The Word of God

THE BOTTOMLESS PIT OF GREED


“For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?” Several famous people have been quoted as saying that too many people today know the price of everything and the value of nothing. These people would be classified as cynics. The idea that anyone in the “real world” should even consider ethical, moral, philosophical, or cultural values to be on a par with financial or economic ‘value’ appears whimsical, sentimental, even romantic. Hard-nosed, sensible, rational, practical people know otherwise. It’s all about money, “they” say…But is it really? The words of the Gospel make it very clear to us that God will have the first and last word. “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” 

The spiritually dead are all around us. They may look alive and have plenty of possessions, even looks, and money, but this does not ensure life, especially eternal life. It is precisely the “age of this world” that promotes that misguided philosophy that you are what you have. We do not belong to things. We do not essentially consist of material realities because, in the end, all we will have could never be measured, touched, or counted. Our soul is what is of supreme value. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”

Greed makes us servants of possessions. We could easily remember this by the quote that “we can’t be possessed by our possessions.” Yet it happens all around us precisely because people have already decided which God they will serve. Greed makes the false and empty promise that things and possessions can save and bring us to eternal happiness and peace. The best way to avoid all this is to pray in thanksgiving to the One who gives us everything we have. If we keep remembering that all I have comes from God then I cannot and will not forget how wonderfully generous my God is to me. Ask the Lord to free you from all the needless and dangerous attachments you have right now. 

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. Socrates  

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July 31, 2022


Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 114

Reading 1 – Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities!  All things are vanity!

Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill,
and yet to another who has not labored over it,
he must leave property.
This also is vanity and a great misfortune.
For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart
with which he has labored under the sun?
All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation;
even at night his mind is not at rest.
This also is vanity.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (1) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
 are as yesterday, now that it is past,
 or as a watch of the night.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
 the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Teach us to number our days aright,
 that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
 Have pity on your servants!
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
 that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
 prosper the work of our hands for us!
 Prosper the work of our hands!
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading 2 – Col 3:1-5, 9-11

Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.

Alleluia – Mt 5:3

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

Gospel – Lk 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

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The Great Disaster Of Greed


man with cards at a poker game with others

Reflection on Mass Reading for July 31, 2022

“For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?” Several famous people have been quoted saying that too many people today know the price of everything and the value of nothing. These people would be classified as cynics. The idea that anyone in the “real world” should even consider ethical, moral, philosophical, or cultural values to be on a par with financial or economic ‘value’ appears whimsical, sentimental, and even romantic. Hard-nosed, sensible, rational, practical people know otherwise. It’s all about money, “they” say…But is it really? The words of the Gospel make it very clear to us that God will have the first and last word. “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

The spiritually dead are all around us. They may look alive and have plenty of possessions, even looks and money, but this does not ensure life, especially eternal life. The “age of this world” promotes that misguided philosophy that you are what you have. We do not belong to things. We do not essentially consist of material realities because, in the end, all we will have could never be measured, touched, or counted. Our soul is what is of supreme value. “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”

Greed makes us servants of possessions. We could easily remember this by the quote that “we can’t be possessed by our possessions.” Yet it happens all around us precisely because people have already decided which God they will serve. Greed makes the false and empty promise that things and possessions can save and bring us eternal happiness and peace. The best way to avoid all this is to pray in thanksgiving to the One who gives us everything we have. If we keep remembering that all I have comes from God, I cannot and will not forget how wonderfully generous my God is to me. Ask the Lord to free you from all the needless and dangerous attachments you have right now.

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” Socrates

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Love Changes Everything


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 30, 2022

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” This is truly an amazing Gospel that we have today. It describes the death and martyrdom of John the Baptist, who occupies a number of wonderful categories, including cousin to Jesus, the Last Prophet, and an 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 Saturday and the first day 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 potential for even greater holiness.

“Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.” The place of John the Baptist 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 by the fact 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 our lives and decrease our selfishness. 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: “Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink! may I be rescued from my foes, and from the watery depths.”

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” Erma Bombeck

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July 30, 2022


For the Optional Readings for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 406

Reading 1 – JER 26:11-16, 24

The priests and prophets said to the princes and to all the people,
“This man deserves death;
he has prophesied against this city,
as you have heard with your own ears.”
Jeremiah gave this answer to the princes and all the people:
“It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and city
all that you have heard.
Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds;
listen to the voice of the LORD your God,
so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you.
As for me, I am in your hands; 
do with me what you think good and right.
But mark well: if you put me to death,
it is innocent blood you bring on yourselves,
on this city and its citizens.
For in truth it was the LORD who sent me to you,
to speak all these things for you to hear.”

Thereupon the princes and all the people
said to the priests and the prophets,
“This man does not deserve death;
it is in the name of the LORD, our God, that he speaks to us.” 

So Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah,
so that he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34

R.(14C)  Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink!
may I be rescued from my foes,
and from the watery depths.
Let not the flood-waters overwhelm me,
nor the abyss swallow me up,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Alleluia – MT 5:10

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

Gospel – Mt 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
“It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
“Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

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July 30 – Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 608

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

Reading 1 – Eph 3:8-12

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

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:5

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

Gospel – Lk 6:43-45

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

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A Promising Future


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 29, 2022

“…whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing. Perhaps they will listen and turn back.” There seems to be a growing number of people, at times, very loud ones, who do not want to hear correction, solid advice, or the truth about life and love. In the end, there is nothing but disaster waiting for those who throw off the weight of wisdom especially offered by those who lived the life and walked by faith. The courage to take a leap of faith is needed, especially in our day and time.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” The benefits of this leap of faith are crystal-clear and even more desirable in the Gospel today. The scene there is similar to the many experiences that we have had when someone once close to us has died. There is sorrow, there is doubt, and sometimes there is darkness. This is certainly true today in the Gospel with the two famous sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha begins with Jesus suggesting that somehow all of the present tragedy in their lives could have been avoided if the Lord had just planned his schedule a little differently. However, before Jesus has a chance to respond to that statement, Martha quickly adds that no matter what the reason or course of events, she is ready to make that leap of faith and trust with all her heart and mind as to the outcome. Then Jesus reveals why the trusting moment is pivotal for all of us: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Without faith, hope and trust, there is no promise for the future, and without a promising future, life has no direction, no meaning, and no justification.” Adlin Sinclair

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July 29, 2022


For the Suggested Readings for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus

Lectionary: 405/607

Reading I – Jer 26:1-9

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim,
son of Josiah, king of Judah,
this message came from the LORD: 
Thus says the LORD:
Stand in the court of the house of the LORD
and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah
who come to worship in the house of the LORD;
whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing.
Perhaps they will listen and turn back,
each from his evil way,
so that I may repent of the evil I have planned to inflict upon them
for their evil deeds.
Say to them:  Thus says the LORD:
If you disobey me,
not living according to the law I placed before you
and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets,
whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them,
I will treat this house like Shiloh,
and make this the city to which all the nations of the earth
shall refer when cursing another.

Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people
heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD.
When Jeremiah finished speaking
all that the LORD bade him speak to all the people,
the priests and prophets laid hold of him, crying,
“You must be put to death!
Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD:
‘This house shall be like Shiloh,’ and
‘This city shall be desolate and deserted’?”
And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
 

Responsorial Psalm – 69:5, 8-10, 14

R.        (14C)  Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Those outnumber the hairs of my head
who hate me without cause.
Too many for my strength
are they who wrongfully are my enemies.
Must I restore what I did not steal?
R.        Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Since for your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother’s sons,
Because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R.        Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
R.        Lord, in your great love, answer me.
 

Alleluia – Jn 8:12

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

Gospel – Jn 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

OR:
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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July 29 – Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, please go here.

Lectionary: 405/607

Reading I – Jer 26:1-9

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim,
son of Josiah, king of Judah,
this message came from the LORD: 
Thus says the LORD:
Stand in the court of the house of the LORD
and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah
who come to worship in the house of the LORD;
whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing.
Perhaps they will listen and turn back,
each from his evil way,
so that I may repent of the evil I have planned to inflict upon them
for their evil deeds.
Say to them:  Thus says the LORD:
If you disobey me,
not living according to the law I placed before you
and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets,
whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them,
I will treat this house like Shiloh,
and make this the city to which all the nations of the earth
shall refer when cursing another.

Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people
heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD.
When Jeremiah finished speaking
all that the LORD bade him speak to all the people,
the priests and prophets laid hold of him, crying,
“You must be put to death!
Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD:
‘This house shall be like Shiloh,’ and
‘This city shall be desolate and deserted’?”
And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
 

Responsorial Psalm – 69:5, 8-10, 14

R.        (14C)  Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Those outnumber the hairs of my head
who hate me without cause.
Too many for my strength
are they who wrongfully are my enemies.
Must I restore what I did not steal?
R.        Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Since for your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother’s sons,
Because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R.        Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
R.        Lord, in your great love, answer me.
 

Alleluia – Jn 8:12

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

Gospel – Jn 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

OR:
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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July 28, 2022


Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 404

Reading 1 – JER 18:1-6

This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
Rise up, be off to the potter’s house;
there I will give you my message.
I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, 
working at the wheel.
Whenever the object of clay which he was making
turned out badly in his hand, 
he tried again,
making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
Can I not do to you, house of Israel,
as this potter has done? says the LORD.
Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter,
so are you in my hand, house of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 146:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6AB

R. (5A)  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R.  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Put not your trust in princes,
in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.
When his spirit departs he returns to his earth;
on that day his plans perish.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God.
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – ACTS 16:14B

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

Gospel – MT 13:47-53

Jesus said to the disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old.”
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

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Feet Of Clay


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 28, 2022

“Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.” Have you ever heard someone say someone has “feet of clay”? It is not very popular in present-day media usage; however, it is quite full of meaning and can shed some light, although indirectly, as we approach the end of the month tomorrow. The phrase refers to weakness or a hidden flaw in a greatly admired and respected character. People are said to have “feet of clay” if they are revealed to have blemishes or defects that most people were unaware of. We see this in the revelations of heroes and otherwise notable people about whom we may have had a too grandiose and over-qualified opinion. We wanted to believe in someone greater than ourselves. But you see, here is the problem. The more we expect unrealistic expectations about a person, the more we will be disappointed. Understandably, it seems as if we are made completely of clay and not just our feet: Yes, the only stainless One among us is the One for whom we wait.

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets.” All of life is a dress rehearsal for the last day of our lives. More than a handful of people say they know how we will die: “You are going to die the same way you lived.” Although there is much truth, we must not forget that every day presents an opportunity to grow in holiness and happiness and share that wealth with all people. Specifically, dear readers, this means that we approach every hurdle, struggle, and all internal or external conflicts and apply the message of love found in the Gospel and the heart of our merciful Savior Jesus.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de Saint Exupery

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Essential Needs


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 27, 2022

“For I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the LORD. I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.” Today is a special day, especially for those who remember our grandparents: it is the Feast Day of Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and thus the grandparents of Jesus. Although we do not know for sure if they could meet the Child Jesus, we do know the impact they made on the mother of the Lord and how wonderful that influence was passed on to the life of Jesus. As was the case with Moses, all of us have been given a responsibility to those who follow us, that is, the younger generations. And with that directive, there will always be help from all those under the command of our God. Grandparents truly embody the hopes and dreams of life as it goes on, even in the later years of one’s life and that much closer to eternal life.

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” God places key people in our lives at different times to nourish and guide us, especially when we need it the most. He also puts each one of us in similar situations to do the same thing: plant the seeds of faith, hope, and love and build the Kingdom. That is exactly what the Grandparents of Christ, Joachim, and Anna, accomplished, and it is why we can all rejoice and be glad for today and the blessings that this special Feast Day holds.

“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, and lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.” Rudolph Giuliani

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July 27, 2022


Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 403

Reading 1 – Jer 15:10, 16-21

Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth!
a man of strife and contention to all the land!
I neither borrow nor lend,
yet all curse me.
When I found your words, I devoured them;
they became my joy and the happiness of my heart,
Because I bore your name,
O LORD, God of hosts.
I did not sit celebrating
in the circle of merrymakers;
Under the weight of your hand I sat alone
because you filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain continuous,
my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook,
whose waters do not abide!
Thus the LORD answered me:
If you repent, so that I restore you,
in my presence you shall stand;
If you bring forth the precious without the vile,
you shall be my mouthpiece.
Then it shall be they who turn to you,
and you shall not turn to them;
And I will make you toward this people
a solid wall of brass.
Though they fight against you,
they shall not prevail,
For I am with you,
to deliver and rescue you, says the LORD.
I will free you from the hand of the wicked,
and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18

R. (17D) God is my refuge on the day of distress.
Rescue me from my enemies, O my God;
from my adversaries defend me.
Rescue me from evildoers;
from bloodthirsty men save me.
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
mighty men come together against me,
Not for any offense or sin of mine, O LORD.
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
O my strength! for you I watch;
for you, O God, are my stronghold,
As for my God, may his mercy go before me;
may he show me the fall of my foes.
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
But I will sing of your strength
and revel at dawn in your mercy;
You have been my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of distress.
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
O my strength! your praise will I sing;
for you, O God, are my stronghold,
my merciful God!
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.

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 – Mt 13:44-46

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

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Planting Good Seed


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 26, 2022

“Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound.” The great sadness which opens our Readings today from the Prophet Jeremiah stems from the aftermath of great disobedience on the part of the people God has chosen and so loved. The word “obedience” originates from the same word that indicates passionate listening. We use the adjective “passionate” because today, just because someone may hear you, they may NOT be listening or internalizing the thoughts or meaning. This could be said of us and listening to God. By obeying His call to take care of the people we have been given, we learn more about Him and can grow in understanding of His heart and desires for our lives.

“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” In today’s Gospel, many people were “out for a walk” and had the opportunity to meet Jesus during this time. He told them a great, meaningful story about yet another person who went out on a walk, this time to sow seeds, depending on where the seed landed determined the outcome. Here again, is yet another wonderful image of life itself. We are all walking through many different situations and circumstances. What we do during these “life-walks” and what we plant will determine not only how the day will end but also how each life will finish and be judged: “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.” Humility and fidelity also lead to personal growth. When we stay connected to the Great Sower, Jesus Christ, through a strong prayer life and total trust, especially when enduring a personal and spiritual test, we grow holiness and experience clarity in our lives. This is what is meant by success.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson

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July 26, 2022


For the Suggested Reading for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lectionary: 402

Reading 1 – JER 14:17-22

Let my eyes stream with tears
day and night, without rest,
Over the great destruction which overwhelms
the virgin daughter of my people,
over her incurable wound.
If I walk out into the field,
look! those slain by the sword;
If I enter the city,
look! those consumed by hunger.
Even the prophet and the priest
forage in a land they know not.

Have you cast Judah off completely?
Is Zion loathsome to you?
Why have you struck us a blow
that cannot be healed?
We wait for peace, to no avail;
for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.
We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness,
the guilt of our fathers;
that we have sinned against you.
For your name’s sake spurn us not,
disgrace not the throne of your glory;
remember your covenant with us, and break it not.
Among the nations’ idols is there any that gives rain?
Or can the mere heavens send showers?
Is it not you alone, O LORD,
our God, to whom we look?
You alone have done all these things.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 79:8, 9, 11 AND 13

R.  (9)  For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R.  For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R.  For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before you;
with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
through all generations we will declare your praise.
R.  For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Alleluia 

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

Gospel – MT 13:36-43

Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

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July 26 – Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, please go here.

Lectionary: 606

Reading 1 – Sir 44:1, 10-15

Now will I praise those godly men,
our ancestors, each in his own time:
These were godly men
whose virtues have not been forgotten;
Their wealth remains in their families,
their heritage with their descendants;
Through God’s covenant with them their family endures,
their posterity for their sake.

And for all time their progeny will endure,
their glory will never be blotted out;
Their bodies are peacefully laid away,
but their name lives on and on.
At gatherings their wisdom is retold,
and the assembly proclaims their praise.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 132:11, 13-14, 17-18

R.    (Luke 1:32)  God will give him the throne of David, his father.
The LORD swore to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
“Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne.”
R.    God will give him the throne of David, his father.
For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he prefers her for his dwelling.
“Zion is my resting place forever;
in her will I dwell, for I prefer her.”
R.    God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David;
I will place a lamp for my anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but upon him my crown shall shine.”
R.    God will give him the throne of David, his father.

Alleluia – See Lk 2:25C

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
They yearned for the comforting of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit rested upon them.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 13:16-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

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We Hold A Treasure


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 25, 2022

In just one short month from now, it will be 83 years to the date (August 25) that one of the most famous movies ever produced was initially released to its first of many millions of movie-goers. This is, of course, the musical fantasy film of The Wizard of Oz, and according to the Library of Congress, it is the most seen film in movie history. Believing that most, if not all of our readers know the basic plot, it is not necessary to review the unfolding scenes of this timeless wonder but suffice to say, for our spiritual purposes here, that there is a lot to learn from the famous journey to Oz, and back. The basic premise is quite simple: all that you need for this life you already have. “We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.”

“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” The treasure map, if you will, will be read much easier and more clearly with the attitude of service and generosity to each other while we walk this path together. Inviting and cultivating the disposition of service to each other brings about the transformation in the human spirit that readily and specifically finds the great treasure of Jesus present within us and is willing to share that happiness with those we have been given. This is so because this is precisely why Jesus was sent to us, as true God and true man, to begin the total transformation of our society and world. However, this work must continue with us and invigorate our desire to get up every morning and go forth: “Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” Albert Einstein

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July 25, 2022


Feast of Saint James, Apostle

Lectionary: 605

Reading 1 – 2 COR 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke,
we too believe and therefore speak, 
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 15:16

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

Gospel – MT 20:20-28

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her,
“What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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Knock, Knock


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 24, 2022

“If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Our Scriptures open today with a dramatic scene in the life of Abraham, a most remarkable Biblical figure in the Old Testament, who, at a serious moment in his life, had only the recourse to serious and complete self-emptying prayer that would move anyone to tears to save the loss of innocent life in a sin-ravaged city. This becomes a great image for us to factor in how we lift our prayers to God. Do we rattle off words? Do we think about what we are saying? Does the level of faith reach deep within our souls? Abraham would certainly answer easily.

“For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Prayer is the life of the new heart (CCC 2697). Christians throughout the centuries have maintained three main expressions of prayer: Vocal, Meditation, and Contemplation. Together, they make a phenomenal path to peace and holiness, not to mention sanity: Vocal: We are body and spirit, so it is important to express our spiritual feelings outwardly [we speak]. Meditation: The mind searches to understand what God is saying [we think, imagine, desire and feel]. Contemplation: “We are alone with the One who loves us.” [God speaks, we listen and experience] The one who asks through vocal prayer, receives; the one who seeks through meditation finds; and the one who knocks at the door of contemplation can change the world one soul at a time.

“In the confrontation between water and the rock the water always wins. Not through strength but through persistence.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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July 24, 2022


Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 111

Reading 1 – Gn 18:20-32

In those days, the LORD said: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”

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

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8

R.(3A) Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
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. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
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. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
The LORD is exalted, yet the lowly he sees,
and the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk amid distress, you preserve me;
against the anger of my enemies you raise your hand.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
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. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Reading 2 – Col 2:12-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead.
And even when you were dead
in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
he brought you to life along with him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions;
 obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims,
which was opposed to us,
he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.

Alleluia – Rom 8:15BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a Spirit of adoption,
through which we cry, Abba, Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

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Obedience 2.0


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 23, 2022

“Reform your ways and your deeds, so that I may remain with you in this place.” The word “obedience” originates from the same word that indicates passionate listening. We use the adjective “passionate” because today, just because someone may hear you, they may NOT be listening or internalizing the thoughts or meaning. This could be said of us and listening to God. By obeying His call to take care of the people we have been given, we learn more about Him and can grow in understanding of His heart and desires for our lives.

“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.” Obedience also leads to personal growth. Every command God asks of us isn’t just for His sake but for ours. The call to obedience is for our benefit. When we stay connected through a strong prayer life and total trust, especially when enduring a personal and spiritual test, we grow holiness and experience clarity in our lives. This is what is meant by success.

“Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked.” Ellen G. White

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July 23, 2022


For the Optional Readings for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 400

Reading 1 – Jer 7:1-11

The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
Stand at the gate of the house of the LORD,
and there proclaim this message:
Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah
who enter these gates to worship the LORD!
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
Reform your ways and your deeds,
so that I may remain with you in this place.
Put not your trust in the deceitful words:
“This is the temple of the LORD!
The temple of the LORD! The temple of the LORD!”
Only if you thoroughly reform your ways and your deeds;
if each of you deals justly with his neighbor;
if you no longer oppress the resident alien,
the orphan, and the widow;
if you no longer shed innocent blood in this place,
or follow strange gods to your own harm,
will I remain with you in this place,
in the land I gave your fathers long ago and forever.

But here you are, putting your trust in deceitful words to your own loss!
Are you to steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury,
burn incense to Baal,
go after strange gods that you know not,
and yet come to stand before me
in this house which bears my name, and say:
“We are safe; we can commit all these abominations again”?
Has this house which bears my name
become in your eyes a den of thieves?
I too see what is being done, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 84:3, 4, 5-6A and 8A, 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.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
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 – 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 – Mt 13:24-30

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

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July 23 – Optional Memorial of Saint Bridget of Sweden, religious


For the Readings for Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 604

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

Reading 1 – Gal 2:19-20

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

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – 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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Looking For Love In All The Right Places


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 22, 2022

“I sought him but I did not find him. I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek Him whom my heart loves.” I have often wondered what significance there might be between the incident in St. Luke’s Gospel when Joseph and Mary “lost” Jesus and later “found” Him in the Temple—and the experience of St. Mary Magdalene in the Gospel today. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:41-51) Mary Magdalene: “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”

What the two Scriptural references clearly have in common is the simple fact that finding Jesus has everything to do with where you look for Him. Mary and Joseph thought that their Son was among all the crowds with whom they were travelling and only at the end of their frenetic search did they actually find him in the Temple. St. Mary Magdalene thought only to look in the tomb for her Risen Lord when it would have been the very last place to find Him, that is, among the dead.

On today which is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, you and I have been presented with the opportunity to experience, if just in a spiritual or even symbolic way, the search for God that has been chronicled throughout the Old Testament, right through the Gospels and all the way to the outstanding hopeful days that followed the Resurrection of Christ. That search goes on right here, right now.

All the great Saints are great precisely because they have longed for Christ more than for life itself, continued their search even though at times it may have come up empty, and found Him because they looked in the right place. May you be great in your search! Let us pray:

Saint Mary Magdalene,
woman of many sins, who by conversion
became the beloved of Jesus,
thank you for your witness
that Jesus forgives
through the miracle of love.

You, who already possess eternal happiness
in His glorious presence,
please intercede for me, so that some day
I may share in the same everlasting joy.

Amen.

 

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July 22, 2022


Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene

Lectionary: 603

Reading I – Sgs 3:1-4b

The Bride says:
On my bed at night I sought him
whom my heart loves–
I sought him but I did not find him.
I will rise then and go about the city;
in the streets and crossings I will seek
Him whom my heart loves.
I sought him but I did not find him.
The watchmen came upon me,
as they made their rounds of the city:
Have you seen him whom my heart loves?
I had hardly left them
when I found him whom my heart loves.


OR: 

2 Cor 5:14-17

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (2) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way?
I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.” 

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
“Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

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July 21, 2022


For the Optional Reading for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 398

Reading 1 – JER 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13

This word of the LORD came to me:
Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear!
I remember the devotion of your youth,
how you loved me as a bride,
Following me in the desert,
in a land unsown.
Sacred to the LORD was Israel,
the first fruits of his harvest;
Should any presume to partake of them,
evil would befall them, says the LORD.

When I brought you into the garden land 
to eat its goodly fruits,
You entered and defiled my land,
you made my heritage loathsome.
The priests asked not,
“Where is the LORD?”
Those who dealt with the law knew me not:
the shepherds rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after useless idols.

Be amazed at this, O heavens,
and shudder with sheer horror, says the LORD.
Two evils have my people done:
they have forsaken me, the source of living waters;
They have dug themselves cisterns,
broken cisterns, that hold no water.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 36:6-7AB, 8-9, 10-11

R. (10A) With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
O LORD, your mercy reaches to heaven;
your faithfulness, to the clouds.
Your justice is like the mountains of God;
your judgments, like the mighty deep.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
How precious is your mercy, O God!
The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They have their fill of the prime gifts of your house;
from your delightful stream you give them to drink.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
For with you is the fountain of life,
and in your light we see light.
Keep up your mercy toward your friends,
your just defense of the upright of heart.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.

Alleluia – MT 11:25

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

Gospel – MT 13:10-17

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted
and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

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Marked For God


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 21, 2022

“They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water.” What did slaves, servants, and thieves have in common in Roman Antiquity? They were often branded on the forehead with a mark, called a stigma, and thereby said to have been “engraved” like a coin or a medal. Both types of individuals were certainly known to the culture of the time when today’s Scriptures were written. They also shared common punishments: lashes and beatings, forced to carry a piece of wood around their necks, and in some cases, crucifixion. Of course, these are the same afflictions endured by Jesus as an integral part of the Paschal Mystery by which we are justified, redeemed, and saved for a great future in Heaven. That is why failure in our spiritual life is critical. If we live a full life but have no faith, we are, as we read in the First Reading, wells without water.

“To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” These specific references can help us realize several things about living the Christian Life, being a disciple and a follower of Jesus Christ: We have been marked in this life and claimed for someone or something. Our choice now is to determine for whom by how we live. As Christians today, we can expect to be punished as was Our Savior, in the court of popularity, greed, hatred, and the Godless. Remaining faithful to the end, which comes secretly or unexpectedly and without being seen, “like a thief in the night,” we are promised to take our place with the Lamb who has been slain and led to the “springs of life-giving water.” (Rev 7:17) Because the Victory is so great. The reward is eternal. To those to whom much is given, much is expected.

“Talent is God-given: Be humble. Fame is man-given: Be grateful. Conceit is self-given: Be careful.” Caro Vanni

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July 21 – Optional Memorial of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor of the Church


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

Lectionary: 602

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

Reading 1 – 2 Cor 4:1-2, 5-7

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

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

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

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

Alleluia

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

Gospel – Mk 4:1-10, 13-20

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

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

Or

Mk 4:1-9

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

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Preparing To Meet God


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 20, 2022

“To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.” There is probably no other document as famous and historically significant as the Ten Commandments. They have helped shape the character of the early Jewish people and all Christians today. God helps us in many different ways to live a moral life and gives us grace, which awakens in us the desire to say no to temptation and sin and to choose only that which is good.

“Hear the parable of the sower.” He gives us the Theological and Cardinal Virtues and the grace to practice human virtues so that we can grow stronger in them. God gives us help and grace through the Church and our reception of the Sacraments. He also teaches us how we should live. He does this by giving us laws to guide our actions. The Ten Commandments are laws that God has revealed to us. Heeding the guidance God gives us in the Commandments will help us know how to serve God and how we should live with each other. It also helps us to be open to the grace of the Holy Spirit and what God can accomplish in us and through us by that grace.

“Teach faith to keep all the commandments of God, knowing that they are given to bless His children and bring them joy. Warn them that they will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith.” Russell M. Nelson

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July 20, 2022


For the Optional Reading for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 397

Reading 1 – Jer 1:1, 4-10

The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah,
of a priestly family in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin.

The word of the LORD came to me thus:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
“Ah, Lord GOD!” I said,
“I know not how to speak; I am too young.”

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

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

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

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

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

Alleluia

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

Gospel – Mt 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

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July 20 – Optional Memorial of Saint Apollinaris, bishop and martyr


For the Readings for Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 601B

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 – Ez 34:11-16

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I will lead them out from among the peoples
and gather them from the foreign lands;
I will bring them back to their own country
and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel
in the land’s ravines and all its inhabited places.
In good pastures will I pasture them,
and on the mountain heights of Israel
shall be their grazing ground.
There they shall lie down on good grazing ground,
and in rich pastures shall they be pastured
on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 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 – Jn 10:14

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

Gospel – Jn 10:11-16

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

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I Love, We Belong


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 19, 2022

From the beginning of the Revelation, received in the Old Testament, we encounter the notion and the nature of the kind of deep and lasting relationship the Lord has always wanted for us. Like a good earthly father who wants to give his family all he has for love and survival, we look to our Heavenly Father, Who does the same. When we realize and accept this truth, we can easily join the Psalmist in the moment of pure joy: “Lord, show us your mercy and love!”

Today’s Gospel brings closer to us the moment Jesus makes this intimate relationship so much clearer and more meaningful: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus was not minimizing His relationship with His mother through these words. He was expanding it. He hungers, through Divine Love, to include all of us in the “family circle” of God. In doing so, He invites us on the journey home. In this exchange, Jesus really opens up the interior importance and meaning of the motherhood of Mary – and through that relationship – the interior meaning of all family relationships. The Church is a family. Understanding this insight, and living it, is a key to a deep and wonderful spiritual life. Our vocation is fundamentally about relationships and communion. All who are incorporated into the Body of Jesus Christ through Baptism begin even now to experience the intimacy (expressed in family relationships) that is the essence of the very life of the Most Holy Trinity. Through His life, death, and Resurrection, Jesus opens a way for every man, woman, and child, who chooses to do the will of His Father to enter into the very family circle of God through truly living our lives in Him.

My friends, we are His Family, and He is Ours! Think about it for a minute, especially when the day gets a little tough and lonely. Be loved.

“Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.” Brene Brown

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July 19, 2022


Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 396

Reading 1 – MI 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 85:2-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (8A) Lord, show us your mercy and love.
You have favored, O LORD, your land;
you have brought back the captives of Jacob.
You have forgiven the guilt of your people;
you have covered all their sins.
You have withdrawn all your wrath;
you have revoked your burning anger. 
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Restore us, O God our savior,
and abandon your displeasure against us.
Will you be ever angry with us,
prolonging your anger to all generations?
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Will you not instead give us life;
and shall not your people rejoice in you?
Show us, O LORD, your kindness,
and grant us your salvation. 
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.

Alleluia – JN 14:23

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

Gospel – MT 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

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Polishing The Doorknob


man walking on narrow bridge in field

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

It’s crazy the things you remember during the course of any given day, especially if that day has been filled with stressful situations and people. Take for instance these past few weeks as the summer continues to rage and race by. Having been reminded by a dear and lifelong friend, I have thought about an interesting practice of my fellow students in graduate school. We studied in a very old building that actually had brass doorknobs. During those wonderful years, two things never failed to happen throughout the semesters: first, they became tarnished and smudged and somewhat unrecognizable through the passing of time and sweaty and nervous use; second, something remarkable and miraculous happened around exam time. Most if not all those beautiful doorknobs started looking rather lovely and brilliant. You see there was this strange practice that when you got worried or anxious or maybe even afraid to face that exam whether it be oral or written that you started polishing your doorknob. It took your mind from academic (and other kinds of) worries and removed you away from issues and pressing matters that really begged and needed your attention. Now I don’t know if anybody did a study to equate the brightness of the knobs to the grades that were achieved during those days but I’m sure there’s some correlation. But if it’s not about grades, there certainly is another correlation that is worth noting. It’s about procrastination, that is about putting off important things when we have the time to address them with everything we’ve got. It looks like procrastination never goes out of style.

Take for instance an emotional and breath-taking audition in 2021 on Season 16 of America’s Got Talent. An amazing woman, who called herself Nightbirde, performed a truly remarkable song that she had written, simply entitled, “It’s OK.” During the course of the performance, we found out that this wonderfully bright soul had cancer in her lungs, spine, and liver. With poetic and brave confidence, she told the world that she had to keep going and her whole life-philosophy was summed up in a simple phrase: “You can’t wait for life to not be hard anymore before you decide to be happy!”

This really made me think a lot about life. It is of absolute truth-value to remember that we are all so much more than the bad things that happen to us. However too often, those painful memories or situations find themselves neatly (and not-so-neatly) tucked away and postponed. I began honestly bringing healthy attention to the things that I’m putting away or the things I’m postponing instead of spending the proper time and attention to figuring out resolution and/or accepting the cold truth that there may not be one immediately. They came crashing through the other day when one of my clients called to report to me that she saw somebody trying to actually sell her baby. Immediately we called the police who showed up with us so that we wouldn’t startle this poor woman who was obviously human trafficking her own flesh and blood. The good news is that everything came out OK. I distracted the woman by telling her that my friend inside the store would give her a free Slurpee if she just would ask for it. She must’ve been thirsty or perhaps not all there, but she handed me the baby while she went in to get the frozen treat at which point the plain-clothed policeman swooped in and took care of things. To make a very long story short and bearable I got to meet the foster parents of this child, a baby boy, and begged them that when he turned sixteen to please let him know that his life was saved by a Slurpee and not by anything more sublime than the caring loving people who may never have had the chance to meet him except in front of a convenient store while people were pumping gas and purchasing quick snacks for the road. You see there are some things that cannot wait. There are some things that just cannot be postponed. 

When unexpected events thrust you into a time of change, and disruption and fear, it is a good time to look back on similar experiences and see how you made it through. Let me share a little of my own “turn in the road” I never saw coming and what it has taught me. For more than thirty-five years of my existence, I lived a very full, engaged, and zealous life, with somewhat of a predictable routine, daily at the helm of constant activity I found enjoyable and rewarding. And then, one day it was completely disrupted, executed by the worst kind of betrayals stacked upon betrayals and I found myself on a whole new path — unwanted, unknown and without a clue what the future would hold. The takeaway from my experience? “The change brought new life and invigorated my faith. It forced me into new professional experiences that were simultaneously challenging and uncomfortable, but also rewarding and the result has been an increased sense of resilience,” I recently wrote to my doorknob-days brother and friend. When I think back and hopefully inspire and help someone out there, I can say the following without a doubt: Life is funny. Just as I was forcibly removed from a community that I loved and that loved me back and as I reeled from the human trauma of that, there were true soldiers of human compassion and friendship that presented themselves in my life. Some of them were somewhat random. They weren’t exactly close friends before, but their love and caring lifted me up repeatedly and the repetition and persistence on their part was appreciated.

Forget the doorknobs of worry and anxiety: get to work and get to a life that must be lived right here, right now because that’s where God‘s grace and a ripe field of miracles await. As life continues to enfold for all of us, somewhere, life is right here, right now and because of people who live in the present moment, that little boy now has a chance to survive and thrive, and although Nightbirde has gone onto her heavenly reward, she leaves behind a legacy of courage and brave living. Remember that life is too precious to put off for another time. Your life is now. Just imagine the hidden but potential moments of greatness that are going to present themselves to you. Are you going to go out at full force or are you going to spend time polishing the doorknob? I say doorknobs are best used to open and close while life is meant to be lived in nothing short but awe and amazement.

The next time you reach for a doorknob remember that we can and must make the world around us beautiful and that will be our life. Ordinary minutes of every day present wondrous opportunities to make the world beautiful through love of family, acts of faith, lifting the spirits of others, being that soldier of human compassion for someone else and being a caring friend. Carefully, open that door.

“Then, when it seems we will never smile again, life comes back.”  Mark M. Baldwin

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Trusting The Future


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 18, 2022

“Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD, pay attention, O foundations of the earth!” The Scriptures are full of examples of the literally a hundred situations whereby trusting God with something unknown and overwhelming is the only valid response. Many, if not most of us, can easily attest that anxiety, worry, and fear are useless and even harmful to our souls and those around us. Imagine the challenge presented to all of us in the First Reading! No doubt there were some among them who truly needed to trust God with everything, and they did!

“Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” Much like the original Chosen People of the Old Testament and Jonah the Prophet in the whale’s belly, trust in God; even the deepest and lasting confidence must be ours. Again, imagine the thoughts and feelings of those around Jesus at the time of His Crucifixion. Total trust led to total victory. It still does.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom

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July 18, 2022


For the Optional Readings for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 395

Reading 1 – MI 6:1-4, 6-8

Hear what the LORD says:
Arise, present your plea before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice!
Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD,
pay attention, O foundations of the earth!
For the LORD has a plea against his people,
and he enters into trial with Israel.

O my people, what have I done to you,
or how have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
from the place of slavery I released you;
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.

With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with myriad streams of oil?
Shall I give my first-born for my crime,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
You have been told, O man, what is good,
and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 50:5-6, 8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23

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

Alleluia – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – MT 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
He said to them in reply,
“An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, 
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here.”

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July 18 – Optional Memorial of Saint Camillus de Lellis, priest


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

Lectionary: 601A

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 Those Who Work for the Underprivileged, #737-742.
 

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 3:14-18

Beloved:
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that anyone who is a murderer
does not have eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

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

R.    (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
An evil report he shall not fear.
His heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

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

Gospel – Jn 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

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

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The Irony Of Hospitality


tray of ancient coffee server and dessert cakes

Reflection on Mass Reading for July 17, 2022

“The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot.” Hospitality brings remarkable blessings upon all those who dip their finger into the water of generosity towards others, especially strangers. Abraham and Sarah were primary beneficiaries of these blessings in our First Reading. In front of this all-encompassing mercy of God that marvels as well as redeems, we can understand and agree with the Psalmist who is so insistent with the only recourse we have when we have made that tumultuous leap of complete trust: “He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.”

The benefits of this leap of faith are crystal-clear and even more desirable in the Gospel today. The scene there is similar to the many experiences that we have had when we become anxious and worried about too many things. There is sometimes sorrow, then doubt, and sometimes there is darkness. This is certainly true today in the Gospel with the two famous sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha begins with Jesus, suggesting that somehow Jesus doesn’t really care or have any interest in her plight: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?” Although the answer Jesus gives her may seem even more distant and detached, it is full of wisdom and understanding and a call for more courage and faith. “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” This will be overwhelmingly critical when later in their lives, they experience the tragic death of their brother Lazarus and the next conversation Martha has with the Lord takes a bizarre turn when she suggests that all of the tragedy in their lives could have been avoided if the Lord had just planned his schedule a little differently. However, before Jesus had a chance to respond to that statement, Martha quickly added that no matter what the reason or course of events, she was ready to make that leap of faith and trust Him with all her heart and mind as to the outcome. Then Jesus reveals why the trusting moment is pivotal for all of us: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

The irony of hospitality seems to depend not so much on the person who receives our love but rather on the quality of love in our hearts. A hospitable person loves all kinds of people and wants to be sure that no one in the room feels like a stranger. Indeed, the great irony of a hospitable man is that people say of him, “He’s never met a stranger.” It sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it?

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July 17, 2022


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 108

Reading 1 – Gn 18:1-10A

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

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

They asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”

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

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

Reading 2 – Col 1:24-28

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

Alleluia – Cf. Lk 8:15

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

Gospel – Lk 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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Bruised Reeds And Egos


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 16, 2022

“The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.” From time to time, we are given a unique perspective on the disputes Jesus faced while He walked the earth. Today in the Gospel, we find Him in the midst of several disputes with the Pharisees. These men were part of a movement of spiritual renewal among the Jews at the time of Christ. The Pharisees were very concerned about the national identity of Israel, rooted in the Covenant between God and the Chosen People. The Torah (or Law), contained in the first five books of the Old Testament, gave concrete instructions on how to live the Covenant faithfully. Although they seemed to have meant well, the problem with their position was that their teaching actually robbed the Law – the Word of God, after all – of its dynamism and life-giving power. “Blind guides,” Jesus calls them (see Matthew 15:14; 23:16, 24). The Pharisees’ attitude compromised their capacity to grasp Jesus’ teaching on the liberating power of the Law: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).

How should we understand Jesus’ reference to a bruised reed and a smoldering wick? We can safely agree with many biblical scholars that this does not mean we should be harsh, demanding, or manipulative with weak and wounded people. Jesus uses this image to teach us about the new Covenant he inaugurated. You see, a complete and total conversion is necessary to live in the Kingdom and to maintain the level of fidelity and love of God to move forward in life. Without proper care, our souls can become like “those who plan iniquity and work out evil on their couches,” as we heard in our First reading of today. The great news today is that the Lord is always at hand, offering us his grace through the sacraments to repair what is broken, strengthen what is weak, and fortify what is healthy.

“A Pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself but a spiritual person is easy on others and hard on himself.” Caro Vanni

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July 16, 2022


For the Optional Reading for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 394

Reading 1 – MI 2:1-5

Woe to those who plan iniquity,
and work out evil on their couches;
In the morning light they accomplish it
when it lies within their power.
They covet fields, and seize them;
houses, and they take them;
They cheat an owner of his house,
a man of his inheritance.
Therefore thus says the LORD:
Behold, I am planning against this race an evil
from which you shall not withdraw your necks;
Nor shall you walk with head high,
for it will be a time of evil.

On that day a satire shall be sung over you,
and there shall be a plaintive chant:
“Our ruin is complete,
our fields are portioned out among our captors,
The fields of my people are measured out,
and no one can get them back!”
Thus you shall have no one
to mark out boundaries by lot
in the assembly of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 10:1-2, 3-4, 7-8, 14

R. (12B) Do not forget the poor, O Lord!
Why, O LORD, do you stand aloof?
Why hide in times of distress?
Proudly the wicked harass the afflicted,
who are caught in the devices the wicked have contrived. 
R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!
For the wicked man glories in his greed,
and the covetous blasphemes, sets the LORD at nought.
The wicked man boasts, “He will not avenge it”;
“There is no God,” sums up his thoughts. 
R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!
His mouth is full of cursing, guile and deceit;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He lurks in ambush near the villages;
in hiding he murders the innocent;
his eyes spy upon the unfortunate. 
R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!
You do see, for you behold misery and sorrow,
taking them in your hands.
On you the unfortunate man depends;
of the fatherless you are the helper.
R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!

Alleluia – 2 COR 5:19

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

Gospel – MT 12:14-21

The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus
to put him to death.

When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place.
Many people followed him, and he cured them all,
but he warned them not to make him known.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not contend or cry out,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

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July 16 – Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel


For the Readings for Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here,

Lectionary: 601

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 – Zec 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all, in the presence of the LORD!
for he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

Responsorial Psalm – Lk 1:46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

R.    (49)  The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.
“He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”
R.    The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R.    O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.

Alleluia – Lk 11:28

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

Gospel – Mt 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

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The Best Preparation


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 15, 2022

“Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.” While it is true that none of us have much control over the exact time and date when we have to leave the earth and face Jesus face to face, we do have a remarkable amount of say and sway over how we leave and what impact we wish to have on our families and those we held dear in this life. The First Reading soberly reminds us as the Lord tried to remind King Hezekiah that now is the best time to place our house in order before it is too late. No one wants to think about the end and how overwhelming or frightening it might be. Still, it is clear from the wisdom of the Scriptures that facing our mortal departure helps us face the daily crosses that we must carry to make it to the Promised Land after our death. But how do we accomplish this in this life? Perhaps we could consider some very poignant and solid ways to be at least thinking about ways we can begin this type of life management.

“Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.” As responsible people, we must be careful about managing our spending and especially how we take care of and feed those in our immediate family. This also means ensuring our finances are in order, having sufficient instructions about the event of catastrophic illness and the subsequent funeral plans, and making amends with family who may have been estranged or at odds. “You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.” Practice this daily: every morning is a gift ready to open, so thank God for that awesome gift. At the end of each day, count the good things and the happy memories and avoid becoming sad-faced about any regrets. Keep your house and life in order because you never know when Jesus, our special guest, will make His last appearance.

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” H. Jackson, Jr.

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July 15, 2022


Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 393

Reading 1 – IS 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8

When Hezekiah was mortally ill,
the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him:
“Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order,
for you are about to die; you shall not recover.”
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord:

“O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly
I conducted myself in your presence,
doing what was pleasing to you!”
And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go, tell Hezekiah:
Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David:
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.
I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the Lord’s temple;
I will add fifteen years to your life.
I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria;
I will be a shield to this city.”

Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken
and applied to the boil, that he might recover.
Then Hezekiah asked,
“What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD?”

Isaiah answered:
“This will be the sign for you from the LORD
that he will do what he has promised:
See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun
on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz
go back the ten steps it has advanced.”
So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

Responsorial Psalm – IS 38:10, 11, 12ABCD, 16

R. (see 17B) You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Once I said,
“In the noontime of life I must depart!
To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned
for the rest of my years.” 
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
I said, “I shall see the LORD no more
in the land of the living.
No longer shall I behold my fellow men
among those who dwell in the world.”
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,
is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
who severs the last thread.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Those live whom the LORD protects;
yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me health and life.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – MT 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

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We Are Never Alone


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 14, 2022

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Today we readers of the Scriptures are treated to a lesson in word usage and phrasing that will hopefully help us remember the great wisdom that is contained for our use on our spiritual journey. If you were just listening to the Word proclaimed today, you might think the word “yolk” was meant instead of “yoke.” Most people know that yolk is that soft, yellow center of an egg that comes to our plates in myriad uses and presentations. However, a yoke, as mentioned in the Gospel today, is a very large piece of word or even a metal composition placed on the top of the necks of beasts of burden in order to drag and complete the unearthing of the land to plant and sometimes harvest. But this does present even more issues as to why this large, obstructive tool could be easy or even light. There must be something more to this.

“My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you.” Many of our tests in our spiritual life have to do with carrying a heavy cross or a burden of some kind, usually physical or emotional. When you think of the yoke, there is always room for two. When Christ offers his yoke, what is clear about the invitation is both simple and stunning. It is as if the Lord is saying to us, I am asking you to carry this heavy load, but I will be one side of the yoke while you are on the other. We will do this together. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.” This is truly great news! No matter what I have to carry today, no matter how great or small, this will pale in comparison if I had to carry this cross alone. We are never alone, and this promise Jesus always completes and answers. This is why the daily regimen of the Scriptures linked with solid prayer and devoted reception of the Eucharist is necessary if we are going to make it to Heaven. When we put our problems in His hands, He puts peace in our hearts. This is a test that you pray for before, during, and after!

“The one who prays is never alone.” Pope Benedict XVI

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July 14, 2022


Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin

Lectionary: 392

Reading 1 – IS 26:7-9, 12, 16-19

The way of the just is smooth;
the path of the just you make level.
Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD,
we look to you;
Your name and your title
are the desire of our souls.
My soul yearns for you in the night,
yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you;
When your judgment dawns upon the earth,
the world’s inhabitants learn justice.
O LORD, you mete out peace to us,
for it is you who have accomplished all we have done.

O LORD, oppressed by your punishment,
we cried out in anguish under your chastising.
As a woman about to give birth
writhes and cries out in her pains,
so were we in your presence, O LORD.
We conceived and writhed in pain,
giving birth to wind;
Salvation we have not achieved for the earth,
the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth.
But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise;
awake and sing, you who lie in the dust.
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the land of shades gives birth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 102:13-14AB AND 15, 16-18, 19-21

R. (20B) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
You, O LORD, abide forever,
and your name through all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion,
for it is time to pity her.
For her stones are dear to your servants,
and her dust moves them to pity. 
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Alleluia – MT 11:28

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

Gospel – MT 11:28-30

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

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July 13, 2022


For the Optional Reading for Today’s Reflection, please go here.

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 391

Reading 1 – IS 10:5-7, 13B-16

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to Assyria! My rod in anger,
my staff in wrath.
Against an impious nation I send him,
and against a people under my wrath I order him
To seize plunder, carry off loot,
and tread them down like the mud of the streets.
But this is not what he intends,
nor does he have this in mind;
Rather, it is in his heart to destroy,
to make an end of nations not a few.

For he says:
“By my own power I have done it,
and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd.
I have moved the boundaries of peoples,
their treasures I have pillaged,
and, like a giant, I have put down the enthroned.
My hand has seized like a nest
the riches of nations;
As one takes eggs left alone,
so I took in all the earth;
No one fluttered a wing,
or opened a mouth, or chirped!”

Will the axe boast against him who hews with it?
Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it?
As if a rod could sway him who lifts it,
or a staff him who is not wood!
Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts,
will send among his fat ones leanness,
And instead of his glory there will be kindling
like the kindling of fire.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 94:5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 14-15

R. (14A) The Lord will not abandon his people.
Your people, O LORD, they trample down,
your inheritance they afflict.
Widow and stranger they slay,
the fatherless they murder. 
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
And they say, “The LORD sees not;
the God of Jacob perceives not.”
Understand, you senseless ones among the people;
and, you fools, when will you be wise?
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
Shall he who shaped the ear not hear?
or he who formed the eye not see?
Shall he who instructs nations not chastise,
he who teaches men knowledge?
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
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. The Lord will not abandon his people.

Alleluia – MT 11:25

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

Gospel – MT 11:25-27

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

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Today, We Smile And Rejoice


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 13, 2022

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” There is a popular little story that has been circulating around for quite a while now. The plot is relatively simple: A little boy walks up to his mother in the kitchen as she is preparing supper and is a little annoyed that her son can’t seem to wait until everything is ready. Well, he hands her an invoice! Exactly. He is basically charging the family for things like cutting the grass, cleaning his room, babysitting, etc. And there he was, waiting for payment with hand outstretched. The reflection continues with his mother recalling her son’s memories from the day she told her husband that she was pregnant to the day they brought home to this very moment in time. Her response was not only brilliant, poetic, and moving but also laced with pure truth. She took his “bill,” turned it over, and then wrote the following:

For the nine months, I carried you in my womb, NO CHARGE.
For all the times you were sick, and I took care of you, NO CHARGE.
For all the hours I worried about you, NO CHARGE.
For everything we ever bought for you, NO CHARGE.
For all the meals we served you, NO CHARGE.
For a nice home, good parents, and happy life, NO CHARGE.

The story ends beautifully with the little boy crying a bit, telling his mom how much he loves her, and then takes the pen, X’s out the bill and writes in big, bold letters, PAID IN FULL. The Lord is calling out to you and me to recapture the joy and innocence of being a child. So carefree, loved, and yet so small-minded at times. Let us move forward as His children and love being loved by the One who is Love!

Let us pray: I am God’s precious child and have been bought at a price. There is no reason to lose hope because God will never fail me. May I remember this and smile and rejoice. Amen.

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July 13 – Optional Memorial of Saint Henry


For the Readings for Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 598

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

Reading 1 – Mi 6:6-8

With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with myriad streams of oil?
Shall I give my first-born for my crime,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
You have been told, O man, what is good,
and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 14:23

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

Gospel – Mt 7:21-27

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

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

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July 12, 2022


Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 390

Reading 1 – IS 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah,
Rezin, king of Aram,
and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah,
went up to attack Jerusalem,
but they were not able to conquer it.
When word came to the house of David that Aram
was encamped in Ephraim,
the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled,
as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz,
you and your son Shear-jashub,
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool,
on the highway of the fuller’s field, and say to him:
Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail
before these two stumps of smoldering brands
the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans,
and of the son Remaliah,
because of the mischief that
Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah,
plots against you, saying,
“Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force,
and appoint the son of Tabeel king there.”

Thus says the LORD:
This shall not stand, it shall not be!
Damascus is the capital of Aram,
and Rezin is the head of Damascus;
Samaria is the capital of Ephraim,
and Remaliah’s son the head of Samaria.

But within sixty years and five,
Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.
Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 48:2-3A, 3B-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (see 9D) God upholds his city for ever.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,”
is the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold. 
R. God upholds his city for ever.
For lo! the kings assemble,
they come on together;
They also see, and at once are stunned,
terrified, routed.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Quaking seizes them there;
anguish, like a woman’s in labor,
As though a wind from the east
were shattering ships of Tarshish. 
R. God upholds his city for ever.

Alleluia – PS 95:8

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

Gospel – MT 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

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Woe Is You, Maybe


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 12, 2022

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!” So how does Jesus respond to those living in these New Testament lake towns which should have known better and acted differently? Well, it wasn’t pretty. Why the harshness of reaction? That’s what happens when we won’t see how incredibly God is working in our life or the lives of others. It is the expected consequence when we hide behind the Law and miss the Law-giver in our midst. The people who understand this always rejoice, but the ones who judge and criticize and try to “fix” everyone else except themselves are almost always humiliated. It all depends on the quality of our relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Today, let us first give thanks that Our Lord loves us so much that we are constantly being exposed to the truth in our lives, ugly at times but always liberating. Second, let us ask again for the courage to see Jesus in others as we look for Him in our souls. This is the recipe for true happiness.

“Sometimes, you will go through awful trials in your life and then a miracle happens–God heals you. Don’t be disheartened when the people you love don’t see things as you do. There will be Pharisees in your life that will laugh it off, deny that it happened, or will mock your experience based on righteousness they think you don’t possess. God won’t deny you a spiritual experience because you are not a spiritual leader. He loves everyone equally. The only people that really matter in life are the people that can “see” your heart and rejoice with you.” Shannon L. Alder

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July 11, 2022


For the Suggested Reading for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot

Lectionary: 389

Reading 1 – IS 1:10-17

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!
What care I for the number of your sacrifices?
says the LORD.
I have had enough of whole-burnt rams
and fat of fatlings;
In the blood of calves, lambs and goats
I find no pleasure.

When you come in to visit me,
who asks these things of you?
Trample my courts no more!
Bring no more worthless offerings;
your incense is loathsome to me.
New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies,
octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.
Your new moons and festivals I detest;
they weigh me down, I tire of the load.
When you spread out your hands,
I close my eyes to you;
Though you pray the more,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

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

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

Alleluia – MT 5:10

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

Gospel – MT 10:34-11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.

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

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous 
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

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July 11 – Memorial of Saint Benedict, abbot


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

Lectionary: 597

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

Reading 1 – Prv 2:1-9

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure my commands,
Turning your ear to wisdom,
inclining your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you call to intelligence,
and to understanding raise your voice;
If you seek her like silver,
and like hidden treasures search her out:

Then will you understand the fear of the LORD;
the knowledge of God you will find;
For the LORD gives wisdom,
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He has counsel in store for the upright,
he is the shield of those who walk honestly,
Guarding the paths of justice,
protecting the way of his pious ones.

Then you will understand rectitude and justice,
honesty, every good path.

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;
the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 19:27-29

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

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Be Careful How You Live


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 11, 2022

Living the Christian life in this world at this very time in history is nothing short of monumental. It takes such a strong and daily dose of grace and quality time with the Lord that without it, we will certainly drown in the anxiety and fear that seems to pervade most of the news. How can we take all this apart and take hold of our lives? Let’s look at a few instances of life:

Conflicts: Every last one of us must face conflicts practically every day of our lives, even if they surface from within us. Therefore, it is not an indication or measurement of how much we are loved when we have issues or problems, but rather what we will do with them.

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

A Cross. The original audience of Jesus experienced tremendous suffering and loss. They knew very well what a cross was. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions the swift & cruel action of Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman General under Emperor Augustus who crushed a revolt in Judea in 4 BC. After occupying Jerusalem, he crucified 2000 Jewish rebels and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee. This is why Jesus had tremendous compassion for His people, then and now.
Our daily dose of the Word leads us to understand and fully engage the conflicts, choices, and crosses in our lives. When we are worried, we try to do things ourselves. When we are at peace, it is because we remember that God is in control.

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” So what are we to do next? The Gospel fills in that blank quite eloquently. Live and witness your life, always remembering from whence it came. Several times we have mentioned in these reflections that how we live our lives, especially through our actions over any given day, profoundly impacts those we meet and encounter. This is no more powerful and so overwhelmingly true and applicable as when it comes to our children and students. You see, it is true that we can preach a much better sermon with our lives than just our words. Whether or not we are aware of it, someone is looking up to us or at least waiting for us to act and, yes, seeing how long it takes to forgive. We influence people every minute, and it is clear that they need to see God’s love expressed through us who say that we believe and love God with all of our hearts. This is how we actually proclaim the Kingdom of God: by living it joyfully.

“Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” William J. Toms

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July 10, 2022


Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 105

Reading 1 – Dt 30:10-14

Moses said to the people:
“If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God,
and keep his commandments and statutes
that are written in this book of the law,
when you return to the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul.

“For this command that I enjoin on you today
is not too mysterious and remote for you.
It is not up in the sky, that you should say,
‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,
‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
No, it is something very near to you,
already in your mouths and in your hearts;
you have only to carry it out.”

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37

R. (CF. 33)  Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I pray to you, O LORD,
 for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
 with your constant help.
Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness:
 in your great mercy turn toward me.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I am afflicted and in pain;
 let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
 and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
 you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
 and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
For God will save Zion
 and rebuild the cities of Judah.
The descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
 and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

or

Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

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

Reading 2 – Col1:15-20

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

Alleluia – Cf. Jn 6:63C, 68C

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

Gospel – Lk 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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Could You Be My Neighbor?


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 10, 2022

“No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” It would be more than just a simple sadness if we allowed another summer to come and go and were not in possession with just a little more desire and ease when confronted with the need and call to love, forgive and create a community in our troubled world. And yet, if we were to speak realistically, the lack of ability may equal the desire to even approach any semblance of being generous to anyone because of horrible selfishness that never allows a person to grow in healthy maturity.

In a sincere and hopeful attempt to avoid any sadness as we move forward this year, the Scriptures provide us with an even better reason to continue to work toward a generous, giving heart and a life dedicated to the mercy of our loving Father. And this is wonderfully found in such delightful and poignant details that are wedged gently within the phrases of the parable Christ presents to us in the Gospel: That is important when we ask who the Good Samaritan is? Let’s look at the story: “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” The words, a man, in Hebrew are the same for humanity. That changes things, doesn’t it? So if the story is about humanity that has been jumped by the evil one, then it is Jesus who is the only One who can help, seeing how the Old Priesthood (the unhelpful cleric) and the Old Law (the Levite) cannot help by themselves. So He approaches the victim, coming down as He did from Heaven in Bethlehem (Christmas), pours wine and oil into the wound (Sacramental Life), lifts the wounded, lifts him upon His animal (becomes Human through the Incarnation), takes him to an inn (The Church), leaves two coins, (Scripture and Tradition) and then utters those immortal words by promising that He’ll take care of everything “on my way back” (The End of the World, or Apocalypse). So in a phrase, what does this all mean? The Psalm gives us the words for the prayer that will lead us to lasting joy: “Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.”

Jesus gifted us with the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Look around everyone at work, school, and in your immediate and not-so-immediate circle of friends and family. There they are. Those who are near to you (nigh) are your neighbors. Be the Good Samaritan to them. Be Jesus!

“The world needs a sense of worth and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.” Mr. Fred Rogers.

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Outlook And Outcome


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 9, 2022

“See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.” One of the more obvious reasons that God tests us is the result. Nothing succeeds like success. The Lord God, throughout our long historical and universal relationship with Him as a human race, has shown time and time again that He knows just how to bring tremendous good out of the most dismal and horrible of events. Just check out the Resurrection in the face of the Crucifixion. Israel, Joseph, and his brothers experienced this firsthand, as the words from the Old Testament make clear.

“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” In the New Testament Reading, we have yet another indication of how everything works out in the end. It is plain and simple: sooner or later, the truth always surfaces. It finds its way to the surface in remarkable and mysterious ways. Following Jesus means being men and women of integrity who expect to be believed and trust that time will prove them right and, because of Jesus, are willing to wait. What is waiting for us is specifically spectacular: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”

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

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July 9, 2022


For the Optional Reading for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 388

Reading 1 – IS 6:1-8

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; each of them had six wings:
with two they veiled their faces,
with two they veiled their feet,
and with two they hovered aloft.

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 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5

R. (1A) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm, 
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

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 – MT 10:24-33

Jesus said to his Apostles: 
“No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!

“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

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July 9 – Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, priest, and companions, martyrs


For the Reading for Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 596A

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

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 5:1-5

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

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

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

Alleluia – 2 Cor 1:3B-4A

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

Gospel – Jn 12:24-26

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

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One Step Beyond


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 8, 2022

“Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.” Our First Reading from the Old Testament today gives us such a unique insight into the fruits of:
1) Trusting God
2) Believing without seeing, and
3) Patiently waiting for Him to act.

Doesn’t this describe our journey to Heaven every day? If it sounds familiar, give thanks to God!

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” God wants to know our hearts. He doesn’t test us to punish us. His tests are not unlike those we use with each other in human relationships. Testing is how we determine where we are with whomever we are attempting to build a relationship. It’s how we know what “trusting God” really means. Today we are made aware of how difficult these moments can be. There are the wolves of the world who make it harder and harder to pass the test of life but make no mistake; we must pass. Failure is not an option.

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” Napoleon Hill

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July 8, 2022


Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 387

Reading 1 – HOS 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”
I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”—
because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (17B) My mouth will declare your praise.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me of sin with hyssop, that I may be purified;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me. 
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.

Alleluia – JN 16:13A; 14:26D

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When the Spirit of truth comes,
he will guide you to all truth
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 10:16-23

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men, 
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.”

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The Unknown Prisoner


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 7, 2022

“My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger.” Forgiveness is not always easy as important and absolutely necessary as it is. It often feels more painful than the wound we originally suffered to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. Remembering all the opportunities we have to practice forgiveness, we could say that these are also daily tests in many ways. You see, it is one thing to “say” that we are going to forgive or even that we “want” to do so, but when it actually comes right down to it, what do we do?

“Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.” The test of forgiveness, when passed, yields remarkable fruits. It begins to shape and form us into magnificent spiritual human beings that actually glow with wisdom, holiness, and patience. It is as if the test is administered here to grow with those elements of our personality. Just think about it for a while. Who are the most wonderful and amazing people you know? What do they have in common? They passed this test!

So can you.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes

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July 7, 2022


Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 386

Reading 1 – HOS 11:1-4, 8E-9

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


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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 80:2AC AND 3B, 15-16

R. (4B) Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken.
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see:
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted,
the son of man whom you yourself made strong. 
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – MT 10:7-15

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words–
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”

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Best Form Of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 6, 2022

“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain down justice upon you.” Perhaps there are many of us who at times ask ourselves, “How can I be holy?” It is certainly a fair and crucial question to ask if we are serious about going to Heaven. One of the more obvious, frequent, and difficult opportunities to grow in holiness is practicing forgiveness as often and with as many as possible. With each one we forgive and practice patience, we grow closer to the person of Jesus Christ. This is great news.

“Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” The other good news for all of today is these forgiveness tests that we seem to endure with amazing regularity are exactly why God loves us so much and precisely why He sent His only Son. The even better news is that we can pass these tests easily by asking God for the courage and strength to forgive even the most difficult and horrible of people. We then will truly understand the best form of love.

“Forgiveness is the best form of love. It takes a strong person to say they are sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.” Yolanda Hadid

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July 6, 2022


For the Optional Readings for Today’s Memorial, please go here.

Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 385

Reading 1 – HOS 10:1-3, 7-8, 12

Israel is a luxuriant vine
whose fruit matches its growth.
The more abundant his fruit,
the more altars he built;
The more productive his land,
the more sacred pillars he set up.
Their heart is false,
now they pay for their guilt;
God shall break down their altars
and destroy their sacred pillars.
If they would say,
“We have no king”—
Since they do not fear the LORD,
what can the king do for them?

The king of Samaria shall disappear,
like foam upon the waters.
The high places of Aven shall be destroyed,
the sin of Israel;
thorns and thistles shall overgrow their altars.
Then they shall cry out to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall upon us!”

“Sow for yourselves justice,
reap the fruit of piety;
break up for yourselves a new field,
for it is time to seek the LORD,
till he come and rain down justice upon you.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (4B) Seek always the face of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R. Seek always the face of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. Seek always the face of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Seek always the face of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – MK 1:15

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

Gospel – MT 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

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July 6 – Optional Memorial of Saint Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr


For the Readings for Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time, please go here.

Lectionary: 596

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 6:13C-15A, 17-20

Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Avoid immorality.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.

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 – Jas 1:12

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

Gospel – Jn 12:24-26

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

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Scar Strength


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 5, 2022

“Though they offer sacrifice, immolate flesh and eat it, the LORD is not pleased with them. He shall still remember their guilt and punish their sins.” Throughout human history, people have been severely weakened by the unholy, unhealthy, and inhuman practices that have been introduced by pure evil. This is precisely why the New and Old Testaments’ Scriptures are clear and direct about avoiding all kinds of evil no matter where they lurk. These cause the deepest and darkest harm to humanity.

Spiritually and psychologically speaking, nothing can harm us when we are on a spiritual high and feel strong and committed to our higher calling, that is, when we keep God right in front of us, face to face. But then there are times when we may feel overwhelmed by the struggle for material survival, overcome by material pressures, and spiritually disconnected. In times like this, we are vulnerable and prone to be wounded in the process of the struggle. “I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.” These are when we feel we are being tested most emphatically and even dramatically.

“A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.” Therefore, we must acknowledge this weak spot, this exposed nerve, by recognizing and remembering false gods and the cure of the demoniac. The beginning of all healing is awareness of the problem. We are sensitive to the fact that our mindless immersion in material existence touches a nerve that leaves us wounded. Perhaps we are being tested to make us stronger. Jesus would most likely agree with that!

“Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” Unknown

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July 5, 2022


For the Optional Readings for the Memorial of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, please go here.
For the Optional Readings for the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, please go here.

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 384

Reading 1 – HOS 8:4-7, 11-13

Thus says the LORD:
They made kings in Israel, but not by my authority;
they established princes, but without my approval.
With their silver and gold they made
idols for themselves, to their own destruction.
Cast away your calf, O Samaria!
my wrath is kindled against them;
How long will they be unable to attain
innocence in Israel?
The work of an artisan,
no god at all,
Destined for the flames—
such is the calf of Samaria!

When they sow the wind, 
they shall reap the whirlwind;
The stalk of grain that forms no ear
can yield no flour;
Even if it could,
strangers would swallow it.

When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin,
his altars became occasions of sin.
Though I write for him my many ordinances,
they are considered as a stranger’s.
Though they offer sacrifice,
immolate flesh and eat it,
the LORD is not pleased with them.
He shall still remember their guilt
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 115:3-4, 5-6, 7AB-8, 9-10

R. (9A) The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They have hands but feel not;
they have feet but walk not.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone that trusts in them.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 10:14

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

Gospel – MT 9:32-38

A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus,
and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said,
“Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
But the Pharisees said,
“He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”

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

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July 5 – Optional Memorial of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, priest


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

Lectionary: 595

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

Reading 1 – 2 Tm 1:13-14; 2:1-3

Beloved:
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
who dwells within us.

My child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And what you heard from me through many witnesses
entrust to faithful people
who will have the ability to teach others as well.
Bear your share of hardship along with me
like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

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

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

Alleluia – See Mt 11:25

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

Gospel – 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 them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

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July 5 – Optional Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal


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

Lectionary: 594

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 Those Who Work for the Underprivileged, #737-742.
 

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 3:14-18

Beloved:
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that anyone who is a murderer
does not have eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

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

R.    (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
An evil report he shall not fear.
His heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

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

Gospel – Mt 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

Or

Mt 25:31-40

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

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Find Your Freedom


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 4, 2022

Freedom is a Right. We celebrate freedom today from the very depths of each of our hearts. On the most outward and national level, we commemorate the historical proceedings that led us today. Not everyone reviewing this commentary is American, but the values for which this country stands may and should serve as a beacon of life and hope for a better tomorrow. I want to share with you today the peace and joy that is in my heart. Knowing what this day means historically and intellectually, I still want to take it a step further. “When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land.”

Bottom line: there are real, tangible, and ongoing miracles around us. Just think for a minute about your life and those precious to you. For some, the miracle began when they gave their heart to Jesus early on, while for others, the turning point came when a person welcomed the Holy Spirit and allowed that Spirit to work within them.

Independence is a Choice. Today, this is what I witness: we are free. We’ve tasted the slavery of dysfunction and co-dependence and have chosen freedom. We’ve struggled to survive financially, and we have chosen hope. We’ve tasted lust and selfishness and have chosen love. We know we are the person we are when no one looks. We have chosen integrity.
Can we abuse this freedom? Can we ever forget what has brought us to this moment? Can we become yet another statistic? Yes, we can–—but—-we won’t because we have spiritual freedom, and nothing in life can adequately replace that.

Let us Pray: Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me. AMEN.

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July 4, 2022


Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 383

Reading 1 – HOS 2:16, 17C-18, 21-22

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

On that day, says the LORD,
She shall call me “My husband,”
and never again “My baal.”

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8A) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works. 
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice. 
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Alleluia – 2 TM 1:10

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

Gospel – MT 9:18-26

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
“My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”
And from that hour the woman was cured.
When Jesus arrived at the official’s house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.”
And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.

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It Is Time For Us To Shine


man in wheat field harvest time

Reflection on Mass Reading for July 3, 2022

“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.” At some point in our lives, we come to a point where we truly realize what the Lord Jesus has done for us in dying for our sins and opening the gates of Heaven. There has to be an uncontrollable joy that fills our hearts and minds and radiates to all we meet.

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Here is the central issue and main concern of the meaning of the Scriptures today. Be like Christ! Whenever possible, find someone to save and save them. Pass on to them what you have received and ask for nothing in return but the knowledge and satisfaction that you are doing the work of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. What a profound idea to consider when we realize how much the Good Shepherd has blessed us. With all the world who truly need guidance and vision, now is the time to shepherd those whom God has given us to love.

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” St. Teresa d’Avila

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July 3, 2022


Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 102

Reading 1 – Is 66:10-14C

Thus says the LORD:
 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 Jerusalem 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 – Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
 sing praise to the glory of his name;
 proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
 sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
 his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
 through the river they passed on foot;
 therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
 what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
 my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Reading 2 – Gal 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.
For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation.
Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule
and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen.

Alleluia – Col 3:15A, 16A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 10:1-12, 17-20

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

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and  scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. 
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

or 

Lk 10:1-9

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
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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Spiritual Wardrobe


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 2, 2022

“The Lord speaks of peace to his people.” From time to time, we are given a unique perspective into how Jesus truly wants us to understand what it means to follow Him. What is clear time and time again is how much God wants us to be happy in this life and how He wants us to be fulfilled to live the life He set us here to live.

St. Matthew illustrates an example of that fulfillment. “People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.” As we have seen so many times, Jesus often uses concrete and dynamic images to illustrate his point. He was certainly the Master Teacher who constantly made teaching memorable and easily understandable. Likewise, by drawing from examples of everyday life, Jesus, even today, helps his hearers to connect the Gospel with their ordinary experiences.

How should we understand Jesus’ reference to wineskins? We are used to buying and storing wine in bottles. In the time of Christ, this was possible but impractical. Glass was a precious material and was usually produced in small quantities. Bottles could not be transported easily and, being a costly material, would have required too much care for the average home. At the time of Christ, liquids would be stored in clay jars or containers made of animal skin. The latter was particularly convenient for transportation, as they could be carried easily, were lightweight, and would occupy less and less space as the liquid was consumed.

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

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July 2, 2022


Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 382

Reading 1 – AM 9:11-15

Thus says the LORD:
On that day I will raise up
the fallen hut of David;
I will wall up its breaches,
raise up its ruins,
and rebuild it as in the days of old,
That they may conquer what is left of Edom
and all the nations that shall bear my name,
say I, the LORD, who will do this.
Yes, days are coming,
says the LORD,
When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the vintager, him who sows the seed;
The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains,
and all the hills shall run with it.
I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel;
they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities,
Plant vineyards and drink the wine,
set out gardens and eat the fruits.
I will plant them upon their own ground;
never again shall they be plucked
From the land I have given them,
say I, the LORD, your God.

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

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

Alleluia – JN 10:27

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

Gospel – MT 9:14-17

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” 

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When Evil Triumphs


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 1, 2022

“Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!” The urgency for all of us who follow the Lord Jesus to be just and fair, especially when treating the poor, can never be underestimated. It is real to assume that the way we treat the most vulnerable, the weakest, and the most innocent in this life will go a long way in how we will arrive intact at our destiny after our earthly pilgrimage has ended.

“Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” We live in a very damaged, frail, and unjust world. History has recorded millennia of evidence to this effect. Our goal, while alive and spirited by the Gospel, is how we imitate and follow the great example of Jesus while He walked our planet. He wants us to be merciful, kind, and just in all our dealings. Only then will we find true peace in this life.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” Haile Selassie

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July 1, 2022


Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 381

Reading I – Am 8:4-6, 9-12

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy
and destroy the poor of the land!
“When will the new moon be over,” you ask,
“that we may sell our grain,
and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?”
We will diminish the containers for measuring,
add to the weights,
and fix our scales for cheating!
We will buy the lowly man for silver,
and the poor man for a pair of sandals;
even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!”

On that day, says the Lord GOD,
I will make the sun set at midday
and cover the earth with darkness in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentations.
I will cover the loins of all with sackcloth
and make every head bald.
I will make them mourn as for an only son,
and bring their day to a bitter end.

Yes, days are coming, says the Lord GOD,
when I will send famine upon the land:
Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water,
but for hearing the word of the LORD.
Then shall they wander from sea to sea
and rove from the north to the east
In search of the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.
 

Responsorial Psalm – 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131

(Matthew 4:4) One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your ordinances at all times.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your justice give me life.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
 

Alleluia – Mt 11:28

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

Gospel – Mt 9:9-13

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

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