The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • Healthy Sheep

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 21, 2021

    “Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.” One of the greatest aspects of knowing, loving, and serving Jesus in this life is the promise He makes of bringing us healing on all different kinds of levels and all different times of stages and moments of our earthly existence. The Letter to the Hebrews constantly underscores this wonderful truth precisely because Our Lord and Savior have assumed our human nature and become one of us so that He could love and heal each one of us. The Feast of Christmas of recent memory serves to celebrate the wonders that at the Incarnation when God becomes apparent in human flesh, He could see each of us throughout all time and eternity. 

    “He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.” In his brief time here on earth, Jesus exuded healing and strength for all humanity and never seemed to miss an opportunity to address the sufferings and ills of those He encountered nor the opportunity to announce the Good News of Salvation. As we live our lives with joyful expectations, remember that great things happen when we make time for Christ. Healing happens.

    “If sheep do not have the constant care of a shepherd, they will go the wrong way, unaware of the dangers at hand. They have been known to nibble themselves right off the side of a mountain. And so, because sheep are sheep, they need shepherds to care for them. The welfare of sheep depends solely upon the care they get from their shepherd. Therefore, the better the shepherd, the healthier the sheep.” Kay Arthur

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  • Facing Our Greatest Fears

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 20, 2021

    Throughout our reading of Sacred Scripture, we have front row seats to those most remarkable and dramatic encounters that have set the stage for the appearance in our world for the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, who indeed is our High Priest: “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.” Who among us doesn’t remember our first hearing about the momentous encounter of David and Goliath? Undoubtedly, this famous unequal fight and the unsuspected victory of the young David has taken all kinds of different nuances and meanings as we have lived the years we have been given. And with one swift and precisely aimed shot, the out-muscled, overpowered, and seemingly least likely winner in the fight won a sound victory. The Lord was with David that day. And the Lord was with the disfigured and probably foredoomed man in the Gospel: “Jesus said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.”

    There is something genuine and applicable here today for you and me: we all face giants. These may be insurmountable problems and unexpected issues. Issues such as fear, or anxiety, or some other great and vexing personal struggle.

    What can we learn from Melchizedek and the Lord Jesus today:
    1. Let us admit that we all have giants: hardships, seemingly unbeatable obstacles, problems, and temptations.
    2. Let us realize that battle always belongs to the Lord.
    3. We cannot nor should not run from our giants or even attempt to negotiate with an enemy that seeks only to destroy us if not defeated.

    This is why the Sabbath is given to us; to renew and resurrect our trust in the Lord for His power and strength to meet our Goliaths as Jesus reminded the Pharisees in the Gospel today: “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Many of our readers may remember an excellent phrase with which we close today: “Don’t tell God how big your problems are; rather tell your problems how big your God is.” Amen.

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  • Let’s Take A Sabbatical

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 19, 2021

    The words from our First Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews definitely encourage us as we move forward in this New Year of 2021: “We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end.” The Letter 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 from all the other things we had to do or do or have to do and spend quality time with Him and focus on Him. When we decide to obey, that is, listen to the Fourth Commandment, we become aware of the astounding and comforting truth that we belong to God. It is not the Sabbath that we worship but the One who has initiated the Sabbath as we swim in a sort of a memorial in time, a useful tool to help us focus our attention on our extraordinary 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. Let us 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.”

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  • Silence Of The Sheep

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 18, 2021

    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. One in authority or power over us, given or taken, usually has dire consequences if the orders are not completed or compliant. This is certainly understandable because if a person in the military or other chain of command formats does not follow orders, that is, to obey a command, then there are serious and disastrous repercussions. However, to play this right, the word at its very heart means to be subject, serve, pay attention to, give ear, and thus literally, “to listen to.” This hopefully adds much-needed understanding to our First Reading today and what awesome application it has for us: “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.” The Letter to the Hebrews makes a deep and accurate claim: listening to God is all He asks. How could you reject what you have not heard?

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

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

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  • The Highway Of Our Lives

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 17, 2021

    “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Language has the potential of being both descriptive and revealing. For instance, even though the words “to,” “too” and “two” all sound the same, they mean different things, especially in the context of a sentence. With just the difference one “s” your ice cream sundae, which you ordered for dessert, might become a sweltering and unpleasant experience in the desert. Why are we “splitting hairs” about language today? Here is the pivotal question: what is the difference and significance between God and a god? One is the Lord, the Almighty, the Creator, the One True God, and the latter is an image, idol, or other object or possession that is adored, worshiped, and given supreme importance in this life, but not in the next. 

    “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.” Here is the issue before us today: everyone already knows or is familiar with God or a god. Everyone has already set a system and a list of priorities in their lives and whoever occupies the very top position is their God or a god. The key interest here is simple. If we make God our priority, we can be assured of a deep level of peace and joy radiating in and through and all around us. If we have something or someone else in that top position, we can be relatively promised a rough turn of events and a life that can not sustain everlasting happiness. This is what we find clearly illuminated in our Gospel of today: “We have found the Messiah: Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace.”

    “Worshipping is stripping ourselves of our idols, even the most hidden ones, and choosing the Lord as the center, as the highway of our lives.” Pope Francis

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  • Only As Sick As Our Secrets

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 16, 2021

    “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.” Today’s First Reading gives us the striking teaching of how powerfully comforting and helpful is the magnificent Word of God we open in the Scriptures, especially here in these pages. Like a great leader who knows his or her own people and is completely aware of their needs, assets, liabilities, and even weaknesses, Jesus, the Word Made Flesh, truly walks with us as long as we make time for Him. The same is true for the individual who does know himself/herself well enough to realize their own strengths and failings. As we have said earlier, this person is a person of integrity, and because they realize their dependence on God, they live a full, happy life.

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

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

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  • The Friendly Face Of God

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 15, 2021

    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, then we can learn much about the two different kinds of relationships we have placed before us in the Readings today. First, take a look at the rather stern advice we are served: “Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.” Our relationship with Jesus is often strengthened, supported, and enlightened by our friendships here on earth. This is why we must learn too late that an honest enemy is always better than a friend who lies.

    Then, paradoxically in the Gospel of today, we see another form of acting in a different kind of trusting, life-giving friendship: “They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the 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 who are convinced that if Jesus can touch their friend, he would be saved. 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 just, in fact, see God.

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

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