The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • Spiritual Climate Change

    Reflection on Mass Reading for June 24, 2019

    “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.” Real climate change has just dawned upon us. The life, teaching and example of St. John the Baptist can never and should never be erased from our understanding of our own salvation which is found squarely and fundamentally in Jesus Christ. He lived in such a way that everything depended on God, and his whole life was dedicated to preparing the way for the Messiah. So why do we say “climate change?” This is a very interesting aspect of today’s feast. 

    “What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.”  What is most memorable about the life and death of St. John the Baptist is that he was determined to leave behind the legacy of decrease/increase. Jesus must increase in my life and I, that is, my ego and selfishness, must decrease. Even more interesting is how climate and the seasons exhibit this wonderful style of life throughout the year. You see, after today’s feast, the days will start to grow shorter and shorter while conversely after the birth of Christ in only six short months, the days will grow longer and longer, increase, if you will. The hope is that you and I will decrease so that the Lord can shine through us like the morning dawn. 

    Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you. Andrew Murray

  • Why Am I So Hungry?

    Reflection on Mass Reading for June 23, 2019

    “Give them some food yourselves.” It has been a couple of years now, but I distinctly remember a talk given by a very wonderful and spiritual-driven woman who presented her answer to the age-old question, “Why do we overeat?” She narrowed it down to five:

    1. Panic: reaction to much anxiety, fear and stress.

    2. Comfort: the attempt to nurture, soothe and care for unmet needs and feelings.

    3. Self-protection: numbing action because we can’t or won’t face our feelings.

    4. Frustration: things go wrong so we head for food.

    5. Shame and self-pity: whatever is wrong with life, we take the blame and hide and stuff.

    Today, we celebrate the Great Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus. In this celebration we proclaim our belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We also proclaim that same Jesus lives within each one of us who are baptized into His holy body, the Church. We call this the mystery of communion because our faith and life is all about relationship with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    “They all ate and were satisfied.” Now let us return to our original question, “why am I so hungry,” and by extension, “why do we overeat?” Whether anything is off-balance or troublesome in our lives, it is because something is troubling inside of us, at our very core which is our soul. Ask yourself about each of the painful reasons we may overeat. Why do we ingest and consume so many things that will never satisfy and actually hurt us? Why do we sometimes gravitate to unhealthy relationships? If we truly believed that Jesus Christ is alive and real in the Eucharist, how would He make a difference in our lives?:

    1. Panic: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

    2. Comfort: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.”

    3. Self-protection: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

    4. Frustration: “So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you.”

    5. Shame and self-pity: “This is my Body…”

    Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you- for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart. Don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love.  St. Therese of Lisieux

  • Two Masters, One Headache

    Reflection on Mass Reading for June 22, 2019

    “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” Conflict is certainly part of life, but an excessive amount is never good for the soul. This is exactly why Jesus warns us and tries to prevent any of us from falling into divided loyalties. The pull and lure of this world with all its empty promises can create a severe split in our lives that spells certain trouble not to mention a chaotic and frenetic lifestyle trying to please everyone, living a two-faced lie and secretly maintaining a hidden life that costs much more than it is ever worth.

    Perhaps some of our readers and followers find themselves at a point in their spiritual lives where they know they want to grow deeper and with more integrity but there is weakness in the human condition and often we can clearly commiserate with St. Paul who longs to do the right thing but also experiences the pull of selfishness. This is where this great Biblical writer who has penned the majority of the New Testament is so brilliant.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Clearly, when we accept our humanity and the people we truly are, we will see the great need we have for the Lord Jesus. Nothing and no one else will ever satisfy.

    You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. Abraham Lincoln

  • The Lamp Of The Body

    Reflection on Mass Reading for June 21, 2019

    “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light.” Today, the Scriptures, among many other issues, address our hold on what we deem important to us, namely, our priorities. Our eyes can be used to see that which is good or evil in this world and thereby make the important decisions that either bring us closer to the Will of God or further away from following the Lord. If we look for the good in this life, we will certainly see and find it and thereby and hopefully follow and imitate it. However, if we allow our eyes and minds to focus and obsess on what is evil in this life, we are so affected by what we see that darkness actually begins to emanate from within and can corrupt us and those around us. If it is important to us, we will find a way. If not, we will somehow and very conveniently find an excuse.

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”  One of the greatest spiritual gifts we can hope to find in this life is to first recognize our own weaknesses, accept them as part of our humanity then make every effort to act for the good in this life despite them rather than being a wretched victim to them surrendering all power and control. This is the fruit of loving the Lord admitting all dependence for all things wonderful and begging for strength and forgiveness at every juncture. This is what fills our soul with light: “Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame.”

    Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it. Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (161-180 AD)

  • The Adoption That Matters

    Reflection on Mass Reading for June 20, 2019

    Have you ever noticed how differently we address other people in our lives and how that sometimes differs dramatically from the way others call to them? Let me give you an example. Let’s say your little daughter calls you “Mommy.” That’s all she knows. But then, an old friend of yours comes to the house to see you and calls you, “Linda,” well, because, that is your name. Now you wouldn’t expect your daughter to call you “Linda,” and you certainly wouldn’t want your friend to call you “Mommy,” either. It all depends on the relationship.

    In our First Reading today, St. Paul actually gushes with spiritual affection over the Corinthians precisely because of his relationship with Jesus and how much he wants them to love Him and be loved by Christ just as he is. Again, it all depends on the adoptive relationship God wants with each and every one of us: “And why?  Because I do not love you? God knows I do!”

    This wonderful and amazing adopted love is further explained in the Gospel: “Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins.” Jesus gave us this wonderful teaching today to help minimize the effects of evil.  Evil escalates when we respond back to it with equal and most times excessive fervor.  A small situation can get blown so far out of proportion that it can cause horrible harm. Even in everyday life, when someone wrongs us, the situation can blow up and get out of control, destroying marriages, families, friendships, and even faith without which we simply cannot survive. Frustrating and on-going issues of injustice will simply require more patience, more trust, more Jesus. This is totally accomplished when we live in and for the Kingdom, feasting on the daily flow of spiritual and temporal bread and practicing forgiveness supported by a life with no regrets. These are but a few of the wonderful benefits we receive through the adoption that really matters in this life.

    The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller

  • Cheerful Generosity

    Reflection on Mass Reading for June 19, 2019

    “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” What a blessing it is be generous! Last year in a study published by the University of Zurich, it was found and reported that generosity makes people happier, even if they are only a little generous. People who act solely out of self-interest, the landmark research concluded, are less happy. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” The scientists conducting the study also concluded that even the consideration of being more generous is enough to trigger a change in the brain that oversees the emotional experience of happiness. “Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” In other types of research and studies, the consensus was the same. Generous people are happy, more relaxed, willing to work hard, kind, free, have better quality relationships and exude confidence: “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

    “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Here is the wonderful irony of this comforting Wednesday to help us move past the week ahead: The more you give, the more you have. Dying to selfishness brings forth an immense flow of love and real life that knows no rival. All this is because of Jesus. He died to set us free and give us true freedom which is beyond measure or value especially in a very selfish world.

    However, there is a catch and a warning, severe in every way! We must be super-careful that we do not become generous people just in order to receive something in return even if that be recognition. We must learn to give as Jesus did. Parents are uniquely exposed to this challenge more than most but all of us can and should share in this deep call to experience generosity from both sides of the equation. “…but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

    What do we receive in this life in exchange for generosity? We witness happiness, reach a deeper understanding of life, feel the love of Jesus and receive what money could never buy, a world made more beautiful. Isn’t that the point of living here?

  • When Enemies Become Friends

    Reflection on Mass Reading for June 18, 2019

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'” Right. That’s the way it used to be. That may be the way I was raised or learned how to act after many disappointments and stabs in the back. It sure does take a lot of energy, though, and living by “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” just makes for a blind and toothless generation. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Seriously? How is this done especially in a world where cut-throat is the game of the week? What Jesus is asking us to do is not something impossible or unnatural. It is the only thing that makes sense and will bring peace to me and hopefully in time to the person who is hostile to me. It is altogether possible to literally disarm a hating person by acting towards them in a positive and loving way, refusing to be controlled by their negative attitudes and imitating Christ Jesus in every way possible and in any given situation.

    Our call today is simple: remember that anyone who really harms us, also harms themselves as well, even if they get a twisted pleasure in the short term. If I have a true Christian spirit I will reach out in compassion to that person. I will want that person to be healed, healed of their hatred, healed of their anger, and to learn how to love. “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    This will not be easy but it is not impossible either. The rewards are amazing. It is a phenomenal way to live precisely because it is a call and a challenge to do everything in our power to imitate God in extending our love, respect and forgiveness impartially and unconditionally to every one, especially to the ones who render injustice and sorrow upon us.

    “I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” My friends, this is a new commandment because it makes us new and refreshed in the Lord Jesus. This is why many of the saints have referred to it as “perfection.”

    Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love. Mahatma Gandhi