The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • The Heart Has Reason

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 12, 2022

    “I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you; you became mine, says the Lord GOD .” This passage from the Book of Ezra clearly reveals the truth that humanity is lost without the covenant that was extended to us and ratified in the Gospel. And yet, Christians cannot hide behind precepts and regulations and mount some kind of superior plane or landing from which to judge people and forget that we, that is, all of humanity, are in the same boat. I heard someone say quite directly to another: “Don’t judge other people just because they don’t sin like you do.” The Scriptures explain that the final judgment will be a review of performance, not of privilege. From this perspective, all the promises we make in this life must be honored, and none more profound than the commitment of love and life that marriage so eloquently capsulizes and expresses. God does not go back on His promises, nor are we to doubt the beauty of promise and commitment.

    “Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?'” St. Matthew completes this thought for us by ensuring that the Pharisees know that mere possession of laws is no evidence of virtue. Mark Twain once responded to a man going to the Holy Land to see where the Ten Commandments were given with, “Why don’t you just stay home and live them? “Good point, Mr. Clemens. “The worst prison,” St. John Paul wrote, “would be a closed heart,” and this is precisely why you must know that the Word of God has everything to do with keeping promises and the commitments of love: “Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but, as it truly is, the word of God.”

    “Never close your lips to those with whom you have already opened your heart.”  Charles Dickens

  • Big And Small Forgiveness

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 11, 2022

    “I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them; as captives they shall go into exile.” The Readings today are shouting out to us to FORGIVE and forgive. No, this is not a misprint: You read it correctly. FORGIVE and forgive. What does it mean? Summer is a magnificent time to come with a child-like heart and soul to all the challenges the rest of the year presents to us. The lack of forgiveness in our hearts and our vocabulary too often blocks us from truly experiencing the joy of life every year.

    Let’s change that:
    FORGIVE the BIG names, the estranged family members, the ex-spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, the harsh bosses, the crafty co-workers, literally anyone that has hurt you tremendously. Probably the very people you were thinking about as you read that last sentence. What a great summer gift for Jesus this year:
    We Forgave! Take it slowly, talk with someone you trust, and then ask the Father to help you “forgive those who have really trespassed against you.” It is real freedom.

    “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” And, forgive the little infractions that occur every day, you know, like the one who cut you off on the freeway, the one who took your parking space (yes, the one with your name on it), the person who forgot your birthday, anniversary or something like that, and that one person who seems to have the real talent of finding your last nerve and getting on it. No doubt, this will probably happen more often than not, which means many more opportunities for grace and growth in the Lord. I have heard from others that it is a good idea to ask God to forgive everybody who will pull the wrong chain that day, even before you get out of bed. That means you will always be one step ahead. (And please remember that We are also “the one person” for someone else who will need to forgive us. It does balance out. Trust me.

  • Generous Genes

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 10, 2022

    “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Have you ever noticed that generosity makes people happier, even if they are only a little generous? Many people would agree. “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.” Generous people tend to be happy, more relaxed, willing to work hard, kind, free, and 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 mid-week Wednesday to help us move into the weekend and 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 just to receive something in return, even if that is recognition. We must learn to give as Jesus did. Parents are uniquely exposed to this challenge more than most, but we all can and should have a 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?

    “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley

  • Do You Want To Be Great?

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 9, 2022

    “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” Do you want to be the greatest at anything? I can only imagine that in this highly competitive yet entitlement-minded society, people are either trying to get ahead or exist and coast. Both are extreme ways of living. Some would call this “all-or-nothing” thinking which has traditionally led many down a dark and lonely path. Jesus changes all that: “Do you want to be great?” He asks. And before answering, Our Lord places right in front of all the readers of the Gospel throughout the centuries a child. An innocent, loving, trusting child cries when he or she is angry or has acted selfishly.

    Trust the Lord; He loves you! And if you need a little more help, guess what? It will be there: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Did you catch that? Every child has their angel constantly in touch with the Father. You and I were all once children, so we still have them. That is what the Scripture says, and that is what the Church teaches about Angels. Name you, Angel. Take a deep breath and move forward. Trust Jesus. Now, that’s great.

    Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this night/day, be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide.

  • Pay The Piper

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 8, 2022

    Some of our readers have no doubt heard the phrase, “it’s time to pay the piper,” or something to close that. Many have long thought that it has something to do with the legendary story of the Pied Piper, who played tunes for children in a small town, but when he asked for payment and was not offered anything for his talent, he led the children out of the town where they were never seen again. Rather, the idea is much simpler. Musicians traditionally and to this day are paid at the end of a performance, so the idea is that if people have been dancing to the music all night, in the end, it is time to pay up. In our Scripture Readings of today, there are two examples of having to settle accounts. The first is this from Ezekiel’s vision: “As I looked, a stormwind came from the North, a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness, from the midst of which (the midst of the fire) something gleamed like electrum.” This becomes a foretaste of the Second Coming of the Lord in all its splendor and glory. Certainly, it is a graphic and dramatic time to give an account of all we have been given and what we have given in return.

    The second is as mundane as our first example is sublime: “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” In this passage, Jesus almost seems dismissive about the question and gives a strange set of instructions on how to obtain the coin to pay the tax. What are we to make of this, and how are the examples related? First, about the mundane: Jesus desires all people to be free to live their lives to the fullest of all providence. Our prayer must always include petitions to free us from the fixations, irritations, and trivialities that distract us from the fundamental task of growing in love and building the Kingdom of God. Our desire to remove silly and artificial obstacles to our salvation helps us understand, appreciate, and even embrace our suffering. Suffering disorients us. We cannot understand it fully. Jesus brings meaning from it at a profound level that we cannot grasp, except through a lively and genuine faith that is lived every day. That is why we must pray for a greater appreciation of the sufferings of Christ. Paying our taxes and putting up with frustrations and disappointments helps us be ready for the great conclusion of our lives, which is a vision of glory and justice which is beyond all our understanding: “God has called you through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    “I can be poor, I can lose a job, I can have a hospital bill that I don’t know how to pay, for I can do all these things through Him who strengthens me.” John Piper

  • thief on city street killed man with bat When Much Is Given

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 7, 2022

    “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” There comes the point in every believer’s life where all the prayers, worship, and thoughts about who God is and what is truly expected of us come into remarkable and troubling disguise. For many, it is an earth-shattering crisis; for others, it is the death of someone close and beloved. No matter the circumstance, these “moments of truth” become focal points when our faith is tested, made stronger, and clarity becomes ours.

    “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” These specific references can help us realize several things about living the Christian Life, being a disciple and a follower of Jesus Christ: We have been marked in this life and claimed for someone or something. Our choice now is to determine for whom by how we live. As Christians today, we can expect to be punished as was Our Savior, in the court of popularity, greed, hatred, and the godless. Remaining faithful to the end, which comes secretly or unexpectedly and without being seen, “like a thief in the night,” we are promised to take our place with the Lamb who has been slain and led to the “springs of life-giving water.” (Rev 7:17) Because the Victory is so great. The reward is eternal; to those to whom much is given, much is expected.

    “You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” John Bunyan

  • Dress Rehearsal For Heaven

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 6, 2022

    Do you realize that you and I have been placed on this earth for a specific reason and purpose? Every day becomes an opportunity to strive and realize that reality, especially when things look dark and bleak. If I have a purpose in life, and I do, then everything happening around me today is a part of that reality. I should stay focused on its messages and lessons, or it is keeping me from my purpose and direction, and therefore I should move on as quickly as possible. This is certainly one very important way we can understand transformation and transfiguration. In our First Reading, the vision was more than remarkable: “His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool; his throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire.”

    “We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.” Jesus becomes transfigured to prepare the disciples and all of us for His Resurrection, which in turn prepares us for our Resurrection, our ultimate transfiguration. “And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.” This complete transformative moment when we see Jesus as He exists in total glory in Heaven is an inspiration and goal while we walk and continue our spiritual journeys. We must find true happiness in this world to make a suitable place in our souls and hearts for the message of the Gospel of Jesus.

    The most unhappy people in the world have made it their mission to make as many people around them as miserable as they are with every ounce of strength they can muster. Surely, this can’t be news to us. Remember, only wounded people wound people. Our best stories will come from our struggles. The seeds of our successes are in our failures. Keep standing. Seasons change. There is no such thing as a storm that lasts forever. On this Feast of the Transfiguration, let us all ask God to help every one of us continue to uncover and discover our purpose in this great adventure we call life. He proclaimed as much today in the Gospel: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

    “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso