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Dear Fellow Travelers!


Reflections on Mass Reading for August 31, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

We have finally reached the end of this remarkable month of August, and we just have a few questions for you to ponder:

1. What did I learn this month?
2. What was the low point?
3. What was the high point?

The end of the month, much like the end of the year and similar to the end of each day, reminds us that there will be an end one day when all of this will hopefully make perfect sense. We can see the value of staying close to the Lord Jesus and feeding our hunger for Heaven daily.

“Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.” When we look and study all the moments of the life of Jesus, we realize that The Lord does not introduce anything new in terms of human experiences but rather elevates and imbues tremendous meaning and purpose into them. When evil and the demons of our lives approach, we realize first-hand that we truly need faith in the One who can handle and defeat them. These present themselves as conflicts that call us to make choices:

Conflicts: “Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.” Every last one must face conflicts practically every day of our lives, even if they surface from within us. Therefore, it is not an indication or measurement of how much we are loved when we have issues or problems, but rather what we will do with them.

Choices: When Jesus calls a person to follow Him, it necessarily involves the fundamental option whether to accept him or to reject him; and the world is always divided into those who have accepted Christ and those who have not. Everyone makes choices every day. This choice, however, affects eternity and forever is a very, very long time.

As we prepare to place August 2021 on the shelf and begin to welcome the new month of September with all the hope and faith that we can muster, we do so with tremendous faith and courage. Our daily dose of the Word leads us to understand and fully engage the conflicts, choices, and crosses in our lives. When we are worried, it is because we are trying to do things ourselves. When we are at peace, it is because we remember that God is in control.

“. . . it is presumptuous of me to wish to choose my path, because I cannot tell which path is best for me. I must leave it to the Lord, Who knows me, to lead me by the path which is best for me, so that in all things His will may be done.” St. Teresa of Ávila

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August 31, 2021


Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 432

Reading I – 1 THES 5:1-6, 9-11

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know very well
that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
When people are saying, “Peace and security,”
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, 
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief.
For all of you are children of the light 
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.
For God did not destine us for wrath,
but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep
we may live together with him.
Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up,
as indeed you do.

Responsorial Psalm – 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Alleluia – LK 7:16

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

Gospel – LK 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, 
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

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Divine DNA


Reflections on Mass Reading for August 30, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” St. Paul gives us all an amazing insight into what it means to serve the Lord and be faithful to His teaching, especially as it pertains to the desire and thirst we all want to cultivate for Heaven. When you get right down to the basis of all our Faith, we truly realize what we have been given is truly powerful and loving, and overwhelming. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to save us from ourselves. What joy! “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands.”

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Recently, I witnessed miraculous healing and reconciliation between an adult child and one of his parents. Although there is still a long way to go, it is, in fact, a great start. It all came about as a result of prayer on the young person’s part and several other “prayer companions.” I saw it as real power. It is the power that we receive in the Holy Spirit to love, forgive, bring peace, and make sense to people struggling with all kinds of worries and anxieties in the present world. This is what it means to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit and act with the heart of Jesus, especially with those in our lives who are most difficult. This is all of the elements of the Gospel message wrapped up into one powerful gush of inspiration and humility that gives a kind of peace that the world cannot and will not provide. It is the gift that Jesus wants for every one of us. And it is a gift that is waiting just for the asking.

“If you accept the belief that baptism incorporates us in the mystical body of Christ, into the divine DNA, then you might say that the Holy Spirit is present in each of us, and thus we have the capacity for the fullness of redemption, of transformation.” Thomas Keating

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August 30, 2021


Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 431

Reading I – 1 THES 4:13-18

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
about those who have fallen asleep,
so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose,
so too will God, through Jesus,
bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord,
will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God,
will come down from heaven, 
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left,
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.

Responsorial Psalm – 96:1 and 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13

R. (13B) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the LORD made the heavens.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia – See LK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

    The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
        because he has anointed me
            to bring glad tidings to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
        and recovery of sight to the blind,
            to let the oppressed go free,
    and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll,
he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said,
“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

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Truth Or Consequences


Reflections on Mass Reading for August 29, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.” From the very moments since we learned how to manipulate speech, we have been painfully aware of what happens when we lie, that is, precisely, when we do not tell the truth. We learned early to avoid name-calling and malicious speech right there in our homes with our flesh and blood. What we say makes a huge difference because it always reveals what is inside the human heart. Learning right from wrong at the earliest possible age is at the core of the meaning of our First Reading this fine Sunday. If we truly want to achieve our life’s goal of entering Heaven, our speech, and more pointedly, what is in our hearts, is of supreme importance.

“Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” You see, whatever is inside a person’s heart will undoubtedly and most assuredly find its way to the surface. Whatever has found a home in the human heart will eventually venture out into the normal course of interaction with other people, and that is what defiles. Our fellow humans sometimes say ridiculous things because they do not stop first to think about the consequences of words. They whine and complain because that is seemingly all they know how to describe life. We who follow Jesus must listen to His wise counsel today and make the obvious conclusion: if what is within us makes us wise or defiled, then, by all means, let us invite Jesus to live there first. Then whatever we say should sound a lot like Him.

“Quote

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August 29, 2021


Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 125

Reading I – DT 4:1-2, 6-8

Moses said to the people:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 
In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin upon you,
you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it. 
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him? 
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5

R. (1A)    The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
    who thinks the truth in his heart
    and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The one 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. The one 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.
Whoever does these things
    shall never be disturbed.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Reading II – JAS 1:17-18, 21B-22, 27

Dearest brothers and sisters:
All good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. 
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

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 – MK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. 
—For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace 
they do not eat without purifying themselves. 
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. —
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” 
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
    This people honors me with their lips,
        but their hearts are far from me;
    in vain do they worship me,
        teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand. 
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.

“From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”

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The Truth Always Surfaces


man wearing dirty clothes pushing against wall

Whatever is inside us always finds its way to the surface. It is that which is within us that makes us wise or defiled. Sometimes it takes a little reminder to invite Jesus to live deep within us so that whenever we speak or act, He will find His way into our lives and those we meet. Listen to this week’s insightful message of hope and clarity accompanied by original piano music. 

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August 28, 2021


For the Readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 430

Reading I – 1 THES 4:9-11

Brothers and sisters:
On the subject of fraternal charity
you have no need for anyone to write you,
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more,
and to aspire to live a tranquil life,
to mind your own affairs,
and to work with your own hands,
as we instructed you.

Responsorial Psalm – 98:1, 7-8, 9

R.    (9) The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
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 comes to rule the earth with justice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
    the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    the mountains shout with them for joy.
R.    The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Before the LORD, for he comes,
    for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
    and the peoples with equity.
R.    The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

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 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey 
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– 
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time 
the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then!  Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

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August 28 – Memorial of Saint Augustine, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, please go here.

Lectionary: 430

Reading I – 1 THES 4:9-11

Brothers and sisters:
On the subject of fraternal charity
you have no need for anyone to write you,
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more,
and to aspire to live a tranquil life,
to mind your own affairs,
and to work with your own hands,
as we instructed you.

Responsorial Psalm – 98:1, 7-8, 9

R.    (9) The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
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 comes to rule the earth with justice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
    the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    the mountains shout with them for joy.
R.    The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Before the LORD, for he comes,
    for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
    and the peoples with equity.
R.    The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

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 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey 
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– 
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time 
the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then!  Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

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How Late Have I Loved You


Reflections on Mass Reading for August 28, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.” Following yesterday’s great Feast (St. Monica), we now arrive at another great day, that of St. Augustine, who, even in his early years, possessed a curious mind and an attractive personality who set his sights on a career that would bring him both wealth and fame. Augustine became a teacher of rhetoric, first in his native town, then in Rome, and finally in Milan. His journey from city to city, occasioned by various opportunities and challenges, was suggestive of a more important spiritual journey he made over a long period in search of inner peace and lasting happiness. Monica’s example, prayers, and influence had no part to play in the drama of her son’s spiritual itinerary. Augustine ascribes largely to her his conversion to the Catholic faith. He was baptized at the age of 33 by Bishop Ambrose of Milan, another great Saint. Augustine’s decision to embrace the Catholic faith was at the same time a commitment to spend the remainder of his life as a “servant of God,” that is, in celibacy, even though he had been living for years with a woman whom he deeply loved, and with whom he had fathered a son, to whom he gave the name Adeodatus. After his baptism, he set out for his native town, where he wished to pursue a monastic style of life together with other men who had likewise experienced a radical conversion to the faith. On the journey, at Ostia Antica, just outside of Rome, Monica took sick and died suddenly but happily, having witnessed Augustine’s total commitment to Christ and the Church.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” Saint Augustine is often cited for lamenting that he found God all too late in his life but with profound gratitude that he found Him in the depth of his conversion of heart. For that reason, we can all take great hope that our relationship with Jesus will grow and grow no matter how old or young we were when we first met Him. The world is God’s masterpiece, and Augustine knew that. Today, let us spend some time realizing that the Lord is everywhere, in every situation, and every difficult moment. We will find Him for whom our heart searches.

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?” St. Augustine of Hippo

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August 27, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Monica

Lectionary: 429

Reading I – 1 THES 4:1-8

Brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God– 
and as you are conducting yourselves– 
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

This is the will of God, your holiness:
that you refrain from immorality,
that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself
in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion
as do the Gentiles who do not know God;
not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister in this matter,
for the Lord is an avenger in all these things,
as we told you before and solemnly affirmed.
For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness.
Therefore, whoever disregards this,
disregards not a human being but God,
who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Responsorial Psalm – 97:1 and 2B, 5-6, 10, 11-12

R.    (12A) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
    let the many isles be glad.
    Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R.    Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
    before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
    and all peoples see his glory.
R.    Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD loves those who hate evil;
    he guards the lives of his faithful ones;
    from the hand of the wicked he delivers them.
R.    Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Light dawns for the just;
    and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
R.    Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Alleluia – LK 21:36

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

Gospel – MT 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 
Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. 
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him!’ 
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’ 
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ 
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. 
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ 
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

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When The Lamp Goes Out


Reflections on Mass Reading for August 27, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.” If we just removed the business-savvy aspect of this parable for a moment, we might be able to unlock what is truly worthwhile and useful for each of us on our journey toward our home in Heaven. Remember that all journeys have an end. This is what both the wise and foolish examples we encountered today realized with sobering results. It was all coming to an end, just like life. The parable attempts to unlock a kind of sobering “wake-up call” sent out to every listener of every age and culture. You know what’s coming and Who’s going to be there. Really?

Here’s a thought: Do you know how you’re going to die? Think just for a second. Consider all the possible ways, of course, without getting melodramatic and with dread heading for nightmares. It’s really simple. We are going to die the way we live. If we have been mean and critical in life, you can safely bet that meanness and harshness will surround the deathbed. If our lives were marked with peace and faith, we could reasonably hope for a happy ending. The ten virgins all knew why they were there, but only 50% were truly prepared and present for the big arrival and the invitation inside. If somehow you knew that you would doon die, what difference would that make right now? MAYBE WE WOULD: spend more time with the Lord, praising Him for all the good times and the bad OR say the things to the people who mean so much how grateful to God we are for them OR forgive and ask forgiveness.

“The future starts today, not tomorrow.” St. John Paul II

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August 27 – Memorial of Saint Monica


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Monica, please go here.

Lectionary: 632

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, #737-742.

Reading 1 – SIR 26:1-4, 13-16

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 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 – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.

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August 26, 2021


Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 428

Reading I – 1 THES 3:7-13

We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters,
in our every distress and affliction, through your faith.
For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you,
for all the joy we feel on your account before our God?
Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person
and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.
Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus
direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts, 
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm – 90:3-5A, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Alleluia – MT 24:42A, 44

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

Gospel – MT 24:42-51

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant,
whom the master has put in charge of his household
to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’
and begins to beat his fellow servants,
and eat and drink with drunkards,
the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day
and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely
and assign him a place with the hypocrites,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

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Change Me, Please


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 26, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters, in our every distress and affliction, through your faith. For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.” One thing is for certain: everyone suffers. Not one human being can escape that category of experience while walking any number of years on this earth. And within that stipulation, many suffer for the Church, in the Church, and for what is just and right. These provide great moments of inspiration and deep calls for prayer and solidarity. Those who are constantly praying for others can relate the joy and peace that is given that their prayers are not only being heard but are also answered within the Divine Providence that exists in Heaven as it does here on earth. The Psalmist echoes this ecstatic and loving experience: “Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!”

Our prayers are answered, and this makes us even more enthused and desirous of continuing their mandate to Heaven, to our loving God who cares for us so much and who is always reaching out to us with inspiration and strength. Jesus Himself made this crystal clear: “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.” Today let us renew our hopes and dreams to never lose heart in praying for everything that we see that we need. Keep remembering those you love and those you have lost no matter the situation or how dark things may seem. Jesus is the Light of the World and can and does illuminate every dark crevice in our lives, now and at the hour of death.

“Prayer does not change God; it changes me.” C. S. Lewis

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August 25, 2021


For the optional readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

For the optional readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 427

Reading I – 1 THES 2:9-13

You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery.
Working night and day in order not to burden any of you,
we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God.
You are witnesses, and so is God,
how devoutly and justly and blamelessly
we behaved toward you believers.
As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children,
exhorting and encouraging you and insisting
that you walk in a manner worthy of the God
who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly,
that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us,
you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God,
which is now at work in you who believe.

Responsorial Psalm – 139:7-8, 9-10, 11-12AB

R.    (1) You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
Where can I go from your spirit?
    From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R.    You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
    and your right hand hold me fast.
R.    You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall hide me,
    and night shall be my light”–
For you darkness itself is not dark,
    and night shines as the day.
R.    You have searched me and you know me, Lord.

Alleluia – 1 JN 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 23:27-32

Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous, 
and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”

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August 25 – Optional Memorial of Saint Louis of France


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

Lectionary: 630

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, #737-742.

Reading 1

IS 58:6-11

Thus says the LORD:
This is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9

R.    (1) 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.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R.    Blessed the man who fears 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.    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 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?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

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August 25 – Optional Memorial of Saint Joseph Calasanz, priest


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

Lectionary: 631

From the Common of Pastors, #719-724, or
the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Teachers, #737-742,
OR:

Reading 1 – 1 COR 12:31–13:13

Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own,
and if I hand my body over so that I may boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, love is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

OR

1 COR 13:4-13

Brothers and sisters:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (2)  I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.

R.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

R.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.

R.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.

R.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.

R.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

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

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 18:1-5

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

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Tasting Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 25, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.” So how does Jesus respond to our “old friends” today? Well, it wasn’t pretty. Why the harshness of reaction? That’s what happens when we won’t see how incredibly God is working in our life or the life of others. The expected consequence is when we hide behind perceptions, correctness, and the Law while missing the Law-giver in our midst.

“You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers.” People who understand this can always rejoice because they know themselves, love the person God sees, and seek to be as patient with others as possible. But the people who judge, criticize, and try to “fix” everyone else except themselves are almost always humiliated. It all depends on the relationship. Today, let us first give thanks that Our Lord loves us so much that we are constantly exposed to the truth in our lives, ugly at times but always liberating. Second, let us ask again for the courage to see Jesus in others as we look for Him in our souls. This is the recipe for true happiness and remarkable clarity. This is how we can taste Heaven on earth and then celebrate forever when we finally reach our destination.

“You can speak with spiritual eloquence, pray in public, and maintain a holy appearance, but it is your behavior that will reveal your true character.” Steve Maraboli

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Two-Faced And Counting


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 24, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

Today we have a real treat: It is the Feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles also identified with Nathanael as we have just read in the Gospel: “Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” Although, at first, he was skeptical, he responded to the vigor and enthusiasm of Philip and came to meet Jesus. This was when the first reaction to this encounter was Jesus uttering his now-famous observation: “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Most people would agree with our assessment that a duplicitous person is also said to be “two-faced.” Bartholomew (Nathanael) was free from this type of deception and went on to give great honor and glory to God and the early Church, which Jesus founded with his death. But what exactly is a two-faced person? It is a person who suffers from a lack of self-identity, self-esteem, and integrity. This person is also usually one who fakes compliments to please whomever they meet. To be accepted by the entire world, a “two-faced” person will socially accommodate anyone in an attempt to be popular and liked by everyone but then later hurls usually vicious and negative barbs in the safety of the darkness of deceit. But this is evil because it lacks truth and sincerity, everything that Jesus is, and invites us to imitate His followers.

Our hope, thirst, and desire must be for Heaven where there is no deceit or cunning behavior. What are some ways we can be imitators of the Apostles who have given their entire lives to follow Jesus and avoid two-faced people and behavior? First, let us practice honesty in every situation and on every level possible. Little lies become medium-sized and on and on. Although in some circles, being honest means being vulnerable, nothing could be further from the truth. Take the opportunity as often as possible during your day to avoid creating white lies or painting another person’s character as much inferior to yours. You would be surprised how honesty and a strong grasp on the truth begin to create a climate of trust and shed light on elements that are not truthful and good. “Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.” If we truly want to live in peace and have peacefully good nights of sleep, it is best to trust Jesus with all judgments and be as real throughout the day as we are in the silence of our hearts. We simply cannot afford to live in the shadows, the darkness, or always in the background offering petty commentary about people because it makes us feel secure. The only mold grows in damp, dark crevices.

“Don’t worry about those who talk behind your back, they’re behind you for a reason.” Anonymous

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August 24, 2021


Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

Lectionary: 629

Reading I – RV 21:9B-14

The angel spoke to me, saying,
“Come here.
I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

Responsorial Psalm – 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18

R.    (12)  Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
    and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
    and speak of your might.
R.    Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
    and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.
R.    Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
    and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
    to all who call upon him in truth.
R.    Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Alleluia – JN 1:49B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 1:45-51

Philip found Nathanael and told him,
“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” 
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

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August 23, 2021


For the optional readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 425

Reading I – 1 THES 1:1-5, 8B-10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace.

We give thanks to God always for all of you,
remembering you in our prayers,
unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love
and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ,
before our God and Father,
knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.
For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.
You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. 
In every place your faith in God has gone forth,
so that we have no need to say anything.
For they themselves openly declare about us
what sort of reception we had among you,
and how you turned to God from idols
to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven,
whom he raised from the dead, Jesus,
who delivers us from the coming wrath.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – MT 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”

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The Best Magnifying Glass


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 23, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.” This week we have been treated with an important term used often enough in Scripture quotes which most people have heard even if they have never read anything else in the Bible. Perhaps much of its popularity is partly due 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 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 it goes much deeper than that: a hypocrite is trying to convince us that they are more holy, righteous, and moral than the rest of the people. This is what makes it so hateful.

“…how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus.” When we try to envision what Heaven is like, hypocrisy is NOT there. Jesus loves every one of us despite our faults and failings. His love is so overwhelming at times that it cleans out the temptation to judge another human being because they do not measure up to our standards. We accept others precisely because we have seen our sinfulness, and while trying to walk with Christ, we invite others to such honesty. This is how we prepare for Heaven while finding bits and pieces of it right here.

“The splinter in your eye is the best magnifying-glass available.” Theodor W. Adorno

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August 23 – Optional Memorial of Saint Rose of Lima, virgin


For the readings for the Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 628

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

Reading 1 – 2 COR 10:17B-11:2

Brothers and sisters:
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.
For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved,
but he whom the Lord recommends.

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.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – MT 13:44-46

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

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Taking Off Your Shoes


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 22, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“For it was the LORD, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery.” Longing for Heaven has so much to do with how we look at life in the here and now. The experience of the Israelites in Egypt shaped and molded the entire religious sense of life and love for all humanity, being freed from slavery, and not just overbearing heard work, but all the things that bring us down: disease, disappointments, depression, anxiety, and every ill you can think.

“This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” Love and especially marriage also do the same thing. Think of the moments that we spend with those we love and, conversely, how sad we feel when they are gone and lonely. Heaven reminds us of pure love and joy with all those we have ever loved and miss.

“You have the words of eternal life.” But how many people see life like this? Do we believe that earth is a dress rehearsal for Heaven? Maybe some see it as a prelude to hell. How sad! What truly makes the difference in these two diametrically-opposed life stances is how we see and appreciate Jesus Christ, right here, right now.


“We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” If we, like the Apostles and live with Christ in our midst, fully confident in His love for us and trusting Him with everything, especially our troubles, we will see glimpses of Heaven in places we would never have imagined.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven…But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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August 22, 2021


Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 122

Reading I – JOS 24:1-2A, 15-17, 18B

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges, and their officers. 
When they stood in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people:
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling. 
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

But the people answered,
“Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods. 
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery. 
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey
and among the peoples through whom we passed. 
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21

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.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
       and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
       to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
       and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
       and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Many are the troubles of the just one,
       but out of them all the LORD delivers him;
he watches over all his bones;
      not one of them shall be broken.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading II – EPH 5:21-32 or 5:2A, 25-32

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

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

OR:

Brothers and sisters:
Live in love, as Christ loved us. 
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish. 
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. 
He who loves his wife loves himself. 
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it, 
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
    For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
        and be joined to his wife,
    and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

Alleluia – JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – JN 6:60-69

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

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

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August 21 – Memorial of Saint Pius X, pope


For the readings for the Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope, please go here.

Lectionary: 626

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

Reading 1 – 1 THES 2:2B-8

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 21-22, 25 and 27

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

Alleluia – JN 10:14

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

Gospel – JN 21:15-17

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

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August 21, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope

Lectionary: 424

Reading I – RU 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17

Naomi had a prominent kinsman named Boaz,
of the clan of her husband Elimelech.
Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi,
“Let me go and glean ears of grain in the field
of anyone who will allow me that favor.”
Naomi said to her, “Go, my daughter,” and she went.
The field she entered to glean after the harvesters
happened to be the section belonging to Boaz
of the clan of Elimelech.

Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter!
Do not go to glean in anyone else’s field;
you are not to leave here.
Stay here with my women servants.
Watch to see which field is to be harvested, and follow them;
I have commanded the young men to do you no harm.
When you are thirsty, you may go and drink from the vessels
the young men have filled.”
Casting herself prostrate upon the ground, Ruth said to him,
“Why should I, a foreigner, be favored with your notice?”
Boaz answered her:
“I have had a complete account of what you have done
for your mother-in-law after your husband’s death;
you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth,
and have come to a people whom you did not know previously.”

Boaz took Ruth.
When they came together as man and wife,
the LORD enabled her to conceive and she bore a son.
Then the women said to Naomi,
“Blessed is the LORD who has not failed
to provide you today with an heir!
May he become famous in Israel!
He will be your comfort and the support of your old age,
for his mother is the daughter-in-law who loves you.
She is worth more to you than seven sons!”
Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and became his nurse.
And the neighbor women gave him his name,
at the news that a grandson had been born to Naomi.
They called him Obed.
He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Responsorial Psalm – 128:1B-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.
You 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.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
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 23:9B, 10B

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

Gospel- Mt 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

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Stripping Ourselves Of Idols


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 21, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Blessed is the LORD who has not failed to provide you today with an heir!” Language has the potential to be both descriptive and revealing. For instance, even though the words “to,” “too,” and “two” all sound the same, they mean different things, especially in the context of a sentence. With just the difference one “s,” your ice cream sundae which you ordered for dessert might become a very hot and unpleasant experience in the desert. Why are we “splitting hairs” about language today? Here is the pivotal question: what is the difference and significance between God and a god? One is the Lord, the Almighty, the Creator, the One True God, and the latter is an image, idol, or other object or possession adorned, worshiped, and given supreme importance in this life, but not in the next. Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth understood this all too well.

“As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ.” Here is the issue before us today: everyone already knows or is familiar with God or a god. Everyone has already set a system and a list of priorities in their lives and whoever occupies the very top position is their God or a god. The key interest here is simple. If we make God our priority, we can be assured of a deep level of peace and joy that radiates in and through and all around us. If we have something or someone else in that top position, we can be relatively promised of a rough turn of events and a life that can not sustain everlasting happiness.

“Worshipping is stripping ourselves of our idols, even the most hidden ones, and choosing the Lord as the center, as the highway of our lives.” Pope Francis

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August 20 – Memorial of Saint Bernard, abbot and doctor of the Church


For the readings for the Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church, please go here.

Lectionary: 625

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, or the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Religious, #737-742.

Reading 1 – SIR 15:1-6

He who fears the LORD will do this;
he who is practiced in the law will come to wisdom.
Motherlike she will meet him,
like a young bride she will embrace him,
Nourish him with the bread of understanding,
and give him the water of learning to drink.
He will lean upon her and not fall,
he will trust in her and not be put to shame.
She will exalt him above his fellows;
and in the midst of the assembly she will open his mouth
and fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
and clothe him with the robe of glory.
Joy and gladness he will find,
an everlasting name he will inherit.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:9B, 5B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in my love, says the Lord;
whoever lives 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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Show Me How To Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 20, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What would you choose if you were told that you could pick any activity on this planet and were guaranteed that you would not fail? After scanning through a list that might include everything from building a huge skyscraper to owning the most prosperous and business venture, many of us would want to say we would like our relationships to succeed. They are those essentials that help us get through life and support us with joyous and unselfish love. We would want to love unreservedly if we could be guaranteed total gain with no scent of failure. “For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

Here are some positive ways we can move forward in life while accepting this invitation to love and show the love of Christ to all we encounter: One of the finest ways to grow in love is to practice patience, especially when it comes to those immediately around us, and yes, that does mean our families. It is very easy to become irritated over the tiniest of behaviors regarding our own flesh and blood and closest friends, but this is precisely where the “work” of love must be accomplished first. Not surprisingly, loving God and loving our neighbor has everything to do with security and a solid, healthy self-image. It involves practicing compassion with oneself before launching out into the world and encountering many who will certainly need it and can grow from it. The most loving people I have ever met have been the most forgiving. I think that about says it all. That is how we face and fulfill our desire for Heaven.

Show me how to love you more with all my heart, all my understanding, and all my strength. Show me how to love my neighbor more than I love myself. Teach me how to remain in Your love and love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. Through your Word I love others deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. Thank you Lord for giving me a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Love helps me to rejoice in truth and to always protect, trust, hope, and persevere! Root and establish me in Your love for I gain power to grasp the abundance of Agape love as I seek to discover how deep and how wide it is. Thank you that Your love is being perfected in me day-to-day. I will demonstrate the love of God to all that I encounter today and will receive the anointing to love those who appear to be unlovable. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. AMEN” – Composed by a young woman named Deborah

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August 20, 2021


For the readings suggested for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 423

Reading I – RU 1:1, 3-6, 14B-16, 22

Once in the time of the judges there was a famine in the land;
so a man from Bethlehem of Judah
departed with his wife and two sons
to reside on the plateau of Moab.
Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died,
and she was left with her two sons, who married Moabite women,
one named Orpah, the other Ruth.
When they had lived there about ten years,
both Mahlon and Chilion died also,
and the woman was left with neither her two sons nor her husband.
She then made ready to go back from the plateau of Moab
because word reached her there
that the LORD had visited his people and given them food.

Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her.

Naomi said, “See now! 
Your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god.
Go back after your sister-in-law!”
But Ruth said, “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you!
For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge,
your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

Thus it was that Naomi returned
with the Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth,
who accompanied her back from the plateau of Moab.
They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Responsorial Psalm – 146:5-6AB, 6C-7, 8-9A, 9BC-10

R.    (1B)  Praise the Lord, my soul!
Blessed is 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!
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!
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!
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!

Alleluia – PS 25:4A, 5A

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

Gospel – MT 22:34-40

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

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August 19, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint John Eudes, priest


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

Optional Memorial of Saint John Eudes, priest

Lectionary: 624

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

Reading 1 – EPH 3:14-19

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

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

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

Alleluia – See MT 11:25

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

Gospel – MT 11:25-30

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

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

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August 19, 2021


For the optional readings for today’s Memorial, please go here.

Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 422

Reading I – JGS 11:29-39A

The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah.
He passed through Gilead and Manasseh,
and through Mizpah-Gilead as well,
and from there he went on to the Ammonites.
Jephthah made a vow to the LORD.
“If you deliver the Ammonites into my power,” he said,
“whoever comes out of the doors of my house
to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites
shall belong to the LORD.
I shall offer him up as a burnt offering.”

Jephthah then went on to the Ammonites to fight against them,
and the LORD delivered them into his power,
so that he inflicted a severe defeat on them,
from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in all)
and as far as Abel-keramim.
Thus were the Ammonites brought into subjection
by the children of Israel.
When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah,
it was his daughter who came forth,
playing the tambourines and dancing.
She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her.
When he saw her, he rent his garments and said,
“Alas, daughter, you have struck me down
and brought calamity upon me.
For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract.”
She replied, “Father, you have made a vow to the LORD.
Do with me as you have vowed,
because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you
on your enemies the Ammonites.”
Then she said to her father, “Let me have this favor.
Spare me for two months, that I may go off down the mountains
to mourn my virginity with my companions.”
“Go,” he replied, and sent her away for two months.
So she departed with her companions
and mourned her virginity on the mountains.
At the end of the two months she returned to her father,
who did to her as he had vowed.

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

R.    (8A and 9A)  Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
    who turns not to idolatry
    or to those who stray after falsehood.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
    but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
    then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me. 
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
    and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
    I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – MT 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables
saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.

Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

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Promise To Forever Live


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 19, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” Here we have an additional and awesome image that opens, if just for a portion of the time, a powerful insight into what the Scriptures mean about living in and for the Kingdom of God here on earth. There is a universal call to holiness that involves a personal relationship with Jesus. “He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.” Jesus makes Himself readily available and presents a message of hope, salvation, and promise, but not all are open to that kind of life. “Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.'” As a result of that widespread rejection, those whom no one would consider open to the Kingdom are invited, and they seem to better approach the banquet with a more realistic, humble, and open spirit.

“My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?” The integrity of the invitation and the inviting one must involve a serious and balanced attitude about what living in the Kingdom means and looks like. Even though many will initially respond positively and start well in their walk with the Lord, faith, and hope must be constantly fed by Word and Sacrament that Jesus gives as the mainstay of living in and for the Kingdom. Anything less than that could spell real trouble for the believer who is simply not prepared for the journey. It is equivalent to making a vow that we find horrible to keep and worse not to. When we respond to the Lord’s invitation, let’s make sure we are ready to mean “yes” when we say “yes.” This was made painfully clear in typically ominous Old Testament fashion in our First Reading: “At the end of the two months she returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed.” As we have heard so often, be careful what you ask for, and please make sure you ask for the things that align with the Will of the Father.

“Do not promise to live forever rather promise to forever live while you are alive.” Atticus

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Real Justice At The End Of The Day


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 18, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

It has been posited that there is no real justice on this side of Heaven. We can look at human history to see a glimpse of that when we remember that slavery, Apartheid, the horrible Holocaust were legal. Abortion is today a legal matter. With that in mind, we could conclude that legality is a matter of power rather than justice. This is why we begin our Reflection today by remembering and echoing the constant cry for justice that is common throughout all the Scriptures. “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

To bring this discussion to more concrete terms, the Gospel of the day gives us such rich morsels to ponder, wonder, and then to act: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.” The vineyard is clearly a metaphor for life in the Kingdom and where we should plant ourselves squarely in it. But there is some element of injustice there, isn’t there? The people who started early in the morning receive the same wage as those who worked just an hour. Does that seem fair? Of course not, IF this was a macroeconomics lesson (which it is not). Remember, it is about the mysterious life in the Kingdom where not everyone has talents, gifts, or even opportunities. Yet, everyone is accountable for what they do with what they have. Thus jealousy and envy are vicious poisons that can kill the life of the Spirit in the one trying to follow Jesus. The wages at stake (even at the moment of Jesus’ first telling of the parable) are not actual daily wages for vineyard-laborers, but forgiveness, life, and salvation for believers. Seen like this, it does not matter when a person receives them, whether early or late in life, as long as they do find them before the end of the day, the final call, death, that is. The key here is to work in the Kingdom as soon as possible, no matter who is first, second, third, fourth, etc.

A very good friend of mine once made a great observation which I never forgot. He said that there would be three different surprises when we get to Heaven after death. We will be surprised by those who ARE there, those who are NOT there, and that WE are there. So you see, real justice is served at the end.

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August 18, 2021


Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 421

Reading I – JGS 9:6-15

All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together
and proceeded to make Abimelech king
by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.

When this was reported to him,
Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there,
cried out to them in a loud voice:
“Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you!
Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’
But the olive tree answered them, ‘Must I give up my rich oil,
whereby men and gods are honored,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the fig tree answered them,
‘Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’
But the vine answered them,
‘Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the buckthorn replied to the trees,
‘If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith,
come and take refuge in my shadow.
Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’”

Responsorial Psalm – 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

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

Alleluia – Heb 4:12

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

Gospel – Mt 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off. 
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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Needle In A Pray-stack


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 17, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” We have arrived once again, intrepid readers, to one of the most famous of phrases quoted by Christians and philosophers alike concerning the improbability of a large beast of burden being able to squeeze through the tiniest of all crevices. The stunning truth behind this wonderful selection has been treated before in these pages and shall be repeated in a condensed form. Jesus was not talking about a sewing needle but rather about a narrow entrance into the city of Jerusalem, a gate known locally as “the eye of the needle.” This gate was so small that a camel could only be brought through with great difficulty, squeezed through on its knees only after all the load of goods to be sold and traded were removed from its tired back. Unburdened and prayerful is the way to enter the Kingdom! Our thirst for Heaven can be quenched by understanding the mystery that is held in these passages.

“Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.” The real thrust of our readings today is quite clear. If we do not practice humility, we will grow into arrogant people who do not give God or others the time of day or the deserving respect and care. And while all this degradation is occurring slowly, we lose faith and confidence in our Lord God, who loves us so much and never takes His eyes off our paths. The number one cure for this kind of pride which leads to a loss of faith, is a deep, personal and engaging prayer life. We must first acknowledge our dependence and need upon God then realize that we are all on this planet together, trying desperately to get to Heaven. The camel for us today becomes a symbol for us to remember to uncomplicate our lives from pettiness and the excessive desire for possessions and get on our knees in prayer as often as we can. The more we do this, the happier we will be.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain

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August 17, 2021


Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 420

Reading I – JGS 6:11-24A

The angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah
that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite.
While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press
to save it from the Midianites,
the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said,
“The LORD is with you, O champion!”
Gideon said to him, “My Lord, if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us?
Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers
told us when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’
For now the LORD has abandoned us
and has delivered us into the power of Midian.”
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have
and save Israel from the power of Midian.
It is I who send you.”
But Gideon answered him, “Please, my lord, how can I save Israel?
My family is the lowliest in Manasseh,
and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.”
“I shall be with you,” the LORD said to him,
“and you will cut down Midian to the last man.”
Gideon answered him, “If I find favor with you,
give me a sign that you are speaking with me.
Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you
and bring out my offering and set it before you.”
He answered, “I will await your return.”

So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour
in the form of unleavened cakes.
Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot,
he brought them out to him under the terebinth
and presented them.
The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unleavened cakes
and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth.”
When he had done so,
the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held,
and touched the meat and unleavened cakes.
Thereupon a fire came up from the rock
that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes,
and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight.
Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the LORD,
said, “Alas, Lord GOD,
that I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”
The LORD answered him,
“Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.”
So Gideon built there an altar to the LORD
and called it Yahweh-shalom.

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

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

Alleluia – 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 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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August 16, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Stephen of Hungary


For the optional readings for today’s For the readings for the Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 419

Reading I – JGS 2:11-19

The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals.
Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers,
who led them out of the land of Egypt,
they followed the other gods of the various nations around them,
and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.

Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth,
the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel,
and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them.
He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about
whom they were no longer able to withstand.
Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them,
as in his warning he had sworn he would do,
till they were in great distress.
Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them
from the power of their despoilers,
they did not listen to their judges,
but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods.
They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken,
and did not follow their example of obedience
to the commandments of the LORD. 
Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge
and save them from the power of their enemies
as long as the judge lived;
it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries
of affliction under their oppressors.
But when the judge died,
they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
following other gods in service and worship,
relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.

Responsorial Psalm – 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43AB and 44

R.    (4A)  Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They did not exterminate the peoples,
    as the LORD had commanded them,
But mingled with the nations
    and learned their works.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They served their idols,
    which became a snare for them.
They sacrificed their sons 
    and their daughters to demons.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They became defiled by their works,
    and wanton in their crimes.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
    and abhorred his inheritance.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Many times did he rescue them,
    but they embittered him with their counsels.
Yet he had regard for their affliction
    when he heard their cry.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

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 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself
.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

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How Sad Indeed


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 16, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals (false gods).” Without a doubt, one of the most serious barriers that can and will keep us from desiring Heaven and from eventually arriving there is our attachment to false things, false idols, and selfish addictions. Old Testament wisdom understood this as worship of false deities, gods, and the addictive behaviors that accompanied these practices, often involving drunkenness and sexual perversion. These unhealthy and uncontrolled appetites evolved into the worship of the self, which in turn produce huge problems as a person appoints him or herself as the center of the universe, their God. Then there is no room for the one true God whom we love and serve, and Heaven becomes further and further away.

“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” The question in today’s Gospel is spot on our August monthly theme concerning the thirst and desire for Heaven. Isn’t this what we all want with the precious allotted moments we have on this planet? Absolutely, describes the Lord Jesus: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” This is yet another clear, enthusiastic invitation to living an unselfish and generous life that gives to others many more times than we would take. Standing right in front of the Lord, some would still decide for a self-centered, hedonistic existence: “When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”

How sad, indeed!

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August 16, 2021


For the optional readings for today’s Memorial, please go here

Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 419

Reading I – JGS 2:11-19

The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals.
Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers,
who led them out of the land of Egypt,
they followed the other gods of the various nations around them,
and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.

Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth,
the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel,
and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them.
He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about
whom they were no longer able to withstand.
Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them,
as in his warning he had sworn he would do,
till they were in great distress.
Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them
from the power of their despoilers,
they did not listen to their judges,
but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods.
They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken,
and did not follow their example of obedience
to the commandments of the LORD. 
Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge
and save them from the power of their enemies
as long as the judge lived;
it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries
of affliction under their oppressors.
But when the judge died,
they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
following other gods in service and worship,
relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.

Responsorial Psalm – 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43AB and 44

R.    (4A)  Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They did not exterminate the peoples,
    as the LORD had commanded them,
But mingled with the nations
    and learned their works.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They served their idols,
    which became a snare for them.
They sacrificed their sons 
    and their daughters to demons.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They became defiled by their works,
    and wanton in their crimes.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
    and abhorred his inheritance.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Many times did he rescue them,
    but they embittered him with their counsels.
Yet he had regard for their affliction
    when he heard their cry.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

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 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself
.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

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Letting Go


male sitting on pier at sunset over water

Oftentimes we hold on to things that really do not matter in the big picture. Sometimes it takes a little reminder to place all of our lives into perspective. Your faith in Jesus is of ultimate importance. Hold on to it daily and watch the miracles unfold.

Listen to this week’s insightful message of hope and clarity accompanied by original piano music.

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August 15, 2021 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mass during the Day


For the Readings for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, please go here.

Lectionary: 622

Reading I – RV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
    “Now have salvation and power come,
        and the Kingdom of our God
        and the authority of his Anointed One.”

Responsorial Psalm – 45:10, 11, 12, 16

R.    (10BC)  The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
    forget your people and your father’s house.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
    for he is your lord.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
    they enter the palace of the king.
R.    The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

Reading II – 1 Cor 15:20-27

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for “he subjected everything under his feet.”

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Mary is taken up to heaven;
a chorus of angels exults.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 1:39-56

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

And Mary said:

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

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

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August 15, 2021 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Vigil


For the Readings for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, please go here.

Lectionary: 621

Reading I – 1 Chr 15:3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2

David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring the ark of the Lord
to the place which he had prepared for it.
David also called together the sons of Aaron and the Levites.

The Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders with poles,
as Moses had ordained according to the word of the Lord.

David commanded the chiefs of the Levites
to appoint their kinsmen as chanters,
to play on musical instruments, harps, lyres, and cymbals,
to make a loud sound of rejoicing.

They brought in the ark of God and set it within the tent
which David had pitched for it.
Then they offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings to God.
When David had finished offering up the burnt offerings and peace offerings,
he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm – 132:6-7, 9-10, 13-14

R.    (8)  Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.
Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
    we found it in the fields of Jaar.
Let us enter his dwelling,
    let us worship at his footstool.
R.    Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.
May your priests be clothed with justice;
    let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy.
For the sake of David your servant,
    reject not the plea of your anointed.
R.    Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.
For the LORD has chosen Zion;
    he prefers her for his dwelling.
“Zion is my resting place forever;
    in her will I dwell, for I prefer her.”
R.    Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.

Reading II – 1 Cor 15:54B-57

Brothers and sisters:
When that which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:

    Death is swallowed up in victory.
    Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia – Lk 11:28

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

Gospel- Lk 11:27-28

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

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Promises, Promises


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 15, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, a celebration, as we have stated so many times before, which recalls the mystery of Jesus Christ and enlightens and strengthens our faith in our salvation which was lovingly spectacularly achieved and accomplished by the Lord. Our Reflection will take on three distinct and important segments. First, our First Reading, from the Book of Revelation, gives us a magnificent glimpse of Heaven where the Ark, which holds the presence of God, is opened immediately followed by a “great sign.” “God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Now we could join the very many who have speculated on who this could be, but the description of the sign makes it very clear that this is Jesus: “She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.”

The second point is just as poignant as it is important: “For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man.” The beauty and majesty of God’s love for us in sending us His Only Son Jesus lies in the very act of redeeming our race and giving us a second chance to get back into Heaven. The only way this sacrificial and salvific act could be accomplished was by God, who becomes one of us to completely assume our human nature and unite it back to God. This is why Mary’s role in our destiny is so blessed and crucial. We believe that such a person whose body held the Body of Christ and physically donated her DNA to the Her Son was theological and spiritual. Her body could not have known corruption and was thus assumed into Heaven to await all of us.

Finally, the Feast of the Assumption speaks volumes to our attitude on earth while we wait for our Heavenly call to go home. “From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” Truly, the greatest act of love has been presented to us in the Incarnation, God becoming human through the power of the Holy Spirit and the body of the Virgin Mary. The Scriptures speak to the eternal promise made to us and our entire history so that no matter where we find ourselves, there is always hope, not only for a better tomorrow but for life in the complete joy that will never end. This has the great potential to shape our attitudes here on earth and spread joy rather than heartache while we walk the planet. Live a blessed life and be a blessing to everyone you meet today: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

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August 15, 2021


Vigil

Mass during the Day

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lectionary: 621, 622

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August 14, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
Lectionary: 418

Reading I – Jos 24:14-29

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
and addressed them, saying: 
“Fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely.
Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt,
and serve the LORD.
If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

But the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey and among all the peoples
through whom we passed.
At our approach the LORD drove out all the peoples,
including the Amorites who dwelt in the land.
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

Joshua in turn said to the people,
“You may not be able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God;
he is a jealous God who will not forgive
your transgressions or your sins.
If, after the good he has done for you,
you forsake the LORD and serve strange gods,
he will do evil to you and destroy you.”

But the people answered Joshua, “We will still serve the LORD.”
Joshua therefore said to the people,
“You are your own witnesses that you have chosen to serve the LORD.”
They replied, “We are, indeed!”
Joshua continued:
“Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you
and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
Then the people promised Joshua,
“We will serve the LORD, our God, and obey his voice.”

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day
and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem,
which he recorded in the book of the law of God.
Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak
that was in the sanctuary of the LORD.
And Joshua said to all the people, “This stone shall be our witness,

for it has heard all the words which the LORD spoke to us.
It shall be a witness against you, should you wish to deny your God.”
Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his own heritage.

After these events, Joshua, son of Nun, servant of the LORD,
died at the age of a hundred and ten.

Responsorial Psalm – 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 ever before me;
    with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R.    You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
    fullness of joys in your presence,
    the delights at your right hand forever.
R.    You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Alleluia – See Mt 11:25

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

Gospel – Mt 19:13-15

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

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Heroic Witness For Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 14, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe. He is best known and revered as the priest/monk/prisoner of Auschwitz Concentration Camp during the horrific events in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. He was very active in promoting the Immaculate Virgin Mary and was strongly influenced by a vision he had of the Virgin Mary when he was 12: “That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.”
“As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” As in the dramatic call to Joshua in our First Reading, our Saint of the day likewise received the awesome two-fold call to purity and martyrdom, which he embraced completely with his entire life.

“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” We can and should easily recognize the sacrifice imbued by the childlike faith and confidence of St. Maximilian Kolbe. He never abandoned his priesthood as a prisoner who was the victim of severe violence and harassment. At the height of perpetrated evil with the death camp, prisoners were chosen to face death by starvation to discourage attempted escapes. Although he was not chosen to die, he nonetheless volunteered to take the place of a man who had a wife and children. During the last days of his life, St. Maximilian led prayers and remained calm. After more than 12 days of dehydration and starvation, the guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid, after which he raised his left arm and calmly awaited death. He died on August 14, the vigil of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.

While the majority of us will not have these same or even similar events fact our existence, we can and should understand that we are, in our own chosen states of life, called to practice a pure and chaste approach to human life and to give witness of our faith wherever and whenever possible. The same Jesus through His Mother Mary inspires us to continue the path of holiness and strength in this life as a deep and meaningful way to respond to the deep and sincere thirst and desire for Heaven. May we may be encouraged by the heroic witness of St. Maximilian Kolbe, now and always.

“The most deadly poison of our time is indifference.” St. Maximillian Kolbe

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August 14, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr, please go here.

Lectionary: 620A

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

Reading 1 – Wis 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Or

1 Jn  3:14-18

Beloved:
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:10-11, 12-13, 16AC-17

R.    (15)  Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
I believed, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my alarm,
“No man is dependable.”
R.    Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
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.    Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R.    Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.

Alleluia – Jn 12:25

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
If you hate your life in this world,
you will preserve it to life eternal.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 15:12-16

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

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August 13, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Pontian, pope and martyr, and Saint Hippolytus, priest and martyr, please go here.

Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 417

Reading I – Jos 24:1-13

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges and their officers.
When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people: 
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: 
In times past your fathers, down to Terah,
father of Abraham and Nahor,
dwelt beyond the River and served other gods.
But I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River
and led him through the entire land of Canaan.
I made his descendants numerous, and gave him Isaac.
To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau.
To Esau I assigned the mountain region of Seir in which to settle,
while Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.

“Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and smote Egypt with the prodigies
which I wrought in her midst.
Afterward I led you out of Egypt, and when you reached the sea,
the Egyptians pursued your fathers to the Red Sea
with chariots and horsemen.
Because they cried out to the LORD,
he put darkness between your people and the Egyptians,
upon whom he brought the sea so that it engulfed them.
After you witnessed what I did to Egypt,
and dwelt a long time in the desert,
I brought you into the land of the Amorites
who lived east of the Jordan.
They fought against you, but I delivered them into your power.
You took possession of their land, and I destroyed them, 
the two kings of the Amorites, before you.
Then Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab,
prepared to war against Israel.
He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you;
but I would not listen to Balaam.
On the contrary, he had to bless you, and I saved you from him.
Once you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho,
the men of Jericho fought against you,
but I delivered them also into your power.
And I sent the hornets ahead of you that drove them
(the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, 
Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites)
out of your way; it was not your sword or your bow.

“I gave you a land that you had not tilled
and cities that you had not built, to dwell in;
you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves
which you did not plant.”

Responsorial Psalm – 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22 and 24

R.    His mercy endures forever.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his mercy endures forever;
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his mercy endures forever;
Give thanks to the LORD of lords,
    for his mercy endures forever.
R.    His mercy endures forever.
Who led his people through the wilderness,
    for his mercy endures forever;
Who smote great kings,
    for his mercy endures forever;
And slew powerful kings,
    for his mercy endures forever.
R.    His mercy endures forever.
And made their land a heritage,
    for his mercy endures forever;
The heritage of Israel his servant,
    for his mercy endures forever;
And freed us from our foes,
    for his mercy endures forever.
R.    His mercy endures forever.

Alleluia – See 1 Thes 2:13

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

Gospel – Mt 19:3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning
    the Creator made them male and female and said,
    For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
    and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.” 
They said to him, “Then why did Moses command
that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?”
He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife
(unless the marriage is unlawful)
and marries another commits adultery.”
His disciples said to him,
“If that is the case of a man with his wife,
it is better not to marry.”
He answered, “Not all can accept this word,
but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so;
some, because they were made so by others;
some, because they have renounced marriage
for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

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August 13, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Pontian, pope and martyr, and Saint Hippolytus, priest and martyr


For the readings of the Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 620

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

Reading 1 – 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 124:2-3, 4-5, 7-8

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

Alleluia – See Te Deum

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

Gospel – Jn 15:18-21

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

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Your Lucky Day?


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 13, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

We understand that more than a handful of our readers are also fans of “The Office,” and if that is true, we have just a little morsel of surprise for you. (If not, we do apologize.) On one occasion, the ludicrous yet endearing Michael Scott utters these semi-immortal words: “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little ‘stitious.'” Have you ever wondered why so many (maybe yourself included) consider certain things like black cats, Friday the 13th, broken mirrors, etc., such ominous and almost terrifying circumstances? As you might imagine, the association with numbers, animals, and symbolic days has long been a part of the lore and legend of our human race. There would likely be a larger base of agreement that since it was on a Friday that Jesus was crucified, the day itself has been associated with “general ill omen.” For instance, in the Middle Ages, weddings were not held on Fridays, and it was usually avoided as a day someone would set out on a long trip or journey. It was also the day in medieval times when executions were known as “hangman’s day.” As for the “unlucky” or ill-fortunate number 13, since Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus, was the last and 13th guest, the scary number almost seemed to ask for trouble. People thought the black cats assisted witches and that they may have been witches in ‘cat-form.’ Broken mirrors seemed to suggest to some that since the mirror reflects the soul, a shattered reflective glass meant a shattered, unprotected life.

“His mercy endures forever.” However, the greater issue before must not be ignored or forgotten. How can any day, or animal, or thing be lucky or unlucky? What kind of power or force are we blindly following to make a day, an hour, or even a single minute blessed or cursed? “They fought against you, but I delivered them into your power.” Superstition in every form is a useless use of time and a waste of energy. What makes today blessed, fortunate, and lucky (if you will) has nothing to do with some outside, uncontrollable force over which we have no power, but on one simple fact: Jesus died for us sinners, and now we have a shot at eternal life.

“Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but, as it truly is, the word of God.” We have all been blessed by the complete and selfless act of self-sacrifice that Jesus accomplished on the cross. By His blood, we have been washed and made clean, and we can and should avail ourselves of all the promised blessings every single day we are alive. Shallow people believe in luck; strong people believe in cause and effect; blessed, healthy, and happy people believe in Jesus. That’s why we thirst for Heaven.

“Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy; the mad daughter of a wise mother.” Voltaire

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” Groucho Marx

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August 12, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, religious, please go here.

Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 416

Reading I – Jos 3:7-10A, 11, 13-17

The LORD said to Joshua,
“Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel,
that they may know I am with you, as I was with Moses.
Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant
to come to a halt in the Jordan
when you reach the edge of the waters.”

So Joshua said to the children of Israel,
“Come here and listen to the words of the LORD, your God.
This is how you will know that there is a living God in your midst,
who at your approach will dispossess the Canaanites.
The ark of the covenant of the LORD of the whole earth
will precede you into the Jordan.
When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the LORD,
the Lord of the whole earth,
touch the water of the Jordan, it will cease to flow;
for the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a solid bank.”

The people struck their tents to cross the Jordan,
with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them.
No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark
waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan,
which overflows all its banks
during the entire season of the harvest,
than the waters flowing from upstream halted,
backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed,
from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan;
while those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah 
disappeared entirely.
Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
While all Israel crossed over on dry ground,
the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD
remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan
until the whole nation had completed the passage.

Responsorial Psalm – 114:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. Alleluia!
When Israel came forth from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of alien tongue,
Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his domain.
R. Alleluia!
The sea beheld and fled;
Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like the lambs of the flock.
R. Alleluia!
Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
You mountains, that you skip like rams?
You hills, like the lambs of the flock?
R. Alleluia!

Alleluia – Ps 119:135

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant
and teach me your statutes.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 18:21–19:1

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed,
and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

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Passages


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 12, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“While all Israel crossed over on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan until the whole nation had completed the passage.” The experience of the Israelites in the desert for that generation of time, forty years, has created a backdrop and clear lens to describe what God has chosen to do with every one of us. When faced with seemingly insurmountable and towing problems and worries, God is always there, one way or another, to guide us right through. Passing through the Red Sea, the Jordan River, horrible enemies wanting only blood, and even bickering, complaining people who should know better are all part of His plan. They still are.

“So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” Perhaps the most difficult of all the desires of the heart of Jesus, at least for some, is to forgive the people who have hurt us. When we remember what the Lord did for the Chosen People with horrible odds stacked against them, the call to forgive, let go, move forward, and accepting the will of God totally in their lives, is going to need for us to desire and thirst for Heaven with every ounce of strength we can muster. Let’s begin today.

“The passage towards heaven always involves the experience of forgiveness.” Caro Vanni

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August 12, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, religious


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

Lectionary: 623A

Previously observed on August 18 in the United States, this Optional Memorial is transferred to this date in the General Roman Calendar.

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 – Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and makes cloth with skillful hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

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 – Jn 8:31b-32

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

Gospel – Mk 3:31-35

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

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August 11, 2021


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Clare, virgin, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin
Lectionary: 415

Reading I – Dt 34:1-12

Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo,
the headland of Pisgah which faces Jericho,
and the LORD showed him all the land—
Gilead, and as far as Dan, all Naphtali,
the land of Ephraim and Manasseh,
all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea,
the Negeb, the circuit of the Jordan
with the lowlands at Jericho, city of palms,
and as far as Zoar.
The LORD then said to him, 
“This is the land
which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
that I would give to their descendants.
I have let you feast your eyes upon it, but you shall not cross over.”
So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD,
died as the LORD had said; and he was buried in the ravine
opposite Beth-peor in the land of Moab,
but to this day no one knows the place of his burial.
Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died,
yet his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated.
For thirty days the children of Israel wept for Moses
in the plains of Moab, till they had completed
the period of grief and mourning for Moses.

Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom,
since Moses had laid his hands upon him;
and so the children of Israel gave him their obedience,
thus carrying out the LORD’s command to Moses.

Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses,
whom the LORD knew face to face.
He had no equal in all the signs and wonders
the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt
against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land,
and for the might and the terrifying power
that Moses exhibited in the sight of all Israel.

Responsorial Psalm – 66:1-3A, 5 and 8, 16-17

R.    (see 20A and 10B)  Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;
    sing praise to the glory of his name;
    proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God: “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R.    Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
Come and see the works of God,
    his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
Bless our God, you peoples; 
    loudly sound his praise.
R.    Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare 
    what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
    praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R.    Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!

Alleluia – 2 Cor 5:19

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

Gospel – Mt 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen, 
take one or two others along with you,
so that  every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

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August 11, 2021 – Memorial of Saint Clare, virgin


For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin, please go here.

Lectionary: 619

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

Reading 1 – Phil 3:8-14

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

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

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

R.    (see 5A)  You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.

R.    You are my inheritance, O Lord.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

R.    You are my inheritance, O Lord.

You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.

R.    You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Alleluia – Mt 5:3

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

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 19:27-29

Peter said to Jesus,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.”

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Splitting The Sky In Two


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 11, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” When we think of the experience of finally getting into Heaven, one of the more exciting images that we have been given is that of seeing God face-to-face. Amazingly, this is the unique blessing Moses had been given during his history-altering lifetime. The Scriptures several times remarked that he “glowed” after these encounters. What a thought! “Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!” Imagine showing up to work or school, and you look like you’re on fire! We could change the world!

“Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.” And yet, although not as dramatic or special-effects oriented it may not be, our prayer life gives us the next best option to becoming face-to-face with God preparing our way to that magnificent relationship with Him in Heaven. Jesus Himself guaranteed that our prayer is powerful, effective, and real: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

“The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.” Edna St. Vincent Millay

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August 10, 2021


Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
Lectionary: 618

Reading I – 2 Cor 9:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
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.

Responsorial Psalm – 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9

R.    (5) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
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 is gracious and lends to those in need.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
    who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
    the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R.    Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
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.    Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Lavishly he gives to the poor, 
    his generosity shall endure forever;
    his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R.    Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.

Alleluia – Jn 8:12BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness
but will have the light of life, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 12:24-26

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

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All The Good


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 10, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Have you ever noticed that generosity makes people happier, even if they are only a little generous? Many people would agree. Generous people tend to be happy, more relaxed, willing to work hard, kind, free, and have better quality relationships and exude confidence: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Here is the wonderful irony of this comforting Tuesday to help us move into the week ahead: The more you give, the more you have. Dying to selfishness brings forth an immense flow of love and real life that knows no rival. All this is because of Jesus. He died to set us free and give us true freedom, which is beyond measure or value, especially in a very selfish world.

However, there is a catch and a warning, severe in every way! We must be super-careful that we do not become generous people just to receive something in return, even recognition. We must learn to give as Jesus did. Parents are uniquely exposed to this challenge more than most, but all of us can and should have a share in this deep call to experience generosity from both sides of the equation. “…but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

What do we receive in this life in exchange for generosity? We witness happiness, reach a deeper understanding of life, feel the love of Jesus, and receive what money could never buy; a world made more beautiful. Isn’t that the point of living here? Isn’t that how we increase our desire and thirst for Heaven?

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley

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August 9, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, virgin and martyr, please go here.

Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 413

Reading I – Dt 10:12-22

Moses said to the people:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you
but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly,
to love and serve the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD
which I enjoin on you today for your own good?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the LORD, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods,
the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.
So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,
who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the LORD, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.”

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

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

Alleluia – See 2 Thes 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called you through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said. 
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”
When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him,
“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up. 
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”

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Just The Beginning


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 9, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” 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 or the State. It has become infamous because of the sinister motivation behind asking this “trick-question” of Jesus.

This discussion is beneficial for us on the journey toward Heaven. The debate about the Church-State relationship is important to distinguish 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. Our First Reading gives us plenty of insight as to how to follow a straight and narrow path toward justice and peace: “Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the LORD, your God, as well as the earth and everything on it.”

“Anyone is capable of going to Heaven. Heaven is our home. People ask me about death and whether I look forward to it and I answer, ‘Of course’, because I am going home. Dying is not the end, it is just the beginning.” – Mother Teresa of Calcautta

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August 9, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, virgin and martyr


For the readings of the Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 617A

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 Virgins (#731-736).

Reading 1 – Hos 2:16BC, 17CD, 21-22

Thus says the LORD:
I will lead her into the desert
and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.

I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice,
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17

R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
or:
R. The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord, and you must worship him.  
R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
or:
R. The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord.
All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters;
her raiment is threaded with spun gold.
In embroidered apparel she is borne in to the king;
behind her the virgins of her train are brought to you.
R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
or:
R. The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
The place of your fathers your sons shall have;
you shall make them princes through all the land.
R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
or:
R. The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord.

Alleluia

R.  Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, bride of Christ, and receive the crown,
which the Lord has prepared for you for ever.  
R.  Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

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August 8, 2021


Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 116

Reading I – 1 Kgs 19:4-8

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert,
until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. 
He prayed for death saying:
“This is enough, O LORD! 
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree,
but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. 
Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake
and a jug of water. 
After he ate and drank, he lay down again,
but the angel of the LORD came back a second time,
touched him, and ordered,
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” 
He got up, ate, and drank;
then strengthened by that food,
he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 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 afflicted man 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.

Reading II – Eph 4:30—5:2

Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice. 
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.

Alleluia – Jn 6:51

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

Gospel – Jn 6:41-51

The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said,
“I am the bread that came down from heaven, ”
and they said,
“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? 
Do we not know his father and mother? 
Then how can he say,
‘I have come down from heaven’?” 
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Stop murmuring among yourselves. 
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day. 
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. 
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father. 
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life. 
I am the bread of life. 
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die. 
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

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Thinking About Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 8, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” Many have referred to life as a journey, and many today find it tiresome and long. As we move into the first week of this new month of August, we may agree with some of our spiritual giants in the field; we need spiritual nourishment for the journey if we are going to survive, lest it “be too long for you!” Since our goal is Heaven, and we want to long for it as wold thirst for oxygen, we must have spiritual food that nourishes our souls for such a journey: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.” One of the ways to prepare for this spiritual food is determined by the way we act, especially towards one another. Our behavior now anticipates our behavior later, with even greater emphasis on the destination of Heaven. How can we long for a paradise of kindness and compassion if we are not practicing and experiencing it here on earth?

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” When Jesus says He is the life of the world, what is He saying? He is the origin of our existence, the daily support and ongoing strength for life, and, most importantly, He is also the destination. In Him, we truly have everything. Let us then accept Him as our everything!

“How you think about Heaven affects everything in life – how you prioritize love, how willing you are to sacrifice for the long term, how you view suffering, what you fear or don’t fear.” – John Burke

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August 7, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Sixtus II, pope and martyr, and his companions, martyrs, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Cajetan, priest, please go here.

Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 412

Reading I – Dt 6:4-13

Moses said to the people:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God,
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength.
Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.
Drill them into your children.
Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.
Bind them at your wrist as a sign
and let them be as a pendant on your forehead.
Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.

“When the LORD, your God, brings you into the land which he swore
to your fathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
that he would give you,
a land with fine, large cities that you did not build,
with houses full of goods of all sorts that you did not garner,
with cisterns that you did not dig,
with vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant;
and when, therefore, you eat your fill,
take care not to forget the LORD,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear;
him shall you serve, and by his name shall you swear.”

Responsorial Psalm – 18:2-3A, 3BC-4, 47 and 51

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

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 – Mt 17:14-20

A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said,
“Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely;
often he falls into fire, and often into water.
I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
Jesus said in reply,
“O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? 
Bring the boy here to me.”
Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him,
and from that hour the boy was cured.
Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said,
“Why could we not drive it out?”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith.
Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain,
‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.
Nothing will be impossible for you.”

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Song For Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 7, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” In 1811, a remarkably beautiful hymn was written entitled with a question that we could address to ourselves today: “What Wondrous Love is This?” When you think about it, it truly is an amazing question to ask today and, in fact, every day we have life. What kind of magnificent love is it that inspired and propelled God to send His Son Jesus Christ to be born in a filthy manger, live a poor life, then be crucified for our sins to win and secure a place in Heaven for us? The third verse of the hymn then explodes with the enthusiastic joy of the awareness that is brought to the one who understands this gift and cannot help but be changed forever: “To God and to the Lamb, who is the great I AM, while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing, while millions join the theme, I will sing!” We can only imagine the scene in Heaven with these beautiful lyrics as background music.

This wondrous, wonderful love that rains down from Heaven itself reveals the height and depth of such a love that carries us beyond our life here on earth to an eternal reward and life in Heaven. In the Gospel, a desperate man brought his son for a miracle, and he was not disappointed: “Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely.” If and when our response to His wondrous love is returned with even the simplest of faith, miracles abound. Let us move forward in this life with new resolve and new hope. Darkness cannot and will not extinguish what we have been given. We will sing: “And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and through eternity I’ll sing on!” This is because nothing is impossible for God. “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you.”

“What [others] most need is to see in you a reflection of what God is like and of the transforming power of the Gospel. Your life can create hunger and thirst for God in others’ lives and can be a powerful instrument in the hand of the Holy Spirit to draw their hearts to Christ.” – Nancy Leigh DeMoss

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August 7, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Cajetan, priest


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

Lectionary: 616

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

Reading 1 – Sir 2:7-11

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the Lord, love him
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9

R.    (1) 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.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R.    Blessed the man who fears 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.    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 – Mt 5:3

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

Gospel – Lk 12:32-34

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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August 7, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Sixtus II, pope and martyr, and his companions, martyrs


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

Lectionary: 615

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 – Wis 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

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 – Jas 1:12

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

Gospel – Mt 10:28-33

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

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August 6, 2021


Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Lectionary: 614

Reading I – Dn 7:9-10, 13-14

As I watched:

    Thrones were set up
        and the Ancient One took his throne.
    His clothing was bright as snow,
        and the hair on his head as white as wool;
    his throne was flames of fire,
        with wheels of burning fire.
    A surging stream of fire
        flowed out from where he sat;
    Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
        and myriads upon myriads attended him.
The court was convened and the books were opened.

As the visions during the night continued, I saw:

    One like a Son of man coming,
        on the clouds of heaven;
    When he reached the Ancient One
        and was presented before him,
    The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
        all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
    His dominion is an everlasting dominion
        that shall not be taken away,
        his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm – 97:1-2, 5-6, 9

R.    (1A and 9A)  The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
    let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
    justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R.    The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
    before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
    and all peoples see his glory.
R.    The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
    exalted far above all gods. 
R.    The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.

Reading II – 2 Pt 1:16-19

Beloved:
We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honor and glory from God the Father
when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,
“This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
while we were with him on the holy mountain.
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
You will do well to be attentive to it,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 

Alleluia – Mt 17:5C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mk 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John,
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them, 
and his clothes became dazzling white, 
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, 
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, 
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents: 
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; 
from the cloud came a voice, 
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves, 
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

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Dress Rehearsal For Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 6, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

Do you realize that you and I have been placed on this earth for a specific reason and purpose? Every day becomes an opportunity to strive and realize reality, especially when things look dark and bleak. If I have a purpose in life, and I do, then everything around me today is either a part of that reality, or it is not. I should stay focused on its messages and lessons or keep me from my purpose and direction, and therefore I should move on and as quickly as possible. This is certainly one very important way we can understand transformation and transfiguration. In our First Reading, the vision was more than remarkable: “His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool; his throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire.”

“We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.” Jesus becomes transfigured to prepare the disciples and all of us for His Resurrection, which in turn prepares us for our Resurrection, our ultimate transfiguration. “And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.” When we see Jesus as He exists in total glory in Heaven, this complete transformative moment is both an inspiration and goal while we walk and continue our spiritual journeys. We must find true happiness in this world to make a suitable place in our souls and hearts for the message of the Gospel of Jesus.

The most unhappy people in the world have made it their life’s mission to make as many people around them as miserable as they are with every ounce of strength they can muster. Surely, this can’t be news to us. Remember, only wounded people wound people. Our best stories will come from our struggles. The seeds of our successes are in our failures. Keep standing. Seasons change. There is no such thing as a storm that lasts forever. On this Feast of the Transfiguration, let us all ask God to help every one of us continue to uncover and discover our purpose in this great adventure we call life. He proclaimed as much today in the Gospel: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso

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August 5, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, please go here.

Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 410

Reading I – Nm 20:1-13

The whole congregation of the children of Israel
 arrived in the desert of Zin in the first month, 
 and the people settled at Kadesh.
It was here that Miriam died, and here that she was buried.

As the community had no water,
they held a council against Moses and Aaron. 
The people contended with Moses, exclaiming,
“Would that we too had perished with our kinsmen in the Lord’s presence!
Why have you brought the LORD’s assembly into this desert
where we and our livestock are dying?
Why did you lead us out of Egypt,
only to bring us to this wretched place
which has neither grain nor figs nor vines nor pomegranates?
Here there is not even water to drink!”
But Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly
to the entrance of the meeting tent, where they fell prostrate.

Then the glory of the LORD appeared to them,
and the LORD said to Moses,
“Take your staff and assemble the community,
you and your brother Aaron,
and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters.
From the rock you shall bring forth water for the congregation
and their livestock to drink.”
So Moses took his staff from its place before the LORD, as he was ordered. 
He and Aaron assembled the community in front of the rock,
where he said to them, “Listen to me, you rebels!
Are we to bring water for you out of this rock?”
Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff,
and water gushed out in abundance for the people
and their livestock to drink.
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
“Because you were not faithful to me
in showing forth my sanctity before the children of Israel,
you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them.”

These are the waters of Meribah,
where the children of Israel contended against the Lord,
and where the LORD revealed his sanctity among them.

Responsorial Psalm – 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (8)  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
    let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
    let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
    and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
    “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
    as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tested me;
    they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Alleluia – Mt 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 16:13-23

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

Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord!  No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan!  You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

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Rock Bottom


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 5, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff, and water gushed out in abundance for the people and their livestock to drink.” Even though we may have our sights on Heaven, there is still a bit of traveling through the hills and valleys of life that make it necessary not to lose our footing. As the Chosen People were making their way through the treacherous desert, they grew tired, weary, frustrated, and thirsty. It was a rock that produced relief, a rock that would prepare our understanding for the foundation of our faith in the New Testament.

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” We simply need each other. We will fall separately unless we walk together. This is the fundamental truth about the Church and our place in this great sacrament gift that Jesus bestowed upon us all with the foundation of the Apostles with St. Peter as the Head and instrumental leader. The point is clear. Just as with the Israelites in the First Reading, we too will grow tired and thirsty. Jesus is always there, although we may not always choose Him. Today, we are invited to make that single, awesome, and fundamental choice to follow Him. Renew this commitment today by opening your heart to Him with everything that is in there.

“Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so that you will discover that HE is the rock at the bottom.” Dr. Tony Evans

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August 5, 2021 – Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome


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

Lectionary: 613

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, #707-712.

Reading 1 – Rv 21:1-5A

I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.”

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.”

Responsorial Psalm – Jdt 13:18BCDE, 19

R.    (15:9)  You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R.    You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R.    You are the highest honor of our race.

Alleluia – Lk 11:28

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

Gospel – Lk 11:27-28

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

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August 4, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
Lectionary: 409

Reading I – Nm 13:1-2, 25–14:1, 26A-29A, 34-35

The LORD said to Moses [in the desert of Paran,]
“Send men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan,
which I am giving the children of Israel.
You shall send one man from each ancestral tribe,
all of them princes.”

After reconnoitering the land for forty days they returned,
met Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the children of Israel
in the desert of Paran at Kadesh,
made a report to them all,
and showed the fruit of the country
to the whole congregation.
They told Moses:  “We went into the land to which you sent us.
It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit.
However, the people who are living in the land are fierce,
and the towns are fortified and very strong.
Besides, we saw descendants of the Anakim there.
Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb;
Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites dwell in the highlands,
and Canaanites along the seacoast and the banks of the Jordan.”

Caleb, however, to quiet the people toward Moses, said,
“We ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly do so.”
But the men who had gone up with him said,
“We cannot attack these people; they are too strong for us.”
So they spread discouraging reports among the children of Israel
about the land they had scouted, saying,
“The land that we explored is a country that consumes its inhabitants.
And all the people we saw there are huge, veritable giants
(the Anakim were a race of giants);
we felt like mere grasshoppers, and so we must have seemed to them.”

At this, the whole community broke out with loud cries,
and even in the night the people wailed.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
“How long will this wicked assembly grumble against me?
I have heard the grumblings of the children of Israel against me.
Tell them: By my life, says the LORD,
I will do to you just what I have heard you say.
Here in the desert shall your dead bodies fall.
Forty days you spent in scouting the land;
forty years shall you suffer for your crimes:
one year for each day.
Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me.
I, the LORD, have sworn to do this
to all this wicked assembly that conspired against me: 

here in the desert they shall die to the last man.”

Responsorial Psalm – 106:6-7AB, 13-14, 21-22, 23

R.    (4A)  Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
We have sinned, we and our fathers;
    we have committed crimes; we have done wrong.
Our fathers in Egypt
    considered not your wonders.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But soon they forgot his works;
    they waited not for his counsel.
They gave way to craving in the desert
    and tempted God in the wilderness.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
    who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
    terrible things at the Red Sea.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
    but Moses, his chosen one, 
Withstood him in the breach
    to turn back his destructive wrath.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia – Lk 7:16

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

Gospel – Mt 15: 21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But he did not say a word in answer to her.
His disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And her daughter was healed from that hour.

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You Are A Small Mirror


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 4, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

Today is the Feast Day of St. John Vianney, a remarkable priest, and confessor who was imbued with the Holy Spirit and brought great hope and vision to the people of his small parish in the south of France mid 19th Century. He once wrote that we all must courageously accept our crosses because if we do, “it will carry you to Heaven.” This is perfect for our devotions this brand new month of August to consider the desire and thirst for Eternal Life in Heaven. Our First Reading also points us in that stunning direction: “We went into the land to which you sent us. It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit.”

The scouts in the Old Testament brought great news about the Promised Land, which should bring joy and hope to people, but unfortunately, some could not get themselves to accept God’s awesome gift. The same sadly still happens today. But for those who do confidently trust God with their lives here and later, great things happen:

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” As the woman in the New Testament Reading clearly shows us, miracles can and do happen when we focus on the bright promise of immortality. In other words, how we view eternity shapes how we see the present moment. Today let us pray for the real joy that comes from knowing and believing that Heaven is, in fact, for real and waiting for us who believe in what Jesus has done and keeps doing for us.

“We are each of us like a small mirror in which God searches for His reflection.” St. John Vianney

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August 4, 2021 – Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest


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

Lectionary: 612

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 – EZ 3:17-21

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman
for the house of Israel.
When you hear a word from my mouth,
you shall warn them for me.

If I say to the wicked man,
You shall surely die;
and you do not warn him or speak out
to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live:
the wicked man shall die for his sins,
but I will hold you responsible for his death.
If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man,
yet he has not turned away from his evil
nor from his wicked conduct,
then he shall die for his sin,
but you shall save your life.

If a virtuous man turns away from virtue and does wrong
when I place a stumbling block before him, he shall die.
He shall die for his sin,
and his virtuous deeds shall not be remembered;
but I will hold you responsible for his death
if you did not warn him.
When, on the other hand, you have warned a virtuous man not to sin,
and he has in fact not sinned,
he shall surely live because of the warning, and you shall save your own life.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 117:1BC, 2

R.            (Mark 16:15)  Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Praise the Lord, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!


R.            Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.


R.            Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Alleluia – LK 4:18

R.            Alleluia, alleluia.

The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.

R.            Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 9:35-10:1

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

Then he summoned his twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits
to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.

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August 3, 2021


Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 408

Reading I – Nm 12:1-13

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses on the pretext
of the marriage he had contracted with a Cushite woman.
They complained, “Is it through Moses alone that the LORD speaks?
Does he not speak through us also?”
And the LORD heard this.
Now, Moses himself was by far the meekest man on the face of the earth.
So at once the LORD said to Moses and Aaron and Miriam,
“Come out, you three, to the meeting tent.”
And the three of them went.
Then the LORD came down in the column of cloud,
and standing at the entrance of the tent,
called Aaron and Miriam.
When both came forward, he said,
“Now listen to the words of the LORD:

Should there be a prophet among you,
in visions will I reveal myself to him,
in dreams will I speak to him;
not so with my servant Moses!
Throughout my house he bears my trust:
face to face I speak to him;
plainly and not in riddles.
The presence of the LORD he beholds.

Why, then, did you not fear to speak against my servant Moses?”

So angry was the LORD against them that when he departed,
and the cloud withdrew from the tent,
there was Miriam, a snow-white leper!
When Aaron turned and saw her a leper, he said to Moses,
“Ah, my lord! Please do not charge us with the sin
that we have foolishly committed!
Let her not thus be like the stillborn babe
that comes forth from its mother’s womb
with its flesh half consumed.”
Then Moses cried to the LORD, “Please, not this! Pray, heal her!”

Responsorial Psalm – 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 6CD-7, 12-13

R. (see 3A) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense;
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned;
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
That you may be justified in your sentence,
vindicated when you condemn.
Indeed, in guilt was I born,
and in sin my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not off from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Alleluia – Jn 1:49B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.

    The following text may be substituted, 
    especially in Year A when the above Gospel is read on Monday:

Mt 15:1-2, 10-14

Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?
They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.”
He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand.
It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man;
but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.”
Then his disciples approached and said to him,
“Do you know that the Pharisees took offense
when they heard what you said?”
He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted
will be uprooted.
Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.
If a blind man leads a blind man,
both will fall into a pit.”

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The Bridge To Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 3, 2021

“Then Moses cried to the LORD, “Please, not this! Pray, heal her!” Without a doubt, one of the most important post-pandemic lessons that we will have ever learned is our complete and total dependence on the mercy and forgiveness of God. As we witnessed countless people, young and old, died suddenly and some with wrenching pain, it certainly called us to reassess our lives and ask the age-old question, “will I be ready for death?” The familiar echo-answer to that is also sobering: not if we do not forgive. And here we have again, not only the need for repentance but also for that thirst for Heaven where all is forgiven, allis safe, all is truly liberating. Thus we sing aloud with the words of the Psalm of today: “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.”

“Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” All our storms, both the external disruptions in nature and in families which can not be helped or controlled, and especially the internal conflicts which can produce heartache and the temptation for revenge and retaliation, can only be successfully overcome by the loving presence of Jesus. He not only taught us how to live but also how to die. Only by surrendering our entire selves can we find peace. Only by longing for Heaven and thirsting for salvation more than for life itself will we ever discover our true selves and our real purpose for being here. What are we waiting for?

“He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for every one has need to be forgiven.” George Herbert

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August 2, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, priest, please go here.
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop, please go here.

Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 407

Reading I – Nm 11:4b-15

The children of Israel lamented,
“Would that we had meat for food!
We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt,
and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks,
the onions, and the garlic.
But now we are famished;
we see nothing before us but this manna.”

Manna was like coriander seed and had the color of resin.
When they had gone about and gathered it up,
the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar,
then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves,
which tasted like cakes made with oil.
At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell. 

When Moses heard the people, family after family,
crying at the entrance of their tents,
so that the LORD became very angry, he was grieved.
“Why do you treat your servant so badly?” Moses asked the Lord.
“Why are you so displeased with me
that you burden me with all this people?
Was it I who conceived all this people? 
Or was it I who gave them birth,
that you tell me to carry them at my bosom,
like a foster father carrying an infant,
to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers?
Where can I get meat to give to all this people?
For they are crying to me,
‘Give us meat for our food.’
I cannot carry all this people by myself,
for they are too heavy for me.
If this is the way you will deal with me,
then please do me the favor of killing me at once,
so that I need no longer face this distress.”

Responsorial Psalm – 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R.    (2A)  Sing with joy to God our help.
“My people heard not my voice,
    and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
    they walked according to their own counsels.”
R.    Sing with joy to God our help.
“If only my people would hear me,
    and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
    against their foes I would turn my hand.”
R.    Sing with joy to God our help.
“Those who hated the LORD would seek to flatter me,
    but their fate would endure forever,
While Israel I would feed with the best of wheat,
    and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”
R.    Sing with joy to God our help.

Alleluia – Mt 4:4

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

Gospel – Mt 14:13-21

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves.”
He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over–
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.

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Suffering As An Invitation


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 2, 2021

“I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress.” In perhaps a most dramatic and characteristically Old Testament fashion, we open the first week of this new month with Moses, who seems to be at the end of his rope. No doubt we have all been there, and for some of our readers, we are presently finding disappointment and frustration at every turn. What is beautiful about this passage is we all know how the story turns out. Moses leads the Chosen People (archetypal figure of the Church) out of the darkness, out of slavery, out of selfishness to a bright and mighty future. Even Moses himself is transformed because of this experience. Imagine a man with stage fright becoming the Lawgiver. Only God can surprise us with miracles that start within the human heart!

“There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” Jesus, the New Lawgiver (of Love), goes even further. He presents and gives Himself as our peace, truth, and divine food that makes everything new again. And there He is for us, every day, calling out to us to come and partake and share with others. This is our thirst and desire — to see him and to hold Him without ever letting go. Let’s see how we can put this into practice this week!

“Suffering is God’s invitation to look to Jesus and look forward to Heaven. The answer to the problem of evil is a Person and a place. Jesus is the Person. Heaven is the place. No one else and nowhere else will satisfy.” Randy Alcorn

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August 2, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop


For the readings of the Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 611

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 – 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 89:2-3, 4-5, 21-22, 25 and 27

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

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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August 2, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, priest


For the readings of the Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 611A


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

Reading 1 – Acts 4:32-35

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

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R.    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.
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.

Alleluia – JN 15:4A, 5B

R.Alleluia, alleluia.

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

R.Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 15:1-8

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

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August 1, 2021


Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 113

Reading I – Ex 16:2-4, 12-15

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 
The Israelites said to them,
“Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! 
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses,
“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. 
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.

“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. 
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. 
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. 
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?”
for they did not know what it was. 
But Moses told them,
“This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54

R. (24B)  The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
What we have heard and know,
    and what our fathers have declared to us,
We will declare to the generation to come
    the glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength
    and the wonders that he wrought.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
He commanded the skies above
    and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained manna upon them for food
    and gave them heavenly bread.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Man ate the bread of angels,
    food he sent them in abundance.
And he brought them to his holy land,
    to the mountains his right hand had won.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Reading II – Eph 4:17, 20-24

Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord
that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
in the futility of their minds;
that is not how you learned Christ,
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus,
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self,
created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Alleluia – Mt 4:4B

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

Gospel – Jn 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?” 
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled. 
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you. 
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” 
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” 
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” 
So they said to him,
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? 
What can you do? 
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
    He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

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

Read Today’s Reflection

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Made for Another World


Reflection on Mass Reading for August 1, 2021

Theme for August 2021: The Desire & Thirst for Heaven

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.'” During this brand new month of August, we will be exploring, considering, and reflecting on the amazing desire and thirst we all have for Heaven. We will be moving forward each day of the month by realizing how the Scriptures can and always come alive when we ask God for guidance and strength, especially as we discover meaning and significance in our lives and in those we love. The passage that begins our journey is common among the Scriptures that teach and reveal the beautiful and awesome gift of the Eucharist. The Chosen People from the Old Testament (or the first gathering, which will much later become the Church) were hungry and were given food “from Heaven.” The heavenly source of this nourishment is critical to our faith and growth toward eternal life as will be continually made clear as the Readings of today progress:

“…be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” Being renewed and refreshed in this life means fundamentally that we have a taste of Heaven. Without this perspective, it is easy to find life burdensome and gloomy as so many do. In many ways, we suggest that we cultivate this desire to see God face-to-face so that the tiresome aspects of life here on earth are swallowed up by the hope that awaits us.

This is certainly not a natural process; rather, it is supernatural, and for that, we desperately need supernatural food: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Let us then accept this bold August Challenge and harvest this deep thirst for Heaven so that we may never lose sight of our ultimate destiny.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” C. S. Lewis

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