A simple, little thing

Readings for Friday January 30, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 10:32-39
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 37
Gospel:  Mark 4:26-34

In today's gospel, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.  When it starts out it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it is fully grown it is one of the largest of all the trees.  We are also reminded that this does not happen by anything that the person planting it does, it grows by its own accord.  

Like the Kingdom of God, it starts off small, and then grows into something might.  We must ask ourselves too if we have Jesus in us, are we saying yes to Him and allowing Him to grow in us?  Jesus tells us that some of the littlest and simplest things can turn into great and mighty things.  Imagine how our lives can change by letting Christ work in us.  A little, simple yes to God can mean amazing things for us and the world.  Mary's humble yes brought Christ into our world in the flesh.  The yes of Christ led to His death, crucifixion, and resurrection, and ultimately the forgiveness of our sins.  The yes by us can lead to an eternity in heaven with God.  
Brothers and sisters, may we always be among those who say yes to God, and may this simple little things turn into something mighty and amazing.  Let us remember today's words by Saint Paul; "We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life."  

Come, Holy Spirit
Come, holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you will renew the face of the earth.  
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful.  In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right and always rejoice in your consolation.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Stand together

Readings for Thursday January 29, 2009 

First Reading:  Hebrews 10:19-25
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 24
Gospel:  Mark 4:21-25

In high school, one of my projects was to make a miniature bridge that needed to withstand a lot of weight.  Our teacher showed us that the wood that we were using was not very strong each piece by itself, in fact it could be easily broken.  But when they were put together and arranged in good patterns, they were able to withstand a great deal of weight and pressure.  

I believe that it is because of this principle that Paul tells us that "we should not stay away from the assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another."  We must remember that we are the bod of Christ, and when all parts of the body are strong and working right, then the body is strong; but when parts of missing or weak, then the body hurts.  We must remember that our actions do not just affect us, but the entire body.  This is why we  must head the words of Saint Paul and "consider how to rouse one another to love and good works."

When we stand by ourselves, we are weak and can be broken.  When we stand together with Christ, nothing can break us.    

Father above, we thank you for this day.  We thank you for the many blessings and gifts that you bestow on us ever day.  Lord, we are your people may we live for you all of our days, and serve you without growing weary.  Lord, we pray for all those who are suffering in this world and all those who are in need of healing.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen. 


The Good Soil

Readings for Wednesday January 28, 2009

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church

First Reading:  Hebrews 10:11-18
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 110
Gospel:  Mark 4:1-20

Today Jesus tells us the parable of the seed sower.  He describes how some seeds fell on the path and were eaten up, others fell on the rocky ground but were scorched by the sun because of lack of root.  Some also fell amongst the thorns and could not grow, and the last seeds fell on good soil and produced a great deal of good fruit.  I pray that we can all be granted God's love and mercy to be in the "good soil" where we can thrive in this life, instead of just survive.  

Throughout history, we have many great examples of men and women who have sought to do God's will and have surrendered to Him.  Many of these men and women would be considered as being brought up in the "good soil" and produced much fruit in their lives.  Today we remember and honor one of these great men, Saint Thomas Aquinas.  Thomas Aquinas was a great priest and theologian.  When Thomas decided to enter the priesthood, there was much opposition from his family.  They even went as far as to send an impure woman to tempt him; but because God was with him and because of his desire to do God's will, Thomas continued on in his vocation.  Thomas went on to produce much fruit in his life, as he is considered one of "the greatest and most influential theologians of all time."  *(for more information about Saint Thomas Aquinas go to:  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2530)

May we all continue to seek God with our hearts and to persevere through the temptations of this world.  Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  May we seek to strive and do your will each day in our lives.  Lord, protect us from this world, and strengthen us in this fight for truth that we are in.  Lord, we pray for all those who are seeking you, may they be brought to your love and mercy.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Here am I Lord

Readings for Tuesday January 27, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 10:1-10
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 40
Gospel:  Mark 3:31-35

I remember in school there always seemed to be two sets of kids ... those who did what was asked of them by the teacher, and those who didn't.  The ones who followed instructions and rules of the teacher were always looked upon favorably, and those who didn't would most likely spend most of their time in trouble.  I think anyone who has experience working with kids or people, can certainly have a great appreciation for those individuals who do what is asked of them.  

So, if we appreciate it when people do what we ask, how much more does God appreciate it when we cooperate with Him?  Our world is filled with those who seek to do God's will, and with those who seek to do their own will.  We have great reason to believe that God looks favorably upon those who do His will.  We know this by looking at biblical history, our own past, and of the promises made to those who follow the Lord.  In today's gospel, Jesus even tell us that those who do the will of God are "his brother and sister and mother."  Listening and obeying God not only puts us in a favorable position, but brings us closer to our Lord and Savior.  We would do well to always think about this when faced with challenges and with temptation.  

We are all children of God ... are you the child who listens and does what is asked, or are you more of the rebellious type?  May we always speak the words of psalmists, "Here am I Lord; I come to do your will."       

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, may we gain strength and courage from reading your holy word.  Lord we pray for a heart of obedience and that your will may be done in our lives.  Lord, you know what is best for us and we trust in you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Lord we pray for all of our leaders and for the conversion of our president.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Stand United

Readings for Monday January 26, 2009

Memorial of Saint Timothy and Saint Titus, bishops

First Reading:  2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 96
Gospel:  Mark 3:22-30

In today's gospel Jesus is once again being accused by the scribes of something which is untrue.  They accuse Jesus of being possessed by a demon, and that He drives our demons by the "prince of demons."  As is always the case, Jesus puts these men in their place and proceeds to explain why their accusations are wrong.  Jesus tells them (and us) that a kingdom or a house divided cannot stand; and if Satan is divided against himself, then he cannot stand.  

Jesus tells us today, not only of the fate of a divided house, but also of the importance of standing united.  I am sure that Jesus' message to the scribes was not only one of which to show His innocence, but also to tell them the importance of standing together and being united.  Today, we remember and honor two bishops of the early church, Saint Timothy and Saint Titus.  Both of these men sought to spread the gospel and keep the early church united.  We must remember and look to their example of righteousness and their work for unity in our Christian faith, and not division.  

Around every corner their will be those seeking to divide us, but we must remain strong in the Holy Spirit, and stand united. 

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, we thank you and give you praise for all that we have and all that we are.  Lord we praise you for our lives and pray for your continued work in us, so that we may go out and serve you in this world without ceasing.  Lord, we pray for all of our leaders, and for the conversion of our president.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.   



Readings for Friday January 23, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 8:6-13
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 85
Gospel:  Mark 3:13-19

In the old testament, God made several covenants with His people Israel.  In each of these covenants, God made promises to the people if the people would be faithful and keep His commandments.  Unfortunately, even with God's extensive patience, the people would not stay faithful.  A covenant is an agreement between two people or two groups.  In a covenant, each group agrees to abide by certain terms and to hold up their end of the deal.  Being in a covenant involves an active part from both groups, it means that you have to be involved and hold up your end of the deal.  God kept His part of the covenant, but the people did not.  

In today's first reading Saint Paul tells us too that we are in covenant with the Lord.  We are in the new and better covenant which is through Christ our Lord.  We can see that in the gospel of Mark today that Jesus picks each of His disciples and asks them to follow Him.  Like the disciples, we are also called ... we are called into covenant with our Lord.  Christ came to offer us everlasting life, He calls us into this covenant and He tells us that if we are willing to follow Him and to let "the law be written on our hearts" that we can one day join Him in heaven.  I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!  

Remember, God is calling each of us into covenant with Him, but this is not merely a simple contract; this is a promise made by us and God, and it requires active participation and complete surrender to Him.  Remember, God will keep up His end, will we keep up ours?

"Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me."  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you."  (Luke 22:19-20)

Father thank you for this day.  Give us the strength and courage to serve you this day and all days.  Lord we pray for all lives in our world, both born and unborn, and pray that our world might all come to value life.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Here am I, Lord

Readings for Thursday January 22, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 7:25-8:6
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 40
Gospel:  Mark 3:7-12

In Paul's letter to the Hebrews, he tells us; "Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them."  

Today is the March for Life in Washington D.C.  Today, all those who value life and fight to protect it will gather at our nation's capital, march at events in their own cities, or pray diligently at home for an end to the culture which promotes death and destruction.  This year, we have a great deal of urgency to march and to pray, while our country has seen a historic event take place, in the election of our first African American President; we must remember that this new administration is very extreme in regards to life issues.  Let us all lift up our prayers for our new leaders, let us turn to Jesus in this great time of need.  Let us pray that our leaders and all those in our nation can become a country that seeks to protect life at all stages and to truly value the dignity of each and every person.  Paul tells us that Jesus is here for us ready to take our prayers and hear our needs, let us rely on the one who strengthens us and gives us life.  

May we speak the words of the psalmist today and all days;  "Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will."    

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  We praise you for all the blessings that you have and continue to bestow upon us.  Lord, we pray for the conversion and for the change of hearts of all of our political leaders, that they may be led by you and that they might begin to lead this nation to value life at all stages.  Help us to be a nation that protects and builds, not destroys.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


He came to save life

Readings for Wednesday January 21 ,2009

Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and martyr

First Reading:  Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 110
Gospel:  Mark 3:1-6

In today's gospel the Pharisees once again are trying to trap Jesus, by seeing if He will cure on the sabbath.  Because of their hardened hearts, they are completely blind to the good that Christ is doing and to the life that He came to give for all men.  It is a shame that so many of us go about our lives, and try to do what we think is best for ourselves and others, but we don't stop too often and think about whether what or how we are going about things is good or evil.  We must be aware of our own selfish desires and of the things in our lives that try to lead us away from God and the life that He calls us too.  If we can do this, then we can be open to His will and His plan for us.  The pharisees were not open to God and His plan, they only thought of their own interests and places in society.    

Jesus, our high priest, came to save life rather than destroy it.  I pray that we can all find the courage to heed and follow this example.  Let us all pray for our newly elected leaders that their hearts may be open to life saving, instead of life destroying.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  I pray that all of us can be open to your will in our lives. Lord we pray for our country, that we can become a nation that values life, and does not destroy it.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  



Readings for Tuesday January 20, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 6:10-20 
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 111
Gospel:  Mark 2:23-28

Pessimists, "nay-sayers", and "negative nancies."  These are the people who always point out your faults, only look at what you do wrong, and look at the glass as being "half empty."  I am sure that these words are making each of us think of people in our lives who fit this description.  We see in today's gospel that Jesus and His disciples had their own fair share of pessimists and negative nancies.  It was the sabbath, and the disciples of Jesus began picking the heads of grain in order to get some food and nourishment.  Of course, since it was unlawful to work on the sabbath, the pharisees jumped all over Jesus and His disciples.  The scribes and pharisees took every opportunity to point out what Jesus was doing wrong and to try to trap Him in something that He said.  They were always trying to find fault in Him, instead of opening their eyes to what He was offering and opening their ears to what He was saying.

The disciples however, took a different approach.  They listened to Jesus, they saw that He offered something more, even if they didn't fully understand it, something in their hearts screamed "follow Him!"  Even though they had the "nay-sayers" all around them, they clung to their master who gave them comfort and protection.  The disciples chose wisely when they chose to follow Christ, even on the sabbath.  

While it is easy for us to judge the pharisees in this reading as being blind to who Jesus was and what He offered, perhaps we should take this example as a time to look at ourselves.  How often are we blind to Jesus in our own lives?  How often to we let rules or responsibilities distract us away from where our Saviour is leading us?  How often do we succumb to the pressure of the pessimists and "nay-sayers" in our lives who seek make us doubt and to pull us away from Christ?

May we be granted ears that are deaf to the world, and open to God.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  We thank you and give you praise for your love and mercy.  Lord, may we not fear this world, but only fear a life without you.  Give us the strength and courage to persevere in this life, so that we may better serve you in this world.  Lord, we pray for our culture, we pray that all might value life and human dignity in our world.  we ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.       


Heart of Justice

Readings for Monday January 19, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 5:1-10 
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 110
Gospel:  Mark 2:18-22

Today, I would like to do something a little different.  Today, I will not be offering a reflection on today's mass readings (but we should all still be reading and reflecting on these).  Today, I would like to talk offering some things for us all to think and reflect on this day.  Every year, on the third Monday in January, we remember and honor a great American leader in the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Now although I was never alive during his time, I understand the impact that this man had in bringing an end to the segregation between blacks and whites that consumed our country at one time.  Dr. King's message was one of truth, equality, and virtue.  Among those virtues that he spoke of was the virtue of justice.  In his "I have a dream speech," Dr. King shares these hopes that he has for the future of this country:  

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today."

In this speech, Dr. King vividly describes the hope that he has for the nation and for the world.  He knows that one of the ways in which that this could happen is by everyone having a heart of justice.  I have no doubts that because of his faith, Dr. King was inspired by the life and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to bring justice to all those in need of love and mercy.  

Today, let us reflect on what the Church teaches about the virtue of justice, and may we all be granted a heart of justice in our lives.  

Catechism 1807:  "Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor.  Justice toward God is called 'virtue of religion.'  Justice toward men disposes  one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good..."   

Father in heave, may we all be given a heart of justice towards you and our neighbor.  Amen.  



Readings for Friday January 16, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 4:1-5, 11
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 78
Gospel:  Mark 2:1-12


God, let your will be done

Readings for Thursday January 15, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 3:7-14
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 95
Gospel:  Mark 1:40-45

In Paul's letter to the Hebrews, he tells the people of the hardness of heart that the early Israelites in the desert had with God and Moses after their flight from Egypt.  It is written that they continuously provoked the Lord and hardened their hearts to Him when during this trial in the desert.  Because of their provoking and hardened hearts, that generation of stubborn people was not permitted to enter the land in which they were promised.  

in today's gospel, we read about the leper, who does not ask Christ to prove that He is the son of God or demand to heal him.  He comes to Jesus and submits to His will and says "If you wish, you can make me clean."  The leper in today's gospel teaches us about having an open heart to God and to surrendering ourselves to Him.  He did not come to Jesus making demands, asking for proof of power, or even complaining of his illness.  No, this man brought himself before the Lord, and said "let your will be done."

I believe that many times our hearts do become hardened to the Lord because we tend to think like the early Israelites did and focus too much on what we want and our own discomfort, instead of what the Lord has planned for us.  I pray that we can all have open hearts to God's will and that we can all humble ourselves as the leper did today and just say to God, "let your will be done."  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, help us to have open hearts to you and to your will in our lives.  Lord, we thank you for all that we are and all that we have in this life.  Lord, help us to follow you more closely in our life and to surrender to you each and every day, so that we might come to know your love more deeply.  We pray for all those who are seeking you in their lives, may their hearts be softened to your light.  we ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.     


He knows us

Readings for Wednesday January 14, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 2:14-18    
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 105
Gospel:  Mark 1:29-39

During my freshman year of college, I was taking a writing class.  For the first time in my academic career, I began getting bad grades on my writing assignments.  I was completely taken by surprise, and I really didn't know what to do.  Then I learned that there was a writing center on campus that would look over your papers and help you with your mistakes.  Well, I swallowed my pride and went there for a few sessions.  Wouldn't you know it that by going there, my writing began to improve.  I finished out the class with an A-, of which I am still very proud of, and thankful for the teacher who challenged me during this time.  

When we are struggling in life with an issue, we tend to go see an expert in the field, sort of like a tutor.  We need these people to help teach us what we are doing wrong, what it is that we need to work on and how we can turn things around.  It is certainly not easy for us to do this, because it means humbling ourselves and admitting that we do not know something, but the end results is something that we can all be very proud of.  In Paul's letter to the Hebrews today, Saint Paul reminds us; "Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested."  Jesus is the only human in history to be tested during many trials and never sin in His life.  To me that makes Him the expert.  I think that we need to turn to Him at all times, especially when we are being tested, because He can and will help get us through these trials.  We may think that certain crosses are too heavy, or simply are impossible for one person to bear; but remember, Jesus took on the sins of the world ... for nothing shall be impossible with God.  

Today's gospel shows us that Jesus knows first hand of our daily  struggles, and He knows how to cure them.  He knows that words that we need taught and He knows the demons that tempt us.  Jesus knows us.  He knows you and me.  May we all have the courage and strength to humble ourselves and lay ourselves down at His feet and ask for His help and mercy.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day and for all that you give.  Lord, give us the strength to persevere through this life and for the guidance in how you wish us to live.  Lord, we pray that your will be done in our lives, and not that of our own.  We pray for all those struggling with illness and demons in their own lives, and pray that your mercy and grace may come upon them.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.   


His Authority

Readings for Tuesday January 13, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 2:5-12
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 8 
Gospel:  Mark 1:21-28

In Saint Paul's letter to the Hebrew's, Paul describes the authority of Jesus:  "You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, subjecting all things under his feet."  In today's gospel reading, we are also told of how when Jesus spoke to the people, He spoke as with authority.  The people of that time could tell that there was something different about Jesus, not even the scribes and priests spoke with the type of authority that He had.  

It is important for us always to remember that while Jesus did humble Himself and bring Himself down to share in our existence, He still is God in the flesh.  Jesus came with authority to preach, teach, and heal.  He continues on in our lives with this same power and authority.  We would be wise to listen to our Mother Mary when she says, "do whatever He tells you." 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed are 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.  

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be a world without end.  Amen.  


Follow Him

Readings for Monday January 12, 2009

First Reading:  Hebrews 1:1-6
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 97
Gospel:  Mark 1:14-20

In today's gospel reading we are told of the calling of four of Jesus' twelve disciples; Simon, Andrew, James and John.  With each of these men Jesus tells them to follow Him, and He will make them "fishers of men."  These men were simply going about their daily routine when Jesus came along and asked them to stop what they are doing  and follow Him.  It must have taken great courage and trust for these men to leave their normal lives which they knew and are were accustomed to.  It says in the gospel that these men "left their nets ... left their father ... and followed Him."  It doesn't say that they stopped to say goodbye, or had a going away party, or took time out to tie up loose ends; no, these first disciples left everything they knew to follow the unknown places where Jesus would take them.  

Imagine that you are at work one day or at a weekend vacation with family; and all of a sudden Jesus shows up asking you to leave it behind and follow Him.  How would you respond?  Would you drop everything and follow Him, or would you be questioning whether He has the right name and address?  While nothing like this scenario may happen to us, it is clear from this reading that we all must leave things behind to follow Christ.  If we are to fully serve Christ, then we must be willing to abandon the things of this world so that nothing gets in the way of us following Him.  For Simon and Andrew it was fishing; for someone else it may be dropping TV, for another person it may be leaving behind long hours at work, and for another person it may be letting go of video games.  

For each of us, Jesus is calling, and He is asking us to drop the things that are keeping us tied down to this world and follow Him.  I pray that we all can find the courage and trust to drop what we are doing and to follow our Lord and Savior.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, we pray for your blessing this day so that we might abandon our plans and be open to your will in our lives.  Lord, give us to courage and strength that we need to follow you in our lives.  Lord, increase our faith so that we might place all of our trust in you and not in other people and things.  Lord, we pray for all of those who are tied down by things of this world, may they be brought to the peace and freedom that you offer.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen    


Weekend Readings

Peace be with you brothers and sisters!  Listed below are the readings for this weekend.  As many of you know, I typically take the weekends off from blogging (but not reading the daily word of course!).  Have a great weekend everybody, God bless!

Readings for Saturday January 10, 2009
First Reading:  1 John 5:14-21
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 147
Gospel:  John 3:22-30

Readings for Sunday January 11, 2009
The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord
First Reading:  Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 or Isaiah 55:1-11
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 29 or Isaiah 12
Second Reading: Acts 10:34-38 or 1 John 5:1-9  
Gospel:  Mark 1:7-11


Lifestyles we are called to

Readings for Friday January 9, 2009

First Reading:  1 John 5:5-13
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 147
Gospel:  5:12-16

Certain TV shows like "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and "MTV Cribs" seek to glamorize the life of celebrities and those who are wealthy.  Many times when watching these shows people become envious and think to themselves, "man those people have it made."  Most people who watch these shows will spend their entire lives dreaming of something that is not real and is not what they are meant to have.  It is sad that our culture seems to associate having a good life with the amount of stuff that you have.  While the idea that things and stuff will make us happy may work for a little while, this feeling of happiness quickly goes away.  The truth is that we don't need million dollar mansions or fancy sports cars, all we need is the free and abundant love of our God, which is offered to us every single day.   

In today's first reading Saint John specifically rebuttals this idea.  Saint John tells us, "Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life."  Jesus came to give us life, not things.  He came to show us and teach us how to live a life for and with the Father.  Imagine if when the man with leprosy in today's gospel came to Jesus asking for healing; but was instead given a bag of gold or a fancy new robe that was the latest fashion craze at the time.  Do you think that he would have been satisfied?  Absolutely not!  Because this man knew that Jesus came to offer something more than physical things, He came to offer a new life!  That is exactly what Jesus gave to this man, new life.   

May we always remember that we are not called to comfy and easy lifestyles, but rather to challenging and hard lifestyles that have a great reward at the end.  May we always strive to do the will of our Father in Heaven and to be open to the peace and joy that comes with a life with Him.  I pray that each of us may continue to say yes to God in our lives and to do His will over our own.  

So "champagne wishes and caviar dreams!"   

Father above, we thank you for this gift of this day.  Lord, help increase our faith and hope in you so that we may continue to persevere against this world and to live the lives that you call us to.  Lord, we pray for all those suffering from violence in this world, and for the conversion of all who do not believe.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Meant to love

Readings for Thursday January 8, 2009

First Reading:  1 John 4:19-5:4
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 72
Gospel:  Luke 4:14-22

In his first letter, Saint John writes "Beloved we love God because He first loved us."  As Christians we are called to love God first in our lives.  When we look at all the blessings He has given us in our lives, there should be no doubt of His great love for us.  Even the times when we turn away from Him, He is always there ready to pick us up and take us back.  So even though we do not understand His ways, many times we can "get on board" with loving God.  

Our calling does not end here, in fact, we are called to much more.  Not only are we to love God first in our lives, but we are also called to love our brothers and our neighbors.  This can be very difficult, especially with family and friends.  But Saint John tells us that "If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen."  We are meant to love those who do us wrong, those who betray, and those who do evil. If we truly want to love and serve God, then we have to let go of all of the things that prevent us from loving others.  If work every day to love God first and everyone else, then we will find a peace and a joy in our lives unlike anything else.      

We are created in God's image, and God is love.  If God is love, and we are created in His image, then that means that we were meant to love.  

Father above, we thank you for this day.  Lord, fill us with your love and mercy, help us to not hold back our love of you and of others.  Lord, we pray for peace in our world and for the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the world.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Do not be afraid

Readings for Wednesday January 7, 2009

First Reading:  1 John 4:11-18
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 72
Gospel:  Mark 6:45-52

In today's gospel, we are told of the miraculous act of Jesus walking on water.  This of course is after the miracle of the feeding thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and a couple fish.  You would think that the disciples would be joyous to be around the true messiah and to witness His miraculous deeds.  Unfortunately, their hearts were hardened and they did not understand what was happening, nor did they take any joy in these situations.  There is an old saying that says, the same sun that melts the wax, softens the clay.  While a miracle of God may drive some people closer to Him, it will drive others away.  While a teaching of Christ may bring conversion to some, others may turn away.  A perfect example of this in the old testament from the book of Exodus, when Moses asked Pharaoh for the release of his people.  God performed many wondrous deeds, and what was the result?  Pharaoh's heart was hardened.  

Today Saint John warns us of fear and the result of having a hardened heart towards God.  We are told; "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love."  Saint John tells us to open ourselves up to God and His perfect love and to not turn away.  If we open ourselves up to God and pray for hearts like His, hearts full of love, then there is no fear in us.  If we love as God loves, then amazing things will happen in our lives and in the lives of others.  

So, do not be afraid, for "God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in Him.  

Father above we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, fill our hearts with love, take away the fears of this world and help us to know and serve only you.  Lord we pray for the courage and strength to follow you in our lives and to trust in you always.  Lord we pray for your love to be known to all and that all eyes can be opened to your love and goodness.  Lord we pray for peace and for love to truly flourish in this world.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


God is Love

Readings for Tuesday January 6, 2009

First Reading:  1 John 4:7-10
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 72
Gospel:  Mark 6:34-44

I have great news people!  I have a solution for all of the worlds problems; and it doesn't cost a thing, it doesn't have to be passed by any branch of government, and it doesn't involve any sort of magical pill or gimmicky contraption.  Okay are you read for it?  All we have to do to make this world a better place it to love God and love each other.  That's it!  If we do that then all of the problems of the world will just fade away.  If we love and serve God first then there will be no greed which may cause financial instability.  If we love and serve God first, then we will be a world that cherishes life and human dignity, there will not longer be any more debate on life issues.  If we love each other, then we will not have wars or fighting among the nations.  

Unfortunately as great and as simple as my plan is, there is a major obstacle in the way.  Too many people choose to live of the world instead of just in the world.  The plain simple fact is that love can conquer all, and if we want to know how to love, then we must know God.  For as Saint John says today; "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.  Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love."

In today's gospel Jesus takes pity on the crowd and offers them the nourishment that they need.  We too need nourishment, but not in the form of bread and fish.  We need exactly what Jesus comes to offer us, the bread of life.  Jesus looks at us and takes pity on us and offers himself to us so that we may not grow weary on this journey with Him.  May we always continue to strive to know God in our lives, and therefore know the love of the Holy Trinity.  While my plan may not work in the world, it can work in us if we choose to know God ... because God is love.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  Lord, help to fill our heart with your love so that we may go out and shine your light in this dark world.  Lord, help us to follow you without hesitation and complete trust.  Lord, we pray for peace in our world and for all life.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


God is with us

Readings for Monday January 5, 2009

Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop

First Reading:  1 John 3:22-4:6
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 2
Gospel:  Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

Many years before the birth of our Savior, the prophet Isaiah foreshadowed the birth of Jesus.  The prophet tells the people "the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)  While Isaiah may not have known the full impact of his words, we have been blessed enough to see the fulfillment of God's promise in Christ our Lord.  

"Immanuel" ... in the gospel of Saint Matthew we are told that it means "God is with us."  God is with us; now I don't know about you, but  I cannot help but be excited just from reading those words!  God is with us.  We see in today's gospel that Jesus went to the different towns telling everyone to repent and that the kingdom of God was at hand.  Jesus went around preaching and curing all those who came to Him.  During His earthly life, Jesus was found with the people, He was found with those who needed Him and those who called and came to Him.  Immanuel ... God is with us.  

How amazing is it now that we are so blessed to still have Jesus among us.  He is ever present and always waiting for us to come to Him and to give our lives to Him.  He doesn't hesitate to show us the way to the Father and He doesn't hesitate to cure us of what ails us.  Now, we may have different ideas of what we want to hear or what we think is an appropriate cure, but Jesus knows what is best for us and He knows exactly what we need.  It is important that we never lose trust in Him and in His will for our lives.

Saint John tells us today that "we belong to God."  Let us always remember that He is the one who gave us life, and offers us an eternal life with Him in heaven.  We belong to Him, and He is with us.  

Father above, we thank you for the great gift of this day.   Lord, help us to be better servants of you; sacrificing and serving without worry about ourselves, but only of your will for us.  Lord you are our creator and the giver of all life, may we always cherish life and fight to preserve life in our world.  Lord, we pray for all those who are lost and are trying to find their way, may they find you on their journey.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.        


Readings for Friday January 2, 2009

Memorial of Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church.  

First Reading:  1 John 2:22-28
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 98
Gospel:  John 1:19-28

Brothers and Sisters, may the peace of the Lord be with you all.  I pray that all of us are living 2009 for our Lord, and we are making it all we can be.  From today's gospel reading, let us reflect of the humility of John the Baptist.  John could have taken credit ad received a great deal of honor if he had stretched the truth or made himself out to be great amongst the Scribes and Pharisees.  But John rather chose to be humble, and recognize that role that the Lord had given him.  John is a great example of humility and of following the Lord's will.  May we all be as willing to love and to serve the Lord as John the Baptist was.  

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day.  We thank you and give you praise for all the blessings in our life.  Lord help increase our faith, hope and love; so that we can be better servants of you and to help those that we are called to.  Lord we pray for all those who are seeking meaning and purpose in their lives, may they find it with you.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  


Greetings and Happy New Year!  

Readings for Thursday January 1, 2009

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

First Reading:  Numbers 6:22-27  
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 67
Second Reading:  Galatians 4:4-7
Gospel:  Luke 2:16-21

Brothers and Sisters I pray that 2009 is a year filled with peace and joy in all of our hearts.  May God bless us all and the rest of our days.  

Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed are 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.  


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