What are Sundays for?

Readings for Friday October 30, 2009

First Reading: Romans 9:1-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 147
Gospel: Luke 14:1-6

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question. (Lk 14:1-6)

What are Sundays for? Many people think that Sundays are for football and tailgating. Others use it for cleaning days and/or to catch up with their other weekly responsibilities. Others decided to go to work on those days. I would have to admit that I am guilty of all of the above. I know that a constant struggle in our family is to remember that Sunday's are for the Lord, not for us. They are meant to be days of rest; God even took a break on the seventh day of creation, not because He needed it, but to show its importance. Sunday's are meant for us to leave our work and to do God's work. Now sometimes that may be situations that we need to do some cleaning or go to our jobs; but when we do this we have a chance to glorify Him in our works.

In today's gospel, Jesus did not hesitate to cure the man with dropsy. He did this because He wants us to know that the most important thing that we are called to is to do God's work in this world, not just take it easy. While it is certainly important that we rest, it is more important that we do His will.

I would like to challenge all of us to begin thinking how we can each make Sunday's more about God, and about His work. We should not just think about Him at mass, but rather the whole day. I think that if we could all do this both in our individual lives and in our families we would begin seeing a big difference in our Sundays and in our weeks.

May God bless each of you and your families.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us each to let go of the worldly things and desires that we have and to give in to what you will and what you desire. Lord, thank you for our lives and for all that you bless us with. 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.


The most powerful bond

Readings for Thursday October 29, 2009

First Reading: Romans 8:31-39
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 109
Gospel: Luke 13:31-35

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39)

I recently discovered this stuff called Gorilla Glue. Let me tell you, I think it is the best and strongest glue I have ever used (please don't worry, this is not an endorsement). I have used it for several projects now, and it really works great; it forms a strong bond which makes sure that things really stick together. It works on all kinds of materials and on many different surfaces. While Gorilla Glue may create a strong a bond, it is a bond that with the right materials and with time can become undone.

In today's letter to the Romans, Saint Paul tells about a bond that cannot be undone, not matter what. He is talking about the love of God, and how there is nothing on heaven or on earth that can break this powerful bond. I believe that this passage give us reason not to lose hope. And to be honest, when we look at the world today, it can be very easy to become frightened and to lose hope. It is challenging to trust when we see such evil things taking place; and when we see our rights, liberties and freedoms being taken away a little at a time. But we must remember that no matter what earthly thing that we have that is taken away, no one or no thing can take away the love of God from us. We can also find great hope in the words of Saint Paul, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31b)

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. In today's gospel, it was clear that the principality of that time (Herod) could do nothing to stop Jesus from fulfilling His mission, and nothing can stop Him now. So don't lose hope, we have and always will have the love of God, which is the most powerful bond, one which can never be broken.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, forgive us for the times when we do not trust, or for the times when we lose hope; increase our faith Lord so that we might follow you confidently no matter where you lead us to. Lord, you alone know our path, help us to see your will in our lives and to surrender our own will. Lord, we pray for all those in need of conversion and all those who do not know your love. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Sand Castles

Readings for Wednesday October 28, 2009

Feasts of Saints Simon and Jude, apostles

First Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19
Gospel: Luke 6:12--16

You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:19-22)

Sand castles are great fun for both kids and adults; and in fact some people actually make a living doing sand sculptures. But as much fun as they are and as spectacular as people may make them, sand castles have three main adversaries: water, wind, and bullies. Whenever water hits, the sand immediately turns clumpy and breaks apart. When the wind blows it begins to chip away and erode the sand creation. We have all seen the local bully who finds great delight in wrecking a perfectly good sand castle, apparently the mote around them doesn't completely protect the castle. While sand castles may bring a lot of fun in our lives, they also teach us an important lesson, things that do not have a solid base can be easily destroyed by the things of this world.

Unlike the instability and weakness of sand, our faith is built upon solid rock. Our faith is built upon a solid foundation of which no man or earthly thing can destroy or wear down. Our faith is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone." (Eph 2:20) We should take great comfort in knowing that the foundation of the faith we share is something that cannot be eroded, worn down, broken, cracked, chipped, or damaged in any way. It is perfect and it is something that will always provide stability in our lives. If we truly rely on our faith in Christ (and not on ourselves), and realize the solid foundation of which we are on; then we will realize that we can weather any storm, or anything that anyone might try and throw at us; because our faith is based on Christ himself of which there is nothing more powerful or as mighty as Him.

Saints Simon and Jude, pray for us that we might live this life with the courage and the zeal of which you were blessed.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Thank you for all of your love and blessings in our life. Lord, we are not deserving of your mercy and forgiveness, but you give t to us anyway freely. Lord, we thank you and pray for the courage to follow you wherever you lead us. We pray for all of our religious and all of our priests. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Hope that is unseen

Readings for Tuesday October 27, 2009

First Reading: Romans 8:18-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126
Gospel: Luke 13:18-21

We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. (Rom 8:22-25)

Hope, this is one of the pivotal qualities of any good optimist. Saint Paul tells us today that we were saved in hope, a hope in Christ that is not seen, heard or understood with any of our earthly senses. I think that sometimes hope can seem like the theological virtue that is hard to grasp. We can all wrap our hands around what faith and love is (most of the time anyway), but hope is a little harder. Saint Paul tells us that "hope that sees for itself is not hope." So if we cannot not see it, touch it, smell it, taste it or hear it; then how do we know we have it? How do we know that it is around? Saint Paul wisely makes the association between hope and endurance, because I believe that they are very closely connected. I believe that our hope is the fuel for our faith. I believe that it is what keeps us going, what allows us to never quit or give up on Christ. I believe that the greater our hope, the greater our faith. Hope is not seen or heard, it is what drives us, what keeps us going, what keeps us waiting with endurance.

As I was reading the two parables from today's gospel, I realized that without the great hope of Christ in us, we will not seek to build up the kingdom. We all have a responsibility to help build up God's kingdom while here on earth. But if we do not have this important "optimistic fuel," things can become very discouraging and it can be hard to keep persevering in this life. But if we hold fast to the hope that we have, then we will realize that there is no need to be discouraged, or give in to despair (which is the opposite of hope). Hope gives us the fuel to continue on in God's plan to build up His kingdom. I pray that we all let this hope build in us, and that we will all be active in God's plan for us and for this world.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to surrender all of who we are to you, to give up our will in exchange for yours. Lord, we seek to be humble servants of you, and to let your light shine through us in this world. Lord, you alone know what is right and what is good for us, may we never stray from your loving care. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let go of the Orange

Readings for Monday October 26, 2009

First Reading: Romans 8:12-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm
Gospel: Luke 13:10-17

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom 8:13)

African hunters have figured out a clever way to catch monkeys; they take a coconut, slice it in half and hollow it out. Then they cut a hole on one side just big enough for the monkey's hand to pass through. They put an orange in the coconut, secure it back together and tie one end of the coconut to a tree. When the monkey smells the orange they will come an try and get it, the monkey will put its hand in the hole and try to pull out the orange, of course the hole is too small for the orange to go through. So the monkey will sit there and struggle with trying to get the orange out while the hunter comes by and throws a net over the monkey. Sadly, the monkey could have saved its own life if only it had been willing to let go of the orange.

I tell this story not to advertise or condone any sort of monkey entrapment; but rather to make a point. Like the monkey, we have a tendency to hold on to the things that lead to our enslavement. We are just not willing to let go of the earthly things and be free. We all struggle with letting things go, what does the orange represent in your life; is it expensive things, money, lust, greed, envy, power, positions, etc? If we are ever to thrive in this life and to be the good, faithful servants that we are all called to be, then we must be willing to "let go of the orange."

Saint Paul wisely tells us today that "by the spirit we must put to death the deeds of the body." If we are willing to let go of, and put to death these deeds of the body, to open ourselves up to God and to live by His spirit, then we will have abundant life. I pray that we all open ourselves up to the spirit, and surrender ourselves to our Father in heaven, who out of pure love and mercy has adopted us as His beloved children.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you give us more than we ever deserve, thank you for your great love and mercy. Lord, help us to let go of the things that tie us down to this world, to open our selves up to a life for you, a life filled with love, joy and faith. Lord, if we want to be happy, then we would all do well to follow you, help increase our faith so that we do not veer off this path. We pray for all those in need of conversion, and all those who are lost in this world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Friday October 23, 2009

First Reading: Romans 7:18-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119
Gospel: Luke 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Lk 12:54-56)

Horoscopes, astrology, chinese fortune cookies, palm readers, flowers, flipping coins; these are some of the things that many people in our world turn to for answers in their lives. Now obviously not every one goes to these things, some others go to more credible sources, such as therapy, wise family and friends, or other healthcare professionals. We sometimes become too comfortable going to these worldly means of finding answers that we often overlook the best source for answers in our life, and that is God.

In today's gospel Jesus challenges that people by telling them that they are great at predicting the weather and other earthly things, but are blind to what is happening now. They are not even realizing that God is right there in their midst, and they have no clue that the kingdom of God is at hand. They are so wrapped up in their own comfort zone, that they are not even seeing what is happening. God calls each of us to step out of our comfort zone, to not just look at the world for answers, but to look to Him for the answers. We must realize that He is always there watching over us, looking out for us, ready to help when we ask for it. But how can we turn to Him when we are distracted by the world? How can we turn to Him when we are so used to going somewhere else for answers.

God has all the answers that we need in our life, but we must first recognize that He is there and turn to Him if we are ever to find the answers we seek. Lord, let they will be done!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you alone know what is best for us, and you alone know what we need, help us to let go of our own will and give in to your perfect will. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Thursday October 22, 2009

First Reading: Romans 6:19-23
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1
Gospel: Luke 12:49-53

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Lk 12:51-53)

Today you will make many choices (kind of sounds like a fortune cookie, huh?). What to wear, what to have for lunch, what to work on for the day, etc. Every day we are bombarded with choices to make, some big, some small. But of all the choices that we make in this life, none are more important than the one to follow Jesus Christ. This choice determines our future, where we will spend eternal life. This is not an easy choice to make either, because it requires a lot of sacrifice and surrender. It requires dying to your old ways, so that Christ can raise you up to the life you are called to. It will require many divisions in your life, it will even put you at odds with some of the people closest to you. This choice is one that we all must choose, and while choosing Christ may not be the easiest choice, it is certainly the one with the greatest reward.

Today, let us remember and reflect on the words of Saint Paul: "But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom 6:22-23)

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you for your great love and mercy, give us the strength and will to choose you every minute of every day. Lord, form our hearts to you, so that we can go out and be the good faithful servants that we are meant to be. We pray for all marriages and families out there. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Slave to Obedience

Readings for Wednesday October 21, 2009

First Reading: Romans 6:12-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 124
Gospel: Luke 12:39-48

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted. Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. (Rom 6:16-18)

In today's first reading, Saint Paul discusses a choice that we all have; we can choose to become a slave to sin, or a slave to obedience. One of these leads to death, while the other leads to righteousness. Seems like a no brainer right? Well, while it may seem simple which one we should choose, it is not always so easy. Because becoming a slave to obedience means that we must must say "Lord, your will be done, not my own will." Being a slave to obedience means that we must make sacrifices, and that we must be willing to put away temporary pleasures in order to obtain everlasting life. Saint Paul is wise to warn us of this, because unless we choose a life of obedience to God; then we will live a life of bondage to sin, which only leads to more sin and destruction in our life.

In today's gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the servant who is put in charge of the other servants while the master is gone. If the servant is found carrying out the responsibilities what they are supposed to be doing, then that servant will certainly be blessed. But if the servant decides to party it up and abuse their responsibilities and fellow servants while the master is away, when that servant is caught they will find themselves in a lot of trouble. The servant who chose to abuse his responsibilities, chose to become a slave to sin, he chose to just give in to what felt good at the time and to just live in the moment. This servant gave no thought to his future, or to what would happen if he was caught. The other servant who did what he was supposed to, chose to become a slave to obedience, and because of his obedience and loyalty, that servant was greatly rewarded.

Jesus tells us today, "Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more." (Lk 12:48) Those who choose to become a slave to obedience, will be entrusted with more. The more we are willing to give to God, the more that He will entrust to us. The choice to be tied to sin or be liberated through a heart of obedience is ours. One leads to death, while the other leads to righteousness.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to let go of the things of this world. Help us to live a life that is only for you, to surrender completely to you and your perfect will. Lord, you alone know what is best for us, help open our eyes to see clearly in this world which seeks to lie to us and to distort your truth. Lord, we pray for all of our priests and religious. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Tuesday October 20, 2009

First Reading: Romans 5:12,15,17-19,20-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 40
Gospel: Luke 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.” (Lk 12:35-38)

Do you ever get distracted? Have you ever been given an assignment (perhaps at work, school, or home) begun the job but then got distracted and began doing something else? I can tell you that I get distracted all the time, and I know that it is something that can happen to us quite easily. While we may typically only think of distraction affecting us at work, school, or home; but distraction also affects us in our faith lives as well.

Today, Jesus tells us to make sure that we are staying vigilant until the master comes. This is a clear message to each of us that we must stay focused and not get distracted in our faith lives. While, you may or may not know this; we have a purpose in this life and it is to live the life that God wants us to and then join Him in heaven one day. But so many things in the world try to distract us from this purpose. Not only do we have worldly people and things helping to distract us, but we also have the enemy trying to lead us away from God and His perfect will for us.

It can certainly be hard to not get distracted in this life, especially when things are so hectic and busy. One of the reasons that we become distracted is because we have lost focus on our task, on our purpose. We must remember that we do need to be working diligently in this life, until the end. We do need to be not only living out our purpose, but also helping others to live out their purpose as well. I believe that if we can stay focused on our purpose, and never lose sight of what is truly important, then we will be like the blessed servants who worked vigilantly until their masters return and earning a great reward.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you thank you and praise you for all that you give and for all that you bless us with. Lord you alone know what is right and good for us, help us to form our will to yours and to seek only what you want for us. Lord we thank you for your love and mercy, and pray that we can love as you love and be merciful as you are merciful. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Monday October 19, 2009

Memorial of Saint John de Brebeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and the companions, martyrs

First Reading: Romans 4:20-25
Responsorial Psalm: Luke 1:69-70
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12:13-15)

In this world most things have an opposite, something that makes one thing completely different than the other. You could say that opposites are on different ends of a spectrum. For example, if I say good, you would most likely say the opposite is bad. If I were to talk about a liberal, you would think of the opposite as a conservative. If we look at a compass and see North, we know the opposite direction is South, as well as for East and West. The theme of today's readings (as well as the memorial of Saints John De Brebeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues), pull in two opposite themes, greed and generosity.

Greed is a very dangerous vice that many people find themselves trapped in. In fact, I would even argue that it is because of greed that we find ourselves in the current economic crisis that we are dealing with in our country. Greed is a vice that makes us very selfish and self-centered; it is a vice that replaces God as our number one desire, and instead replaces Him with our own wants and our own wills. When we give in to greed, then we become like the fool in today's parable, we store up earthly treasures which do not do us any good in the long-term. Earthly treasures do not bring joy in our life, they do not make us feel fulfilled, and they certainly do not bring about peace in our lives. Sure earthly treasures may bring about temporary happiness, but it does not last. Like, we have said, greed is a very dangerous vice, and like any vice there is an opposite virtue of which we should be striving for. The opposite of greed of course would be generosity. The virtue of generosity makes us more like Christ, it makes us think more about others than our own wants and needs. It is through generosity that we give of ourselves and instead of storing up earthly treasures, we rather store up treasure in heaven.

Today we remember and celebrate the lives for two martyrs, who chose to generously give their lives for Christ. It is important for us to remember the lives of the martyrs, because they teach us an important lesson about our faith. We are meant to give our lives to Christ in whatever He calls us to; but if we are living a greedy and selfish life, then we will not be likely to live a life of generosity. Saint Paul tells us today that, "it was credited to him as righteousness ... it was also credited to us, to whom it will be credited, who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." (Rom 4:22-24) We have a choice in this life, we can choose to greedily store up earthly treasures such as the fool in today's gospel; or we can choose to love and live a life of generosity. One leads us to heaven, while the other doesn't; may we all choose wisely.

Father in heaven, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are the giver and maker of all that is good, help us to live a life of virtue, being loving and generous to all those who you put in our lives. Lord, help form our hearts to you, that we may not have a heart that is set upon our own selfish desires, but rather on serving and giving our entire lives to you. Lord you are so good and merciful to us, help us to the lights in this world that we are called to be. We pray for all of our youth and families. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


All you need is love

Readings for Friday October 16, 2009

First Reading: Romans 4:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 32
Gospel: Luke 12:1-7

I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. (Lk 12:4-5)

In the 1960's the Beatles came out with the song "All you need is Love", and to a certain extent I would say that I agree with the words of this song, all we need is love. The way I see it is: if God is love, and all that we truly need in this world is God, then it is true, all we need is love.

In today's gospel Jesus tells us to not be afraid of the things and people of this world who can only harm our physical bodies, but rather be afraid of God who has control over our eternal lives after our physical death. While it might seem strange for us to be told to fear God, I would say that it is not necessarily a bad thing. We should fear what God can do to us, we should fear not being able to go to heaven and the fear of spending an eternity in hell. What is worse, imagine a life without love. Because if we choose to follow our own way in life, then we turn away from God, or rather we turn away from love. Imagine a life without love, it would be a pretty sad and dull existence. I believe that is why so many people who do not follow God feel so empty and conflicted inside, it is because they are living a life without love, a life without God.

While it is our eternal life that we should be concerned about, the thing that we should fear most is the possibility of a life without God. With how much I have been blessed in my life, and with how much I know He loves me and each of us, I just cannot imagine a life without Him. I pray that each of us continue on this journey towards heaven, following God where ever He may lead and persevering in this life until the end.

All we need is love, in this life and the next.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord we thank you so much for all that you have given to us and for all of your great love and mercy. Lord, you are so good to us, much more than we deserve, let us always seek to give you glory and honor at all times in our life. Lord, we pray for all those in need of conversion, all those with hardened hearts and all those who have turned from your love; may they be brought back into your loving arms. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Faith or Works

Readings for Thursday October 15, 2009

First Reading: Romans 3:21-30
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 130
Gospel: Luke 11:47-54

What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith. For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Does God belong to Jews alone? Does he not belong to Gentiles, too? Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith and the uncircumcised through faith. (Rom 3:27-30)

In today's reading form Romans, we see the passage that sparked the age old debate between Catholics and Protestants. I know that before my own conversion, I believed this passage from scripture, and my own interpretation of it was that the only thing that mattered was that I have faith in Christ. Then after my coming home to the Catholic Church, the logic began to set in; and I realized that while we are so limited and that we need the grace of God in our lives; and that it is important to have a strong faith, it is also just as important that we show that faith through our good works. In the letter of James it says; "Demonstrate you faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works ... Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? ... For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (James 2:18, 21, 26)

Now I am not here to end the debate or answer all of our questions in regards to the teaching of faith and works. But I do want to offer a little bit of wisdom that I have learned in regards to the bible. Even though I may not have years and years of studying scripture, or any sort of degrees in theology; I do know one thing, that the bible is the word of God written for us to help guide us in this life, and the way I see it is that it is ALL important, each and every word. So to pick a single verse and say that we are only justified by faith or by works does not sit well with me. It seems to me that they are both important, and I do not think that the verse from Romans by Saint Paul and the verse by Saint James contradict each other, but I believe that they compliment each other.

I don't know about you but I am going to rely on the wisdom of the church and believe what the apostles, the early church fathers, the many doctors of the church believed, and what the Church still teaches today; we need both faith and works in our lives. It is by God grace and mercy that we have a way to heaven, by that grace He allows us to have faith and to do good works while on this earth.

Faith or works? Both, and let us not live this life by only believing, but by also going out and doing.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, increase our faith so that we might go out and do works for your glory. Lord, you alone are God and it is by you that we have life and the chance at eternal life. Lord, we all desire to be with you one day in heaven, and we pray for all those who do not know this yet. Lord, we pray for the conversion of all those in need of your love and mercy, and we pray for marriages all over the world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Judgement of God

Readings for Wednesday October 14, 2009

First Reading: Romans 2:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 62
Gospel: Luke 11:42-46

Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance? By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works, eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. (Rom 2:3-8)

Judgement, this is something of which I believe that the majority of us struggle with. Many of us are quick to judge other people, their actions, and behaviors. Most of the time it is because of an insecurity that we judge. I cannot tell you how many times I have judged and compared myself with someone else, and while doing that I would think, "well at least I am not as bad as that person." How many times have we justified our actions or insecurities by telling ourselves that we are not as bad as someone else? We cannot judge other people just so we can feel better about our behaviors, nor can we allow our own insecurities to guide our actions in this life. We must remember that we are human and we will always fall short, but with the grace of God we can rise up above our insecurities, our tendency to judge, and all of our worldly ways.

Saint Paul warns us today of judging others and of storing up wrath in our heart. He tells us wisely that if we are hypocritical and judge others without following the rules ourselves, then this sort of behavior cannot escape the judgement of God. Jesus said in the gospels that the measure upon which we measure will be measured out to us. Saint Paul is certainly reminding us of this message from our Lord. We have a choice to make in this life; we can hold on to worldly things and worldly ways, or we can hold on to God and His ways. If we persevere through this life doing the good works that we are called to, then one day when we leave this earth we can stand before God and hear those beautiful words, "Well done good and faithful servant."

We cannot escape the judgement of God, may our works always honor and glorify Him who gave us life.

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 never stray from your love and goodness. Lord, help to increase our faith so that we may go out in this world and do good works for your glory. Lord, forgive us for the times in which we have judged others and for all of the times which we fall short. We pray for all of our priests and our religious; for their ministries and for strength in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


What's Inside?

Readings for Tuesday October 13, 2009

First Reading: Romans 1:16-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19
Gospel: Luke 11:37-41

After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” (Lk 11:37-41)

As a society, we seem to be so obsessed with our outward appearance; so much so that we tend to neglect what is on the inside. What's on the inside is what truly counts to God. Today, let us take a moment to reflect on what is inside each of us. What is in our hearts, is it things that is pleasing to God, or is it things that we hide and are ashamed of? If your heart is full of virtue, then may you ask God to increase those great gifts. If you heart is full of lies and sin, ask God to take it away, to help you let go of the impure things of your heart and replace it with things of Him.

May each of our hearts be filled with things from heaven, rather than the things of this world; because remember it is what's inside that is important.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Thank you for your love and mercy, we are not deserving of this, but you choose to give it to us anyway. Lord, we praise you for all that we have and all that we are, may we always turn to you in both our times of peace and joy, as well as our times of need and despair. Lord, you alone are our God, may we always make you first in our life. Help increase our faith so that we may be better servants of you while on this earth. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Something Greater

Readings for Monday October 12, 2009

First Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98
Gospel: Luke 11:29-32

At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” (Lk 11:31-32)

All of us have our heroes and legends that always inspire and excite us. For some it is a famous president or leader. Others enjoy stories of athletes and other accomplished individuals. For some it is brave people who battle immense obstacles such as physical or mental disabilities; or stories of people persevering through various illnesses. There are many stories out there of heroic individuals; some stories are well known, while others may only be known to a few. We also have many heroic and legendary stories in the scriptures that we turn to as well. Like, Moses parting the sea, David slewing Goliath, the great wisdom of Solomon, Jonah and the whale, Elijah being carried up by the chariot of fire, or the conversion of Paul. All of these stories from scripture help to teach us something about our faith and to help inspire us to be the men and women that God created us to be.

Although there are many fantastic stories of great men and women throughout history, and even in our world today; we must remember that there is something greater here. We must remember that God makes men and women what they are, and all gifts and abilities come straight from Him. All of the saints, the angels, and the great men that we read about in the scriptures will all tell you the same thing: there is something greater than each of them here, and that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is here with us today, calling us to be great for His sake, to let Him in so that we can be the men and women that we were created to be; so that one day our stories might inspire and lead those around us straight to Christ.

Today let us remember and reflect on the words that Saint Paul tells us in the first reading today: "Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy." (Rom. 1:5-7)

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to recognize you in our lives, and to realize that all that we have and all that we are comes from you. Lord, you are our God, may we live to serve and honor you in all that we do. Lord, we pray for all of our priests and religious. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Scatter or Gather?

Readings for Friday October 9, 2009

First Reading: Joel 1:13-15,2:1-2
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 9
Gospel: Luke 11:15-26

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Lk 11:23)

Have you ever tried cleaning a room with a child? Many times you will find yourself doing the cleaning part, while they proceed to pull out more toys to play with. It becomes a frustrating and counterproductive effort. Here you are trying to gather things up, while this child is doing nothing but scattering.

I wonder if God feels this same frustration with us. While I am sure that many of us try to be good faithful servants, there are probably times where we find ourselves like the little kid and scattering instead of gathering. It is so important that we make sure that the things that we are doing are in line with what Christ teaches us. We must make sure that while on the earth we are working to serve the Lord by being obedient and doing His will, following His commandments, and living out our true purpose. We must remember that if we are not with God, then we are against Him; and I don't know about you, but that I do not ever want to be against God.

As Saint Paul says; "When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things." (1 Cor 13:11) Let us not be like children who seek to mess things up and scatter, but rather be good faith servants who follow Christ and gather.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord you alone are good and merciful to us. Lord, help us to see your will for us, help us to be focused on our purpose in this life and to never be working against you. Lord, we pray that your will be done in our lives and in the whole world. We pray for all of our priests and religious, that they may be strengthened in their ministries and in the vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The more we put in

Readings for Thursday October 8, 2009

First Reading: Malachi 3:13-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1
Gospel: Luke 11:5-13

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Lk 11:9-13)

There is something that I have realized about vending machines; the more money that you put in, the better the treat. I noticed that the lowest costing items usually are not very good; it is either some gum that loses its flavor in about 10 seconds, or some generic bad tasting mints. But some of the more expensive items are usually the best; perhaps like some baked lays, sun chips or pop tarts. It seems to me that with vending machines, the more money you put in the more you will get out (either quantity or quality of items).

And so it is like prayer, the more we do it and the more we put in to it, the more we will get out of it. Jesus tells us today that we should not only pray, but that we are to be persistent in our prayer. He tells us that God wants to answer our prayers, but we must make the first move, we must be willing to "put something in." It is like the vending machine, if we do not go to it and put any money in, then we will not get anything out. We must be willing and be open to going to our Father in heaven with our joys, sorrows, and all of our needs.

"Ask and you shall receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you", these are the words that our savior tells us to remind us that God is there wanting to talk to us and to help us by answering our prayers. God loves us so much, we are His greatly loved children, and what loving Father does not want to answer the requests of their children?

Prayer, the more we put in, the more we will get out.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are our great and awesome God, and it is you alone that we serve and dedicate our lives to. Lord, you aer so good to us, we thank you and praise you for your love and mercy, help us to continue this life carrying our cross with peace and joy in our hearts; forever thinking of joining you one day in heaven. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lord's Prayer

Readings for Wednesday October 7, 2009

First Reading: Jonah 4:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 86
Gospel: Luke 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” (Lk 11:1-4)

In today's gospel, Jesus teaches His disciples what we know as the Lord's prayer. This is a prayer which most Christians know by heart, and it is one that we should pray often, for it is the same prayer that Jesus gave to us to pray. We must make sure that when we do pray it that we are praying with reverence and truly focusing on the words of this prayer. It can be very easy to go into autopilot mode and begin reciting this prayer without even thinking about it.

In this prayer, we call upon and recognize God as our heavenly Father, who loves us and guides us through life. His name is sacred and is the only one that we worship and hold up high. His kingdom is glorious and is our true destination, may we persevere and strive in this life until that day comes. All life and all of our blessings and gifts comes from God, may we take these things not with a selfish heart, but with a heart of thanksgiving. As sinners, we often times fall short and are in need of God's abundant mercy and forgiveness; and as He forgives us, we also should forgive those who sin against us. At the end of this world, I pray that our lives have been dedicated to Him and that we have all been good and faithful servants, ready and accepted into heaven; and that we would be spared of any final test.

This is a prayer given to us from Christ Himself, let us make sure that we are praying it as we should be.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, all good things come from you, thank you for never abandoning us and for loving us so much. Lord, we are not worthy of all that you give us, but you still choose to be merciful and to show us love compassion. Lord, may we follow you where ever you lead with an unwavering faith. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Listening to God

Readings for Tuesday October 6, 2009

First Reading: Jonah 3:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 130
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42

She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Lk 10:39-42)

How many times have you ever heard this phrase, "but I need this!" Or perhaps you have even said this many times yourself. I know that in this crazy life we live it sometimes becomes unclear between the things that we need and the things that we want. Well, in today's gospel, the distinction between what we need and what we want is made perfectly clear. Jesus says there is need of only one thing; and He goes on to tell Martha that what Mary has chose will not be taken away. We all need to realize that the only thing that we really need in this world is God. We would all do well to take the example of Mary and take time to sit at His feet and listen to what He has to say to us.

It is so important that we listen to God. Think if the people of Nineveh (from today's first reading) hadn't listened to Jonah, then they would not have been able to repent for their actions. But by listening to God and the person that He spoke through, they were able to change their ways and to make amends from the evil they were doing.

By taking the time to listen to God, we too can save our life ... our eternal life.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we praise you for all that we have and all that we are, help us to not waste a moment of this life. Lord, you are always looking out for us and protecting us, may we never stray away from your loving care. Lord you alone are our God and may we never place anything in this life above you. 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.


Our deepest fear

Readings for Monday October 5, 2009

First Reading: Jonah 1:1-2:2,11
Responsorial Psalm: Jonah 2:3,4,5,8
Gospel: Luke 10:25-37

This is the word of the LORD that came to Jonah, son of Amittai: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it; their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish away from the LORD. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went aboard to journey with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD. The LORD, however, hurled a violent wind upon the sea, and in the furious tempest that arose the ship was on the point of breaking up. (Jon 1:1-4)

In today's first reading we see the prophet Jonah doing literally what many of us have done in the spiritual sense before ... running from God. Jonah receives this great calling from God, but wants nothing to do with it, so he thinks that if he just boards the ship that he can outrun God and escape his calling. Jonah believed that he could run and hide from God, but the truth is that you can run, but you can never hide from God. Jonah did not want to own up to his calling, he did not want to take on the great task that the Lord had set before him. But little did Jonah know, that God is very hard to ignore.

There is a saying by Marianne Williamson that goes; "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." I don't know if this was the case for Jonah, but I do now that it is the case for many of us today. Most of us are afraid of the calling that God gives to each of us, many of us are afraid to accept our true purpose because there is a fear that we will be successful. Taking risks is never an easy thing to do, it requires us to step out of our comfort zone a great deal and to trust totally on the Lord. However, when we put all of our faith and trust in Him, then we are guaranteed to have success; success in reaching an eternity in heaven, our true purpose.

As we know, following God is not always easy, and many times we are called to do things that may require a lot of sacrifice or some discomfort; but it will all be worth it in the end to stand before our maker and hear the words, "well done, good and faithful servant."

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you alone are good and know what it right for each of us. Lord, you designed each of us with love and with a purpose. Help us to open ourselves to you and to see our purpose, and to do your will in this life. Lord, we thank you for your abundant love and mercy, may we go out in this world and be merciful to all those we come in contact with. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Friday October 2, 2009

Memorial of the Guardian Angels

First Reading: Baruch 1:15-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm
Gospel: Matthew 18:1-5,10

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” (Matt. 18:10)

If your guardian angel was given the ability to talk and tell stories about you, what kind of things would they say? Would they speak of the overtime that they put in guarding you from many of the bad decisions you wanted to make? Would they share all the things that they have protected you from? Would they talk about how many of our choices have greatly saddened them and God? Perhaps they would praise your faithfulness and love of God. Maybe they would tell you that you are doing a good job, but you just need to work a little harder in some areas. While we do not know exactly what they might say, we do know that they have a unique perspective on our lives, as they are always watching from an outsiders perspective.

While we may not be able to have conversations with our guardian angel, we should always take comfort in knowing that God has designated an angel for each one of us. An angel to watch over us, protect us, hear our prayers, and to even help guide us along the way. We should be very grateful for these great helpers who out of love for God, and us, take up this special duty of being a guardian angel.

God out of His great love is always looking out for us, so much in fact that He appoints a guardian over each one of us. Today let us remember and be thankful for our guardian angel.

Guardian Angels pray for us!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord you love us so much that you send us protectors to help keep us away from harm. Lord, you alone a so good an merciful, we thank you for all that we have and all that we are. Lord, even though nothing we can do would make us worthy of the gift of heaven, we pray that we can live this life sacrificing and honoring you in all that we do; until one day we can make it to you in heaven. 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.


God is here

Readings for Thursday October 1, 2009

Feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the church

First Reading: Nehemiah 8:1-4,5-6,7-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm
Gospel: Luke 10:1-12

Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ (Luke 10:8-11)

In both today's first reading and in the gospel we see a clear message to all of us: when God speaks to us we should be listening. In the reading from Nehemiah, the people are taught the Law of God from Ezra the scribe. In the gospel reading Jesus sends out His disciples to proclaim the good news, that the Kingdom of God is here and at hand. It is clear in the scriptures and it is even more clear today that God is trying to reach us to give us His truth and His life saving word.

Many people in the world say things like, "I just don't see God working in my life" or "why hasn't God shown Himself?" To these people I would have to respond, are you sure He hasn't shown Himself or were you just not paying attention? It is hard for me to look out into this world and not see God; sure there are a lot of tragedies and a great deal of evil out there, but there is also a lot of good. The Creator made this beautiful world for us to live on and has blessed us enormously with life, that it if we are not careful, we can easily miss it. It is difficult for me to look at a sunset, listen to my baby girl laugh, feel the warmth of a hug from my wife, listen to a thunderstorm, or just look up into the stars without seeing God.

God is here; just as He was in the days of Nehemiah, and just as He was on earth sending His disciples out to proclaim the good news. He is reaching out to us all asking us to grow closer to Him and to follow Him to the place that He has prepared for us after this earthly life. We must always be listening and paying attention to Him in our life, otherwise it will pass us by.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are so good to us, we thank you for your abundant love and mercy. Lord, you have sacrificed for us, help us to surrender and to sacrifice for you. Lord, we pray for the health and dignity of people at all ages. We pray for those contemplating abortion, that they may come to see your truth and to value the life in them. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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