Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

When you come in to visit me,
who asks these things of you?
Trample my courts no more!
Bring no more worthless offerings;
your incense is loathsome to me.
New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies,
octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.
Your new moons and festivals I detest;
they weigh me down, I tire of the load.
When you spread out your hands,
I close my eyes to you;
Though you pray the more,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. 

— Isaiah 1:10-17

The peace of the Lord be with you. Today the reading from Isaiah reminds us of some very important points. Isaiah is addressing the people and reminding them that God has seen both their actions and their motivations. As you can tell from the words, God is not pleased with what he has observed. God knows when we are doing something intentionally with devotion versus the times when we are going through the motions. God makes it clear that what really pleases him is when we show our love for him by taking care of those who are most vulnerable, who are most in need of our assistance.

As difficult as it may be to hear, these half measures and the neglect of the most vulnerable are very offensive to God. For me, these words are painful to hear; but they are helpful because at times I get tired, I get distracted, I get discouraged — and these things affect my motivations and intentions.

Heavenly Father thank you for your instruction today, help me to recognize when I’m not at my best and to ask for your help. May you be glorified and praised by all our motivations, intentions, and actions. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, July 13, 2020

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Once a third-grade teacher told her class,

Today we will be discovering where objects come from. 

She then held up a piece of paper and asked,

Where does paper come from?

Immediately a girl answered,

Paper comes from fibers that are extracted from a tree and converted to pulp, which is then combined with water, flattened, dried, and cut into sheets.

The teacher said,

Very good!

Next the teacher held up an eraser and asked,

Where does an eraser come from?

A young boy proudly said,

Erasers are made from either natural or synthetic rubber. 

The teacher said,


Then the teacher held up an apple that a student had given her that day and asked,

Where does an apple come from? 

All of the students yelled out in unison,

From the grocery store!

What a beautiful Gospel from Matthew! We all are aware that as we journey as disciples of Jesus, we will have so many opportunities to have great influence on many people. This can be from our good example or from our sinfulness. What we do with our sinfulness also can have a great influence on others! Strive to plant the seeds of Christ by your daily actions! If you do so, you may never know the goodness you plant, but as Jesus says it will multiply 30, 60, or even 100 times!

I know, it is another short homily!  

Forgive me!

Readings for Sunday, July 12, 2020

Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure my commands,
Turning your ear to wisdom,
inclining your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you call to intelligence,
and to understanding raise your voice;
If you seek her like silver, 
and like hidden treasures search her out:

Then will you understand the fear of the LORD;
the knowledge of God you will find;
For the LORD gives wisdom,
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He has counsel in store for the upright,
he is the shield of those who walk honestly,
Guarding the paths of justice,
protecting the way of his pious ones.

Then you will understand rectitude and justice,
honesty, every good path.

— Proverbs 2:1-9

The peace of the Lord be with you. Today is the feast day of Saint Benedict, founder and Abbot of the Benedictine religious order. Bishop Barron says that that Benedict was very important in preserving and bringing Christianity back to its roots in Europe, which in turn, had a significant impact on Christianity throughout the world. It is said that Saint Benedict had a strong calling from his early youth, and even though he was born into a wealthy family, he rejected worldly comforts in order to seek God without distraction.

The reading from Proverbs today reminds us of the importance of taking time for contemplation and listening for the voice of the triune God. These times of quiet and reflection lead us more deeply into the mystery of God, help us to properly order our lives, and assist us in becoming agents for justice. The lives of the Saints remind us of the varied ways that God has called people over the course of salvation history and they inspire us to seek out the unique mission that God has intended for each of us.

May the intercession of Saint Benedict and the communion of Saints strengthen us on our journey. In  the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Saturday, July 11, 2020

Free today! Watch St. Benedict: The Monk
(Part of Catholicism: The Pivotal Players series, from Word on Fire with Bishop Barron.)

Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his Apostles:

Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.

—Matthew 10:16-23

The peace of the Lord be with you. The words of the Gospel today are chilling and alarming. Jesus is warning his disciples about the trials they will face as his followers. Even today there are those followers who face persecution and death for living out their faith. Most of us will not have to face threats of this magnitude but we will have challenges. We have challenges now and in terms of Covid-19 there does not seem to be an end on the immediate horizon. Jesus reminds us to endure to the end, to rely on his strength and his grace.

Today may God grant us the grace to live each moment as it comes mindful that we have him and each other. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, July 10, 2020

Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his Apostles:

As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words–
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.

— Matthew 10:7-15

The peace of the Lord be with you. To be a follower of Jesus means to be a people who will be sent. We see this tradition beginning today in our Gospel from Matthew as Jesus sends his disciples to start gathering back the lost tribes of Israel. Jesus gives us a list of tasks we are to address as we do his work. We are to remind others that God and his kingdom are present now. We are to offer healing and consolation in Jesus name. We are to be an example of being cared for by God and demonstrate that we trust God is providing for us. We are called to offer prayers and seek God’s blessing. We are called to accept that not everyone will be open to this good news and to leave these situations in God’s hands.

So as we begin this new day let us pray for the graces to carry out our mission through our thoughts, actions, and if need be, our words. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,

The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.

— Matthew 9:32-38

The peace of the Lord be with you. Both the old testament reading from Hosea and our gospel reading from Matthew today remind us of the consequences that happen when disorder enters our lives. By disorder I mean simply when we fail to recognize the natural order of people, places, and things.

Today Jesus’s heart is moved with pity because the people have lost sight of the fact that God walks with them. For them, and just like us, when we forget that God is with us, the weight and the burdens of the world grind us into the earth.

Lord help us to be wise and teachable so that our lives are ordered according to your will and we can be free from the burdens of daily life. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Thus says the LORD:
I will allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.

On that day, says the LORD,
She shall call me “My husband,”
and never again “My baal.”

I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice,
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD.

— Hosea 2:16, 17c-18, 21-22

The peace of the Lord be with you. As I read these words from Hosea I was touched by their tenderness. The words reminded me of the emotions that often fill the hearts of lovers who are filled with a longing for each other and that sense of peace that fills them when they have finally found what they felt had been missing from their lives.

These words reflect the longing and love that God has for us. God so wants for us to be in right relationship to Him. God so wants to take care and nurture us. God so longs to shower us with His mercy. What then, keeps us from accepting this invitation, this gift? 

Dear Heavenly Father, help us accept your loving invitation. Please protect us from the distractions and the feelings of inadequacy that may repel us from growing closer to you. Thank you for never giving up on us. For it is only in you that we will find what we have been seeking. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, July 6, 2020

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Did you notice a word that was in the 1st reading that was also in the Gospel? The word was Meek. What does ‘Meek’ mean? Meek is from the Greek language Praotes meaning “Not easily provoked.” It is the virtue between the extremes of excessive anger and a complete lack of it; the perfect balance point where the control and direction of one’s temper displays moral character and power. Meekness is not weakness, but power fully controlled. Think about the power of fire — uncontrolled it burns down a house, but a controlled fire properly heats a house.

In the Gospel we hear of the word Yoke. Jesus knowing the trade of carpentry, would have probably measured and fitted many yokes for animals to work together. The yoke is a symbol of discipleship. If we are to be disciples, we have no choice but to be ‘Yoked’ up with Jesus. Remember what he says,

come to me, all of you who find life burdensome.

He wants us to give him everything that is weighing us down. He wants to take on what we can’t do ourselves. Why? Because he knows that if we are supposed to take care of our brothers and sisters, then our loads need to be lightened first. This is why both prayer and relationship go hand-in-hand.

A joke, written by Sheldon Levitas: 

Believe it or not, I just received a check from Medicare for all of one cent.  Why, I don’t know, but concerned that some arcane regulation — complete with penalty — would apply for not cashing a government check, I took it to the bank. The teller looked at the amount, checked the endorsement and then asked, “How would you like this, heads or tails?”

Things in our world today really don’t have to make much sense, for them not to be real. Yes, as disciples we are called to be Meek, and we are expected to give over to Jesus, what we simply can’t handle on our own, but most especially we have to be willing to be Yoked up with Jesus, knowing that he will steer us onto a straight path, and also give us the added strength to continue to work in the Kingdom of God!

Readings for Sunday, July 5, 2020

Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.

The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven. 

The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.

The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

— Psalm 85

The peace of the Lord be with you. Happy Independence Day! Today we celebrate the freedoms of our country and remember the service of those who worked make our country a living example of those ideals. As a nation, we continue to work toward the ideals of justice for all and equal opportunity for each individual to enjoy security and prosperity.

The psalm today tells us how to achieve these ideals. First and foremost is to be in awe of the greatness of God to acknowledge Him as our supreme leader. Second, to let God’s kindness, truth, peace, and justice commingle so we may be guided by the saving graces of our God. With the combined power of those ingredients we will experience the lasting and eternal peace of our triune God.

So today as we celebrate these freedoms, let us also recommit ourselves to being advocates for our most vulnerable peoples, to being a voice for those who do not seem to be heard, and may we strive to be an instrument of peace for all peoples. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Saturday, July 4, 2020

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him,

We have seen the Lord.

But Thomas said to them,

Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said,

Peace be with you.

Then he said to Thomas,

Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.

Thomas answered and said to him,

My Lord and my God!

Jesus said to him,

Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.

— John 20:24-29

The peace of the Lord be with you. On this feast of Saint Thomas, the Gospel reading reminds us how how much God longs for us to believe. Jesus could have very easily gotten offended or rebuked Thomas for his doubt, but instead, he accepts his doubts and encourages him to face them so his doubt can be transformed into belief.

In my own journey with Jesus, I too become filled with doubt at times as find myself falling prey to my own weaknesses time and time again. At these moments Jesus reminds me there no sin of mine that is greater than his love for me. The same is true for you as well. These moments of weakness, though painful, remind me how much I need Him, how much I need a savior.

Thank you Heavenly Father for giving us Saint Thomas to remind us never to loose hope and to accept your grace as the light that leads us home. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, July 3, 2020