Blessed are those who hear!

Readings for Monday November 30, 2009

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

First Reading: Romans 10:9-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19
Gospel: Matthew 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. (Mt 4:18-22)

In today's gospel, we read about the calling of the first disciples, among those was Andrew. Today specifically we celebrate his feast day and honor him for his love and dedication of the Lord. I think that after reading about Andrew and the other apostles that were called, we should find great comfort in our own calling to the Lord. Many times we feel inadequate in the things that we feel the Lord is calling us to. But we must remember that when Jesus called those first disciples, He wasn't looking in the schools and the palaces for the most educated or most experiences men. Jesus called His first disciples while walking along the beach. He called fishermen and tax collectors. Jesus wasn't looking for the world's best and brightest (and this is obvious in His choices), He was looking for those who would hear His voice and listen.

Saint Paul tells us today that; "Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ." (Rom 10:17) Saint Andrew and the other Apostles were picked because they heard the voice of Christ and listened; they had faith in Him who came into this world for us. When called for His purpose, they went; even if they didn't fully understand at the time, they still went with Him. We can say what we want about the disciples in their early years of following Christ, but it takes a lot of faith to leave everything and everyone you know behind to follow Him. Saint Andrew and the other apostles in today's gospel are excellent examples of surrendering the things of this world and following the Lord, may we all be blessed with same type of courage in our own lives.

If faith comes from what is heard, then blessed are those who hear our Lord Jesus Christ!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to hear you and to know you more. Lord, as we go along in this season of advent, help us to gain a better understanding of this time and of your coming into this world for us. Lord, may we grow in faith, hope and love of you during this time. We pray for all those in need of conversion, may the season of advent draw them closer to your love and your truth. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Hello Brothers and Sisters!

I hope that each of you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Each of us has so much to be thankful for, for we are each blessed by the mighty hand of God. May each of us realize all of His great blessings in our lives and may we give thanks to the Lord above, not only this day but each day of our lives.

May God bless you and your families this Thanksgiving Day!


Trials and Persecution

Readings for Wednesday November 25, 2009

First Reading: Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3:62
Gospel: Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Lk 21:12-19)

I have to admit, when I read passages like the one from today's gospel, regarding being handed over and put to death, it is a bit scary. Even though it is hard to imagine this, I do take comfort in Christ's words, "not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives." I am comforted by the fact that I can trust in God, and that I should not worry about what the world may do to me, but rather worry about a life without Him. And when we are faced with these trials, we should rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom and the guidance that we need.

It is not so much death that I fear, but rather leaving people and things behind. But then in these moments I quickly remember that I am really not losing anything, but rather I am gaining so much more.

The question is not "if" we will face trials and persecution, but rather the question is "when" will we face them. May we all be granted courage when faced with trials and persecution, and may we all rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us even when we are the most afraid.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to trust in you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Lord, give us the strength and courage to face whatever it is that you call us to. We pray for all of our priests and religious; may they be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Nothing lasts forever

Readings for Tuesday November 24, 2009

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

First Reading: Daniel 2:31-45
Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3:57
Gospel: Luke 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” (Lk 21:5-6)

When it comes to things of this world, they all cannot past one simple test ... the test of time. It doesn't matter what it is, everything has a point where it eventually comes to an end. Nothing on this earth lasts forever, and this certainly includes us. But we do try to act like we can make things last forever. A great example is our youth. How much money is spent on anti-wrinkle creams, hair dying products, facial scrubs, weight loss pills, etc; all in the effort to keep a youthful appearance. Now, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with using these products, but it is a good illustration of how we are always trying to hold on to things. And it is certainly not just things of our own body that we are concerned with, there are many things that we cling to like they will last forever. Some people cling to cars, houses, and other material things. Some people cling to people and relationships. The truth is that none of these things will last forever, and while it is okay to enjoy these things while we are here on earth, we must understand that there is much more in store for us at the end of time.

In today's gospel, Jesus tells the people that even the temple will not last forever, and even the sacred temple will be destroyed. Jesus tells the people that not one stone will be left upon another and that all will be thrown down. Jesus shows the people that all earthly things are not meant to last. This is the same message that we get from the first reading in the book of Daniel today. When Daniel was interpreting the king's dream, he showed how each of the kingdoms of the earth will come to an end and that they will be replaced by a heavenly kingdom that is of God. We of course know this to be the kingdom that Jesus would establish. But it is clear from the readings today that the things of this earth will one day come to an end, and will be replaced with the good things of God.

The intent of this blog post is certainly not to depress anybody, but rather to get us thinking with an eternal perspective. It is okay to realize that nothing on this earth will last, because there is something more and much better in store for us. May we all thank and praise the God above for preparing a place for each of us in His eternal kingdom!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we know that you are our King and our Lord, help us to serve you as we are each called to. Lord, help us to surrender to you each moment of each day, so that we can do your will in this life. Lord, you alone are our God and we are your people. We pray for all of our brothers and sisters who have fallen away from their faith, may they come back home and into your arms. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Hold nothing back!

Readings for Monday November 23, 2009

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

First Reading: Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm
Gospel: Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Lk 21:1-4)

In all my years of playing sports, the only regrets that I had ever felt were from the times that I didn't feel as though I was giving it my all. There were times when I was just having an off day, and for whatever reason I was just dogging it. I would especially feel this during a game time situation where I felt as though I took a play off, or just wasn't focused on what I was doing. I can tell you the practices and games where I gave all of my energy and my very best (regardless of the score) were the times that I truly felt like a winner. My coaches often referred to this as "leaving it all on the field." Meaning that while playing the sport we would give all that we had, our entire focus, energy, passion, strength, everything; we would leave it all on the field, if we did that then we would be winners.

This idea of giving our very best and not slacking off in life, seems to be grounded in some truth. Think about it, how many times do you regret giving your very best at something? Now, how many times do you regret the times that you have held back? We spend so much time looking back at missed opportunities and missed chances that perhaps we never took or never gave our best at. Most people do not regret giving their best in life, because there is a sense of accomplishment that comes along with this, there is the feeling and idea of knowing that you did not hold back regardless of the outcome.

In today's gospel we read of a poor widow who also did not spend her life holding back. This woman in her poverty gave all that she had, you could say that she "left it all on the field." While her contribution did not have the monetary value that the others did, her bold move was certainly noticed by Christ. This is what Jesus asks of us every day, not to hold back from Him, to give Him all of what we have, not just a little bit. We must remember that Jesus did not hold back anything for us, not even a single drop of blood. Christ poured out Himself totally for us, and this is the model of which we should follow.

One day, when our time here on earth is all finished, do you want to meet Jesus with no regrets, knowing you gave your all, and left it all on the field? Or, are you okay living with the regret knowing that you held back?

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you for our lives and the great opportunities that you call all of us to. Lord, you love us so much, and your sacrifice for us was so great; help us to surrender and sacrifice for you as you did for us. We pray that your will be done, that we will seek what you want in all things in our life, that you will take us and lead us to where we are meant to be. We pray for all those in need of conversion, and for all those seeking true love and peace in their lives; may they find it in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Cleansing the Temple

Readings for Friday November 20, 2009

First Reading: 1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59
Responsorial Psalm: 1 Chronicles 29:10
Gospel: Lk 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them,“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And every day he was teaching in the temple area. (Lk 19:45-47)

In today's readings, we read about two different times that the temple was cleansed of the things and people who defiled it. Jesus went in and drove out those who were treating it as a market rather than the house of God. I think that today's readings give us a good reminder that we are to treat those things that are holy and of God with the proper respect and reverence that they deserve. Today is a good day to think about how do we conduct ourselves when we enter the house of the Lord. If you are like me, perhaps when you are on your way to mass your are running so late that the only thing you are concerned about is rushing in and finding a seat. But I know that this is the house of God and that Jesus himself is in their, I think that each of us would do well to examine how we treat the house of God.

As a final though for the day, not only should we be showing respect and reverence for the church, but also for the other temple of God ... our bodies. Saint Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians; "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God which you are, is holy." (1 Cor 3:16-17) So today, let us also reflect on how we treat our own bodies, our own temples of God. Are we honoring Him by what we are putting into our bodies? Are we careful of the music, movies, TV shows, conversations, and other things that we let into our minds? Are we asking God each day to rid us of the sin and to fill our hearts only with Him?

May we all remember to treat God's temples with the respect and reverence of which they deserve.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, please forgive us for the times that we have not shown reverence for the church or for our own bodies, which are all your dwelling places. Lord help us to do what is please to you and to only fill our hearts and minds with the things that are good and Holy. We pray for all of our youth and for their dignity. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Thursday November 19, 2009

First Reading: 1 Maccabees 2:15-29
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 50
Gospel: Luke 19:41-44

As he finished saying these words, a certain Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein according to the king’s order. When Mattathias saw him, he was filled with zeal; his heart was moved and his just fury was aroused; he sprang forward and killed him upon the altar. At the same time, he also killed the messenger of the king who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. Thus he showed his zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did with Zimri, son of Salu. (1 Mc 2:23-26)

If you have not read the entire book of Maccabees, I would strongly recommend it. Being a Catholic convert, we did not have the book of Maccabees in our bible (my old protestant bible was a bit lighter without those other book), so I never had heard any of the stories from this book until I came home to the church. The first time I ever read this book I thought it was so exciting, here you have this guy Mattathias who refuses to obey the kings orders and abandon God's ways. As soon as he sees another Jew obey the king instead of God, Mattathias goes absolutely crazy. The scripture says that "he was filled with zeal." I got to tell you, that kind of zeal is exciting, because obviously at that time not only disobeying the king's orders, but also taking out the Israelite who disobeyed God and the king's guys, now I am sure that Mattathias knew that there would be serious consequences because of that. But Mattathias didn't care about what could happen to him, he only cared about following where God was leading him.

We too like Mattathias and his sons are in a cultural war, where we are asked to maybe do things that go against our beliefs and God's ways. There is also increasing pressure from outside forces that seek to attack things that we hold so dear, such as the dignity of human life and the Sacrament of marriage. We must ask the Lord for the same type of zeal that was given to Mattathias, the kind of zeal to make bold moves in this life. Now, please do not think that I am saying that we should go out like Mattathias and kill people, that is not exactly what I am saying. I am saying that the zeal of the Lord can help us to stay strong against these many battles that we face on a daily basis. They can help us to stay strong against these current threats that we face and be zealous over God's ways.

May we all be granted zeal to share the faith and to stay strong against the challenges in this life.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that we have and all that we are given. We pray for the zeal and courage to go out and do your will each day. Lord, help make your path for us clear so that we may only do what is pleasing to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Well Done!

Readings for Wednesday November 18, 2009

First Reading: 2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 17
Gospel: Luke 19:11-28

“A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ (Lk 19:12-17)

Today's gospel parable is one of my favorites, because it contains a beautiful phrase. Upon his return, the king finds out how the servants did with trading his money. The first one answers saying that he took the one coin and earned ten additional coins. Then the king says that phrase that I just simply love ... "Well done, good servant!" The reason I love this phrase so much is because these are the words that I long to hear after my time here on earth is through. I pray everyday for the strength and courage to follow the Lord, and I know that by doing so I can stand before our King and hopefully hear those amazing words, "Well done, good servant!"

We each have gifts that God has given to each of us. We are to use those gifts to glorify our creator. Now, it cant certainly be a scary thing at times to use our gifts because they might take a great deal of courage and trust in God. But we should have the courage of the mother form today's first reading (Mc 7:1,20-31). This woman was not afraid to sacrifice herself or her family, for she stayed strong under persecution and trusted in God completely. Following God's plan and using our gifts from Him as we should is certainly challenging, but it is truly the only way that we can find peace and fulfillment in this life. By doing so, then one day we can can hear those beautiful words ... "Well done, good servant!"

Father above, we thank you an praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you for the gifts that you have given us in this life, help not to waste them but rather use them for your glory. Lord, give us the strength to persevere in this life and to do your will. Lord, we pray for all those who do not know you and for all those who are in need of conversion. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The little tax collector

Readings for Tuesday November 17, 2009

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious

First Reading: 2 Maccabees 6:18-31
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 3
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk 19:4-10)

I have always enjoyed the story of Zacchaeus the little tax collector. I admire his determination and persistence in seeing Jesus. I am amazed at how quick he came to repent and to do penance for the things he had done. It is clear that Zacchaeus wasn't truly a bad person at heart, he was simply without hope. This man probably didn't even have a strong reason to live a good life, who even knows what motivated him before he met Jesus. I am willing to bet that Zacchaeus was driven by money and greed like most of the other tax collectors at the time. But while he may have given in to the greed, it is clear that this is not what was in Zacchaeus' heart.

I think that it is amazing the changes that can happen once the hope of Christ is introduced into someone's life. Today, when Jesus accepted Zacchaeus, his heart was instantly converted. Zacchaeus had found the hope that he was so desperately searching for, and was he willing to go any distance or climb any height (or tree) just catch a glimpse of it. Like the story of Zacchaeus, we have many great examples in the bible and of the saints that show how much the hope of Christ can change us and lead us to eternal life.

Zacchaeus shows us today the power that hope can bring in our lives, may we never lose the hope of Christ which is the fuel of our faith.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you for all that we have and all that we are. Lord, may we always place our hope and our trust in you; may we always seek first to serve and honor you in all that we do. We pray for all of our priests and religious, may they be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Monday November 16, 2009

First Reading: 1 Maccabees 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119
Gospel: Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God. (Lk 18:35-43)

One thing that I cannot stand is a naysayer. A naysayer is usually a pessimist, someone who is always trying to rain on someone else's parade and tell them that something can't be done. Many of us have probably went to school with or even worked with a naysayer. Some of us probably even have naysayers in our own families. In today's gospel, the blind man by the road was surrounded by naysayers. He called out to Jesus, but all they did was rebuke him and tell him to be quiet. This could have been a discouraging moment in the blind man's life, but instead of listening to the naysayers, he chose to have courage and call out to Jesus even more.

The blind man teaches us today that we should not listen to the naysayers around us, but we should rather instead focus on Christ. We should not listen to other people when they tell us that it is silly or a waste of time to follow God, instead we should follow Him all the more. We should not listen to people who tell us something is impossible, but we should know that with God all things are possible. In this world we will always encounter naysayers, and it can be very discouraging to hear negativity coming from all directions, but as long as we keep focused on Christ and never stop calling out to Him then He will guide our path and make things clear for us.

I pray that like the blind man, we may all be given the great gift of sight, in order to see God working in our lives and to see His great blessings that have been given to us all. I pray that He will help us to see clearly, and to ignore the naysayers of this world.

Father above, we thank you and give you praise for this day. Lord, you are so good to us, and we are very thankful for your great love and mercy. Lord, help us to see, help us to have courage in this world so that we may do your will without giving up. We pray for all of those in the military, may your hand guide and protect them in all that they do. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Diagnosis Critical

Catholic Book Review: Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Healthcare, By Leonard J. Nelson, III

This is a long over due book review ... having a new baby, moving, and starting a new job will tend to do that to you. The book Diagnosis Critical, by Leonard J. Nelson, III; takes a look at issues and challenges facing Catholic Healthcare Institutions. The book came out earlier this year, and it seems to be very timely, especially in light of the many future challenges that we are facing with the new administration and the democratically controlled congress. This book is also very timely in regards to the the current health care debate, which is a focus in a few chapters of this book.

This book covers and is broken into the following sections:
  1. The Moral Foundations of Catholic Health Care
  2. Catholic Identity
  3. The Struggle to Maintain Catholic Identity
  4. Catholic Health Care and Conscientious Objection
  5. End-of-Life Issues
  6. Social Justice and Health Care Reform
While this book provides a very detailed and informative background on Catholic Health Care in the US, as well as it's information in regards to moral foundations and ethics; I believe that the strength of this book lies in it's coverage of current issues. Nelson does a good job of discussing current issues such as end of life issues, especially in terms of provided the case study of Terri Schiavo. His discussion of social justice issue and health care reform couldn't be any more timely. He provides good information in regards to what health care reform should look like and how a government run health care option could pose a potential threat to Catholic Health Care Institutions that wish to keep a strong Catholic Identity. Nelson also shows how a bigger role for government may lead to Catholic Institutions being forced to provide services that go against the Catholic Church's strong teaching of life issues.

In light of the new administration and other forces seeking to expand certain "reproductive rights" and "end of life care", it is clear that Catholic Health Care Institutions will be faced with continued pressure and other difficult decisions. If legislation and policies lead to laws that require institutions to provide such services, the Catholic Health Care institutions will be faced with the possibility of closing, losing funding, changing focus and services, and many other challenges and difficult decisions. These important institutions provide great services to their communities and to all those involved, it is so important that we as the "Church Militant" stay informed and active in events that have the potential to affect our health care institutions.

While this book provides great information and great thoughts in regards to the future of Catholic Health Care Institutions, I believe that this book best serves as a resource for those wishing to stay informed. Leonard J. Nelson, III does a thorough job of covering the threats confronting our Catholic Health Care Institutions, and this book comes at a great time as our religious institutions are under great attack.

**For more information about the Catholic Company or Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Healthcare please feel free to click on one of the links below.


Let Go

Readings for Friday November 13, 2009

Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin

First Reading: Wisdom 13:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19
Gospel: Luke 17:26-37

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. (Lk 17:33)

"Let Go." These are the words that came to mind as I read the gospel today. It is so hard for us just to let go of the things in our life, many time we are trying to make things last forever or try to preserve them best we can. Think about how much money is spent on diet pills or machines that promise the perfect "six pack" abs? How much money is spent on anti-wrinkle cream, lotions, and other renewal products? We are told today that whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I would ask what is it that we are trying to preserve? We all know that this life is just a temporary residence; and the question isn't if we will die, but it is rather when we will die. Our time here on earth is meant to be spent serving and sacrificing for the Lord. If we are willing to lose our life to Him, then in the end we will save it.

Today we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was an Italian born saint who as a child had always dreamed of going to China to serve. But this dream hit a major speed bump when two convents would not accept her because of her health. Frances then went to serve in an orphanage, where her and a few other women decided to take vows. Frances was then asked by the bishop to begin her own congregation of missionary nuns, so they formed the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. While the dream of China was still on her mind, it was clear that God has another direction for her ... America. Pope Leo the XIII asked that she go to America instead. So Frances (or Mother Cabrini) decided to head west instead of east. In America she became a great help and friend to the Italian immigrants there; and her and her sisters opened up schools, hospitals, and orphanages. Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is a great example to us for the persistence and trust that she displayed in her life, it is a great example of letting go and losing oneself to the Lord.

When we let go and lose our self to the Lord; we are not losing in life, but rather winning in the end.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and praise you for all the many blessings in our life. Lord, help us to just let go, to follow you where ever you lead us to. We praise you for your glory and may we never lose our trust and hope in you. We pray for all those who are in need of conversion and your unending love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Nothing like the real thing

Readings for Thursday November 12, 2009

Memorial of Saint Josaphat, bishop and martyr

First Reading: Wisdom 7:22-8:1
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119
Gospel: Luke 17:20-25

Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. (Lk 17:22-24)

In 1968 Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell released the song "Ain't nothing like the real thing." Now, in the song the duet is singing about having the person you love right there with you rather than just looking at a picture or talking on the phone. I think this song gives us a great line to think about in our lives, because when it comes to the one thing in life that will bring us peace, joy, happiness, and eternal life; then there ain't nothing like the real thing ... and that is Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells His disciples that they should be on guard about false claims about Him, and that they should accept nothing but the real thing. The same is true for us, there are many things in this world that will try to distract us and will try to be "god" in our lives, but we must not fall for these things. We must not be willing to go and chase the latest fad, or follow the newest trend; for the things of the world are just empty substitutes. The only thing in life that will truly being us the fulfillment and purpose that we long for is a life following Christ ... the real thing.

Christ is the only thing guaranteed in this world, and we should not be content to accept any other substitutes in our lives. May we always remember that there ain't nothing like the real thing.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you so much for our lives, and for bringing us to this point. Help us to grow in our faith more, to become better servants of you in this life. Help us to strive and continuing persevering through the lives you have called us to. May we never stop sacrificing and surrendering to your will. Lord, you are so good to us and we thank you for your great love and mercy. We pray for all families and marriages in the world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Wednesday November 11, 2009

Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, bishop

First Reading: Wisdom 6:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 82
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Lk 17:11-19)

When first readings today's gospel, we immediately get upset with the other nine lepers who did not return to Jesus to thank Him. We instantly start thinking, "what ungrateful people they are!" But then a thought comes across our minds, and then that is when reality sets in. The thought is how often do we just go about our days after we have received a blessing from God? How often after something great happens do we stop what we are doing and give thanks to Him? As much as I would like to identify with the leper who went back to Jesus to thank Him; I realize that I identify more with the other nine who kept going about their business.

Everyday God works amazing miracles in our lives, some are big and some are so small they can be easily missed if you aren't paying attention. I pray that our eyes may be opened to His great works in our life and that when He is working we do not just simply go about our day, but rather stop what we are doing and give Him all the praise and glory.

May the Lord be on our hearts and on our minds each moment of every day.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, forgive us for the times that we do not recognize you in our life. Lord, we know that all things come from you, and we thank you and praise you for all that we are blessed with. Lord, we pray for the strength and courage to go out and be your lights in this world, may your will be done. We pray for all of those who are preparing to take vows, whether in marriage or in religious life. We also pray for all those in need of conversion and all those seeking truth, may they come to find it in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Attitude of a Servant

Readings for Tuesday November 10, 2009

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

First Reading: Wisdom 2:23-3:9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34
Gospel: Luke 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” (Lk 17:7-10)

Today Jesus tells us about the attitude of a servant. There is a saying that says: "your attitude is the aroma of your heart. If your attitude stinks, it means your hearts not right" So the question we must ask ourselves is, do we have the attitude of a servant, or of selfishness? God calls us all to service, not selfishness; and our attitude (or mindset) makes all the difference in this. It is our attitude that is a direct reflection of what is truly in our hearts. I think that most people today would read this passage and feel outraged, saying things like "that's not fair!" I would ask, why isn't it fair though? Isn't it the place of the servant to wait on the master? Shouldn't the servant first take care of their responsibilities before they are to pursue their own interests? I see this passage not as a master/servant power struggle; but rather a reminder of who's will should go first ... our will or God's will?

We must remember our role in this life. We are not the master, we are not the kings; these are God's place; and we are His. God blesses each of us more than we deserve, for this we should feel thankful ... not entitled.

May are hearts be filled with praise and thanksgiving; and may we each have an attitude of gratitude!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have given to us and for all that you have blessed us with. Lord, without you, we would not be the men and women that we are; may we always remember your sacrifice for us and may we sacrifice for you while here on earth. We pray that your will be done in our lives and that we seek nothing more than to be faithful servants of you. We pray for all those in need of conversion and all those seeking truth in their life. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Temple of the Holy Spirit

Readings for Monday November 9, 2009

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 46
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
Gospel: John 2:13-22

Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy. (1 Cor 3:16-17)

As much as I don't enjoy doing it, I have to admit that I always feel better after cleaning up our house. While scrubbing, sweeping, mopping, dusting are not exactly highlights of my weekend, there is something to say for the feeling of looking around and knowing that it is clean. I believe there is a certain amount of pride that comes along with knowing that your home, your dwelling place is nice and tidy. As great as it is to have a nice and tidy home, our main focus should not be how clean our outside is, but rather how clean are things on the inside?

In today's readings we read a great deal about cleansing of sacred places, particularly temples. One of the most sacred temples on earth of course is our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Now most of us do not think about our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, if we did think more about this, then I can guarantee you that we would not treat our bodies as we do. If we did treat our body as a temple, we would not let some of the worldly things into it that we do. We are told today that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of God; and shouldn't we be doing all that we can to make sure that this dwelling place is suitable for God?

In today's gospel, Jesus shows all the sellers and money-changers the door when He finds them turning God's house into a marketplace. In the gospel, the temple had become a place of greed, a place not of God but of the world. Jesus, seeing this goes in and cleanses the temple. Many times, we find ourselves like the temple in the gospel, a person of the world rather than of God. Like cleansing the temple, Jesus also wants to cleanse us. One of the biggest ways in which we can get back on track is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Going to the priest, letting God work through him. There is no more cleansing feeling than admitting our sins and where we fell short, and hearing those beautiful words; "Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more." Reconciliation is like Jesus coming into us and just ridding us of all the things of the world, and all those other things that we do not want. It is a Sacrament that has so much grace that comes with it, it is something of which we should be going to regularly.

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We must ask ourselves if the things of which we are putting into our bodies worthy of the Holy Spirit who dwells there, or are they doing nothing more than cluttering and dirtying it up?

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we praise you for all that you have blessed us with, and for all that we have and can do. Lord, help us to not waste our lives by following our own wills, but rather your will. Lord, you alone know what is good for us, and we pray that we can surrender to you. We pray for all of our priests and religious, for their vows and their ministries. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The way the world works

Readings for Friday November 6, 2009

First Reading: Romans 15:14-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98
Gospel: Luke 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.” (Lk 16:1-8)

I remember that when my wife and I went on our honeymoon, we took a cruise and had a few stops in Mexico. We were told that when we got off the boat and went to the markets, that we should try and haggle with the dealers in order to get a better price. This was a strange new concept to me, because when I go to the store the price is always set. So out we went into the markets, and low and behold there we were trying to talk all the dealers down in price. It was actually a lot of fun, especially since I couldn't go into my local grocery store and try and talk the cashier down in price. That little experience was a reminder to me that depending on where you are, it is important to realize that things work a certain way.

In today's gospel, we read about the dishonest servant. We read about how in his crisis, he prudently settled some accounts in order to better his position. He was actually commended by his master for this quick action. I think that this parable teaches us too that the world works in a certain way. We must understand how it works, if we are ever to function effectively in it. Now I am not saying that we should compromise our beliefs and our values, but we should learn how certain things are and how things go.

As Saint Paul says today, "Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another's foundation, but as it is written: Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand." I believe that if we are to effectively proclaim the gospel and to make an impact in this world, then we first need to have an understanding and awareness of how things work.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you bless us with. Lord, give us the wisdom and the courage to persevere in this world for you. Lord, we pray that your will be done in our lives and that we will only serve you with all that we are. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


We are His

Readings for Thursday November 5, 2009

First Reading: Romans 14:7-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27
Gospel: Luke 15:1-10

“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. (Lk 15:4-7)

I remember when I was a young boy, and I decided one day that it would be fun to hide outside from my parents. After hiding for a little bit, I heard them looking for me. They were in the house calling out my name, they came outside calling out for me. They were frantically looking all over for me, little did they know that I was underneath the family truck having a delightful time over all the fuss about me. When my dad decided that he was going to drive around the neighborhood looking for me, that is when I decided to pop out and surprise both of my parents. Now, I can tell you in that instant they were so relieved to have found me and that I was okay. I am sure that the little incident nearly gave them a heart attack and took several years off of their life. I am sure that one day my daughter will repay me from this little stunt.

As I read today's gospel, I thought of that time when I hid and how much my own parents lived me so much that they were frantically searching for me and when they did find me, how much rejoicing their was. Isn't it amazing that we all have a Father in heaven who loves us so much that whenever we are lost He will come to find us? Whenever we veer off the path, or lose our way, there God is to come and pick us back up and lead us to the right path again. As the gospels tell us today that when someone is back on the path towards heaven, their is great rejoicing in heaven.

So why does God pour out so much love and mercy towards us? Why does He search so diligently for us? The answer is simply because we are His. Saint Paul tells us today, "For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we dies, we die for the Lord; so then whether we live or dies, we are the Lord's." (Rom 14:8)

We are all God's children, and like any good parent when His children are lost or hiding, He will go to find them. And when they are found, there will be great rejoicing!

Father above, we thank you and give you praise for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to do your will, to sacrifice the things that we think that we want to to be obedient to your will. Lord, give us the courage and the strength to go out and serve you in this life. Lord, we thank you for all that you bless us with. We pray for all those who are lost and in need of conversion. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Direction of Love

Readings for Wednesday November 4, 2009

First Reading: Romans 13:8-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 112
Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 13:8-10)

In this journey of life, it can be very easy to become confused on how we should live our life. Some things for us are very clearly right or wrong. Stealing a car, definitely wrong. Helping someone pick up some dropped items, right. But not everything in life is as clear cut. Some things fall into that awful gray area, where it is not so clear whether it is right or wrong. So what is it that should guide us in our decision making? Wouldn't it be great to have a compass that actually pointed the way for us? A clear direction of which we are always meant to go? The truth is that we do always have a direction, and it is not north or south, but rather we are always meant to go in the direction of love.

Saint Paul tells us today that it is love that fulfills all the commandments, since love does no evil. I think that we should all remember that we are called to love. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbor as our self. While things in life can get very confusing, and those gray areas seem to always pop up, we must remember that the best thing, and the right thing to do is to choose to love. I think that love is not only the right choice, but it is also the choice that will lead us to a greater joy and peace in our life.

When we love, we are to hold back nothing. Jesus makes it clear today that we cannot be holding onto any worldly thing that would prevent us from giving of ourselves completely. We must let go of our possessions and surrender completely to Him. It will be hard, and it will certainly involve carrying a cross. By doing these things then we can love freely and completely as we are called to.

May we all choose the direction of love, this day and all days.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have given to us, we do not deserve all the love that you pour out to us every second of every day, but we praise you for your abundant love and mercy. Lord, words cannot ever give you complete thanks, and no action or deed can completely show our gratitude; we pray we can just spend our lives carrying our crosses and serving you while holding nothing back. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Gifts

Readings for Tuesday November 3, 2009

First Reading: Romans 12:5-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 131
Gospel: Luke 14:15-24

Brothers and sisters: We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom 12:5-8)

In his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul talks about how together we are the body, but as well we are individuals and therefore different parts of the same body. By being different, we must remember that God gives each of us different gifts and talents in this life. We may spend our whole life wishing we had other gifts, and by doing this we may neglect or be blind to the gifts that God has given us. If God gave each of us a specific grace, I think one of the saddest things that we could do is never use it, or waste the great gifts that God has given us. We need to remember that using our gifts and talents in the world is not only to help us find fulfillment in this world, it is also to help build up the body and God's kingdom.

Today, let us not only reflect on what our own gifts and talents are, and how we can use those to build up the body; but let us also reflect on how we should use our gifts and talents in the world. Saint Paul goes on to tell us how we should act in this world and how we can build up the kingdom of God:

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. (Rom 12:9-16)

Today, let us honor God in all that we do and seek to do the work that we are called to here on earth with a humble servants heart.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we praise you and thank you so much for all that you have given us and for all that you bless us with. Lord, help us to realize the talents that you have given us and to use those talents to do your good work here on earth. Lord, help us to let go of our will and surrender to your will. you alone know what is best and what is good for us, help us to abandon these worldly things and cling to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


All Souls Accepted

Readings for Monday November 2, 2009

The Commemoration of All the Fatihful Departed (All Souls)

First Reading: Wisdom 3:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23
Second Reading: Romans 5:5-11 or 6:3-9
Gospel: John 6:37-40

Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” (Jn 6:37-40)

Imagine that you show up to a very elegant and fancy party. There is a line, and the person at the door is checking names. Everyone is trying to get in, and everyone in line seems to be on the list. As you get closer to the front of the line, you begin getting kind of nervous, you didn't send in any RSVP for this party, and you certainly don't remember an invitation. You finally come face to face with the door man, and he asks you your name, you hesitate nervously for a second, then finally give him your last name. He gives you a little reassuring smile, then proceeds to check the list. "Ah yes, there you are, you may go right in" he says. A complete feeling of relief shoots across your entire body, and yet there is another great feelings that comes along right after ... acceptance!

Jesus tells us today that He will not reject anyone you comes to Him; basically everyone who comes to Him will be accepted, no matter what! That should make us all jump for great joy as our Lord takes everyone and does not blacklist anyone. Christ came to give us eternal life and a great hope that does not and will not disappoint us. If we are willing to come to Him, surrendering our life, willing to believe in and serve Him, then we are given the promise of eternal life in heaven. A true gift from a glorious and loving Father.

Today we remember all the faithful departed, all those souls who came to Christ and were accepted. I pray that we all may make the choice in life to choose Christ over the world, and one day join our departed brothers and sisters in heaven in the presence of our almighty God.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are so good and merciful to us, we just give you complete thanks and praise for all that we have and all that we are. Lord, help give us the strength and courage to follow you in this life and to always put your will above our own. Lord, we pray for all those souls in purgatory, and for the conversion of all the souls on earth. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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