The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • So Close To Success

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 23, 2022

    Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

    “Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” Often the things we use to satisfy us are only temporary fixes. Those temporary fixes can end up doing more damage to our lives than good. Perhaps the first few weeks of the New Year bring those issues to the forefront because even after the most wonderful times of the year, so many people seem unhappy, overburdened, super-stressed, and maybe even just downright mean, which is precisely why the Word of God is of supreme importance and a wonderful remedy to keep moving forward.

    “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” We all affect each other, and research shows that unhappiness – and happiness – is caused by patterns in our lives: patterns in the things we do, which are called behavioral patterns, and patterns in the things we think, which are called cognitive patterns. The path to being happier can belong and sometimes requires great changes in one’s life. Being happy is something we need to cultivate every day with the help of the Body of Christ while adopting the right patterns in our life and then sticking to them.

    “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Today is the day to realize and accept that joy in the Lord Jesus is our fundamental responsibility because it is part of our original nature. God created us to be happy! So why are so many sad? Just a small amount of self-awareness for each of us to make sure we are in the right place with the right attitudes will accomplish miracles! Today let us all decide to have a reality check, place everything in perspective, and most importantly, open our hearts to the Lord and pray for wisdom.

    “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison

  • A Thousand Directions

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 22, 2022

    Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

    “When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.'” What a familiar expression we have in the Gospel today! “Out of his mind.” What does that mean? Most people would agree that the phrase describes the situation where someone has lost control of their mental faculties and gone insane. Others would add that the phrase expresses a belief in someone’s inability to make rash decisions because of mental turmoil. However, from our perspective, the person who loses sight of eternal life and the final destination in Heaven will act as if they are insane, making all kinds of strange and selfish decisions that put their earthly lives in jeopardy and their heavenly reward in question.

    “They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel because they had fallen by the sword.” The simple truth is this: when anyone decides to follow the Lord and keep the commandments to the best of their abilities, even when life seems to come undone and people unhinged, the world may deem that insane. How often have we been told that immoral and anti-Christian behavior is perfectly acceptable because, well, “everybody is doing it.” Therefore, trying to be different and faithful must make you “out of your mind.” So who is crazy and who isn’t? There is only one answer: “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.” (Psalm)

    “The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.” Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Freedom, Friendship And Faith

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 21, 2022

    Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

    Today is a great day to reflect upon the intrinsic and deep relationship between what it means to have good, close, and encouraging friends, the freedom it takes to maintain those friendships, and the faith in Jesus that makes us friends with Him. “For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed? May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day. And now, I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.” Review once again what David accomplished in our First reading today. The depth of love in his hearts for friendship gushed over into the way he dealt with his enemies: with total and complete mercy. In many ways, you can tell how great a friend will be to the extent that they can forgive and show compassion. This is certainly true with David and Saul.

    This element is underscored in the Gospel of today: Jesus knew that one of the friends/apostles He would choose would eventually betray Him, and still, in perfect freedom, he asked Him to follow Him, that is, be His friend any way: “He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him…and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.” The application for us today is simply stunning. For love to grow within any relationship, there must be faith in the One who is love and the only One who will sustain that love until eternity, especially for the grace both to forgive and show mercy. What is also remarkable is that love, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion never leave us empty-handed or return with nothing. It is a classic “win-win” situation: “I call to God the Most High, to God, my benefactor. May he send from heaven and save me; may he make those a reproach who trample upon me; may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.”

    “Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.” Elie Wiesel

  • The Cure For Jealousy

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 20, 2022

    Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

    “And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.” For the first time in the brave and bold new year of following the Lord in 2022, we have mentioned a horribly insidious and destructive monster known as jealousy in our First Reading. It seems that from the dawn of time, we human beings have been assaulted and exposed to this treacherous aspect of our fallen human nature which shows itself as resentment against another’s success and irrational fear of anyone bringing competition to the table of dealings with each other, no matter how large or small the matter may be. For the needs of our reflection today, we could say that jealousy is a spiritual disease that has no good consequence. We know this because even though Saul’s fear-rage personal affront to David was decreased for a while, it would not stay contained for long. Bad things are ahead for us to watch and learn.

    However, great things are offered for us in the Gospel of the day: “He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.” There is, in fact, a cure for jealousy. It is Jesus. And why is that? If we believe that every good gift comes from the Lord, and they do, then every talent, gift, raise, or blessing emanates from the loving hand of God who sees everything and apportions all gifts according to His plan for salvation of all. Who are we to question that decision? “Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” Therefore, when someone in our lives receives an accolade, praise, or even award or recognition that they may or may not have earned (according to our own biased opinion), rather than grumbling, let us praise and thank God for all His wonders which starts and ends with an undying trust in His ways: “Now I know that God is with me. In God, in whose promise I glory, in God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?”

    “A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.” Robert A. Heinlein

  • Facing Our Goliaths

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 19, 2022

    Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

    Who among us doesn’t remember our first hearing about the momentous encounter of David and Goliath? No doubt, this famous unequal fight and 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: “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand.” 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 very real and applicable today for you and me: we all face giants. These may be insurmountable problems and unexpected issues. This could be fear, anxiety, or other great and vexing personal struggles. What can we learn from David and the Lord Jesus today? First, let us admit that we all have giants: hardships, seemingly unbeatable obstacles, problems, and temptations. Secondly, let us realize that the battle belongs to the Lord as David bravely told Goliath, “For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.” Thirdly, 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. David faced Goliath as the enemy got close; David ran right at him: “The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine.”
    This is precisely 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.

  • Let’s Take A Sabbatical

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 18, 2022

    Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

    In our First Reading, we are presented with an awesome scene of encouragement as we continue to move forward in this New Year of 2022: “Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him (David) in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.” Even amid anxious danger, Samuel moved forward with the Lord’s instructions, and great things were set into motion. This Scripture 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 for 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 simply to stop from all the other things we had to do or must do or have to do, spend quality time with Him, and focus attention 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 awesome 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. Then perhaps we may truly 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.”

    “A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the most joyous day of the week.” Henry Ward Beecher.

  • Silence Of The Sheep

    Reflection on Mass Reading for January 17, 2022

    Theme for January: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

    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; usually one in authority or with power over us, given or taken, usually with 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 does not follow orders, that is, to obey a command, 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: “I did indeed obey the LORD and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.” Throughout the Scriptures, the Word of God 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 just 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