The Word of God

September 30, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 458

Reading I – NEH 8:1-4A, 5-6, 7B-12

The whole people gathered as one in the open space before the Water Gate,
and they called upon Ezra the scribe
to bring forth the book of the law of Moses
which the LORD prescribed for Israel.
On the first day of the seventh month, therefore,
Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly,
which consisted of men, women,
and those children old enough to understand.
Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate,
he read out of the book from daybreak until midday,
in the presence of the men, the women,
and those children old enough to understand;
and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform
that had been made for the occasion.
He opened the scroll 
so that all the people might see it
(for he was standing higher up than any of the people);
and, as he opened it, all the people rose.
Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God,
and all the people, their hands raised high, answered, 
“Amen, amen!”
Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD,
their faces to the ground.
As the people remained in their places,
Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God,
interpreting it so that all could understand what was read.
Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe
and the Levites who were instructing the people
said to all the people:
“Today is holy to the LORD your God.
Do not be sad, and do not weep”–
for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
He said further:  “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks,
and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared;
for today is holy to our LORD.
Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!”
And the Levites quieted all the people, saying,
“Hush, for today is holy, and you must not be saddened.”
Then all the people went to eat and drink,
to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy,
for they understood the words that had been expounded to them.

Responsorial Psalm – 19:8, 9, 10, 11

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

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – LK10:1-12

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

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Letting Go Of Suffering


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 30, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“‘Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep’– for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.” There once was this criminal who had been accused of a crime and sentenced. He was sent to the king for his punishment. The king told him he had a choice of two punishments. He could be hung by a rope or take what’s behind the big, dark, scary, iron door. The criminal quickly decided on the rope. As the noose was being slipped on him, he turned to the king and asked. “By the way, out of curiosity, what’s behind that door?” The king laughed and said: “You know, it’s funny, I offer everyone the same choice, and nearly everyone picks the rope.” “So,” said the criminal, “Tell me. What’s behind the door? I mean, obviously, I won’t tell anyone,” he said, pointing to the noose around his neck. The king paused, then answered, “Freedom, but it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope.”

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” As we conclude yet another September of our lives, our thoughts and attention will draw ever closer to the gifts awaiting us in the remaining weeks of the Liturgical Year including, All Saints and All Souls Days, Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas. Today, let us examine the place and power of fear in our lives and adopt the childlike trust and faith in our loving God:

I read once that people do not fear the unknown; rather, they fear what they think they know about the unknown. That always made sense to me: fear is truly useless. It has stalled great decisions and prevented great people from rising above the wickedness and pettiness around them. Do you remember how much damage was inflicted when people allowed fear to decide their future? Religious leaders plotted and conspired to murder; healed people turned on their Healer; strong Apostles (for the most part) fled, denied, and betrayed their Master. However, now, the scenes have changed: the miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus has allowed once fearful people to change their thinking and readjust their life paths. The words of the Alleluia Verse have become the lyrics of a new song in the hearts of those who believe: “The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.”

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” Nhat Hanh

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September 30 – Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 648

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 Pastors, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 2 TM 3:14-17

Beloved:
Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God
and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness,
so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.

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 – SEE ACTS 16:14B

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

Gospel – MT 13:47-52

Jesus said to the disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.  
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
Jesus asked them:
“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old.”

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Angels In The Architecture


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 29, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.” (First Reading).
“In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.” (Responsorial Psalm).
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (Gospel)

In the great scheme of things in which God has created everything that is and ever will be, we have Angels. Their name comes from the word that means “messenger.” Since that is true, we can safely assume three very important elements about the Angels and Archangels:

1. There is a Sender of the message
2. There is a recipient of the message and, finally, and perhaps most importantly,
3. There is a message.

Today, as we commemorate the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, there may be many things around you that you simply do not or cannot understand. Perhaps you may feel that God has been quiet for an unbearable amount of time. Today’s Feast calls us not only to celebrate the great mystery which is ours and comprises a very personal and wondrous gift but also to call out to the realm of Angels clearly led by the great Saint Michael. Be open to receiving grace and help. If it’s at all possible, see if you can find some quiet time. Then Listen. You and I have got more than just mail: we have a powerful message!

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen.

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September 29, 2021


Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels

Lectionary: 647

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,
    He received dominion, glory, and kingship;
        nations and peoples of every language serve him.
    His dominion is an everlasting dominion
        that shall not be taken away,
        his kingship shall not be destroyed.

OR: 

RV 12:7-12AB

War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,
who is called the Devil and Satan,
who deceived the whole world,
was thrown down to earth,
and its angels were thrown down with it.

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.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”

Responsorial Psalm – 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 4-5

R.    (1)  In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
    for you have heard the words of my mouth;
    in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name.
R.    In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
    for you have made great above all things
    your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
    you built up strength within me.
R.    In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD
    when they hear the words of your mouth;
And they shall sing of the ways of the LORD
    “Great is the glory of the LORD
R.    In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Alleluia – PS 103:21

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

Gospel – JN 1:47-51

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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September 28, 2021


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

For the optional Readings on Saint Lawrence Ruiz, please go here.

Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 456

Reading I – ZEC 8:20-23

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
There shall yet come peoples,
the inhabitants of many cities;
and the inhabitants of one city shall approach those of another,
and say, “Come! let us go to implore the favor of the LORD”;
and, “I too will go to seek the LORD.”
Many peoples and strong nations shall come
to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem
and to implore the favor of the LORD.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
In those days ten men of every nationality, 
speaking different tongues, shall take hold,
yes, take hold of every Jew by the edge of his garment and say,

“Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

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

R.    (ZEC 8:23) God is with us.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
    the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
    more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
    O city of God!
R.    God is with us.
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
    among those that know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
    “This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
     “One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
    is the Most High LORD.”
R.    God is with us.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
    “This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
    “My home is within you.”
R.    God is with us.

Alleluia – MK 10:45

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

Gospel – LK 9:51-56

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.

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September 28 – Optional Memorial of Saint Lawrence Ruiz and companions, martyrs


For the Readings for the Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 645A

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

Reading 1 – 2 MC 7:1-2, 9-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – MT 5:10

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

Gospel – 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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September 28 – Optional Memorial of Saint Wenceslaus, martyr


For the Readings for the Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 646

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

Reading 1 – 1 PT 3:14-17

Beloved:
Even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you.
Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them,
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence,
keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned,
those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good,
if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 5:10

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

Gospel – MT 10:34-39

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

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

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

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Why Hatred Is Evil


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 28, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Human nature is truly a mystery. It is clear that good people who inspire others to find greatness in themselves often elicit pettiness and crass remarks from others who either do not dare to change or are just too lazy to lift a finger to help inspire anyone else, including family members. The daily choice has to be made: #TeamGod or #TeamEvil?

“On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.” And as if we needed any more examples of this ongoing and unfolding drama in this life, the Gospel has presented us with an amazing case in point. Imagine you miss an opportunity to meet Jesus in person because you don’t like the people He also loves and needs to love. The result for these people was not good and is still not a great situation for those who still let their prejudices and hatred get in the way of their way to Heaven. Be sure you prepare a heartfelt welcome for Jesus today. Turning your back on Him is disastrous.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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September 27, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest

Lectionary: 455

Reading I – ZEC 8:1-8

This word of the LORD of hosts came:

    Thus says the LORD of hosts:

I am intensely jealous for Zion,
        stirred to jealous wrath for her.
    Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
    and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
    and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
    the holy mountain.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:  Old men and old women,
    each with staff in hand because of old age,
    shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.
The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
    Even if this should seem impossible
    in the eyes of the remnant of this people,
    shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also,
    says the LORD of hosts?
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
    Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun,
    and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God,
    with faithfulness and justice.

Responsorial Psalm – 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23

R.    (17) The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
    and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
    and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
    and not despised their prayer.
R.    The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
    and let his future creatures praise the Lord:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
    from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
    to release those doomed to die.”
R.    The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
    and their posterity shall continue in your presence.
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion;
    and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
    and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R.    The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

Alleluia – MK 10:45

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

Gospel – LK 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest. 
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John said in reply, 
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name 
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him, 
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

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Look Around You


Reflection on Mass Reading for Septmber 27, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun. I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem. They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice.”

The First Reading from the Prophet Zechariah is full of hope and blessings that it is perfect to begin the last week of September. And this is a good thing because everyone, every single living soul, will have dry spells, seasons of woe, and days of agony. That never means we have lost the eternal battle to enter into Heaven. It just means that our suffering must increase our strength and resolve to keep going. We have the beautiful promises of God that will never die.

“The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.” The Responsorial Psalm also echoes those hopes and supports our prayer life. The ultimate depth of any of our prayers must slowly and surely reach the ultimate surrender of everything to the One who made us out of pure love. This sentiment is captured throughout today’s Psalm and is echoed brilliantly and with great comfort throughout the Gospels. The rain must fall, but rejoicing with the dawn because of the very One who died for us.

“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” And how do we know all this is true? Jesus lived it and won for us the crown of victory, which is customed-shaped to each one of us depending on our situations and life settings. We also have the example of St. Vincent de Paul, who lifted the poor and hungry and sought to educate the clergy. Suffering will always be with us, which means that we must always seek to understand the deep misery of despair, unite those sufferings to Jesus and thus reach to the other side of glory.

Consider this from St. Teresa of Calcutta on the occasion of her first visit to the United States:

“I suppose that some of you are feeling that you would have to buy a plane ticket and travel to India if you were to give effective help to the poor. There is no need. The poor are right here in your own country… In developed nations like yours, there is an abundance of food. But there is often a famine of the heart due to a lack of love. The victims of this famine of love are the new poor. And who are these poor people? They are the people sitting next to you.”

Look around you today. Others are hurting. Together we are going to win this. Jesus promised.

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September 27 – Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, priest


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest, please go here.

Lectionary: 645

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

Reading 1 – 1 COR 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-7, 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 10:14

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

Gospel – MT 9:35-38

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

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Life As A Masterpiece


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 26, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna (Hell).” These words of Jesus we just heard are hard words to hear. They are hard to think about. They are hard to process. They are hard because Jesus is addressing lust and adultery that cause more emotional pain and hurt families, perhaps more than just about anything else. Nobody wins when a family breaks apart under the horrible weight of painful pretense and broken dreams. Love is such a supreme and, yes, even Divine gift that any alteration or selfishness that enters such a relationship can have the most destructive consequences.

“Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!” We all have endured some of these painful experiences, either directly or indirectly. Yet, it is precise because Jesus is speaking about these that we simply cannot ignore what he has to say. We live in a world that is broken, and we pick up knocks and bruises as we go through, and if Jesus has something to say about all that, we need to tune in. If Jesus had nothing to say about the things that cause us the most heartache, he’s not asking us to live in the real world when He calls us to follow him. Love, not lust, is at the basis of our hearts. Truth, not lies, is the very air our hearts and souls need to approach God and one another. When we give our hearts to Jesus, we ask Him to allow us to love the way He does. Completely. Unselfishly. Purely. This is why daily prayer and the Eucharist are necessary for this spiritual approach to our human existence. What Jesus wants for us is not natural; it is supernatural, and only then will we be happy in this life, waiting for the one to come. “Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth.”

Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart.” Albert Einstein 

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September 26, 2021


Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 137

Reading I – NM 11:25-29

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.

Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad,
were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp.
They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent;
yet the spirit came to rest on them also,
and they prophesied in the camp.
So, when a young man quickly told Moses,
“Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, “
Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said,
“Moses, my lord, stop them.”
But Moses answered him,
“Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14

R. (9A)    The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Though your servant is careful of them,
    very diligent in keeping them,
Yet who can detect failings?
    Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
    let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
    of serious sin. 
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Reading II – JAS 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

Alleluia – CF. JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – MK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ, 
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”

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Finish The Masterpiece


woman's hand with multi-color paint holding up artist's paint brushes

There is too much selfishness and pettiness in this world. Oftentimes it takes an amazing example of selfless love and tender care for another to remind us to remove everything from our lives that is not of God to finish the masterpiece that He began in all of us.

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

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When Meaning Is Hidden


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 25, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” The older we get, the more life comes into focus, then, mysteriously, out of focus again. Strange thoughts, indeed, but inspired by the reference in the Gospel where it seems that knowledge and understanding are withheld along this journey we call life. You see, each level and step of our lives produces enough experience and memory to grasp certain realities that beforehand we could never understand. Take death, for instance. Some are horribly tragic and others, although they may sting, are somehow soothed with the passing of time and other births. It is clear that meaning is withheld for something better later on.

“Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they shall be his people and he will dwell among you.” The real wisdom will arrive when we stop asking questions and be completely amazed and enthralled with the One who brought everything into light. Knowledge of the world is one thing but trust in the Lord Jesus dispels even the need to understand things and be ready to live in His presence all the days of our lives. We then can finally understand and appreciate the words of the Psalm of today: “The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.”

“A genuine faith resolves the mystery of life by the mystery of God.” Reinhold Niebuhr

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September 25, 2021


Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 454

Reading I – ZEC 2:5-9, 14-15A

I, Zechariah, raised my eyes and looked:
there was a man with a measuring line in his hand.
I asked, “Where are you going?”
He answered, “To measure Jerusalem,
to see how great is its width and how great its length.”

Then the angel who spoke with me advanced,
and another angel came out to meet him and said to him,
“Run, tell this to that young man:
People will live in Jerusalem as though in open country,
because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst.
But I will be for her an encircling wall of fire, says the LORD,
and I will be the glory in her midst.”

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people and he will dwell among you.

Responsorial Psalm – Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12AB, 13

R.    (see 10D)  The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
    proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
    he guards them as a shepherd guards his flock.
R.    The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
    he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
    they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings.
R.    The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
    and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
    I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R.    The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Alleluia – See 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – LK 9:43B-45

While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” 
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

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Patience And Time


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 24, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“And take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD, and work! For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.” This passage from the Book of Haggai reinforces the claim that an overall, far-reaching providential care always accompanies our walk in this life. By trusting this assertion, we can be assured of great peace and the seeds of a happy and fulfilled life. No longer can we ask with the air of disappointment and despair, “why do all these things happen to me?” By trusting in the heavenly care God has for us and the ultimate sacrifice paid by His Son, Jesus, we do not ask, “why me?,” but rather, “what now?!”

“But who do you say that I am?” This larger-than-life question that yields magnificent results is found in only one and rudimentary position. Who we think Jesus surpasses any philosophy or self-help mantra in existence. Once we realize who He is, we will come to find the most wonderful peace and happiness ever imagined because we will have discovered why He came. He came for me!

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” Leo Tolstoy

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September 24, 2021


Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 453

Reading I – HG 2:1-9

In the second year of King Darius,
on the twenty-first day of the seventh month,
the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:
Tell this to the governor of Judah,
Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak,
and to the remnant of the people:

Who is left among you
that saw this house in its former glory?
And how do you see it now?
Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?
But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD,
and take courage, Joshua, high priest, son of Jehozadak,
And take courage, all you people of the land,
says the LORD, and work!
For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!
For thus says the LORD of hosts:
One moment yet, a little while,
and I will shake the heavens and the earth,
the sea and the dry land.
I will shake all the nations,
and the treasures of all the nations will come in,
And I will fill this house with glory,
says the LORD of hosts.
Mine is the silver and mine the gold,
says the LORD of hosts.
Greater will be the future glory of this house
than the former, says the LORD of hosts;
And in this place I will give you peace,
says the LORD of hosts!

Responsorial Psalm – 43:1, 2, 3, 4

R.    (5) Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight
    against a faithless people;
    from the deceitful and impious man rescue me.
R.    Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
For you, O God, are my strength.
    Why do you keep me so far away?
Why must I go about in mourning,
    with the enemy oppressing me?
R.    Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
    they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
    to your dwellingplace.
R.    Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
    the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
    O God, my God!
R.    Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.

Alleluia – MK 10:45

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

Gospel – LK 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

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Persistence As An Art


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 23, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“And he kept trying to see him.” The ravaged conscience of Herod the Madman was no match for the bright celestial light emanating from Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You see, the insane and stupid king thought he had calmed his evil heart by beheading John the Baptist, but that was not going to happen. “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” This is why it is of tantamount importance to remain in the state of grace and always in deep spiritual and prayerful communication with the Lord. We must be persistent in this way because eventually, our own heart will not rest until it rests with Jesus.

“Consider your ways! You have sown much, but have brought in little.” The First Reading substantiates this thought and direction by reminding us that all things will pass, and the vain and proud things we attempted to accomplish will amount to nothing in the greater scheme of things. What we need today and every day we are allowed to breathe is wisdom. During our spiritual lives, persistence and trust in God will yield eternal benefits and help form us into true, loving people. We must never give up or surrender. The prize is too great and awesome: “The Lord takes delight in his people.”

“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.” Albert Ellis

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September 23, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest

Lectionary: 452

Reading I – HG 1:1-8

On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius,
The word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai
to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:  
This people says:
“The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.”
(Then this word of the LORD came through Haggai, the prophet:)
Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses,
while this house lies in ruins?

Now thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
You have sown much, but have brought in little;
you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated;
have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed;
And whoever earned wages
earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
Go up into the hill country;
bring timber, and build the house
That I may take pleasure in it
and receive my glory, says the LORD.

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

R.    (see 4A) The Lord takes delight in his people.
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.
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.
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.

Alleluia – JN 14:6

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

Gospel – LK 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.

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September 23 – Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, priest


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest, please go here.

Lectionary: 643A

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 – GAL 2:19-20

Brothers and sisters:
Through the law I died to the law,
that I might live for God.
I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;
insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God
who has loved me and given himself up for me.

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

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

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 16:24-27

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

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Something Better Always Ahead


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 22, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!


“And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Have you ever walked into a room and automatically felt that something was wrong? And by “terribly wrong,” what is meant is an atmosphere or attitude that is so negative and critical that you just cannot get away from there fast enough. The departure is so quick and determined that you leave a trail of dust behind. The Lord Jesus knows exactly the kind of world we occupy. It is full of negative and sinful postures that seek to choke and stifle the beautiful Gospel message. He also knows that we can trust Him with every good gift and wise choice. This is why we are forewarned and thus forearmed: any belligerent or hyper-critical encounter over the Gospel must end with an encounter with the closest door and move to the next page that God has already written and waiting for us.

“Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins.” The great news today, among the many other blessings we see and cannot see, is the fact that the Lord has once again reaffirmed His great love for us and His constant protection over every single step we take, no matter what kind of encounter is waiting for us. All we have to do is remain faithful to His Word, be fed constantly with the Eucharist, and never lose hope even in the face of seemingly hostile and hateful rejection.

“Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” Dr. Steve Maraboli

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September 22, 2021


Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 451

Reading I – EZR 9:5-9

At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness,
and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees,
stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.

I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you,
O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads
and our guilt reaches up to heaven.
From the time of our fathers even to this day
great has been our guilt,
and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up,
we and our kings and our priests,
to the will of the kings of foreign lands,
to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace,
as is the case today.

“And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God,
who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place;
thus our God has brightened our eyes
and given us relief in our servitude.
For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us;
rather, he has turned the good will
of the kings of Persia toward us.
Thus he has given us new life
to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins,
and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”

Responsorial Psalm – Tobit 13:2, 3-4A, 4BEFGHN, 7-8

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

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – LK 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

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September 21, 2021


Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist

Lectionary: 643

Reading I – EPH 4:1-7, 11-13

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – 19:2-3, 4-5

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

Alleluia

See Te Deum

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

Gospel – MT 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
    I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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Prisoner Of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 21, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

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

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

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

Alexander Pope (from The Universal Prayer)

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September 20, 2021


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

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs

Lectionary: 449

Reading I – EZR 1:1-6

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia,
in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah,
the Lord inspired King Cyrus of Persia
to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom,
both by word of mouth and in writing:
“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:
‘All the kingdoms of the earth
the Lord, the God of heaven, has given to me,
and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem,
which is in Judah.
Therefore, whoever among you belongs to any part of his people,
let him go up, and may his God be with him!
Let everyone who has survived, in whatever place he may have dwelt,
be assisted by the people of that place
with silver, gold, goods, and cattle,
together with free-will offerings
for the house of God in Jerusalem.’”

Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin
and the priests and Levites–
everyone, that is, whom God had inspired to do so– 
prepared to go up to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.
All their neighbors gave them help in every way,
with silver, gold, goods, and cattle,
and with many precious gifts
besides all their free-will offerings.

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

R.    (3) The Lord has done marvels for us.
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.    The Lord has done marvels for us.
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.    The Lord has done marvels for us.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
    like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
    shall reap rejoicing.
R.    The Lord has done marvels for us.
Although they go forth weeping,
    carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
    carrying their sheaves.
R.    The Lord has done marvels for us.

Alleluia – MT 5:16

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

Gospel – LK 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd:
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

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Light Living


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 20, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.” With age, I hope I can see the world much more clearly. There are a good number of people that I love and cherish dearly. While there are a good many others that have seemingly dropped out of my life, there is a definite pattern that has emerged that deepens respect and admiration for all the people who have populated my life. I have loved them because they have shown me, Jesus. Their ways of handling death, disappointment, fun, friends, and family have slowly formed a clear picture of the character unmistakably the mark of one who truly loves God. Imagine how the crowd in today’s Gospel must have felt when they heard that they must live their lives in the light of truth before the world! What goes through your mind?

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Today, no matter what you have to face or confront or carry, keep those words of Christ alive in your heart. Perhaps you could ask yourself, “who do people see in me?” If we can honestly say that others have seen or heard the Lord in something we said or did, then we can sleep calmly and without fear.

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” St. Francis of Assisi

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September 20 – Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr, and Saint Paul Chong Hasang, catechist and martyr, and their companions, martyrs


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs, please go here.

Lectionary: 642A

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.

Or

ROM 8:31B-39

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

For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 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 – 1 PT 4:14

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

Gospel – LK 9:23-26

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

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September 19, 2021


Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 134

Reading I – WIS 2:12, 17-20

The wicked say:
    Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
        he sets himself against our doings,
    reproaches us for transgressions of the law
        and charges us with violations of our training.
    Let us see whether his words be true;
        let us find out what will happen to him.
    For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him
        and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
    With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test
        that we may have proof of his gentleness
        and try his patience.
    Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
        for according to his own words, God will take care of him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 54:3-4, 5, 6 and 8

R. (6B)    The Lord upholds my life.
O God, by your name save me,
    and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
    hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
For the haughty have risen up against me,
    the ruthless  seek my life;
    they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
    I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

Reading II – JAS 3:16—4:3

Beloved:
Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice. 
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity. 
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.

Where do the wars
and where do the conflicts among you come from? 
Is it not from your passions
that make war within your members? 
You covet but do not possess. 
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war. 
You do not possess because you do not ask. 
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Alleluia – CF. 2 THES 2:14

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

Gospel – MK 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it. 
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” 
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?” 
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest. 
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” 
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

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Something Wicked This Way Comes


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 19, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“The wicked say: ‘Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us.'” Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1962 dark fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury which tells the story of a pair of 13-year-old best friends and their nightmarish experience with a traveling carnival that comes to their town. It describes magnificently how they learn about combating fear and darkness that exist in and all around them. As an outstanding piece of literature, it is a most significant and brilliant way of speaking about the passage into adulthood from practical innocence and how that particular ingress into another stage of life can be frightening when one has to admit that there is wickedness in this world, including death. “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” This is the most fascinating and spiritual enlightening way to begin our Sabbath! The Lord Jesus entered a very sinful and wicked world to save us who want to spend all of eternity with Him and learn and experience the grace of living a life of true freedom to cast off the deeds of darkness that keep us from fully becoming Christians. One might say that the earlier in our spiritual lives that we adopt this life-giving principle, the better. “Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.”

It is now clear that the process into spiritual maturity must include an understanding and foreknowledge of how evil works and the ultimate and forever remedy that will bring us all victory. “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.” We can not march against the forces of wickedness without the loving mercy and strength of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His ultimate sacrifice of selfless love guaranteed that abandonment would never happen, and his teaching about life learned as children would never be forgotten as well. “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” What we have received on this fine Sunday is nothing short of a spiritual paradox. While we must be ready to confront and defeat whatever wickedness might be arriving at the cusp of childhood, it is the pearls and gems of the childlike state that we will need as an adult, mature Christians to share the crown of life and love with Christ the Lord.

“Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” G.K. Chesterton

“Be Not Afraid.” Jesus

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In Your Hands


white dove bird on a human hand eating

The passage from childhood into adulthood is not only critical to maturity, it is also necessary for clear and insightful wisdom to help see the path to Heaven with clarity and courage. While we are challenged to keep child-like hearts, we must have adult-sized faith to see good and evil wherever we go.

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

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Sowing Seeds Of Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 18, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name.” What does it signify or suggest when we take a walk? First, we can safely assume that we need to get outside of our routine and even ourselves to achieve a fresh perspective on our lives and even cleanse the soul of any negative or destructive attitudes or thoughts. Secondly, we walked where it was safe and perhaps even invited someone we trusted and love to accompany the stroll with us. And finally, and by no means the end of possible answers, we knew that something good would come of this walk if only to find peace and comfort, even exercise. All this applies beautifully to the image of entering the gates of the Lord and making sure that our deeds are worthy of the light. This is what it means to live a healthy and holy life.

“When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. ‘A sower went out to sow his seed.'” In the Gospel today, there were many people “out for a walk,” and this time, they met Jesus. He told them a great, meaningful story about yet another person who went out on a walk, this time to sow seeds, depending on where the seed landed determined the outcome. Here again, is yet another wonderful image for life itself. We are all walking through many different situations and circumstances. What we do during these “life-walks” and what we plant will determine not only on how the day will end, but also how each life will finish and be judged: “But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.” Vernon Howard

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September 18, 2021


Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 448

Reading I – 1 TM 6:13-16

Beloved:
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate
for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see.
To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

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

R. (2) Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
For he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.

Alleluia – See LK 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 8:4-15

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. 
“A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold.”
After saying this, he called out,
“Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
“Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

“This is the meaning of the parable. 
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, 
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance.”

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September 17, 2021


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

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

Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 447

Reading I – 1 TM 6:2C-12

Beloved:
Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God, avoid all this.
Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life,
to which you were called when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses.

Responsorial Psalm – 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20

R.    Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
    when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
    the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R.    Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
    or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
    to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R.    Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
    when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
    his wealth shall not follow him down.
R.    Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
    “They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
    who shall never more see light.
R.    Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Alleluia – See MT 11:25

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

Gospel – LK 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources.

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September 17 – Optional Memorial of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Virgin and Doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 641A

Reading 1 – Song 8:6-7

Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love,
relentless as the nether world is devotion;
its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor floods sweep it away.
Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love,
he would be roundly mocked.
 

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.    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.    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.    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 – MT 5:8

Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
 

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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September 17 – Optional Memorial of Saint Robert Bellarmine, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 641

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

Reading 1 – Wis 7:7-10, 15-16

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.

Now God grant I speak suitably
and value these endowments at their worth:
For he is the guide of Wisdom
and the director of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand,
as well as all prudence and knowledge of crafts.

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

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

Alleluia – See JN 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – MT 7:21-29

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

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

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

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Be Opened, Be Strong, Be Happy


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 17, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.” It is certainly a strange and yet common paradox. We need money to get by. Too little, and there is suffering, no doubt. Too much, and we can fall victim to the pitfalls as described in Our First Reading. We must be motivated enough to provide for ourselves and our families and yet open enough to know when too much is too much. This wisdom comes from our relationship with the Lord Jesus.

“Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.” This relationship with the Lord can infuse every decision of life, especially the financial ones. “Do I really need this?” “What do I truly need to be happy?” Is money my servant or my master?” These are the kinds of critical questions that all must ask at practically every age. God wants us to be open to His will, strong in hIs love, and happy in every possible way. But before we ask for more, make sure we acknowledge what we already have!

“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.” Benjamin Franklin

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September 16, 2021


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

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Saint Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs

Lectionary: 446

Reading I – 1 TM 4:12-16

Beloved:
Let no one have contempt for your youth,
but set an example for those who believe,
in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.
Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching.
Do not neglect the gift you have,
which was conferred on you through the prophetic word
with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate.
Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them,
so that your progress may be evident to everyone.
Attend to yourself and to your teaching;
persevere in both tasks,
for by doing so you will save 
both yourself and those who listen to you.

Responsorial Psalm – 111:7-8, 9, 10

R.    (2) How great are the works of the Lord!
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
    wrought in truth and equity.
R.    How great are the works of the Lord!
He has sent deliverance to his people;
    he has ratified his covenant forever;
    holy and awesome is his name.
R.    How great are the works of the Lord!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
    prudent are all who live by it.
    His praise endures forever.
R.    How great are the works of the Lord!

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – LK 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?”
Simon said in reply,
“The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
“Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The others at table said to themselves,
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
But he said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

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No Time To Judge


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 16, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” St. Paul clarifies in his Letter to the Corinthians that humanity is lost without the Gospel. And yet, he warns all of us Christians that we cannot hide behind precepts and regulations and mount some kind of superior plane or landing from which to judge people and forget that we, that is, all of humanity, are in the same boat. We have no right to judge other people just because they do not sin as we do. St. Paul explains that the final judgment will be a review of performance, not of privilege. From this perspective, everyone stands on an equal footing, and thus we cannot realistically condemn others without condemning ourselves.

“Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” St. Luke continues and completes this thought for us by ensuring that the Pharisees know that mere possession of laws is no evidence of virtue. Mark Twain once responded to a man who was going to the Holy Land to see where the Ten Commandments were given with, “Why don’t you just stay home and live them?” Good point, Mr. Clemens.

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” “The worst prison,” St. John Paul wrote, “would be a closed heart,” and this is precisely why you and I must know the difference between judging and admonishing. Arrogant judgment condemns because it is motivated by pride; admonishing the sinner liberates because it is motivated by love. Each produces very different results: “So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

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September 16 – Memorial of Saint Cornelius, pope and martyr, and Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Saint Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs, please go here.

Lectionary: 640

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

Reading 1 – 2 COR 4:7-15

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – 2 COR 1:3B-4

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

Gospel – JN 17:11B-19

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

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September 15, 2021


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

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

Lectionary: 445

Reading I – 1 TM 3:14-16

Beloved:
I am writing you,
although I hope to visit you soon.
But if I should be delayed,
you should know how to behave in the household of God,
which is the Church of the living God,
the pillar and foundation of truth.
Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion,

    Who was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated in the spirit,
    seen by angels,
    proclaimed to the Gentiles,
    believed in throughout the world,
    taken up in glory.

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

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

Sequence

(Optional)

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother’s pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of his own nation
Saw him hang in desolation
Till his spirit forth he sent.

O sweet Mother! font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with you his pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with you,
Mourning him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with you to stay,
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.

Let me to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of yours.

Wounded with his every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In his very Blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In his awful judgment day.

Christ, when you shall call me hence,
Be your Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally.
Amen.(Alleluia).

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary;
without dying you won the Martyr’s crown
beneath the Cross of the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 19:25-27

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

OR:

LK 2:33-35

Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
and you yourself a sword will pierce
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

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Her Cross, My Victory


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 15, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary; without dying you won the Martyr’s crown beneath the Cross of the Lord.” Today, the Church remembers and honors the intense suffering and grief of the Mother of Jesus during His Passion and Death. There were seven individual sorrows that Mary endured as was foretold to her by Simeon, the priest of the Temple, on the occasion of the Lord’s Presentation. Here is a partial text of a very popular hymn somberly expressing these heartfelt sentiments: At the cross, her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last. Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length, the sword had passed. Our present hope for our Christian journey toward Heaven is easily seen in the Opening Prayer at Mass today: “Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to New life. Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love and trust.”

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.'”

Let us reflect on the mystery and fruits of suffering presented by St. John Paul II in remarkable teaching borne out of his own incredible personal sufferings.

First, he says that suffering empowers humility: To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him, God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self.

Secondly, he teaches that suffering is transformative: Down through the centuries and generations, it has been seen that in suffering, there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace, many saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but also that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation. Finally, he writes that suffering enlivens and grows charity and love for and of others: We could say that suffering . . . is present to unleash love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one’s “I” on behalf of other people, especially those who suffer. The world of human suffering unceasingly calls for, so to speak, another world: the world of human love, and in a certain sense, man owes to suffering that unselfish love that stirs in his heart and actions.

Thus, in its purest sense, suffering is the road to holiness and a closer walk and friendship with the Lord Jesus. His mother shed human tears for the Divine Son she helped bring into this world, our world. We cry human tears but not always for what is right and just. Today we seek to move toward complete integrity on this walk of ours toward Heaven, knowing and embracing humility, deep-seated change, and charity, which are all great gifts when we suffer from each other with Jesus always in our hearts and minds.

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

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September 15 – Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows


For the Readings for the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, please go here.

Lectionary: 639

The Gospel for this memorial is proper. The first reading may be taken from the weekday or the reading found below.

Reading 1 – HEB 5:7-9

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 31:2 and 3B, 3CD-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

R.    (17)  Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me,
make haste to deliver me!
R.    Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R.    Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
You will free me from the snare they set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R.    Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
But my trust is in you, O LORD,
I say, “You are my God.”
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
R.    Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
How great is your goodness, O LORD,
which you have in store for those who fear you,
And which, toward those who take refuge in you,
you show in the sight of the children of men.
R.    Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Sequence (Optional)

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother’s pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of his own nation
Saw him hang in desolation
Till his spirit forth he sent.

O sweet Mother!  font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with you his pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with you,
Mourning him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with you to stay,
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.

Let me to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of yours.
Wounded with his every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In his very Blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In his awful judgment day.

Christ, when you shall call me hence,
Be your Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally.
Amen.  (Alleluia)

Alleluia

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary;
without dying you won the martyr’s crown
beneath the Cross of the Lord.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 19:25-27

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

Or

LK 2:33-35

Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
and you yourself a sword will pierce
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

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Suffering As A Deep Mystery


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 14, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

What is the mystery of suffering? Maybe we should begin with the penalty for complaining. It did not go well for the people in the First Reading: “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.” The problem was simple: they forgot who good God had been to them and just focused on the things in the present moment without giving thanks to the One who always took care of them. Thus, the Psalmist made it clear to them and us what we must all do: “Do not forget the works of the Lord!”

None of us like to suffer. We avoid pain and discomfort. Our whole society and culture are seemingly built around the basic premise that we must avoid all pain. The problem, however, is simple and tragic. No one can avoid suffering. No one can escape death. The simple message of today is this: Life is not a question about whether or not you are going to suffer; it is a question of HOW. We who believe in Jesus know the answer to that question. We suffer WITH Him so we can RISE with Him. “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Which path will I take today? Whose promise will I place my entire trust?

“When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.” St. Sebastian Valfre

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September 14, 2021


Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Lectionary: 638

Reading I – NM 21:4B-9

With their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent 
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.    

Responsorial Psalm – 78:1BC-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38

R.    (see 7B)  Do not forget the works of the Lord!
Hearken, my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable,
    I will utter mysteries from of old.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
While he slew them they sought him
    and inquired after God again,
Remembering that God was their rock
    and the Most High God, their redeemer.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But they flattered him with their mouths
    and lied to him with their tongues,
Though their hearts were not steadfast toward him,
    nor were they faithful to his covenant.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But he, being merciful, forgave their sin
    and destroyed them not;
Often he turned back his anger
    and let none of his wrath be roused.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!

Reading II – PHIL 2:6-11

Brothers and sisters:
    Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
        did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
    Rather, he emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    coming in human likeness;
    and found human in appearance,
    he humbled himself,
    becoming obedient to death,
        even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
    and bestowed on him the name
    that is above every name,
    that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    and every tongue confess that
    Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him. 

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September 13, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 443

Reading I – 1 TM 2:1-8

Beloved:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity. 
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.

    For there is one God.
    There is also one mediator between God and men,
    the man Christ Jesus,
    who gave himself as ransom for all.

This was the testimony at the proper time. 
For this I was appointed preacher and Apostle
(I am speaking the truth, I am not lying),
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. 

Responsorial Psalm – 28:2, 7, 8-9

R.    (6) Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
Hear the sound of my pleading, when I cry to you,
    lifting up my hands toward your holy shrine.
R.    Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
The LORD is my strength and my shield.
In him my heart trusts, and I find help;
    then my heart exults, and with my song I give him thanks.
R.    Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
    the saving refuge of his anointed.
Save your people, and bless your inheritance;
    feed them, and carry them forever!
R.    Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.

Alleluia – JN 3:16

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

Gospel – LK 7:1-10

When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
“He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, Go, and he goes;
and to another, Come here, and he comes;
and to my slave, Do this, and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

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September 13 – Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church


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

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

Reading 1 – EPH4:1-7, 11-13

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 40:2 and 4, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11

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

Alleluia

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 4:1-10, 13-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this!  A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
Jesus answered them,
“Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no root; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

Or

MK 4:1-9

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this!  A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

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More Than We Deserve


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 13, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Here, nearly halfway through the month, we are greeted and challenged by this very familiar phrase from the Scriptures, recalled during the Sacrifice of the Mass right before the Body and Blood of Christ are to be received. The term “under my roof” refers primarily to the authority one is called to acknowledge and respect when living or even visiting someone else’s home or abode. At the core of all courtesies known to us is the deference and dignity we show to those whose homes we enter, that is, while we are “under their roof.” What is at issue for us today is that of authority or, in other words, the power to achieve something great. If we can be opened to what God can do for us by way of the countless miracles that take place every day, we will never want to be away “from His roof.”

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

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

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Sign Of The Cross


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 12, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.”

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?”

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

Today’s Sabbath Scriptural Readings have great news for us who wish to follow Christ to Heaven. It also addresses the quality of carrying the cross that we have been assessed and given. Some of us like to complain or make things worse when we suffer, which is not usually a good witness to the Gospel. When we face powerlessness in this life, perhaps reviewing a few possible approaches to our walk with the Lord in hopes of making our Christian journey the best it can be:

Calm Down: The appearance of powerlessness almost always creates a ripe breeding ground for anger. We can’t do anything about a certain situation, so we turn to the only things we control, our emotions. Anger is volatile and perhaps the most destructive of all the vices. Unbridled, it can destroy us.
Discover Your Real Motivations: Why do we want justice? Is it revenge? Justice is a virtue; revenge is a perversion of justice.

Consider the Source: Who lied about us? Who has besmirched our reputation? Whenever we hear praise or harsh criticism, we must first consider its source. What someone says about us is never more important than the one who said it.

Weigh Carefully the Consequences: This is where prudence rallies into our discussion. Will I bring more attention to myself and my emotional spasm?

Wait: Remember, Jesus waited three days after His brutal murder to set things straight. Waiting and watching are deep spiritual exercises that separate us from the beasts of this world. My Italian friends put it best when they say, “Let God handle the need for revenge. He is much better at it.”

“We all have a cross to carry. I have to carry my own cross. if we don’t carry our crosses, we are going to be crushed under the weight of it.” Jim Caviezel

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September 12, 2021


Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 131

Reading I – IS 50:5-9A

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
    have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
    from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
    therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
    knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
    if anyone wishes to oppose me,
    let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
    Let that man confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
    who will prove me wrong?

Responsorial Psalm – PS 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (9)    I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I love the LORD because he has heard
    my voice in supplication,
Because he has inclined his ear to me
    the day I called.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The cords of death encompassed me;
    the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
    I fell into distress and sorrow,
And I called upon the name of the LORD,
    “O LORD, save my life!”
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Gracious is the LORD and just;
    yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
    I was brought low, and he saved me.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For he has freed my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the LORD
    in the land of the living.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II – JAS 2:14-18

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works? 
Can that faith save him? 
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, ”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it? 
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,
“You have faith and I have works.” 
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

Alleluia – GAL 6:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord
through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 

Gospel – MK 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. 
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?” 
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.” 
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?” 
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.” 
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days. 
He spoke this openly. 
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. 
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me. 
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”

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Chocolate Crossroads


little boy looking eagerly at a chocolate bar in his hand

Faith without practice becomes lifeless, empty, and hardly life-giving. Carrying our cross can be difficult if we complain, but joyous if we realize that there is always a miracle waiting for us.

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

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Remembering And Praying Over 911


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 11, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” Today is a difficult one for some, problematic for others, and still a puzzle for many. What happened? Why did it happen? Is it going to happen again? You see, for all of the above segments of our society, there must be a common, stable, and universal answer. And there is: God’s patience mercifully calls forth in us the courage to return to Him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. In the wounds of Jesus, it is there that we are truly secure; there, we encounter the boundless love of His heart.

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him.” Saint Bernard goes on to ask: “But what can I count on? My own merits? No, My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as He is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits.” This is important for today: our goal must be the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, trust in His patience, and seek refuge always in the wounds of His love. We must seek mercy in the very heart of our understanding of who God is for the whole world.

Let us Pray:

“God, we come to you today in remembrance of the lives lost to unspeakable violence, especially those on September 11th and in its aftermath. All of us were touched by this day – from the loss of loved ones to changes in the national mood. We remember our anger and fear, gritty like sand in our teeth – anger at lives lost, at words and actions of retaliation, at excuses to oppress people in our country and around the world, fear over what might happen, over losing our own lives. We remember our sorrow, salty water flowing from our eyes, grief at loss, at the deep pain and suffering of our sisters and brothers. But we also pray that this salty water will become seed for a better tomorrow. Like these seeds, we have hope that your kingdom of peace and justice will take root and flourish in our world. And we remember the fabric of life of which we are all a part – from workers at the Pentagon to the undocumented workers at the top of the World Trade Towers to people in Afghanistan who had never heard of New York City.

May we learn to sew together this fabric, with unbreakable threads so that we may cling together in solidarity and such violence may never be repeated.” – Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

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September 11, 2021


Saturday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 442

Reading I – 1 TM 1:15-17

Beloved:
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated,
so that in me, as the foremost,
Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. 
To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,
honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – LK 6:43-49

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

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground
without a foundation.
When the river burst against it,
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”

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Brutal Hypocrisy


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 10, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Today, we are being treated with a famous morsel of Scripture quotes that 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.

“I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.” Those of us who sincerely try to follow Jesus and live by the Gospel must be convinced that our behavior shapes our personality and, therefore, all of our moral and otherwise important decisions in life. The scriptures clearly show the track record of those who have abandoned their own set of values and goals toward Heaven and those who never gave up even though it was tough at times to stay focused and faithful. It is all about balance and humility. Jesus wants us all in Heaven, and every day we are either moving closer or further away from this awesome destiny of ours. Today let us carry Jesus deep within our souls so that we do or say nothing that would displease him. This is the challenge and fruit of being loving people who love God and our neighbor. It is truly an exciting adventure.

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

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September 10, 2021


Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 441

Reading I – 1 TM 1:1-2, 12-14

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our savior
and of Christ Jesus our hope,
to Timothy, my true child in faith:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because he considered me trustworthy
in appointing me to the ministry.
I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man,
but I have been mercifully treated
because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.
Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

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

R.    (see 5) 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 JN 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – LK 6:39-42

Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

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September 9, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest

Lectionary: 440

Reading I – COL 3:12-17

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

Responsorial Psalm – 150:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.    (6) Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
    praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
    praise him for his sovereign majesty. 
R.    Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
    praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
    praise him with strings and pipe.
R.    Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
    praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
    praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R.    Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Alleluia – 1 JN 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another,
God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 6:27-38

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

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

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September 9 – Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, priest


For the readings for the Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest, please go here.

Lectionary: 636A

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 Those Who Work for the Underprivileged (#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 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 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

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

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 25:31-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine you did for me.'”

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Love My What?


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 9, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

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

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

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

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

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Mother’s Day Birthday Greetings And Hopes


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 8, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

Today we celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and there are so many presents to open! Let us begin our festive spiritual birthday celebration. First, from the Catechism: (487) What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines, in turn, its faith in Christ. (490) To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” At the moment of the annunciation, the angel Gabriel salutes her as “full of grace” (Luke 1:28). For Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, she needed to be wholly borne by God’s grace. (491) Through the centuries, the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. (492) The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.” The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” He chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:3-4) (493). The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.” By the grace of God, Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

Secondly, the only starting point in every discussion about the Blessed Virgin Mary is Jesus Christ, her Son. This must always be the focus of our conversation and understanding of who she is and why she is pivotal and critical to our understanding of Jesus and what He accomplished for all of humanity. It starts with the Garden of Eden described in the first chapters of Genesis when Satan, the leader of all the fallen angels, tempts Eve first to doubt her trust in the Lord and then disobey Him. Both she and Adam were permitted to eat from all the trees in Paradise except ONE. The devil, however, was not to have its’ intended and avaricious victory as the Lord made it clear that this was not the end of the battle for the soul of humanity: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers,” speaking of the ultimate combat between the forces of evil and the offspring of the descendant of Eve, who is Mary, the Mother of Jesus Our Redeemer. Thus, the “Tree of Good and Evil” is transformed into the “Tree of Life,” the wood of the Cross upon which Jesus died to “free us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray.” (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) So if Jesus is the New Adam (Romans 5:14), then clearly Mary is New Eve. Eve = Mother of all the Living & Mary = Mother of the Church (The Body of Christ to whom she gave birth.)

Thirdly, A Tale of Two Angels: We know who the serpent in the Garden of Eden was. We all read about it in the Book of Revelation: “Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in Heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.” (Chapter 12:7-9)

Let’s take a good look at these two angels: The serpent in the Garden of Eden and the Angel Gabriel. One approached Eve, the other, The Virgin Mary, with two very different outcomes! Satan tricked Eve by re-phrasing what God had forbidden Adam and her to approach; Gabriel’s announcement (Annunciation) was met with serious questions from Mary: “But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” (Luke 1:29) Eve’s response to the fallen angel/demon: Distrust and Disobedience. Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel: Trust and Obedience: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1). The aftermath of Eve’s choice: Death entered the world; the aftermath of Mary’s choice: Life entered the world.

Finally, the significance for our Faith: The Church has long believed and taught that the Virgin Mary had to have been preserved from any stain of sin, just as Eve was. It is also crystal-clear that God had a tremendous plan involving this woman from Nazareth who would have had to have been free from any pretext or pride when being asked to be the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. And her own body was to be free from any of sin’s dark shadows because it would be in the very recess of her human body that Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, would dwell for nine months. How could it be different?

So consider this in your prayers today in commemorating the wonderful birthday of the Mother of Jesus:
1. God has a magnificent plan for me, and it started from the beginning of time.
2. He sent His only Son to die for me, both Divine like God and human-like me
(thanks to the obedience of the Virgin Mary).
3. I am created to live on this earth to accomplish as much as I can while I am alive,
with the great assistance of the Mother of God, “now and the hour of my death.”
4. After I die, I will be made pure and stainless to live in Heaven forever as was
Mary to carry Jesus in her womb.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us! Happy Birthday!

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September 8, 2021


Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lectionary: 636

Reading I – MI 5:1-4A

The LORD says:
    You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah,
        too small to be among the clans of Judah,
    From you shall come forth for me
        one who is to be ruler in Israel;
    Whose origin is from of old,
        from ancient times.
    (Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
        when she who is to give birth has borne,
    And the rest of his brethren shall return
        to the children of Israel.)
    He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
        by the strength of the LORD,
        in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
    And they shall remain, for now his greatness
        shall reach to the ends of the earth;
        he shall be peace.

OR:

ROM 8:28-30

Brothers and sisters:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose. 
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

Responsorial Psalm – 13:6AB, 6C

R.    (Isaiah 61:10)  With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
Though I trusted in your mercy,
    let my heart rejoice in your salvation.
R.    With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
Let me sing of the LORD, “He has been good to me.”
R.    With delight I rejoice in the Lord.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of Justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 1:1-16, 18-23 OR 1:18-23

The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. 
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

    Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
        and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.” 

OR:

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

    Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
        and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”

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Destroying The Monsters


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 7, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Once again, we are served with a most profound invitation not only to receive Christ, walk with Jesus but also to be so rooted in the Lord so that nothing will shake the confidence we are promised to have in Him. Along with this awesome invite, we are to surround ourselves and even bathe in complete and unadulterated thanksgiving and gratitude. Now that is a recipe for happiness all day long!

“Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.” What may be a little different in the presentation of the Scriptures for today is this dramatic detail which should readily be imagined with all the images we can muster. If we sought to touch Jesus with everything we’ve got, we can be assured that our days, really our entire lives, would show the great difference practically immediately. This will especially show how we treat our friends, our enemies, our fears, and our pain.

“Sometimes to destroy the monsters that we face, we have to come against them in the same way that they have come against us. But if I do so in the power of God, I might have come against them in the same way, but I have come against them with a very different kind of power. And in that sense, nothing is the same.” Craig D. Lounsbrough

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September 7, 2021


Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 438

Reading I – COL 2:6-15

Brothers and sisters:
As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him,
rooted in him and built upon him
and established in the faith as you were taught,
abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy
according to the tradition of men,
according to the elemental powers of the world
and not according to Christ.

For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily,
and you share in this fullness in him,
who is the head of every principality and power.
In him you were also circumcised
with a circumcision not administered by hand,
by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ.
You were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead.
And even when you were dead in transgressions
and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
he brought you to life along with him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions;
obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims,
which was opposed to us,
he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross;
despoiling the principalities and the powers,
he made a public spectacle of them,
leading them away in triumph by it.

Responsorial Psalm – 145:1B-2, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (9) The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
    and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
    and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R.    The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
    and compassionate toward all his works.
R.    The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
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.    The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Alleluia – See JN 15:16

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

Gospel – LK 6:12-19

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

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people 
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.

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Sabbath As Gift Of Strength And Courage


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 6, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.” In today’s Gospel, especially in light of the traditional honor of work on this Labor Day, we witness yet another pathetic example of hypocrisy taken to its unusual conclusion. These people were as closed as a dead oyster. The scribes and Pharisees would rather a man suffer from a horribly deformed hand than be cured on the Sabbath. This is because they prefer to maintain a deformed view of reality and others suffer who do not fit into their constructs and mindsets. You see, the Sabbath is much more than law, but truly a gift of God’s care for all of us. He rested on the seventh day, not for fatigue but to show how a fruitful life should be lived, with enough time for re-creation and renewal. Our redemption from sin and death is truly the work of God and not us. He has literally “done all the work.” Now, for this glorious break, He wants us to enjoy it!

Unfortunately, you and I tend to rush through our busy week, maybe offering God a fleeting wave or a passing prayer. Sunday, the Sabbath, however, calls us true and thought-out decisions with real intention. We are simply to stop from all the other things we had to do or must do or have to do, spend quality time with Him, and focus attention on Him. When we decide to obey, that is, listen to the Fourth Commandment, we become aware of the astounding and comforting truth that we belong to God. It is not the Sabbath that we worship but the One who has initiated the Sabbath as we swim in a sort of a memorial in time, a useful tool to help us focus our attention on our awesome destiny. It has the great chance of avoiding spiritual withering within us and awakens the great promise of our Faith: “It is Christ in you, the hope for glory.”

On Sundays, try to remember this Reflection. Consider taking a different approach to the Sabbath and let God be at peace with you and for you. Cut out any unnecessary activity and focus on your hope of Heaven. Then perhaps we may truly appreciate the blessing of St. John for us as cited from his Gospel in the Alleluia Verse of today: “In God is my safety and my glory.”

“A life built upon Sabbath is contented because in rhythms of rest we discover our time is full of the holiness of God.” Shelly Miller

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September 6, 2021


Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 437

Reading I – COL 1:24–2:3

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

For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you
and for those in Laodicea
and all who have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged
as they are brought together in love,
to have all the richness of assured understanding,
for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Responsorial Psalm – 62:6-7, 9

R.    (8) In God is my safety and my glory.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
    for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R.    In God is my safety and my glory.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
    Pour out your hearts before him;
    God is our refuge!
R.    In God is my safety and my glory.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – LK 6:6-11

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

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Being Truly Open With God


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 5, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“Thus says the LORD: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!” As we move forward into the brave new month of tremendous opportunities for growth and development, especially on this First Sunday of September, we must hear the call from God to be strong and to dispel and discard any fear from our lives. This can occur in so many different ways as the opportunities present themselves, some of them when we least expect it.

“Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?” It is often weak in this world and weakness in our personalities and lives that give us ample chance to be strong and replace fear with faith. How often do we look down upon those less fortunate than ourselves while at the same time, try to hide and masquerade the unholy, terrifying truths about our very selves?

“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” Very often, we offer and show our clean, pretty, manicured, beautified Facebook self. But God will have none of that. God wants us to show Him our most hidden, undesirable, unattractive, unhealed, unredeemed, even dark selves. This is so he can heal us at the very root of our existence. Give Him that part of you this week and witness the miracles unfold both for those who are poor among us and the tender, frightened, even hidden corners of our own lives.

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September 5, 2021


Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 128

Reading I – IS 35:4-7A

Thus says the LORD:
    Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
        Be strong, fear not!
    Here is your God,
        he comes with vindication;
    with divine recompense
        he comes to save you.
    Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
        the ears of the deaf be cleared;
    then will the lame leap like a stag,
        then the tongue of the mute will sing.
    Streams will burst forth in the desert,
        and rivers in the steppe.
    The burning sands will become pools, 
        and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10

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

Reading II – JAS 2:1-5

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please, ”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?

Alleluia – CF. MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 7:31-37

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis. 
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd. 
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly. 
He ordered them not to tell anyone. 
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it. 
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well. 
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

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The Hidden Self


hood-covered black monk in forrest

Very often we rush to offer and show our clean, pretty, manicured, beautified, Facebook self. But God will have none of that. Only a real, transparent, open and strong relationship with God will produce miracles.

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

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Picking Grain And Falling In Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 4, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.” The Gospel of today points us to a condition of spiritual infection that is all around us. The pettiness and the self-inflated importance of the Pharisees remind us of those who have and exercise authority over us but under the lure and seduction of power on every scale, which is immense depending on the degree of the power one possesses. The abuse of authority has inflicted great harm upon individuals and societies and has harmed the possibility of peace and forgiveness in our world. Jesus cuts through the very heart of the problem in the Gospel today, which should ring loudly in everyone one of us no matter what state of life we occupy. He is the Lord of the Sabbath, of our days and nights, and of all authority that ever existed over human beings.

“You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds; God has now reconciled you in the fleshly Body of Christ through His death.” One of the basic and forgone conclusions we can draw from this is quite simple: Everyone has a God. There is a single place at the center of the human heart, and only one entity can dwell there. If it is not the God who has been revealed to us by his Son, Jesus, then something or someone else is there in that space. It can be power, fame, money, or any other hidden vestige of selfishness, but it is certainly not the One True God whom we adore and love. No, to find complete happiness in this life that will last, even unto forever, we must fall in love with God.

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” St. Augustine

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September 4, 2021


Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 436

Reading I – COL 1:21-23

Brothers and sisters:
You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds;
God has now reconciled you
in the fleshly Body of Christ through his death,
to present you holy, without blemish,
and irreproachable before him,
provided that you persevere in the faith,
firmly grounded, stable,
and not shifting from the hope of the Gospel that you heard,
which has been preached to every creature under heaven,
of which I, Paul, am a minister.

Responsorial Psalm – 54:3-4, 6 and 8

R.    (6) God himself is my help.
O God, by your name save me,
    and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
    hearken to the words of my mouth.
R.    God himself is my help.
Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
    I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R.    God himself is my help.

Alleluia – JN 14:6

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

Gospel – LK 6:1-5

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

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September 3, 2021


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

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 435

Reading I – COL 1:15-20

Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God,
    the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
    the visible and the invisible,
    whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
    all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
    and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the Body, the Church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
    that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
    and through him to reconcile all things for him,
    making peace by the Blood of his cross
    through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

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

R.    (2B) Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    serve the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful song.
R.    Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Know that the LORD is God;
    he made us, his we are;
    his people, the flock he tends.
R.    Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R.    Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
For he is good,
    the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
    and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R.    Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.

Alleluia – JN 8:12

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

Gospel – LK 5:33-39

The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers,
and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same;
but yours eat and drink.”
Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast
while the bridegroom is with them?
But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
then they will fast in those days.”
And he also told them a parable.
“No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one.
Otherwise, he will tear the new
and the piece from it will not match the old cloak.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins,
and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.
Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.
And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new,
for he says, ‘The old is good.’”

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New Wine For The Journey


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 3, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” As we have seen so many times before, Jesus often uses concrete and dynamic images to illustrate his point. He was certainly the Master Teacher who constantly made teaching memorable and easily understandable. Likewise, by drawing from examples of everyday life, Jesus, even today, helps his hearers to connect the Gospel with their ordinary experience.

Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. How should we understand Jesus’ reference to wineskins? We are used to buying and storing wine in bottles. In the time of Christ, this was possible but impractical. Glass was a precious material and was usually produced in small quantities. Bottles could not be transported easily, and being a costly material, they would have required too much care for the average home. At the time of Christ, liquids would be stored in clay jars or containers made of animal skin. The latter was particularly convenient for transportation, as they could be carried easily, were lightweight, and would occupy less and less space as the liquid was consumed. Wineskins required a modicum of care, given that after a period of use, the leather would become worn and could easily rupture, especially if filled with un-fermented (“new”) wine.

Jesus uses this image to teach us about the new covenant that he inaugurates. You see, a complete and total conversion is necessary to “drink the new wine” of salvation and to maintain the level of fidelity and love of God to move forward in life. Without proper care, our souls, too, can become like old, thin wineskins, weakened by sin and spiritual sloth. What would be the point, say, of taking a nice, hot shower after a full day of outdoor labor only to put on the same clothes? Sounds impractical. The same is true with our souls. They require vigilance and care. The great news today is that the Lord is always at hand, offering us his grace through the sacraments to repair what is broken, strengthen what is weak, and fortify what is healthy.

When have you been open to the Holy Spirit today?
When did you sense strength in your soul?
How did you fight fear with faith?

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September 3 – Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church, please go here.

Lectionary: 635

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, or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

Reading 1 – 2 COR 4:1-2, 5-7

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:15B

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

Gospel – LK 22:24-30

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

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Fishing 2.0


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 2, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” In both the Old and New Testaments, the references to being saved and delivered from the power of darkness are many and significant. The reference to fishing as a way to understand our call in this world to spread the Gospel and dispel the forces of evil and fear is also plentiful. The very fact that the majority of Apostles whom Jesus called to found and build the Church fishermen is not a casual reference. There are profound reasons that make this quite significant for our understanding of the Bible and the Church itself. This also has implications concerning our call to be good and faithful followers of Christ in this world. Let’s explore a few of them:

1. Fishing takes patience: Good things, like waiting for the fish to bite, take time, and this is certainly the case with our spiritual lives. Overcoming harmful habits and unhealthy attitudes means that we should be patient with ourselves first before moving to evangelize our family and friends.
2. Fishing requires humility: The proverbial description of “the one that got away” and the exaggerated size of the alleged near-catch humorously illustrates the need for humility out on the water and for every Christian out in the world. For the followers of Jesus, there are no more bad days, but certainly, some days are better than others.
3. Fishing involves a team of people: Keep in mind the kind of fishing referenced in the Scriptures. It is not the lone figure on the lake with one rod waiting patiently for the long-awaited prize for supper. No, rather, the kind of fishing in both the Old and New Testaments involved using nets, large nets, that required a team of people to bring in the haul. This is good when we think it takes a community gathering of one mind to bring the Gospel to a displaced and broken world effectively.
4. Fishing feeds people: In early Christian churches, the Greek word for fish (ichthus) came to be interpreted as a sort of code word for the name of Jesus. You see, when you take the first letter of each of the Greek words for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” they spell “ichthus.” Although we cannot be sure when this identification began or where it was first introduced, the fish has certainly become a standard Christian symbol. Perfect. We fish for Jesus, we fish with Him, and we bring Jesus to a hungering and starving people, all the while we become closer and closer. “‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.”

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September 2, 2021


Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 434

Reading I – COL 1:9-14

Brothers and sisters:
From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you
and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding
to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit
and growing in the knowledge of God,
strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might,
for all endurance and patience,
with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 4:19

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

Gospel – LK 5:1-11

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

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Fresh Beginnings


Reflection on Mass Reading for September 1, 2021

Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

“We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.” Welcome brave fellow travelers through these remarkable times! We have reached yet another month of countless opportunities to grow and become spectacular lights in this world which are such an individual need of freshness, and hope, and definitely courage! Let us begin with everything we have in our spiritual arsenal and with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ!

“To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” The next 30 days, 720 hours, and 43,200 seconds are ones that we will never get back again! So what are we going to do with them? Our purpose for the upcoming days is to allow the Word of God, rich as it is, to permeate and literally “soak our souls” with grace as we move forward into yet another month of promise.

What does it mean for you to “be opened”? To be strong? To be unafraid?

We will start by being open to the Holy Spirit, to remain strong in the face of the challenges that await us, and to fight fear with courage and faith.

“If you will do what you CAN do, God will do what you CANNOT do.” Joyce Meyers

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September 1, 2021


Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 433

Reading I – COL 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Timothy our brother, 
to the holy ones and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:
grace to you and peace from God our Father.

We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you,
for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
and the love that you have for all the holy ones
because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.
Of this you have already heard 
through the word of truth, the Gospel, that has come to you.
Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing,
so also among you, 
from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth,
as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave,
who is a trustworthy minister of Christ on your behalf
and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm – 52:10, 11

R.    (10) I trust in the mercy of God for ever.
I, like a green olive tree
    in the house of God,
Trust in the mercy of God
    forever and ever.
R.    I trust in the mercy of God for ever.
I will thank you always for what you have done,
    and proclaim the goodness of your name
    before your faithful ones.
R.    I trust in the mercy of God for ever.

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 – LK 4:38-44

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him,
they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
But he said to them, “To the other towns also
I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God,
because for this purpose I have been sent.”
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

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