The Word of God

January 31, 2022


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

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest

Lectionary: 323

Reading I – 2 Sm 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13

An informant came to David with the report,
“The children of Israel have transferred their loyalty to Absalom.”
At this, David said to all his servants
who were with him in Jerusalem:
“Up!  Let us take flight, or none of us will escape from Absalom.
Leave quickly, lest he hurry and overtake us,
then visit disaster upon us and put the city to the sword.”

As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing.
His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot.
All those who were with him also had their heads covered
and were weeping as they went.

As David was approaching Bahurim,
a man named Shimei, the son of Gera
of the same clan as Saul’s family,
was coming out of the place, cursing as he came.
He threw stones at David and at all the king’s officers,
even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard,
were on David’s right and on his left.
Shimei was saying as he cursed:
“Away, away, you murderous and wicked man!
The LORD has requited you for all the bloodshed in the family of Saul,
in whose stead you became king,
and the LORD has given over the kingdom to your son Absalom.
And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer.”
Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king:
“Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?
Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.”
But the king replied: “What business is it of mine or of yours,
sons of Zeruiah, that he curses?
Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David;
who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?’”
Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants:
“If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life,
how much more might this Benjaminite do so?
Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction
and make it up to me with benefits
for the curses he is uttering this day.”
David and his men continued on the road,
while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside,
all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went.

Responsorial Psalm – 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.        (8A)  Lord, rise up and save me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
            Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
            “There is no salvation for him in God.”
R.        Lord, rise up and save me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
            my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
            he answers me from his holy mountain.
R.        Lord, rise up and save me.
When I lie down in sleep,
            I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
            arrayed against me on every side.
R.        Lord, rise up and save me.

Alleluia – Lk 7:16

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

Gospel – Mk 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”
He  replied, “Legion is my name.  There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
“Send us into the swine.  Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.

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January 31 – Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest


For the Readings for the Memorial of Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest, 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 Holy Men and Women: For Teachers, #737-742.

Reading 1 – Phil 4:4-9

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 23:11, 12B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 18:1-5

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

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Challenge And Struggle


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 31, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear.” This passage is especially interesting because it is the first in Luke to encounter demonic possession. The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits that sought entry into everyone. Often they did enter through food or drink. They caused all illnesses. There were spirits of deafness, dumbness, fever; spirits which took a man’s sanity and wits away; spirits of lying and of deceit and uncleanness. It was such a spirit that Jesus exorcized here. “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.”

“Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.” However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for everyone: every day is a challenge and a struggle to live this life and walk this walk. We live in a world of darkness and terror, and unless we hold the Light of Christ within us, we will indeed be swallowed up in despair. Thus, the battle of light and darkness is not just outside of us but also within us. Thanks are to God; we have Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team.

“But the Dark cannot claim what Light does not surrender.” C.L. Wilson

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You’d Never Know


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 30, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” Last month at a Christmas dinner, a very proud and loving father sat next to his future daughter-in-law, who was sitting across from her future husband, the man’s amazing son. After dessert and before presenting her with his Christmas gift, he turned to her and gently said, “All I want for you to remember today is that I have been praying for you even before I met you. That means I have been loving you all this time.” What he did for her and his son, and by extension, all of us is give a poignant example of pure love that extends into Heaven. It means that trust, love, and responsibility go hand in hand to developing a powerful and lasting relationship with God and with all who believe that love is the answer. “Love is patient, love is kind.”

In the Gospel passage, however, it looks like the Lord couldn’t count on His people to put trust in the power of God: “And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

The result was disastrous. No faith, no miracles, no healing. The lesson seems clear enough: when we overstep our relationship with the Lord either by trying to “play God” or reduce faith by arrogant grabs for wisdom and insight, nobody wins. Thank God we have a God who loves us and is always ready to forgive. As we begin to close this month and begin a new one, let us pray for faith that is built on trust in the One who never stopped loving us, even while we were in the womb.

“You’d never know. There are people who pray for you without your presence and without your knowledge. Perhaps those prayers save you many times in your life. You’d never know. Stay humble.” Unknown

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January 30, 2022


Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 72

Reading I – Jer 1:4-5, 17-19

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
            Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
                        before you were born I dedicated you,
                        a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

            But do you gird your loins;
                        stand up and tell them
                        all that I command you.
            Be not crushed on their account,
                        as though I would leave you crushed before them;
            for it is I this day
                        who have made you a fortified city,
            a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
                        against the whole land:
            against Judah’s kings and princes,
                        against its priests and people.
            They will fight against you but not prevail over you,
                        for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17

R. (cf. 15AB) I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
            let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
            incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
            a stronghold to give me safety,
            for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
            my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
            from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
            day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
            and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. I will sing of your salvation.

1 Cor 12:31—13:13 – 1 Cor 12:31—13:13

Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

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

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

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

OR: 

1 Cor 13:4-13

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

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

Alleluia – Lk 4:18

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

Gospel – Lk 4:21-30

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

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Guilty As Charged, Freed Forever


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 29, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

As we begin to close down this brave and new month of the recently started new year, we are treated to back-to-back dramatic episodes that should and could make a difference not only in upcoming February but also for the rest of the year. Tables and weather conditions are dramatically turned around, and the result is simply amazing for all of us:

Nathan confronts King David with a vaguely familiar scenario and turns out to be self-incriminating. “Judge this case for me! In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor…” To be faced with the awful scenario of the actions and behavior that you despise most is now the same to which you have just been exposed is simply traumatic. Yet, King David took the opportunity to convert his way and seek effective forgiveness with deep and sincere remorse and turn his errant ways around. Jesus, of the House of David, took the threatening condition of storm and rain and displayed His authority over all of creation, humans, and nature. “He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” Once the inner storms and weaknesses within the human soul are faced and blessed in the name of Jesus, peace is returned, life is strengthened, and fear takes a back seat; the further, the better. This is true freedom.

“The first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but most importantly humility.” Nelson Mandela

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January 29, 2022


Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 322

Reading I – 2 Sm 12:1-7A, 10-17

The LORD sent Nathan to David, and when he came to him,
Nathan said: “Judge this case for me!
In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor.
The rich man had flocks and herds in great numbers.
But the poor man had nothing at all 
except one little ewe lamb that he had bought.
He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children.
She shared the little food he had 
and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom.
She was like a daughter to him.
Now, the rich man received a visitor, 
but he would not take from his own flocks and herds 
to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him.
Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb 
and made a meal of it for his visitor.”
David grew very angry with that man and said to him: 
“As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death!
He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold 
because he has done this and has had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David:  “You are the man!
Thus says the LORD God of Israel:
‘The sword shall never depart from your house, 
because you have despised me 
and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.’
Thus says the LORD:
‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house.
I will take your wives while you live to see it, 
and will give them to your neighbor.
He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.
You have done this deed in secret, 
but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, 
and with the sun looking down.’”

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan answered David: “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin:
you shall not die.
But since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed, 
the child born to you must surely die.”
Then Nathan returned to his house.

The LORD struck the child that the wife of Uriah had borne to David, 
and it became desperately ill.
David besought God for the child.
He kept a fast, retiring for the night 
to lie on the ground clothed in sackcloth.
The elders of his house stood beside him 
urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not, 
nor would he take food with them.

Responsorial Psalm – 51:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R.        (12A)  Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
            and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
            and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R.        Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
            and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
            and sinners shall return to you.
R.        Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God;
            then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
O Lord, open my lips,
            and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R.        Create a clean heart in me, O God.

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 – Mk 4:35-41

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

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January 28, 2022


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

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 321

Reading I – 2 Sm 11:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel, 
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta 
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told, 
“She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam, 
and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite.”
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived, 
and sent the information to David, “I am with child.”

David therefore sent a message to Joab,
“Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers, 
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.”  
Uriah left the palace, 
and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace 
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down 
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him, 
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed 
among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
“Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.”
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab, 
some officers of David’s army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.

Responsorial Psalm – 51:3-4, 5-6A, 6BCD-7, 10-11

R.        (see 3A)  Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
            in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
            and of my sin cleanse me.
R.        Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
            and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
            and done what is evil in your sight.”
R.        Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
            that you are just in your sentence,
            blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
            a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
R.        Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
            the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
            and blot out all my guilt.
R.        Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Alleluia – See Mt 11:25

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

Gospel – Mk 4:26-34

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

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

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January 28 – Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church


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

Lectionary: 522

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 – 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 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 – Mt 23:9B, 10B

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

Gospel – Mt 23:8-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

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Passion And Satisfaction


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 28, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

Passion is a very complicated element of the human experience. By definition, the term “passions” refers to the affections or the feelings by which we can understand and navigate through a world filled with both good and evil. God must have an equal counterpart within what it means to be divine as He imparts to us a similarly creative and energetic force as His created loved ones. Everyone needs a passion for accomplishing anything worthwhile in life, but it is a power that has led so many to both victory and failure. Take, for instance, the unfortunate episode in the life of King David: “The sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.”

The Church defines the principal passions as love and hatred, desire and fear, joy, sadness, and anger, which in turn can be mastered and formed by virtue or perverted by vice. (CCC 1771-1775) It is analogous to the created element of fire, which can be of great assistance or great destruction. How are we to deal with this magnificent force in our lives? The only way is to search for and live in the Kingdom of God with all our strength: “It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.” Living like this is as simple as it is profound. Acknowledge the power of your soul and then seek to do only good with it.

King David returned to the Lord God and repented. He was wounded but continued to serve God and His people with great distinction and love. The Apostles, tossed about by the waves, much like we are often flung about by our passions, had Jesus right there in the boat (Church) with them and witnessed what Our Dear Lord Jesus can do when we ask him: “Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.”

“The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.” Nicholas Sparks

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January 27, 2022


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

Thursday of the Third Wek in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 320

Reading I – 2 Sm 7:18-19, 24-29

After Nathan had spoken to King David, 
the king went in and sat before the LORD and said, 
“Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house, 
that you have brought me to this point?
Yet even this you see as too little, Lord GOD; 
you have also spoken of the house of your servant 
for a long time to come: 
this too you have shown to man, Lord GOD!

“You have established for yourself your people Israel as yours forever, 
and you, LORD, have become their God.
And now, LORD God, confirm for all time the prophecy you have made 
concerning your servant and his house, 
and do as you have promised.
Your name will be forever great, when men say, 
‘The LORD of hosts is God of Israel,’
and the house of your servant David stands firm before you.
It is you, LORD of hosts, God of Israel, 
who said in a revelation to your servant, 
‘I will build a house for you.’
Therefore your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer to you.
And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth; 
you have made this generous promise to your servant.
Do, then, bless the house of your servant 
that it may be before you forever; 
for you, Lord GOD, have promised, 
and by your blessing the house of your servant 
shall be blessed forever.”

Responsorial Psalm – 132:1-2, 3-5, 11, 12, 13-14

R.        (Lk 1:32B)  The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
LORD, remember David
            and all his anxious care;
How he swore an oath to the LORD,
            vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob.
R.        The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“I will not enter the house where I live,
            nor lie on the couch where I sleep;
I will give my eyes no sleep,
            my eyelids no rest,
Till I find a home for the LORD,
            a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
R.        The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
The LORD swore an oath to David
            a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
“Your own offspring 
            I will set upon your throne.”
R.        The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“If your sons keep my covenant,
            and the decrees which I shall teach them,
Their sons, too, forever
            shall sit upon your throne.”
R.        The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
For the LORD has chosen Zion,
            he prefers her for his dwelling:
“Zion is my resting place forever;
            in her I will dwell, for I prefer her.”
R.        The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
 

Alleluia – Ps 119:105

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

Gospel – Mk 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; 
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, 
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given; 
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

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January 27 – Optional Memorial of Saint Angela Merici, virgin


For the Readings for the Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 521

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

Reading 1 – 1 Pt 4:7B-11

Beloved:
Be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense,
because love covers a multitude of sins.
Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another
as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God;
whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies,
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

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

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

Alleluia – See Mt 11:25

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

Gospel – Mk 9:34b-37

The disciples of Jesus had been discussing on the way
who was the greatest.
Jesus 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 their midst,
and putting his arms around him, 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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Light Living


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 27, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“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, most of us hope to see the world much more clearly. There are a good number of people today that we love and cherish dearly. While there are a good many others that have seemingly dropped out of our lives, there is a definite pattern that has emerged that deepens respect and admiration for all the people who have populated life. We have loved them because they have shown us, Jesus. Their ways of handling death, disappointment, fun, friends, and family have slowly formed a clear picture of the character that is 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?

“To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” 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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January 26, 2022


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

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

Lectionary: 520/319

Reading I – 2 Tm 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy, 
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

OR:

Ti 1:1-5

Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God’s chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life 
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you.

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

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

Alleluia

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 4:1-20

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.
He answered them, 
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
            they may look and see but not perceive,
                        and hear and listen but not understand,
                        in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.

Jesus said to 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 roots; 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.”

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Cheerful Seriousness


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 26, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.” What we see today is truly a loving image of the one who sows seeds in the field and harvests the fruits of that planting, which brings special nuance to the image that Jesus imparts to us to exemplify his love and care for the world. When you think about it, plants and crops are kind of like people, each having their own unique “personality” and preferences for water, sunlight, soil type, and best growing conditions. The Lord knows this about us, so He attends to the varying needs of each of us in terms of what is best for us to grow and bear fruit in this life. Like plants, we too can harvest energy from the sun, that is, the Son of God; water is necessary for life, and so are the waters of Baptism; Just like plants, human beings need nutrients both for the body and soul and for this we are fed on the Word of God in the Scriptures and Eucharist, the Body of Christ. And just like the plant world needs something, the soil that holds all the water and nutrients required for growth, Jesus has given us the Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. We also must recognize the rocks and thorns in our lives that can distract and choke the grace we need to grow in love for and with God, and that is why we remain open to his beautiful Word today and always.


“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” All of us who live in the Kingdom want family, and we seek security in one way or another. We need intimacy to discover our place in the world and make a healthy connection with others, especially with God. What is the foundation of such levels of relationship? Fidelity and obedience. We feel and exist closer to the Lord the more we follow Him and live in the light of His love starting with our desire and success to forgive even the deepest pains in this life, especially betrayal. Imagine your homecoming to Jesus in Heaven and all the stories you’ll share as you spend a lifetime looking for Him, too.

“Of course, God does not consider you hopeless. If He did He would not be moving you to seek Him (and He obviously is). What is going on in you at present is simply the beginning of the treatment. Continue seeking with cheerful seriousness. Unless He wanted you, you would not be wanting Him.” C. S. Lewis

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January 26 – Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops, please go here.

Lectionary: 520

The first reading for this memorial is proper. Below is the proper first reading and suggested Gospel for today’s Memorial. However, the Gospel for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 2 Tm 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

 Or

Ti 1:1-5


Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God’s chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you.

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

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

Alleluia – 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 10:1-9

The Lord 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 pay.
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.'”

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Conversion Excursion


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 25, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'” Today the Church celebrates that magnificent moment in the life of St. Paul when his whole world turned upside down, and great things followed him all the days of his life. Because of that powerful epiphany in St. Paul’s life, the Christian Church was strengthened in its infancy, and the bulk of the New Testament would be written. Let us look at what conversion is and understand what it is not before moving forward.

First, a true conversion must involve a deep, personal and breath-taking encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus: “I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.” The point here is rather obvious. We should avoid calling our experience after a tear-jerking movie or the overwhelming relief after a near-death encounter as a conversion unless somehow and integrally that brings us to a face-to-face meeting with the Lord. Second, it must involve action: “Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.” Conversion without action is as useful as a glass hammer. Finally, but by no means the end of our essential elements, conversion must be ongoing: “But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.” The reason that Saul became the Great St. Paul was that his name change reflected his life change. Everything was different now, and it would continue to be so until that day when Paul glorified God with his martyrdom. May it be the same with each one of us!

A prayer for conversions:
O blessed apostle, St. Paul, greatest of all converts, who labored unceasingly for the conversion of other souls, inspire me with the ardor of your zeal that I may pray and work for the conversion of my brethren, redeemed in the blood of Christ but not as yet blessed with the full light of his truth.

Mindful of the loving concern of the Divine Shepherd for the salvation of the “other sheep that are not of this fold,” I now beg your intercession to obtain the grace of conversion for (name of a family member, friend or others).

May God, the Holy Spirit from whom alone this gift can come, hear my humble prayer and thus enable me to share with others the riches of my heritage of faith through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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January 25, 2022


Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Lectionary: 519

Reading I – Acts 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’ 
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

“A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.’”

OR:

Acts 9:1-22

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

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

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said, 
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial Psalm – 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – See Jn 15:16

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

Gospel – Mk 16:15-18

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

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January 24, 2022


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

Memorial of Saint Frances de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 317

Reading I – 2 Sm 5:1-7, 10

All the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king, 
it was you who led the children of Israel out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel 
and shall be commander of Israel.’”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, 
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD, 
and they anointed him king of Israel.
David was thirty years old when he became king, 
and he reigned for forty years: 
seven years and six months in Hebron over Judah, 
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem
over all Israel and Judah.

Then the king and his men set out for Jerusalem 
against the Jebusites who inhabited the region.
David was told, “You cannot enter here: 
the blind and the lame will drive you away!” 
which was their way of saying, “David cannot enter here.”
But David did take the stronghold of Zion, which is the City of David. 

David grew steadily more powerful,
for the LORD of hosts was with him.

Responsorial Psalm – 89:20, 21-22, 25-26

R.        (25A)  My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
Once you spoke in a vision,
            and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
            over the people I have set a youth.”
R.        My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
“I have found David, my servant;
            with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
            and that my arm may make him strong.”
R.        My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
            and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
I will set his hand upon the sea,
            his right hand upon the rivers.”
R.        My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.

Alleluia – See 2 Tm 1:10

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

Gospel – Mk 3:22-30

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, 
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, 
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself, 
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, 
he cannot stand; 
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property 
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder his house.  
Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies 
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit 
will never have forgiveness, 
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” 

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January 24 – Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church


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

Lectionary: 317

Reading I – 2 Sm 5:1-7, 10

All the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king, 
it was you who led the children of Israel out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel 
and shall be commander of Israel.’”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, 
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD, 
and they anointed him king of Israel.
David was thirty years old when he became king, 
and he reigned for forty years: 
seven years and six months in Hebron over Judah, 
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem
over all Israel and Judah.

Then the king and his men set out for Jerusalem 
against the Jebusites who inhabited the region.
David was told, “You cannot enter here: 
the blind and the lame will drive you away!” 
which was their way of saying, “David cannot enter here.”
But David did take the stronghold of Zion, which is the City of David. 

David grew steadily more powerful,
for the LORD of hosts was with him.

Responsorial Psalm – 89:20, 21-22, 25-26

R.        (25A)  My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
Once you spoke in a vision,
            and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
            over the people I have set a youth.”
R.        My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
“I have found David, my servant;
            with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
            and that my arm may make him strong.”
R.        My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
            and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
I will set his hand upon the sea,
            his right hand upon the rivers.”
R.        My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.

Alleluia – See 2 Tm 1:10

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

Gospel – Mk 3:22-30

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, 
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, 
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself, 
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, 
he cannot stand; 
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property 
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder his house.  
Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies 
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit 
will never have forgiveness, 
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” 

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What We Despise In Ourselves


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 24, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“David was told, ‘You cannot enter here: the blind and the lame will drive you away!’ which was their way of saying, ‘David cannot enter here.'” (King David’s encounter with the Jebusites in the First Reading) and, “The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.'” (Jesus’ encounter with the scribes in the Gospel)

These two encounters presented to us today in the Scriptures truly relay to us the sense of viciousness and ferocity of the climate into which both King David and Jesus the Christ (and our King) had to begin their respective reign and ministry. Here is an excellent example of character assassination in the Bible. From the Old Testament Reading text, we know that David hardly commented on any thought at all. Jesus addressed the issue in a very beautiful and Messianic way. He confronted evil by the sheer power of his truth and love. He invited those present and us this very day to enter a deeper reflection on the mystery of His Kingdom and the invitation to live there for all eternity.

You see, when individuals are not aware of the evil within their very heart and personality, they project it onto others whom they believe to be the very existence of evil in their own twisted and malformed perspectives. Because the scribes were blind, they were trapped and looked completely foolish and pathetic. We often despise in others what we despise in our own lives. Make sure Jesus lives and moves and breathes in yours.

“It is surprising how many persons go through life without recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you are not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.” Sydney J. Harris

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January 23, 2022


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 69

Reading I – Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10

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 till 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.
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!”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (cf John 6:63C) 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. 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. 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. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
            find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Reading II – 1 Cor 12:12-30

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

Now the body is not a single part, but many.
If a foot should say,
“Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body, “
it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.
Or if an ear should say,
“Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body, “
it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?
If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
But as it is, God placed the parts,
each one of them, in the body as he intended.
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you, “
nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.”
Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker
are all the more necessary,
and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable
we surround with greater honor,
and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety,
whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.
But God has so constructed the body
as to give greater honor to a part that is without it,
so that there may be no division in the body,
but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it;
if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.
Some people God has designated in the church
to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers;
then, mighty deeds;
then gifts of healing, assistance, administration,
and varieties of tongues.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

OR:

1 Cor 12:12-14, 27

Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
Now the body is not a single part, but many.
You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.

Alleluia – Cf. 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 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus, 
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom 
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
            The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
                        because he has anointed me 
                        to bring glad tidings to the poor.
            He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
                        and recovery of sight to the blind,
                        to let the oppressed go free,
                        and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

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So Close To Success


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 23, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” Often the things we use to satisfy us are only temporary fixes. Those temporary fixes can end up doing more damage to our lives than good. Perhaps the first few weeks of the New Year bring those issues to the forefront because even after the most wonderful times of the year, so many people seem unhappy, overburdened, super-stressed, and maybe even just downright mean, which is precisely why the Word of God is of supreme importance and a wonderful remedy to keep moving forward.

“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” We all affect each other, and research shows that unhappiness – and happiness – is caused by patterns in our lives: patterns in the things we do, which are called behavioral patterns, and patterns in the things we think, which are called cognitive patterns. The path to being happier can belong and sometimes requires great changes in one’s life. Being happy is something we need to cultivate every day with the help of the Body of Christ while adopting the right patterns in our life and then sticking to them.

“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Today is the day to realize and accept that joy in the Lord Jesus is our fundamental responsibility because it is part of our original nature. God created us to be happy! So why are so many sad? Just a small amount of self-awareness for each of us to make sure we are in the right place with the right attitudes will accomplish miracles! Today let us all decide to have a reality check, place everything in perspective, and most importantly, open our hearts to the Lord and pray for wisdom.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison

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January 22, 2022


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

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

Lectionary: 316

Reading I – 2 Sm 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27

David returned from his defeat of the Amalekites 
and spent two days in Ziklag.
On the third day a man came from Saul’s camp, 
with his clothes torn and dirt on his head.
Going to David, he fell to the ground in homage.
David asked him, “Where do you come from?”
He replied, “I have escaped from the camp of the children of Israel.”
“Tell me what happened,” David bade him.
He answered that many of the soldiers had fled the battle 
and that many of them had fallen and were dead, 
among them Saul and his son Jonathan.

David seized his garments and rent them, 
and all the men who were with him did likewise.
They mourned and wept and fasted until evening 
for Saul and his son Jonathan, 
and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel, 
because they had fallen by the sword.

            “Alas! the glory of Israel, Saul, 
            slain upon your heights;
            how can the warriors have fallen!

            “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and cherished,
                        separated neither in life nor in death,
                        swifter than eagles, stronger than lions!
            Women of Israel, weep over Saul,
                        who clothed you in scarlet and in finery,
                        who decked your attire with ornaments of gold.

            “How can the warriors have fallen– 
                        in the thick of the battle,
                        slain upon your heights!

            “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother!
                        most dear have you been to me;
                        more precious have I held love for you than love for women.

            “How can the warriors have fallen,
                        the weapons of war have perished!”
 

Responsorial Psalm – 80:2-3, 5-7

R.        (4B)  Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
            O guide of the flock of Joseph!
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth
            before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Rouse your power,  
            and come to save us.
R.        Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O LORD of hosts, how long will you burn with anger
            while your people pray?
You have fed them with the bread of tears
            and given them tears to drink in ample measure.
You have left us to be fought over by our neighbors, 
            and our enemies mock us.
R.        Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
 

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 – Mk 3:20-21

Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, 
for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 

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A Thousand Directions


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 22, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.'” What a familiar expression we have in the Gospel today! “Out of his mind.” What does that mean? Most people would agree that the phrase describes the situation where someone has lost control of their mental faculties and gone insane. Others would add that the phrase expresses a belief in someone’s inability to make rash decisions because of mental turmoil. However, from our perspective, the person who loses sight of eternal life and the final destination in Heaven will act as if they are insane, making all kinds of strange and selfish decisions that put their earthly lives in jeopardy and their heavenly reward in question.

“They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel because they had fallen by the sword.” The simple truth is this: when anyone decides to follow the Lord and keep the commandments to the best of their abilities, even when life seems to come undone and people unhinged, the world may deem that insane. How often have we been told that immoral and anti-Christian behavior is perfectly acceptable because, well, “everybody is doing it.” Therefore, trying to be different and faithful must make you “out of your mind.” So who is crazy and who isn’t? There is only one answer: “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.” (Psalm)

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.” Thich Nhat Hanh

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January 22 – Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children


For the Readings for the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, please go here.

Lectionary: 516A

These readings are selected from the Masses for Various Needs and Ocasions, III. In Various Public Circumstances: 26A. For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life (Supplement, nos. 947A-947E, pg. 94), or II. For Public Needs: 14. For Peace and Justice (vol. IV, nos. 887-891).

For this Mass, there can be either one or two readings before the Gospel (in addition to the Responsorial Psalm). One reading from the Old Testament or one reading from the New Testament or one of each may be selected.

Reading 1 – Is 49:1-6


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

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

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

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

Reading 2 – Eph 3:14-21


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

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.

 

Alleluia – Ps 119:88

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In your mercy, give me life, O Lord,
and I will do your commands.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 

Gospel – Lk 1:39-56


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

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

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

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January 21, 2022


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

Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Lectionary: 315

Reading I – 1 Sm 24:3-21

Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel 
and went in search of David and his men 
in the direction of the wild goat crags.
When he came to the sheepfolds along the way, he found a cave, 
which he entered to relieve himself.
David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave.

David’s servants said to him, 
“This is the day of which the LORD said to you, 
‘I will deliver your enemy into your grasp; 
do with him as you see fit.’”
So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul’s mantle.
Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off 
an end of Saul’s mantle.
He said to his men,
“The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, 
the LORD’s anointed, as to lay a hand on him, 
for he is the LORD’s anointed.”
With these words David restrained his men 
and would not permit them to attack Saul.
Saul then left the cave and went on his way.
David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul, 
“My lord the king!”
When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul:
“Why do you listen to those who say, 
‘David is trying to harm you’?
You see for yourself today that the Lord just now delivered you 
into my grasp in the cave.
I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead.
I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord, 
for he is the LORD’s anointed and a father to me.’
Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold.
Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you, 
see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion.
I have done you no wrong, 
though you are hunting me down to take my life.
The LORD will judge between me and you, 
and the LORD will exact justice from you in my case.
I shall not touch you.
The old proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes forth wickedness.’
So I will take no action against you.
Against whom are you on campaign, O king of Israel?
Whom are you pursuing?  A dead dog, or a single flea!
The LORD will be the judge; he will decide between me and you.
May he see this, and take my part,
and grant me justice beyond your reach!”
When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul answered, 
“Is that your voice, my son David?”
And Saul wept aloud.
Saul then said to David: “You are in the right rather than I; 
you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.
Great is the generosity you showed me today, 
when the LORD delivered me into your grasp
and you did not kill me.
For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed?
May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day.
And now, I know that you shall surely be king 
and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”

Responsorial Psalm – 57:2, 3-4, 6 and 11

R.        (2A)  Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Have mercy on me, O God; have mercy on me,
            for in you I take refuge.
In the shadow of your wings I take refuge,
            till harm pass by.
R.        Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
I call to God the Most High,
            to God, my benefactor.
May he send from heaven and save me;
            may he make those a reproach who trample upon me;
            may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.
R.        Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
            above all the earth be your glory!
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
            and your faithfulness to the skies.
R.        Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.

Alleluia – 2 Cor 5:19

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

Gospel – Mk 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted 
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach 
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter; 
James, son of Zebedee, 
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, 
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; 
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

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Freedom, Friendship And Faith


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 21, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

Today is a great day to reflect upon the intrinsic and deep relationship between what it means to have good, close, and encouraging friends, the freedom it takes to maintain those friendships, and the faith in Jesus that makes us friends with Him. “For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed? May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day. And now, I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.” Review once again what David accomplished in our First reading today. The depth of love in his hearts for friendship gushed over into the way he dealt with his enemies: with total and complete mercy. In many ways, you can tell how great a friend will be to the extent that they can forgive and show compassion. This is certainly true with David and Saul.

This element is underscored in the Gospel of today: Jesus knew that one of the friends/apostles He would choose would eventually betray Him, and still, in perfect freedom, he asked Him to follow Him, that is, be His friend any way: “He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him…and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.” The application for us today is simply stunning. For love to grow within any relationship, there must be faith in the One who is love and the only One who will sustain that love until eternity, especially for the grace both to forgive and show mercy. What is also remarkable is that love, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion never leave us empty-handed or return with nothing. It is a classic “win-win” situation: “I call to God the Most High, to God, my benefactor. May he send from heaven and save me; may he make those a reproach who trample upon me; may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.”

“Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.” Elie Wiesel

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January 21 – Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, please go here.

Lectionary: 516

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Martyrs, #713-718,
or the Common of Virgins, #731-736.

Reading 1 – 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 23:1B-3A, 4, 5, 6

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – Mt 13:44-46

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

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January 20, 2022


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

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

Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 314

Reading I – 1 Sm 18:6-9; 19:1-7

When David and Saul approached
(on David’s return after slaying the Philistine), 
women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul,
singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums.
The women played and sang:

            “Saul has slain his thousands, 
            and David his ten thousands.”

Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought:
“They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me.
All that remains for him is the kingship.”
And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.

Saul discussed his intention of killing David 
with his son Jonathan and with all his servants.
But Saul’s son Jonathan, who was very fond of David, told him:
“My father Saul is trying to kill you.
Therefore, please be on your guard tomorrow morning; 
get out of sight and remain in hiding.
I, however, will go out and stand beside my father 
in the countryside where you are, and will speak to him about you.
If I learn anything, I will let you know.”

Jonathan then spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him:
“Let not your majesty sin against his servant David, 
for he has committed no offense against you, 
but has helped you very much by his deeds.
When he took his life in his hands and slew the Philistine, 
and the LORD brought about a great victory
for all Israel through him, 
you were glad to see it.
Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood 
by killing David without cause?”
Saul heeded Jonathan’s plea and swore, 
“As the LORD lives, he shall not be killed.”
So Jonathan summoned David and repeated the whole conversation to him.
Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and David served him as before.

Responsorial Psalm – 56:2-3, 9-10A, 10B-11, 12-13

R.        (5B)  In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Have mercy on me, O God, for men trample upon me;
            all the day they press their attack against me.
My adversaries trample upon me all the day;
            yes, many fight against me.
R.        In God I trust; I shall not fear.
My wanderings you have counted;
            my tears are stored in your flask;
            are they not recorded in your book?
Then do my enemies turn back,
            when I call upon you.
R.        In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Now I know that God is with me.
            In God, in whose promise I glory,
            in God I trust without fear;
            what can flesh do against me?
R.        In God I trust; I shall not fear.
I am bound, O God, by vows to you;
            your thank offerings I will fulfill.
For you have rescued me from death,
            my feet, too, from stumbling;
            that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
R.        In God I trust; I shall not fear.

Alleluia – See 2 Tm 1:10

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

Gospel – Mk 3:7-12

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing, 
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, 
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, 
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, 
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him 
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.

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January 20 – Optional Memorial of Saint Sebastian, martyr


For the Readings for the Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 515

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

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

Alleluia – Jas 1:12

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

Gospel – Mt 10:28-33

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

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The Cure For Jealousy


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 20, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.” For the first time in the brave and bold new year of following the Lord in 2022, we have mentioned a horribly insidious and destructive monster known as jealousy in our First Reading. It seems that from the dawn of time, we human beings have been assaulted and exposed to this treacherous aspect of our fallen human nature which shows itself as resentment against another’s success and irrational fear of anyone bringing competition to the table of dealings with each other, no matter how large or small the matter may be. For the needs of our reflection today, we could say that jealousy is a spiritual disease that has no good consequence. We know this because even though Saul’s fear-rage personal affront to David was decreased for a while, it would not stay contained for long. Bad things are ahead for us to watch and learn.

However, great things are offered for us in the Gospel of the day: “He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.” There is, in fact, a cure for jealousy. It is Jesus. And why is that? If we believe that every good gift comes from the Lord, and they do, then every talent, gift, raise, or blessing emanates from the loving hand of God who sees everything and apportions all gifts according to His plan for salvation of all. Who are we to question that decision? “Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” Therefore, when someone in our lives receives an accolade, praise, or even award or recognition that they may or may not have earned (according to our own biased opinion), rather than grumbling, let us praise and thank God for all His wonders which starts and ends with an undying trust in His ways: “Now I know that God is with me. In God, in whose promise I glory, in God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?”

“A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.” Robert A. Heinlein

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January 20 – Optional Memorial of Saint Fabian, pope and martyr


For the Readings for the Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 514

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

Reading 1 – 1 Pt 5:1-4

Beloved:
I exhort the presbyters among you,
as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ
and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.
Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing it not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 10:14

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

Gospel – Jn 21:15-17

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

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Facing Our Goliaths


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 19, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

Who among us doesn’t remember our first hearing about the momentous encounter of David and Goliath? No doubt, this famous unequal fight and unsuspected victory of the young David has taken all kinds of different nuances and meanings as we have lived the years we have been given: “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand.” And with one swift and precisely aimed shot, the out-muscled, overpowered, and seemingly least likely winner in the fight won a sound victory. The Lord was with David that day. And the Lord was with the disfigured and probably foredoomed man in the Gospel: “Jesus said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.”

There is something very real and applicable today for you and me: we all face giants. These may be insurmountable problems and unexpected issues. This could be fear, anxiety, or other great and vexing personal struggles. What can we learn from David and the Lord Jesus today? First, let us admit that we all have giants: hardships, seemingly unbeatable obstacles, problems, and temptations. Secondly, let us realize that the battle belongs to the Lord as David bravely told Goliath, “For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.” Thirdly, we cannot nor should not run from our giants or even attempt to negotiate with an enemy that seeks only to destroy us if not defeated. David faced Goliath as the enemy got close; David ran right at him: “The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine.”
This is precisely why the Sabbath is given to us to renew and resurrect our trust in the Lord for His power and strength to meet our Goliaths as Jesus reminded the Pharisees in the Gospel today: “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Many of our readers may remember an excellent phrase with which we close today: “Don’t tell God how big your problems are; rather tell your problems how big your God is.” Amen.

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January 19, 2022


Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 313

Reading I – 1 Sm 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

David spoke to Saul:
“Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.”
But Saul answered David,
“You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

David continued:
“The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine.”
Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag.
With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
“Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?”
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, “Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field.”
David answered him:
“You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves.
For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.”

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line 
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

Responsorial Psalm – 144:1B, 2, 9-10

R.        (1)  Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
            who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R.        Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My refuge and my fortress,
            my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
            who subdues my people under me.
R.        Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
            with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
            and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R.        Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Allelui – See Mt 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mk 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

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January 18, 2022


Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 312

Reading I – 1 Sm 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel:
“How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
But Samuel replied:
“How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me.”
To this the LORD answered:
“Take a heifer along and say,
‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
“Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”
He replied:
“Yes!  I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel: 
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
“The LORD has not chosen this one either.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.” 
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There–anoint him, for this is he!”  
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. 
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

Responsorial Psalm – 89:20, 21-22, 27-28

R.        (21A)  I  have found David, my servant.
Once you spoke in a vision,
            and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
            over the people I have set a youth.”
R.        I  have found David, my servant.
“I have found David, my servant;
            with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
            and that my arm may make him strong.”
R.        I  have found David, my servant.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
            my God, the Rock, my savior.’
And I will make him the first-born,
            highest of the kings of the earth.”
R.        I  have found David, my servant.

Alleluia – See Eph 1:17-18

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

Gospel – Mk 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

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Let’s Take A Sabbatical


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 18, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

In our First Reading, we are presented with an awesome scene of encouragement as we continue to move forward in this New Year of 2022: “Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him (David) in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.” Even amid anxious danger, Samuel moved forward with the Lord’s instructions, and great things were set into motion. This Scripture clearly understood the right order of things in the Spiritual Universe, as Jesus recalled and reminded the Pharisees later in St. Mark’s Gospel: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” 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!

You and I, unfortunately, tend to rush through our busy week, maybe offering God a fleeting wave or a passing prayer. Sunday, the Sabbath, however, calls us to a true and thought-out decision 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. This coming Sunday, try to remember this Reflection. Take 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. Paul for us as cited from the Letter to the Ephesians in the Alleluia Verse of today: “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.”

“A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the most joyous day of the week.” Henry Ward Beecher.

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January 17, 2022


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

Memorial of Saint Anthony. Abbot

Lectionary: 311

Reading I – 1 Sm 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!” 
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel:  “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
            “Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
            as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
            Obedience is better than sacrifice,
                        and submission than the fat of rams.
            For a sin like divination is rebellion,
                        and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
            Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
                        he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

Responsorial Psalm – 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 and 23

R.        (23B)  To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
            for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
            no goats out of your fold.”
R.        To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
            and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
            and cast my words behind you?”
R.        To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
            Or do you think that I am like yourself?
            I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
            and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R.        To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia – Hb 4:12

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

Gospel – Mk 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
 but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

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January 17 – Memorial of Saint Anthony, abbot


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

Lectionary: 311

Reading I – 1 Sm 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!” 
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel:  “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
            “Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
            as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
            Obedience is better than sacrifice,
                        and submission than the fat of rams.
            For a sin like divination is rebellion,
                        and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
            Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
                        he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

Responsorial Psalm – 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 and 23

R.        (23B)  To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
            for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
            no goats out of your fold.”
R.        To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
            and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
            and cast my words behind you?”
R.        To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
            Or do you think that I am like yourself?
            I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
            and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R.        To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia – Hb 4:12

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

Gospel – Mk 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
 but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

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Silence Of The Sheep


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 17, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

Perhaps among the top ten most understood terms used in common speech, we find the lonely word “obey.” In some circles, and this, of course, is wide open for debate, obedience means to follow the order of another blindly; usually one in authority or with power over us, given or taken, usually with dire consequences if the orders are not completed or compliant. This is certainly understandable because if a person in the military or other chain of command does not follow orders, that is, to obey a command, there are serious and disastrous repercussions. However, to play this right, the word at its very heart means to be subject, serve, pay attention to, give ear, and thus literally, “to listen to.” This hopefully adds much-needed understanding to our First Reading today and what awesome application it has for us: “I did indeed obey the LORD and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.” Throughout the Scriptures, the Word of God makes a deep and accurate claim: listening to God is all He asks. How could you reject what you have not heard?

The Gospel, then, completes these thought developments with a very insightful and clever image: “Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined.” We live in a sinful and wounded world. This much is true. But we also live in a milieu of darkness with the brightest of Lights deep within us. This much is certain because of Jesus. Then, at last, before going out into this bold universe, we must first listen, that is, obey the Lord and attempt to conduct ourselves with the Truth of the Gospel and navigate through a veritable labyrinth or maze of choices enlightened by the Word: “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Alleluia Verse) So today, take some time and just be with God, even if it is in your vehicle or in between some necessary chore that was due two hours ago. Shhhhhhhh! Just listen.

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” Nicholas Sparks

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Wedding Wisdom


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 16, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet.” A compelling discussion is launched with the images behind the Readings today on this beautiful sabbath of the Lord. It revolves around the seriously impending concern about the decline of marriage in the relationship of grown adults, many of whom have chosen simply to live together with little or no commitment for a wide variety of given reasons. For this reason, the depth and long-lasting beauty of the images provided that reveal the type and breadth of the relationship that God wants of us would only be truly understood in the context of a marital vow: “For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”

God has a unique and wonderful plan for every one of us, and that purpose is always for good for the individual and the world. By that same token, each has been given specific gifts and graces to accomplish the plan that they have been assigned and freely given. “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Adequately speaking, if everyone understood, accepted, and then carried out this remarkable teaching, then the world would be a very different and amazing place to live, beyond all of our most optimistic imaginings. This is true between two people in love and the families they bring into existence, which is true in the Church and society. This brings us to the Wedding Feast of Cana, where Jesus takes six stone water jars holding about 25 gallons each and turns water into wine. Although this is the caterer’s dream come true, the number refers to the six days of creation described in Genesis, of which St. John was completely affected and versed. The great number of actual wine bottles such a miraculous moment would have created, more than 800 or so, is an even more stellar symbol of the overflowing love that God has for us, total, complete, committed and faithful until death, just like marriage. “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

“One of the highest representations of the image of God is a husband and wife serving each other.” Dr. Tim Kimmel

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January 16, 2022


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 66

Reading I – Is 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
   for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
   and her victory like a burning torch.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
   and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
   pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
   a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken, “
   or your land “Desolate, “
but you shall be called “My Delight, “
   and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
   and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
   your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
   so shall your God rejoice in you.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10

R. (3) Proclaim his 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 his 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 his 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 his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Worship the LORD in holy attire.
            Tremble before him, all the earth;
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
            He governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Reading II – 1 Cor 12:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
same Spirit;
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

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 – Jn 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it. 
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.

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Only As Sick As Our Secrets


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 15, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“This will be the sign for you that the LORD has anointed you commander over his heritage.” Today’s First Reading gives us the striking teaching of how powerfully comforting and helpful is the magnificent Word of God we open in the Scriptures, especially here on these pages. Like a great leader who knows his or her people and is completely aware of their needs, assets, liabilities, and even weaknesses, Jesus, the Word Made Flesh, truly walks with us as long as we make time for Him. The same is true for individuals who know themselves well enough to realize their strengths and failings. As we have said earlier, this person is a person of integrity, and because they realize their dependence on God, they live a full, happy life. We could say that this person is living their anointment in life and is ready to fulfill their mission here on earth.

Likewise, in the Gospel of this fine day, we have the Scribes who were Pharisees remarking bitterly about Jesus socializing and eating with sinners. Since they were not men of integrity, they missed the real significance of the actions of Our Lord. “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” To maintain Spiritual Health, one must accept the human condition. We are sinful people in need of a Good Physician who is always here for us. Self-knowledge mixed with a large helping of humility makes for a great life with Jesus. We are only as sick as our secrets, and when we give everything to God, we can hope for a healthy life with Him.

“Nothing is more isolating on this planet than believing that you are the only person who feels a certain way or has experienced a certain thing. At night, left with their own thoughts, they would review past events or prod their deepest secrets and usually, this would result in self-loathing, which would grant further power to these secrets. A secret kept in the dark grows, but once it is exposed to the lights, its power is lost and so this is why exposing them is so important.” FirstSteps Recovery

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January 15, 2022


Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 310

Reading I – 1 Sm 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1

There was a stalwart man from Benjamin named Kish,
who was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror,
son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite.
He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man.
There was no other child of Israel more handsome than Saul;
he stood head and shoulders above the people.

Now the asses of Saul’s father, Kish, had wandered off.
Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you
and go out and hunt for the asses.”
Accordingly they went through the hill country of Ephraim,
and through the land of Shalishah.
Not finding them there,
they continued through the land of Shaalim without success.
They also went through the land of Benjamin,
but they failed to find the animals.

When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him,
“This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people.”

Saul met Samuel in the gateway and said,
“Please tell me where the seer lives.”
Samuel answered Saul: “I am the seer.
Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today.
In the morning, before dismissing you,
I will tell you whatever you wish.”

Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head;
he also kissed him, saying:
“The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage.
You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel,
and to save them from the grasp of their enemies roundabout.

“This will be the sign for you
that the LORD has anointed you commander over his heritage.”

Responsorial Psalm – 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

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

Alleluia – 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 – Mk 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

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With Friends Like These


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 14, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

Someone once wrote that true friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. The advice is quite simple: Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island and thereby to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune and maintaining that friend, a blessing. If this is true, then we can learn much about the two different kinds of relationships we have placed before us in the Readings today. First, take a look at the people approaching Samuel demanding a king. On the surface, it seems like a reasonable request, but below the veneer, there is something almost criminal. God let us know exactly what was going on: “Grant the people’s every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.” This breach of friendship would not end well for the elders. They may have learned too late that an honest enemy is always better than a friend who lies.

Then, paradoxically in the Gospel of today, we see another form of acting in a different kind of trusting, life-giving friendship: “They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the person with paralysis was lying.” This has to rank in the top ten most dramatic scenes of the New Testament. Visualize the moment, if you can. Four friends are convinced that if Jesus can just touch their friend, he will be saved. And he was. Note well that this act of friendship also moved Jesus because he noticed the faith of ALL the group of friends: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.'”

This has ramifications for all of us. We are here to help each other, but more critically in the milieu created when we call someone a friend. With that comes true responsibility and care, yielding magnificent consequences. Pray for your friends today. Ask God to shine His face upon all of them. With friends like these, we may just, in fact, see God.

“To love another person is to see the face of God.” Victor Hugo

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January 14, 2022


Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 309

Reading I – 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22A

All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, “Now that you are old,
and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”

Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them.
He prayed to the LORD, however, who said in answer:
“Grant the people’s every request.
It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.”

Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full
to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them:
“The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:
He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses,
and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups
of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers.
He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting,
and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 
He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you.”

The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said,
“Not so!  There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles.” 
When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say,
he repeated it to the LORD, who then said to him,
“Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them.”

Responsorial Psalm – 89:16-17, 18-19

R. (2)       For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
            in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
            and through your justice they are exalted.
R.        For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
For you are the splendor of their strength,
            and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
            and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.
R.        For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – Lk 7:16

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

Gospel – Mk 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what 
they were thinking to themselves, 
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once, 
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

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January 13, 2022


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

Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 308

Reading I – 1 Sm 4:1-11

The Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel.
Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.
The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel.
After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines,
who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.
When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said
“Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the Lord from Shiloh
that it may go into battle among us
and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”

So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there
the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.
When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.
The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked,
“What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”
On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were frightened.
They said, “Gods have come to their camp.”
They said also, “Woe to us! This has never happened before. Woe to us!
Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?
These are the gods that struck the Egyptians
with various plagues and with pestilence.
Take courage and be manly, Philistines;
otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews,
as they were your slaves.
So fight manfully!” 
The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated;
every man fled to his own tent.
It was a disastrous defeat,
.in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured,
and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead.
 

Responsorial Psalm – 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25

R.        (27B)  Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Yet now you have cast us off and put us in disgrace,
            and you go not forth with our armies.
You have let us be driven back by our foes;
            those who hated us plundered us at will.
R.        Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
You made us the reproach of our neighbors,
            the mockery and the scorn of those around us.
You made us a byword among the nations,
            a laughingstock among the peoples.
R.        Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Why do you hide your face,
            forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
            our bodies are pressed to the earth.
R.        Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

Alleluia – See Mt 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mk 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him, 
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

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January 13 – Optional Memorial of Saint Hilary, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 512

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

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 2:18-25

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.
Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us:  eternal life.

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 5:16

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

Gospel – Mt 5:13-19

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

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

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Arrogant Diseases


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 13, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

It is a very sad day for Israel today as we read in our First Reading: “The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated; every man fled to his own tent. It was a disastrous defeat, in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured.” However, it isn’t the defeat that makes the account miserable; it is precisely why the Chosen People were crushed in a battle that should have been won. Arrogance, plain and simple. The Lord permitted them to be defeated today because of the swollen, egotistical and misguided, misinformed confidence which insanely believed that God’s will must surely reflect their own, as they carry the ark of the Lord onto the battlefield against the Philistines. Their silliness is compounded and confirmed by their reaction after this stunning outcome; instead of humility and crying out to God for help, they lament in confusion. This is similar to those who attempt to put words in God’s mouth to justify their positions and biases and then don’t “get it” when everything backfires. Arrogance, as the proverb says, is a kingdom without a crown.

Then the Gospel places the capstone upon our reflection. The Law strictly forbade anyone from touching the leper. When Jesus touched and healed the one with this horrible, disfiguring disease, the humble, sorrowful but believing leper gave us the very opposite of arrogance and reminded us that no one should be deemed untouchable, nor are we ever capable of judging who is worthy of receiving God’s love and mercy: “‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.'” While it is very easy to sit on our self-made perches and self-taught premises and comment on the plight and weaknesses of everybody else except the one in the mirror, it is never sustainable. Defeat is inevitable. There is indeed a thin line between confidence and arrogance. It is called humility. Confidence smiles. Arrogance smirks.

“The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.” Albert Einstein

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January 12, 2022


Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 307

Reading I – 1 Sm 3:1-10, 19-20

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli,
a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.
One day Eli was asleep in his usual place.
His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.
The lamp of God was not yet extinguished,
and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am.  You called me.”
“I did not call you,” Eli said.  “Go back to sleep.” 
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am,” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. 
You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” 
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
Thus all Israel from Dan to Beersheba
came to know that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – 40:2 and 5, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10

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

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 – Mk 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, 
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons 
throughout the whole of Galilee.

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Where Are You Staying?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 12, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

A very interesting article was published recently suggesting five positive ways to stay close to someone you love and whose friendship you enjoy and want to maintain. Here they are in a nutshell:

1. Practice mindfulness
2. Be open to forgive and ask forgiveness,
3. Know your weaknesses,
4. Listen actively, and
5. Stay calm and always communicate your feelings and thoughts.

While these can certainly (and should be) debated, they do carry some merit. They also shed some interesting light on a particular motif and thread weaving in and out of all our beautiful Scriptural Readings today. They are all about staying very close to the Lord to be safe and warm with a truly fulfilling and happy life.

(Practice mindfulness) “Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.” Whether in Church or alone in solitude, resting with God is truly a blessing.

(Know your weaknesses) “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.” Being humble and not judging anyone else helps us hear the kind words God always has for us.

(Practice forgiveness) “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” We all need God to forgive us. Forgiving others helps us realize that He hears our requests for peace and absolution.

(Stay calm and communicate) “We have found the Messiah: Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace.” Worry does not serve at all. Trust in the One who is already looking for us gives us hope. Share your faith with others.

(Listen actively) “So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day.” Jesus is always reaching out to us in situations that may even surprise the heftiest of skeptics. Listen with the determined intent to learn something every day. Then ask God for guidance to move forward.

Wherever you live, make sure you are staying close to the Lord.

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The Fire of Affection


Reflection on Mass Reading for Janunary 11, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” The pain in our lives is real for so many of us. And yet, it is precisely there that the Lord Jesus wants so very much to speak and walk with us. The only way to profound clarity while we suffer is through a deep and trusting prayer life that has confidence and truth at its center. This is what propels Hannah (mother of Samuel) in our First Reading and why she is a forerunner to Elizabeth (Mother of John the Baptist) in the New Testament.

“What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” Perhaps in this brand new year, we can find new strength in confidence we place in the Lord Jesus fed daily by our prayer and the Eucharist. His new teaching with authority is simply loved. Love God, love others, and love ourselves is the perfect remedy for whatever ails us. Jesus commands all the forces of light and darkness in this life, and He is 100% behind us every step of the way.

Listen to Him.
Love Him.
Love like Him.

“The fire of the Father’s affection for the Son is so great that he wants hundreds of millions of faces to look just like Jesus’s face.” Jonathan Leeman

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January 11, 2022


Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 306

Reading I – 1 Sm 1:9-20

Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh,
and presented herself before the LORD;
at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair
near the doorpost of the LORD’s temple.
In her bitterness she prayed to the LORD, weeping copiously,
and she made a vow, promising: “O LORD of hosts,
if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid,
if you remember me and do not forget me,
if you give your handmaid a male child,
I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives;
neither wine nor liquor shall he drink,
and no razor shall ever touch his head.”
As she remained long at prayer before the LORD,
Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently;
though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard.
Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her,
“How long will you make a drunken show of yourself?
Sober up from your wine!”
“It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered.
“I am an unhappy woman.
I have had neither wine nor liquor;
I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD.
Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well;
my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.”
Eli said, “Go in peace,
and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She replied, “Think kindly of your maidservant,” and left.
She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband,
and no longer appeared downcast.
Early the next morning they worshiped before the LORD,
and then returned to their home in Ramah.

When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah,
the LORD remembered her. 
She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son
whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him.

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

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

Alleluia – See 1 Thes 2:13

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

Gospel – Mk 1:21-28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, 
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” 
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
 “What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

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Why Are You Crying?


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 10, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Hannah, why do you weep, and why do you refuse to eat? Why do you grieve? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Have you ever wondered why we cry? It is such a common experience for us that perhaps we never stop and even wonder if it’s good for us, although deep down we know it is, in moderation. Many studies, too many to mention here, range the full benefits of crying to these top five (5):

1. Has a soothing effect
2. Fights bacteria
3. Helps to relieve pain
4. Releases toxins and relieves stress, and
5. Helps us sleep

These are all good unless we are crying because we feel as if we are worthless, neglected, unworthy, or worse, unloved. This is captured for us in the First Reading and then quickly addressed in the Gospel.

“Then he called them.” All of life’s pains and agony can be fully and healthily addressed if we start with the fact that God has called every one of us for a specific plan in this world. We are saddened or despairing when we lose sight of that. Perhaps we don’t know where our place is just yet, but that only means we keep searching, praying, and remaining open to the Holy Spirit for guidance. This life is too short to go through it always crying or weeping. It is time to find Jesus a very special place in our hearts and never let Him go.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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January 10, 2022


Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 305

Reading I – 1 Sm 1:1-8

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Elkanah by name,
a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim.
He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu,
son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
He had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah;
Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.
This man regularly went on pilgrimage from his city
to worship the LORD of hosts and to sacrifice to him at Shiloh,
where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas,
were ministering as priests of the LORD.
When the day came for Elkanah to offer sacrifice,
he used to give a portion each to his wife Peninnah
and to all her sons and daughters,
but a double portion to Hannah because he loved her,
though the LORD had made her barren.
Her rival, to upset her, turned it into a constant reproach to her
that the LORD had left her barren.
This went on year after year;
each time they made their pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the LORD,
Peninnah would approach her,
and Hannah would weep and refuse to eat.
Her husband Elkanah used to ask her: 
“Hannah, why do you weep, and why do you refuse to eat?
Why do you grieve?
Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

Responsorial Psalm – 116:12-13, 14-17, 18-19

R.        (17A)  To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R.        Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
            for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
            and I will call upon the name of the LORD. 
R.        To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R.        Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
            in the presence of all his people. 
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
            is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
            I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
            you have loosed my bonds.
R.        To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R.        Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
            in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
            in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R.        To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R.        Alleluia.

Alleluia – Mk 1:15

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

Gospel – Mk 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

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Start Your Engines


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 9, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God!” Now that we have successfully passed through another wonderful Christmas installment of the mystery of life and love, it comes now the time to put into action all that we have learned in 2021, the ups and certainly the downs, and clearly start our soul’s engine and truly make something worthwhile of 2022. Today’s wonderful Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus invites us to do exactly that! How do we begin? The First reading makes it clear. If we want something good in this life, we start searching for the source of all goodness, who is GOD.

“He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” Our search will necessarily bring us to the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan in the person of Jesus Christ who is baptized today, making holy all Baptismal Water used upon all of us when we were brought through the water into the hope of everlasting life. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

In this bold new year of 2022, why don’t we consider adopting for ourselves a sort of “mission statement” straight from the Scriptures of this very awesome day? Just as the Lord Jesus, let us commit ourselves to spend the rest of this year “doing good and healing” whenever we can and whenever possible. We could ask ourselves at the end of each day, “how have I been an instrument of healing today?” Can you imagine the possibilities? Jesus already has.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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January 9, 2022


The Baptism of the Lord

Lectionary: 21

Reading I – Is 42:1-4, 6-7

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
     my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
     he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
     not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
     and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
     the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
     I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
     as a covenant of the people,
     a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
     to bring out prisoners from confinement,
     and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

OR:

Is  40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
            says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
            that her service is at an end,
            her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
            double for all her sins.

            A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
            Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
            every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
            the rough country, a broad valley. 
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
            and all people shall see it together;
            for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
            Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
            Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
            and say to the cities of Judah:
            Here is your God!
Here comes with power
            the Lord GOD,
            who rules by a strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
            his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
            in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
            and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10

R. (11B)  The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
            give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
            adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
            the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
            the voice of the LORD is majestic. 
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
            and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
            the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

OR:

Ps 104:1B-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30 

R. (1)  O bless the Lord, my soul.
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
     you are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
     You have spread out the heavens like a tent-cloth;
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
You have constructed your palace upon the waters.
     You make the clouds your chariot;
you travel on the wings of the wind.
     You make the winds your messengers,
and flaming fire your ministers.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
     In wisdom you have wrought them allC
the earth is full of your creatures;
     the sea also, great and wide,
in which are schools without number
     of living things both small and great.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
They look to you to give them food in due time.
     When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
If you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust.
     When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.

Reading II – Acts 10:34-38

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying: 
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites 
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, 
what has happened all over Judea, 
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached, 
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good 
and healing all those oppressed by the devil, 
for God was with him.”

OR: 

Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7

Beloved:
The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

            When the kindness and generous love
                        of God our savior appeared,
            not because of any righteous deeds we had done
                        but because of his mercy,
            He saved us through the bath of rebirth
                        and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
            whom he richly poured out on us
                        through Jesus Christ our savior,
            so that we might be justified by his grace
                        and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Alleluia – Cf. Mk 9:7

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

OR:

Cf. Lk 3:16


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
John said: One mightier than I is coming;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying, 
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized 
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, 
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove. 
And a voice came from heaven, 
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

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January 8, 2022


Saturday after Epiphany

Lectionary: 217

Reading I – 1 Jn 5:14-21

Beloved:
We have this confidence in him
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 
And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask,
we know that what we have asked him for is ours. 
If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly,
he should pray to God and he will give him life. 
This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. 
There is such a thing as deadly sin,
about which I do not say that you should pray. 
All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.

We know that anyone begotten by God does not sin;
but the one begotten by God he protects,
and the Evil One cannot touch him. 
We know that we belong to God,
and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One. 
We also know that the Son of God has come
and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. 
And we are in the one who is true,
in his Son Jesus Christ. 
He is the true God and eternal life. 
Children, be on your guard against idols.

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 4:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing. 
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned. 
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings. 
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him. 
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. 
So this joy of mine has been made complete. 
He must increase; I must decrease.”

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January 7, 2022


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

Friday after Epiphany

Lectionary: 216

Reading I – 1 Jn 5:5-13

Beloved:
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood. 
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth. 
So there are three who testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the Blood, 
and the three are of one accord. 
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater. 
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son. 
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son. 
And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son. 
Whoever possesses the Son has life;
whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you so that you may know
that you have eternal life,
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

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

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

Alleluia – See Mt 4:23

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

Gospel – Lk 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” 
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I do will it.  Be made clean.” 
And the leprosy left him immediately. 
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” 
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

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January 7 – Optional Memorial of Saint Raymond of Peñafort, priest


For the Readings for the Friday after Epiphany, please go here.

Lectionary: 511

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

Reading 1 – 2 Cor 5:14-20

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

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

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

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

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 – Lk 12:35-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

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Outlook Determines Outcome


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 7, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” We have reason to ask ourselves some very important questions about our destiny and our future on this day. Why were we born into this world? What is our purpose? Where are we going? These very deep and important questions are found providentially in our Readings today. “So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord.” The basic truth that is worth our deliberations and the content of our prayers is simply this: We have been saved by the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came so that we might live. No mere human being could ever achieve this. He was sent by the Father and enriched and empowered by the Holy Spirit. “…he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” This truly makes us “alive” with the Baptism that breathes into our very being and souls to become one with Him and bring hope to a despairing world.

Then the Gospel places the capstone upon our reflection. The Law strictly forbade anyone from touching the leper. When Jesus touched and healed the one with this horrible, disfiguring disease, the humble, sorrowful but believing leper gave us the very opposite of arrogance and reminded us that no one should be deemed untouchable, nor are we ever capable of judging who is worthy of receiving God’s love and mercy:” ‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.'” While it is very easy to sit on our self-made perches and self-taught premises and comment on the plight and weaknesses of everybody else except the one in the mirror, it is never sustainable. Defeat is inevitable. There is indeed a thin line between confidence and arrogance. It is called humility. Confidence smiles. Arrogance smirks.

“Nothing paralyzes our lives like the attitude that things can never change. We need to remind ourselves that God can change things. Outlook determines outcome. If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory.” Warren Wiersbe

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I Love You More


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 6, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Beloved, we love God because he first loved us.” From time to time, we hear people in a relationship say things like “I loved you first” and “I love you more.” At times, this can be troubling because someone could be about to start a fight or, worse, trying to out-do the other or belittle the other. When God says this to us, it takes on a completely wonderful and different perspective, one, hopefully, that brings us into His loving heart and thus allows us to love each other with a deeper sense of compassion, honesty, and selflessness. “This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

God’s love for us is as mysterious as the very nature of God Himself. It is completely awesome and overwhelming, especially when you realize how you and I utter these words and act upon our love for one another. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him.” There is yet another magnificent aspect to all this for us today who are reading the Scriptures and are attempting to live a good life full of love. There is a deep and intricate connection between the love we have for God, others, and ourselves. The stronger the one, the stronger the others. But they are not the same, nor could they be. If we accept that God has loved us first with an everlasting love, it will undoubtedly translate into a very patient and loving approach to everyone we meet today, even those who make life harder for us. Especially for those. This is precisely why Jesus came, died, and rose from the dead: “And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.”

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” St. Augustine

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January 6, 2022


Thursday after Epiphany

Lectionary: 215

Reading I – 1 Jn 4:19–5:4

Beloved, we love God because
he first loved us. 
If anyone says, “I love God,”
but hates his brother, he is a liar;
for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen 
cannot love God whom he has not seen. 
This is the commandment we have from him:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

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

Responsorial Psalm – 72:1-2, 14 and 15BC, 17

R.        (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
            and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
            and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R.        Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
From fraud and violence he shall redeem them,
            and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
May they be prayed for continually;
            day by day shall they bless him.
R.        Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
May his name be blessed forever;
            as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
            all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R.        Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – Lk 4:18

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

Gospel – Lk 4:14-22

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region. 
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day. 
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. 
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
            The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
                        because he has anointed me
                                    to bring glad tidings to the poor.
            He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
                        and recovery of sight to the blind,
                                    to let the oppressed go free,
            and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.


Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. 
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” 
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. 

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January 5, 2022


Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop

Lectionary: 214

Reading I – 1 Jn 4:11-18

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

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

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

Responsorial Psalm – 72:1-2, 10, 12-13

R.        (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
            and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
            and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R.        Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
            the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
R.        Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
            and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
            the lives of the poor he shall save.
R.        Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – See 1 Tm 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to you, O Christ, proclaimed to the Gentiles.
Glory to you, O Christ, believed in throughout the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mk 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd. 
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray. 
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. 
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them. 
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea. 
He meant to pass by them.  
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out. 
They had all seen him and were terrified. 
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” 
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. 
They were completely astounded. 
They had not understood the incident of the loaves. 
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

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First Storm Of The Year


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 5, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

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

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

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

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Just Feed One


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 4, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“He said to them in reply, ‘Give them some food yourselves.'” It is perhaps some of the greatest Scriptural advice we can receive in this brave new year which we have been presented in the Readings today when we are invited to look around our lives and see those in need and who are calling out for help and sustenance. “Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.” The Lord’s promise to all of us today is complete with His desire that all be fed and comforted. His wonderful invitation also includes a personal guarantee: I will be there among you when you act in My Name.

All this is predicated and dependent on one simple but extraordinary aspect: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” Love is everything. It is what drove the Son of Man from Heaven to earth to suffer, die and rise on the Third Day for all our sins. It is what moves the wheels of history and our own lives to the great, bright promise of immortality. We are hence convinced and motivated by the truth that we all have a mission and the power from the Holy Spirit to accomplish it: “The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives.” Today and every day, we will encounter a large field of life filled with opportunities to serve and be the Light of Christ to others. This is how we feed each other. Let us all be that “movable feast” for others to meet the Lord Jesus.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

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January 4, 2022


Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious

Lectionary: 213

Reading I – 1 Jn 4:7-10

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

Responsorial Psalm – 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8

R.    (see 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
    and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
    and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R.    Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
    and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
    save the children of the poor.
R.    Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
    and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R.    Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Alleluia – Lk 4:18

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

Gospel – Mk 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things. 
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late. 
Dismiss them so that they can go 
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.” 
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.” 
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?” 
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?  Go and see.” 
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.” 
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. 
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. 
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, 
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all. 
They all ate and were satisfied. 
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish. 
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

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January 3, 2022


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

Monday after Epiphany

Lectionary: 212

Reading I – 1 Jn 3:22–4:6

Beloved:
We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.

Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial Psalm – 2:7BC-8, 10-12A

R.        (8ab)  I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
            this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
            the nations for an inheritance
            and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
R.        I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
            take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
            with trembling rejoice.
R.        I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

Alleluia – See Mt 4:23

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

Gospel – Mt 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee. 
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet 
might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.


From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people. 
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them. 
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

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Source Of All Light


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 3, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

One of the reasons that there are so many visuals at this “most wonderful time of the year” is because there were so many at the First Christmas. Just think about it: the lights, the angels, the manger, the Baby Himself! That observation may bring a little sadness even disappointment if we have somehow missed all those sights and wonders. But have we really? “We receive from him whatever we ask because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” Today’s First Reading shouts with Christmas joy that the entire planet has witnessed something awesome within our very midst. The rest of the mission is up to us to find and discover that we are alive every day.

“… the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” Perhaps the Gospel account reveals the curious nature of our spiritual lives inspired and ignited by the Christmas mystery. What or rather, who are we looking for? First, the “what” is most likely happiness and fulfillment. Who wouldn’t want that? Unfortunately, many look in dark and unlit places for such treasures. This is how fundamentally evil entered the world. “From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” We are looking for light and life that can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ, who was born to save us from treacherous forces of darkness. This is the source and summit of the Christmas Season. We must continue the search for all that is good and fulfilling. We can believe what is sung today in the Alleluia Verse: “Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people.” Then and only then will we understand that seeing is truly believing.

“May the beautiful lights of every Christmas Season remind us of Him who is the source of all light.” David A. Rednar

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January 3 – Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus


For the Readings for the Monday after Epiphany, please go here.

Lectionary: 510/1

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Optional Memorial.

Reading 1 – Phil 2:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind,
with the same love, united in heart,
thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.

Have among yourselves the same attitude
that is also yours in Christ Jesus,
Who, 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.

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

R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars which you set in place—
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?  
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.  
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.  
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Alleluia – Mt 1:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 2:21-24

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
the child was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
they took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

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Greater Consciousness


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 2, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

Today is the “official” final chapter of the glorious Christmas Season, and with that, we witness the famous visit of the Magi, also known as the Three Kings and still further as the Three Wise Men. “Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” However, their gifts to the Newborn King are pretty steady and universally familiar. Did you notice anything about the gifts that were exchanged last month? Some would say that the gifts we receive reflect the recipient. If that is true, and it is in some cases, let’s look at the three special gifts that Jesus received on this great day of the Epiphany. Gold is certainly for a King, and clearly, Jesus is the Newborn King for us; incense is for worship, and worship is for God. Jesus is certainly the God-made man for us, Emmanuel. Myrrh is an anointing oil that suggests the person who receives it is destined for a divine purpose and destiny. It was also used as a way of preserving the body after death. The application, then, is clear for us. This God-King, Jesus, who is called and destined to save His people, will also be prepared for death one day.

Today is also called Epiphany, which adds another great dimension. The First Reading gives us a little clue here as to what to expect this to be: “Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.” In some circles, an “epiphany” is usually defined as a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something that has occurred that brings about an intuitive and sometimes startling realization, discovery, or disclosure that had previously been hidden or at least unseen. People usually exclaim, “Oh, I get it now!” when chancing upon an epiphany-like experience in life. As we close once again this great Christmas Season and continue to embark upon the ocean of God’s providence before us in the New Year, may we all have an epiphany of sorts that makes a positive and spiritual impact on our lives that will last a very long time. This necessarily means making some basic change that improves the world outside of us and especially within us. May we see what previously was not seen and understand at least one part of the mystery of Christ this year. It is waiting right there for all of us. Then we might truly understand what was said about the first group who encountered their epiphany when the Gospel recounted that the Magi “departed for their country by another way.”

“Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit, you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.” Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

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January 2, 2022


The Epiphany of the Lord

Lectionary: 20

Reading I – Is 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13.

R. (cf. 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Reading II – Eph 3:2-3A, 5-6

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace 
that was given to me for your benefit, 
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations 
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Alleluia – Mt 2:2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod, 
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled, 
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, 
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, 
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly 
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word, 
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, 
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures 
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, 
they departed for their country by another way.

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A New Year, A New Career


Reflection on Mass Reading for January 1, 2022

Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” It seems that everyone who had any kind of encounter with the First Christmas was never, ever the same again. Just think about this for a minute: everyone directly or indirectly touched by that first night that has transformed the world every December 25 was somehow internally transformed, and their world was changed forever. The shepherds, in particular, would never look at their sheep in the same way. They could never gaze up into the cold night sky and forget how the blackness of the universe opened up like a gushing flow of light and song. Never.

As you and I begin a brand new year with all the promises and hopes and dreams that we can muster, we think of those lowly shepherds who faced a new career of sorts. None of them could have stayed quiet. How could it be so? Christ’s birth shone upon not only great light but a new and glorious morning. It was the quintessential “thrill of hope,” and it still rings out today. It is indeed a most powerful and loving blessing: “The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!”

The same miracle can happen to you and me if we allow this past Christmas and the Birth of Jesus Christ to impact us the way the First Christmas did. It truly is up to us to make this Christmas gift keep giving day after day into the New Year. What do you say? Let’s do this! Happy New Year! Happy New Career! Be Amazed!

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Carl Bard

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January 1, 2022


The Octave Day of Christmas Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

Lectionary: 18

Reading I – Nm 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:  
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:  
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:  
The LORD bless you and keep you!  
The LORD let his face shine upon      
you, and be gracious to you!  
The LORD look upon you kindly and      
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,  
and I will bless them.”

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

R. (2A) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.

Reading II – Gal 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,  
born of a woman, born under the law,  
to ransom those under the law,  
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons,  
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,  
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son,  
and if a son then also an heir, through God.

Alleluia – Heb 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,  
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,  
they made known the message  
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed  
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,  
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,  
glorifying and praising God  
for all they had heard and seen,  
just as it had been told to them.  

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,  
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel  
before he was conceived in the womb.

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