Providing the Word of God.

Daily Reflections

  • Keep Playing

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 19, 2017

    “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (First Reading) The First Reading makes a great case for the undying fact of human history that children need their parents, and parents need their children. Children need guidance and discipline filled with love while parents need to be reminded of innocence, childlike faith and the fundamental value of love.

    “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.” (Responsorial Psalm)

    “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Gospel) The scene in our Gospel today is filled with people who love. Who were they?

    • They were those who brought the children, who had to be parents, filled with love for their kids and wanting this blessing and prayer for them.
    • They were the disciples who may have appeared to be a little stern but they loved Jesus and wanted to protect Him.
    • They were the children who are most close to God because of their innocence and complete desire to love and to give.
    • And most of all, it was Jesus, the source of all love, who wanted to share that with innocent human beings with the the hopes that they would grow into loving adults.

    Wouldn’t you love it if Jesus could come to you now, play a little and just spend some time letting you know how much He loves you?

    “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

  • Accept and Act

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 18, 2017

    “I gave you a land that you had not tilled and cities that you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” (First Reading)

    “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.” (Responsorial Psalm)

    “Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.” (Gospel)

    The Scriptures today clearly enunciate the openness, the goodness and the perpetual generosity of Our Lord God for each one of us. Others have been blessed before us and their blessings are all ours. We are loved as a whole of humanity and as individual humans seeking a better life now and later. However, jealousy, envy and hatred split our heart into fragments that cannot possibly comprehend the call to love and unify.

    If our hearts are divided then so are our loyalties. This is what makes living the Christian life both challenging and rewarding. If we put God first with our desire to please and love Him, sin will be harder and harder to follow and the rewards of being a loving Christian will become immense. It is also challenging with the many distractions, temptations and the overreaching tendency of our societies to preach the message of self-love and greed over charity, and the only way to achieve this is with the grace of God fed by a good steady habit of confession and the Eucharist. We can further assist the unity of our souls and hearts by doing the following.

    Read – Open the Scriptures and let the words flow through your mind like a river through a dry, parched land.

    Absorb – Learn and study what those words mean. Consult. Listen. Pray.

    Believe – Place the Word of God squarely in your soul and commit your life to Jesus, the Word made flesh.

    Act – Do something! Today and every day, God will present to us every opportunity to act on the Word.

    “Accept the Risen Jesus into your life. Even if you have been far away, take a small step towards him: He awaits you with open arms.” (Pope Francis)

  • Remember to Forgive

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 17, 2017

    “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? (Gospel) Although I am sure that this could be debated, one of the most debilitating aspects of our human journey toward heaven is the heavy baggage we carry because we have either been unable or unwilling to forgive someone who has hurt us in the past. This condition is not acceptable to the Lord who has ransomed us and set us free from the evil forces of darkness with the divine payment of the blood of Christ on the cross. Thus, St. Peter’s question to Jesus is the same that every Christian asks, “How often do I really have to forgive?”

    We understand that the one who is without sin can cast the first stone and to be without sin likewise requires absolute forgiveness. We also realize that when painful memories are like freshly opened wounds, then forgiveness may seem to be one of the most unnatural of human choices. To forgive, then, requires supernatural grace from God. Only the Lord could possibly give us this strength and help. Someone once made the observation that, if you can’t forgive and forget, pick one. The issue foremost for our concern this day is not necessarily why we should forgive but rather who is asking to do this and what He did on the cross to make sure that we would remember these life-long lessons for the rest of our lives.

    “Jesus taught us how to forgive out of love, how to forget out of humility. So let us examine our hearts and see if there is any unforgiven hurt, any unforgotten bitterness. It is easy to love those who are far away. It isn’t always want to love those who are right next to us. It is easier to offer food to the hungry than to answer the lonely suffering of someone who lacks love right in one’s own family. The world today is upside down because there is so very little love in the home and in family life.” (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

    “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” (C. S. Lewis)

    Let us pray:

    O Lord, Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Savior, forgive my sins, just as You forgave Peter’s denial and those who crucified You. Count not my transgressions, but, rather, my tears of repentance. Remember not my iniquities, but, more especially, my sorrow for the offenses I have committed against You. I long to be true to Your Word, and pray that You will love me and come to make Your dwelling place within me. I promise to give You praise and glory in love and in service all the days of my life. Amen.

  • Could You Please Walk With Me?

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 16, 2017

    “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Gospel)

    Would you prefer a picture of someone you cherish and admire, a text from the same, or an actual phone call? Would you much rather desire to be in that person’s presence? I can’t believe that there would be those who would not want to be in the same room with the one they loved, to be able to notice all the intricacies of human communication and interaction. Imagine sitting down with the Lord Jesus at the end of a long day unwinding and relaxing. We probably wouldn’t want to go back to work or school! However, since we do have to go back, let us return with a new deliberate desire. Jesus told us in the Gospel that if we gather in his name, that is, with the expressed hope and want to invite into every office, classroom, situation and conversation, He is there.

    Every time I have rushed through my day, trying to accomplish as many of the details that I frenetically scribbled upon my phone the night before, it is always the same result at the end of the day: tired, exhausted and wondering where the day went. I truly believe that if we take a little more time to realize the most important people in our lives and mix that with the thought of those who are the most neglected people in my world, I believe we will have discovered something quite remarkable. The mixture, I think, will create a miracle. Jesus, come with me today. I have many people I want you to meet.

    “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.” –Flavia Weedn

  • Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 15, 2017

    “God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.” (First Reading)

    Let us start with the Catechism. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory, with Moses on Mount Sinai, at the tent of meeting, and during the wandering in the desert, and with Solomon at the dedication of the temple. In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and overshadows her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus. On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the cloud came and overshadowed Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’” Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his Ascension and will reveal him as Son of Man in glory on the day of his final coming. The glory of the Lord overshadowed the ark and filled the tabernacle. (CCC 697)

    “So shall the king desire your beauty; for he is your lord.” (Responsorial Psalm) It’s easy to miss the parallel between the Holy Spirit overshadowing the ark and the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary, between the Ark of the Old Covenant as the dwelling place of God and Mary as the new dwelling place of God. “For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life…” (Second Reading) “What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.” (487) Through one man, Adam, all died. Through the Incarnation of Jesus, through Mary, salvation has been won. Everything the church teaches about Jesus is supported by what she teaches about.

    “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Gospel) Let us review this magnificent comparison compiled by Steve Ray. Mary, the Ark as revealed in Mary’s visit to Elizabeth

    Golden Box: Ark of the Old Covenant

    The ark traveled to the house Obed-edom in the hill country of Judea (2 Sam 6:1-11)
    Dressed as a priest, David danced and leapt in front of the ark (2 Sam 6:14)
    David asks, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” (2 Sam 6:9)
    David shouts in the presence of the ark (2 Sam 6:15)
    The ark remains in the house of Obed-edom for three months (2 Sam 6:11)
    The house of Obed-edom was blessed by the presence of the ark (2 Sam 6:11)
    The ark returns to its home and ends up in Jerusalem, where God’s presence and glory is revealed in the temple (2 Sam 6:12; 1 Kings 8:9-11)

    Mary: Ark of the New Covenant

    Mary traveled to the house of Elizabeth and Zechariah in the hill country of Judea (Luke 1:39)
    John the Baptist, of priestly lineage, leapt in his mother’s womb at the approach of Mary (Luke 1:41)
    Elizabeth asks, “Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43)
    Elizabeth “exclaimed with a loud cry” in the presence of Mary (Luke 1:42)
    Mary remained in the house of Elizabeth for three months (Luke 1:56)
    The word blessed is used three times; surely the house was blessed by God (Luke 1:39-45)
    Mary returns home and eventually ends up in Jerusalem, where she presents God incarnate in the temple (Luke 1:56; 2:21-22)

    Today is a great day because all the crosses that we carry and the pains we suffer, we know that it is in Jesus complete and a total embodiment and incorporation of our wounded humanity that we are free, we have hope and the best is yet to come.

  • Taxing Tax Collectors

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 14, 2017

    “When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, ‘Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?’” (Gospel) No one likes to shell out their hard-earned money to any government especially to the horrible and brutal regime such as the Roman Empire which occupied Jerusalem and the entire area at the time in which our Gospel today was written. To make matters worse, tax collectors were often Jews who were working for the Romans which then made them look like traitors to their own people and religion. Still, in addition to these “red flags,” everyone knew that tax collectors cheated people and always required more taxes than were needed so that they could get rich off the backs of their own people. Why did Jesus spend so much time with them and say that these kind of people were entering the Kingdom before all the other self-righteous religious people?

    “And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the LORD, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD which I enjoin on you today for your own good? Think!” (First Reading)

    No one, not even tax collectors are outside the scope of invitation to the Kingdom of God. Jesus spent more time with those who clearly needed more attention than anyone was willing or prepared to give or share. It seems that even the most despised or hated were still souls in search of happiness and fulfillment. What about your life? Is there anyone who seems unredeemable or completely lost with no hope? Jesus apparently does not agree with that assessment for anyone, so neither should we ever entertain such a notion. Do not let this day end without first praying for the lost souls in your life. Who knows? Maybe someone will be praying for you.

  • Stop, Be Silent & Listen

    Reflection on Mass Reading for August 13, 2017

    Back in college I heard of an interesting experience of a young man, his wife and three children. He had just received a promising job offer in another city which would certainly help them all live a good life while helping to educate his children and grow in the ways of the Lord. This young man had a beautiful pocket watch which his father had given him years before. His father had died while he was in high school and not only did he miss him especially in somewhat turbulent times as these, but also cherished that little watch that made an “oh-so-subtle ‘tick-tock.'”

    There they were, all five of them, huddled together like a newly hatched group of baby chicks in a small hotel room, with just one bathroom and barely enough room to breathe, when as they were about to leave for Daddy’s interview they suddenly realized they couldn’t find his watch. His wife tried to organize an internal clean search of the room, his oldest boy scoured through the trash cans and dirty clothes ready for the wash while his little girl began to cry. This young and amazing dad took a deep breath, prayed for the gift of wisdom and instructed everyone to stop moving and stay as completely quiet as possible. “Listen,” he whispered. Then, before they knew it, they could all hear that little watch ticking away. It had apparently rolled underneath the bed and their smallest child safely crawled there and retrieved it. “Here you go, Daddy!,” she smiled!

    “After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.” (First Reading) You see, just like in life, our souls need absolute quiet to hear the answer that the Lord is providing every single day. He reassures us that this is true. “Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.” (Responsorial Psalm) “I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie.” (Second Reading) “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” (Gospel)

    How about you and I begin this brand new week with a new resolve to listen and find deep moments of peace and quiet. They may have to be in our car on the way to or from work. It may have to wait until late at night, but it will come and it will be great.

    Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.