Readings for Friday November 28, 2008

First Reading:  Revelation 20:1-4, 11-21:2
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 84
Gospel:  Luke 21:29-33

It seems that in our world, nothing is everlasting.  Throughout history, nations and dynasties have risen and fallen, fads come and go like the wind; and no matter how new your technology is, something newer, better, and smaller has just come out making your product obsolete.  Even in our lives many things come and go, experiences, possessions, etc.  Most things in this world seem only destined for a memory or a place in the history book.  These things that pass away, like all things, will not go with us into the next life.  In today's gospel, we are given a lot of hope however; in this world where nothing lasts forever, we are given the hope of an everlasting promise.  That is the promise in the word of God, in our Savior Jesus Christ.  

We are told in today's gospel that although heaven and earth will pass away, the word of Christ will not pass away.  In Christ all things are made new, and one day (with His help) we will hopefully be blessed enough to see the new Jerusalem and the new Heaven that come down as a great gift of God.  May we always strive and persevere in this life so as to seek first the kingdom of God.  I pray that each of us be granted the strength and courage to lose our lives to Christ ... thereby saving our lives.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  We praise you and give you glory for our lives and all that you bless us with.  Lord God, help us to serve you without wavering, and to keep straight on the path which you set before us Lord.  Lord, we pray for all those in this life who turn their backs away from you, may their hearts be softened and may they one day turn to you in repentance.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.        


Happy Thanksgiving!

Readings for Thursday November 27, 2008

First Reading:  Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 100
Gospel:  Luke 21:20-28

Today, let us take time out and remember all the things that God has blessed us with in which we should be thankful for.  

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


Complete Trust

Readings for Wednesday November 26, 2008

First Reading:  Revelation 15:1-4
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 98
Gospel:  Luke 21:12-19

Imagine one day at work, your boss comes to you and says "I want you to give a presentation to the board.  And this presentation will be something that they will not want to hear, but will be a huge deal for the company.  Oh, and by the way, I don't want you to prepare for this presentation at all."  How many of you would consider turning in your resignation or possibly consider making up an excuse as to why you cannot make the meeting that day?  This is essentially that task that the disciples were given, only it was much bigger and their were informed that their lives were at stake.  When brought before the kings and governors they were not to prepare a defense, only let the Lord work through them.  The Lord also tells them that by persevering through this pain and hardship, they will not be losing their lives, but they will be gaining an eternal prize in heaven and securing their lives.  

The disciples teach us today about having complete trust in Jesus.  For after hearing this they did not walk away from their task, but we know that they went forward, forward with Christ trusting in Him and following Him completely ... even until their deaths.  I pray that each of us in our faith journey can learn to trust in Jesus like this.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, increase our faith and hope so that we might have complete trust in you and in your ways.  Lord help us to follow you no matter what, and to persevere with you through this life here on earth.  Lord, we pray for all those searching for meaning in their lives, may they find it in you.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.   


It's not the "when" that is important

Readings for Tuesday November 25, 2008

First Reading:  Revelation 14:14-19  
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 96
Gospel:  Luke 21:5-11

I wonder how many discussions have happened in the world in regards to when the world is going to end.  I know that there have been many occasions when I have been in the grocery store line only to read a headline in the Weekly World News about predictions of the end of the world (that and a blurb about Elvis being spotted pumping gas at a Seven 11).  There are many theories and groups that believe that they know exactly when the world is going to end and when the supposed "rapture" will happen.  Every time I hear these stories or see these articles, I just smile and go about my business, because I realize that it is not the "when" that is important.  It is not my concern of when Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead, or even how it is going to happen, all that I need to know is that it will happen and that my faith and works is what will matter when the time comes.        

Let us not fear the horrible evils that happen in this world, for as Jesus said these things must happen first.  Let us instead fear an eternity separated from God.  I pray for each one of us on our journey of faith, and that one day we will all rejoice for eternity in heaven with our Lord.  

Father above, we thank you for our lives and we thank you for the journey that each of us have been called to.  Lord, increase our faith and hope in you, help us to not fear the evils of this world, but instead fear a life without you.  Lord, we thank you for being so merciful and good to us, help us to serve you all the days of our lives and to seek your will at all times.  We praise you for your glory, and we pray for all those searching for meaning in their lives.  May they find it in you.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.   


What would you give?

Readings for Monday November 24, 2008

Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs

First Reading: Revelation 14:1-3; 4b-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24
Gospel: Luke 21:1-4

I remember when I first heard this gospel story of the woman who gave just two small coins, while the other men gave a very hefty amount of money to the offering. My Sunday school teachers used this as a lesson in generosity and tithing. I am very thankful that this story has stayed with me throughout my life, because the example set forth by the woman have popped in my head many times when I have been asked to give. There have been many times in which I have been hit up for donations or a chance to give to a good cause, and even though I didn't have much money (or finally had extra), I thought about this woman's great example.

This gospel story reminds us of the importance of not holding back from God. It is not just in terms of giving money, it is also in the things that we do and where we spend our time. Do we give to the Lord the time He deserves with us in prayer each day? Do we help those in need as much as we should each time we are given the chance? We are reminded often that the greatest commandment that we are to follow is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And to really do this, then we need to give all that we can to God, without holding anything back.

What would you give to be with God in heaven one day? Would you sacrifice some extra cash for the parish offering plate? Would you be willing to turn off the TV and spend some time in prayer? Would you sacrifice a Saturday to watch college football and go volunteer at the homeless shelter? Yes, these things will be hard; and yes, you may not even get many "thank yous" or the gratitude that you deserve. But your small sacrifices and actions will not go unnoticed, because like the woman in today's gospel our Lord Jesus sees everything ... even two small coins.

What would you give?

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. We praise you for all that we are and all that we have. Lord help us to not hold back from you, let us always strive to do your will and to sacrifice for you each day. Lord, we pray for all those who are seeking you, all those who are lost, may they find their lives with you. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Keep Sacred what is God's

Readings for Friday November 21, 2008

Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

First Reading:  Revelation 10:8-11
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 119
Gospel:  Luke 19:45-48

In today's gospel we read about Jesus going to cleanse the temple of the wickedness which was taking place there.  Today's gospel teaches us about the importance of reverence for God and what belongs to Him.  It is important that we take God and all that belongs to Him serious, and to work to keep these things sacred at all times.  This not only applies for God's house, but for all of His children as well.  How many times do we sit on the couch and watch TV versus going for a walk?  Or how many times do we help ourselves to that extra slice of cake versus telling our body "no" ?  As it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit ..."  It is important for us to keep sacred all that belongs to God, including ourselves!

Today we remember and honor the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I believe that her parents at the time realized that Mary was a special child of God and kept to the tradition of presenting her in the house of the Lord, thereby keeping sacred what belongs to God.  Today, let us ask our Blessed Mother for her prayer and intercession so that we may keep sacred what is God's and be drawn in even closer to her son, Jesus.  

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.     


In the Zone

Readings for Thursday November 20, 2008

First Reading: Revelation 5:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 149
Gospel: Luke 19:41-44

Have you ever heard anyone at work, school, or in sports say that they were "in the zone?" It is a very interesting concept to be in the zone, your focus and concentration are just so intense and you are only completely involved in what you are doing. I have had these moments at work before, and it just seems as though I am on fire and getting so much of my work done, and before I realize it my work day has just flown by. While being in the zone can be good and have its advantages at times, there is also a potential downfall to being in the zone ... you don't notice anything or anyone else around you.

I think that this is why Jesus was so saddened by the town that He came across in today's gospel reading. The people were so blinded to the truth, and they did not recognize the greatness that was among them. They did not accept Christ and His ways, and due to they will have to fave the consequences. Perhaps if they had been paying more attention and having more faith instead of being in their own "zone," they might of noticed that their savior was there present and wanting to be with them.

Unfortunately, we like the people of the past become so "in the zone" in our own lives that we do not recognize when God is calling out to us. It is also in these times that we are just so pre-occupied with ourselves that we forget about who and what are the most important things in our lives. While it is okay to be in the zone at times (especially if we are talking about our faith), let us always remember to take time each day to stop and just be with our Creator.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we pray for your will to be done in our lives and we ask for your forgiveness in the times that we stray. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Wednesday November 19, 2008

First Reading:  Revelation 4:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 150 
Gospel:  Luke 19:11-28

Do you ever find yourself just asking the question "why" a lot?  I am sure that we all ask this question many times in our life, and especially when it comes to God, we find ourselves asking "why?"  Why did God choose to give us two arms instead of four?  Why did God make the sky blue?  Why did my neighbor who does not act faithfully win the lottery, while all I got were more bills?  Why was the master in today's gospel so unkind to the fearful servant and to the people that he now ruled?  

I find that many people in life seem to want to reject faith all because they do not understand God, and because they do not have an answer for the "why's."  Well, as much as I wish I did, I do not have an answer for you in regards to why things are the way that they are.  I cannot even begin to attempt to understand God's ways, I realize that I am simply to small and unable to do so.  I cannot tell you exactly why Jesus tells us in today's gospel that "to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."  I realize that this may seem kind of harsh and while we do not fully understand the rationale behind this, we must trust that it is what is right.  

I realize that we all have two choices:  1)  We can go our entire lives always questioning God and His ways, or 2) We can just trust Him completely and realize that His ways are perfect.  Many times we think that we know the whole situation, but in reality we only know fragments of information.  God knows all, and His ways are perfect, even if we don't see it at first.  

Today, may our faith be strengthened so that we can trust more.  Let us be like the the servants who did question their master or his intentions, but did as instructed.  For when we do this, our reward will be a glorious place in heaven, and we too may be blessed enough to see what Saint John saw.  

Father above, we thank you for your love and mercy.  Bless our days, so that we might serve you with all that we are.  Lord, forgive us for questioning you and your ways.  Lord hep us to always trust in you no matter what.  Lord we pray for all those who are seeking you and all those who have fallen away from the faith.  We ask this all through your name.  Amen.  


Climbing Trees

Readings for Tuesday November 18, 2008

First Reading: Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 15
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10

Have you ever seen your boss climbing a tree? What about Bill Gates, ever seen him at the top of a crab apple tree? We typically do not see too many wealthy or high up executives climbing trees ... come to think of it, we don't see too many adults in trees either. But today we are told of a man of power and money who at just the chance to see Jesus Christ climbed up into a tree. Why does Zacchaeus need to be up in a tree anyways? Doesn't he have everything that he needs? Why does he just need to catch a glimpse of the Savior? Because Zacchaeus knows that there is something missing in his life, he knows that Jesus does not promise a great worldly life, but an everlasting one in heaven. Zacchaeus knows this and he is determined to do whatever it takes to get a look at God.

Zacchaeus teaches us today about determination and humbling yourself for God. I pray that we can all be as active as Zacchaeus was in searching for Christ in our lives and surrendering all that we have to Him.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, strengthen us and increase our faith so that we might stand strong against the evil one and the pressures from this world. Lord let us always follow you and do what is right and what is asked of us. Lord God, we pray for all those actively searching for you, that they might come to know the peace and joy that comes from knowing you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


We serve a merciful God

Readings for Monday November 17, 2008

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious

First Reading:  Revelation 1:1-4, 2:1-5
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 1 
Gospel:  Luke 18:35-43

Throughout history, our Lord Jesus has brought healing to many people in the world.  During His time on earth, we read about many of His miracles performed, such as today's gospel reading in regards to the blind man who is given sight.  The blind man in today's gospel, even before his healing actually had better sight than most of us who have sight do sometimes.  For when he heard that Jesus was there, he saw through his eyes of faith and was relentless in asking for Christ's help.  When Jesus asked the blind man what he wanted, it was granted out of love and mercy by our Lord.  These sorts of works are written about throughout the gospels, and we even have evidence of Christ's works of mercy after His death and resurrection.  The lives of the saints are filled with these sorts of miracles and cures.  

While Jesus brings us hope in physical and mental curing, there is one sort of healing that He gives us that is the most important of all ... and that is of spiritual healing.  We serve such a merciful God, and He knows how much we need to have a healthy soul in order to serve Him.  Sin causes our soul's to get become dirty and grimy and broken, it is through repenting and going to reconciliation that we are able to be spiritually healed.  This is why in the book of Revelation today, Saint John makes the case for the importance of repenting.  When we do wrong, it is essential for us to say that we are sorry to God and ask for His mercy.  

While we may be physically or mentally hurting, none of these healings will matter unless we are willing to work on our heart  and soul.  For it is our relationship with God (our spirituality) that is what will get us to heaven, not our superb intellect or physical ability.  We must always look to seek out God first in or lives and to take care of what is truly important.  For we must remember that our lives here on earth are only a temporary residence, and there is a far greater life ahead that the Lord has prepared ... if we are willing to follow Him.  

Praise the Lord that we serve a merciful God!

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day, we praise you for your love and mercy.  Lord help us to follow you without growing weary and without hesitation.  Lord we pray for all those seeking you in their lives, and for those wishing to go deeper with you.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.       


Readings for Saturday November 15, 2008

First Reading:  3 John 5-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 112 
Gospel:  Luke 18:1-8


Walk this way

Readings for Friday November 14, 2008

First Reading:  2 John 4-9
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 119
Gospel:  Luke 17:26-37

If you read the title of today's post ("Walk this Way"), I assure you that I am not going to be blogging about the famous Aerosmith song.  In today's first reading from Saint John, we are told of how we should walk.  He says "For this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, which you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk." (2 Jn 6)  To walk in love ... what comes to mind when you hear a phrase such as this?  One of my thoughts was; with every step I take in my life, that each one should be going towards God in love and thanksgiving.  I also thought, that like walking, each step is important, and each step should be filled with complete love and self giving.  Think about each time we help someone, or go to mass, read the word, or go to work ... each step in all of our actions should be filled with the love of Christ.  This is the way in which we should walk, in the ways of the Lord.  

In walking with the Lord, we must not be concerned with ourselves.  Jesus reminds us in the gospel today, that "Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it."  (Lk 17:33)  Let us always look to the Lord first, and then to others in our journey.  May the Lord strengthen us all on along our way, and let us walk upright and confident in our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Blessed are they who follow the Law of the Lord!   

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  We thank you for all the blessings in which you have given us.  Lord, continue to pour out your mercy on us, and forgive us of our sins.  Lord, be with us as we strive to do your will and walk with you.  Lord, we pray for all those who are not headed toward you, but are sliding farther away.  May they be brought back to your love and mercy.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Accept no substitutes

Readings for Thursday November 13, 2008

Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin

First Reading:  Philemon 7-20
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 146
Gospel:  Luke 17:20-25

When going grocery shopping, I just simply love the "off brands."  Not only do they save you a lot of money, but they also taste just as good.  Who needs "honey nut Cheerios" when you can have "honey nut toasted oats?"  Who needs the fancy packaging of "wonder bread" when you can choose from a wide assortment of the "Kroger brand breads?"  Who needs "poptarts" when you can have "toaster treats?"  

While "off brands"might work out great for our food or household items, we must accept no substitutes for our faith and who we choose to follow.  Jesus warns us today about how the disciples will not see His coming in His glory, but that they need to be wary because others will say "Look, look, there He is!" or "Look, look, He is over there!"  Jesus is warning them and us to not be fooled into following a false promise and a lie.  There will be many distractions and many people trying to veer us off the path that God has laid for us.  We must be strong in our faith, ad pray for the strength and the will to stay the course, to not veer, and to be steadfast in our journey.  If we follow Christ first, and only Christ, then we will be blessed enough to see Him in His glory in heaven.       

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Help give us the strength this day Lord to follow you with a strong faith and hope, loving you first and all others that you put into our lives.  Lord God, we pray for all those struggling in their faith journey and all those seeking you in their lives.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Attitude of Gratitude

Readings for Wednesday November 12, 2008

Memorial of Saint Josaphat, bishop and martyr

First Reading:  Titus 3:1-7
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 23
Gospel:  Luke 17:  11-19

I absolutely love the story in today's gospel.  I have always admired the gratefulness of the leper who returns to give thanks to Christ.  So many times we ask God for help, but when our prayers are answered, do we stop and give the credit to our creator?  How often do we just go about what we are doing without stopping to give thanks to our God who loves us and has great mercy on us.  The leper in today's story had what I like to call an "attitude of gratitude."  He had his priorities right in stopping what he was doing and giving thanks to God.  He shows us how we need to recognize the hand of God in our lives and be thankful for that work.  

Think today about the moment when you decided to live your life for God.  When did you decide that you wanted to say "yes" to Him always?  Saint Paul talks about how we once lived foolish and disobedient lives.  But when Christ appeared and called each of us, it was not from our great personality or charm, but it was from God's mercy.  Because of His great mercy, we are given life.  The Lord does not wish for us to live in sin and live lives that will only lead us to an eternal life of pain and suffering, He wishes for us to have eternal life and to join Him in Heaven where we can be in the presence of the glory of God.  For this reason alone, we should be eternally grateful to God.   

Do you thank God every day for the blessings that He bestows upon you?  Let us all reflect today upon how we can have an "attitude of gratitude" daily towards our Lord.   

Father above, we thank you for the gift of our lives.  We praise you for all that we have and all that we are.  Lord increase our faith so that we might be more grateful and see all blessings that you put into our lives daily.  Lord, thank you for for our lives, let us always give you the glory for all that we do.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Pass it on

Readings for Tuesday November 11, 2008

Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, bishop

First Reading:  Titus 2:1-8, 11-14
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 37
Gospel:  Luke 17:7-10

As servants of God, there is much expected of us.  Many times it is easier to follow our own desires or wants instead of doing what we should be doing.  I am sure that in today's gospel, the servant in Jesus' parable would have rather taken a break and rested before waiting on his master, but this is not the servant's role.  The servant must do all that is asked of him before he can rest and get what he earns.  Why is it this way?  Because that is the role of the servant.  It is their responsibility to wait on their master and to do what is asked of them.  In return for their service the master will take care of the servants needs and share what He has.  

Paul talks greatly about our responsibilities as followers of Christ in today's letter to Titus.  Paul talks about the ways in which we should act as men and women of God, and how our actions are very important, not only for our own salvation, but for passing on the faith to the next generation.  It is not enough for us to be "temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance, reverent, etc."  It is our responsibility to also model this correct behavior to our youth.  We must teach young men what it means to be a  man of God, and we must teach young women what it means to be a woman of God.  One of the number one ways that we can do this is by modeling the behavior that we wish to pass on.  It means nothing to tell people how to live if you are unwilling to live that way yourself.  People (especially youth) do not follow hypocrites, they follow those who are honest and faithful and willing to practice what they preach.  

Think about youth that you are in contact with frequently, perhaps it is your own kids, nieces or nephews, or neighbors; our youth are desperately in need of men and women who will model the virtues that Christ is calling us all to.  I pray that we can all be strengthened in our faith to allow the light of Christ to shine through us to our young people and all those we are in contact with.  

Father above, we thank you for this day.  We praise you and thank you for all you give us.  Lord, increase our faith so that we might be strong enough to follow you.  Lord, help us to be the examples that our young people need in this life.  God, we pray for the youth of this world, that they might fight the temptations that this world calls them to and find you in order to find their lives.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.      

Increase our faith

Readings for Monday November 10, 2008

Memorial of Saint Pope Leo the Great, pope and doctor of the Church

First Reading:  Titus 1:1-9
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 24
Gospel:  Luke 17:1-6

In today's gospel, Jesus makes it clear to His disciples and us that we are to live a life avoiding sin and a life of forgiving others.  Certainly not easy tasks for us, especially since it is much easier to give in to sin, and to hold grudges instead of forgiving.  Jesus calls us to be more when following Him.  It is certainly no wonder the disciples asked for Christ to "increase their faith" upon hearing these instructions.  They knew that they would need a great faith in order to follow Christ, just as we all do.  

We are called to such a higher purpose when we surrender ourselves to our Lord and Savior.  When we surrender our lives to Him, we say "yes Lord, yes to your will and to your way, I will serve you with all my heart, mind, and strength."  To serve the Lord with all that we have and all that we are, certainly takes a great faith.  Let us ask our Lord, the giver of life, today and always to please increase our faith so that we might give our lives to Him ... as He did for us.   

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, help us to following you as good stewards of this life, as faithful and obedient sons and daughters.  Lord, increase our faith so that we may not veer or waiver when doing your will.  Lord, help us to have courage and strength through all that this life confronts us with.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


The Lost Sheep

Readings for Thursday November 6, 2008

First Reading:  Philippians 3:3-8a
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 105
Gospel:  Luke 15:1-10

Today we hear the parable of the lost sheep and the great joy over finding the lost.  Jesus tells those listening how much joy there will be in heaven over one sinner repenting than many other righteous people who do not need to repent.  I am always blown away by this parable, because the shepherd leaves 99 other sheep to go look for one lost one.  It is amazing that this is the attitude of God, when we are lost He looks for us and carries us back.  He does not say; "well one won't make a difference, I have 99 others."  God doesn't give up on us, He loves us more than we can ever know, and when we are lost in this world, He wants us to be found.  

From this parable I think often about how much we give up on other people in our lives.  When people seem to veer we just think, "oh well, they are lost now, no use going to help or trying to find them."  Many times we view helping others and help find others as a inconvenience.  Thank goodness that God does not think or act this way.  When we are lost, He help us along and is continuously allowing grace to flow in our lives so that we can be found.  Of course, we do have to cooperate with that grace so that we can be found.  And when those who are lost are found, we know that there will be great rejoicing in heaven!

Two things that I hope you will join me in thinking about today:  1)  Am I more likely to give up on someone when they are lost? or am I more likely to go out and find them?  2)  Where does your confidence lie, in Christ or in yourself?  

Father above we thank you for the gift of this day.  Guide us in all that we do, and glory be to you for all that we have and all that we are.  Lord we pray for all those who are lost in this world and who do not know your love.  May they be brought to the joy and peace that can only be found in you.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.   


Without Grumbling or Questioning

Readings for Wednesday November 5, 2008

First Reading:  Philippians 2:12-18 
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 27
Gospel:  Luke 14:25-33

As I was driving home tonight, I realized the situation for our presidential election (as well as other leaders) was not looking too good.  Even as I write this now, John McCain is severely lagging behind in the polls.  All week I had hoped for Senator McCain to pull a major come from behind victory, but as things are shaping up right now it does not appear to be so.  These types of situations are hard for us to understand as catholics, how this is all a part of God's plan.  I found a lot of comfort and gained valuable perspective from today's reading.  In today's gospel Jesus talks of how everything in this world must come second to God, even our own family!  To be a follower of Jesus we are asked to take up crosses and follow Him where ever we are called.  I have no doubts that throughout the years ahead we are going to be asked to carry many more crosses for our saviour, let us look to carry any such hardships and challenges for the glory of our Lord.  Christ carried a cross of great magnitude, all for love of us.  May we pick up any and all crosses that we are called to, for love of Him.  

Today, let us reflect on some of today's words of Saint Paul to the Philippians:
For God is the one who, for his good purpose,
works in you both to desire and to work.
Do everything without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life,
so that my boast for the day of Christ may be
that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Lord God, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord help us to put all of our trust into you and your plan for our lives, the lives of others, our nation, and our world.  Lord God, be with all our elected leaders this day, may the come to follow you and your will.  Lord, we pray for your forgiveness for any judgement that we have thought.  Lord, increase our faith, hope, and love of you and of others.  We ask this all as humble servants of Christ.  Amen.  


Don't Forget to Vote!

Readings for Tuesday November 4, 2008

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop

First Reading:  Philippians 2:5-11
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 22
Gospel:  Luke 14:15-24

Brothers and Sisters, we have come to an important point in America.  Today is the day that we each go out and cast our ballot for our political leaders.  No doubt all of you have been showered with political adds and propaganda, and in the midst of all the mudslinging it can be very overwhelming and a bit of an information overload.  It is during this time that we must thank God for giving us guidance through the church.  If you have not had a chance to check it out, I strongly recommend that you take a look at the statements issued by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops [http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org].  The documents found here talks about our responsibility as citizens, and our responsibility to have a well formed conscious before casting our vote or making out decisions.  

While no matter what happens in the election or any other, we must always look to God's will, and trust in His plan for us.  We may not understand at the time, but I am sure that we can all agree that God's plan in perfect, and throughout it all we must surrender to Him and put all of our trust in Him.  Our God is a loving and merciful God, today's readings speak loudly of His love and mercy for us.  Let us seek the kingdom first, and from there everything else will fall into place.  I pray that we can have the strength to follow Him until the end, and one day hear the words "Well done, good and faithful servant."  

May God bless you and the rest of your day ... and don't forget to vote!

An election prayer to Mary (Men of the Sacred Hearts):  
O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, at this most crucial time, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care.  
Most Holy Mother, we beg you to reclaim this land for the glory of your Son.  Overwhelmed with the burden of the sins of our nation, we cry to you from the depths of our hearts and seek refuge in your motherly protection.  
Look down with mercy upon us and touch the hearts of our people.  Open our minds to the great worth of human life and to the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.  
Free us from the falsehoods that lead to the evil of abortion and threaten the sanctity of family life.  Grant our country the wisdom to proclaim that God's law is the foundation on which this nation was founded, and that He alone is the True Source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  
O Merciful Mother, give us the courage to reject the culture of death and the strength to build a new Culture of Life.  Amen.   


There's no "I" in "team!"

Readings for Monday November 3, 2008

First Reading:  Philippians 2:1-4
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 131
Gospel:  14:12-14

Many sports teams use the phrase:  "There is no 'I' in 'team'"  This simple phrase is used to illustrate the point that a team is one entity, united for a common purpose.  A team is not a collection of individuals, each out for his or her own glory, but rather a single unit who works together for a common goal.  Teams that have a lot of players with a "I" mentality, instead of a "team"mentality find themselves not accomplishing their goals or unable to perform due a lack of unity.  Teams that put each other first and are willing to sacrifice their own glory for the sake of the team find themselves completely united and able to withstand any force that comes their way.  

In Saint Paul's letter to the Philippians, he warns against the "I" mentality, and talks about being unified in Christ.  Saint Paul talks about the joy of being united in Christ and being focused on just one thing - Serving God and others before us.  Having an "I" mentality does not just affect those on sports teams, but can also having damaging effects in our family lives or in our work lives.  If a father or mother is only concerned about themselves and their own interests, what kind of traits will their kids pick up on?  If each worker is only concerned for themselves and does not freely give their best at work and only does the minimum to get by, how does the company grow and thrive?  But if we each unite in Christ, and actively work to serve God and others before ourselves, then we will truly find a peace and a joy like never before.  And who knows, others might even recognize this in us and this idea of selflessness may even become contagious!

Today's gospel talks of giving without receiving.  Our lives are not so much about how much we make, what we get, or what titles we have ... our lives are about what we give.  If we want to find meaning and peace, then we must give to God, not just of money and gifts, but of ourselves  Today, let us reflect on how we give to God and others, and how we can improve.  

Remember, there's no "I" in "team."

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  We praise you and give you all the glory for all that we are and all that we have.  Lord, help us to serve you with all that we are today and all days.   Let us follow you where ever you might lead us to.   Lord, we pray for all those who are less fortunate and all those experiencing trying times.  May they see the blessings in disguise and find your love through all they go through.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Readings for Saturday November 1, 2008

Solemnity of All Saints

First Reading: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24
Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-3
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12


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