The Word of God

January 31, 2023


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

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest

Lectionary: 324

Reading I – Heb 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 22:26B-27, 28 and 30, 31-32

R. (see 27B) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
“May your hearts be ever merry!”
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
Before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

Alleluia – Mt 8:17

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

Gospel – Mk 5:21-43

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

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

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

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January 31 – Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest


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

Lectionary: 523

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

Reading 1 – Phil 4:4-9

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 23:11, 12B

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

Gospel – Mt 18:1-5

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 324


“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.” Without a doubt, the Christian Life can be very difficult sometimes and seemingly just too hard to walk. This is precisely why we need to help each other and depend on the great example of the Saints of God who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith and exuberantly displaying a remarkable amount of courage in living the Faith in Christ in the face of the most formidable odds.

“One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.” “There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.” In the Gospel today, we have two prime examples of people who are in great need of a powerful miracle in their lives and who are surrounded by people who also believe because the text tells us there were crowds following the unfolding drama. The witness and advice given to those searching for the Lord and finding the most courageous of all faith help us remember that we need each other in the walk of faith. We also need to respond appropriately and faithfully when called upon to give witness, strengthen the resolve of others who are struggling, and always pray for those who need our prayers the most. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” St. Augustine

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January 30, 2023


Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 323

Reading 1 – Heb 11:32-40

Brothers and sisters:
What more shall I say?
I have not time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah,
of David and Samuel and the prophets,
who by faith conquered kingdoms, 
did what was righteous, obtained the promises;
they closed the mouths of lions, put out raging fires,
escaped the devouring sword;
out of weakness they were made powerful, became strong in battle,
and turned back foreign invaders.
Women received back their dead through resurrection.
Some were tortured and would not accept deliverance,
in order to obtain a better resurrection.
Others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point;
they went about in skins of sheep or goats,
needy, afflicted, tormented.
The world was not worthy of them.
They wandered about in deserts and on mountains,
in caves and in crevices in the earth.

Yet all these, though approved because of their faith,
did not receive what had been promised.
God had foreseen something better for us,
so that without us they should not be made perfect.

Responsorial – Ps 31:20, 21, 22, 23, 24

R.    (25)  Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
How great is the goodness, O LORD,
    which you have in store for those who fear you,
And which, toward those who take refuge in you,
    you show in the sight of the children of men.
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
    from the plottings of men;
You screen them within your abode
    from the strife of tongues.
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Blessed be the LORD whose wondrous mercy
    he has shown me in a fortified city. 
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Once I said in my anguish,
    “I am cut off from your sight”;
Yet you heard the sound of my pleading
    when I cried out to you.
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Love the LORD, all you his faithful ones!
    The LORD keeps those who are constant,
    but more than requites those who act proudly.
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.

Alleluia – Lk 7:16

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

Gospel – Mk 5:1-20

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

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 323


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

“God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect.” However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for each one of us: every day is a challenge and a struggle to live this life and walk this walk. We live in a world of darkness and terror, and unless we hold the Light of Christ within us, we will indeed be swallowed up in despair. Thus, the battle between light and darkness is not just outside us but also within us. Thanks be to God. We have Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team.

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

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January 29, 2023


Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 70

Reading 1 – Zep 2:3; 3:12-13

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth,
who have observed his law;
seek justice, seek humility;
perhaps you may be sheltered
on the day of the LORD’s anger.

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
they shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

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

R. (Mt 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – 1 Cor 1:26-31

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

Alleluia – Mt 5:12A

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

Gospel – Mt 5:1-12A

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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Reflection – Lectionary: 70


When used wisely, authority is one of the greatest assets to human development and peace. Still, when misused by the corrupt, it is simply and hopelessly bent on self-promotion and destroys anyone in the way. When God imparts authority onto Moses, we know that it is for a great and powerful reason: “They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; they shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them.” Moses was clearly a stellar figure in the Old Testament. As a “Lawgiver” from his post on Mount Sinai, he prefigured Jesus wonderfully and majestically to complete the full cycle when Jesus came down the mountain to give us the powerfully loving Beatitudes. His authority given to him by God led him to faithfully and effectively use that power without coercion, force, or manipulation. This is why the Alleluia Verse today is brilliant when we are reasonably instructed that “Rejoice and be glad; your reward will be great in heaven.”

As we move into the New Testament lessons of the day, we realize all too well that we live in a world where authority is used without justice and power is wielded mercilessly upon the powerless. It reminds us of what Thomas Paine maintained when he wrote, “to argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” In stark contrast, Jesus taught with love; His authority was one of commanding care and complete providence for everything we need to get back home to Heaven. This is the depth of love which is why St. Paul was insistent that when we would follow the Lord and respect His authority of love for us that we should be free from the unnecessary fret and worry: “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Today, as reported in the Gospel, we also may find ourselves astonished and overwhelmed with the bright hope of what our lives can be if we submit to the authority that Jesus embodies with us even now. He loves every one of us as if only one of us exists! How could we go wrong by acknowledging the awesome authority of love?

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January 28, 2023


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

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

Lectionary: 322

Reading 1 – Heb 11:1-2, 8-19

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith.
They did not receive what had been promised
but saw it and greeted it from afar
and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,
for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come,
they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.
Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son,
of whom it was said,
Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Responsorial Psalm – Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R. (see 68) Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old.
that he would save us from our sins
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the bonds of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
R. Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

Alleluia – Jn 3:16

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

Gospel – Mk 4:35-41

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 322


“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested.” This classic phrase from our First Reading of the Letter to Hebrews creates a pivotal, critical point in our understanding of who Jesus is and why He came. As the mediator of the New Covenant by which the shedding of His blood saves all, we have access to the most wonderful of all gifts and walk in the light of faith toward our Heavenly home. This is why our most important goal and search on earth is to encounter Jesus and invite Him to live, move, and have our being and existence. With this in mind, everything that happens to us, good, bad, or indifferent, will be seen through the lens of redemption as the real person of Christ lives within each one of us. Without this precious gift, human life and all our encounters will be thrown into a dark chasm of resentment and pessimism, as we witnessed in our final Reading from St. Mark.

Jesus, of the House of David, took the threatening condition of storm and rain and displayed His authority over all creation, humans, and nature. “He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” Once the inner storms and weaknesses within the human soul are faced and blessed in the name of Jesus, peace is returned, life is strengthened, and fear takes a back seat; the further, the better. This is true freedom.

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.” – Amen. St. Thomas Aquinas

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


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

Lectionary: 522

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

Reading 1 – Wis 7:7-10, 15-16

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 23:9B, 10B

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

Gospel – Mt 23:8-12

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

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The Memory Field


male walking on pathway towards sunlight in a wheat field

From time to time, in those fleeting moments that seem to disappear as quickly as they arrive, life does everything to grab your attention and make you stop, if only for a minute, to realize the kind of world we pass by with numbing regularity.

Take for instance that slice of reality that unveiled itself to me early in a dense-fogged morning even before the sun rose to burn off the vestiges of night and get our engines revving. I stopped for about twenty minutes to enjoy a cup of brewed energy and a couple of soft scrambled eggs, find a nice quiet little place where the only noise was the yawns of the waitresses and the bell that sounded whenever the front door was opened. It was peaceful yet tense as my mind began to race as to the demands of what looked like a very busy day ahead. “I’m ready,” I thought, as I paid, left a friendly tip, and made my way to the car.

Once I passed the dimly lit parking lot, I had to turn onto to a road that saddled a large field where once stood one of the city’s oldest and endearing nursing homes. Back in the day, at least when I was in school, everyone knew someone who had a grandparent, uncle or aunt, or even one of the Carmelite Sisters who used to operate the facility. It had been summarily torn down after a failed attempt to raise the funds to upgrade the home of more than 100 residents and what was once an architectural and historical landmark was just empty space with a sign that maybe, just maybe, there was going to be a quickly accessible gas station and mini mart.

Before I could turn on to the major street to make my way to the office, something unusual caught my eye. In the middle of this somewhat wide-open abandoned field, I could see what appeared to be the vague shape of a human being sitting on a lawn chair surrounded with small boxes, or that was at least what my quasi-active imagination was conjuring. Being involved with homeless people as I am, I thought it would be safe enough to park at a distance and approach what might be a future client for one of our shelters. Sure enough, I was almost right: it was a man, attired in layers of old and ragged clothes, sitting, not on a lawn chair, but several plastic water cartons with several discarded fast-food containers, which I presumed were half eaten leftovers that he either found or was given by folks who felt sorry and were caught up in the moment.

From a slight distance and measurable distance, I called out to him and spoke my name gently asking if he needed any help. “I’m so sad,” he said. My tender response was a most sincere, “I’m so sorry, is there anything I can do for you?” After a few seconds of both of us realizing that we represented little or no threat to each other, he began to explain what was happening. Even though his moving narrative took only about two minutes, I felt as if time had stopped and the glowing lights of dawn that I could see in the distance formed the most amazing and dramatic backdrop to the scene in real time, as they say.

The mercifully abridged version of this one-act human play was simple. He had been a long-time resident of the nursing home which once stood there. His wife and their only adult son had died and the only family and circle of friends he had for the past eleven years were his fellow residents including a few priests who were convalescing there. When the decision to close the facility was made, so were many, many promises offered as to the humane replacement of those who called that place their home. As fate or life or Karma or whatever is the more popular cosmic rationale employed these days, he literally fell between the cracks. Let me explain. At the nursing facility he was transferred to, he fell over a rather large opening in the front sidewalk and was taken first to the hospital then to a rehabilitation facility. In the meantime, that facility was sold, reorganized, and apparently his files were lost or misplaced. When he returned, there was a grave misunderstanding, words exchanged that should never have been spoken, and a very angry, dejected man finding his way back to his old home, now just an empty field with only the sounds of crickets and passing cars for a lullaby.

He returned to the only place where he could share his memories, and even though there was nothing there anymore, he still remembered and still cried, and still hoped. I rushed to my office to call some colleagues in other agencies to see what we could do, but when we returned later that afternoon, he was gone and thankfully, the water cartons and fast-food remnants were still there to provide proof of my encounter to my fellow case managers.

I have driven by that field of memory quite often these days wondering what ever happened to that gentleman and if he was safe somewhere. Of course, I pray for him even today as I share with you this memory. 

Where are your memories kept and shared? Do you cherish those with whom you tell and retell the most amazing facets of your life?  Are you happy to be alive? 

I know I am.

“Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean, tears from the depths of some divine despair rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, in looking on the happy autumn fields, and thinking of the days that are no more.” ~Alfred Lord Tennyson

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January 27, 2023


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

Friday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 321

Reading 1 – Heb 10:32-39

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, 
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; 
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison 
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, 
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; 
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

    For, after just a brief moment,
        he who is to come shall come;
        he shall not delay.
    But my just one shall live by faith,
        and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.

We are not among those who draw back and perish, 
but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

R.    (39A)  The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
    that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
    and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Commit to the LORD your way;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
    bright as the noonday shall be your vindication. 
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm, 
    and he approves his way.
Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate,
    for the hand of the LORD sustains him.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
    he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the 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 – Mk 4:26-34

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

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 321


Passion is a very complicated element of the human experience. By definition, “passions” refers to the affections or feelings by which we can understand and navigate through a world filled with both good and evil. This also means that God must have an equal counterpart within what it means to be divine, as He imparts to us a similarly creative and energetic force as His created loved ones. Everyone needs passion to accomplish anything worthwhile in life, but it is a power that has led so many to both victory and failure. But we are not without hope of victory: “We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.”

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

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

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January 27 – Optional Memorial of Saint Angela Merici, virgin


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

Lectionary: 521

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

Reading 1 – 1 Pt 4:7B-11

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

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

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

Alleluia – See Mt 11:25

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

Gospel – Mk 9:34B-37

The disciples of Jesus had been discussing on the way
who was the greatest.
Jesus sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around him, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

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January 26, 2023


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

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops

Lectionary: 520/320

Reading I – 2 Tm 1:1-8

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

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

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

OR:

Ti 1:1-5

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10

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

Alleluia – Ps 119:105

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

Gospel – Mk 4:21-25

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

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January 26 – Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops


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

Lectionary: 520

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

Reading 1 – 2 Tm 1:1-8

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

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

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

 Or

Ti 1:1-5

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Lk 4:18

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

Gospel – Lk 10:1-9

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 520/320


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

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

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

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January 25, 2023


Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Lectionary: 519

Reading 1 – Acts 22:3-16

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

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

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

Or

Acts 9:1-22

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – 117:1BC, 2

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:16

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

Gospel – Mk 16:15-18

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 519


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

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

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

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

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

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January 24, 2023


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

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

Lectionary: 318

Reading 1 – Heb 10:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come,
and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect
those who come to worship by the same sacrifices
that they offer continually each year.
Otherwise, would not the sacrifices have ceased to be offered,
since the worshipers, once cleansed, would no longer
have had any consciousness of sins?
But in those sacrifices there is only a yearly remembrance of sins,
for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats
take away sins.
For this reason, when he came into the world, he said:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, As is written of me in the scroll,
Behold, I come to do your will, O God.

First he says, Sacrifices and offerings,
burnt offerings and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.

These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, Behold, I come to do your will.
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

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

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

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 – Mk 3:31-35

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 318


From the very beginning of the Revelation we have received, beginning in the Old Testament, we encounter the notion and the nature of the deep and lasting relationship the Lord has always wanted for us. Like a good earthly father who wants to give his own 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: “Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year.”

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 and living this insight is the 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 just 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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January 24 – Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, please go here.

Lectionary: 518

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 37:3-4, 5-6, 30-31

R.    (30A)  The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Trust in the LORD and do good
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom
and his tongue utters what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart,
and his steps do not falter.
R.    The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

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 be in you
and your joy 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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January 23, 2023


For the Suggested Readings for Today’s Memorial, please go here.
For the Optional Readings for the Memorial of Saint Vincent, please go here.

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

Lectionary: 317

Reading 1 – Heb 9:15, 24-28

Christ is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place
for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6

R. (1A)  Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Alleluia – See 2 Tm 1:10

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

Gospel – Mk 3:22-30

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

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

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January 23 – Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children


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

Lectionary: 516A

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

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

Reading 1 – Is 49:1-6


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

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

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

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

Reading 2 – Eph 3:14-21


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

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

 

Alleluia – Ps 119:88

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

Gospel – Lk 1:39-56


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

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

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 317


“The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.'” (Jesus’ encounter with the scribes in the Gospel) This encounter presented to us today in the Scriptures truly relayed to us the sense of viciousness and ferocity of the climate into which both King David and Jesus the Christ (and our King) had to begin their respective reign and ministry. Here is an excellent example of character assassination in the Bible. Jesus addressed the issue in a very beautiful and Messianic way. He confronted evil with the sheer power of his truth and love. He invited those present and us this very day to enter a deeper reflection on the mystery of His Kingdom and the invitation to live there for all eternity.

When individuals are unaware of the evil within their hearts and personality, they project it onto others they believe to be the very existence of evil in their own twisted and malformed perspectives. Because the scribes were blind, they were trapped and looked completely foolish and pathetic. We often despise in others what we despise in our own lives. Make sure Jesus lives and moves and breathes in yours.

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

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January 23 – Optional Memorial of Saint Vincent, deacon and martyr


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

Lectionary: 517

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

Reading 1 – 2 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 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

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

Alleluia – 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 10:17-22

Jesus said to the Twelve:
“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.”

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January 22, 2023


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 67

Reading 1 – Is 8:23—9:3

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (1A) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Reading 2 – 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”
or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

Alleluia – Mt 4:23

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

Gospel – Mt 4:12-23 or 4:12-17

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

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

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

or

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 67


“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Apart from being so close to the water and thus positioned by the Sea of Galilee, there must be other more powerful reasons why Jesus called Fishermen to follow Him and why fishing has become a very important image for all of us in discipleship. What do fishing and living a Christian life have in common? Here are some possibilities:

  • You’ve got to be prepared. “Here I am,” I said; “send me!”
  • You’ve got to start early. “I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name.”
  • You’ve got to be quiet and listen. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord.”
  • You’ve got to wait. “In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.”
  • You’ve got to be persistent and determined. “Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.”
  • You’ve got to practice and enjoy the process. “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

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January 21, 2023


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

Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Lectionary: 316

Reading 1 – Heb 9:2-3, 11-14

A tabernacle was constructed, the outer one,
in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of offering; 
this is called the Holy Place.
Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. 

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, 
passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, 
that is, not belonging to this creation, 
he entered once for all into the sanctuary, 
not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own Blood, 
thus obtaining eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes 
can sanctify those who are defiled 
so that their flesh is cleansed, 
how much more will the Blood of Christ, 
who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.

Responsorial Psalm – 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
For king of all the earth is God:
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

Alleluia – See Acts 16:14B

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

Gospel – Mk 3:20-21

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 316


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

“How much more will the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.” The simple truth is this: when anyone decides to follow the Lord and keep the commandments to the best of their abilities, the world may deem that insane. How often have we been told that immoral and anti-Christian behavior is perfectly acceptable because “everybody is doing it.” Therefore, being different and faithful must make you “out of your mind.” So who is crazy, and who isn’t? There is only one answer: “Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.” (Psalm)

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

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January 21 – Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr


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

Lectionary: 516

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

Reading 1 – 1 Cor 1:26-31

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

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 23:1B-3A, 4, 5, 6

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

Alleluia – Jn 15:9B, 5B

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

Gospel – Mt 13:44-46

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

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January 20, 2023


For the Optional Readings for the Memorial of Saint Sebastian, please go here.
For the Optional Readings for the Memorial of Saint Fabian, please go here.

Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 315

Reading 1 – Heb 8:6-13

Brothers and sisters:
Now our high priest has obtained so much more excellent a ministry
as he is mediator of a better covenant,
enacted on better promises.

For if that first covenant had been faultless,
no place would have been sought for a second one.
But he finds fault with them and says:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of
Israel and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand to lead
them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they did not stand by my covenant
and I ignored them, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds
and I will write them upon their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying,
“Know the Lord,”
for all shall know me, from least to greatest.
For I will forgive their evildoing
and remember their sins no more.

When he speaks of a “new” covenant,
he declares the first one obsolete.
And what has become obsolete
and has grown old is close to disappearing.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 85:8 and 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (11A) Kindness and truth shall meet.
Show us, O LORD, your mercy,
and grant us your salvation.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
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. Kindness and truth shall meet.
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. Kindness and truth shall meet.

Alleluia

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

Gospel – Mk 3:13-19

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

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January 20 – Optional Memorial of Saint Sebastian, martyr


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

Lectionary: 515

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

Reading 1 – 1 Pt 3:14-17

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

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

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

Alleluia – Jas 1:12

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

Gospel – Mt 10:28-33

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 315


This is a great day to reflect upon the intrinsic and deep relationship between what it means to have good, close, and encouraging friends, the freedom it takes to maintain those friendships, and the faith in Jesus that makes us friends with Him. “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” Review once again what is being taught to us today in the letter to the Hebrews. A New Covenant of promise, hope, and eternal life is offered to humanity. This relationship between God and His Word causes us to gush over how we deal with each other, especially our enemies. In many ways, you can tell how great a friend will be to the extent that he or she can forgive and show compassion. This is certainly true with those who live for the Kingdom of God.

This element is underscored in the Gospel of today: Jesus knew that one of the Apostles He would choose would eventually betray Him, and still, in perfect freedom, he asked Him to follow Him, that is, be His friend anyway: “He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him…and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.” The application for us today is simply stunning. For love to grow within any relationship, there must be faith in the One who is love and the only One who will sustain that love until eternity, and especially for the grace both to forgive and show mercy. What is also remarkable is that love, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion never leave us empty-handed or return with nothing. It is a classic “win-win” situation: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

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

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


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

Lectionary: 514

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

Reading 1 – 1 Pt 5:1-4

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

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 10:14

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

Gospel – Jn 21:15-17

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

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January 19, 2023


Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 314

Reading 1 – Heb 7:25-8:6

Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: 
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, 
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests, 
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people; 
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, 
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, 
appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

The main point of what has been said is this: 
we have such a high priest, 
who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary 
and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; 
thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.
If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, 
since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,
as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle.
For God says, “See that you make everything 
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry 
as he is mediator of a better covenant, 
enacted on better promises.

Responsorial Psalm – 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 17

R.    (8A and 9A)  Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
    but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
    then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
    and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
    I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. 
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
May all who seek you
    exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
    say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

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 – Mk 3:7-12

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 314


“Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.” Throughout our daily journey to the Father, we will no doubt encounter all kinds of dark and sinister forces that appear at the most inopportune times and situations. one of those is the debilitating and paralyzing force of fear. We face all kinds of worries in practically all sorts of situations. Some moments are less intense than others. Still, as long we allow this very negative force, even a small foothold in our attitudes and prayer life, it only can grow dangerously large into a formidable enemy of happiness. We can take great comfort in how the origins of all these pathetic and evil shrank before the face of Jesus to give us the necessary depth of faith to trust Him with everything we have and move forward with that same confidence facing every opportunity with grace and peace.

“He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.” Today we are called to approach our Dear Lord and Savior with petitions for others in our lives who might be suffering and carrying heavy crosses. We are also called to bring our souls and lives to Jesus and ask for the peace and comfort that only He can get in the world. The world will witness a profound difference if we all act as one agent for peace and forgiveness.

Be at Peace Prayer by St. Francis de Sales

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms. Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

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January 18, 2023


Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 313

Reading 1 – Heb 7:1-3, 15-17

Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High,
met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings

and blessed him.
And Abraham apportioned to him a tenth of everything.
His name first means righteous king,
and he was also “king of Salem,” that is, king of peace.
Without father, mother, or ancestry,
without beginning of days or end of life,
thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

It is even more obvious if another priest is raised up
after the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become so,
not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent
but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.
For it is testified:

You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

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

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

Alleluia – See Mt 4:23

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

Gospel – Mk 3:1-6

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 313


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

On Sundays, try to remember this Reflection. Consider taking a different approach to the Sabbath and let God be at peace with you and for you. Cut out any unnecessary activity and focus on your hope of Heaven. Then perhaps we may truly appreciate the blessing of the Letter to the Hebrews for us as cited from the First Reading: “His name first means righteous king, and he was also ‘king of Salem,’ that is, king of peace.”

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

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January 17, 2023


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

Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbott

Lectionary: 312

Reading 1 – Heb 6:10-20

Brothers and sisters:
God is not unjust so as to overlook your work
and the love you have demonstrated for his name
by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.
We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness
for the fulfillment of hope until the end,
so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who,
through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham,
since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
and said, I will indeed bless you and multiply you.
And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.
Now, men swear by someone greater than themselves;
for them an oath serves as a guarantee
and puts an end to all argument.
So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise
an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose,
he intervened with an oath,
so that by two immutable things,
in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged
to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.
This we have as an anchor of the soul,
sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,
where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner,
becoming high priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial Psalm – 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 and 10C

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

Alleluia – See Eph 1:17-18

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

Gospel – Mk 2:23-28

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

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January 17 – Memorial of Saint Anthony, abbot


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

Lectionary: 513

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 (Lectionary #737-742).

Reading 1 – Eph 6:10-13, 18

Brothers and sisters:
Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm
against the tactics of the Devil.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood
but with the principalities, with the powers,
with the world rulers of this present darkness,
with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Therefore, put on the armor of God,
that you may be able to resist on the evil day
and, having done everything, to hold your ground.

With all prayer and supplication,
pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.
To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication
for all the holy ones.

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

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

Alleluia – Jn 8:31B-32

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

Gospel – Mt 19:16-26

Someone approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed.  What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”

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Reflection Lectionary: 312


In our First Reading, we are presented with an awesome scene of encouragement as we continue to move forward in this New Year: “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.” This Scripture clearly understood the right order of things in the Spiritual Universe, as Jesus recalled and reminded the Pharisees later in St. Mark’s Gospel: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” You see, the Sabbath is much more than law, but truly a gift of God’s care for all of us. He rested on the seventh day not out of fatigue but to show how a fruitful life should be lived, with enough time for re-creation and renewal. Our redemption from sin and death is truly the work of God and not us. He has literally “done all the work.” Now, for this glorious break, He wants us to enjoy!

You and I, unfortunately, tend to rush through our busy week, maybe offering God a fleeting wave or a passing prayer. Sunday, the Sabbath, however, calls us to a true and thought-out decision with real intention. We are to stop all the other things we had to do or must do or have to do, and spend quality time with Him and focus attention on Him. When we decide to obey, that is, listen to the Fourth Commandment, we become aware of the astounding and comforting truth that we really belong to God. It is not the Sabbath that we worship but the One who has initiated the Sabbath as we swim in a sort of memorial in time, a useful tool to help us focus our attention on our awesome destiny. This coming Sunday, try to remember this Reflection. Take a different approach to the Sabbath and let God be at peace with you and for you. Cut out any unnecessary activity and focus on your hope of Heaven. Then perhaps we may truly appreciate the blessing of St. Paul for us, as cited from the Letter to the Ephesians in the Alleluia Verse of today: “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.”

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

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January 16, 2023


Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 311

Reading 1 – Heb 5:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
Every high priest is taken from among men
and made their representative before God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.
No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
You are my Son:
this day I have begotten you;

just as he says in another place,
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

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

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

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

Alleluia – Heb 4:12

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

Gospel – Mk 2:18-22

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 311


“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Perhaps among the top ten most understood terms used in common speech, we find the lonely word “obey.” In some circles, and this, of course, is wide open for debate, obedience means to follow the order of another blindly. Usually, one in authority or with power over us, given or taken, usually with dire consequences if the orders are not completed or compliant. This is certainly understandable, as if a person in the military or other chains of command formats does not follow orders, that is, to obey a command, there are serious and disastrous repercussions. However, to play this right, the word at its very heart means to be subject, serve, pay attention to, give ear, and thus literally, “to listen to.”

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

Shhhhhhhh! Just listen.

 

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January 15, 2023


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 64

Reading 1 – Is 49:3, 5-6

The LORD said to me: You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10

R. (8A and 9A) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts 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 am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 2 – 1 Cor 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia – Jn 1:14a, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him,
he gave power to become children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

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Reflection – Lectionary: 64


“I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Today, we have a loving image of the one who brings light to every situation they enter. This does bring special nuance to the image that Jesus imparts to us to exemplify his love and care for the world. When you think about it, plants and crops are like people, each with their unique “personality” and preferences for water, sunlight, soil type, and best-growing conditions. The Lord knows this about us, so He attends to the varying needs of each of us in terms of what is best for us to grow and bear fruit in this life. Like plants, we too can harvest energy from the sun, that is, the Son of God; water, for example, is necessary for life, and so are the waters of Baptism; Just like plants, human beings need nutrients both for the body and soul and for this we are fed on the Word of God in the Scriptures and Eucharist, the Body of Christ. And just like the plant world needs the soil that holds all the water and nutrients needed for growth, Jesus has given us the Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. We also must recognize the rocks and thorns in our lives that can distract and choke the grace we need to grow in love for and with God, and that is why we remain open to his beautiful Word today and always.

The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him, he gave power to become children of God.” All of us who live in the Kingdom want family, and we seek security in one way or another. We need intimacy to discover our place in the world and make healthy connection with others, especially with God. What is the foundation of such levels of relationship? Fidelity and obedience. We feel and exist closer to the Lord the more we follow Him and live in the light of His love starting with our desire and success to forgive even the deepest of pains in this life, especially betrayal. Imagine your homecoming to Jesus in Heaven and all the stories you’ll share as you spend a lifetime looking for Him, too. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'”

Hold your head up high and be Jesus today!

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

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January 14, 2023


Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 310

Reading 1 – Heb 4:12-16

The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,     
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Responsorial Psalm – 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R.    (see John 6:63C)  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
    find favor before you,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia – Lk 4:18

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

Gospel – Mk 2:13-17

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

“The sharp two-edged sword of the Word of God is without a dull book, a blunt chapter, or a flat verse.” Steven Lawson

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Reflection – Lectionary: 310


“The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Several dictionary entries describe the condition of a two-or double edge sword as something that has or can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences. Since the Letter to the Hebrews describes the Word of God as sharper than a two-edged sword, we must conclude and accept the awesome fact that every time we hear them or read the Scriptures, there is the not-so-remote possibility that something good, as well as something tragic, could happen. The first concern perhaps held by many of our Readers would be the strategy or ways we can know how to keep the optimum consequences flowing over and above the negative ones. How do we achieve balance in the spiritual life and find God’s love, mercy, and presence in our everyday life?

The Gospel of this same day provides us all with such a methodology and comforting resolution to handling the two-edged sword of the most powerful words we should ever want to hear on the planet: “Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me.'” The only surefire way to approach the daily call to holiness and avoid the dangerous but likewise appealing calls to be selfish, leading us to our final destination in Heaven, is simple and beautiful. We follow Jesus. We listen to Him, immerse ourselves in fruitful and comforting prayer, and then repeat this life-giving cycle every single morning.

“The sharp two-edged sword of the Word of God is without a dull book, a blunt chapter, or a flat verse.” Steven Lawson

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January 13, 2023


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

Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 309

Reading I

Let us be on our guard
while the promise of entering into his rest remains,
that none of you seem to have failed.
For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did.
But the word that they heard did not profit them,
for they were not united in faith with those who listened.
For we who believed enter into that rest,
just as he has said:

As I swore in my wrath,    
“They shall not enter into my rest,”

and yet his works were accomplished
at the foundation of the world.
For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner,
And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;
and again, in the previously mentioned place,
They shall not enter into my rest. 

Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest,
so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.

Responsorial Psalm – 78:3 and 4BC, 6c-7, 8

R.    (see 7B)  Do not forget the works of the Lord!
What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
That they too may rise and declare to their sons
that they should put their hope in God,
And not forget the deeds of God
but keep his commands.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
And not be like their fathers,
a generation wayward and rebellious,
A generation that kept not its heart steadfast
nor its spirit faithful toward God.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!

Alleluia – Lk 7:16

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

Gospel – Mk 2:1-12

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 309


“Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.” Someone once wrote that true friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. The advice is quite simple: Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island, and thereby, to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune, and to maintain that friend a blessing. If this is true, we can learn much about life-giving friendships found in the Bible. When we find friends who help us believe in Jesus and maintain that love, we count ourselves among the truly blessed in this life. We also pray that we may always learn that an honest enemy is always better than a friend who lies.

Then, beautifully in the Gospel of today, we see that form of acting in a different kind of trusting, life-giving friendship: “They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.” This has to rank in the top 10 most dramatic scenes of the New Testament. Visualize the moment if you can. Four friends are convinced that he will be saved if Jesus can touch their friend. And he was. Note well that this act of friendship also moved Jesus because he clearly noticed the faith of ALL the group of friends: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.'”

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

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

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


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

Lectionary: 512

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

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 2:18-25

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 5:16

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

Gospel – Mt 5:13-19

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

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

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January 12, 2023


Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 308

Reading 1 – Heb 3:7-14

The Holy Spirit says:
    Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
        “Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
        in the day of testing in the desert,
    where your ancestors tested and tried me
        and saw my works for forty years.
    Because of this I was provoked with that generation
        and I said, ‘They have always been of erring heart,
        and they do not know my ways.’
    As I swore in my wrath,
        ‘They shall not enter into my rest.’”

Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,”
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Responsorial Psalm – 95:6-7C, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (8)  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
    let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
    and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
    “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
    as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
    they tested me though they had seen my works.” 
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Forty years I was wearied of that generation;
    I said: “This people’s heart goes astray,
    they do not know my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my anger:
    “They shall never enter my rest.”
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Alleluia – Mt 4:23

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

Gospel – Mk 1:40-45

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 308


It would be a sad day for anyone trying to follow the Lord if this statement from our First Reading were valid: “Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God.” However, it isn’t the accusation that makes the account miserable; it is precisely WHY those who love the Lord find themselves in crushed spiritual battles. The answer: Arrogance, plain and simple. Many times, even believers find themselves defeated because of the swollen, egotistical and misguided, misinformed confidence which insanely believed that God’s will must surely reflect their own. Their silliness is compounded and confirmed by their reaction after any stunning outcome; instead of humility and crying out to God for help, they lament in confusion. This is similar to those who attempt to put words in God’s mouth to justify their positions and biases and then don’t “get it” when everything backfires. Arrogance, as the proverb says, is a kingdom without a crown.

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

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

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January 11, 2023


Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 307

Reading I – Heb 2:14-18

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

Responsorial Psalm – 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (8A)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
    make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
    proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R.    (8A)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
    rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
    seek to serve him constantly.
R.    (8A)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
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.    (8A)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
    which he made binding for a thousand generations– 
Which he entered into with Abraham
    and by his oath to Isaac. 
R.    (8A)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 10:27

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

Gospel – Mk 1:29-39

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

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

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 307 11


“He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him
.” This passage is especially interesting because it is one of many references in the Gospel according to St. Mark, where we encounter demons and their dreadful demonic possession. The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits that sought entry into everyone. Often they did enter through food or drink. All illnesses were caused by them. There were spirits of deafness, dumbness, fever; spirits which took a man’s sanity and wits away; spirits of lying, deceit, and uncleanness. It was such a spirit that Jesus exorcized here. “Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life.”

“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord. I know them, and they follow me.” However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for every one of us: every day is a challenge and a struggle to live this life and walk this walk. We live in a world of darkness and terror, and unless we hold the Light of Christ within us, we will indeed be swallowed up in despair. Thus, the battle between light and darkness is not just outside us but also within us. Thanks are to God; we have Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team.

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 307


“He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.” This passage is especially interesting because it is one of many references in the Gospel according to St. Mark, where we encounter demons and their dreadful demonic possession. The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits that sought entry into everyone. Often they did enter through food or drink. All illnesses were caused by them. There were spirits of deafness, dumbness, fever; spirits which took a man’s sanity and wits away; spirits of lying, deceit, and uncleanness. It was such a spirit that Jesus exorcized here. “Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life.”

“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord. I know them, and they follow me.” However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for every one of us: every day is a challenge and a struggle to live this life and walk this walk. We live in a world of darkness and terror, and unless we hold the Light of Christ within us, we will indeed be swallowed up in despair. Thus, the battle between light and darkness is not just outside us but also within us. Thanks are to God; we have Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team.

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

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January 10, 2023


Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 306

Reading I – Heb 2:5-12

It was not to angels that God subjected the world to come,
of which we are speaking.
Instead, someone has testified somewhere:

    What is man that you are mindful of him,
        or the son of man that you care for him?
    You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
        you crowned him with glory and honor,
        subjecting all things under his feet.

In “subjecting” all things to him,
he left nothing not “subject to him.”
Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,” 
but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor”
because he suffered death,
he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,”
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates
and those who are being consecrated all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers” saying: 

    I will proclaim your name to my brethren,
    in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Responsorial Psalm – 8:2AB and 5, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (see 7) You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
O LORD, our Lord,
    how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
    or the son of man that you should care for him?
R.    You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
You have made him little less than the angels,
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
    putting all things under his feet.
R.    You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
All sheep and oxen,
    yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
    and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R.    You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

Alleluia – See 1 Thes 2:13

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

Gospel – Mk 1:21-28

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 306


“For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.” The issue of pain in our lives is real for so many of us. And yet, it is precisely there that the Lord Jesus wants so very much to speak and walk with us. The only way to profound clarity while we suffer is through a deep and trusting prayer life with confidence and truth at its center. This propels the message of the Letter to the Hebrews in our First Reading and why we must embrace the mystery of suffering right here, right now.

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

Listen to Him.
Love Him.
Love like Him.

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

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January 9, 2023


The Baptism of the Lord

Lectionary: 21

Reading I – Is 42:1-4, 6-7

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

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

OR: – Acts 10:34-38

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

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

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

Alleluia – CF. Mk 9:7

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

Gospel – Mt 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

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Reflection – Lectionary: 21


“I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations…” Now that we have successfully passed through another wonderful Christmas installment of the mystery of life and love, it comes now the time to put into action all that we have learned in the past year, the ups and certainly the downs, and clearly start our soul’s engine and truly make something worthwhile of the year ahead of us. Today’s wonderful Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus invites us to do that! How do we begin? The First reading makes it perfectly clear. If we want something good in this life, we start searching for the source of all goodness: GOD.

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

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

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

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January 8, 2023


The Epiphany of the Lord

Lectionary: 20

Reading I – Is 60:1-6

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

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

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

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

Reading II – Eph 3:2-3B, 5-6

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

Alleluia – Mt 2:2

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

Gospel – Mt 2:1-12

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

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 20


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

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

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

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January 7, 2023


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

Christmas Weekday

Lectionary: 210

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 5:14-21

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

We know that no one begotten by God sins;
but the one begotten by God he protects,
and the Evil One cannot touch him.
We know that we belong to God,
and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.
We also know that the Son of God has come
and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.
And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Children, be on your guard against idols.

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

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

Alleluia – Lk 7:16

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

Gospel – Jn 2:1-11

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 210


“And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” A compelling discussion is launched with the images behind the Readings today. It revolves around the seriously impending concern about the decline of marriage in the relationship of grown adults, many of whom have chosen to live together with little or no commitment for various reasons. For this reason, the depth and long-lasting beauty of the images provided that reveal the type and breadth of the relationship that God wants of us would only be truly understood in the context of a marital vow: “We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.”

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

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

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


For the Readings for Christmas Weekday, please go here.

Lectionary: 511

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

Reading 1 – 2 Cor 5:14-20

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Lk 21:36

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

Gospel – Lk 12:35-40

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

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January 6, 2023


Christmas Weekday

Lectionary: 209

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 5:5-13

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

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

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

Responsorial Psalm – PS147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

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

Alleluia – SEE Mk 9:6

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

Gospel – M 1:7-11

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

or – Lk 3:23-38 or 3:23, 31-34, 36, 38

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age.
He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias,
the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias,
the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel,
the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam,
the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea,
the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed,
the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon,
the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni,
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug,
the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad,
the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared,
the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

or

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age.
He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha,
the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala,
the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin,
the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac,
the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Enos,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

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Reflection – Lectionary: 209


A very old adage exists in several cultural circles that basically reveals something we all probably already know: “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” The basic tenant here is simple. You become the people with whom you associate. That could be good and bad news for us. The bad news might be that we might not like what we see when we are around some of our associates. The good news is that we know exactly what we can expect if we associate with Christ: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Gospel) These words uttered prophetically and wonderfully by God the Father about His Son Jesus tell us everything we need to know. If we invite and include and make Jesus our friend and bring Him into our circle, then we are in tremendously good company.

So how is this really achieved? First, there is belief: “Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself.” (First Reading) Second, there is humility: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.” (Gospel) Finally, there is praise: “Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion.” (Responsorial Psalm) These form a wonderful opportunity to enter into this diving and spiritual friendship with the Son of God, Christ the Lord. Christmas reminds us how human He is; Today’s Gospel reminds us how close He is to the Father. That alone should make us want to know Jesus all the more.

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January 5, 2023


Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop

Lectionary: 208

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 3:11-21

Beloved:
This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another,
unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One
and slaughtered his brother.
Why did he slaughter him?
Because his own works were evil,
and those of his brother righteous.
Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God.

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

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

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 1:43-51

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 208


The Christmas mystery brought us so many gifts. As we anticipate the visit of the Magi for Epiphany, it is important to realize that one of those supreme benefits was clarity. That is the ability to recognize good from evil, beauty from ugliness. This journey is made even clearer from our First Reading of today: “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous.” This remarkable drama continues as we continue through a brand new and brave new year. How can we adopt this clarity and hold on to it throughout our lives?

“You will see greater things than this.” The Gospel has our answer. Again it is Jesus and only Jesus. By keeping our eyes fixed upon Him, who was born to us, and following Him throughout this year, no matter what the cost, we will indeed see great things in our lives. This is why we know very well that a “holy day has dawned upon us and a great light has come upon the earth.” We are hereby invited to extend this mystery of life and love and intense hope about how our lives will proceed, especially in this brand new year, not even a week old. And with that awe-filled invitation, we could also remember the words of some of the wisest advice anyone could ever read: Don’t tell God how big your storm is; tell the storm how big your God is.

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January 4, 2023


Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious

Lectionary: 207

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 3:7-10

Children, let no one deceive you.
The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
Whoever sins belongs to the Devil,
because the Devil has sinned from the beginning.
Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil.
No one who is begotten by God commits sin,
because God’s seed remains in him;
he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.
In this way,
the children of God and the children of the Devil are made plain;
no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God,
nor anyone who does not love his brother.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 98:1, 7-8, 9

R. (3CD) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy before the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD comes;
he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

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

Gospel – Jn 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher),
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter. 

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Reflection – Lectionary: 207


One of the reasons there are so many visuals at this “most wonderful time of the year” is because there were so many at the First Christmas. Just think about it: the lights, the angels, the manger, the Baby Himself! That observation may bring a little sadness or disappointment if we have somehow missed all those sights and wonders. But have we really? “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.” Today’s Responsorial Psalm shouts with Christmas joy that the entire planet has witnessed something awesome in our midst. The rest of the mission is up to us to find and discover that we are alive each day.

“What are you looking for?” Perhaps the Gospel account reveals the curious nature of our spiritual lives that the Christmas mystery has inspired and ignited. What, or rather, who are we looking for? First, the “what” is most likely happiness and fulfillment. Who wouldn’t want that? Unfortunately, many look in dark and unlit places for such treasures. This is how fundamentally evil entered the world. “Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil.” We are looking for light and life that can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ, who was born to save us from the treacherous forces of darkness. This is the source and summit of the Christmas Season. We must continue the search for all that is good and fulfilling. We can believe what is sung today in the Alleluia Verse: “In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.” Then and only then will we understand that seeing is truly believing.

“It’s often been said that “seeing is believing”, but in many cases, the reverse is also true. Believing results in seeing.” Donald L. Hicks

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January 3, 2023


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

Christmas Weekday

Lectionary: 206

Reading 1 – 1 JN 2:29–3:6

If you consider that God is righteous,
you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness
is begotten by him.
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.
Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness,
for sin is lawlessness.
You know that he was revealed to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.
No one who remains in him sins;
no one who sins has seen him or known him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 98:1, 3CD-4, 5-6

R. (3CD) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia – JN 1:14A, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

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Reflection – Lectionary: 206


In 1811, a remarkably beautiful hymn was written that entitled a question that we could address to ourselves today: “What Wondrous Love is This?” When you think about it, it truly is an amazing question to ask in the first week of the New Year and on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. What kind of magnificent love is it that inspired and propelled God to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born in a filthy manger, live a poor life, then be crucified for our sins? Perhaps a line from our First Reading helps us answer this profound question: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.”

The third verse of the hymn then explodes with the enthusiastic joy of the awareness that is brought to the one who understands this gift and cannot help but be changed forever: “To God and to the Lamb, who is the great I AM, while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing, while millions join the theme, I will sing!” This, too, is underscored by the opening lines of the Responsorial Psalm of today: “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm.”

This wondrous, wonderful love that still echoes for us in this beautiful Christmas Season reveals the height and depth of such a love that carries us beyond our life here on earth to an eternal Christmas in Heaven: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Let’s move forward in this New Year with new resolve and hope. Darkness cannot and will not extinguish what we have been given. We will sing: “And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and through eternity I’ll sing on!”

Tonight, as you place the final touches on this day and continue to drink in all the hope for a brand new year, slowly and every-so-gently say the name of Jesus. Say it again, and know that He is right there with you. It will be glorious.

“As many have learned and later taught, you don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” Tim Keller

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


For the Readings for Christmas Weekday, please go here.

Lectionary: 510/1

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

Reading 1 – Phil 2:1-11

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

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

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

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

Alleluia – Mt 1:21

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

Gospel – Lk 2:21-24

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

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

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January 2, 2023


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

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

Lectionary: 205

Reading I – 1 Jn 2:22-28

Beloved:
Who is the liar? 
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. 
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. 
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. 
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. 
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life. 
I write you these things about those who would deceive you. 
As for you,
the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you. 
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; 
just as it taught you, remain in him.

And now, children, remain in him,
so that when he appears we may have confidence
and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

Responsorial Psalm – 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

R.    (3CD)  All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia – Heb 1:1-2

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

Gospel – Jn 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John. 
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.” 
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?” 
And he said, “I am not.” 
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.” 
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? 
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’

as Isaiah the prophet said.” 
Some Pharisees were also sent. 
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” 
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” 
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

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Reflection – Lectionary: 205


“Who is the liar?” According to a very interesting study about human behavior, an astounding conclusion was made as to the number one reason why people lie: They do not tell the truth because lying does matter to them. The liar, then, is that person who realizes and believes that by telling the truth, their lives must be somehow unalterably changed, sometimes forever. This makes perfect sense given the text of our First Reading today from St. John, the beloved Apostle: “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.”

Another St. John today, that being John the Baptist adds even a more telling, rich, and gut-wrenching fabric to our reflection. “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” These words would cost him his earthly life at the hands of one of the most notorious liars in Biblical history, King Herod the Madman. You see, Herodias, and by extension, her second husband, Herod, would not accept the message of the Baptist and the One who was to come and therefore attempted to snuff out the truth with a lie’s most horrendous logical conclusion, death.

In these literally first few hours of the New Year, we have been invited, once again, to live in the light of truth and never look back. That Light is Jesus, and His words are Truth: “And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.”

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.” Mahatma Gandhi

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January 2 – Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church


For the Readings for the Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, please go here.

Lectionary: 510

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 from the Common of Doctors of the Church (#725-730).

Reading 1 – Eph 4:1-7, 11-13

I, a prisoner of the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

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

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 23:1b-3A, 4, 5, 6

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

Alleluia – Mt 23:9B, 10B

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

Gospel – Mt 23:8-12

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

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January 1, 2023


Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Lectionary: 18

Reading 1 – NM 6:22-27

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

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

R/ (2A) May God bless us in his mercy.

May God have pity on us and bless us;
   may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
   among all nations, your salvation.

R/ May God bless us in his mercy.

May the nations be glad and exult
   because you rule the peoples in equity;
   the nations on the earth you guide.

R/ May God bless us in his mercy.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
   may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
   and may all the ends of the earth fear him! 

R/ May God bless us in his mercy.
 

Reading 2 – GAL 4:4-7

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

Alleluia – HEB 1:1-2

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

Gospel – LK 2:16-21

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

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

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Reflection – Lectionary: 18


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

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

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

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

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