The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes

    Reflection on Mass Reading for September 19, 2021

    Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

    “The wicked say: ‘Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us.'” Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1962 dark fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury which tells the story of a pair of 13-year-old best friends and their nightmarish experience with a traveling carnival that comes to their town. It describes magnificently how they learn about combating fear and darkness that exist in and all around them. As an outstanding piece of literature, it is a most significant and brilliant way of speaking about the passage into adulthood from practical innocence and how that particular ingress into another stage of life can be frightening when one has to admit that there is wickedness in this world, including death. “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” This is the most fascinating and spiritual enlightening way to begin our Sabbath! The Lord Jesus entered a very sinful and wicked world to save us who want to spend all of eternity with Him and learn and experience the grace of living a life of true freedom to cast off the deeds of darkness that keep us from fully becoming Christians. One might say that the earlier in our spiritual lives that we adopt this life-giving principle, the better. “Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.”

    It is now clear that the process into spiritual maturity must include an understanding and foreknowledge of how evil works and the ultimate and forever remedy that will bring us all victory. “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.” We can not march against the forces of wickedness without the loving mercy and strength of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His ultimate sacrifice of selfless love guaranteed that abandonment would never happen, and his teaching about life learned as children would never be forgotten as well. “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.” What we have received on this fine Sunday is nothing short of a spiritual paradox. While we must be ready to confront and defeat whatever wickedness might be arriving at the cusp of childhood, it is the pearls and gems of the childlike state that we will need as an adult, mature Christians to share the crown of life and love with Christ the Lord.

    “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” G.K. Chesterton

    “Be Not Afraid.” Jesus

  • Sowing Seeds Of Life

    Reflection on Mass Reading for September 18, 2021

    Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

    “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name.” What does it signify or suggest when we take a walk? First, we can safely assume that we need to get outside of our routine and even ourselves to achieve a fresh perspective on our lives and even cleanse the soul of any negative or destructive attitudes or thoughts. Secondly, we walked where it was safe and perhaps even invited someone we trusted and love to accompany the stroll with us. And finally, and by no means the end of possible answers, we knew that something good would come of this walk if only to find peace and comfort, even exercise. All this applies beautifully to the image of entering the gates of the Lord and making sure that our deeds are worthy of the light. This is what it means to live a healthy and holy life.

    “When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. ‘A sower went out to sow his seed.'” In the Gospel today, there were many people “out for a walk,” and this time, they met Jesus. He told them a great, meaningful story about yet another person who went out on a walk, this time to sow seeds, depending on where the seed landed determined the outcome. Here again, is yet another wonderful image for life itself. We are all walking through many different situations and circumstances. What we do during these “life-walks” and what we plant will determine not only on how the day will end, but also how each life will finish and be judged: “But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

    “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.” Vernon Howard

  • Be Opened, Be Strong, Be Happy

    Reflection on Mass Reading for September 17, 2021

    Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

    “For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.” It is certainly a strange and yet common paradox. We need money to get by. Too little, and there is suffering, no doubt. Too much, and we can fall victim to the pitfalls as described in Our First Reading. We must be motivated enough to provide for ourselves and our families and yet open enough to know when too much is too much. This wisdom comes from our relationship with the Lord Jesus.

    “Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.” This relationship with the Lord can infuse every decision of life, especially the financial ones. “Do I really need this?” “What do I truly need to be happy?” Is money my servant or my master?” These are the kinds of critical questions that all must ask at practically every age. God wants us to be open to His will, strong in hIs love, and happy in every possible way. But before we ask for more, make sure we acknowledge what we already have!

    “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.” Benjamin Franklin

  • No Time To Judge

    Reflection on Mass Reading for September 16, 2021

    Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

    “Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” St. Paul clarifies in his Letter to the Corinthians that humanity is lost without the Gospel. And yet, he warns all of us Christians that we 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. We have no right to judge other people just because they do not sin as we do. St. Paul explains that the final judgment will be a review of performance, not of privilege. From this perspective, everyone stands on an equal footing, and thus we cannot realistically condemn others without condemning ourselves.

    “Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” St. Luke continues and 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 who was 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.

    “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” “The worst prison,” St. John Paul wrote, “would be a closed heart,” and this is precisely why you and I must know the difference between judging and admonishing. Arrogant judgment condemns because it is motivated by pride; admonishing the sinner liberates because it is motivated by love. Each produces very different results: “So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.
    But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

    “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

  • Her Cross, My Victory

    Reflection on Mass Reading for September 15, 2021

    Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

    “Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary; without dying you won the Martyr’s crown beneath the Cross of the Lord.” Today, the Church remembers and honors the intense suffering and grief of the Mother of Jesus during His Passion and Death. There were 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 easily seen in the Opening Prayer at Mass today: “Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to New life. Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love and trust.”

    “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.'”

    Let us reflect on the mystery and fruits of suffering 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 also 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 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, in its purest sense, suffering is 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 from each other with Jesus always in our hearts and minds.

    “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

  • Suffering As A Deep Mystery

    Reflection on Mass Reading for September 14, 2021

    Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

    What is the mystery of suffering? Maybe we should begin with the penalty for complaining. It did not go well for the people in the First Reading: “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.” The problem was simple: they forgot who good God had been to them and just focused on the things in the present moment without giving thanks to the One who always took care of them. Thus, the Psalmist made it clear to them and us what we must all do: “Do not forget the works of the Lord!”

    None of us like to suffer. We avoid pain and discomfort. Our whole society and culture are seemingly built around the basic premise that we must avoid all pain. The problem, however, is simple and tragic. No one can avoid suffering. No one can escape death. The simple message of today is this: Life is not a question about whether or not you are going to suffer; it is a question of HOW. We who believe in Jesus know the answer to that question. We suffer WITH Him so we can RISE with Him. “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

    Which path will I take today? Whose promise will I place my entire trust?

    “When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.” St. Sebastian Valfre

  • More Than We Deserve

    Reflection on Mass Reading for September 13, 2021

    Theme for September: Be Opened, Be Strong, Fear Not!

    “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Here, nearly halfway through the month, we are greeted and challenged by this very familiar phrase from the Scriptures, recalled during the Sacrifice of the Mass right before the Body and Blood of Christ are to be received. The term “under my roof” refers primarily to the authority one is called to acknowledge and respect when living or even visiting someone else’s home or abode. At the core of all courtesies known to us is the deference and dignity we show to those whose homes we enter, that is, while we are “under their roof.” What is at issue for us today is that of authority or, in other words, the power to achieve something great. If we can be opened to what God can do for us by way of the countless miracles that take place every day, we will never want to be away “from His roof.”

    “And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.’ And at that very hour his servant was healed.” We have witnessed something great happen as the Gospel continues: a miracle! Perhaps we could say that the centurion told Jesus that He did not have to come under his roof, but rather, the centurion had to submit and believe and trust by living in the Kingdom, virtually, under God’s roof. When each of us lives our lives so completely in trust in the wonderful grace that God provides, with the ultimate assurance that all is well and all will be well, we, too, will have our miracle right under our roof. Be strong, then, trust Jesus with everything. And then just wait…

    “God will always give us more than we deserve.” St. Padre Pio