Category: Daily Reflections

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

This passage of scripture from Genesis is one that always sets my imagination in motion. There’s something very interesting about this notion that as we wrestle with the divine, we become the people and the person of God… that we are transformed. For me, coming to understand and living out the ways of God are much like a wrestling match. I’m not necessarily contending with God, but with the various impulses and communications that compete for my attention and action. In a very gradual daily way it seems to get a little bit easier, but I’m fairly confident I won’t make it all the way there on this side of heaven. If you too share this struggle, may the grace of God guide us on the path that we are traveling and ultimately lead us to the freedom of His love.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
    I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

God loves everything and everyone he has created. As such, God does not want to be separated from anything that he has created. Throughout salvation history, God has labored tirelessly to bring the human family back into his loving arms. We see this effort today as Jesus reaches out to those who have wandered away or never been aware of this great love. Like Jesus articulates today this a manifestation of the mercy God extends to each of us and we in turn are called to offer to each other. Jesus will live out this message in all the dimensions of his earthly ministry but especially as he willingly and intentionally bears the cross as the perfect remedy to all that keeps us from this divine friendship.

In name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

God heard the boy’s cry,
and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven:

What is the matter, Hagar?
Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his.
Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand;
for I will make of him a great nation.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

For the last three years I’ve had the privilege of working with young people in school settings. During this work, I have very often confronted or been confronted by how children are affected and often pay the price for adult decisions. We see such a situation in our first reading today. It’s very interesting how God handles the situation and it fits not only the literature about early childhood resilience but also about the incredible mercy of God. The resiliency literature stresses time and again that the impact of a childhood trauma can often be mitigated by the presence of one supportive affirming adult.

As we see in this reading today, God supports children and walks with them in a very particular way — sometimes sending an adult to help rescue the soul and life of a child. As we walk through this day and as we make decisions may we think about the consequences of our choices and how we are being called to be agents of God’s mercy for most vulnerable among us.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,

Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.

Jesus answered him,

Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.

Another of his disciples said to him,

Lord, let me go first and bury my father.

But Jesus answered him,

Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.

Matthew 8:18-22

The peace of the Lord be with you.

In his time with us here on earth Jesus regularly challenged conventional ways of thinking and acting. In doing so he was not trying to be contrary or controversial, he was trying to help us to better understand how things are naturally and appropriately ordered.

In the gospel reading, Jesus is trying to help someone see that he is more than just a teacher and he is challenging some social conventions that are major parts of Jewish and Greek culture about the care for the dead. For our own sake there is nothing more important than glorifying God in our interactions, thoughts, and daily practices. As Bishop Baron frequently points out it is not that God needs these things, but that we need them — as they help us to be more fully human.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, June 28, 2021

Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

In the first reading today Paul boasts of his weakness and how in his weakness it allows the greatness and strength of Christ shine through. One of my weaknesses is I like stuff and have a lot of stuff. If you’re like me in that regard then Jesus‘s words probably really speak to you as well. I have to ask myself why do I collect all these things when I know eventually I’m going to have to leave them behind? I know that it ends up costing me more time and labor but still I persist. Not everything I buy or accumulate is unnecessary but sometimes I get caught up in the thrill of the chase.T his is not reason to despair. For as I said above Saint Paul says of these moments of weakness we very often can find our strength by turning to Jesus for his help and guidance.

Dear Jesus help me to understand that some of my accumulation and collecting is really this longing for the peace and fullness that comes from having you in my life. Help me to remember that when the impulse to spend comes again. Help me as your Gospel indicates today to store up treasures in heaven that nothing can touch or destroy.

In the name of the Father, the So,n and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, June 18, 2021

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

You have heard that it was said,
    You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

— Matthew 5:43-48

The peace of the Lord be with you. Today, Jesus tells us that we cannot allow resentment and revenge fill our hearts if we are going to be sons and daughters of God. To be a reflection of God’s family, we must be vessels of love and mercy. As the passage reminds us, God does not withhold good things from those who do evil, or those who reject His ways. Personally, I do not know how God works these things out, but Jesus is reminding us today that figuring that out is not our job. We are called to be conduits of God‘s love.

May God grace us with the patience and understanding to do this worthily and well today.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

You have heard that it was said,
    An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

Matthew 5:38-42

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Jesus affirms something for us today that we all already know. We all know that life can be difficult. In the Gospel today, Jesus instructs us about how to deal with difficulty. By encouraging us not to respond with violence or threats he’s helping us to come to a place of acceptance. Once we are at this place of acceptance we often become much more teachable and creative about how to approach difficulties. In Godly terms this would mean hearing the Spirit. When we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, these dark moments become times of creativity and acceptance where the glory of God shines through because we realize that he is never far from us.

God is walking with us, helping us to face the challenges that come our way with dignity and integrity.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, June 14, 2021

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

The peace of the Lord be with you. Have you ever been traveling and missed a turn or an exit which made it more difficult or took you longer to get to your desired destination? Have you ever been putting something together and missed a critical step that made it impossible to go any further? This is what Jesus is getting at this morning. If the law and its fulfillment were created, and the prophets sent by God, then God intended them to help us move through life less encumbered. Like the trip and the project above each element is critical to the outcome. Jesus is our mentor, coach, teacher, and guide who helps us with these good, orderly directions. Directions that lead to a perfect and everlasting love. Enjoy this day.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,

How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David?

David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:

The Lord said to my lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.’

David himself calls him ‘lord’;
so how is he his son?

The great crowd heard this with delight.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Here is  another one of those readings that has a intention or meaning that is very hard to discern without a commentary. The footnotes related to this reading indicate that Jesus is reminding the people about his nature of being fully divine and fully human. This is important because it reminds those around him that God is not distant and far away he is dwelling in their midst. It is also important for those of us who share in Jesus humanity. By the word becoming incarnate by the divine uniting fully with the human it elevates the already inherent dignity of the human person is even more deeply. We are called to see in our selves and others the likeness of God himself. That my brothers and sisters is a true reason for celebration.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, June 4, 2021

Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

The peace of the Lord be with you.

He is not the God of the dead but of the living…

Once again in the face of challenges Jesus takes an opportunity to clarify who God is and what God does. God gives life and is the source sustenance for all creation. Anything that is contrary to these two points is not from God.

Jesus understands how hard this can be for us to grasp and how we can get caught up in a lot of details that offer nothing more than confusion. Please note that Jesus does get upset with these people in the scriptures today — he simply lets them know that they have been misled and urges them to reconsider their viewpoints. As this day unfolds may we experience the love God is pouring out on us that we may have life abundantly.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, June 3, 2021