Agent of Hope

Readings for Monday January 31, 2011

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest

First Reading: Hebrews 11:32-40
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31
Gospel: Mark 5:1-20

And people came out to see what had happened. As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear. Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine. Then they began to beg him to leave their district. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed. (Mk 5:14-20)

In today's gospel we see Jesus cures a man who was possessed by a demon. Jesus came, and sent the demon away into the swine, and when everyone came out to see what was happening, they saw the man who was once possessed and unfit for society sitting perfectly still and in his right mind. We see once again Jesus bringing healing to someone in need, bringing hope to those who had none. It is no wonder that they man wanted to stay with the one who brought hope into his life.

Today, we also celebrate the feast day of Saint John Bosco, someone who followed Jesus' example of bringing hope into others life. John Bosco spent a great deal of his time working with young boys, many of whom people thought unfit for society ... much like the man in today's gospel. But Saint John Bosco, didn't see an unruly boy, he saw a child of God. That is why John Bosco worked tirelessly as an agent of hope, bringing the love of Christ and the hope that can only be found in Him to these boys who were so desperately in need of hope in their life.

We too must accept this calling of being "agents of hope" in this world. We were given a call to spread the gospel message throughout this world, that means bringing the hope of Christ to all those who cross our path. We, like Saint John Bosco, can be agents of hope in this world, all it takes is a simple "yes" to the Lord.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we praise you and thank you for all that you have blessed us with. Help us to be good stewards of all that you put in our lives, help us to have a spirit of confidence to share the hope that only you can bring into this world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


A Simple, Little Thing

Readings for Friday January 30, 2011

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church

First Reading: Hebrews 10:32-39
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 37
Gospel: Mark 4:26-34

“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” (Mk 4:30-32)

In today's gospel, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. When it starts out it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it is fully grown it is one of the largest of all the trees. We are also reminded that this does not happen by anything that the person planting it does, it grows by its own accord.

Like the Kingdom of God, it starts off small, and then grows into something very big. We must ask ourselves too if we have Jesus in us, are we saying yes to Him and allowing Him to grow in us? Jesus tells us that some of the littlest and simplest things can turn into great and mighty things. Imagine how our lives can change by letting Christ work in us. A little, simple yes to God can mean amazing things for us and the world. Mary's humble yes brought Christ into our world in the flesh. The yes of Christ led to His death, crucifixion, and resurrection, and ultimately the forgiveness of our sins. The yes by us can lead to an eternity in heaven with God.
Brothers and sisters, may we always be among those who say yes to God, and may this simple little things turn into something mighty and amazing. Let us remember today's words by Saint Paul; "We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life."

Come, Holy Spirit
Come, holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful. In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right and always rejoice in your consolation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Stand Together

Readings for Thursday January 27, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 10:19-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24
Gospel: Mark 4:21-25

Brothers and sisters: Since through the Blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,” let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Heb. 10:19-25)

In high school, one of my projects was to make a miniature bridge that needed to withstand a lot of weight. Our teacher showed us that the wood that we were using was not very strong each piece by itself, in fact it could be easily broken. But when they were put together and arranged in good patterns, they were able to withstand a great deal of weight and pressure.

I believe that it is because of this principle that the author of Hebrews tells us that "we should not stay away from the assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another." We must remember that we are the bod of Christ, and when all parts of the body are strong and working right, then the body is strong; but when parts of missing or weak, then the body hurts. We must remember that our actions do not just affect us, but the entire body. This is why we must heed these words and "consider how to rouse one another to love and good works."

When we stand by ourselves, we are weak and can be broken. When we stand together with Christ, nothing can break us.

Father above, we thank you for this day. We thank you for the many blessings and gifts that you bestow on us ever day. Lord, we are your people may we live for you all of our days, and serve you without growing weary. Lord, we pray for all those who are suffering in this world and all those who are in need of healing. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Good Soil

Readings for Wednesday January 26, 2011

Memorial of Saint Timothy and Saint Titus, bishops

First Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96
Gospel: Mark 4:1-20

“Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” (Mk 4:3-9)

Today Jesus tells us the parable of the seed sower. He describes how some seeds fell on the path and were eaten up, others fell on the rocky ground but were scorched by the sun because of lack of root. Some also fell amongst the thorns and could not grow, and the last seeds fell on good soil and produced a great deal of good fruit. I pray that we all can embrace God's love and mercy to stay in the "good soil" where we can thrive in this life, instead of just survive.

Throughout history, we have many great examples of men and women who have sought to do God's will and have surrendered to Him. Many of these men and women would be considered as being brought up in the "good soil" and produced much fruit in their lives. Today we remember and honor two of these great men, Saint Timothy and Saint Titus. Both of these men were bishops in the early Church, and each one was very dear to Saint Paul. It is clear from his opening letters to them that they were men of faith, men who could be trusted to spread the good news to all they came into contact with; men who were not afraid to help others be in the "good soil" and live fruitful lives. We should look follow their example of serving God and others very closely, so that our lives may too produce good fruit.

May we all continue to seek God with our hearts and to persevere through the temptations of this world. Saints Timothy and Titus, pray for us!

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. May we seek to strive and do your will each day in our lives. Lord, protect us from this world, and strengthen us in this fight for truth that we are in. Lord, we pray for all those who are seeking you, may they be brought to your love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Friday January 21, 2011

Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr

First Reading: Hebrews 8:6-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 85
Gospel: Mark 3:13-19

For if that first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second one. But he finds fault with them and says: Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they did not stand by my covenant and I ignored them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know me, from least to greatest. For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more. (Heb. 8:7-12)

In the old testament, God made several covenants with His people Israel. In each of these covenants, God made promises to the people if the people would be faithful and keep His commandments. Unfortunately, even with God's extensive patience, the people would not stay faithful. A covenant is an agreement between two people or two groups. In a covenant, each group agrees to abide by certain terms and to hold up their end of the deal. Being in a covenant involves an active part from both groups, it means that you have to be involved and make good on your part. God kept His part of the covenant, but the people did not.

In today's first reading Saint Paul tells us too that we are in covenant with the Lord. We are in the new and better covenant which is through Christ our Lord. We can see that in the gospel of Mark today that Jesus picks each of His disciples and asks them to follow Him. Like the disciples, we are also called ... we are called into covenant with our Lord. Christ came to offer us everlasting life, He calls us into this covenant and He tells us that if we are willing to follow Him and to let "the law be written on our hearts" that we can one day join Him in heaven. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!

Remember, God is calling each of us into covenant with Him, but this is not merely a simple contract; this is a promise made by us and God, and it requires active participation and complete surrender to Him. Remember, God will keep up His end, will we keep up ours?

"Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me." And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." (Luke 22:19-20)

Father thank you for this day. Give us the strength and courage to serve you this day and all days. Lord we pray for all lives in our world, both born and unborn, and pray that our world might all come to value life. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Dangers of Pride

Readings for Wednesday January 19, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 110
Gospel: Mark 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death. (Mk 3:1-6)

Isn't it just amazing what pride can do? Pride can lead us into being so wrapped up in only ourselves that we are blinded by anything that is good. Take today's gospel for example; the pharisees and scribes stood around and watched Jesus closely. Why? To see a miracle happen? To witness a great act of compassion and mercy? No, they watched so that they could satisfy their pride, so that they could have something to hold against Him. They were so self centered that they couldn't see anything else.

Pride can lead us also to be blinded to God's love and mercy. It is something that prevents us from being the men and women that we were truly created to be. Giving in to our pride may make us feel good for a moment, but those moments quickly pass and we never experience that true joy and peace that can only come with love and humility. You see, love and humility are the antidotes to pride. When we are struggling with pride in our lives, that is when we should pray for an increase in the virtues of love and humility. These virtues are the way of God, the ways that will open our eyes and soften our hearts. To see a great example of someone who so perfectly displayed the virtues of love and humility, let us look to Mary, our Blessed Mother. Her earthly life was grounded in these two virtues, and no one on earth more perfectly displayed them more than her. Let us pray that we too can embody these great virtues as she did, and that Mary will lead us closer to her Son, who is love.

Mother Mary, pray for us!

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.



Readings for Tuesday January 18, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 6:10-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 111
Gospel: Mark 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” (Mk 2:23-28)

Pessimists, "nay-sayers", and "negative nancies." These are the people who always point out your faults, only look at what you do wrong, and look at the glass as being "half empty." I am sure that these words are making each of us think of people in our lives who fit this description. We see in today's gospel that Jesus and His disciples had their own fair share of pessimists and negative nancies. It was the sabbath, and the disciples of Jesus began picking the heads of grain in order to get some food and nourishment. Of course, since it was unlawful to work on the sabbath, the pharisees jumped all over Jesus and His disciples. The scribes and pharisees took every opportunity to point out what Jesus was doing wrong and to try to trap Him in something that He said. They were always trying to find fault in Him, instead of opening their eyes to what He was offering and opening their ears to what He was saying.

The disciples however, took a different approach. They listened to Jesus, they saw that He offered something more, even if they didn't fully understand it, something in their hearts screamed "follow Him!" Even though they had the "nay-sayers" all around them, they clung to their master who gave them comfort and protection. The disciples chose wisely when they chose to follow Christ, even on the sabbath.

While it is easy for us to judge the pharisees in this reading as being blind to who Jesus was and what He offered, perhaps we should take this example as a time to look at ourselves. How often are we blind to Jesus in our own lives? How often to we let rules or responsibilities distract us away from where our Saviour is leading us? How often do we succumb to the pressure of the pessimists and "nay-sayers" in our lives who seek make us doubt and to pull us away from Christ?

May we be granted ears that are deaf to the world, and open to God.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. We thank you and give you praise for your love and mercy. Lord, may we not fear this world, but only fear a life without you. Give us the strength and courage to persevere in this life, so that we may better serve you in this world. Lord, we pray for our culture, we pray that all might value life and human dignity in our world. we ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Heart of Justice

Readings for Monday January 17, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 5:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 110
Gospel: Mark 2:18-22

Today, I would like to do something a little different. Today, I will not be offering a reflection on today's mass readings (but we should all still be reading and reflecting on these). Today, I would like to talk offering some things for us all to think and reflect on this day. Every year, on the third Monday in January, we remember and honor a great American leader in the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Now although I was never alive during his time, I understand the impact that this man had in bringing an end to the segregation between blacks and whites that consumed our country at one time. Dr. King's message was one of truth, equality, and virtue. Among those virtues that he spoke of was the virtue of justice. In his "I have a dream speech," Dr. King shares these hopes that he has for the future of this country:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today."

In this speech, Dr. King vividly describes the hope that he has for the nation and for the world. He knows that one of the ways in which that this could happen is by everyone having a heart of justice. I have no doubts that because of his faith, Dr. King was inspired by the life and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to bring justice to all those in need of love and mercy.

Today, let us reflect on what the Church teaches about the virtue of justice, and may we all be granted a heart of justice in our lives.

Catechism 1807: "Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called 'virtue of religion.' Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good..."

Father in heave, may we all be given a heart of justice towards you and our neighbor. Amen.


See the Good

Readings for Friday January 14, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 4:1-5, 11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 78
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” –he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” (Mk. 2:1-12)

One of our unfortunate human tendencies is to rain on someone elses parade. Many times when something good happens, our "negative nancy" mode kicks in (sorry to all those named nancy, it is just a phrase). We start to see the glass half empty, and start seeing the flaws in things, rather than rejoicing in the positive. This is especially true in our family relationships. Instead of seeing the joy in something, we cannot help but see the negative. This seemed to be the case with the scribes and pharisees in today's gospel. Instead of glorifying God and praising Him for a sinner being forgiven, they start questioning Jesus' authority. I mean, talk about raining on this man's parade! Here this paralytic is forgiven of his sins, which he probably didn't even worry about being paralyzed after hearing that, he was probably overjoyed that Jesus just healed his soul; unfortunately the scribes and pharisees didn't think that way.

Negativity is just something that comes naturally for us, many times it can be a good thing because it keeps us cautious and prudent; but it can also overtake us. Instead of first seeing the negative, we need to step back and look for the positive in every situation. Sometimes it can take longer to find, but it is there. Instead of sitting back and being negative like the scribes and pharisees, we need to move past our own negative thoughts and thank and praise God for all of His mighty works!

God, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to shed the pessimism and negativity that often envelopes us. Help us to have hearts that are full of love and gratitude for all that you do and all that you bless us with. Lord, help us to step back and let you be Lord of our life. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


God, Let Your Will Be Done

Readings for Thursday January 13, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 3:7-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95
Gospel: Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere. (Mk:1:40-45)

In today's first reading from the book of Hebrews, we are told of the hardness of heart that the early Israelites in the desert had with God and Moses after their flight from Egypt. It is written that they continuously provoked the Lord and hardened their hearts to Him when during this trial in the desert. Because of their provoking and hardened hearts, that generation of stubborn people was not permitted to enter the land in which they were promised.

in today's gospel, we read about the leper, who does not ask Christ to prove that He is the son of God or demand to heal him. He comes to Jesus and submits to His will and says "If you wish, you can make me clean." The leper in today's gospel teaches us about having an open heart to God and to surrendering ourselves to Him. He did not come to Jesus making demands, asking for proof of power, or even complaining of his illness. No, this man brought himself before the Lord, and said "let your will be done."

I believe that many times our hearts do become hardened to the Lord because we tend to think like the early Israelites did, and focus too much on what we want and our own discomfort, instead of what the Lord has planned for us. I pray that we can all have open hearts to God's will and that we can all humble ourselves as the leper did today and just say to God, "let your will be done."

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to have open hearts to you and to your will in our lives. Lord, we thank you for all that we are and all that we have in this life. Lord, help us to follow you more closely in our life and to surrender to you each and every day, so that we might come to know your love more deeply. We pray for all those who are seeking you in their lives, may their hearts be softened to your light. we ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


He Knows Us

Readings for Wednesday January 12, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39

Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. (Heb. 2:14-18)

During my freshman year of college, I was taking a writing class. For the first time in my academic career, I began getting bad grades on my writing assignments. I was completely taken by surprise, and I really didn't know what to do. Then I learned that there was a writing center on campus that would look over your papers and help you with your mistakes. Well, I swallowed my pride and went there for a few sessions. Wouldn't you know it that by going there, my writing began to improve. I finished out the class with an A-, of which I am still very proud of, and thankful for the teacher who challenged me during this time.

When we are struggling in life with an issue, we tend to go see an expert in the field, sort of like a tutor. We need these people to help teach us what we are doing wrong, what it is that we need to work on and how we can turn things around. It is certainly not easy for us to do this, because it means humbling ourselves and admitting that we do not know something, but the end result is something that we can all be very proud of. In the letter to the Hebrews today, we are reminded; "Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested." Jesus is the only human in history to be tested during many trials and never sin in His life. To me that makes Him the expert. I think that we need to turn to Him at all times, especially when we are being tested, because He can and will help get us through these trials. We may think that certain crosses are too heavy, or simply are impossible for one person to bear; but remember, "nothing shall be impossible with God."

Today's gospel shows us that Jesus knows first hand of our daily struggles, and He knows how to cure them. He knows that words that we need taught and He knows the demons that tempt us. Jesus knows us. He knows you and me. May we all have the courage and strength to humble ourselves and lay ourselves down at His feet and ask for His help and mercy.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day and for all that you give. Lord, give us the strength to persevere through this life and for the guidance in how you wish us to live. Lord, we pray that your will be done in our lives, and not that of our own. We pray for all those struggling with illness and demons in their own lives, and pray that your mercy and grace may come upon them. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


His Authority

Readings for Tuesday January 11, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 2:5-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 8
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee. (Mk 1:21-28)

In Saint Paul's letter to the Hebrew's, Paul describes the authority of Jesus: "You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, subjecting all things under his feet." In today's gospel reading, we are also told of how when Jesus spoke to the people, He spoke as with authority. The people of that time could tell that there was something different about Jesus, not even the scribes and priests spoke with the type of authority that He had.

It is important for us always to remember that while Jesus did humble Himself and bring Himself down to share in our existence, He still is God in the flesh. Jesus came with authority to preach, teach, and heal. He continues on in our lives with this same power and authority. We would be wise to listen to our Mother Mary when she says, "do whatever He tells you."

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are 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 a world without end. Amen.


Follow Him

Readings for Monday January 10, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 1:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 97
Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him. (Mk 1:14-20)

In today's gospel reading we are told of the calling of four of Jesus' twelve disciples; Simon, Andrew, James and John. With each of these men Jesus tells them to follow Him, and He will make them "fishers of men." These men were simply going about their daily routine when Jesus came along and asked them to stop what they are doing and follow Him. It must have taken great courage and trust for these men to leave their normal lives which they knew and are were accustomed to. It says in the gospel that these men "left their nets ... left their father ... and followed Him." It doesn't say that they stopped to say goodbye, or had a going away party, or took time out to tie up loose ends; no, these first disciples left everything they knew to follow the unknown places where Jesus would lead them.

Imagine that you are at work one day or on a weekend vacation with family; and all of a sudden Jesus shows up asking you to leave it all behind and follow Him. How would you respond? Would you drop everything and follow Him, or would you be questioning whether He has the right name and address? While nothing like this scenario may happen to us, it is clear from this reading that we all must leave things behind to follow Christ. If we are to fully serve Christ, then we must be willing to abandon the things of this world so that nothing gets in the way of us following Him. For Simon and Andrew it was fishing; for someone else it may be dropping TV, for another person it may be leaving behind long hours at work, and for another person it may be letting go of some vice.

For each of us, Jesus is calling, and He is asking us to drop the things that are keeping us tied down to this world and follow Him. I pray that we all can find the courage and trust to drop what we are doing and to follow our Lord and Savior.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we pray for your blessing this day so that we might abandon our plans and be open to your will in our lives. Lord, give us to courage and strength that we need to follow you in our lives. Lord, increase our faith so that we might place all of our trust in you and not in other people and things. Lord, we pray for all of those who are tied down by things of this world, may they be brought to the peace and freedom that you offer. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen


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