The Word of God

Tie Up Your Camel


Reflection for Mass Reading on February 28, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

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

“Although you have not seen him, you love him.” The real thrust of our readings today is quite clear. If we do not practice humility, we will grow into arrogant people who do not give God or others the time of day or the deserving respect and care. The number one cure for pride and a bloated spirit is prayer. We must first acknowledge our dependence and need upon God then realize that we are all on this planet trying desperately to get to Heaven. The camel for us today becomes a symbol for us to remember to uncomplicate our lives from pettiness and the excessive desire for possessions and get on our knees in prayer as often as we can. The more we do this, the happier we will be.

Practical Application: Explore how you can “tie up your camel”: Always have faith but never lose common sense when dealing with the world. Count the ways you can be realistic and faithful at the same time.

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

or…….

Trust in God but tie up your camel.” Arabic Proverb 

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February 28, 2022


Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 347

Reading I – 1 Pt 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

Responsorial Psalm – 111:1-2, 5-6, 9 and 10C

R.        (5)  The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.        Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
            in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
            exquisite in all their delights.
R.        The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.        Alleluia.
He has given food to those who fear him;
            he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
            giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R.        The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.        Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
            he has ratified his covenant forever;
            holy and awesome is his name.
            His praise endures forever.
R.        The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.        Alleluia.

Alleluia – 2 Cor 8:9

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

Gospel – Mk 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother
.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
 “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

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Fruit Or Fruity?


Reflection for Mass Reading on February 27, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.” It is quite an interesting language we have, isn’t it? Some say that how words and meanings change depicts how a given society is heading or has already arrived. For example, the two examples above describe two very similar but perhaps very different ideas. “For every tree is known by its own fruit.” Do we hear enough about “good” fruit? You see, there are many consequences resulting from horrible choices that others make, which stand in direct opposition to God, in opposition to the sanctity of life and the sacredness of marriage and the truth about human love. Some commonly mistake popularity, charm, charisma, and even attractive looks as good fruits. But this cannot truly be the case. It is deeds, not words or appearances, which always tell the full story and give the greatest insight into the soul of an individual. You will know much about a person by the result of their lives and not the eccentricity or notoriety of their behavior. “Shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life.”

While it is easy to become blinded and even seduced by the standards the world places on what makes something or someone “good,” today, the last Sunday before the Great Season of Lent, we remember that the standard for us who profess to follow Jesus and carry the cross in our lives is simply and powerfully JESUS. This is true because we can do nothing apart from this starting point, just as Christ Himself explained it: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?”

Practical Application: There are both great fruit and loud fruitiness all around us. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it is up to us to be encouraged by the Word of God poured out over us today and continue to look for opportunities to be bearers of good spiritual produce ourselves in a world that hungers desperately for them.

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

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February 27, 2022


Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 84

Reading I – Sir 27:4-7

When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear;
so do one’s faults when one speaks.
As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace,
so in tribulation is the test of the just.
The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had;
so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.
Praise no one before he speaks,
for it is then that people are tested.

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

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

Reading II – 1 Cor 15:54-58

Brothers and sisters:
When this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility
and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:
            Death is swallowed up in victory.
                        Where, O death, is your victory?
                        Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters,
be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Alleluia – Phil 2:15D, 16A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Shine like lights in the world
as you hold on to the word of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 6:39-45

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

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

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Delight In Un-delightful People


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 26, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

On this wonderful last Saturday of the month, each one of us woke up this morning and began this day with literally a million different possibilities as to how our lives would unravel as each minute ticked away. For some, it was a bright and glorious beginning, while for others, problems made their way onto our patch almost immediately. However, one thing is for certain, and that is we all have the same Shepherd: Jesus. We are, in fact, His loved ones: “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing a song of praise.” Every single moment of every single day, we belong to Him, and He is always watching over us. That’s the kind of love He has for us, which is why we can echo the words of St. Paul from our Responsorial Psalm today from the very depths of our hearts: “Let my prayer come like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.”

In the Gospel today, Jesus’ approach and embrace of the innocence of children is astounding: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Perhaps we could say today that we have good news and bad news. If we can leave behind the learned arrogance and helplessness that seems to surround so many, we are well on our way to the Kingdom and tremendous happiness and healthy living. The bad news is that we must confront sickness and evil daily with desensitizing regularity. The good news is that we are not alone in these confrontations. We carry with us the One has defeated evil both now and forever.

Practical Application:
1) Acknowledge He is present to you
2) Lift and present to Him all the matters and people you have to confront today, especially sickness,
3) Believe both in His power and love, and
4) Wait patiently.

“We love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, extend kindness to the ungrateful, and flood evil people with mercy not because such behavior will always work at confronting injustice, but because such behavior showcases God’s stubborn delight in un-delightful people. Faithfulness rather than perceived effectiveness motivates our response to evil.” Preston Sprinkle

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February 26, 2022


Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 346

Reading I – Jas 5:13-20

Beloved:
Is anyone among you suffering?
He should pray.
Is anyone in good spirits?
He should sing a song of praise.
Is anyone among you sick?
He should summon the presbyters of the Church,
and they should pray over him
and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
The prayer of faith will save the sick person,
and the Lord will raise him up.
If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another
and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
Elijah was a man like us;
yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain,
and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land.
Then Elijah prayed again, and the sky gave rain
and the earth produced its fruit.

My brothers and sisters,
if anyone among you should stray from the truth
and someone bring him back,
he should know that whoever brings back a sinner
from the error of his way will save his soul from death  
and will cover a multitude of sins.

Responsorial Psalm – 141:1-2, 3 and 8

R.        (2a)  Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, to you I call; hasten to me;
            hearken to my voice when I call upon you.
Let my prayer come like incense before you;
            the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.
R.        Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, set a watch before my mouth,
            a guard at the door of my lips.
For toward you, O God, my LORD, my eyes are turned;
            in you I take refuge; strip me not of life.
R.        Let my prayer come like incense before you.

Alleluia – See Mt 11:25

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

Gospel – Mk 10:13-16

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

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Hard Heart, Hard Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 25, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged.” The Letter of James makes it very clear in our First Reading that humanity is lost without the Covenant that God has made with us through His Son, Jesus Christ. We simply cannot hide behind precepts and regulations and mount some superior plane from which to judge people and forget that we are all in the same boat. The Scriptures explain that the final judgment will be a performance review, not of privilege. From this perspective, all the promises that we make in this life must be honored and none more profound than the commitment of love and life that marriage so eloquently capsulizes and expresses. God does not go back on His promises, and neither are we to doubt the beauty of promise and commitment.

“Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?'” St. Mark continues and completes this thought for us by ensuring that the Pharisees know that mere possession of laws is no evidence of virtue. Mark Twain once responded to a man who was going to the Holy Land to see where the Ten Commandments were given with, “Why don’t you just stay home and live them? “Good point, Mr. Clemens. “The worst prison,” St. John Paul wrote, “would be a closed heart,” and this is precisely why you and must know that the Word of God has everything to do with keeping promises and the commitments of love: “Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but, as it truly is, the word of God.”

Practical Application: What promises do you live by? Which promises in your life have been broken? Recall all the commitments you have made and see if you have been faithful to them. Then let God into your soul and discover healing.

“Never close your lips to those who you have already opened your heart.” Charles Dickens

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February 25, 2022


Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 345

Reading I – Jas 5:9-12

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of the perseverance of Job,
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,
because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear,
either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath,
but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,”
that you may not incur condemnation.

Responsorial Psalm – 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12

R.        (8A)  The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
            and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
            and forget not all his benefits.
R.        The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
            he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
            he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R.        The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
            slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
            nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R.        The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
            so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
            so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R.        The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia – See Jn 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – Mk 10:1-12

Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
            and be joined to his wife,
            and the two shall become one flesh.

So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

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February 24, 2022


Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 344

Reading I – Jas 5:1-6

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

Responsorial Psalm – 49:14-15AB, 15CD-16, 17-18, 19-20

R.        (Matthew 5:3)  Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
This is the way of those whose trust is folly,
            the end of those contented with their lot:
Like sheep they are herded into the nether world;
            death is their shepherd and the upright rule over them.
R.        Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Quickly their form is consumed;
            the nether world is their palace.
But God will redeem me
            from the power of the nether world by receiving me.
R.        Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
            when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
            his wealth shall not follow him down.
R.        Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
            “They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
            who shall never more see light.
R.        Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

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 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

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

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

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The Silly Idea Of Temptation


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 24, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” The Gospel, per usual, does not mince words today. Temptation is hard enough for each of us to encounter as we search for better ways to follow the Lord Jesus, which makes a strong case that we certainly do not need any help from our friends or from anyone else for that matter! However, by extension, think of all the good you can do for one another, especially in our daily routines and casual conversations. We can help each other get to heaven!

“Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God.” When reading the Scriptures, we are presented with an awesome choice to go forward: either we help or hurt. Every relationship can be viewed in this light as well. Is this helping me move closer to heaven or not? This is why wisdom from the Holy Spirit is so critical and pivotal. Life is good. It is better with Jesus in it.

Practical Application: While in prayer, review your greatest temptations. Do you ask for help? Do you consider yourself victorious over them? Ask God for a healthy dose of self-knowledge and integrity. And be at peace.

“A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.” C. S. Lewis

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February 23, 2022


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

Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

Lectionary: 343

Reading I – Jas 4:13-17

Beloved:
Come now, you who say,
“Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town,
spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”–
you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.
You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.
Instead you should say,
“If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”
But now you are boasting in your arrogance.
All such boasting is evil.
So for one who knows the right thing to do
and does not do it, it is a sin.

Responsorial Psalm – 49:2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11

R.        (Matthew 5:3)  Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Hear this, all you peoples;
            hearken, all who dwell in the world,
Of lowly birth or high degree,
            rich and poor alike.
R.        Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
            when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
            the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R.        Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
            or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
            to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R.        Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
For he can see that wise men die,
            and likewise the senseless and the stupid pass away,
            leaving to others their wealth.
R.        Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Alleluia – Jn 14:6

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

Gospel – Mk 9:38-40

John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.”

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Molding My Will


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 23, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Instead you should say, ‘If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.'” A very well-known and used Jewish saying goes something like this: “We plan, God laughs.” The meaning of this pithy little phrase is made crystal clear in our First Reading about always remembering that we never truly know what tomorrow brings until, that is, it is today. While it is wise to make provisional plans from everything to a career to what we will have for dinner, the basic truth remains: God is firmly in control.

“For whoever is not against us is for us.” The Gospel also holds another helping of Wisdom for our lives today. When people place God first in their lives, great things can happen, although not all at once. We may not understand why certain things happen and to whom, but if we are all trying to conform our wills to God’s, it will become clear. Simply put, everyone has their path back home to Heaven.

Practical Application: Pray specifically, by name, for those people in your life that you may find difficult or mean. While you remember there is a plan for everyone, perhaps the Lord will give you special graces to discover and accept your own even while we bump egos with each other.

“The basic purpose of prayer is not to bend God’s will to mine but to mold my will into His.” Timothy Keller

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February 23 – Memorial of Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr, please go here.

Lectionary: 536

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

Reading 1 – Rv 2:8-11

“To the angel of the Church in Smyrna, write this:

“‘The first and the last, who once died but came to life, says this:
“I know your tribulation and poverty, but you are rich.
I know the slander of those who claim to be Jews and are not,
but rather are members of the assembly of Satan.
Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer.
Indeed, the Devil will throw some of you into prison,
that you may be tested,
and you will face an ordeal for ten days.
Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

“‘”Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The victor shall not be harmed by the second death.”‘”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 31:3CD-4, 6 and 8AB, 16BC and 17

R.    (6)  Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Alleluia See

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

Gospel – Jn 15:18-21

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

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Pull Up A Chair


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 22, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. This has nothing to do with furniture and everything to do with the Lord’s intention to keep His great gift of the Church alive and faithful throughout the centuries. “Tend the flock of God in your midst.” From the very beginning of God’s Divine Revelation to the world of Himself, there has been a deep and abiding desire to make sure that we would be guided and loved just as a shepherd takes care of his sheep: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”

The Chair as a symbol of authority helps us understand why God truly wants to shepherd and protect us. When we need something important, we seem even in this day and age to approach sitting. Judges are seated when making rulings. Therapists and Counselors are seated when listening and comforting clients. Priests are in a chair when they pronounce absolution and show mercy to penitents. This is ongoing evidence of the Lord’s presence and lasting care for us. “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

Practical Application: During these days of our mini-retreat, just days away from Ash Wednesday, let us pray for all who are in authority in the Church, starting with the Holy Father and all those entrusted with this awesome ministry. Although it is most likely true that “heavy is the head that wears the crown,” there are great blessings that come to those who lead and follow with generous hearts and loving souls.

“There is no power or authority without responsibility, and he who accepts the one cannot escape or evade the other.” Haile Selassie

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February 22, 2022


Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle

Lectionary: 535

Reading I – 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 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 – 23:1-3A, 4, 5, 6

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

Alleluia – Mt 16:18

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

Gospel – Mt 16:13-19

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

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February 21, 2022


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

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 341

Reading I – Jas 3:13-18

Beloved:
Who among you is wise and understanding?
Let him show his works by a good life  
in the humility that comes from wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not boast and be false to the truth.
Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above
but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.

Responsorial Psalm – 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R.        (9A)  The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
            refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
            giving wisdom to the simple.
R.        The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
            rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
            enlightening the eye.
R.        The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
            enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
            all of them just.
R.        The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
            find favor before you,
            O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R.        The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

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 9:14-29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you?  Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around  
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

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February 21 – Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Damian, bishop and doctor of the Church Memorial of Saint Peter Damian, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 534

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be takenfrom the Common of Doctors of the Church. #725-730 or the Common of Pastors, #719-724 or the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Religious, #737-742.

Reading 1 – 2 Tm 4:1-5

Beloved:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine
but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,
will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth
and will be diverted to myths.
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 11

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – Jn 15:1-8

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

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Serenity, Fruit Of Wisdom


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 21, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom.” We human beings are almost invariably in need of confirmation, reassurance, and security. No more is this obvious than in our relationships, especially the more important ones we have discovered. This is why we all might experience doubt or even a moment of crisis when we face troubles from time to time. It is then that we need those special hugs and secure feelings. What is surprisingly wonderful throughout all these moments is that we can find a deeper walk and love that God has for us if we can indeed count these crises as joys. We know that everyone must suffer as part of the journey here, but we also need tender loving care from our God just as is prayed in our Psalm today: “Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” There is, however, a problem with these needs. If we are not careful, these moments of reassurance and comfort may not be enough. We might even lose our confidence in the Lord if all we look for are concrete signs that may stave off doubt for just a short amount of time. This is why Jesus responds the way He did in today’s Gospel: “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”

Practical Application: Our Lord makes it clear that we must rely on the wisdom of God and not stray. Take time today to pray for wisdom. This prayer is always answered. Thank God!

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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Measure The Treasure


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 20, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

It may take the death of someone very dear to us or some horrendous tragedy or life-altering disappointment to finally take us to the brink of existence to realize that we truly belong to God. Some of us have been blessed from the beginning with a child-like and total trust in God, but for many of us, it seems as if we have to grow gradually into that space where we know without a doubt that 1. God exists, 2. He made me, and 3. I can trust my entire life to Him. David of our First Reading was one of those trusting God-fearing individuals. Yet, he was also ready to beg forgiveness for straying from the fold and showing that mercy upon those who would rather see him dead than alive: “The LORD will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness. Today, though the LORD delivered you into my grasp, I would not harm the LORD’s anointed.” The two opposing attitudes are linked in the depths of love and mercy a person who loves God completely understands. Love and mercy are essential elements of a holy, happy, and healthy life in Christ.

No one can claim seriously that they are “self-made.” That simply is not possible. We did not create ourselves as much as some might insist. Precisely because God created and designed and loved us all into existence means that we belong to Him. We can trust that. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned, …For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” When one trusts the Lord with everything they have, acknowledges their sinfulness and failings before the Lord, they are much less ready to judge and short-change the people around them. Thus, the same standards we apply to others will indeed be applied to us, one way or another, sooner or later. Since we deeply and fundamentally belong to God, then we have an even stronger and more compelling reason to get along with each other and practice what we preach.

Practical Application: Since God has created ALL, then ALL have equal dignity, and the more we can recognize that quality in everyone, even if they do not see it, the closer we come to fulfilling the destiny God has invited us to follow. How many times can you be merciful today?

“The most beautiful people I have ever met are the ones who always see life in full color. They are the ones who have been through hell and back and still stop to savor the parts of life that many seldom pay attention to. They will always use their past experiences as a guiding light to bring forth a more authentic way of life. These are the people I admire most because no matter how much they have suffered, they will always find a reason to make the best of this imperfect world.” Karen A. Baquiran

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February 20, 2022


Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 81

Reading I – 1 Sm 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23

In those days, Saul went down to the desert of Ziph
with three thousand picked men of Israel,
to search for David in the desert of Ziph.
So David and Abishai went among Saul’s soldiers by night
and found Saul lying asleep within the barricade,
with his spear thrust into the ground at his head
and Abner and his men sleeping around him.

Abishai whispered to David:
“God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day.
Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear;
I will not need a second thrust!”
But David said to Abishai, “Do not harm him,
for who can lay hands on the LORD’s anointed and remain unpunished?”
So David took the spear and the water jug from their place at Saul’s head,
and they got away without anyone’s seeing or knowing or awakening.
All remained asleep,
because the LORD had put them into a deep slumber.

Going across to an opposite slope,
David stood on a remote hilltop
at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops.
He said: “Here is the king’s spear.
Let an attendant come over to get it.
The LORD will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness.
Today, though the LORD delivered you into my grasp,
I would not harm the LORD’s anointed.”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13

R (8A) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
            and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
            and forget not all his benefits.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
            heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
            crowns you with kindness and compassion.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
            slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
            nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
            so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
            so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
The Lord is kind and merciful.

Reading II – 1 Cor 15:45-49

Brothers and sisters:
It is written, The first man, Adam, became a living being,
the last Adam a life-giving spirit.
But the spiritual was not first;
rather the natural and then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth, earthly;
the second man, from heaven.
As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly,
and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

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

Gospel – Lk 6:27-38

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

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

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Transfigure Me O Lord


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 19, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“With it (the tongue) we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in the likeness of God.” Do you realize that you and I have been placed on this earth for a specific reason and purpose? Every day becomes an opportunity to strive and realize reality, especially when things look dark and bleak. If I have a purpose in life, and I do, then everything happening around me today is either a part of that reality. I should stay focused on its messages and lessons, or it is keeping me from my purpose and direction, and therefore I should move on as quickly as possible. This is certainly one very important way we can understand transformation and transfiguration.

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

Practical Application: While remembering that the most unhappy people in the world have made it their life’s mission to make as many people around them as miserable as they are with every ounce of strength they can muster, never forget that only wounded people wound people. Our best stories will come from our struggles. The seeds of our successes are in our failures. Keep standing. Seasons change. There is no such thing as a storm that lasts forever. Think about these things today.

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February 19, 2022


Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 340

Reading I – Jas 3:1-10

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,
for you realize that we will be judged more strictly,
for we all fall short in many respects.
If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man,
able to bridle the whole body also.
If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us,
we also guide their whole bodies.
It is the same with ships:
even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds,
they are steered by a very small rudder
wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes.
In the same way the tongue is a small member
and yet has great pretensions.

Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze.
The tongue is also a fire.
It exists among our members as a world of malice,
defiling the whole body
and setting the entire course of our lives on fire,
itself set on fire by Gehenna.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature,
can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species,
but no man can tame the tongue.
It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless the Lord and Father,
and with it we curse men
who are made in the likeness of God.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
My brothers and sisters, this need not be so. 

Responsorial Psalm – 12:2-3, 4-5, 7-8

R.        (8A)  You will protect us, Lord.
Help, O LORD! for no one now is dutiful;
            faithfulness has vanished from among the children of men.
Everyone speaks falsehood to his neighbor;
            with smooth lips they speak, and double heart.
R.        You will protect us, Lord.
May the LORD destroy all smooth lips,
            every boastful tongue,
Those who say, “We are heroes with our tongues;
            our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
R.        You will protect us, Lord.
The promises of the LORD are sure,
            like tried silver, freed from dross, sevenfold refined.
You, O LORD, will keep us
            and preserve us always from this generation.
R.        You will protect us, Lord.

Alleluia – See Mk 9:6

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

Gospel – Mk 9:2-13

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

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Then they asked him,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things,
yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man
that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?
But I tell you that Elijah has come
and they did to him whatever they pleased,
as it is written of him.”

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The Weight of Faith


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 18, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” Many among us swear by the deep, internal cleansing and detoxifying process whereby the poisons and noxious substances are purged from the bloodstream. And while this is neither the time nor place to have an intelligent conversation about these purported benefits, it is safe to say that there is a deep and beneficial connection to faith and what we do with it, understood in many circles as the difference and connection between faith and works. Using another medical analogy, sin and selfishness can creep into our lives like plaque upon our gum lines. This can happen when a person separates what they say they believe and how they put that belief into practice. This is a red flag and a five-alarm warning for all of us: “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Another crucial part of a successful spiritual journey is humility and honesty. Many have to understand that we are only as sick as our secrets which means that a secret kept in the dark usually grows and festers and ultimately destroys a person. The good news is that once it is exposed to light and released, all its ugly power is gone. This is precisely what is intimately meant by picking up our crosses and following the Lord Jesus with all our might and with as much integrity we can muster. People who are so proud and refuse to admit that some issues and areas need cleansing open this lack of self-knowledge to growing negativity and self-loathing while keeping them sick and trapped in sinful behavior. There is hope. Always.

Practical Application: Make a mental note in silence sometime today about the ways you have suffered or are suffering right now. How are you carrying this cross/crosses? Complaining or surrendering? What could you do differently today and the rest of your life?

Lord Jesus, hear my prayer and walk into my soul and cleanse me with Your Love. I am yours. I can hide nothing from you. Help me be honest with myself so I may find your Truth. Amen.

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February 18, 2022


Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 339

Reading I – Jas 2:14-24, 26

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

Indeed someone might say,   
“You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
You believe that God is one. 
You do well.
Even the demons believe that and tremble.
Do you want proof, you ignoramus,
that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works
when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works,
and faith was completed by the works.
Thus the Scripture was fulfilled that says,
Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness,

and he was called the friend of God.
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
For just as a body without a spirit is dead,
so also faith without works is dead.

Responsorial Psalm – 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.        (see 1B)  Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
            who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
            the upright generation shall be blessed. 
R.        Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
            his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
            he is gracious and merciful and just. 
R.        Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
            who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
            the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance. 
R.        Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.

Alleluia – Jn 15:15B

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

Gospel – Mk 8:34–9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them,
“Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

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February 17, 2022


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

Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 338

Reading I – Jas 2:1-9

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

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?
But you dishonored the poor.
Are not the rich oppressing you?
And do they themselves not haul you off to court?
Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you?
However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.
But if you show partiality, you commit sin,
and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 

Responsorial Psalm – 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.        (7A) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
            his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
            the lowly will hear me and be glad. 
R.        The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
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 hears the cry of the poor.
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 hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia – See John 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – Mk 8:27-33

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

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

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February 17 – Optional Memorial of the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites, religious


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

Lectionary: 338

Reading I – Jas 2:1-9

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

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?
But you dishonored the poor.
Are not the rich oppressing you?
And do they themselves not haul you off to court?
Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you?
However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.
But if you show partiality, you commit sin,
and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 

Responsorial Psalm – 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R.        (7A) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
            his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
            the lowly will hear me and be glad. 
R.        The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
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 hears the cry of the poor.
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 hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia – See John 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – Mk 8:27-33

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

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

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Who Am I?


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 17, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Who do people say that I am?” Christianity is altogether unique in many ways when looking at all the aspects of religion. We could easily say that is “personal.” Now, how do we come to that conclusion? The Church was founded personally by Jesus Christ, true God, and true man. He did not leave a philosophy or manual or even a step-by-step approach to continuing. He set the cornerstone of our way of life upon the foundation of the Apostles, whom He selected & called in today’s Gospel passage. Let’s continue to unravel this “personal” aspect of Jesus’ choice, not only of The Twelve but also how that impacts you and me today.

1. CLOSE FRIENDS: Jesus called the Apostles to be his close friends, and He mentioned true friendship even as He taught of the mystery of love. It really shouldn’t surprise us at all that Jesus needed human friendship. The very doctrine of the Trinity is in itself a revelation of community to the highest degree. It is the very core of humanity, created in God’s image and likeness that we need the love of family and friends to be truly happy and reach our potential.

2. STUDENTS: Jesus knew that the end of His time on earth was approaching. It was not the age of books or, even less, social media. The Church would have to proclaim the Gospel through the personal experience of learning that these Apostles (students) had experienced and then established for centuries to come. Jesus chose these men that He might write His message upon their hearts, minds, and souls so they would become His “living books,” as it were, continuing throughout history as it developed and unraveled through time.

3. AMBASSADORS: The Greek word “apostolos” literally means someone sent out on behalf of another person or country, such as an envoy or an ambassador. The Apostles were chosen to be personal ambassadors to all the world, reflecting personally what they had learned as the friends of the Lord Jesus. This, in turn, would create more personal friends into a Church for all ages and all believers. The greatest Christian men and women in my life encourage me in my journey because I keep thinking, “if these people are awesome because they have met Jesus, I want to be like them and know Him, too!” That’s personal, wouldn’t you agree?

Practical Application: Try this little exercise sometime today. If someone asked you to describe Jesus, someone who does not have any idea of who He is, what would you say?

“Don’t judge me until you know me, don’t underestimate me until you challenge me and don’t talk about me until you’ve talked to me.” Poster in a classroom

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Tell Me Who You’re Looking For


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 16, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.” A simple principle in psychology asserts that if all you have is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. This paradigm means that we tend to find what we expect to see in this life. In our First Reading, St. James issues a tri-fold way to approach life and, more specifically, each other. 1. Be quick to hear, 2. slow to speak, and 3. slow to anger. With this in our spiritual field of dreams, we will find the peace we desperately need and our heart’s desire.

“May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call.” This approach to life continues into the New Testament as humbly we ask the Father in Heaven to open our hearts and look for the good things in this life to see and discover. Among these are faith, hope, and love for God and each other. Jesus in the Gospel takes this even one more step deeper: “Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, ‘Do you see anything?'” The man looked for healing, comfort, strength, and someone to believe. He found his life’s quest. He found Jesus.

Practical Application: On a scale from 1 -10, rate your success today with 1. being quick to hear, 2. slow to speak, and 3. slow to anger. How did you do?

“Tell me who you are looking for and I’ll tell who you’ll find.” Caro Vanni

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February 16, 2022


Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 337

Reading I – Jas 1:19-27

Know this, my dear brothers and sisters:
everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
for anger does not accomplish
the righteousness of God.
Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess
and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, 
he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.
He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets
what he looked like.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres,
and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts;
such a one shall be blessed in what he does.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue
but deceives his heart, his religion is vain.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

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

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

Alleluia – See Ephesians 1:17-18

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

Gospel – Mk 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

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Eating For Heaven


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 15, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.” Before we become “high and mighty” and somehow judge anyone because of their incredible short-sightedness, take a breather: we do the same thing here in the Twenty-First Century. We, too, must combat the constant temptation of spiritual obesity right here, today in our very lives. We run to self-help books and “happy-meal” approaches to spirituality instead of thoughtfully feeding on the words of the Scriptures. We prefer entertainment rather than a challenge. We want to play at our worship instead of truly thanking God for everything we have and take seriously the call to live a life of integrity.

We have all been inspired to eat healthier as long as there have been kitchens, restaurants, and diners. Maybe less french fries and more salads; more water and less soda; less junk and more natural fare. And as long as we encountered the Lord among us, we have also been inspired to live a more authentic and loving life. We are destined to live a life that trusts Jesus with everything and seeks less and less to be mentally tickled, stimulus-stuffed, and hypnotized by the slow beating drum of the world’s heartless and selfish messages. We are called upon this day from the Scriptures to eat more spiritually healthy food as often as humanly possible. “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”

Practical Application: Think about what you place in your body and what you allow in your mind. Can you see a connection between what comes in and what goes out? Ask yourself if Jesus would be at home in your heart.



For food in a world where many walk in hunger; for faith in a world where many walk in fear. For friends in a world when many walk alone, Please Jesus, feed us with Your Eternal Food. Amen.

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February 15, 2022


Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 336

Reading I – Jas 1:12-18

Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation,
for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life 
that he promised to those who love him.
No one experiencing temptation should say,
“I am being tempted by God”;
for God is not subject to temptation to evil,
and he himself tempts no one.
Rather, each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.
Then desire conceives and brings forth sin,
and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Responsorial Psalm – 94:12-13A, 14-15, 18-19

R.        (12A) Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD,
            whom by your law you teach,
Giving him rest from evil days. 
R.        Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
For the LORD will not cast off his people,
            nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
            and all the upright of heart shall follow it. 
R.        Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
When I say, “My foot is slipping,
            your mercy, O LORD, sustains me;
When cares abound within me,
            your comfort gladdens my soul. 
R.        Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
 

Alleluia – Jn 14:23

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

Gospel – Mk 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.” 
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

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February 14 – Memorial of Saints Cyril, and Methodius, bishop Memorial of Saints Cyril and Methodius, bishops


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop, please go here.

Lectionary: 532

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

Reading 1 – Acts 13:46-49

Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 117:1bc, 2

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

Alleluia – 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 payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”

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Leave The World Happier


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 14, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” As we continue on our spiritual mini-retreat toward the great Season of Lent and our final goal of Heaven, we encounter challenges, problems, and serious issues that befall us along the way. One of the very obvious hurdles we face is illness and sickness, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. As we review and reflect on the wonderful Scriptures for today, we realize that not only do we want peace and health in this life, Our Lord Jesus wants the very same thing for us. He wants us to praise Him with all our heart and mind, and soul intact, and that means a constant approach to praying for and seeking healing in our lives and the lives of those around us.

No doubt many of us will be surrounded by reminders of St. Valentine, a priest who lost his life because he kept on counseling and marrying couples even though the powers forbade it. While the real meaning of love and sacrifice might be lost amid the flowers and candy and candle-lit dinners, one thing is for sure. Your God loves you, and that is what keeps us alive.

Practical Application: Make every effort throughout this day and a new week, ensuring that our heart is pure, our motives are upright, and our intentions are good and forgiving. In this very positive way of living, we become coworkers of the Gospel with each other and remarkable close friends with Jesus. Let’s see what this day brings for us and others.

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

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February 14, 2022


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

Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop

Lectionary: 335

Reading I – Jas 1:1-11

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters,
when you encounter various trials,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
And let perseverance be perfect,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
But if any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly,
and he will be given it.
But he should ask in faith, not doubting,
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea
that is driven and tossed about by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,
since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.

The brother in lowly circumstances  
should take pride in high standing,
and the rich one in his lowliness,  
for he will pass away “like the flower of the field.”
For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass,
its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes.
So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Responsorial Psalm – 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76

R.        (77A)  Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
            but now I hold to your promise. 
R.        Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
You are good and bountiful;
            teach me your statutes. 
R.        Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
            that I may learn your statutes. 
R.        Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
            than thousands of gold and silver pieces. 
R.        Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just,
            and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me. 
R.        Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Let your kindness comfort me
            according to your promise to your servants. 
R.        Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.

Alleluia – Jn 14:6

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

Gospel – Mk 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.

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Where I Stand


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 13, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was once asked about her prayer life. The interviewer asked, “When you pray, what do you say to God?” The beautiful Saint replied, “I don’t talk, I simply listen.” Believing he understood what she had just said, the interviewer next asked, “Ah, then what is it that God says to you when you pray?” She replied, “He also doesn’t talk. He also simply listens.” There was a long silence, with the interviewer seeming a bit confused and did not know what to ask next. Finally, Mother Teresa broke the silence by saying, “If you can’t understand the meaning of what I’ve just said, I’m sorry but there’s no way I can explain it any better.”

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

And they do one more thing: The Beatitudes proclaim the blessings and rewards that have already been secured for those who love Jesus. Just imagine, there’s a place in Heaven for you, and it has your name on it!

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

“Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of Containing God’s gift of Himself.” Mother Theresa

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February 13, 2022


Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 78

Reading I – Jer 17:5-8

Thus says the LORD:
            Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings,
                        who seeks his strength in flesh,
                        whose heart turns away from the LORD.
            He is like a barren bush in the desert
                        that enjoys no change of season,
            but stands in a lava waste,
                        a salt and empty earth.
            Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
                        whose hope is the LORD.
            He is like a tree planted beside the waters
                        that stretches out its roots to the stream:
            it fears not the heat when it comes;
                        its leaves stay green;
            in the year of drought it shows no distress,
                        but still bears fruit.

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

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

Reading II – 1 Cor 15:12, 16-20

Brothers and sisters:
If Christ is preached as raised from the dead,
how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised,
and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain;
you are still in your sins.
Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ,
we are the most pitiable people of all.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Alleluia – Lk 6:23AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad;
your reward will be great in heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 6:17, 20-26

Jesus came down with the twelve
and stood on a stretch of level ground
with a great crowd of his disciples
and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.
And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said:
            “Blessed are you who are poor,
                        for the kingdom of God is yours.
            Blessed are you who are now hungry,
                        for you will be satisfied.
            Blessed are you who are now weeping,
                        for you will laugh.
            Blessed are you when people hate you,
                        and when they exclude and insult you,
                        and denounce your name as evil
                        on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
            But woe to you who are rich,
                        for you have received your consolation.
            Woe to you who are filled now,
                        for you will be hungry.
            Woe to you who laugh now,
                        for you will grieve and weep.
            Woe to you when all speak well of you,
                        for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”

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Eternal, Not Fast Food


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 12, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Before we become “high and mighty” and somehow judge anyone because of their incredible short-sightedness, take a breather: we do the same thing here in the Twenty-First Century. We, too, must combat the constant temptation of spiritual obesity right here, today in our very lives. We run to self-help books and “happy-meal” approaches to spirituality instead of thoughtfully feeding on the words of the Scriptures. We prefer entertainment rather than a challenge. We want to play at our worship instead of truly thanking God for everything we have and take seriously the call to live a life of integrity.
We have all been inspired to eat healthier as long as there have been kitchens, restaurants, and diners. Maybe less french fries and more salads; more water and less soda; less junk and more natural fare. And as long as we encountered the Lord among us, we have also been inspired to live a more authentic and loving life. We are destined to live a life that trusts Jesus with everything and seeks less and less to be mentally tickled, stimulus-stuffed, and hypnotized by the slow beating drum of the world’s heartless and selfish messages. We are called upon this day from the Scriptures to eat more spiritually healthy food as often as humanly possible. “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” We must reconstruct what we place in our bodies and what we allow into the depth of our souls.

Practical Application: Take a quick assessment and review all the voices in your life right now. What are you watching? Who are your friends? What kind of messages are you allowing into your heart, mind, and soul? Are you happy with those intakes? It may be time to make some changes. Pray for Wisdom tonight, and let’s see what the Sabbath has in store for you.

For food in a world where many walk in hunger; for faith in a world where many walk in fear. For friends in a world when many walk alone, Please Jesus, feed us with Your Eternal Food. Amen.

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February 12, 2022


Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 334

Reading I – 1 Kgs 12:26-32; 13:33-34

Jeroboam thought to himself:
“The kingdom will return to David’s house.
If now this people go up to offer sacrifices
in the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem,
the hearts of this people will return to their master,
Rehoboam, king of Judah,
and they will kill me.”
After taking counsel, the king made two calves of gold
and said to the people:
“You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough.
Here is your God, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
And he put one in Bethel, the other in Dan.
This led to sin, because the people frequented those calves
in Bethel and in Dan.
He also built temples on the high places
and made priests from among the people who were not Levites.
Jeroboam established a feast in the eighth month
on the fifteenth day of the month
to duplicate in Bethel the pilgrimage feast of Judah,
with sacrifices to the calves he had made;
and he stationed in Bethel priests of the high places he had built.

Jeroboam did not give up his evil ways after this,
but again made priests for the high places
from among the common people.
Whoever desired it was consecrated
and became a priest of the high places.
This was a sin on the part of the house of Jeroboam
for which it was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – 106:6-7AB, 19-20, 21-22

R.        (4A) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
We have sinned, we and our fathers;
            we have committed crimes; we have done wrong.
Our fathers in Egypt
            considered not your wonders. 
R.        Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They made a calf in Horeb
            and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
            for the image of a grass-eating bullock. 
R.        Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
            who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
            terrible things at the Red Sea.
R.        Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia – Mt 4:4B

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

Gospel – Mk 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

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February 11, 2022


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

Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 333

Reading I – 1 Kgs 11:29-32; 12:19

Jeroboam left Jerusalem,
and the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road.
The two were alone in the area,
and the prophet was wearing a new cloak.
Ahijah took off his new cloak,
tore it into twelve pieces, and said to Jeroboam:

“Take ten pieces for yourself;
            the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
            ‘I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon’s grasp
            and will give you ten of the tribes.
One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant,
            and of Jerusalem,
            the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’”

Israel went into rebellion against David’s house to this day.

Responsorial Psalm – 81:10-11AB, 12-13, 14-15

R.        (11A and 9A)  I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
“There shall be no strange god among you
            nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
            who led you forth from the land of Egypt.”
R.        I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
“My people heard not my voice,
            and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
            they walked according to their own counsels.”
R.        I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
“If only my people would hear me,
            and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
            against their foes I would turn my hand.”
R.        I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.

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 7:31-37

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

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God’s Handwriting


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 11, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant, and of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.” Some say that the eyes are the window to the soul in that we can reveal the very depths of our souls through them to others. When Jesus speaks of visions and light, He means all people should keep their eyes on God because the eyes are the windows to the soul. Eyes should not focus on trash such as pornography, filth, or extravagant “over-the-top” lifestyles. This is what He means when He says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When people ruin their relationship with God, their eyes are often opened to the truth of what they had done and how far they left the presence of God in so little time. There truly is only one solution to the human problem of hopelessness: “I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.”

“Ephphatha!” The Gospel of ours today crown these thoughts with the most dramatic and marvelous scene by which Jesus approaches humanity figured in the person of a deaf man who had a speech impediment. The analogy should be clear. Humanity has an impediment: a closed heart and a closed mind. Jesus is the supreme and only solution-remedy to such a universal dilemma. Today, be especially open to the Lord working in your life today. You will hear His voice and speak His words: “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Practical Application: Remember today to be super-aware of how much God loves you. Remember to what extent He went to assure you a place in Heaven. Some people can be so disoriented to God that they become annoyed at the interruption when he begins to work around them. Are you annoyed or grateful today?

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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February 11 – Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes


For the Readings for the Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 531

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

Reading 1 – Is 66:10-14C

Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
all you who love her;
Exult, exult with her,
all you who were mourning over her!
Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort,
That you may nurse with delight
at her abundant breasts!
For thus says the LORD:
Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like
an overflowing torrent.
As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
and fondled in her lap;
As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
and your bodies flourish like the grass;
The LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.

Responsorial Psalm – Jdt 13:18BCDE, 19

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

Alleluia – See Lk 1:45

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

Gospel – 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 servants,
“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 they 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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February 10 – Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin


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

Lectionary: 530

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

Reading 1 – Sgs 8:6-7

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

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 14:23

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

Gospel – Lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

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February 10, 2022


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

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin

Lectionary: 332

Reading I – 1 Kgs 11:4-13

When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods,
and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God,
as the heart of his father David had been.
By adoring Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians,
and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites,
Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD;
he did not follow him unreservedly as his father David had done.
Solomon then built a high place to Chemosh, the idol of Moab,
and to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites,
on the hill opposite Jerusalem.
He did the same for all his foreign wives
who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon,
because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel,
who had appeared to him twice
(for though the LORD had forbidden him 
this very act of following strange gods,
Solomon had not obeyed him).

So the LORD said to Solomon: “Since this is what you want,
and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes
which I enjoined on you,
I will deprive you of the kingdom and give it to your servant.
I will not do this during your lifetime, however,
for the sake of your father David;
it is your son whom I will deprive.
Nor will I take away the whole kingdom.
I will leave your son one tribe for the sake of my servant David
and of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

Responsorial Psalm – 106:3-4, 35-36, 37 and 40

R.        (4A) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
            who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people;
            visit us with your saving help. 
R.        Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But they mingled with the nations
            and learned their works.
They served their idols,
            which became a snare for them. 
R.        Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They sacrificed their sons
            and their daughters to demons.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
            and abhorred his inheritance. 
R.        Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia – Jas 1:21BC

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

Gospel – Mk 7:24-30

Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, “Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him,
“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.

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Wisdom Derailed


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 10, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

Too many believe that having more access to more and more information produces much more knowledge and wisdom, but in all actuality, the opposite is true. Without proper focus, context, and especially fidelity to truth, all this just makes for a rather muddied an opaque view of the world and takes us farther and farther away from wisdom. Such is the very unfortunate turn of events that is revealed in our First Reading today: “When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God, as the heart of his father David had been.” Solomon lost his focus and drifted away to the real source of what made him so wise and admired. Many things can cause that. Our First Reading seems to have been unhealthy influences from those closest around him. It may also have been the opulent and lavish lifestyle surrounding monarchs of every age.

The Gospel today reminds us that sometimes when we are in the most desperate throes of need and want, especially during difficult and or painful circumstances, our focus becomes quite improved as we saw with the woman who knew Jesus could help her and trusted that He would do so if she just asked: “‘Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.'” This is great news for us all! We may often find ourselves “derailed’ from the path we truly wish to follow through all kinds of circumstances, and we are likewise strengthened by the fact that the Lord loves us so much that He is always ready and willing to touch and heal us. Knowing this and living by these words truly makes us wise.

Practical Application: If someone asked me today if I thought I was on the right path in life, how would I respond? Are there any elements of my life that I need to redirect or change? Ask the Lord to give you the necessary courage to address these issues and make appropriate changes.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo

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What’s In Your Soul?


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 9, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard.” How much we need wisdom, wise words, and wise people in our lives today! The Queen of Sheba was enthralled with the wisdom of Solomon, and rightly so. From the beginning of time, the Forbidden Fruit, which caused grace-eating sinfulness to enter the world, has long been a fascination among artists, authors, and theologians ever since it was first plucked from that remote corner of the garden of Eden. The idea that specific fruit was somehow the cause of all the calamities and diseases and the foils that have befallen humanity all these centuries is a little far-fetched. What was the real sin here? Adam and Eve abused their freedom allowed trust in God to weaken in their hearts, making them susceptible to the wiles of the devil, causing them to disobey the only Protector they ever knew. So you see, it was not what was going into them that caused corruption. It was an internal betrayal hitting at the very core of their soul.

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

Practical Application: Today, think about the actual things you tell other people. What do you notice? What did they say about what is in your heart these days? Time for a change?

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. Honesty is telling the truth to other people.” Spencer Johnson

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February 9, 2022


Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 331

Reading I – 1 Kgs 10:1-10

The queen of Sheba, having heard of Solomon’s fame,
came to test him with subtle questions.
She arrived in Jerusalem with a very numerous retinue,
and with camels bearing spices,
a large amount of gold, and precious stones.
She came to Solomon and questioned him on every subject
in which she was interested.
King Solomon explained everything she asked about,
and there remained nothing hidden from him
that he could not explain to her.

When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom,
the palace he had built, the food at his table,
the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters,
his banquet service,
and the burnt offerings he offered in the temple of the LORD,
she was breathless.
“The report I heard in my country
about your deeds and your wisdom is true,” she told the king.
“Though I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes,
I have discovered that they were not telling me the half.
Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard.
Blessed are your men, blessed these servants of yours,
who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom.
Blessed be the LORD, your God,
whom it has pleased to place you on the throne of Israel.
In his enduring love for Israel,
the LORD has made you king to carry out judgment and justice.”
Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty gold talents,
a very large quantity of spices, and precious stones.
Never again did anyone bring such an abundance of spices
as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

Responsorial Psalm – 37:5-6, 30-31, 39-40

R.        (30A)  The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Commit to the LORD your way;
            trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
            bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R.        The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom
            and his tongue utters what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart,
            and his steps do not falter.
R.        The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
            he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
            he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
            because they take refuge in him.
R.        The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

Alleluia – See Jn 17:17B, 17A

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

Gospel – Mk 7:14-23

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

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
“Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?”
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”

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February 8 – Optional Memorial of Saint Jerome Emiliani, priest


For the Readings for the Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 529

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

Reading 1 – Tb 12:6-13

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

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

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

R.    (2)  I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – Mt 5:3

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

Gospel – Mk 10:17-30

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;

honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him,  loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

 Or

Mk 10:17-27


As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

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February 8 – Optional Memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita, Virgin


For the Readings for the Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 529A

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Virgins (vol. II, III, or IV, nos. 731-736).

Reading 1 – 1 Cor 7:25-35

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

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

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

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

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

Alleluia

R.  Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the wise virgin, whom the Lord found waiting;
at his coming, she went in with him to the wedding feast.  
R.  Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 25:1-13

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

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Tradition And Traditions


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 8, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites…” The topic regarding tradition can be a tricky one. By definition, traditions are literally “handed down” from one group, culture, or generation to another. But how can we distinguish between human traditions and the ones from God? How can we know for certain if what we’re doing is merely a human custom or if it’s a genuine revelation from the Lord, Who is true and everywhere at all times?

The Gospel tackles this question head-on with the quoted words of Jesus from the prophet Isaiah: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.” Here is the danger: if we hold human traditions as if they come straight from God, we are guilty of idolatry; If we take Divine Revelation and treat Tradition as if it were a simple custom, then we straddle into the land of apathetic disbelief. Divine Revelation has two sources, Scripture and Tradition; God’s Word is written, and His teaching is oral. The Church as Sacrament of Salvation must make these distinctions clear and navigate us through the centuries. This is why Jesus established the Church, and that is why it must have all three elements intact, Scripture, Tradition, and the Teaching Authority of the Church. This is how we stay focused until we are with God forever and say for all eternity, “Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees; And favor me with your law.” Thus, we are called to achieve this healthy and inspiring balance between what is radically, completely, and fundamentally true about our faith and the expression and practice of this gift till we breathe our last breath. We need to be ready to move forward creatively to new ways of understanding our faith and living it out.

Practical Application: Make a mental list of all the traditions you have inherited since you were young. How do they make you see yourself? Now picture Jesus with you and all those you love at those wonderful life moments.

“Prayer does not change God, but it changes the one who prays.” Soren Kierkegaard

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February 8, 2022


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

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

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 330

Reading I – 1 Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30

Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD
in the presence of the whole community of Israel,
and stretching forth his hands toward heaven,
he said, “LORD, God of Israel,
there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below;
you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants
who are faithful to you with their whole heart.

“Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?
If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you,
how much less this temple which I have built! 
Look kindly on the prayer and petition of your servant, O LORD, my God,
and listen to the cry of supplication which I, your servant,
utter before you this day.
May your eyes watch night and day over this temple,
the place where you have decreed you shall be honored;
may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.
Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel
which they offer in this place.
Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.”

Responsorial Psalm – 84:3, 4, 5 and 10, 11

R.        (2)  How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines 
            for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
            cry out for the living God. 
R.        How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
             and the swallow a nest
             in which she puts her young—
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
            my king and my God!
R.        How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
            continually they praise you.
O God, behold our shield,
            and look upon the face of your anointed.
R.        How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
I had rather one day in your courts
            than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
            than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R.        How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia – Ps 119:36, 29B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees;
and favor me with your law.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mk 7:1-13

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

            This people honors me with their lips,
                        but their hearts are far from me;
            In vain do they worship me,
                        teaching as doctrines human precepts.


You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.” 

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February 7, 2022


Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 329

Reading I – 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13

The elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes,
the princes in the ancestral houses of the children of Israel,
came to King Solomon in Jerusalem,
to bring up the ark of the LORD’s covenant
from the City of David, which is Zion.
All the people of Israel assembled before King Solomon
during the festival in the month of Ethanim (the seventh month).
When all the elders of Israel had arrived,
the priests took up the ark;
they carried the ark of the LORD
and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels
that were in the tent.
(The priests and Levites carried them.)

King Solomon and the entire community of Israel
present for the occasion
sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen
too many to number or count.
The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD
to its place beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary,
the holy of holies of the temple.
The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark,
sheltering the ark and its poles from above.
There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets
which Moses had put there at Horeb,
when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel
at their departure from the land of Egypt.

When the priests left the holy place,
the cloud filled the temple of the LORD
so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud,
since the LORD’s glory had filled the temple of the LORD.
Then Solomon said, “The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud;
I have truly built you a princely house,
a dwelling where you may abide forever.”

Responsorial Psalm – 132:6-7, 8-10

R.        (8A)  Lord, go up to the place of your rest!
Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
            we found it in the fields of Jaar.
Let us enter into his dwelling,
            let us worship at his footstool.
R.        Lord, go up to the place of your rest!
Advance, O LORD, to your resting place,
            you and the ark of your majesty.
May your priests be clothed with justice;
            let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy.
For the sake of David your servant,
            reject not the plea of your anointed.
R.        Lord, go up to the place of your rest!

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 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country 
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.

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If I Could Just Get Close


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 7, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Then Solomon said, ‘The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud; I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever.'” In our First Reading today, we see the almost insatiable desire on God’s part to be close to us. The creation of the known universe takes place. In a phrase, God moves very near to his people by making sure that He remains within their very midst. If the Lord is near, all will be well, not just for individuals but for all those who live in His universe and are looking for comfort, guidance, and respite from the hardships of life and love: “Lord, go up to the place of your rest!”

The Gospel continues these thoughts with Seat of all Wisdom, Jesus the Christ “Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.” The same principle is true for all of us today, right now. Great things will always happen, both externally and internally, when we remain close to the Lord and run to Him always. This is true confidence in the One who loves us so much that He would rather die than live without us. Start every morning by first speaking with Him. He loves hearing from you, and you’ll be very glad (blessed) that you did. He is right there.

“Prayer – Christian prayer – by its very nature is born out of an acknowledgment of need, out of an honest recognition of spiritual poverty.” Paul Murray

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Striving For A Meaningful Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 6, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Here I am,” I said; ‘send me!'” If we have any doubts about our place in this life, we must remember this: God is always calling us into a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Him as we move forward in faith. This was fully realized in our First Reading when the Prophet Isaiah is moved beyond doubt that he wants to be sent out into this world. But do not be discouraged. God equips those He calls with strength and insight beyond all measure: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.” If God calls you to greater, deeper moments in life, we cannot fail.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” The Gospel crowns these thoughts with the instructions He gives to His Apsotsles (friends) and, by extension, to all of us. Keep striving for more meaningful connections with the Lord. Never lose hope. Keep exposing yourselves to the Word of God and the Eucharist. The catch, as Jesus has promised, will be great.

Practical Application: Allow the words of the Prophet Isaiah and the Great Apostle, Paul, to be yours. Ask the Lord to send you with his powerful love knowing that what you cannot do, He will certainly accomplish through you.

“Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Joshua Marine

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February 6, 2022


Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 75

Reading I – Is 6:1-2A, 3-8

In the year King Uzziah died,
I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,
with the train of his garment filling the temple.
Seraphim were stationed above.

They cried one to the other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”
At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook
and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
living among a people of unclean lips;
yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me,
holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it, and said,
“See, now that this has touched your lips,
your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8

R. (1C) In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
            for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
            I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
            for you have made great above all things
            your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
            you built up strength within me.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
            when they hear the words of your mouth;
and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD:
            “Great is the glory of the LORD.”
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Your right hand saves me.
            The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
            forsake not the work of your hands.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Reading II – 1 Cor 15:1-11

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, Christ appeared to more
than five hundred brothers at once,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.
For I am the least of the apostles,
not fit to be called an apostle,
because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them;
not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed.

OR:

1 Cor 15:3-8, 11

Brothers and sisters,
I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures; 
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more
than five hundred brothers at once,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one abnormally born,
he appeared to me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed. 

Alleluia – Mt 4:19

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

Gospel – Lk 5:1-11

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

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February 5 – Memorial of Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr


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

Lectionary: 527

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 31:3ACD-4, 6 and 8AB, 16BC and 17

R.    (6)  Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Alleluia – 1 Pt 4:14

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

Gospel – Lk 9:23-26

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

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Out Of The Cycle Of Sin


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 5, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” There was a remarkable encounter with a visiting and potential donor to one of the many outreach clinics in the poorest part of Calcutta, India, where the Sisters of Charity and Mother Teresa served the poor and dying. This visitor saw a young nun tendering washing a gaping wound of a man who was dying of malnutrition and infection. Her response to the young religious sister was surprising: “I wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world!” The nun’s response was equally surprising: “Neither would I, Ma’am. Neither would I.”

The lesson for all of us today is simple: God loves us, and that is the only reason for His divine sacrifice for our eternal happiness. “May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.” There is no money possibly gathered in all the lifetimes and eons of history on this planet that could even come close to what the Father has done for us in giving us His only begotten Son, Jesus, for our salvation. In the light of all this, what is our response to others? Love often takes the form of forgiveness and patience even when it does not appear to be merited or proper.

Practical Application: Spend some time today in silence and search your soul to see if there is anyone that you have not forgiven. However painful, ask God to walk with you, ask Jesus to show you His love for you, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to forgive. This is what is called courageous courage.

“Real love pushes you away from a cycle of sin. Authentic love encourages you not to sit on your calling. Perfect love casts out all fear because the love of God will cause you to leave all that is comfortable.” Micah Berteau

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February 5, 2022


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

Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

Lectionary: 328

Reading I – 1 Kgs 3:4-13

Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there,
because that was the most renowned high place.
Upon its altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings.
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
Solomon answered:
“You have shown great favor to your servant, my father David,
because he behaved faithfully toward you,
with justice and an upright heart;
and you have continued this great favor toward him, even today,
seating a son of his on his throne.
O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant,
king to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this–
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right–
I do as you requested. 
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.
In addition, I give you what you have not asked for,
such riches and glory that among kings there is not your like.”

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 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 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and 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.

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Love Changes Everything


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 4, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart, and yield a harvest through perseverance.” This is truly an amazing Gospel that we have today. It describes the death and martyrdom of John the Baptist, who occupies several wonderful categories, including cousin to Jesus, the Last Prophet, and outstanding voice that calls us all to listen and be ready for the greatest news we could ever receive. The Readings make this an even more thought-provoking First Friday of the month as we recall how great it is to love the Lord and follow Him with every fiber of our being. John would later express this very same desire when he stated that he should decrease while Jesus must increase. Once we realize and accept our purpose here on earth, our lives are much simpler and have the potential of even greater holiness. King David in Our First Reading has personal experience on this front and was overjoyed that His God forgave him as he would sing His praises: “The Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever; He conferred on him the rights of royalty and established his throne in Israel.”

“Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.” John the Baptist’s role and spiritual place could never be overplayed or misunderstood. He forms one of the most significant members of the cloud of witnesses that helps us all look intently at Jesus and never let that focus stray. For the many of us who are giving all we have to be the best we can be and please the Lord, we are heartened that God always prepares the way for us to find Jesus and stay ever-so-close to Him in this life and the next. Our call is to let Jesus increase in our lives and our selfishness decrease. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the wonderful Eucharist, success in this field is within our reach. The death of John the Baptist reminds us that following the Lord also has a deep price that sometimes people are unwilling to consider or offer. But in the final analysis, we want to be counted among those who are faithful, loving, and true to our calling. Nothing else will do: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?”

Practical Application: Today on our First Friday of our mini-retreat, consider the people in your life whom you love. Why do you think they occupy such a special place in your heart? Do you ever give thanks to God for them? Do you pray for them? Read our daily quote slowly and see what comes into your heart remembering that Jesus loves you with an everlasting love.

Love does not magically change things in your life. It does not do the work for you. Love is an altering agent that must be received and applied. Love has to be in charge. Once this love is in you, then it can do work within you. Once it is working within you, it must come out of you. You are not loved just so you can walk around being loved. You are loved so you can be love. The places where love does not reach go unchanged.  Micah Berteau 

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February 4, 2022


Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 327

Reading I – Sir 47:2-11

Like the choice fat of the sacred offerings,
            so was David in Israel.
He made sport of lions as though they were kids,
            and of bears, like lambs of the flock.
As a youth he slew the giant
            and wiped out the people’s disgrace,
When his hand let fly the slingston
            that crushed the pride of Goliath.
Since he called upon the Most High God, 
            who gave strength to his right arm
To defeat the skilled warrior
            and raise up the might of his people,
Therefore the women sang his praises,
            and ascribed to him tens of thousands
            and praised him when they blessed the Lord.
When he assumed the royal crown, he battled
            and subdued the enemy on every side.
He destroyed the hostile Philistines
            and shattered their power till our own day.
With his every deed he offered thanks 
            to God Most High, in words of praise.
With his whole being he loved his Maker
            and daily had his praises sung;
            He set singers before the altar and by their voices
                        he made sweet melodies,
He added beauty to the feasts
            and solemnized the seasons of each year
So that when the Holy Name was praised,
            before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.
The Lord forgave him his sins
            and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty
            and established his throne in Israel.

Responsorial Psalm – 18:31, 47 and 50, 51

R.        (see 47B)  Blessed be God my salvation!
God’s way is unerring,
            the promise of the LORD is fire-tried;
            he is a shield to all who take refuge in him.
R.        Blessed be God my salvation!
The LORD live! And blessed be my Rock!
            Extolled be God my savior.
Therefore will I proclaim you, O LORD, among the nations,
            and I will sing praise to your name.
R.        Blessed be God my salvation!
You who gave great victories to your king
            and showed kindness to your anointed,
            to David and his posterity forever.
R.        Blessed be God my salvation!

Alleluia – See Lk 8:15

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

Gospel – Mk 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”

Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias, 
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” 
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

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February 3 – Optional Memorial of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr


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

Lectionary: 525

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

Reading 1 – Rom 5:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions,
knowing that affliction produces endurance,
and endurance, proven character,
and proven character, hope,
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – Mt 28:19A, 20B

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

Gospel – Mk 16:15-20

Jesus 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.”

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

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February 3 – Optional Memorial of Saint Ansgar, bishop


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

Lectionary: 526

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

Reading 1 – Is 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”

Hark!  Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
For they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts his people,
he redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
All the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

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

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

Alleluia – Mk 1:17

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


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 3, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

Giacomo Puccini is one of the brightest stars of music history on our planet, with many stellar works accredited to his God-given talents. Among them is the opera “Turandot,” which he composed in 1924 but did not live to see its completion or first performance. Others had to start where he had left off and finish the great masterpiece. Something very similar is happening in the Readings today. Someone is leaving, and others must keep going as King David on his deathbed related to Solomon his son: “I am going the way of all flesh. Take courage and be a man.” Solomon would live on with his great father-king deeply embedded in his soul, to become one of the wisest rulers of all human history.

Another wise and noble king would do something quite similar in the Gospel. He would be leaving but not abandoning the world to likes and dangers of evil. “Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.” In a simple phrase, our charge today is to finish the masterpiece of our lives that God began on the day we were born. We move in His wonderful light and make the world a much better place than when we found it. Who would have thought that we are all artists in our right?

Practical Application: Think about all the blessings you have been given in your life. Why do you think you were given those specific ones? Give yourself some time to pray and consider what God still wants to do with you in this world. Someone not too far off is waiting for you to finish the masterpiece that the Lord began in you.

“You are God’s chisel; it is you He uses to create masterpieces.” Matshona Dhliwayo

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February 3, 2022


Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

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

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

Lectionary: 326

Reading I – 1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12

When the time of David’s death drew near,
he gave these instructions to his son Solomon:
“I am going the way of all flesh.
Take courage and be a man.
Keep the mandate of the Lord, your God, following his ways
and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees
as they are written in the law of Moses,
that you may succeed in whatever you do,
wherever you turn, and the Lord may fulfill
the promise he made on my behalf when he said,
‘If your sons so conduct themselves
that they remain faithful to me with their whole heart
and with their whole soul,
you shall always have someone of your line
on the throne of Israel.’”

David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
The length of David’s reign over Israel was forty years:
he reigned seven years in Hebron
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.

Solomon was seated on the throne of his father David,
with his sovereignty firmly established. 

Responsorial Psalm – 1 Chronicles 29:10, 11AB, 11D-12A, 12BCD

R.        (12B)  Lord, you are exalted over all.
“Blessed may you be, O LORD,
            God of Israel our father,
            from eternity to eternity.”
R.        Lord, you are exalted over all.
“Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
            majesty, splendor, and glory.”
R.        Lord, you are exalted over all.
“LORD, you are exalted over all.
            Yours, O Lord, is the sovereignty;
            you are exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor are from you.”
R.        Lord, you are exalted over all.
“In your hand are power and might;
            it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all.”
R.        Lord, you are exalted over all.

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 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

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Light For Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 2, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Have you ever heard the expression, “Now I’ve seen everything!”? It is a phrase that seems to suggest that something has just occurred that took the beholder by surprise and by storm, something that could not have been imagined or predicted. Something similar has happened for us today in the Gospel that chronicles the experience of Simeon in the Temple when he beholds the Baby Jesus and realizes that life can never be the same again. You see, according to the same Gospel account, he had been promised by a special revelation from the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he clapped eyes on the Messiah. When he saw Jesus, he knew it was time.

Our First Reading today gives us more than just a subtle hint of how we can live like this, and therefore, by extension, die a very happy death: “He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.” It is quite simple: if we have spent our days trying to love each other, forgive at every juncture, pray for those who hate us, and treat everyone, especially the poor, as if they were Jesus Himself, then don’t you think we would recognize the Messiah, too? You see, the refining silver image is all about our refinement and ongoing spiritual testing in the crucible of suffering and self-sacrifice. The Letter to the Hebrew agrees with the assessment: “Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”

On this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we have come to the truly last reference to the mysteries of the Christmas Season. (In fact, this was the official end of Christmas.) In the 50 days since Christmas, what have we learned this year going forth? We must find Jesus, honor him, keep Him warm and safe in our hearts, and then bring the finest gifts of our lives, always seeking to see his face: “Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!”

Practical Application: As you move throughout the day, take a look and notice all the sources of light in your life: office, home, school, traffic, the sun, etc. Imagine a world without light, plunged into complete darkness. Pray for interior light to see and then understand your place in this life with the Light of the World right beside you.

Almighty ever-living God, we humbly implore your majesty that, just as your Only Begotten Son was presented on this day in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, so, by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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February 2, 2022


Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Lectionary: 524

Reading I – Mal 3:1-4

            Thus says the Lord God:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
            to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
            the Lord whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
            Yes, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
            And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
            or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
            and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
            that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
            will please the Lord,
            as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Responsorial Psalm – 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R.        (8) Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
            reach up, you ancient portals,
            that the king of glory may come in!
R.        Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
            The Lord, strong and mighty,
            the Lord, mighty in battle.
R.        Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
            reach up, you ancient portals,
            that the king of glory may come in!
R.        Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
            The Lord of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R.        Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!

Reading II – Heb 2:14-18

Since the children share in blood and flesh,
Jesus likewise shared in them,
that through death he might destroy the one
who has the power of death, that is, the Devil,
and free those who through fear of death
had been subject to slavery all their life.
Surely he did not help angels
but rather the descendants of Abraham;
therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters
in every way,
that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
to expiate the sins of the people.
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
he is able to help those who are being tested.

Alleluia – Lk 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22-32

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus 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. 

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. 
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

            “Now, Master, you may let your servant go 
                        in peace, according to your word,
            for my eyes have seen your salvation,
                        which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
            a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
                        and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
Band you yourself a sword will pierceB
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

OR

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus 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. 

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. 
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

            “Now, Master, you may let your servant go 
                        in peace, according to your word,
            for my eyes have seen your salvation,
                        which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
            a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
                        and glory for your people Israel.”

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The Sacredness Of Tears


Reflection on Mass Reading for February 1, 2022

Theme for February 2022 Mini-Retreat: If we are going to survive in this world, we must find creative courage to find inventive solutions to make sense of what is unraveling before our very eyes.

We have now begun our “mini-retreat,” What a great way to start our journeys together. Have you ever wondered about the “science of crying”? It seems that over a long period of human development, we have come to a point where our tears are produced from certain specific-oriented glands due to an authentic connection with the world. Tears are a positive representation of who we are. They demonstrate our deep connections with God, others, and our very selves and, at the same time, allow us to visibly and proudly celebrate this keenly human activity and, by the way, are scientifically proven to make us feel better. This takes us to the scene in our First Reading today where King David is having a very bad day: “The king was shaken, and went up to the room over the city gate to weep. He said as he wept, ‘My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!'”

Tears also follow us into the Gospel of the day, into a scene where Jesus encounters quite a bit of this emotional display: “When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, ‘Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.'” From these two selections, we can safely assume that tears are normal, reflective of faith, and express an enormous amount of comforting reality, especially when it comes to our life in the Spirit with Jesus. Tears also announce our entire and eternal need for God, especially when the world is harsh and cold and dark. We can and should agree with Psalm today: “Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me, for I am afflicted and poor. Keep my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God.”

Practical Application: As you go through your day these next couple of hours, accept the gift of tears in moderation, share your cross with a trusted friend, and give thanks to God that you are human and that you know He is there right by you all the way.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” Washington Irving

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February 1, 2022


Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 324

Reading I – 2 Sm 18:9-10, 14B, 24-25A, 30–19:3

Absalom unexpectedly came up against David’s servants.
He was mounted on a mule,
and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large terebinth,
his hair caught fast in the tree.
He hung between heaven and earth
while the mule he had been riding ran off.
Someone saw this and reported to Joab
that he had seen Absalom hanging from a terebinth.
And taking three pikes in hand,
he thrust for the heart of Absalom,
still hanging from the tree alive.

Now David was sitting between the two gates,
and a lookout went up to the roof of the gate above the city wall,
where he looked about and saw a man running all alone.
The lookout shouted to inform the king, who said,
“If he is alone, he has good news to report.”
The king said, “Step aside and remain in attendance here.”
So he stepped aside and remained there.
When the Cushite messenger came in, he said,
“Let my lord the king receive the good news
that this day the LORD has taken your part,
freeing you from the grasp of all who rebelled against you.”
But the king asked the Cushite, “Is young Absalom safe?”
The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king
and all who rebel against you with evil intent
be as that young man!”

The king was shaken,
and went up to the room over the city gate to weep.
He said as he wept,
“My son Absalom!  My son, my son Absalom!
If only I had died instead of you,
Absalom, my son, my son!”

Joab was told that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom;
and that day’s victory was turned into mourning for the whole army
when they heard that the king was grieving for his son.

Responsorial Psalm – 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.        (1A)  Listen, Lord, and answer me.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
            for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
            save your servant who trusts in you. 
            You are my God.
R.        Listen, Lord, and answer me.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
            for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
            for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R.        Listen, Lord, and answer me.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
            abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
            and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R.        Listen, Lord, and answer me.

Alleluia – Mt 8:17

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

Gospel – Mk 5:21-43

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

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

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

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