Readings for Wednesday September 30, 2009

First Reading: Nehemiah 2:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 137
Gospel: Luke 9:57-62

And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:59-62)

Think about the priorities in your life. Like most people, you probably have priorities like family, friends, work, church, hobbies, etc. But where does God fit on your priority list? After all isn't He the one responsible for blessing us with all the things in our life? The fact is that we all have priorities in our lives, but the sad truth is that not all of us have God as a priority. Many people may say that God is a priority in their lives, but do their actions reflect this? I believe that until God becomes a priority (the number one priority!) in our lives, then we will never feel fulfilled, we will never find our purpose.

In today's gospel, Jesus gives some "would be followers" a lesson in where their true priorities should be. He tells them that their first priority is to God and to building up the Kingdom, not to the earthly tasks that they have to complete. Now, I have to admit that this particular section seems pretty hard to swallow when first reading it, I mean it is not like these people are asking to go and take care of meaningless tasks first; one has no clue what he is asking, one wants to bury his father, another wants to say goodbye to his family. Even though these guys may have great intentions, their priorities are still mixed up. We may think that what Jesus says is kind of harsh, but it is the truth and the truth is not always easy to take in. It is clear that our first priority in life should always be Christ.

Now this does not mean that we only follow God and neglect the rest of our responsibilities. I know that when we place Christ first in our life, then the other things in our life will fall into place. When God is first, then things are put into perspective; we seek out His will, our true purpose becomes clearer, relationships begin to thrive, our total outlook changes. But God cannot work if we are not giving Him the time or importance that He deserves from us. We must remember as Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fir for the kingdom of God."

Let's make sure that in our life we do not just say that God is our top priority, but that we also show it.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord you are so good to us, please forgive us for the times when we do not take time our with you. Lord, you know what is best for us and we know that your will is perfect, please help open our hearts and minds to you so that we will listen and obey as we should. We pray for all of our priests and religious and for their ministries. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Heavenly Bodyguards

Readings for Tuesday September 29, 2009

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels

First Reading: Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 138
Gospel: John 1:47-51

War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. (Rv 12:7-9)

Have you ever had your own personal body guard? I know that many celebrities and political figures typically have their own bodyguards that follow them around protecting them from potential danger. I realize that I may not have the earthly status to ever have a bodyguard, but my Father in heaven has seen it fit for my to have a heavenly one. God in His abundant love for us does not leave us here to fend for ourselves; no, He sends us the angels to help us and to protect us.

Today we celebrate the feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. These angels are mentioned by name in the bible, and while they are pure spiritual beings, we call them saints because of their holiness and loyalty to God. They are great messengers and mighty warriors who fight for God and are at the command of Christ. Even in all of their splendor and with all of their power, they still humbly and obediently follow the Lord.

We would do well not only to ask for their intercessions and protection, but also follow their example. No matter how great that we think we are, or how much power we may think we have; we still serve the Lord and should seek to give Him all the glory. Satan and the other angels all seemed to have forgotten this, I pray that we never do.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we pray that you would send your servants Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael to help guide us and protect us while on this earth. Lord, we thank you for all that you give and all that you do. Help increase our faith so that we may always be obedient and do what is pleasing to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lesson in Humility

Readings for Monday September 28, 2009

First Reading: Zechariah 8:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 102
Gospel: Luke 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” (Lk 9:46-48)

When you look up the definition of humility you will get something like this; "a modest opinion of one's own importance, rank, etc." I would say that the disciples got a good lesson in humility today. I think that this is a lesson in which we should all pay attention to and to partake in. We all must be grounded in humility; it keeps us in our place, it keeps us from getting "too big for our own pants" (to borrow a term from my parents). If we are not grounded in humility, then we will be seeking out a place on this earth, instead of a place with God.

It is common for us to want to become more, to have success, and to reach the top; but if the cost of doing that is losing our soul to the world, then it is not worth it. Jesus makes it clear in today's gospel that unless we are willing to humble ourselves like children, then the earthly greatness that we attain will not mean much. Sure, it may bring some immediate gratification, but we cannot be sustained simply by this. However, if we are willing to humble ourselves, sacrifice our own will for the Lord's will, then with God's grace we can make a place for ourselves in heaven.

While we may seem lowly here on earth, our greatness in heaven can gain great value. We would all do well to remember our place and our purpose; it is this lesson in humility that we should keep in our hearts at all times.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you alone are our good, loving and kind God. We thank you for all that we are and all that we have. Lord, help us to stay grounded in humility and to continue serving you with joy and peace in our hearts. We pray for all our priests and religious. May they be blessed and strengthened in their vows and in their ministries. I ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


He will bring the glory

Readings for Friday September 25, 2009

First Reading: Haggai 2:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 43
Gospel: Luke 9:18-22

And my spirit continues in your midst; do not fear! For thus says the LORD of hosts: One moment yet, a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will come in, And I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. Mine is the silver and mine the gold, says the LORD of hosts. Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former, says the LORD of hosts; And in this place I will give you peace, says the LORD of hosts! (Hg 2:5-9)

I believe as people, we tend to place too much on ourselves. When taking on a task, we typically think that we are responsible for everything and that it is our job to make the specific task a success. We see this type of behavior in many different settings; business, ministry, school, athletics, performing arts, etc. I believe the reasons for this behavior are a combination of pride and forgetfulness. Pride is a dangerous trap that we all fall into. Pride is something that can blind us to the truth and to God's will. When we let pride get in the way of our tasks and projects, then we do not seek out guidance or help. When we get to the point where we are not seeking outside assistance, even from God then one would have to ask the question, who's will is being done? Pride can be a very dangerous enemy in our lives, one that we must always seek to keep in check.

The other reason for this type of behavior is forgetfulness. We tend to forget that it is not us that gives things their glory, but it is God who gives all things their glory. We cannot forget that God makes people and things great. Our job is not to give things their greatness and glory, but rather to be used by God to go out and do great things. When we go out for God, rather than for ourselves, then we go out for the right reasons. In the first reading today, the people were rebuilding the temple, and they needed reminded that it is not them who will make it spectacular and excellent, but it is God who will do that.

Many times we just put too much on ourselves, we simply think that our responsibilities are just so vast and so great. The reality is that we try to take on too much, and we try to take on God's role in our life. I think that we would all be better off letting the creator of the universe do His thing, while we do ours. God will give all things their glory, we just need to be open to being the vessels.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you alone are our God and we praise you for all that you give to us and all that you do for us. Lord, help us to never forget who we are, your children. Help us to always seek to give you the glory and honor for all that we do. We pray for all those with hardened hearts towards you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen


More than just seeing

Readings for Thursday September 24, 2009

First Reading: Haggai 1:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 149
Gospel: Luke 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him. (Luke 9:7-9)

In today's gospel, we see Herod is very curious about Jesus. He is perplexed by the stories and reports that he hears, and he begins wondering who this Jesus is. I believe that many people are curious about who Jesus is and what it is that He offers. Many people even try as Herod did to "see Jesus" and His great works in their lives. Sadly most people only believe by seeing, and they are typically blinded to Him in their lives.

While it is certainly good for all of us to look for Christ in our life, we must go on to do more than that. We must go even further and believe in Him, whether we see Him or not.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are so good to us, and we praise you for all that we are and all that we have. Jesus, help increase our faith so that we might follow you more closely and fall deeper in love with you. Lord, whether we see you or not, we know that you are working strongly in our life, and we pray that we might always give you the glory. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Wednesday September 23, 2009

First Reading: Ezra 9:5-9
Responsorial Psalm: Tobit 13:2
Gospel: Luke 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere. (Lk 9:1-6)

Each of us has a purpose in life, each of us has a mission. Today, ask God what your mission is. We are each called to go out in this world and do something. Let us all pray for guidance and understanding in each of our missions.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you alone know our mission, we pray for understanding in what we are each called to do. Lord we pray that your will be done; not ours, but yours. We pray for all of our priests and religious, for their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Famous Relative

Readings for Tuesday September 22, 2009

First Reading: Ezra 6:7-8,12b,14-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122
Gospel: Luke 8:19-21

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.” He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” (Lk 8:19-21)

Do you have a famous relative? I can tell you from my family tree there is not anyone that I am aware of. Of course the family genealogy has yet to be done, so there is still hope. I always thought that it would be really cool to have a famous relative, perhaps an old civil war hero. Or maybe even a famous explorer. Perhaps a saint or someone else well known for their faith. I think finding people that we have a personal connection to can always inspire us to be our best.

Even though we may not have anybody famous in our family tree, we all have the ability to be in one of the most famous and prestigious families in the history of the world ... the family of God. Jesus makes it clear in the gospel today that his family are those who hear the word of God and act on it. If we so choose to be in this family, it simply takes an act of faith. If we choose to have faith in God and to put His will above our own, then we too can be in the care of our loving Father who is always looking out for us.

As it turns out, we all have a famous Father. May we surrender to the Lord and take the examples of the saints, imitating the Lord and doing all that is pleasing to Him; then we too can be welcomed into His family.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, strengthen us and guide us as we strive to serve you and do your will in this life. Lord, you are our one good and merciful God, we love you and offer our lives up to you. We pray for all those in need of conversion, and all those who are turned away from you; may they come to know your great love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Feast of Saint Matthew

Readings for Monday September 21, 2009

Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

First Reading: Ephesians 4:1-7,11-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19
Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matt. 9:9-13)

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Matthew, that lowly tax collector who immediately left everything at the calling of Jesus. After Jesus asked Matthew to follow Him, He went and dined at Matthew's house with other tax collectors and sinners and created further scandal among the religious leaders of the time. Upon their judgement and questioning, Jesus answers His critics by telling them that He is there for those who are are in need of His mercy. He tells them; "I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

I wonder if before this time, Matthew had always questioned his purpose in life. I am sure that deep down he realized that he had a higher calling, rather than a tax collector. I imagine at the moment Jesus called him, he began to feel his purpose come alive. Saint Matthew was one of the apostles and author of one of the gospels. After the death of Jesus, Matthew stayed in Palestine preaching the good news to his fellow Jews until he was martyred. Saint Matthew truly did follow Jesus until the very end.

Saint Matthew shows us all that we each have a purpose in life. As Saint Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians; "And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." (Eph 4:11-12). Each of us has a purpose in life, and while we may not feel like we are living it out now, we must be patient in God's plan. We should be praying for wisdom and for guidance in how we are called to live out this life. We must remember that each of us has a different purpose, no one is called to the same things. God made each of us unique and different so that we could fulfill different tasks. As Saint Paul says, we are all called to different things and we would do well to ask God to reveal where it is that He is leading us.

While we are all called to different works, means, and vocations; each of us had a similar goal ... to build up the body of Christ. May God bless us each in our work here on earth.

Saint Matthew, pray for us.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are so good and merciful to us, much more than we deserve. Lord, help us poor sinners to surrender all that we have and to follow you without reserve. Lord, you held nothing back for us, may we not hold anything back from you. Lord, we pray that you will continue to guide us in this life and to help reveal our purpose to us. May we stay strong in the faith and to follow you no matter where it leads. Lord, we pray for all of our priests and religious; may they be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. Amen.



Readings for Friday September 18, 2009

First Reading: 1 Timothy 6:2-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 49
Gospel: Luke 8:1-3

For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains. But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. (1 Timothy 6:10-12)

When I was younger, my family and I had went fishing. I had decided to go running around the pond barefooted. My dad had kept telling me to put my sandals back on, but before he knew it I went running off (without my sandals). As I went running, my adventure came to a sudden halt as I stepped on a three pronged fishing hook that had been laying on the ground. Let me tell you, to this day, I still remember that pain. The hook had not only pierced my foot, but was also lodged in there really good. It took what seemed like an eternity in the emergency room to remove the hook. Yet, all of this could have been avoided had I just listened to the advice of my dad.

I think that in this world, we too tend to do as Saint Paul says and pierce ourselves with many things of this world. And why does this happen? Because we stray away from the faith, from our Father in heaven. We are warned today to stay away from the things that this world may offer: money, power, prestige, etc. Instead of pursuing the things of this world, which will cause self destruction and pain, we should instead pursue what is good and holy. Saint Paul tells us to instead pursue; righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. We are also told to compete well for the faith. If we think of life as a race, then we would all do well to continue to strive and persevere in order to finish strong.

Being pierced is not always a bad thing. Christ allowed His hands and feet to be pierced and nailed to the cross all out of love for us. Is our own pain the result of our own actions, or a part of the cross which we all must carry?

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you for all that you have given us, we thank you for the suffering that your son endured for our sake. Help us to stay strong in this life so that we might one day reach you and be with you in heaven. Lord you are so good and merciful to us, may we never forget this and always pursue what is good and pleasing to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Great love

Readings for Thursday September 17, 2009

First Reading: 1 Timothy 4:12-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 111
Gospel: Luke 7:36-50

But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:47-50)

In today's gospel, we read of the woman who bathed Jesus' feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them with oil. This is such a beautiful account of such a loving act. The pharisee, with whom Jesus was dining, was very confused. He did not see the act of love and forgiveness, only what was visibly before him. He couldn't see past her sins, to see that she, like him was a person who wanted and was in need of forgiveness. Jesus however saw something else, He saw her heart. Jesus saw love in her heart, love that prompted her to bathe His feet and anoint them with the precious oil. Her love for God was so great that she was not afraid to act on it, no matter how it made her look or no matter what the outcome. This woman had a great love, which gave her the courage to act on it.

Today ask yourself this question: Is my love for God so great that I am willing to act on it? We would all do well to take a lesson from the woman in today's gospel.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we love you, help this fire to increase in us. Help us to understand that all that we have comes from you. Lord, we thank you for your great mercy and forgiveness, may we also go out and forgive those who do us wrong in our lives. We pray for all those who are in need of conversion, may they be brought to your love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The pillar of our faith

Readings for Wednesday September 16, 2009

Memorial of Saint Cornelius, pope and martyr, and Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr

First Reading: 1 Timothy 3:14-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 111
Gospel: Luke 7:31-35

I am writing you, although I hope to visit you soon. But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. (1 Tim 3:14-15)

Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, "People do not hate the Church and its teaching, only what they think it teaches." There is much confusion and many misconceptions in the world in regards to what the Catholic does and teaches. This confusion and misconception is not just with non-catholics, but with many Catholics as well. Regardless of how we may feel about a certain action or teaching done by the church, we must remember how Saint Paul spoke of the church, as the "pillar and foundation of truth."

Is there a teaching that you disagree with? Is there one that you just outright reject? Instead of rejecting this, try to pray through this. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to this teaching and to reveal the truth to you. I know that for me, during my conversion, a few issues that I really had were with the teachings on Mary and the Saints. After praying through this, I realized that part of my issues wasn't even with the teachings on Mary and the saints, but rather something deeper on which I was in need of healing. I have now come to embrace my Blessed Mother and acknowledge the great help and support that we get from the Saints in heaven. It is still amazing to me how my rejection and hardness of heart prevented me from seeing some of these beautiful teachings and the great wisdom of the church.

I would recommend to anyone looking to grow in your faith to take action. Perhaps join a bible study, if your parish does not offer one, then perhaps find a good home study course. Something that was valuable for me (and necessary as well to enter the church) was to attend the RCIA classes. These classes really gave me a good understanding of the faith and a great foundation for which to begin my journey in the Catholic faith.

We have a choice in this life, we can embrace the wisdom and truth of that the church has grown and developed over the past 2000 years, or we can reject it. The choice is yours.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, we thank you for our Catholic Faith and we pray that we can continue to go deeper in conversion with you. Lord, we pray that your truth and your wisdom be clear in our lives and that rather than reject, we would seek to embrace and accept. Lord, we pray for all of our priests in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Lady of Sorrows

Readings for Tuesday September 15, 2009

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

First Reading: 1 Timothy 3:1-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 101
Gospel: John 19:25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)

As a father, the very idea of my child being in pain brings such a sadness to me. I cannot even begin to imagine what Mary must have felt like standing there at the cross. While I am sure that her heart was pierced, it was not broken. I imagine that Mary, although suffering a great deal at that time, still had hope and trust in God; the very same hope and trust that she had in Him when she said "yes" at the annunciation.

We should remember that pain and suffering do come to us at various times in our life. We must always know that there is a reason for our pain and suffering, even if that reason is not clear. With each trial and each pain that we encounter, we come out stronger than we went in. While at the time it may hurt, if we continue to persevere, we can come out better and stronger all by the grace of God.

We would do well to stand with Mary at the foot of the cross and think about the sorrows of our Blessed Mother. By doing so we can come to a deeper understanding of God's great love and sacrifice for each of us. By standing with Mary, we should also remember that while we all will go through pain and suffering in our lives, we do not have to go through it alone. Jesus gave John to Mary and Mary to John; God also gives us other people to be with us and help us through the tough times.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you alone are the way, the truth and the light; may we always follow you and you alone in this life. Lord, you gave us your mother as an advocate to help bring us closer to you, we thank you and may we always remember to ask for her intercessions. Lord we thank you for all that we are, all that we can do, and all that we have. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The old rugged cross

Readings for Monday September 14, 2009

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 78
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: John 3:13-17

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:14-17)

There is a wonderful song by George Bernard called "The Old Rugged Cross." It is one of my favorite hymns, and I believe that this particular song goes along with today's feast day. Take a look at some of the words of this hymn:

"On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary."

This hymn talks about how this old rugged cross may be just two pieces of wood to other people but to us should have much more significance. For it is where God allowed himself to be nailed to the cross, to shed His blood for us so that one day we too can live a life of eternity with Him in heaven. While the cross may be a emblem of suffering and shame, it is also an emblem of love. We would do well to always look to the cross with remembrance of this great act of love, and if we do this then we can learn to cherish the old rugged cross, instead of ignore or despise it.

The cross is not meant to be a negative symbol, it is meant to give us hope and healing. Like the bronze serpent that Moses made and held cured the people of their affliction, the cross also provides us the healing that we need. The cross heals us by reminding us that God himself shed His blood for us and because of Him we can have life.

God loves each of us more than we can ever know, so much that He let himself die for us on the old rugged cross.

Thank you God, for giving life to us sinners.

Father above, we thank you and give you praise for the gift of this day. Lord, you alone are the truth and the way to eternal life, help us to follow you at all times. Lord, we thank you for your great sacrifice, and we pray that we can stand strong with you at the cross until the day we can make it to heaven. Lord, give us the strength and courage to persevere in this world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


God's mercy and grace

Readings for Friday September 11, 2009

First Reading: 1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16
Gospel: Luke 6:39-42

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (1 Tim 1:12-14)

In today first reading, Paul kind of lays out his previous mistakes. He tells us of how he was a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man; not exactly the qualifications for a man of the year award. But Paul realizes, as we all should, that he was mercifully treated. God showed Paul great mercy and entrusted on him a great responsibility. Paul realizes that it is only because of God's grace that he has come out of his old life and into the new.

Paul shows us that with God's grace anything is possible, especially turning such an enemy of the church into one of its most zealous ministers. I can definitely understand Paul's thankfulness and humility when he credits God for the changes in his life. I too once lived a good portion of my life working hard to keep God out. I didn't have anything against people of faith (although I did kind of think that most Christians were a bit over the top), I simply didn't think that a faith life was for me. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would someday soon turn my life over to Christ and be a Catholic trying desperately to live his life serving God; I would have laughed in your face. God really does work in mysterious ways.

We must remember that there are those out there that are so far from God that it may seem like there is no hope for them. God's grace is abundant, and there is anyone that He cannot reach. It is so important for us to not give up on those are not close to God or that we view as enemies of the church. If God's mercy and grace can bring Paul to conversion, then there is hope for all of us.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, we pray for all those who persecute us and for all those who are turned away from you. Lord, you are the source of life and joy, we pray that we can continue to follow you with courage in this life and to help lead others to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


What shall I wear?

Readings for Thursday September 10, 2009

First Reading: Colossians 3:12-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 150
Gospel: Luke 6:27-38

Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one Body. And be thankful. (Col. 3:12-14)

Most of us wake up each morning with the same dilemma .... what shall I wear today? We always have to take many things into consideration, is it hot or cold outside? Do I have an important meeting or a presentation to give? Will I be getting dirty or running around in the mud? What we go out of the house in is dependent on what it is like outside and where we are heading. Putting on the right clothes and accessories each day is an important task for each of us, it should not be the only things that we consider putting on.

In his letter to the Colossians, Saint Paul tells us of the important of putting on particular traits; compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. He also tells us that over all of these to put on love, which is the bond of perfection. I wonder how many of us leave our home and not only think to take a jacket, but also "put some patience or forgiveness?" What I mean by "put on" is to go and make the actual decision to put these virtues into action, to decide that day to practice these virtues. How many of us make the decision each morning to go out this day to love each other, as God loves us?

I believe that if we each made the decision to love each other as God loves us and to put on these virtues each and every day, then we would find ourselves truly ready to take on each day, no matter what is thrown at us.

Wondering what to wear today? I think love would look great on you!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to go out this day, putting on these virtues along with love. Lord, help us to forgive those who wrong us, and we pray for forgiveness for those we have wronged. We pray for all of our priests and for their ministry and for their strength in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Wednesday September 9, 2009

First Reading: Colossians 3:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145
Gospel: Luke 6:20-26

Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. (Luke 6:22-23)

People's opinion of us are often very powerful, and many times we do not even realize the influence that this can have over us. There are many times that thought of someone having a negative opinion of us can guide our behaviors and make us do things we wouldn't normally do, or compromise in other situations. Politicians and businesses are especially susceptible to the public opinion.

Think about someone in your life whose opinion you value very highly. Is it a spouse, significant other, parent, friend, mentor, teacher, boss, other? Do their opinions of you help guide the things that you do and say? What about strangers? How much do we let the opinions of others guide how we live our lives? I am willing to bet that other people's opinions may have a greater influence on our lives than we think, whether good or bad I believe that this is something that we should all examine.

While we know that the opinions of others do play a big role in our lives, let me ask this question; whose opinion is the most important? While I do not know whose opinion that you value most highly, I know whose opinion should count above all others, and that is God's. We should not spend so much time worrying about what other people think, we should be worrying more about how God views us, rather than the rest of the world. If we live our life according to God's ways and only concern ourselves with His standards, then we will not only find joy and peace on earth, but we will also be setting ourselves up for an eternity in heaven. While living a life loving and serving the Lord may bring inner peace and joy, it will also bring a life of being judged, insults, and exclusion. This is certainly not always easy to deal with, but we must keep our eyes on the prize, we must only concern ourselves with God's standards.

Jesus tells us that blessed are those who are excluded, insulted, and denounced all because of His name that we should leap and rejoice. Why? Because after all is said and done, we will have a great reward waiting for us in heaven. Thanks be to God!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to let go of the worldly things that we think we need and that we think are important, and help to only concern ourselves with your work. Lord, your will is perfect, and we pray that we can surrender to it and only to live by your standards. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Tuesday September 8, 2009

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

First Reading: Micah 5:1-4 or Romans 8:28-30
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 13
Gospel: Matthew 1:1-23

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified. (Rom 8:28-30)

Today we celebrate the feast of the nativity of our Blessed Mother, Mary. As we reflect on her birth and her role as the mother of God, let us keep in our hearts one thing: every life has value. Do you think at the time that Mary's parents found out that they were pregnant with her that they knew her purpose? Do you think that they had any idea that the baby that was in the womb would one day give birth to our savior and one day become queen of heaven? No, they had no idea. The important thing is that they chose to bring this child into this world, not knowing her purpose and they chose to raise her and love her regardless of what she would become.

We must remember that each of us has a purpose in life. Each life no matter how old or how young has a purpose, and it is never of a question of whether a particular life has value or not, because every life has value. God has a plan for every life, and while we may not always know His plan, we must have faith and trust that His plan is perfect.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you gave us Mary as our mother, may we always go to her and may we always listen to her when she tells us to listen to what you say. Lord, we pray that we can become a nation and world that values life and decides to cherish and protect life at all stages. We pray for all those who are contemplating abortion and for the healing of those who have had abortion. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, Blessed are though 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.


Labor Day

Readings for Monday September 7, 2009

First Reading: Colossians 1:24-2:3
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 62
Gospel: Luke 6:6-11

But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me. (Col. 1:26-29)

Happy Labor Day to each of you! I pray that you are able to relax and take it easy from your daily jobs and earthly duties that God calls each of us to. Labor Day is about more than backyard cookouts, days off of work and school, and the last day for the outdoor pools to be open. Labor Day originated in the US as a day to honor and celebrate the spirit of the labor and trade organizations as well as the workers and their families. This day is a good day for all of us to be thankful for our jobs and for the work that God calls each of us to.

While this is certainly a day of rest from our physical, earthly jobs; we should never take a break from our spiritual duties. Saint Paul writes about the reason's for which he labors and struggles, it is not for himself, but rather for others. Saint Paul says the reason for which he labors is to proclaim Christ to all, to teach them His ways and His word, so that one day with God's grace everyone may be presented perfect in Christ. Saint Paul labored and struggled in order to build up the people of God, to grow, nurture and help those who were in need of God's love. Saint Paul labored to bring Christ to everyone he could, we too would do well to follow his example.

While we may rest today, let us never rest from spreading the good news and from bringing Christ to all those that we are called to.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for our jobs and for the work that you are calling us to now. Lord help guide us and strengthen us in this world, so that we may be your perfect servants at all times. Lord, alll good things come from you, and we pray that you will help make us good lights in this world and that we may help share your good news with all those that we can. We pray for all those who are unemployed and for all those searching for jobs. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The new is better

Readings for Friday September 4, 2009

First Reading: Colossians 1:15-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 100
Gospel: Luke 5:33-39

And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” (Luke 5:36-39)

Most of us have difficulty letting go of things. Whether it be an object or a behavior, one thing is certain for us ... change is difficult. Many times we cling to things that do not do us any good or may even be helping to destroy us, but it is this comfort with the old that makes us hold on so tight. Even when there is something new and better out there, we still have the tendency to cling to the old.

Jesus knew us all too well when He told this parable. While it may seem silly to us that someone would rip a new cloak to repair an old one or pour fresh new wine into old wineskins; but whether we know it or not, this behavior is what we exhibit way more than we wish to admit. He also tells us that those who are drinking old wine do not desire new, because the "old is good." It is this same complacency with the old and the unwillingness to embrace change that makes us cling to the "old wine."

Jesus came to fulfill and bring us into the new covenant, the new covenant of His precious blood, which has been shed for us. His love and mercy are much more than we deserve; for this reason we need to abandon any old, selfish ways that lead us away from God ,and surrender our lives to Christ. Let us not have hardened hearts, but rather hearts open to Him and His truths. May we all drink of this new wine, and may we all drink deeply.

The old wine may be good, but the new wine is better!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are so good to us, for which we thank you. Lord, help us to surrender our old ways and embrace what you have to offer. Lord, you know what is best for us, and we pray that your will be done in our lives. Lord, we pray for all of our priests, for their ministry and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Not our will, but God's will

Readings for Thursday September 3, 2009

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

First Reading: Colossians 1:9-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98
Gospel: Luke 5:1-11

Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. (Luke 5:3-6)

We can say what we want about Peter's early days with Christ, but today's gospel reading shows us Peter's trust in Jesus from the beginning. Imagine after a long hard day of fishing and no success catching anything, someone comes along and tells you to give it another try. Most of us would be like, "thanks, but no thanks." Now imagine it is Jesus that comes and asks. In today's gospel, Peter actually says what each one of us would have been thinking; "but I've been at this all day, and you want me to do what?" After informing Christ that him and his co-workers have been at it all day, Peter follows his statement up with something that is very key; "but at your command I will lower the nets."

How many times do we feel as though God is asking us to do something that we are not all that crazy about? How many times do we beg and plead with God; "but I've already tried that" or "I can't do that, there is too much risk!" There will be times when what we are called to do does not make since, but we need to follow Peter's example and say; "but at your command, I will." Peter shows us that even though we may not understand or agree, we must still say to God, "not my will, but your will."

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul tells the people: "From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord" May we too be filled with the knowledge of God's will so that we can live out the life and purpose in which we were created for.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord we thank you for your great love and mercy. Lord, we pray fro the courage and wisdom to follow you so that your will may always be done, and not our own. May we only seek out things that draw us closer to you and shun the thins which seek to tear us away. Lord we pray for all of our priests and religious. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Wednesday September 2, 2009

First Reading: Colossians 1:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 52
Gospel: Luke 4:38-44

We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. (Col 1:3-5)

What is it that drives you? What is it that motivates you and keeps you going in your life? For all of us there are many different motivators. For kids it may be a nice treat that they get for good behavior. For the office worker, it may be a big promotion for working hard on a project. For a mother, it may be raising good kids and having a joy filled home. For an athlete, it may be setting a world record and becoming the best. The truth it that we all have different things that motivate us in our lives and even in different situations. Now, let me also ask, what is it that motivates you in your faith life?

Saint Paul talks about what motivates the people of Colossae in their faith ... it is their hope. The people put their hope in Christ, not in things of this world, and that has given them a great faith that Paul and others admire and commend. Hope can be a powerful motivator in our lives, especially when we keep hope in our Lord and in His promise of eternal salvation. In many ways, hope is what fuels our faith, for if our hope is high, then so too will be our faith.

In today's gospel, Jesus goes around healing and spreading the good news to all, for He was sent here to give us hope, to give us something to believe in. May we all continue to put our hope in the Lord, and may it continue to fuel our faith so that we can continue to persevere and follow God in this life.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, may our hope always lie in you and not in things of this world. Lord, you are the way to eternal salvation, may we never stray away from following you in our lives. Lord, we pray for all those with addictions and who are seeking pleasure from worldly things. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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