Angel Among Us

Readings for Monday September 29, 2010

Feasts 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

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him." Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this." And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." (Jn 1:47-51)

In today's gospel we are told that Nathanael was amazed that Jesus knew of him. Nathanael was so astounded that he proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus then asks him, "Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?" Jesus then goes on to tell Nathanael that he will see far greater things than this. Jesus tells him that he will see "the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Nathanael is promised to see something great, and Jesus tells Nathanael that he will see another one of God's glorious creations, His angels. As we honor Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael; let us think about the role angels play in our salvation. St. Augustine makes an important point in regards to angels. He says that " 'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office it is 'angel'. " St. Thomas Aquinas said "the angels work together for the benefit of us all."

Throughout the scriptures we see many references to the angels. We see how important they are in doing God's will and in serving Him. While pure spiritual beings, the angels still have free will, and they like us, have the capability of accepting or rejecting God. The angels provide us yet another example of being good faithful servants of God. They show us that we should, like them, humble ourselves before our God and serve Him with all of our being.

The archangels have all played very important roles throughout history, and they continue to play important roles in God's plan; and so we honor them today. We thank God for sending His servants to help us here on earth, so one day we might be with Him in heaven.

Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, pray for us.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord we pray for your guidance throughout this day. Lord, may we serve you and give you the glory through all that we do. Let us humble ourselves and have no fear as we go through this life trusting in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Tuesday September 28, 2010

First Reading: Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 88
Gospel: Luke 9:51-56

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. (Lk. 9:51-56)

Does it seem today that Jesus and Job are both having a bad day? Job is feeling rejected and doesn't even want to go on living, while Jesus is actually rejected from the Samaritans during His journey. Rejection is a very hard feeling to deal with, think about the last time you were rejected, how did it feel? It seems as though when we are rejected we want to feel angry, hurt, resentful, and vengeful.

Today with Jesus and Job we see two different reactions to rejection. Job feels lots of self pity, and goes on cursing his existence. This is like when we go around telling everyone how rotten our luck is. Jesus, however, takes a different approach. He doesn't get angry, or resentful, or vengeful (although His disciples became that way). No, Jesus just shakes it off and continues about His journey. Now which reaction would you guess is the better and healthier choice?

The reality is, is that we are all going to go through difficult trials in our lives, and we are going to feel rejected by many people, we may even feel like God is punishing us and rejecting us at times. But God is not like that, while others may reject and not accept us, He always does. Just because we may go through times in our life where we feel alone and that our lives are full of chaos, He is still there loving us and being there for us. There is always a reason for our suffering, it is just that we may never know that reason; or we are not able to understand that reason.

So our reaction to rejection and to all difficult challenges in our lives should be to simply shake it off and just keep on thanking and praising God for our lives. Our merciful God loves us so much, and wants to see us be peaceful and joyful in Him. It is not enough to just thank Him and praise Him when things are good, but we must give Him thanks and praise at all times!

Father above, we thank you for the gift of our lives. We ask that your will be done in our lives. Give us the strength and courage to follow you no matter what challenges you bring in front of us. Lord send your spirit to guide us and to help us in our lives. Lord, we pray for all those who are suffering, help them to see the fruits of their suffering and help them to offer it up for others. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Readings for Monday September 27, 2010

Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, priest

First Reading: Job 1:6-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 17
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."

Then John said in reply, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company." Jesus said to him,
"Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you."

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

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


A Time for Everything

Readings for Friday September 24, 2010

First Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 144
Gospel: Luke 9:18-22

"He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done." (Ecc 3:11)

When we read this passage from today's readings, it is really quite humbling when you think about it. There are so many times in our lives that we want things to happen instantly; perhaps it is a good grade on a paper, a job promotion, or our kids to pick up after themselves (they were told them 10 times already, shouldn't they learn now?). But we learn today that there is a time for everything, and it is really not our time at all; it is God's time, and His time is perfect. The passage above reminds us that His timing is perfect, and if we are not careful we can go our entire lives not realizing the work that God has done in our lives.

There is one line that really struck me from the reading today; "a time to be silent, and a time to speak." We are all caught up in these moment and it is very hard to know when to say something (and what for that matter) and when not to say something. In all of these situations there is a choice to be made, the author does not say that we should always be silent or that we should always speak up, no there is some discernment that we need to go through. Ultimately it comes down to what God is calling you to do at that moment. It takes great courage at these times, and it is in these moments that we need to pray for the Holy spirit to work in us, to give us the courage and guide our words, or to give us the courage and bite our tongue. We must remember that no matter the situation, we should not worry what to say or do because if we cooperate with God, the Holy spirit will guide us.

Timing ... I think this is something that we all struggle with in our lives. There is an appointed time for everything, and let us ask for the Lord's guidance in the timing of things in our lives. After all, it is His timing and His plan that we are following...wouldn't it naturally make since to ask the Lord to steer us in the right direction?

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens." (Ecc 3:1)

Blessed be the Lord, our rock and our salvation! We thank you and give you praise for this day. Lord, help us to trust in your timing and give us the courage and strength to follow you without hesitation. Lord God we pray for the wisdom to discern the timing of things in our lives. Help lead us Lord where you want us to go. Let us give thanks and praise to you for all the work in our lives. We pray for all those who have fallen away from their faith, may they be brought back to you love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Who is Jesus?

Readings for Thursday September 23, 2010

Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, priest

First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 90
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. (Lk 9:7-9)

"Who is Jesus?" This is the question that perplexed Herod the tetrarch during his reign. While to us this may seem like a silly question, but think how many people all over the world would ask or are asking this same question, "who is Jesus?" There is just as much speculation and theory today as their was back then. Was Jesus simply a prophet as some religions would have us believe? Was He simply just a good teacher and a good role model? Was He just and inspiring leader of His time? Was Christ no more than another person who fell to the ruthless death of the Roman empire? As we said, there are many thoughts and ideas about who Jesus was, but it is only in the Christian faith that you will find the true answer about who Jesus is and was.

Our Catholic faith teaches extensively about who Jesus is and was. It is never put any better than it is in the Nicene Creed which we say at mass every Sunday:
"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried. On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end."

The Church teaches extensively about Jesus Christ our Savior, the Son of God, the way, the truth, and the light. The important thing for each of us to do is to get to know Him personally. Find out who He is to you, what does it mean to know Him and have Him in your life. In today's gospel we see that Herod only wanted to see Him, but we each need to take an extra step and go to Him and ask Him into our lives and into our hearts.

May each of us surrender deeper into the loving arms of the Lord.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for the many blessings in our lives. Help to bring each of us closer to you and to your loving way. Lord, we need you so desperately, help us to only seek you in our lives. we pray for all our brothers and sisters who have fallen away from the faith, may they be brought back Home to the Church. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Got Trust?

Readings for Wednesday September 22, 2010

First Reading: Proverbs 30:5-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119
Gospel: Luke 9:1-6

Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Add nothing to his words, lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver.
Two things I ask of you, deny them not to me before I die: Put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; Lest, being full, I deny you, saying, "Who is the LORD?" Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God. (Prov. 30:5-9)

I remember when I was a young boy and I started playing football. I remember how cool I thought all my pads and my helmet were. When I first suited up, I felt like a knight gearing up for battle. But then I remembered the part about how football involved a lot of hitting. I immediately went from knight in shining armor to safety inspector. Were these enough to protect me? I mean, some of those kids were pretty big (or at least they looked like it with their pads on). I came to quickly realize that the pads were more than adequate. My helmet and my pads protected me from every hit and shock that I came up against. That is not to say that it didn't hurt at times or that I didn't feel the effect of a hit, but my body was protected overall. Everything else that I felt helped to build my toughness and durability. I quickly came to trust in "my shields."

Today in the book of proverbs we are told that the Lord is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. The same mentality that I took with my pads is the same mentality that we need to take with "our shield". It takes us some time to trust in Him. But when we do, we realize that He will protect us, and that there is nothing to fear. Not to say that we will not feel pain or the after effects of some of the things that we go through, but all of these other things are just meant to build up our faith. We must always trust that the Lord will give us what we need in every situation, not what we want, but what we need. In the gospel today, Jesus sends out his disciples to the towns to preach the good news and to heal the people, but He tells them to take nothing with with. No food, money, extra clothes...nothing! Can you imagine the trust that this must have taken? I pray for that kind of faith in my life; to go out into the world, just me, and know that God will provide. Now that is faith!

The Lord is our shield. He will take care us of, and He will always give us the things that we need. But if we do not trust in Him at these times and cooperate with His grace, then we risk not seeing and experiencing the blessings that He has for us. The Lord will lead us to places that we would not usually venture and against things that we would not normally choose to face, but He calls us for a reason. It is during the times when we do not fully understand "why", that we just need to put our trust in "our shield." When we feel God is calling us to something in our lives, we only have to ask ourselves one question...Got trust?

Father above, we trust in you and your plan for our lives. Increase our faith so that we might not hold back in serving you. Help us to give ourselves totally to you Lord. Lord, help us to let go of the things that are holding us back and tying us down to this world. We pray for your guidance in our lives, and for your will to be done. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Readings for Tuesday September 21, 2010

Feast of Saint Matthew Apostle and evangelist

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

Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 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, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ. (Eph. 4:1-7, 11-13)

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." (Mt. 9:9-13)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.


This Little Light of Mine

Readings for Monday September 20, 2010

Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegŏn, priest and martyr, and Saint Paul Chŏng Hasang, martyr, and their companions, martyrs

First Reading: Proverbs 3:27-34
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 15
Gospel: Luke 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd: "No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away." (Lk 8:16-18)

Most of us are familiar with the children's song "This little light of mine." In case you have never heard it or forget the words, here are some of the lyrics to help jog your memory: "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine... Hide it under a bush. No! I'm gonna let it shine...Don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine...Let it shine till Jesus comes, I'm gonna let it shine." Obviously these aren't all of the lyrics, but it does give us a good feel for the song. I believe that this is a great song to teach our children (as well as adults). While it is a simple song, it really speaks to our roles as Christians. One of our roles is to "let our light shine." Who is the source of this light? Jesus of course! He is the source of all love and all that is good. He is the light, the truth and the way. If we have Christ in us, then His light is in us. If we cooperate with His grace and allow Him to work in our lives, then not only will we be faithful servants, but His light will shine through us as an example for all to see and follow.

But most of the time this is easier said than done. Many times, we do not cooperate with the grace we are given, thereby not allowing our light to shine. How many times do we turn our head to those in need? How many times do we not stand up for people or things? How many times do we hold back for fear of what others might do or say to us? Many times we are afraid to do the works that we should and to allow Christ's light to shine through us. It is so difficult when we are out in the world and are constantly challenged to truly let our light shine, because we know that the world and the evil one are just waiting to blow it out.

Jesus knew this would be a problem for us. That is why when He speaks to us today in the gospel He tells us; “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light." We must remember this example always. As Jesus said, when a lamp is lit, it doesn't make any since to hide it, you put it out for all to see. As faithful Christians, we have a responsibility to let the light of our Lord and Savior shine through us. In the first reading from proverbs today we are given great wisdom in how to let our light shine. We are told to not delay or hold back the goodness that we can do each time we have the opportunity. If we see someone who needs help, let us help them at that moment and not just wait for the next time. If we see trash laying around or a mess that needs cleaned up, then we should clean it up and not just wait for the next opportunity.

Opportunities to let the light of Christ shine through pass us by constantly. Are you being aware of these moments, or are you like most people so wrapped up in what is going on in your world that you are missing these opportunities? I know that for me it is a constant struggle to keep my eyes and ears open, but I know that when I do I can help make a difference, and let the light of Jesus shine through.

May the light of Christ shine through each of us!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for the many gift that you have blessed us with; help us to be good stewards of all that you give. Lord, give us the courage and strength that we need to live this life for you and to let our lights shine bright in this world. Lord, you are our God, our rock, our salvation; help us to never stray from your good and Holy path. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Readings for Friday September 17, 2010

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 17
Gospel: Luke 8:1-3

Brothers and sisters: If Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:12-20)

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources. (Lk 8:1-3)


Your Sins are Forgiven

Readings for Thursday September 16, 2010

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

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118
Gospel: Luke 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner." Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days' wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?" Simon said in reply, "The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven." He said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. 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." (Lk 7:36-50)

In today's gospel reading, we have one of the most beautiful examples of Christ's loving mercy. We read about the pardon of the sinful woman. The one who bathed Christ's feet with her tears and washed them with her hair. All who saw this "sinful" woman were criticizing and judging Jesus in their mind for allowing her to touch Him. Their judgement of her had completely blocked their ability to show mercy on this woman. But because God is love, Jesus saw her through the eyes of love and showed her great mercy and compassion. He said to her, "your sins are forgiven."

"Your sins are forgiven." How many of us believe this? Sometimes we latch onto to our past mistakes that we do not embrace the mercy of the Lord. Many times we are so ashamed by our past that we do not move forward in our faith journey; but what we must always remember is that Christ's words to the sinful woman are the same ones to us when we come to Him, "your sins are forgiven." Many times we say that we know in our heads that Christ forgives us our sins, but how many of us believe this in our hearts? If we want to move forward with Jesus, we must come to believe that He truly does forgive all of our sins. If we are truly sorry and repent of our sins, we are forgiven. One thing that we as Catholics can take advantage of and tap into God's grace is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. By confessing our sins, working through the priest, Christ tells us that our "sins are forgiven." The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most underused and undervalued Sacraments in the Church. When I converted to the Catholic faith, I cannot even begin to describe the joy and peace that I felt after going to reconciliation. Through this Sacrament I was able to let go of previous sins that I had carried with me for so long; and because of this I was able to move forward in my journey with Christ.

Let us all remember that we serve a God of great and abundant mercy. His mercy is for all who embrace Him and who choose to love Him. Let us all remember that Jesus came to save and for forgive each one of us our sins. He is the good physician who comes to heal us and to show us a better way.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord thank you for the gift of our lives, help us to be good stewards of all that you bless us with. Lord, heal us and continue to pour out your love and mercy on us. Help us never to stray from the path you set down before us. Lord, we love you, and pray for all those who do not know you, may they be brought back to your loving arms. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Way of Love

Readings for Wednesday September 15, 2010

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33
Gospel: John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 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. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:1-13)

How many of us want to be a better spouse? How many of us want to be better parents? How many of us want to be better friends? How many of us want to be better Christians? I hope that we all want to be the best that we can be, and it is my firm belief that this can only be accomplished through love. When we learn to love as we are called to, to love as Christ does, then we ultimately become better people for it. We are each called to love, and unless we are fulfilling this calling, we will always be lost.

If we want to learn to love better, then let us know and put into practice the beautiful words that Saint Paul gives us about love:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1 Cor. 13:4-8)
I can tell you as both a husband and father that these words have helped and continue to help) me learn to love better in my own life. Through the newness of marriage, stressful situations, during late night feedings, during temper tantrums, messes, etc. Whenever I find myself growing impatient, angry, or anything, I repeat these words to myself and ask God to show me how to love better in that situation. I strongly suggest to anyone who is looking to grow and to love better in their life to commit these words to memory, and whenever you find yourself not loving as you should then repeat these words to yourself. Imagine how much better off this world would be if we all tried to love as Saint Paul tells us love should be.

If we want to grow in our lives and become all that we were created to be, then we need to go the way of love. This is not an easy path, but one that is always worth it.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. God, you are love, help us to love better in our lives. Lord, you way is perfect and we pray that we can let go of our own selfishness and learn to love others as we are called to. Lord, we know that love is the way, the path we should travel, help us never to veer from this path. We pray for an increase in the virtues of faith, hope and love in our own lives and in the world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


God's Love

Readings for Tuesday September 14, 2010

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

Jesus said to Nicodemus: "No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. 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. (Jn 3:13-17)

Today we celebrate the feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross. We can also think of this day as the triumph of the cross. When Jesus chose to die on the cross, He suffered a shameful death, all for our salvation. The cross is a great symbol in the Christian faith, it is a reminder of many different things for us. Each time that we see a cross or a crucifix, we must remember Christ's sacrifice and great love for each one of us.

Today's readings certainly speak of God's love. For example Saint Paul writes to the Philippians: "Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross." (Phil. 2:7-8) We see that Jesus held nothing back, but rather "emptied" Himself all for our sake. In the gospel reading, Saint John writes: "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." (Jn 3:16) We see that The Father too holds nothing back from His people, but loves us so much even to give His only Son so that we might have life.

God's love is so faithful and so abundant, He holds nothing back from us. His love is faithful and total, so shouldn't our love be the same for Him?

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all the great blessings in our life. Lord, everything that we have is from you, help us to be good stewards of all that you give. Lord, thank you for your great love, help us to never leave your loving arms. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lord's Supper

Readings for Monday September 13, 2010

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 40
Gospel: Luke 7:1-10

Brothers and sisters: In giving this instruction, I do not praise the fact that your meetings are doing more harm than good. First of all, I hear that when you meet as a Church there are divisions among you, and to a degree I believe it; there have to be factions among you in order that also those who are approved among you may become known. When you meet in one place, then, it is not to eat the Lord's supper, for in eating, each one goes ahead with his own supper, and one goes hungry while another gets drunk. Do you not have houses in which you can eat and drink? Or do you show contempt for the Church of God and make those who have nothing feel ashamed? What can I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this matter I do not praise you.

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my Body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my Blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. (1 Cor. 11:17-26, 33)

Although there are many theological and doctrines that distinguish us from protestant churches, the main thing that separates us is the Eucharist. For protestant churches, they believe that this is only a sign, only a symbol, and that there is no way that Christ really meant that it was His body and blood. But what we Catholics are taught, and what so many of us seem to forget is that during each mass we receive the precious body and blood of our Lord Jesus. It is not a sign, it is not a symbol, but it is truly His body and blood.

Paul's words for the Corinthians in regards to the Eucharist are words that we should listen to as well. Saint Paul talks about during mass we celebrate the Lord's supper, and that we actually partake of the body and blood of our Lord. Later in the chapter (verses 27-32) He goes on to tell the Corinthians that many of them are receiving unworthily, and that is why many of them are falling ill and dying. You see, the Corinthians were not taking the Eucharist seriously, and when people do not take it seriously, their are grave consequences.

Each time we receive Holy Communion, the Priest, Deacon, or Eucharistic Minister says to us "the body of Christ" or "the blood of Christ", we are to respond with an "Amen." This Amen means that "yes, I believe that is truly the body and blood of our Lord." So the next time you are at mass and you are before the precious body and blood say Amen with all your heart!

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with; help us to be good stewards of all the many gifts that you have given. Lord, when we receive you in the precious body and blood, help our unbelief, help us to be mindful of your real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Lord, change us, help us to become better servants and more faithful followers. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Readings for Friday September 10, 2010

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-27
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 84
Gospel: Luke 6:39-42

Jesus told his disciples a parable: "Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,' when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother's eye." (Lk 6:39-42)

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

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


How Far Would You Go?

Readings for Thursday September 9, 2010

Memorial of Saint Peter Clavier, priest

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 139
Gospel: Luke 6:27-38

But not all have this knowledge. There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.
Thus, through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died. When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin. (1 Cor. 8:7, 11-13)

How far would you go to help somebody? Actually, to be more exact, how far would you go to help somebody avoid sin? Would you completely change your life around just to help somebody else not sin? Would you decide to live radically all for the chance to help somebody else get to heaven? That is what Saint Paul is talking about in his letter to the Corinthians. He is talking about living radically, all in order to build up the Body of Christ. He is talking about changing our behaviors and living radically all to help our fellow brothers and sisters avoid sin. The example he uses is never eating meat again all to help his brothers not to sin. In this example we see the power of being a witness to the faith and helping to lead others down the right path, instead of joining them in the one that leads to destruction.

Today we remember Saint Peter Claver, a Spanish priest who felt the call to go to South Africa to work as a missionary. He is often known as "the apostle to the slaves", because this is the population that he often ministered to the most. St. Peter Claver spent 40 years of his life caring for the sick and the poor, and ministering to the slaves (as well as the slave owners). It was extremely hard work and work that he was often criticized and mocked for. But Saint Peter was not concerned with what other thought or how hard his work was, all he was concerned about was leading others towards God. Saint Peter most likely could have had a nice assignment in Spain working in a parish and not having to deal with the difficult conditions and situations that he did. But his concern was not for himself, he was willing to spend his life for others helping them to avoid sin. That was how far Saint Peter Claver was willing to go.

How far are we willing to go? Are we willing to change the way that we talk and act all to help lead others to heaven? Saint Paul and Saint Peter Claver show that leading others to Christ often begin with our courageous example. Saint Peter Claver once said "We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips." May God grant each of us the grace to go out courageously to "speak with our hands."

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with. Help us to be good stewards of you many gifts, and help us to never take this life for granted. Lord help our lives to be an example to others, may we always give you glory for all that you do in our lives. Lord, we love you and pray that all those whom we come in contact with can come to know this love. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings for Wednesday September 8, 2010

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

Brothers and sisters: 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 the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our mother and Queen of Heaven. We know that from the beginning that God had a special plan for Mary. She was to be born "full of grace" and to be the special one chosen as mother of our Lord. Mary was called according to God's special purpose, and today we remember Mary's special place in God's plan. Mary not only reminds us to know her son more deeply, but also reminds us that God has a special plan for each of us. We each have a purpose in this life, and God has a special plan for each of us, just as He did (and still does) for Mary. The question is, are we open to God's plan? We know that Mary certainly was. When the angel Gabriel came to her and told her that she would be the Mother of God, she didn't ask for time to think it over or say, "well if you can't find anyone else then I guess I'll do it." No, Mary said; "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38) Mary shows us that God will not force His plan upon us, it is up to us to cooperate with God and say "yes."

Mary's role in this world is the same now as it was before, bring people closer to Jesus. God gave us Mary to be both our Queen and Mother, she is always there seeking to bring us closer to her son, and ready to pray for us whenever we are in need. God never abandons His people; He does not simply say "follow me, and good luck!" He gives us the angels to help protect us from evil, He allows the saints in heaven to pray for us, He sends His Spirit to us when we open ourselves up to Him, and He gives us the Blessed Virgin Mary to bring us closer to Christ.

When you have Mary, you have Jesus. May we all grow in love and devotion to our Blessed Mother.

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

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


God Makes Men What They Are

Readings for Tuesday September 7, 2010

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 149
Gospel: Luke 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Lk. 6:12-16)

My favorite movie is Braveheart; and one of the great lines in that movie is "God makes men what they are." This is a great line because of its wisdom and truth. Greatness is not achieved by anything that we do, but rather it all comes from God. All we can do is choose whether or not we are going to cooperate with God in achieving this greatness.

In today's gospel, we read about the twelve apostles. To many this may seem like the Bible's account of the men who were listed as apostles. While this is certainly true, I think that this list calls us to reflect on something else. Jesus chose to make these men apostles, they did not attain this on their own. And we know that the ones who cooperated with God's plan for their life went on to become great men of God. Eleven chose to cooperate, one decided to do things his own way. We know that Judas Iscariot chose not to cooperate with God's plan, but rather betray his Lord. He had the same chance that the other eleven did, but by going it his own way, he did not achieve greatness, but rather destruction.

The Lord chose a bunch of nobodies to be the apostles of His Church, these were fishermen and tax collectors. They were not scholars or religious leaders, but even still He made them great. The reality is that we each have this same chance at greatness, if we are willing to trust in the Lord and cooperate with His plan. We must always remember, "God makes men what they are" ... all we can do is choose how we cooperate with God.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and praise you for our lives. Lord, help us to be good stewards of all that you give us. Lord, increase our faith so that we may say yes to you every day of our lives. Lord, you plan for us is perfect, help us never to forget this. Lord, you are our rock and our salvation, help us never to stray from your path. We pray for all of our brothers and sisters who have fallen away from the Church, may their eyes be opened and may they come back into your arms. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


New Wine

Readings for Friday September 3, 2010

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

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 37
Gospel: Luke 5:33-39

The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, "The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink." Jesus answered them, "Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days." 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.'" (Lk5:33-39)

"The old is good" ... these are the words that Jesus uses to describe someone who has been drinking the old wine who will not desire the new. Jesus knows the hearts and minds of men very well, He knows that we are not accustomed to (nor do we like) change. Many of us get very comfortable with how things are and we do not desire change ... especially when "the old is good." The scribes and pharisees feel into this same sort of complacency in their own lives. They were happy with their places and their "relationship" with God. They were set in their ways and to get them to change did not look likely. Jesus knew this about the so called religious leaders, and that is why He chose to address the scribes and pharisees as He did.

The reality is that there is a new way and a new life with Jesus. We have to be willing to let go of our comfort in this life and to follow Him. We may have really liked the "old wine" but the "new wine" is better.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for you many blessings and gifts in this life. Lord, you are our God, help us to always trust in you and to follow only you in our lives. Lord, thank you for all that we have, help us to be good stewards of all your great gifts, and help us not to take anything for granted. Lord, we pray for all those who are without a job, may they learn to rely and trust in you during this time. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Real Faith

Readings for Thursday September 2, 2010

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:18-23
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24
Gospel: Luke 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. 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. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him. (Lk 5:1-11)

Having faith and doing God's will are easy when it is convenient. But what about when it isn't? I think that this is the sign of real faith, having complete trust and still doing what the Lord wants us to, even if we "don't feel like it" or it is very inconvenient for us. Saint Peter gives us a great example of real faith in today's gospel reading. Here is Peter, he had been fishing all night, he was exhausted from pulling his nets in and out all night, and to make matters worse he didn't have anything to show for it. Then along comes Jesus and asks him to lower his nets one more time. Peter gives a great response, which is one that we all feel at times: "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." Even though he didn't understand or even feel like it, he was still obedient.

Real faith means trusting in God no matter what. It doesn't matter if we don't' understand the reasons God is placing something on our hearts or calling us to something; what matters is that we follow ... regardless of how we feel.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and for the gift of our lives. Help us to be good stewards of this life and of all the gifts that you give. Lord, increase our faith so that we may trust in you at all times, even when we don't want to. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


God's Co-worker

Readings for Wednesday September 1, 2010

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33
Gospel: Luke 4:38-33

Brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it. Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh. While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and walking according to the manner of man? Whenever someone says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apollos," are you not merely men?
What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor. For we are God's co-workers; you are God's field, God's building. (1 Cor 3:1-9)

Today's readings are all about participating with God. In the first reading, Paul talks about being God's "co-workers" with God, not being His equal, but rather working with God and cooperating with His plan. In the Gospel, we see people bringing their sick and ill to Jesus in order to be cured. They could have taken the ill anywhere, but they chose instead to work with Christ. These reading show that we have a part when it comes to God's plan; our part is to say "yes" and to cooperate with God's plan. We must always remember it is not by us that things will happen, but rather by God. As Saint Paul said; "I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth." God is the one doing the work, and one thing that we can be sure of is that if things don't go right, then we know who is to blame and who is not doing their part ... us.

The choice is simple, we can choose to work with God or against.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to abandon our pride and to humble ourselves to say yes to you always. Lord, you know what is best for us, increase our faith so that we might trust in you more deeply. Lord, you are our rock and salvation, help us to never veer from your path. We pray for all those who have fallen away from the Church, we pray that they may be brought back home into your loving arms. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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