The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • Woe Is The Pharisee

    Reflection on Mass Reading for October 16, 2019

    “Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” So how does Jesus respond to our “old friends” today? Well, to say the least, it wasn’t pretty. Why the harshness of reaction? That’s what happens when we won’t see how incredibly God is working in our life or in the lives of others. It is the expected consequence when we hide behind the Law and miss the Law-giver in our midst. The people who understand this always rejoice but the ones who judge and criticize and try to “fix” everyone else except themselves are almost always humiliated. It all depends on the quality of the relationship we have with the Lord Jesus. 

    Today, let us first give thanks that our Lord loves us so much that we are constantly being exposed to the truth in our lives, ugly at times, but always liberating. Second, let us ask again for the courage to see Jesus in others as we look for Him in our own souls. This is definitely the recipe for true happiness.  

    “Sometimes, you will go through awful trials in your life and then a miracle happens–God heals you. Don’t be disheartened when the people you love don’t see things like you do. There will be Pharisees in your life that will laugh it off, deny that it happened, or will mock your experience based on righteousness they think you don’t possess. God won’t deny you a spiritual experience because you are not a spiritual leader. He loves everyone equal. The only people that really matter in life are the people that can “see” your heart and rejoice with you.”  Shannon L. Alder 

  • I Will Get Through This Day

    Reflection on Mass Reading for October 15, 2019

    Today is the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, (1515-1582), probably the female saint and mystic with greatest influence on the world on so many levels. Below is one of her most famous poems which we will intersperse with passages from the Scriptures today.

    Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee: All things pass. “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” God never changes. “Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge.” Patience attains all that it strives for. “Not a word nor a discourse whose voice is not heard.” He who has God finds he lacks nothing. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” God alone suffices. “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

    We are free because of the desire of God to send us His only-begotten Son that enwraps his mercy and love all around us every single day. Do not let anything rob you of any joy or peace today. You will get through this day because you started with Jesus and you will end with Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

  • Do You Hear What I Hear?

    Reflection on Mass Reading for October 14, 2019

    “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” What a powerful image we have been given today as we begin a brand new week in walking with the Lord Jesus. To be attuned to the voice of Christ and to be drawn and driven in listening to it no matter what the cost is the goal of all who want to find their way to Heaven with the great and powerfully loving assistance of the Good Shepherd. However, this search must not become one of superstition and doubt: “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.” There is no website or social media account that accomplishes the value and depth of speaking and listening directly with the Lord in prayer strengthened by our daily dose of the Scriptures and Eucharistic nourishment. Let us decide this week to make the time and listen intensely to our Master’s voice. He is always ready to start a conversation.

    Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words. Roy T. Bennett

  • Thanks For The Memories

    Reflection on Mass Reading for October 13, 2019

    There is a remarkable juxtaposition, a type of literary set of bookends in our Readings of today. In the First Reading, the assured faith and belief that the prophet could actually heal leads to wonderful consequences: “Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.” However and quite sadly, the same is not true later in the life of Jesus: “When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.” Jesus’ own people would not, or could not accept Him as the Messiah because they allowed doubt and tragic unbelief to stifle and cloud any hope of a miracle in their midst. And this is the real important meaning of the imagery: leprosy. 

    If we were to look upon this frightful and dehumanizing disease that attacks the skin and bones, it becomes an excellent metaphor for the lack of faith and vain trust in self and its effects on the soul. One horrible aftermath of leprosy was the exclusion of the sufferer from the rest of the community. They became outcasts and wholly rejected. So, too with the seeds of sin and death that undermine a true and loving attachment to the Lord: we become outsiders to life and seemingly never able to be part of the community again. This is where the touch of Christ means everything. He wants us close to Him; He desires our reunion with the Church and the community of believers. He truly wants us closer to Him than we are to ourselves. We must die to pride so we can live again. St. Paul’s Second Reading says it best: “If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him.” 

    Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Perhaps there is no other depiction from anywhere in the Bible which illustrates and highlights the depth of ingratitude. The sick, horribly-looking lepers came to Jesus with desperate longing and need; he cured them all and nine never came back to give thanks. So often, once a person gets what he or she wants, they never come back. What a painful experience to be on the receiving end of such selfish, egotistical behavior. Have you ever wondered what causes that?

    The current level of detachment in our society could be a clue. We seem to be facing reality through a screen of some sort: smartphone, laptop, tablet, computer, television, etc., all train us to take an almost inhuman step away from reality so as not to become too immersed with any real internal and integrated approach to life, you know, the way Jesus approached everyone in the Scriptures and how he deals with you and me right here, right now.

    We can take our cue from the one leper who did in fact come back to give thanks to Jesus. He knew what happened to him. He knew what his healing meant for the rest of his life. He truly knew who healed him. Can you imagine what kind of life he lived after that? Jesus gives us the answer: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” 

    Let us consider some ways to learn how to be grateful: 
    *Take your focus off of yourself and consider the people God has placed around you (we need each other)
    *Count your blessings from God (you will be amazed)
    *Accept your emotional state: Feel-Deal-Heal
    *Welcome time alone as precious for growth with Jesus who did the same
    *Avoid comparing your life to others: you never really know what goes on behind the smiles
    *Shake the Green Monsters: envy and jealousy (open wounds of insecurity)
    *Fight the desire to isolate and seclude yourself from others (wounds just fester)
    *Avoid negative voices and situations (misery loves company)

  • Well Done Is Better Than Well Said

    Reflection on Mass Reading for October 12, 2019

    “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  The situation in our Gospel of today reminds us, among other things, that actions speak louder than words. Think of the people in your life that you can truly count on whenever necessary. We say that their words are “golden” because they are true. Many organizations have mission statements declaring that their top aims are customer service, product quality, civic integrity, putting their people first, and the like. Yet many such businesses have poor service, quality, integrity, and employee relations. Individuals may do the same thing, extolling their plans, yet failing to implement them. Organizations and individuals falling into this trap may have good intentions, and they may not recognize they are failing to live up to their rhetoric. Workplaces and those individuals we choose to be a part of our lives need both effective ways of clearly living their mission and goals, and impartial and time-tested challenges and opportunities to give unvarnished feedback. Sounds like integrity to me.

    “Then shall you know that I, the LORD, am your God, dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain.” This entire discussion brings us right back to the First Reading. Just as the Lord is present, tender and merciful with us, we must be honest and forthright with each other because we are responsible to each other. Many times our own friends will interpret our silence as approval in a wild variety of situations. “I didn’t know you felt that way” is a phrase that comes to mind when we do not risk rejection in the service of truth. 

    Perhaps the basic message today is simple: We are what we do, not what we say we’ll do.

  • What We Despise In Others

    Reflection on Mass Reading for October 11, 2019

    “The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.'” This encounter that was presented to us today in the Gospel truly relays to us the sense of viciousness and ferocity of the climate into which Jesus the Christ (and our King) began His ministry. What we have here is an excellent example of character assassination in the Bible. Jesus addressed the issue in a very beautiful and Messianic way. He confronted evil by the sheer power of his own truth and love and invited those present and us this very day to enter a deeper reflection on the mystery of His Kingdom and the invitation to live there for all eternity. 

    “Their like has not been from of old, nor will it be after them, even to the years of distant generations.” You see, when individuals are not aware of the evil within their very heart and personality, they project it onto others whom they believe to be the very existence of evil in their own twisted and malformed perspectives. Because the scribes were blind they were trapped and looked completely foolish and pathetic. We often despise in others what we despise in our own life. Make sure Jesus lives and moves and breathes in yours.

    Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.  St. Thomas Aquinas

  • May I Help You

    Reflection on Mass Reading for October 10, 2019

    “Then they who fear the LORD spoke with one another, and the LORD listened attentively.” One of the greatest truths and comforting aspects of our journey with the Lord Jesus is that we have been assured time and time again that God listens to all of our prayers all of the time with all the intensity of divine love and immense care for each and every one of us. This is why today we must re-commit and renew our efforts to pray. Prayer is the life of the new heart (CCC 2697) Christians throughout the centuries have maintained three main expressions of prayer: vocal, meditation and contemplation.  Together, they make a phenomenal path to peace and holiness, not to mention sanity.

    Vocal: We are body and spirit, so it is important to express our spiritual  feelings outwardly [we speak]

    Meditation:  The mind searches to understand what God is saying [we think, imagine, desire and feel]

    Contemplation: “We are alone with the One who loves us.” [God speaks, we listen and experience]

    “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” The one who asks through vocal prayer, receives; the one who seeks through meditation, finds; and the one who knocks at the door of contemplation, can change the world one soul at a time.

    A beginner must look on himself as one setting out to make a garden for his Lord’s pleasure, on most unfruitful soil which abounds in weeds. His Majesty roots up the weeds and will put in good plants instead. Let us reckon that this is already done when the soul decides to practice prayer and has begun to do so. Saint Teresa of Avila