Are You Listening?

Readings for Tuesday November 30, 2010

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

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

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

Imagine you are sitting at your desk one day or in your home and a stranger walks by and says, "Come and follow me." You would probably be thinking "yeah right, do you know how much work I have?" Or you might be thinking, "I don't even know you, and you want me to leave what I am doing and follow you?" This would be the response of most people, but it was not the response of the Apostles when Jesus walked by. They did not stop to think it over, they did not look at the pros and cons, they did not worry more about what they were doing. They simply got up and followed Christ.

The Apostles like Saint Andrew (who's feast day we celebrate today) give us a great example of true faith. As Saint Paul says in his letter to the Romans: "Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from Christ." (Rom. 10:17) The Apostles heard the calling of Christ, and they followed, thus demonstrating true faith. Which begs us to ask the all important question; are we listening for Christ in our own lives? Are we seeking out His calling for us? Are we too busy in the things that we are doing to follow the Lord?

He is here with us at all times, and if we would just take moments throughout our day to stop and listen, then we will hear Him speak. Remember, one cannot follow if they do not hear the guide.

Saint Andrew, pray for us.

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. We are sorry for all of your gifts that we take for granted and do not use for your glory. Lord, help us to always be listening for your voice in this busy, chaotic world. Lord, you are the only one who can bring us true peace and joy, may we always strive to be with you. We pray for the conversion of all those who do not believe, and who are unwilling to follow. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Only Say the Word

Readings for Monday November 29, 2010

First Reading: Isaiah 4:2-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122
Gospel: Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 8:5-11)

Does today's gospel reading sound strangely familiar? Well it should since we reference the line of the centurion soldier at each mass. At each mass, before we receive Jesus through the Eucharist, we say; "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, only say the word and I shall be healed." These words almost echo those said by the centurion to Christ in today's gospel; "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant shall be healed." One of the things I love about the Church and about the mass is all the rich tradition and wisdom that has been passed to us over the years. This example is one of many that we have today.

The centurion in today's gospel demonstrates a faith and a knowing in the power of Christ that seems to be uncommon. This is why Jesus is so amazed at his faith! The centurion understands that he has no power to save himself or his servant, but that saving grace comes from God alone. Nothing that we can ever do or say is going to make us worthy of Christ's love, we must simply humble ourselves and ask Jesus to only say the word for us to be healed and to have everlasting life. I pray that each of us can have the faith in Christ that the centurion soldier displays in today's gospel. May the Lord increase our faith and hope along this journey.

Reflection on Advent:
Since we have entered into the season of advent, a time of great excitement and expectation. I would like to share a reading that I came across recently in hopes that you will be inspired as I was:
"Dearest Brothers and Sisters: With today's first Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. The Church takes up her journey again, and invites us to reflect more intensely on the mystery of Christ, a mystery that is always new and that time cannot exhaust. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Thanks to Him, the history of humanity proceeds as a pilgrimage toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom which He inaugurated with His incarnation and victory over sin and death.
-John Paul II, Angelus, December 2, 2001


Complete Trust

Readings for Wednesday November 24, 2010

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

First Reading: Revelation 15:1-4
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98
Gospel: Luke 21:12-19

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

Imagine one day at work, your boss comes to you and says "I want you to give a presentation to the board. And even though they will not want to hear this presentation, it is still very important for the company. Oh, and by the way, I don't want you to prepare for this presentation at all." How many of you would consider turning in your resignation, or consider making up an excuse as to why you cannot make the meeting that day? This is essentially that task that the disciples were given, only it was much bigger and they were informed that their lives were at stake. When brought before the kings and governors they were not to prepare a defense, only let the Lord work through them. The Lord also tells them that by persevering through this pain and hardship, they will not be losing their lives, but they will be gaining an eternal prize in heaven and securing their lives.

The disciples teach us today about having complete trust in Jesus. For after hearing this they did not walk away from their task, but we know that they went forward, forward with Christ, trusting in Him and following Him completely ... even until their deaths. I pray that each of us in our faith journey can learn to trust in Jesus like this.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, increase our faith and hope so that we might have complete trust in you and in your ways. Lord help us to follow you no matter what, and to persevere with you through this life here on earth. Lord, we pray for all those searching for meaning in their lives, may they find it in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


It's Not the "When" That Is Important

Readings for Tuesday November 23, 2010

First Reading: Revelation 14:14-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96
Gospel: Luke 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” (Lk 21:5-11)

I wonder how many discussions have happened in the world in regards to when the world is going to end. I know that there have been many occasions when I have been in the grocery store line only to read a headline in the Weekly World News about predictions of the end of the world (that and a blurb about Elvis being spotted pumping gas at a Seven 11). There are many theories and groups that believe that they know exactly when the world is going to end and when the supposed "rapture" will happen. Every time I hear these stories or see these articles, I just smile and go about my business, because I realize that it is not the "when" that is important. It is not my concern of when Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead, or even how it is going to happen, all that I need to know is that it will happen and that my faith and works is what will matter when the time comes.

Let us not fear the horrible evils that happen in this world, for as Jesus said these things must happen first. Let us instead fear an eternity separated from God. I pray for each one of us on our journey of faith, and that one day we will all rejoice for eternity in heaven with our Lord.

Father above, we thank you for our lives and we thank you for the journey that each of us have been called to. Lord, increase our faith and hope in you, help us to not fear the evils of this world, but instead fear a life without you. Lord, we thank you for being so merciful and good to us, help us to serve you all the days of our lives and to seek your will at all times. We praise you for your glory, and we pray for all those searching for meaning in their lives. May they find it in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Monday November 22, 2010

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr

First Reading: Revelation 14:1-3, 4b-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24
Gospel: Luke 21:1-4

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

I remember learning about today's gospel reading as a boy in Sunday school. My teachers were illustrating the point of the importance of tithing, and not holding back from God. This story has certainly always stuck with me, and today I still believe that tithing is a very important thing. However, while being good stewards of our money is certainly important, there is much more going on in this reading. This poor widow illustrates an important concept which Jesus praises ... self-donation. As Jesus says in the gospel, she "has offered her whole livelihood." This widow has emptied herself for her Lord, and does not think twice about giving all that she has. This widow is not afraid to give to God and to leave her life in His hands.

As Christians, we are called to follow Christ where ever He leads us to. I think that one of the reasons that Christ praises the act of this woman was because she models this self-donation, an act that Christ models for us on the cross. To be true disciples, we are to model ourselves after Christ, and that means being willing to empty ourself for God and for others. This is our calling.

Self-donation is certainly not easy, in fact is demands a letting go of the self-centeredness that pulls at each and every one of us. But if we remember to cling to Christ, the Lamb of God; then we too can offer our whole livelihoods for our King.

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 many gifts in our lives. Lord, be at our center, dwell in our hearts, so that we may only seek you. Lord, you are our King, may we follow no one or nothing else besides you. Help us to offer our entire lives to you, and to be good stewards of the many gifts that you give us. Lord, you are our rock and our salvation, in you alone do we trust. Amen.


Keep Sacred What is God's

Readings for Friday November 19, 2010

First Reading: Revelation 10:8-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119
Gospel: Luke 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words. (Lk 19:45-48)

In today's gospel we read about Jesus going to cleanse the temple of the wickedness which was taking place there. Today's gospel teaches us about the importance of reverence for God and what belongs to Him. It is important that we take God and all that belongs to Him serious, and work to keep these things sacred at all times. This not only applies for God's house, but for all of His children as well. How many times do we sit on the couch and watch TV versus going for a walk? Or how many times do we help ourselves to that extra slice of cake versus telling our body "no" ? As it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit ..." It is important for us to keep sacred all that belongs to God, including ourselves!

Today, let us ask our Blessed Mother for her prayers and intercession so that we may keep sacred what is God's and be drawn in even closer to her son, Jesus.

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.


In the Zone

Readings for Thursday November 18, 2010

First Reading: Revelation 5:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 149
Gospel: Luke 19:41-44

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Lk. 19:41-44)

Have you ever heard anyone at work, school, or in sports say that they were "in the zone?" It is a very interesting concept to be in the zone, your focus and concentration are just so intense and you are only completely involved in what you are doing. I have had these moments at work before, and it just seems as though I am on fire and getting so much of my work done, and before I realize it my work day has just flown by. While being in the zone can be good and have its advantages at times, there is also a potential downfall to being in the zone ... you don't notice anything or anyone else around you.

I think that this is why Jesus was so saddened by the town that He came across in today's gospel reading. The people were so blinded to the truth, and they did not recognize the greatness that was among them. They did not accept Christ and His ways, and due to that they will have to face the consequences. Perhaps if they had been paying more attention and having more faith instead of being in their own "zone," they might of noticed that their savior was there present and wanting to be with them.

Unfortunately, we like the people of the past become so "in the zone" in our own lives that we do not recognize when God is calling out to us. It is also in these times that we are just so pre-occupied with ourselves that we forget about who and what are the most important things in our lives. While it is okay to be in the zone at times (especially if we are talking about our faith), let us always remember to take time each day to stop and just be with our Creator.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we pray for your will to be done in our lives and we ask for your forgiveness in the times that we stray. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Wednesday November 17, 2010

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious

First Reading: Revelation 4:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 150
Gospel: Luke 19:11-28

He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. (Lk. 19:26)

Do you ever find yourself just asking the question "why" a lot? I am sure that we all ask this question many times in our life, and especially when it comes to God, we find ourselves asking "why?" Why did God choose to give us two arms instead of four? Why did God make the sky blue? Why did my neighbor who does not act faithfully win the lottery, while all I got were more bills? Why was the master in today's gospel so unkind to the fearful servant and to the people that he now ruled?

I find that many people in life seem to want to reject faith all because they do not understand God, and because they do not have an answer for the "why's." Well, as much as I wish I did, I do not have an answer for you in regards to why things are the way that they are. I cannot even begin to attempt to understand God's ways; I realize that I am simply too small and unable to do so. I cannot tell you exactly why Jesus tells us in today's gospel that "to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." I realize that this may seem kind of harsh and while we do not fully understand the rationale behind this, we must trust that it is what is right.

I realize that we all have two choices: 1) We can go our entire lives always questioning God and His ways, or 2) We can just trust Him completely and realize that His ways are perfect. Many times we think that we know the whole situation, but in reality we only know fragments of information. God knows all, and His ways are perfect, even if we don't see it at first.

Today, may our faith be strengthened so that we can trust more. Let us be like the the servants who did not question their master or his intentions, but did as instructed. For when we do this, our reward will be a glorious place in heaven, and we too may be blessed enough to see what Saint John saw.

Father above, we thank you for your love and mercy. Bless our days, so that we might serve you with all that we are. Lord, forgive us for questioning you and your ways. Lord hep us to always trust in you no matter what. Lord we pray for all those who are seeking you and all those who have fallen away from the faith. We ask this all through your name. Amen.


Climbing Trees

Readings for Tuesday November 16, 2010

First Reading: Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 15
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk 19:1-10)

Have you ever seen your boss climbing a tree? What about Bill Gates, ever seen him at the top of a crab apple tree? We typically do not see too many wealthy or high up executives climbing trees ... come to think of it, we don't see too many adults in trees either. But today we are told of a man of power and money who at just the chance to see Jesus Christ climbed up into a tree. Why does Zacchaeus need to be up in a tree anyways? Doesn't he have everything that he needs? Why does he just need to catch a glimpse of the Savior? Because Zacchaeus knows that there is something missing in his life, he knows that Jesus does not promise a great worldly life, but an everlasting one in heaven. Zacchaeus knows this and he is determined to do whatever it takes to get a look at God.

Zacchaeus teaches us today about determination and humbling yourself for God. I pray that we can all be as active as Zacchaeus was in searching for Christ in our lives and surrendering all that we have to Him.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, strengthen us and increase our faith so that we might stand strong against the evil one and the pressures from this world. Lord let us always follow you and do what is right and what is asked of us. Lord God, we pray for all those actively searching for you, that they might come to know the peace and joy that comes from knowing you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As some of you may or may not know, my wife and I have felt a calling to start a non-profit organization that focuses on the health and well being of the entire person, as well as the health and well being of the family. Our non-profit is called the Christian Center for Youth and Family Health (CCYFH for short). The CCYFH is a non-profit organization that adheres to the teachings and guidance of the Catholic Church. Although we are still in the early stages of development, we are offering chastity education programs to youth groups and schools. We are in the process of planning a series of forums for parents to discuss various topics and issues facing parents today. In the future, we plan to offer marriage enrichment programs, family health and wellness programs, and resources for parents.

There are two reasons for this blog post. One reason is to make you aware of the opportunity to sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter called "The family Encourager." In this newsletter you will find insightful articles about marriage and family life, an update on what is happening at the CCYFH, as well as other fun facts and information. If you would like to receive this free e-newsletter please click here (you will be directed to our website where you can sign up for our email list).

The other purpose of this post is to ask for support. My wife and I hope that each of you will pray for us in this new venture. As many of you know that our youth, marriages, and the family are all under attack; and we desperately need to strengthen our youth, and support marriage and the family in any way we can. Please pray for us as our organization strives for its vision of, "Understanding that true joy and peace come from knowing, loving and serving the Lord; the CCYFH works to build: communities that invest in families, families that invest in marriages, and youth that invest in themselves."

Along with your prayers, I would also like to ask you to consider giving financially if you can and feel called to. We have a goal of raising $5,000 by the end of the year, and so far we have raised over $3,000! (63% to our goal) We have been blown away by the generosity of so many, and we hope that you will consider giving a financial gift to our organization to help get us started. We are happy and very thankful to receive any amount, whether it is $1 or $1,000 every little bit helps and will make a difference. If you would like to make a contribution, please click here (you will be directed to the "Support Us" page of our website, click on the "Chip In" button to make a contribution).

I thank each one of you for your prayers and support, and I pray that we each keep growing in our Lord, so that one day we may all come together into His Heavenly Kingdom. May the Lord bless you and your families abundantly.

God bless,

-Jimmie Davis

For more information about the CCYFH, please go to www.ccyfh.org.


Accept No Substitutes

Readings for Thursday November 11, 2010

Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, bishop

First Reading: Philemon 7-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146
Gospel: Luke 17:20-25

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”
Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” (Lk 17:20-25)

When going grocery shopping, I just simply love the "off brands." Not only do they save you a lot of money, but they also taste just as good. Who needs "honey nut Cheerios" when you can have "honey nut toasted oats?" Who needs the fancy packaging of "wonder bread" when you can choose from a wide assortment of the "Kroger brand breads?" Who needs "poptarts" when you can have "toaster treats?"

While "off brands"might work out great for our food or household items, we must accept no substitutes for our faith and who we choose to follow. Jesus warns us today about how the disciples will not see His coming in His glory, but that they need to be wary because others will say "Look, look, there He is!" or "Look, look, He is over there!" Jesus is warning them and us to not be fooled into following a false promise and a lie. There will be many distractions and many people trying to veer us off the path that God has laid for us. We must be strong in our faith, and pray for the strength and the will to stay the course, to not veer, and to be steadfast in our journey. If we follow Christ first, and only Christ, then we will be blessed enough to see Him in His glory in heaven.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Help give us the strength this day Lord to follow you with a strong faith and hope, loving you first and all others that you put into our lives. Lord God, we pray for all those struggling in their faith journey and all those seeking you in their lives. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Wednesday November 10, 2010

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

First Reading: Titus 3:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19

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

Mercy. Next to love, this is one of God's greatest gifts to us. He does not have to be merciful to us; He wants to because of His great love and desire to have all of His children with Him. How often do we recognize God's great mercy in our lives. How many of us take time to just stop and thank Him for everything, from the smallest of things like the air we breathe to the big things like miracles in our lives? Most of this time we just go about our day, letting so much time go in between our recognizing and thanking God for everything, especially His mercy. In the gospel today, we read of the healing of the ten lepers. When the ten lepers were cleansed, only one came back to thank Jesus for His mercy and healing. The rest did not seem to recognize the great act of love and mercy that took place. This leads us to the question, when God is merciful in your life, do you recognize it? Do you take time to stop and thank Him for all that He has done? Do you thank Him often for His amazing love? The first thing that we must do is recognize that God is working in our lives. We must take time to reflect on His love and mercy in our own lives; once we recognize His works, then we can truly be thankful for all that He does.

Today, reflect on the words by Saint Paul in his letter to Titus.
But when the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
he saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life. (Ti. 3:4-7)

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for your great love and mercy in our lives. Lord, you have given each of us so much, much more than we deserve, please help us to always have gratitude in our hearts and to keep mindful of you at all times. Lord, fill us with your love, help us to be you out in this world. May we have the courage and the perseverance to live a life of faith, now and always. Amen.


Temple of the Holy Spirit

Readings for Tuesday November 9, 2010

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Increase Our Faith

Readings for Monday November 8, 2010

First Reading: Titus 1:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24
Gospel: Luke 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Lk. 17:1-6)

In today's gospel, Jesus makes it clear to His disciples (and us) that we are to live a life avoiding sin and a life forgiving others. Certainly not an easy task, especially since it is much easier to give in to sin, and to hold grudges instead of forgiving. Jesus calls us to be more when following Him. It is certainly no wonder the disciples asked for Christ to "increase their faith" upon hearing these instructions. They knew that they would need a great faith in order to follow Christ, just as we all do.

We are called to such a higher purpose when we surrender ourselves to our Lord and Savior. When we surrender our lives to Him, we say "yes Lord, yes to your will and to your way, I will serve you with all my heart, mind, and strength." To serve the Lord with all that we have and all that we are, certainly takes a great faith. Let us ask our Lord, the giver of life, today and always, please increase our faith so that we might give our lives to Him ... as He did for us.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to follow you as good stewards of this life, as faithful and obedient sons and daughters. Lord, increase our faith so that we may not veer or waiver when doing your will. Lord, help us to have courage and strength through all that this life confronts us with. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Readings for Friday November 5, 2010

First Reading: Philippians 3:17-4:1
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122
Gospel: Luke 16:1-8

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

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and for all that you do. Lord, you are our God and we are your people, help to never veer from your way. We pray for all marriages and families, that they can seek your will and be centered around you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lost Sheep

Readings for Thursday November 4, 2010

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop

First Reading: Philippians 3:3-8a
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105
Gospel: Luke 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus addressed this parable to them. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. (Lk 15:1-7)

Today we hear the parable of the lost sheep and the great joy over finding the lost. Jesus tells those listening how much joy there will be in heaven over one sinner repenting than many other righteous people who do not need to repent. I am always blown away by this parable, because the shepherd leaves 99 other sheep to go look for one lost one. It is truly amazing that this is the same attitude of God. When we are lost, He seeks us out and carries us back when we are found. He does not say; "well one won't make a difference, I have 99 others." God doesn't give up on us, He loves us more than we can ever know, and when we are lost in this world, He wants us to be found.

From this parable I think often about how much we give up on other people in our lives. When people seem to veer we just think, "oh well, they are lost now, no use going to help or trying to find them." Many times we view helping others and helping to find others as an inconvenience. Thank goodness that God does not think or act this way. When we are lost, He help us along and is continuously allowing grace to flow in our lives so that we can be found. Of course, we do have to cooperate with that grace. And when those who are lost are found, we know that there will be great rejoicing in heaven!

Two things that I hope you will join me in thinking about today: 1) Am I more likely to give up on someone when they are lost? or am I more likely to go out and find them? 2) Where does your confidence lie, in Christ or in yourself?

Father above we thank you for the gift of this day. Guide us in all that we do, and glory be to you for all that we have and all that we are. Lord we pray for all those who are lost in this world and who do not know your love. May they be brought to the joy and peace that can only be found in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Without Grumbling or Questioning

Readings for Wednesday November 3, 2010

First Reading: Philippians 2:12-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27
Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

Let's face it, life is hard, and there are so many different types of situations that are hard for us to understand as Christians. We have a hard time figuring out how all the joys and pains of life are a part of God's plan. I know that I feel this way at times, but I have learned to trust God, no matter how difficult things may be. I have also found a lot of comfort, and gained valuable perspective from today's reading. In today's gospel Jesus talks of how everything in this world must come second to God, even our own family! To be a follower of Jesus we are asked to take up our crosses and follow Him where ever He leads. I have no doubts that throughout the years ahead we are going to be asked to carry many more crosses for our Saviour; and even though we may not always understand, we need to learn to just trust without questioning. Let us look to carry any such hardships and challenges for the glory of our Lord. Christ carried a cross of great magnitude, all for love of us. May we pick up any and all crosses that we are called to, for love of Him.

Today, let us reflect on some of today's words of Saint Paul to the Philippians:
For God is the one who, for his good purpose,
works in you both to desire and to work.
Do everything without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life,
so that my boast for the day of Christ may be
that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Phil. 2:13-16)
Lord God, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord help us to put all of our trust into you and your plan for our lives, the lives of others, our nation, and our world. Lord God, be with all our elected leaders this day, may they come to follow you and your will. Lord, we pray for your forgiveness for any judgement that we have thought. Lord, increase our faith, hope, and love of you and of others. We ask this all as humble servants of Christ. Amen.


Coming Home

Readings for Tuesday November 2, 2010

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (Souls)

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

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

I remember during my time in college, that one of the things that I greatly enjoyed was coming home. It was always such a great feeling to come home to things and people that I had grown up with. I would say that the home cooked meals were certainly an added bonus. There is always something special about coming home.

It is this feeling of coming home that should give each of us hope. In today's gospel, Jesus assures us that all who come to Him will be accepted. He tells us that the will of the Father is for "all that see and believe in the Son may have eternal life, and will be raised on the last day." It is this promise of eternal life, of being welcomed into Heaven, our new home. This promise should drive each of us, it should give us faith and hope that motivate us to sacrifice for the Lord while here on earth. This promise of eternal life is not achieved by some worldly means, but by faith in Christ. If we are willing to follow Him and to do the Father's will, then we granted acceptance into heaven, into our home.

God wants each of His children home with Him, if we choose to believe and follow, then we can be blessed enough to go home.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for preparing a way for us, thank you for your Son's death and life, and for saving us from sin and death. Lord, help us to never leave your loving arms and to always seek your will in our lives. Lord, we pray for all the poor souls in purgatory and for all those who have gone before us. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


How to Become a Saint

Readings for Monday November 1, 2010

Solemnity of All Saints

First Readings: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24
Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-3
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

How do you become a Saint? Do you have to receive certain revelations? Do you have to work so many acts of charity? Perhaps it is the number of prayers you do a day. While there may be many different thoughts on what makes a Saint, the fact is that all Saints in heaven had one thing in common during their earthly life ... they chose to follow Christ. It is really that simple, the way to become a Saint is to follow Christ. This means allowing Him to lead. It means picking up your cross every day and following Him. Following Him means that we turn away from sin and worldly things and choose His way. It means trusting, even though you don't know what is ahead.

When it comes to being a Saint, there is no complex answer or twelve step program to becoming a Saint, it is really a simple answer: follow Christ! But while the answer is simple, we all know that the difficulty is in actually doing it. It is not easy to live a life following Christ, it is demanding, full of sacrifice, and just plain hard. But always keep in mind that in the end, it will be worth it. In striving for Sainthood in our own lives, let us always remember and reflect on the Beatitudes, as told by Jesus in today's gospel reading:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.” (Matt. 5:3-12a)
All Saints and Angels in Heaven, pray for us as we strive to follow Christ in our own lives!

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. Lord, pour out your grace on us as we strive to become Saints for your glory. Lord, you are the way, the truth, and the life, help us to never veer from your perfect path. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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