The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 572

    Generosity is a willingness to give, even at a cost to oneself. It expresses concern for meeting the needs of others, even if it means sacrificing something of one’s own. We are to extend ourselves to all of mankind, especially the most needy. To do so, we are emulating Jesus, who went after the one lost sheep. To love is to give. God loves us, and He gives us everything He wants us to have. When we give, as our Lord encourages, we truly deny ourselves. Generosity must be done in silence to merit grace from God and not merely the thanksgiving of mortal men. It is very easy to be generous to our relatives or friends, but that is not generosity since we will be repaid for that with friendship, thanksgiving, and praise. Generosity must extend to the poor and the needy. It is a quest for justice as we have the work of God to provide for those who don’t have.

    The most excellent example of Generosity (after Jesus Himself): The Blessed Virgin Mary. In the fullness of grace, our Blessed Mother exhibits the fullness of love and truth. She is generous in charity, patient, kind, and gentle; she is good and faithful, chaste, modest, and temperate. Her spirit rejoices in God, her savior, and she is at peace even in trying times because of her trust in the Lord: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” (Gospel)

    Three times in this life, Mary was blessed in a special way by the Holy Spirit – at her Immaculate Conception, at the Annunciation, and at Pentecost – and we are the beneficiaries of the immeasurable fruits of the Spirit produced in her. Through her maternal protection and intercession, we obtain pardon for our sins, health in times of sickness, the strength of heart when we are weak, consolation in the face of affliction, and help when we are in danger. Above all, she is the Mother of Christ, our Redeemer, and our Mother.

    Today, we recall her famous visit to her cousin Elizabeth. John the Baptist leaped in her womb, foreshadowing our joy at the Birth of Mary’s Son, Jesus. She also shows us quintessentially how to evangelize, bringing Jesus to others at every opportunity. Mary also powerfully reminds us that every encounter we have has the potential of bringing the Good News to someone who truly needs it. Thank you, Mary, for your wonderful YES!

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 572

    “O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord; O blessed mother of the Church, you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.” Today, the Church remembers and honors the intense suffering and grief of the Mother of Jesus during His Passion and Death and how these were gloriously transformed to bring us Jesus, Redemption, and the Church. There were actually seven individual sorrows that Mary endured as was foretold to her by Simeon, the priest of the Temple, on the occasion of the Lord’s Presentation. Here is a partial text of a very popular hymn somberly expressing these heartfelt sentiments: At the cross, her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last. Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length, the sword had passed. Our present hope for our Christian journey toward Heaven is found here in the mystery of today’s Feast.

    “So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” Let us reflect on the mystery and fruits of suffering as presented by St. John Paul II in remarkable teaching borne out of his own incredible personal sufferings. First, he says that suffering empowers humility: To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him, God has confirmed his desire to act, especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self. Secondly, he teaches that suffering is transformative: Down through the centuries and generations, it has been seen that in suffering, there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace, many saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but, above all, that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation. Finally, he writes that suffering enlivens and grows charity and love for and of others: We could say that suffering . . . is present in order to unleash love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one’s “I” on behalf of other people, especially those who suffer. The world of human suffering unceasingly calls for, so to speak, another world: the world of human love; and in a certain sense, man owes to suffering that unselfish love that stirs in his heart and actions.

    Thus, suffering in its purest sense is actually the road to holiness and a closer walk and friendship with the Lord Jesus. His mother shed human tears for the Divine Son she helped bring into this world, our world. We cry human tears, but not always for what is right and just. Today we seek to move toward complete integrity on this walk of ours toward Heaven, knowing and embracing humility, deep-seated change, and charity which are all great gifts when we suffer with each other with Jesus always in our hearts and minds as equally dignified members of the Church.

    “Let me mingle tears with you, Mourning him who mourned for me, All the days that I may live. Christ, when you shall call me hence, Be your Mother my defense, Be your cross my victory.” Stabat Mater

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 63

    “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” This is one of those days that we can honestly greet each other with the happy phrase, “Happy Feast Day!” Why is that? Today the Church celebrated Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles, and many gathered with them, and the birth of the Church ensued. In some ways, we could say that this is our Birthday celebration because this is how it all began. This is how all of life is transformed and made new again. This is the force of the Gospel, especially when it is lived through and in the hearts of believers. This is what motivates the Psalmist to invite us to sing with all our hope and might: “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”

    “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Our Gospel Reading clarifies another compelling reason to ask and openly receive all the gifts that God wishes to impart to us through the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in this life. We have a great impact on and a deep call for service for and with each other. This is what makes the Church a mystery and a hopeful presence in a world that is often without it. Make this day special by renewing your Baptism and continuing to ask God for strength of mind and heart. As we have often said here, the best is yet to come.

    “Without Pentecost, the “Christ-event, ” that is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, remains imprisoned in history as something just to remember, think about and merely reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us so that we can become “living Christs” here and now.” Henri Nouwen

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 302

    George Bernard Shaw is credited with saying that the “single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” While there are many different explanations and approaches to explain and or further expand on this thought, for today, let us consider what Jesus has done for us and how we respond based on what we have the dramatic unfolding of events in the Gospel as we move through Holy Week this year. First, we begin with the explosive observation that Jesus makes to His closest friends that one of them is about to betray Him and send Him to death: “Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, ‘Master, who is the one who will betray you?'” Each Apostle in the upper room took the phrase in a different light. One or two began to blame themselves. Perhaps a few couldn’t or wouldn’t believe what they just heard. Peter impulsively sprang to action and pledged undying loyalty and protection while Judas knew exactly who the Lord was talking about.

    “I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.” We are called to pay even closer attention to what is being said to each of us as it may relate to our individual circumstances, especially in our spiritual lives. When you hear, “one of you is about to betray me,” what comes to mind? Now, lift that up in prayer and wait patiently for the inspiration that will come, guaranteed!

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 301

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

    “Do you love me?” In the Gospel of today, we are presented with a dearest and wonderful exchange between the Lord Jesus and Peter after the experience of the first Easter on the planet. Peter had denied Jesus three times, so three times Jesus asked him if he truly loved Him. However, because the English language does not do justice to the conversation, each time Jesus asked Peter the question, He was actually using a different verb for love. It spanned the meanings of love from “like” to self-giving commitment. Jesus clearly wants to invite all of us into the deep and wonderful relationship of love that will take us through this life and make sense of all that happens to us with the real prospect of living forever in Heaven with Him. This does require fidelity and keeping the commandments. This is no impossible task because we were created for love, a real joy that seeks the best for the other and never looks back. What is complete is that love involves the self-emptying of the one who seeks to love, the faith in the promise that this is the way to peace and the joy that Heaven is waiting for us.

    “Death and love are the two wings that bear the good soul to heaven.” Michelangelo
    “Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself.” Mother Theresa

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 300

    “May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.” Unity and union have tremendous amounts of literary and spiritual appearances in the Scriptures and the course of everyday life. We are constantly and even sometimes painfully reminded of what brings us together and what tears us apart. Our background, whether social background, knowledge, experience, or religion, can either bring us together, separate us, or even cause conflict between us. Still, even in the face of such daunting challenges, Jesus prays to His Father that we may be one.

    “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” Why do we need unity? Jesus asserts that it is primarily for our personal benefit. It benefits all of God’s people, makes us more effective, and shines Christ’s love into the world. When there is no unity in the essential matters of life, we have disastrous effects. Let’s start with our inner circles and immediate spheres of influence. What can and should I do today to make things more unified? How can I be a source of unity rather than disunity? The answer is simple because it is found in the person of Jesus, who is love and who taught us that the greatest thing we can do in this life is to love, forgive and serve. Today is a good day to start. Out of many, let us be one.

    “In the essential things, unity; in the non-essential, diversity. In all things, charity.” St. Augustine

    E pluribus Unum – Latin for “Out of many, one” – is a traditional motto of the United States, appearing on the Great Seal; its inclusion on the seal was approved by an Act of Congress in 1782.

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 299

    “Consecrate them in the truth.” What does it mean to consecrate someone or something? Some definitions render the word as the act by which something or someone is made sacred and or dedicated for a clear and religious purpose. When Jesus continues His prayer to the Father in Heaven and asks that those who would follow Him, His Apostles, the early Church, and all of us who seek the truth in the Church be consecrated, it is clear that He is asking that we be set apart and made sacred for a specific role and place in this world.

    “As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” How can we live this “consecration” on a daily basis? First, it means that we are people of truth and not lies. Second, we continue to seek to be in union with Jesus, always communicating with Him just as He was with His Father. And finally, we must keep in mind the powerful description that Jesus gives to all of us today: “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” When worry, anxiety, anger, or deep-seated sorrow begin to overtake us, we must cling to this promise. We simply do not belong to this world; we belong to Jesus. Seen in this perspective, even the greatest problems we may ever have to encounter will always be met with Jesus right at our side. “In every way, I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

    “I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” Steve Maraboli