Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,

Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.

At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,

This man is blaspheming.

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,

Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins—

he then said to the paralytic,

Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.

He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

— Matthew 9:1-8

The peace of the Lord be with you. Today in our scripture readings Jesus makes it very clear who and what he is. Jesus is the son of the living God, and as such, he has the authority to carry out the will of the Father. As such Jesus also makes it abundantly clear his purpose is to heal us and forgive us of our sins. As the sons and daughters of God, are we prepared to recognize God’s authority and carry out the work he has set before us?

Good and gracious Father we thank you for this day of life and for the talents that you have given to us. Help us to be like Jesus, to hear and respond to your will that your kingdom may come, and be visibly present here among us. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, July 2, 2020

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out,

What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?

Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,

If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.

And he said to them,

Go then!

They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.

— Matthew 8:28-34

The peace of the Lord be with you. Can you believe it? July first already. More than a half a year has passed, and here in the United States we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, a time we celebrate freedom.

The reading from Matthew today shows us what happens to our freedom when we become filled with evil. The savagery of evil pushes life and light away leading to isolation. Evil leads to a sense doom and persecution. Evil begets evil and this ultimately leads to the destruction, rather than the preservation, of life. It is interesting that Jesus does not condemn the demoniacs — he does not send them to their death, rather they choose it for themselves.

Let us treasure our freedom, allow God’s grace to inform our choices so we may always be vessels of His light and life. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,

Lord, save us! We are perishing!

He said to them,

Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?

Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said,

What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?

— Matthew 8:23-27

The peace of the Lord be with you. I wonder how many of us can identify with reaction of the disciples in that boat. Lately it sure feels like we are in the midst of a storm. Covid-19, political division, and racial tensions just to name a few. Yet, from all this turmoil, Jesus speaks and tells us that as long as he is in the boat with us ,no harm can or will come to us. That does not mean that we don’t have to take precautions, make good choices, and at the very least be civil to each other. What it does mean is that we do not have let fear run our lives. God is with us today and always.

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

Readings for Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,

Who do people say that the Son of Man is?

They replied,

Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

He said to them,

But who do you say that I am?

Simon Peter said in reply,

You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus said to him in reply,

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

— MT 16:13-19

The peace of the Lord be with you. Nineteen years ago today Linda and myself, along with several other individuals from Saint Rose, were lead on a pilgrimage to Italy by Father Joe Klatka. One of the first things we encountered was people exiting Saint Peters Basilica after the celebration of the Solemnity of Peter and Paul. When you’re in a place like that you begin to get a sense of the depth, breadth, and magnitude of our Holy Catholic Church. In this one place, there were people from all over the world. There was a true sense of the universality of the message of Jesus.

Our faith tradition was predominately championed by two key figures: Peter and Paul. We can never underestimate the power of God and how by responding to his call, those closest to us, and the world, can be changed.

Through the intercession of Saint Peter, may we always be able to recognize God’s presence in and among us. Through the intercession of Saint Paul, may we always fearlessly proclaim Gods truth and the freedom that comes from recognizing Jesus as the son of God who broke the chains of sin and death. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, June 29, 2020

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

The words of our psalm response today tie together a theme that runs through all our readings this weekend: the many ways that God gifts, blesses, and welcomes us. 

In the reading from Kings, a woman of influence pays a kindness to Elisha the prophet because he is a man of God. God in his generosity promises she will be fondling a son by that same time the next year. A son in this context is not only a gift of life, but is also a symbol of protection — someone to help manage her affairs as she ages, and a symbol of hope — that the legacy of this family will spread into the future. In our time the gift of a child (or children) often becomes another tool by which God draws us closer to each other and the larger human family.

In our second reading, Paul teaches us that it is through the goodness of God that Jesus gave us the gift of baptism through which God leads us into the “newness of life”. This newness of life carries with it the freedom from the weight of sin and death. Filled with this spirit of life, and the knowledge of where it ultimately leads, allows us to be free from fear so we too can lead others to life without end.

In our Gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus reminds us of the many gifts that are lavished upon us like family. Our family is one the earliest sources of welcome that God uses to demonstrate his love and desire care for us. As much as we love these gifts, Jesus reminds us our appreciation of the gifts cannot outweigh the love we have for the Giver of the gifts. 

These God given gifts in their many forms are surely designed to make our lives more pleasant and enjoyable. The true purpose of these gifts however, is to remind us of the many ways God dwells among us, how God nurtures us, and how He helps us to grow. The best way we can show God our appreciation for these gifts is to offer our thanks each day, share them with each other, and use them to the best of our ability to reflect the greatness of our Heavenly Father.

Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord, forever I will sing, sing His praises.

Readings for Sunday, June 28, 2020

Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said,

Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.

He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,

I will do it.  Be made clean.

His leprosy was cleansed immediately.
Then Jesus said to him,

See that you tell no one,
but go show yourself to the priest,
and offer the gift that Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.

— Matthew 8:1-4

The peace of the Lord be with you. To be a leper in the time of Jesus meant to be separated from family, friends ,and community. As Jesus reaches out and makes this leper clean he removes from him all those barriers that separate him from others and restores his place in the community. In much the same way as we seek out healing and reconciliation from Jesus we too are able to more participate more fully in the family and community of God. As we begin this new day may we thank God for the blessings we will receive and ask him to make us clean so we fully participate in His plan for the life of the world. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, June 26, 2020

Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.

— Matthew 7:21-29

The peace of the Lord be with you. Could anything be more devastating than arriving before our Heavenly Father, our Creator, the One who has counted every hair on our head and have Him say, “I do not know you?” I cannot imagine a worse or more painful fate than to be a stranger to God.

Jesus tells us today that to be a true child of God, to bear His resemblance, we must do God’s will. To do the will of God is like building on a solid foundation that will not be destroyed or washed away by the storms that can happen in life. The will of God is the only reality — everything else is an illusion — a rejection of life, a rejection of love.

My prayer for us today is that our hearts will grasp and desire this reality, this ultimate good, that we are children of God sent here to do His work. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, June 25, 2020

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

— Matthew 7:6, 12-14

The peace of the Lord be with you. Today Jesus instructs us about things that lead to life.

He tells us to treasure and protect what is sacred.

He tells us to treat others well.

He tells us to be careful not to get caught up in things that can lead to our destruction.

God wants us to have an abundant and fruitful life that allows to experience heaven now and in the hereafter. In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

— Matthew 7:1-5

The peace of the Lord be with you. Judging. This is very hard to stop or control. Most of my judgements are never spoken they lay quietly and destructively in my inner life. It is these silent judgements that trouble me the most as I examine my conscience at the end of each day. Many of these silent judgements made about others have their roots in failings I have in myself and do not want to address or take ownership of yet.

Jesus warns us today how destructive this can be to us and to our relationships with each other. Judgement rightly belongs to God alone, for God who knows the back story and forces at work that have informed our failures in love. God’s judgement is not about or intended for our destruction but to offer a chance to change and to be healed.

Today Lord God please keep me free from making judgements and fill me with your great mercy — that mercy embodied by Jesus which has redeemed the world. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, June 22, 2020

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

My Father’s Day Joke written by James C. Bush:

When we moved cross country, my wife and I decided to drive both our cars. Nathan, our eight-year old, worriedly asked, “How will we keep from getting separated?” “We’ll drive slow so one car can follow the other,” I reassured him. “Yeah, but what if we get separated?” he persisted. “Then I guess we’ll never see each other again,” I quipped.

“Okay,” he said, “I’m riding with Mom.”

It is really hot in here… and all of you are wearing masks! So, I would simply like to wish all the fathers, living and deceased, a Happy Father’s Day!

I would like to wish our common Father, God our Father a major thank you! And, as an expression of my thanks, I will do everything in my power to sacrifice for you to do what is right and just. Hopefully, my actions will benefit people in the future that I will never even meet, all because you loved me and sacrificed your Son for me.

Thank you for giving me the virtues and the people in my life to live out a vocation of service to you and all of our family.

Happy Father’s Day!


Readings for Sunday, June 21, 2020