57-66, 80

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

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June 23, 2021


Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 373

Reading I – Gn 15:1-12, 17-18

The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:

    “Fear not, Abram!
        I am your shield;
        I will make your reward very great.”

But Abram said,
“O Lord GOD, what good will your gifts be,
if I keep on being childless
and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?”
Abram continued,
“See, you have given me no offspring,
and so one of my servants will be my heir.”
Then the word of the LORD came to him:
“No, that one shall not be your heir;
your own issue shall be your heir.”
He took him outside and said:
“Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”
Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

He then said to him,
“I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans
to give you this land as a possession.”
“O Lord GOD,” he asked,
“how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
He answered him,
“Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat,
a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
Abram brought him all these, split them in two,
and placed each half opposite the other;
but the birds he did not cut up.
Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses,
but Abram stayed with them.
As the sun was about to set, a trance fell upon Abram,
and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him.

When the sun had set and it was dark,
there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch,
which passed between those pieces.
It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram,
saying: “To your descendants I give this land,
from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River the Euphrates.”

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

R.    (8A)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
    make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
    proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
    rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
    seek to serve him constantly.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
    sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
    throughout the earth his judgments prevail. 
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
    which he made binding for a thousand generations—
Which he entered into with Abraham
    and by his oath to Isaac.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
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 – Mt 7:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”

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What’s In Your Tree?


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 23, 2021

“Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good 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 that 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 a complaint.

This now brings us to this very telling and provocative warning from the Lord: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.” 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.” “By their fruits you will know them.” 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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June 22, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, religious, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint John Fisher, bishop and martyr and Saint Thomas More, martyr, please go here.

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 372

Reading I – Gn 13:2, 5-18

Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.

Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,
so that the land could not support them if they stayed together;
their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
There were quarrels between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock
and those of Lot’s.
(At this time the Canaanites and the Perizzites
were occupying the land.)

So Abram said to Lot:
“Let there be no strife between you and me,
or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen.
Is not the whole land at your disposal?
Please separate from me.
If you prefer the left, I will go to the right;
if you prefer the right, I will go to the left.”
Lot looked about and saw how well watered
the whole Jordan Plain was as far as Zoar,
like the LORD’s own garden, or like Egypt.
(This was before the LORD had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
Lot, therefore, chose for himself the whole Jordan Plain
and set out eastward.
Thus they separated from each other;
Abram stayed in the land of Canaan,
while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain,
pitching his tents near Sodom.
Now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked
in the sins they committed against the LORD.

After Lot had left, the LORD said to Abram:
“Look about you, and from where you are,
gaze to the north and south, east and west;
all the land that you see I will give to you
and your descendants forever.
I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth;
if anyone could count the dust of the earth,
your descendants too might be counted.
Set forth and walk about in the land, through its length and breadth,
for to you I will give it.”
Abram moved his tents and went on to settle
near the terebinth of Mamre, which is at Hebron.
There he built an altar to the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5

R.    (1B) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
    who thinks the truth in his heart
    and slanders not with his tongue.
R.    He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
    nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
    while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R.    He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
    and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
    shall never be disturbed. 
R.    He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Alleluia – Jn 8:12

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

Gospel – Mt 7:6, 12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

“Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.”

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Pearls And Pigs


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 22, 2021

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Again we have yet another very familiar biblical reference familiar to most people even when repeated even in polite conversation. This passage from the Gospel is generally interpreted as a warning by Jesus to his disciples, including all of us, that we should not offer biblical doctrine to those who are unable to value and appreciate it. This is also very similar to another warning about giving sacred things to dogs. In these very telling examples, Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representatives of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the Gospel’s message and, by extension, the messengers/evangelists of the Good News. We are not to expose the elements of our faith in Jesus Christ to those who have no other purpose than to trample it and return to their evil ways.

“He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.” However, this pointed command was never intended to keep us from being salt of the earth and light of the world. We must remember that Jesus Himself ate with and taught sinners and tax collectors and those whom society regarded as outcasts and even dirty. We are always ready to share our faith, but when it becomes apparent that we and our message are not welcome, we are simply moving on. It is also appropriate to put it this way: we are responsible for the process it takes to live our lives integrally and share what we believe, but we are not responsible for people’s responses. Just as animals could never appreciate pearls or the finer things in life, some cannot or will not appreciate what God has done for them. Jesus’ instruction to His apostles on handling rejection was simply to move on to those who are still waiting to hear the greatest story ever told.

“Staying in a situation where you are unappreciated is not called loyalty; it is called breaking your own heart.” Trent Shelton

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June 22, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint John Fisher, bishop and martyr and Saint Thomas More, martyr


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, religious, please go here.

Lectionary: 585

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 – 1 Pt 4:12-19

Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you,
as if something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But let no one among you be made to suffer
as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.
But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed
but glorify God because of the name.
For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God;
if it begins with us, how will it end
for those who fail to obey the Gospel of God?

And if the righteous one is barely saved,
where will the godless and the sinner appear
?

As a result, those who suffer in accord with God’s will
hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good.

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 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 10:34-39

Jesus said to the Twelve:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set

a man ‘against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

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June 22, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Paulinus of Nola, bishop


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, religious, please go here.

Lectionary: 584

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

Reading 1 – 2 Cor 8:9-15

Brothers and sisters:
You know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
And I am giving counsel in this matter,
for it is appropriate for you who began not only to act
but to act willingly last year:
complete it now, so that your eager willingness may be matched
by your completion of it out of what you have.
For if the eagerness is there,
it is acceptable according to what one has,
not according to what one does not have;
not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your surplus at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their surplus may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:

Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less.

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 5:3

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

Gospel – Lk 12:32-34

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

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June 21, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
Lectionary: 371

Reading I – Gn 12:1-9

The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him, and Lot went with him.
Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
Abram took his wife, Sarai, his brother’s son Lot,
all the possessions that they had accumulated,
and the persons they had acquired in Haran,
and they set out for the land of Canaan.
When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land
as far as the sacred place at Shechem,
by the terebinth of Moreh.
(The Canaanites were then in the land.)

The LORD appeared to Abram and said,
“To your descendants I will give this land.”
So Abram built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel,
pitching his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east.
He built an altar there to the LORD and invoked the LORD by name.
Then Abram journeyed on by stages to the Negeb.

Responsorial Psalm – 33:12-13, 18-19, 20 and 22

R. (12) 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.
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.

Alleluia – Heb 4:12

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

Gospel – Mt 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

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Looking For Beams And Splinters


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 21, 2021

“You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Today we are being treated with a very famous morsel of Scripture quotes which most people have heard even if they have never read anything else in the Bible. Perhaps much of its popularity is due partly to the overall experience that everyone has with this issue. We could ask ourselves, what is truly the problem with hypocrisy? When someone condemns the sinful behavior of others then engages in the very same behavior, we seem to lose it, or at least, some of the time. It is objectionable to realize that someone is not practicing what they are preaching but goes much deeper than that: a hypocrite is trying to convince us that they are more holy, righteous, and moral than others. This is what makes it so hateful.

“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Among the many profound spiritual lessons that can be discovered as a result of the virus pandemic and other life challenges is the call on all of us to valiantly struggle against this tendency to assume that our worldview, often very limited, is the only unbiased, open-minded and uncolored norm of judgment, that only we possess clear, unhampered sight. In other words, thinking and acting as if we are the “doctor” in the hospital of life and everybody else is the “patient.” This sickness, affecting the soul much like the actual COVID-19 weakens and destroys the lungs, can be cured only by putting on the mind and heart of Jesus Christ; by seeing my brothers and sisters through His eyes which always radiate love and forgiveness. You and I are called to beg every day to adapt and develop a healthy, realistic worldview where no one is better than anyone else and that forgiveness if we truly want it at the end of our lives, must be practiced today and right now before yet another minute passes. Life, as it is, clearly remains as fragile as it has ever been noted. We will be able to live what we read in St. Matthew’s Gospel, “only then will you see clearly.”

“Truth without love is brutality and love without truth is hypocrisy.” Warren W. Wiersbe

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June 21, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, religious, please go here.

Lectionary: 583

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 – 1 Jn 5:1-5

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

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

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

Gospel – Mt 22:34-40

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

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June 20, 2021


Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 95

Reading I – Jb 38:1, 8-11

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:
    Who shut within doors the sea,
        when it burst forth from the womb;
    when I made the clouds its garment
        and thick darkness its swaddling bands?
    When I set limits for it
        and fastened the bar of its door,
    and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,
        and here shall your proud waves be stilled!

Responsorial Psalm – 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31

R. (1B) Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They who sailed the sea in ships,
    trading on the deep waters,
These saw the works of the LORD
    and his wonders in the abyss.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
His command raised up a storm wind
    which tossed its waves on high.
They mounted up to heaven; they sank to the depths;
    their hearts melted away in their plight.
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,
He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze,
    and the billows of the sea were stilled.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They rejoiced that they were calmed,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his kindness
    and his wondrous deeds to the children of men.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – 2 Cor 5:14-17

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

Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh;
even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.

Alleluia – Lk 7:16

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

Gospel – Mk 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

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Looking Back And Backwards


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 20, 2021

“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” We have all known people, perhaps offering our very lives as an example as well, of those who leave a sinful way of life behind but still are tempted to return or even if by reminiscing on “good old days” when sinful living was full of harmful pleasures, but pleasurable, nonetheless. Perhaps the problem is an obsession with the past, even though it is so misleading. It also seems that many people, maybe ourselves included, leave the present precious moment because of its obvious challenges and problems and “rewrite” history to make it seem so much better than what we have today. Looking back with regret is dangerous in and of itself, but looking back at a past that should be left there is even more so. It can lead to far worse consequences than the darkness and sinful webs woven in the first place.

“He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’ Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.” The Gospel gives us all the very reason and opens up the heart of the matter as to why looking back to the evil past can never be a good thing. The beautiful story points to the One who has defeated evil and darkness and remains as the only solution to all of life’s problems here and later. Jesus can calm all the storms of our existence, emphasizing the need not look back at problems but to look always forward to the solution found in our undying faith in Christ.

“I don’t like looking back. I’m always constantly looking forward. I’m not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilt milk. I’m too busy looking for the next cow.” Gordon Ramsay

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June 19, 2021


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

Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 370

Reading I – 2 Cor 12:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
I must boast; not that it is profitable,
but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago
(whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows),
was caught up to the third heaven.
And I know that this man
(whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows)
was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things,
which no one may utter.
About this man I will boast,
but about myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses.
Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish,
for I would be telling the truth.
But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me
than what he sees in me or hears from me
because of the abundance of the revelations.
Therefore, that I might not become too elated,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Responsorial Psalm – 34:8-9, 10-11, 12-13

R.    (9A)  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.    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.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Come, children, hear me;
    I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Which of you desires life,
    and takes delight in prosperous days?
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – 2 Cor 8:9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

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Two Masters, One Headache


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 19, 2021

“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” Conflict is certainly part of life, but an excessive amount is never good for the soul. This is exactly why Jesus warns us and tries to prevent any of us from falling into divided loyalties. The pull and lure of this world with all its empty promises can create a severe split in our lives that spells certain trouble, not to mention a chaotic and frantic lifestyle trying to please everyone, living a two-faced lie, and secretly maintaining a hidden life that costs much more than it is ever worth.

Perhaps some of our readers and followers find themselves at a point in their spiritual lives where they know they want to grow deeper and with more integrity. Still, there is weakness in the human condition, and often we can commiserate with St. Paul, who longs to do the right thing and experiences the pull of selfishness. This is where this great Biblical writer who has penned the majority of the New Testament is so brilliant. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” When we accept our humanity and the people we truly are, we will see the great need we have for the Lord Jesus. Nothing and no one else will ever satisfy.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Abraham Lincoln

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June 19, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Romuald, abbot


For the readings of the Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 582

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

Reading 1 – Phil 3:8-14

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 5:3

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

Gospel – Lk 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“f anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”

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June 18, 2021


Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 369

Reading I – 2 Cor 11:18, 21-30

Brothers and sisters:
Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast.
To my shame I say that we were too weak!

But what anyone dares to boast of 
(I am speaking in foolishness)
I also dare.
Are they Hebrews?  So am I.
Are they children of Israel?  So am I.
Are they descendants of Abraham?  So am I.
Are they ministers of Christ? 
(I am talking like an insane person).
I am still more, with far greater labors,
far more imprisonments, far worse beatings,
and numerous brushes with death.
Five times at the hands of the Jews
I received forty lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned,
three times I was shipwrecked,
I passed a night and a day on the deep;
on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race,
dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city,
dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea,
dangers among false brothers;
in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights,
through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings,
through cold and exposure.
And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me
of my anxiety for all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak?
Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Responsorial Psalm – 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.    (see 18B)  From all their distress God rescues the just.
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.    From all their distress God rescues the just.
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.    From all their distress God rescues the just.
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.    From all their distress God rescues the just.

Alleluia – Mt 5:3

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

Gospel – Mt 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

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The Lamp Of The Body


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 18, 2021

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light.” Today, the Scriptures, among many other issues, address our hold on what we deem important to us, namely, our priorities. Our eyes can be used to see which is good or evil in this world and thereby make the important decisions that either bring us closer to the Will of God or further away from following the Lord. If we look for the good in this life, we will certainly see and find it and thereby and hopefully follow and imitate it. However, if we allow our eyes and minds to focus and obsess on evil in this life, we are so affected by what we see that darkness begins to emanate from within and can corrupt us and those around us. If it is important to us, we will find a way. If not, we will somehow and very conveniently find an excuse.

“It’s not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.” Mary O’Connor

“Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.” Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (161-180 AD)

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 2:34)
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

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My Little Ballerina


little girl on stage as ballerina holding point shoes

His resume looked like a spreadsheet for at least ten different people who had lived at least three full lives. He had come across it as he was preparing to pack from his last job before the strange new world of retirement. He laughed quietly to himself realizing that he had been employed by everything from dog walking to telemarketing, from teaching to counseling, from cleaning to writing. The day had finally come where he could hopefully rest from a long career of a smorgasbord of life works and activity, which produced at least another lifetime of memories.

Just when he came to the last box of papers and discarded letters, he realized that he had not opened this particular movable crate of remembrance ever since he packed it forty years ago. That was when he worked for a medical delivery company, transporting everything from specimens to records all over the area in a three-hundred-mile radius and visiting as many as twenty-five different hospitals and medical facilities. This was the moment he found them. Neatly wrapped in that light tissue paper that people often put inside those big gift bags as a splash of color temporarily hiding the surprise gift for the recipient, there they were: a pair of soft pink silk ballet shoes that appeared never to have been worn or even presented to anyone. He drew a deep breath and quickly realized that his eyes began to moisten with a warm but sad memory that he placed away for safe keeping. In his hands, he softly held those two pristine fit pointe shoes (as they are known within ballet circles) while bending over quickly to retrieve the invoice and receipt probably undisturbed since the day he first opened the small delivery box in which they had arrived.

This particular memory had taken several months to begin, develop, and conclude while he was delivering medical items to a children’s hospital in San Antonio, Texas. He loved going there and speaking with the nurses on the different floors, most of whom knew him by name and vice-versa. Holidays were especially memorable for him because he never forgot to provide seasonal cards, post cards, candy, and maybe even a potted plant for the front desks. That was perhaps why they always asked for him by name for deliveries and why his company was always to assign him, for one, to keep their clients happy, and second, to help ease the disappointment and frustration when a particular shipment was late or even worse, lost.

This touching story, all these forty years later, began at the beginning of November during one of the worst rainstorms in the area. Freeways and overpasses were dangerously drenched while police cars and ambulances were heard and spotted every mile or so. Of course, that meant that he was equally drenched from head to toe. Gratefully, he had several spare changes of clothes in the mobile delivery van, and on this memorable day, he ran into the hospital, and after a quick dry-and-change maneuver, he was back on the floors checking in with his anxiously awaiting customers.

That’s when he met her. It was perhaps one of the most strangely curious and yet darling memories that would always be accessible throughout his years. She was a little girl about seven years old, with the brightest smile, the most delicate of expressions, and clearly a cancer patient. He found himself in the front admitting room of the oncology wing patiently waiting for someone to come and certify his delivery and sign the invoice. What he noticed was more than curious. This little girl wore a bright petty-coat kind of dress that looked like she was about to start square-dancing, deterred perhaps by the IV-drip suspended high above her head hanging by a silver pole on wheels which she pushed as if it were her own private tricycle or elaborate wagon. She was as bald as a bowling ball with a cute red ribbon apparently scotch-taped to her head to complete the ensemble. She was going from patient to patient asking their name, occupation, and reason for being there as if she worked there or was part of the welcoming committee of the hospital.

When she finally arrived at our delivery man, she was taken back by his uniform, name tag, and stack of unusually marked boxes which comprised his delivery for that day and floor.

“What are you?” she asked rather brusquely.

“I’m from FedEx, little girl, and I am here bearing gifts!” came his quick and smile-laden response.

“Oh, hello, Mr. FedEx,” came the retort. “Welcome to my hospital.”

The next few minutes or so began the most endearing of passing friendships that would warm anyone’s heart. The next questions were all about their homes and families, their favorite things to do, and of course, about why this little precious soul was even here at the hospital.

“Well, Mr. FedEx, you see that bag hanging there? That’s for me. They say that I have “lookeemia,” or something like that. But look! I figured out a little dance I can perform for you right here even though I got this ‘bag-pole’ stuck to me.”

And with that innocent and inviting introduction, she proceeded to provide a jig and some rather fancy foot work while humming some melody which escaped the scope of the delivery man’s repertoire.

“That’s pretty good little girl! By the way, what’s your name?” asked Mr. FedEx.

“My name is Sally. I am happy to meet you, but I think it’s time for my nap. I will see you later, I hope real soon, OK?”

Even though it was 9:30 in the morning and perhaps an odd hour for napping, our delivery man continued his way forward with his deliveries and collection of signatures before braving the elements outside once again and praying that he could make it back home in one piece.

One month passed and it was time for yet another delivery to that same oncology wing. He was secretly hoping he would see Sally again, and although at his first visit to the floor, he did not see her, he did return to the waiting room and waited for as long as he could. Sure enough, after about twenty minutes, there she entered the area, different dress, different shoes, but same smile and scotch-taped bow on her shiny little head.

“Hey, Mr. FedEx! I am happy to see you again!” she blurted out, approaching him slowly.

“And I am happy to see you, too, Sally. Tell me, what have you been up to?” came the quick reply.

The two continued their conversation as if they had known each other forever. She went on to tell him what new treatments they were going to try with her, while he spoke to her of the ever-expanding routes they were planning to assign to him, maybe as far away as Austin and Dallas, and that he hoped that he would still be on the same schedule to bring him by the hospitals in the San Antonio area.

“That would be really nice, Mr. FedEx. I hope you keep coming,” reassured Sally.

“Me, too, Sally, me too. Hey, before I forget, next month is Christmas and I’ll bet you’ve got a long wish ready to share, don’t you,” continued her new friend.

“Yes, I do. What I would really like to do for Christmas is dance, a special dance that I create and perform here for families who come to see my friends here. And of course, I’d like to dance for my family. But I’ve got this ‘bag-pole’ with my medicine, but with the right shoes, anything is possible, right?,” she said with a smile that filled the room with the love and dreams of a dying girl with undying hope.

It was at that moment that our Mr. FedEx knew exactly what he was going to do. He was going to go to one of those ballet studios and purchase a small pair of tall pointe shoes and wrap them exactly right for Sally for Christmas. He was so excited and knew that it would make her face light up like all the Christmas trees he could imagine. Immediately he found the place, purchased the gift, and placed it in safe keeping inside his delivery van hoping that he would see that familiar address of the hospital on his list of stops.

The Christmas rush that year was merciless, however. There were new delivery locations everywhere and,  although the San Antonio children’s hospital was always on the list, there was a slew of new drivers that had to be hired on to fill the demanding order for Christmas fare all over Central Texas. The young delivery man seemed to have gone everywhere else except that children’s hospital in San Antonio, but he never went anywhere without his special package tucked safely away in one of the storage compartments of his van.

Christmas, New Year’s, and January all came and went and the rush for packages seemed to have abated substantially. One dark and cloudy morning, at around 6:00, he received his list of deliveries for the next three days. He brandished a great big smile when he read that the children’s hospital was on the list. He could not wait.  And the rainstorm would not wait either. The weather was as dark and torrential as the day he first met his little ballerina. However, nothing was going to stop him from this last delivery of the week.

It was a little before three o’clock in the afternoon when he arrived at the hospital and yet it seemed as if it was much later. He brought the dolly that carried about five or six heavy boxes of everything from small oxygen tanks to latex gloves and finally made his way to the oncology wing. Surprisingly, it was empty. He thought the visiting hours were either over, or there was just a lull in the flow of families coming to see their young ones. He was also taken back with how quiet it all was. As he looked up at the large clock on the wall, he began to hear the soft but determined raindrops hitting the windows facing the city below. He was also determined to make this last delivery, and after a full hour that seemed like a day, he rang for the on-duty nurses. Two incredibly young and serious-looking women dressed in bright blue scrubs came to the desk.

“May I help you, sir?” one of them asked.

“I’m looking for Sally. Could you please tell her that Mr. FedEx, her friend is here to see her?”

The two nurses glanced at each other with a strange expression that was a mix of distress and awkwardness. One of them went to the file cabinet while the other was about to reach for the phone but not before our delivery man assertively intervened:

“Which one of you is going to tell me?”

The older nurse who had tried to deflect what she was sure to be a most difficult and yet common conversation, spoke up:

“Well, sir, you know this is a hospital and the kids here are very sick.”

The young man impatiently interrupted with, “Where is Sally?”

She continued, “Sally died Christmas Eve shortly before midnight. I am sorry. We all miss her very much.”

He would later say that he felt as if all the air in that room became so thin and he felt as if he was going to faint or something. He walked out slowly, package in hand, into a well-known and frequented mercado-like plaza outside the hospital and just started walking. He was grateful that it was pouring down so that the rain and his tears comingled and very few, if any, noticed.

That was forty years ago and today, as he was getting all his papers and documents in order, he found those ballet shoes again. Sally would have been about forty-six or seven today and he often wondered what kind of life she would have led had she had the chance. However, that was not where he was going with this memory. He believed strongly that everyone had been placed upon this earth, and even more specifically, in each of our paths to achieve something worthy and noble that makes, or rather, should make a difference. Sally had done that for him, and he prayed that during these past four decades, he had done the same for others.

Have you?

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June 17, 2021


Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 368

Reading I – 2 Cor 11:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me!
Please put up with me.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God,
since I betrothed you to one husband
to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning,
your thoughts may be corrupted
from a sincere and pure commitment to Christ.
For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached,
or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received
or a different gospel from the one you accepted,
you put up with it well enough.
For I think that I am not in any way inferior to these “superapostles.”
Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge;
in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

Did I make a mistake when I humbled myself so that you might be exalted,
because I preached the Gospel of God to you without charge?
I plundered other churches by accepting from them
in order to minister to you.
And when I was with you and in need, I did not burden anyone,
for the brothers who came from Macedonia
supplied my needs.
So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
By the truth of Christ in me,
this boast of mine shall not be silenced
in the regions of Achaia.
And why?  Because I do not love you?
God knows I do!

Responsorial Psalm – 111:1B-2, 3-4, 7-8

R.    (7A)  Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
    in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
    exquisite in all their delights.
R.    Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Majesty and glory are his work,
    and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
    gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R.    Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
    wrought in truth and equity. 
R.    Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Rom 8:15BC

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

Gospel – Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

    ‘Our Father who art in heaven,
        hallowed be thy name,
        thy Kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread;
        and forgive us our trespasses,
        as we forgive those who trespass against us;
        and lead us not into temptation,
        but deliver us from evil.’

“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

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Mind Walking


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 17, 2021

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted from a sincere and pure commitment to Christ.” There is a common principle of wisdom in most spiritual circles that states that we must watch our thoughts because they determine our words, actions, personality, and ultimately our destiny. History is full of episodes of confirmations of this truth. Even our own lives give rise to believe that this is true. Guilt is the culprit that often robs our peace as well as fear. These, among others, are, as St. Paul writes to all of us today is the source of the corruption of the mind and heart that often takes place ever slowly and methodically. But fear not, the remedy is not only clear but close: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” There is perhaps no other more obvious sign of a follower of Jesus than that of the desire and ability to forgive. By extension, the greater the offense, the greater the forgiveness, producing an even greater love to accomplish reconciliation. These are the thoughts we truly wish to walk through our hearts and minds, and if we invite Jesus Christ to walk with us daily, success will be ours.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Mahatma Gandhi

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June 16, 2021


Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 367

Reading I – 2 Cor 9:6-11

Brothers and sisters, consider this:
whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

    He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
        his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity,
which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

Responsorial Psalm – 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 9

R.    (1B)  Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
    who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
    the upright generation shall be blessed.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
    his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious and merciful and just.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
    his generosity shall endure forever;
        his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 14:23

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

Gospel – Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,
and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

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Prayer Chariot Of Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 16, 2021

“Brothers and sisters, consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” There may be many among us who believe that there are two basic kinds of people in this life, “givers and takers.” If that’s true, it may suggest that that is how they see God. Stingy or sparing people usually have a relationship with God that sees Him as a taker rather than a giver. They perceive themselves as being drained away by God because he is so incessantly and solely demanding. Of course, they are ill-disposed to being generous. However, the heart which sees God as a giver wants to be like Him and bestow the same happiness they receive from Him upon others. When this person looks to God, he feels replenished, not drained. The prayers of these people are rich, meaningful, and life-giving.

Considering our lives of prayer, Jesus in our Gospel today has a remarkable suggestion: “But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” It seems that the closer and more inmate our prayer with God is, the more effective and fruitful it will be. Prayer doesn’t change the world. It changes people, and they change the world.

“Our prayer may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” Max Lucado

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June 15, 2021


Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 366

Reading I – 2 Cor 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For according to their means, I can testify,
and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part
in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun,
he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
Now as you excel in every respect,
in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness,
and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Responsorial Psalm – 146:2, 5-6AB, 6C- 7, 8-9A

R.    (1B)  Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, my soul!
    I will praise the LORD all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R.    Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
    the sea and all that is in them.
R.    Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Who keeps faith forever,
    secures justice for the oppressed,
    gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free. 
R.    Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
    the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers. 
R.    Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

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

Gospel – Mt 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
    You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

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Love My What?


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 15, 2021

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'” Right. That’s the way it used to be. That may be the way some were raised or learned how to act after so many disappointments and stabs in the back. It sure does take a lot of energy, though, and living by “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” just makes for a blind and toothless generation. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Seriously? How is this done especially in a world where cut-throat is the game of the week? What Jesus is asking us to do is not something impossible or unnatural. It is the only thing that makes sense and will bring peace to me and hopefully in time to the person who is hostile to me. It is altogether possible to literally disarm a hating person by acting towards them in a positive and loving way, refusing to be controlled by their negative attitudes and imitating Christ Jesus in every way possible and in any given situation.

Our call today is simple: remember that anyone who really harms us, also harms themselves as well, even if they get a twisted pleasure in the short term. If I have a true Christian spirit I will reach out in compassion to that person. I will want that person to be healed, healed of their hatred, healed of their anger, and to learn how to love. “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This will not be easy but it is not impossible either. The rewards are amazing. It is a phenomenal way to live precisely because it is a call and a challenge to do everything in our power to imitate God in extending our love, respect, and forgiveness impartially and unconditionally to everyone, especially to the ones who render injustice and sorrow upon us.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” My friends, this is a new commandment because it makes us new and refreshed in the Lord Jesus. This is why many of the saints have referred to it as “perfection.”

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” G. K. Chesterton

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June 14, 2021


Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 365

Reading I – 2 Cor 6:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
As your fellow workers, we appeal to you
not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

    In an acceptable time I heard you,
        and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
We cause no one to stumble in anything,
in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves
as ministers of God, through much endurance,
in afflictions, hardships, constraints,
beatings, imprisonments, riots,
labors, vigils, fasts;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech,
in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.

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

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

Alleluia – Ps 119:105

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

Gospel – Mt 5:38-42

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
    An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

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Too Rich To Be Petty


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 14, 2021

“As your fellow workers, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” Not too long ago, a writer came up with an interesting list based on a self-study based on interviews he conducted over the years. It was the top nine things people said before they died. Among them, that was completely understandable, like “I see Heaven,” or “I see Hell,” there was this choice morsel: “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” Have you wondered what keeps us from being truly happy? Could it be pettiness and the resistance we sometimes take in forgiving someone who has hurt us deeply? The Gospel of today certainly addresses this question.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.” Jesus gave us this teaching today to help minimize the effects of evil and the current active spirit and echoes of hateful and vindictive spirits we encounter. Evil escalates when we respond to it with equal and, most times, excessive fervor. A small situation can get blown so far out of proportion that it can cause horrible harm. Even in everyday life, when someone wrongs us, the problem can blow up and get out of control, destroying marriages, families, friendships, and even faith, without which we simply cannot survive. Frustrating and ongoing issues of injustice will merely require more patience, more trust, more forgiveness, more Jesus.

“That’s prayer to let God’s Word speak deep within you and tell you, ‘You are my beloved. You don’t have to take an eye for an eye. No, no you’re too rich for that.'” Henri Nouwen

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June 13, 2021


Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 92

Reading I – Ez 17:22-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar,
    from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain;
    on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
    and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it,
    every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.
And all the trees of the field shall know
    that I, the LORD,
bring low the high tree,
    lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree,
    and make the withered tree bloom.
As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.

Responsorial Psalm – 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

R. (CF. 2A) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
    to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
    and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
    like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
    shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
    vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
    my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading II – 2 Cor 5:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him, 
whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

Alleluia

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

Gospel – Mk 4:26-34

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

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

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Got Mustard?


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 13, 2021

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” This ever-popular Gospel passage should also enthuse those cooking enthusiasts among our readers. Is anyone aware of the various uses of mustard, other than being spread on hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches? The following may send you searching through the internet to secure the validity of these claims. It has been used as mild burn relief, a cosmetic face mask for skin rejuvenation, relief for sore muscles and sore throats, and the removal of the toxic and awful odor of the shrewd skunk in case you find yourself ever-too-close and sprayed with mayhem.

“We are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” Living in the Kingdom means relief from the scorching rays of a hostile world and facing it with renewed vigor and the glow of the Spirit. It means comfort from the wear and tears on our bodies as we desperately travel the moral roads through unknown lands while bravely clearing our throats to preach the Gospel, in season and out. It also means throwing off the stench of sinfulness and accepting the sweetness of forgiveness freely and mercifully offered in confession. Accept all the wonderful promises Jesus has made to you and those you love, and ask for the courage to walk in the light and carry your faith to all aspects of your life. May today’s reflection put a smile on your face and help you keep going.

“I have a mustard seed; and I am not afraid to use it.” Pope Benedict XVI

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June 12, 2021


For the readings of The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Lectionary: 364/573

Reading I – 2 Cor 5:14-21

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

R. (8A) The Lord is kind and merciful.
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 is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes. 
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
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 is kind and merciful.

Alleluia – See Lk 2:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is the Virgin Mary who kept the word of God
and pondered it in her heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 2:41-51

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

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Look What We Found


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 12, 2021

“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.” Today the Gospel Reading takes us to the meaning of the Fifth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, best known to many as “Finding of the Child Jesus.” How could we faithfully summarize what we witnessed through the powerful Word of God today? It is clear that Jesus loved the art of teaching, asking and answering questions, and in every encounter with the Lord, there was always something astounding.

“Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And there is something else quite telling that we must not forget or miss today. The question His Mother Mary asked Him was also truly astounding. How could the Lord, even as a child, bring or cause in any way, even indirectly, anxiety to His parents? Since we could not honestly assume that that was Christ-child’s motive, what shall we make of the subsequent fear of losing a child in such a huge horde of people on the move? We could start with the obvious answer to the question, “where was He?” Jesus was in the Temple not to abandon His parents but in His Father’s House to do something for them and all humanity that would certainly last into eternity. He was beginning the framework for His suffering, death, and Resurrection, culminating in His own body, the Temple not made by human hands. When we feel we have lost Jesus in our lives, we must remember this element of today’s Scripture and never lose hope: “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Let us pray: Lord, help me confidently reach for what lies ahead and help me seek you in the midst of my struggles. Lord, help me rejoice in the hope of tomorrow and give me the strength to just keep going. Amen.

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June 12, 2021 – The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Memorial


For the readings of the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, please go here.

Lectionary: 364/573

From the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, p. 000,  
OR:

Reading 1 – Is 61:9-11

Thus says the LORD:
The descendants of my people shall be renowned among the nations,
and their offspring among the peoples;
All who see them shall acknowledge them
as a race the LORD has blessed.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
For he has clothed me with a robe of salvation,
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
Like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
So will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations.

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

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

Alleluia – Lk 2:19

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed is the Virgin Mary who kept the word of God
and pondered it in her heart.

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 2:41-51

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

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June 11, 2021


Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lectionary: 171

Reading I – Hos 11:1, 3-4, 8C-9

    Thus says the LORD:
When Israel was a child I loved him,
    out of Egypt I called my son.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
    with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
    who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
    they did not know that I was their healer.

My heart is overwhelmed,
    my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
    I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not a man,
    the Holy One present among you;
    I will not let the flames consume you.

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

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

Reading II – Eph 3:8-12, 14-19

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 11:29AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord;
and learn from me, for I am meek and gentle of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

OR:

1 Jn 4:10B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God first loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 19:31-37

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.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; 
he knows that he is speaking the truth, 
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
    Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
    They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

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Staircase To Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 11, 2021

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, as we know it, began about the year 1672. On repeated occasions, Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun in France. He explained to her the devotion to His Sacred Heart during these apparitions as He wanted people to practice it. He asked to be honored in the symbol of His Heart of flesh. There is only one Person in Jesus, and that person was at the same time, God and Man. His Heart, too, is Divine — it is the Heart of God. “My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.”

What does it mean when one person says to another, “I give my heart to you”? For some, it means that you are ready and truly able to trust another with your feelings, your thoughts, and even your future.

That person must also clearly demonstrate the following:
1. They take time out for you
2. They are honest about themselves, and you
3. They share intimate details about themselves
4. They readily show various personal aspects of their own life
5. They are consistently there for you and talk and listen about anything

“…to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Thus, what do you think it means that Jesus gives His Sacred Heart to us and opens the way for a mutual relationship which is forever with Him? Let’s take another look at the list we prepared before:

1. Jesus always takes time for us.
2. Jesus is Truth
3. Jesus has shared His very life by dying on the Cross
4. Jesus invites us to discover who He is in our day-to-day life
5. Jesus never leaves

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”

Jesus calls every one of us to love. First, to love God above all things, second, our neighbor as ourselves, and lastly, ourselves. All together and all at once. Throughout our short lives here on earth, it may take a little more effort and time with one or two of these charges, but this is what we call faith in action! People who obey this command change their spiritual lives forever! If we are a believer in Jesus Christ, we must ask where He called us to go? Who has God put on your heart to love and share the gift of salvation?

My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it is through earth’s loveliness.
Michelangelo

“My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.” Michelangelo

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June 10, 2021


Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 362

Reading I – 2 Cor 3:15—4:1, 3-6

Brothers and sisters:
To this day, whenever Moses is read,
a veil lies over the hearts of the children of Israel,
but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is freedom.
All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
as from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us,
we are not discouraged.
And even though our Gospel is veiled,
it is veiled for those who are perishing,
in whose case the god of this age
has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,
so that they may not see the light of the Gospel
of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness,
has shone in our hearts to bring to light
the knowledge of the glory of God
on the face of Jesus Christ.

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

R.    (see 10B)  The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
I will hear what God proclaims;
    the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
    glory dwelling in our land.
R.    The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
    justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
    and justice shall look down from heaven.
R.    The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
    our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
    and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R.    The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

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

Gospel – Mt 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother,
Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

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Letting Go And Winning Freedom


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 10, 2021

“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Now that is certainly something you don’t hear every day, at least in polite company. If you and I will understand what Jesus is communicating with us fully, we need a little research. In New Testament times (much like today), anger was considered a very powerful emotion that could lead a person into horrible problems. If there were anger in someone’s heart, it would eventually show up in words and actions. The more anger, the more problems. Easy enough, right?

“Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.” As we have read throughout the year in several places, Jesus also saw his followers as the light of a fire to the world. Placing a flame of light under a basket would put the fire out. No, like a city high on a hill, the fire should be placed for all to see, especially when it comes to forgiveness and making peace even with the most incorrigible of persons. So, one cannot hide faith by inaction. One must show faith in action for all to see, so those seeing the witness can be brought to faith and praise God.

In essence, Jesus told his followers they cannot have it both ways. One cannot believe as a Christian, yet act as if faith did not matter. Faith leads to action, and the action points to the Kingdom. Are we alive or lifeless? Are we who we say we are? Let’s see how the day progresses.

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” Thich Nhat Hanh

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June 9, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Ephrem, deacon and doctor of the Church, please go here.

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 361

Reading I – 2 Cor 3:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit
for anything as coming from us;
rather, our qualification comes from God,
who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious
that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of its glory that was going to fade,
how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious,
the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.
Indeed, what was endowed with glory
has come to have no glory in this respect
because of the glory that surpasses it.
For if what was going to fade was glorious,
how much more will what endures be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm – 99:5, 6, 7, 8, 9

R.    (see 9C)  Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
    and worship at his footstool;
    holy is he!
R.    Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
    and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
    they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R.    Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
    they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R.    Holy is the Lord our God.
O LORD, our God, you answered them;
    a forgiving God you were to them,
    though requiting their misdeeds. 
R.    Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
    and worship at his holy mountain;
    for holy is the LORD, our God.
R.    Holy is the Lord our God.

Alleluia – Ps 25:4B, 5A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Teach me your paths, my God,
and guide me in your truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 5:17-19

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

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Stay Close To The Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 9, 2021

“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its glory that was going to fade, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?” In today’s First Reading, St. Paul reminds us that it is truly worth following the Lord God in our lives because the promised glory is so much more intense than any suffering or anxiety we may experience on this planet in our daily struggles. How many people do you know who is lost and empty and keep asking why God is so distant? I wonder who moved.

“But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” What is clear about today’s lesson should be evident: there are two sources of power in the universe, good and evil. Whatever is not of the God who has revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ cannot ever hope to satisfy or bring about the goodness in this life for which we long. We must look for light and love, and vision from the only source to help us for the rest of our lives. Our prayer nourished by Scriptures is not only essential but the only real guarantee of our happiness in this world: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.”

“Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God.” Saint Augustine

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June 9, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Ephrem, deacon and doctor of the Church


For the readings of the Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 579

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

Reading 1 – Col 3:12-17

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:5

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord:
whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 6:43-45

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person, out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil,
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

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June 8, 2021


Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 360

Reading I – 2 Cor 1:18-22

Brothers and sisters:
As God is faithful, our word to you is not “yes” and “no.”
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us,
Silvanus and Timothy and me,
was not “yes” and “no,” but “yes” has been in him.
For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him;
therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory.
But the one who gives us security with you in Christ
and who anointed us is God;
he has also put his seal upon us
and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.

Responsorial Psalm – 119:129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135

R. (135A) Lord, let your face shine on me.
Wonderful are your decrees;
    therefore I observe them.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
    gives understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
I gasp with open mouth
    in my yearning for your commands.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Turn to me in pity
    as you turn to those who love your name.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Steady my footsteps according to your promise,
    and let no iniquity rule over me.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant,
    and teach me your statutes. 
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.

Alleluia – Mt 5:16

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

Gospel – Mt 5:13-16

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

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Truth In Tension


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 8, 2021

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth.'” Let’s take a look at some of the uses/characteristics of salt. It is a preservative, gives flavor, is bright white, used as a fertilizer, and produces thirst. As a preserving agent in this world, every Christian is to be in the world but not of the world and doing whatever is in their power to keep those around from spoiling or degenerating. Christians can add flavor or joy to the world while living a life of purity and understanding while increasing the fruitfulness of those struggling alongside each of us. Just as salty food makes us thirsty, Christians as the salt of earth can make others thirsty for Jesus. “I want to be like you because you love God and it is obvious.”

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the light of the world.'” What does light do, and why do we need it so much? It exposes the hidden pockets of evil, enlightens greatness in this world, and shows us the way out of a dark space. This is precisely why we followers of Jesus need each other so much. We simply cannot do this alone. We need help more than just a few times to point out what is evil in this world to avoid it and help us realize the many blessings we have been given to be grateful lovers of God. We need help at every step and stage of our lives from others who love Jesus to find our way either out of a crisis, grief seasons, or just painful moments.

“Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Is there some hidden, secret recipe for being salt and light in this life? We have just discovered it. It has everything to do with living a holy, healthy, and happy life full of purpose, which is why we need to beg to be filled with the Holy Spirit while there is breath in our body. We have the Commandments and Beatitudes. We have the Sacraments and the Mass. We are constantly being challenged to continue to pray without ceasing or losing heart, which will be nourished by our reading and reflecting over the powerful Word of God as we do here. This is our life, our call, our invitation to greatness.

“Being salt and light demands two things: we practice purity in the midst of a fallen world and yet we live in proximity to this fallen world. If you don’t hold up both truth in tension, you invariably become useless and separated from the world God loves.” David Kinnaman

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June 7, 2021


Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 359

Reading I – 2 Cor1:1-7

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Timothy our brother,
to the Church of God that is at Corinth,
with all the holy ones throughout Achaia:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement,
who encourages us in our every affliction,
so that we may be able to encourage
those who are in any affliction
with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.
For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us,
so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow.
If we are afflicted,
it is for your encouragement and salvation;
if we are encouraged,
it is for your encouragement,
which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
Our hope for you is firm,
for we know that as you share in the sufferings,
you also share in the encouragement.

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

R. (9A) 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 me and be glad. 
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. 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. 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. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – Mt 5:12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad;

for your reward will be great in heaven.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 
He began to teach them, saying:

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
        for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are they who mourn,
        for they will be comforted.
    Blessed are the meek,
        for they will inherit the land.
    Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
        for they will be satisfied.
    Blessed are the merciful,
        for they will be shown mercy.
    Blessed are the clean of heart,
        for they will see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers,
        for they will be called children of God.
    Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
        for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

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Blueprint Monday


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 7, 2021

“Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.” From time to time in this journey of life, things happen that we simply do not understand. These are the times when we are called to place complete trust in the Lord, receive His merciful encouragement, and pray for the patient wisdom to await the fulfillment of understanding to be even more confident in His ways. This is all beautifully brought together with the proclamation of the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Just as Moses in the Old Testament came down the mountain with the Law in the form of the Ten Commandments, Jesus walked up the mountain and fulfilled what the great Law-giver started and mapped out the way to survive “the time of great distress” for each and every one of us. The Beatitudes create the blueprint of living a beautiful, Christian life. These eight blessings are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching and respond to the natural desire that we all have for true and lasting happiness.
And they do one more thing: The Beatitudes proclaim the blessings and rewards that have already been secured for those who love Jesus. Just imagine, there’s a place in Heaven for you, and it has your name on it!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” The secret of our spiritual success is given beautifully in the Gospel. Like Moses in the Old Testament, Jesus comes down the mountain to deliver and impart “The New Law of Love,” and much like the Ten Commandments, these give life and point the clear way to salvation. These are known as the Beatitudes and “are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching.” (CCC 1716). “They shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life.” (CCC 1717) And “they respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it.”

Today, sometime before it is all over and done with, take some time to revisit this passage in Matthew’s Gospel. Go over each Beatitude slowly and with positive intention. Tell the Lord, “I want to succeed.” And you will: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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June 6, 2021


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Lectionary: 168

Reading I – Ex 24:3-8

When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,
they all answered with one voice,
“We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites
to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.”

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

R. (13)    I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
    for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
    you have loosed my bonds.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
    in the presence of all his people.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – Heb 9:11-15

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came as high priest
of the good things that have come to be,
passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
he entered once for all into the sanctuary,
not with the blood of goats and calves
but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls
and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes
can sanctify those who are defiled
so that their flesh is cleansed,
how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works
to worship the living God.

For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place for deliverance
from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

Sequence

Lauda Sion

Laud, O Zion, your salvation,
Laud with hymns of exultation,
    Christ, your king and shepherd true:

Bring him all the praise you know,
He is more than you bestow.
    Never can you reach his due.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving
Is the quick’ning and the living
    Bread today before you set:

From his hands of old partaken,
As we know, by faith unshaken,
    Where the Twelve at supper met.

Full and clear ring out your chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
    From your heart let praises burst:

For today the feast is holden,
When the institution olden
    Of that supper was rehearsed.

Here the new law’s new oblation,
By the new king’s revelation,
    Ends the form of ancient rite:

Now the new the old effaces,
Truth away the shadow chases,
    Light dispels the gloom of night.

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
    His memorial ne’er to cease:

And his rule for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
    Thus our sacrifice of peace.

This the truth each Christian learns,
Bread into his flesh he turns,
    To his precious blood the wine:

Sight has fail’d, nor thought conceives,
But a dauntless faith believes,
    Resting on a pow’r divine.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things to sense forbidden;
    Signs, not things are all we see:

Blood is poured and flesh is broken,
Yet in either wondrous token
    Christ entire we know to be.

Whoso of this food partakes,
Does not rend the Lord nor breaks;
    Christ is whole to all that taste:

Thousands are, as one, receivers,
One, as thousands of believers,
    Eats of him who cannot waste.

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
    Endless death, or endless life.

Life to these, to those damnation,
See how like participation
    Is with unlike issues rife.

When the sacrament is broken,
Doubt not, but believe ‘tis spoken,
    That each sever’d outward token
    doth the very whole contain.

Nought the precious gift divides,
Breaking but the sign betides
    Jesus still the same abides,
    still unbroken does remain.

    The shorter form of the sequence begins here.

Lo! the angel’s food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
    see the children’s bread from heaven,
    which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
    Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
    manna to the fathers sent.

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
    You refresh us, you defend us,
    Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
    Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
    Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 6:51

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

Gospel – Mk 14:12-16, 22-26

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

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This Is My Body, My Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 6, 2021

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

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” While well-thought-out mealtime practices and rituals can draw us into a state of increased awareness, our appreciation for the Eucharist can give sight to the vision we need to focus on the things that matter in this life to get home safely (Heaven) when it is all said and done. Jesus does so much more, giving us His Body and Blood. He teaches us that we take meaningful time when we sit and share food and take every opportunity and chance to serve, even to the point of washing each other’s feet.

“Take it; this is my body.” As Jesus feeds us with His very Body and Blood, He is assuring us that He is showing us and expecting us to be the least among us. It is easy to do great things for those we love. What about doing the hard things for those we don’t even know or, even better, know that will never be able or willing to say thank you? This is selfless, and it is what this night is all about: empty yourself as Jesus did so where He has gone, we can follow.

“When you approach the (Eucharist in the) tabernacle remember that he has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.” St. Josemaria Escriva

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June 5, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 358

Reading I – Tb 12:1, 5-15, 20

Tobit called his son Tobiah and said to him,
“Son, see to it that you give what is due to the man
who made the journey with you; give him a bonus too.”
So he called Raphael and said,
“Take as your wages half of all that you have brought back,
and go in peace.”

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

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

“So now get up from the ground and praise God.
Behold, I am about to ascend to him who sent me;
write down all these things that have happened to you.”

Responsorial Psalm – Tobit 13:2, 6EFGH, 7, 8

R. (1B) Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
He scourges and then has mercy;
    he casts down to the depths of the nether world,
    and he brings up from the great abyss.
No one can escape his hand.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
So now consider what he has done for you,
    and praise him with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
    and exalt the King of ages. 
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. 
In the land of my exile I praise him
    and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. 
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
    and may all of you praise his majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

Alleluia – Mt 5:3

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

Gospel – Mk 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext,
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

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June 5, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Boniface, bishop and martyr


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr, please go here.

Lectionary: 577

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

Reading 1 – Acts 26:19-23

Paul said:
“King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
On the contrary, first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem
and throughout the whole country of Judea,
and then to the Gentiles,
I preached the need to repent and turn to God,
and to do works giving evidence of repentance.
That is why the Jews seized me when I was in the temple
and tried to kill me.
But I have enjoyed God’s help to this very day,
and so I stand here testifying to small and great alike,
saying nothing different from what the prophets and Moses foretold,
that the Messiah must suffer and that,
as the first to rise from the dead,
he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – Jn 10:14

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

Gospel – Jn 10:11-16

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

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Widow Wisdom


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 5, 2021

Let’s look at the widow’s mention in the Bible: 56 times in the Old Testament; 26 in the New. With these many occurrences, something beautiful is going on, and we need to examine this if we are to gain spiritual benefits from these powerful Readings from Holy Scripture. Today, there is mention of one widow’s sacrifice in the Gospel. (St. Mark) In the Old Testament, the common words associated with the mention of widows were: weeping, mourning, desolation, poverty, and indebtedness. They were especially vulnerable because they were dependent on everyone and thus had known both the joy of love and the anguish of loss more than any other member of society. And because of this particular life experience, widows probably reflected the image of God much more significant than others.

In the New Testament, widows were prominent such as Anna, the long-time widower temple attendant who was uniquely privileged to greet the infant Messiah; A widow who received the miraculous gift of seeing her son healed by Jesus because of His deep and warm compassion for her; there is the remarkable persistence from a widow who keeps demanding justice from a corrupt judge and the reversal of the standards of generosity because of the great act of a widow in the temple. (Today)

This life is it. There will be no “second-chance,” or “let me try this again until I get it right.” Instead, it appears that before our final, earthly, and physical death, there is an urgency for us to face a spiritual dying to oneself, to empty oneself of attachments and obsessions, and to recall the example and image of the widow who “put in more than all the other contributors …but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Spiritual poverty begins with depending on God completely, letting go of the non-important pettiness we encounter, and contributing our livelihood, our very center, to following the Lord Jesus. This takes us to the border between life and death where there are no guarantees – only hope, where there are no answers – only faith, and where there is no security – only love. This is where the poor widow lives. This is where God lives. And they live in union as one. In the face of the poor widow – the face of spiritual poverty – Jesus sees and recognizes Himself—and we see Him.

So my dear friends, what are we to do as we bathe in the grace of these powerful proclamations from Scripture?

1. Practice The Faith: Of course, spiritual life is a struggle, but we find ourselves and our road to holiness within that grind.
2. Be Generous: Be generous in the things of God and pray for the spirit of detachment. The widow lived this remarkable spirit. Even though her offering didn’t amount to much in monetary terms, her intention and her heart certainly did, as she was poised for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.
3. 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.” (Jesus, in John 16:33)

“Don’t let anyone drain you of your happiness today. Be drama free. Rise above the petty stuff.” Trent Shelton

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June 4, 2021


Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 357

Reading I – Tb 11:5-17

Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come.
When she saw him coming, she exclaimed to his father,
“Tobit, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!”

Raphael said to Tobiah before he reached his father:
“I am certain that his eyes will be opened.
Smear the fish gall on them.
This medicine will make the cataracts shrink and peel off from his eyes;
then your father will again be able to see the light of day.”

Then Anna ran up to her son, threw her arms around him,
and said to him, 
“Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!”
And she sobbed aloud.

Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate.
Tobiah went up to him with the fish gall in his hand,
and holding him firmly, blew into his eyes.
“Courage, father,” he said.
Next he smeared the medicine on his eyes, and it made them smart.
Then, beginning at the corners of Tobit’s eyes,
Tobiah used both hands to peel off the cataracts.

When Tobit saw his son, he threw his arms around him and wept.
He exclaimed, “I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!”
Then he said: 

    “Blessed be God,
        and praised be his great name,
        and blessed be all his holy angels.
    May his holy name be praised
        throughout all the ages,
    Because it was he who scourged me,
        and it is he who has had mercy on me.
    Behold, I now see my son Tobiah!”

Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and praising God with full voice 
for everything that had happened.
Tobiah told his father that 
the Lord God had granted him a successful journey;
that he had brought back the money;
and that he had married Raguel’s daughter Sarah,
who would arrive shortly,
for she was approaching the gate of Nineveh.

Tobit and Anna rejoiced 
and went out to the gate of Nineveh
to meet their daughter-in-law.
When the people of Nineveh saw Tobit walking along briskly,
with no one leading him by the hand, they were amazed.
Before them all Tobit proclaimed
how God had mercifully restored sight to his eyes.
When Tobit reached Sarah, the wife of his son Tobiah,
he greeted her: “Welcome, my daughter!
Blessed be your God for bringing you to us, daughter!
Blessed is your father, and blessed is my son Tobiah, 
and blessed are you, daughter!
Welcome to your home with blessing and joy.
Come in, daughter!”
That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

Responsorial Psalm – 146:1B-2, 6C-7, 8-9A, 9BC-10

R. (1B) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
    I will praise the LORD all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God while I live. 
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
    secures justice for the oppressed,
    gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
    the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
    but the way of the wicked he thwarts
The LORD shall reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, through all generations! Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 14:23

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

Gospel – Mk 12:35-37

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,
“How do the scribes claim that the 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.’

David himself calls him ‘lord’;
so how is he his son?”
The great crowd heard this with delight.

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The Spirit Of Tobit


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 4, 2021

“May his holy name be praised throughout all the ages, because it was he who scourged me, and it is he who has had mercy on me. Behold, I now see my son Tobiah!” At first glance, the Book of Tobit is one of the most charming and even fanciful in the Old Testament. Tobit and Judith, and Esther were used and regarded as canonical by the earliest Christians and by the Church herself. They have been used to teach important spiritual and moral lessons. One of these, by far, is the enormous moral strength arising from a complete trust in God. That is why the lives of Tobit and Tobias are models for our lives. We all face serious challenges. We all have the same opportunity to do God’s will serenely, trusting in His providential care. But we often fail to take that opportunity, looking at our challenges the way most people do, the way our culture does.

“The great crowd heard this with delight.” As we move through this summer, post-COVID months of life, it becomes more and more critical that we grasp our spiritual lives as highly important. If anything that the last year has taught us is that trust in God is tantamount and crucial if we are going to make sense of the strange and difficult episodes we pass. Jesus is Lord of Heaven and earth, and He is our Best Friend. Treat Him like one! This should fill us all with great delight. What will you do today about what you just read?

“Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.” Napoleon Hill

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June 3, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and companions, martyrs, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 356

Reading I – Tb 6:10-11; 7:1BCDE, 9-17; 8:4-9A

When the angel Raphael and Tobiah had entered Media 
and were getting close to Ecbatana,
Raphael said to the boy,
“Tobiah, my brother!”
He replied: “Here I am!”
He said: “Tonight we must stay with Raguel, who is a relative of yours.
He has a daughter named Sarah.”

So he brought him to the house of Raguel,
whom they found seated by his courtyard gate.
They greeted him first.
He said to them, “Greetings to you too, brothers!
Good health to you, and welcome!”
And he brought them into his home.

Raguel slaughtered a ram from the flock
and gave them a cordial reception.
When they had bathed and reclined to eat, Tobiah said to Raphael,
“Brother Azariah, ask Raguel to let me marry
my kinswoman Sarah.”
Raguel overheard the words; so he said to the boy:
“Eat and drink and be merry tonight,
for no man is more entitled
to marry my daughter Sarah than you, brother.
Besides, not even I have the right to give her to anyone but you,
because you are my closest relative.
But I will explain the situation to you very frankly.
I have given her in marriage to seven men,
all of whom were kinsmen of ours,
and all died on the very night they approached her.
But now, son, eat and drink.
I am sure the Lord will look after you both.”
Tobiah answered,
“I will eat or drink nothing until you set aside what belongs to me.”

Raguel said to him: “I will do it.
She is yours according to the decree of the Book of Moses.
Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven!
Take your kinswoman;
from now on you are her love, and she is your beloved.
She is yours today and ever after.
And tonight, son, may the Lord of heaven prosper you both.
May he grant you mercy and peace.” 
Then Raguel called his daughter Sarah, and she came to him.
He took her by the hand and gave her to Tobiah with the words:
“Take her according to the law.
According to the decree written in the Book of Moses
she is your wife.
Take her and bring her back safely to your father.
And may the God of heaven grant both of you peace and prosperity.”
Raguel then called Sarah’s mother and told her to bring a scroll,
so that he might draw up a marriage contract
stating that he gave Sarah to Tobiah as his wife
according to the decree of the Mosaic law.
Her mother brought the scroll,
and Raguel drew up the contract, to which they affixed their seals.

Afterward they began to eat and drink.
Later Raguel called his wife Edna and said,
“My love, prepare the other bedroom and bring the girl there.”
She went and made the bed in the room, as she was told,
and brought the girl there.
After she had cried over her, she wiped away the tears and said:
“Be brave, my daughter.
May the Lord grant you joy in place of your grief.
Courage, my daughter.”
Then she left.

When the girl’s parents left the bedroom
and closed the door behind them,
Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
“My love, get up.
Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us
and to grant us deliverance.”
She got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
And they began to say:

    “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,
        praised be your name forever and ever.
    Let the heavens and all your creation
        praise you forever.
    You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
        to be his help and support;
        and from these two the human race descended.
    You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
        let us make him a partner like himself.’
    Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
        not because of lust,
        but for a noble purpose.
    Call down your mercy on me and on her,
        and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”

They said together, “Amen, amen,” and went to bed for the night.

Responsorial Psalm – 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

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

Alleluia – See 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death

and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 

Gospel – Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
    Hear, O Israel! 
    The Lord our God is Lord alone!
    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
    with all your soul, with all your mind, 
    and with all your strength.

The second is this:
    You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
    He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
    with all your understanding,
    with all your strength,

    and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

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June 3, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and companions, martyrs


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs, please go here.

Lectionary: 576

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 – 2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14

It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested
and tortured with whips and scourges by the king,
to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law.
One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said:
“What do you expect to achieve by questioning us?
We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”

At the point of death he said:
“You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life,
but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.
It is for his laws that we are dying.”

After him, the third suffered their cruel sport.
He put out his tongue at once when told to do so,
and bravely held out his hands, as he spoke these noble words:
“It was from Heaven that I received these;
for the sake of God’s laws I disdain them;
from him I hope to receive them again.”
Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man’s courage,
because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.

After he had died,
they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way.
When he was near death, he said,
“It is my choice to die at the hands of men
with the God-given hope of being restored to life by him;
but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.”

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

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

Gospel – Mt 5:1-12A

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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Astonished


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 3, 2021

“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” Imagine a long journey to visit someone very special in your life, perhaps a grandmother or an old friend who lives far away in a small town where you used to live and haven’t visited for quite a while. As your vehicle leaves your city and travels into the country, the surroundings and the signs begin to remind you to have a happier, less complicated time. Then the smells kick in. Just think of the aromas of childhood and blissful memories as they begin to flood every fiber of your being. You are almost there! You are not far. This experience must have filled the scribe in our Gospel today. We must be eager for that same intimate familiarity as well, and it is truly ours as the Gospel of today relates.

“Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” This eagerness to grow closer to Jesus is the best way to travel toward Heaven in this life. Wanting with every effort, we can muster to be acceptable and pleasing to God who loves us as we are, doing everything as if no one was watching except the One, and always attempting to speak the truth is our plan of action. With this, we can rest assured that we are not far at all.

“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” Brennan Manning

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June 2, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs, please go here.

Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 355

Reading I – TB 3:1-11A, 16-17A

Grief-stricken in spirit, I, Tobit, groaned and wept aloud.
Then with sobs I began to pray:

    “You are righteous, O Lord,
        and all your deeds are just;
    All your ways are mercy and truth;
        you are the judge of the world.
    And now, O Lord, may you be mindful of me,
        and look with favor upon me.
    Punish me not for my sins,
        nor for my inadvertent offenses,
        nor for those of my ancestors. 

    “We sinned against you,
        and disobeyed your commandments.
    So you handed us over to plundering, exile, and death,
        till you made us the talk and reproach of all the nations
        among whom you had dispersed us.

    “Yes, your judgments are many and true
        in dealing with me as my sins
        and those of my ancestors deserve.
    For we have not kept your commandments,
        nor have we trodden the paths of truth before you.

    “So now, deal with me as you please,
        and command my life breath to be taken from me,
        that I may go from the face of the earth into dust.
    It is better for me to die than to live,
        because I have heard insulting calumnies,
        and I am overwhelmed with grief.

    “Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish;
        let me go to the everlasting abode;
        Lord, refuse me not.
    For it is better for me to die
        than to endure so much misery in life,
        and to hear these insults!”

On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media,
it so happened that Raguel’s daughter Sarah
also had to listen to abuse,
from one of her father’s maids.
For she had been married to seven husbands,
but the wicked demon Asmodeus killed them off
before they could have intercourse with her,
as it is prescribed for wives.
So the maid said to her:
“You are the one who strangles your husbands!
Look at you!
You have already been married seven times,
but you have had no joy with any one of your husbands.
Why do you beat us? Is it on account of your seven husbands,
Because they are dead?
May we never see a son or daughter of yours!”

The girl was deeply saddened that day,
and she went into an upper chamber of her house, 
where she planned to hang herself.

But she reconsidered, saying to herself:
“No! People would level this insult against my father:
‘You had only one beloved daughter,
but she hanged herself because of ill fortune!’
And thus would I cause my father in his old age
to go down to the nether world laden with sorrow.
It is far better for me not to hang myself,
but to beg the Lord to have me die,
so that I need no longer live to hear such insults.”

At that time, then, she spread out her hands,
and facing the window, poured out her prayer:

    “Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God,
    and blessed is your holy and honorable name.
    Blessed are you in all your works for ever!”

At that very time, 
the prayer of these two suppliants
was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God.
So Raphael was sent to heal them both:
to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes,
so that he might again see God’s sunlight;
and to marry Raguel’s daughter Sarah to Tobit’s son Tobiah,
and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her.

Responsorial Psalm – 25:2-3, 4-5AB, 6 and 7BC, 8-9

R. (1) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
In you I trust; let me not be put to shame,
    let not my enemies exult over me.
No one who waits for you shall be put to shame;
    those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
    teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my savior.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
    and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
    because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
    thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
    he teaches the humble his way. 
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Alleluia – Jn 11:25A, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mk 12:18-27

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,
came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
‘If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.’
Now there were seven brothers.
The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants.
So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants,
and the third likewise.
And the seven left no descendants.
Last of all the woman also died.
At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
When they rise from the dead,
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but they are like the angels in heaven.
As for the dead being raised,
have you not read in the Book of Moses,
in the passage about the bush, how God told him,
    I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, 
    and the God of Jacob?

He is not God of the dead but of the living.
You are greatly misled.”

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Greatly Led


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 2, 2021

“Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.” There are more than just a few people who have wondered what may sound to others to be unthinkable: is it possible that pursuing happiness is a cause of sour, distasteful unhappiness? Perhaps in all of Scripture, there can be found no more perfect of a focus group to highlight those who fall into a happiness trap than the sad group (no pun intended) in today’s Gospel Reading: “Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him…” You see, the real clue here as to why these people are so miserable is because they do not hope for or believe in the Resurrection. How sad for the Sadducees!

“You are greatly misled.” This is not a phrase you nor I would ever want to hear from Jesus, which is why we are so richly blessed to have the Word nourish us today. The Resurrection of Christ is everything. Life would not be worth living if we did not realize that a much better eternal life was waiting for us when our time approaches. Today, lift your head and shake off any regrets or sadness that could lead you to take your focus off the great Miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus. Commit this phrase to memory as you may never know when you might need it for yourself or to share it with someone who needs it even more: “He is not God of the dead but of the living.”

“The more we try to avoid the basic reality that all human life involves pain, the more we are likely to struggle with that pain when it arises, thereby creating even more suffering.” Russ Harris

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June 2, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs


For the readings of the Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 575

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 – 2 Cor 6:4-10

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

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

R.    (7)  Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Had not the LORD been with usB
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 – 2 Cor 1:3B-4A

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed be the Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement,
who encourages us in every affliction.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 17:11B-19

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and 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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June 1, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Justin, martyr


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr, please go here.

Lectionary: 574

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 – 1 Cor 1:18-25

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

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 5:16

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

Gospel – Mt 5:13-19

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

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

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June 1, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Justin, martyr, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
Lectionary: 354

Reading 1 – Tb 2:9-14

On the night of Pentecost, after I had buried the dead,
I, Tobit, went into my courtyard 
to sleep next to the courtyard wall. 
My face was uncovered because of the heat. 
I did not know there were birds perched on the wall above me, 
till their warm droppings settled in my eyes, causing cataracts. 
I went to see some doctors for a cure
but the more they anointed my eyes with various salves, 
the worse the cataracts became, 
until I could see no more. 
For four years I was deprived of eyesight, and 
all my kinsmen were grieved at my condition. 
Ahiqar, however, took care of me for two years, 
until he left for Elymais.

At that time, my wife Anna worked for hire 
at weaving cloth, the kind of work women do. 
When she sent back the goods to their owners, they would pay her. 
Late in winter on the seventh of Dystrus, 
she finished the cloth and sent it back to the owners. 
They paid her the full salary
and also gave her a young goat for the table. 
On entering my house the goat began to bleat. 

I called to my wife and said: “Where did this goat come from? 
Perhaps it was stolen! Give it back to its owners; 
we have no right to eat stolen food!”
She said to me, “It was given to me as a bonus over and above my wages.”
Yet I would not believe her, 
and told her to give it back to its owners.
I became very angry with her over this. 
So she retorted: “Where are your charitable deeds now?
Where are your virtuous acts? 
See! Your true character is finally showing itself!”

Responsorial Psalm – 112:1-2, 7-8, 9

R. (see 7C) The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes. 
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – See Eph 1:17-18

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

Gospel – Mk 12:13-17

Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
“Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them,
“Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.

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To Pay Or Not To Pay


Reflection on Mass Reading for June 1, 2021

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

Both perspectives are beneficial for us on the journey toward Heaven. The discussion about the Church-State relationship is important to distinguish between authority, power, and the greater good for society. The Church should never be in the business of governing, and the government should not be established as a spiritual force that mandates or even polices morality. And in this same paragraph, it is important to remember that not everyone who asks “religious” questions is out for a religious outcome. People can hide behind the veil of piety to be right, access power, or obtain the upper hand in any given situation. The Psalm for today gives us plenty of insight as to how to follow a straight and narrow path toward justice and peace: “Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands.” In other words, we trust the Lord first, speak only when we think we can add something positive to the conversation, and then ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit every chance we get. Sounds like superior advice.

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” Amy Carmichael

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