Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels

Have you entered into the sources of the sea, or walked about in the depths of the abyss?

Have the gates of death been shown to you, or have you seen the gates of darkness?

Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?

The peace of the Lord be with you. The reading from Job offers a dialogue that continues to ponder the mysteries of God and creation. In response to a question from Job, God offers a series of questions that help Job to understand how very limited his understanding is of all that God created and maintains. Such an appropriate reading on the Memorial of Holy Guardian Angels. Here is what the Church teaches about these beings:

From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

CCC 336

These beings not only seem to protect us from physical and spiritual harm, but they also guide us toward salvation. Guardian Angels are further evidence of God’s tender care for believer and non believer alike. May we thank our Triune God for these supernatural helpers and call upon their prayers in times of confusion and trouble.

The Angele Dei prayer:

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day, be at my side,
to light and guard, rule and guide.

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

Readings for Friday, October 2, 2020

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’

Luke 10:8-9

The peace of the Lord be with you. Today the Gospel outlines what it means to be a disciple. It means to be sent, it means to be one who discerns, it means there will be more work than a single person can accomplish, it means worrying less about how to provide for ourselves and being more concerned with the message we are to carry to others. That message is this:

‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’

Our job is to let people know that God sees them, walks with them, offers healing, and has a home for them. Jesus also reminds us that some will reject this message and that we cannot take that personally as we continue doing our part.

So today, we are sent to carry this invitation into the world in various forms. Let us do so with joy and hope. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, October 1, 2020

Memorial of Saint Jerome

Job answered his friends and said: I know well that it is so;
but how can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him,
he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength;
who has withstood him and remained unscathed?

He removes the mountains before they know it;
he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place,
and the pillars beneath it tremble.
He commands the sun, and it rises not;
he seals up the stars.

He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads upon the crests of the sea.
He made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
He does great things past finding out,
marvelous things beyond reckoning.

Should he come near me, I see him not;
should he pass by, I am not aware of him;
Should he seize me forcibly, who can say him nay?
Who can say to him, “What are you doing?”

How much less shall I give him any answer,
or choose out arguments against him!
Even though I were right, I could not answer him,
but should rather beg for what was due me.
If I appealed to him and he answered my call,
I could not believe that he would hearken to my words.

JB 9:1-12, 14-16

The peace of the Lord be with you. The words of Job are so eloquent. For those of you who have been following the readings for the last few days the experience of Job gives us a lot to think about.

In today’s reading, Job ponders the mystery of God. As he explores the mystery of God he senses God’s great might and power, His great authority, His ability to blend with creation, and his own smallness in relationship to God the Creator. There is also great humility in the words of Job as he articulates the God owes him nothing — that God is never bound to respond to his questions or yearnings. Yet if we think back to the early chapters of this book of scripture, God delights in Job just as He delights in us. Despite His power, He exercises great tenderness, hears and responds to our request, and ultimately — He will send his son to rescue us.

I hope that today that you will have time to ponder the great mysteries of God, listen for his voice, and recognize the great tenderness with which he attends to your needs. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,

Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.

Nathanael said to him,

How do you know me?

Jesus answered and said to him,

Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.

— John 1:47-48

The peace of the Lord be with you. The phrase that caught my eye this morning was that Nathanael had “no duplicity” in him. In other words, there was no hidden agenda; there was an honesty, a genuineness about him.

As disciples of Jesus, we too are called to be ourselves and not to be image driven. It is not Christian to have hidden agendas or to do things with a reward in mind. We are called to give freely of ourselves just as Jesus did. In many ways our current society tries to rob us of our individuality, our unique traits, and homogenize us into a commodity; but we are not a commodity — we are God’s creation.

So as we step out into the world today let us bring our best selves — the one that God intended for us to be along with those gifts from the reservoir of talents that have been provided. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Monday of the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest. 
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,

Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.

Then John said in reply, 

Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name 
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.

Jesus said to him, 

Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.

— Luke 9:46-50

The peace of the Lord be with you. Our scriptures today not only include this passage but the one that describes the difficulties that Job experienced. Many have said that Job is a foreshadowing of the person of Jesus. Both Jesus and Job possess this incredible level of trust in God the Father. Job recognizes that what he has has been given can be taken away, but God never does anything to be malicious. Jesus becomes a servant, and never complains about the task that he has been given.

Today Jesus reminds us that we too must recognize our dependence on God and trust that His actions are only for the best. Jesus also points out that there may be people doing God’s work that we don’t know or recognize but the authority to heal and to do that work comes directly from God himself. Our job then is really not to plot, plan, or make designs; it’s to love both God and neighbor. That is at the heart of our life’s work.

Heavenly Father please give me the heart like Jesus today that I may be at peace with being a servant to others as he was a servant to us. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, September 28, 2020

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

For over 80 years now the Serenity Prayer has been used by many twelve-step programs, it is written by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

We can change some things, but not others. Honesty and courage help us to know which is which and not to shrink from whatever we can change.

I love this Gospel passage from Matthew, note the very first line: Jesus addresses his question to the chief priests and the elders (the people that have power and influence over other people’s lives). Jesus isn’t happy with them at all! He sees that they don’t practice what they preach. Can you imagine what they are thinking when they hear Jesus state that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before them?  Oh yeah, definitely a should’ve had a V8 moment for sure! Tax collectors and prostitutes heard John the Baptist say “Repent, and change your ways, and know of God’s love for you!” And they did! And yet, even when the chief priests and elders witnessed this fact, they refused to change. They didn’t see any need to repent.

Change is not easy; in fact, it is extremely hard to do.  

Joke of the weekend:
Written by Norm Schmitz

The burial service for the elderly woman climaxed with a massive clasp of thunder, followed by a bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder. “Well,” said her husband to the shaken pastor when it ended, “she’s there.”

Many of us could easily fill in the blanks of this sentence: “If only someone else _______________ (fill in one or more names) had done __________, then my life would have turned out much better.” We are, however, not nearly as likely to say, “If only I had done ____________, then my life would have turned out better.”  

People become adult Christians not simply by reaching a certain age but, more importantly, by accepting the responsibilities flowing from their Baptism as disciples of Jesus and by integrating into their faith life’s highs and lows.

In our freedom of choice, we have the ability to change, and if we’re willing and have the courage, then we are able to repent, and make that change.

God is calling each of us to change daily, just a little bit. Did you ever tell someone “Don’t change, I like you just the way you are.”? And, from that moment on they have no choice, but to change.

Hopefully, the homilies that have been given by me and Deacon Steve have had an impact on you, as we journey together, on this ever-changing thing we call life.

Readings for Sunday, September 27, 2020

Saturday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Rejoice, O young man, while you are young 
and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart,
the vision of your eyes;
Yet understand that as regards all this
God will bring you to judgment.
Ward off grief from your heart
and put away trouble from your presence,
though the dawn of youth is fleeting.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the evil days come
And the years approach of which you will say,
I have no pleasure in them;
Before the sun is darkened,
and the light, and the moon, and the stars,
while the clouds return after the rain;
When the guardians of the house tremble,
and the strong men are bent,
And the grinders are idle because they are few,
and they who look through the windows grow blind;
When the doors to the street are shut,
and the sound of the mill is low;
When one waits for the chirp of a bird,
but all the daughters of song are suppressed;
And one fears heights,
and perils in the street;
When the almond tree blooms,
and the locust grows sluggish
and the caper berry is without effect,
Because man goes to his lasting home,
and mourners go about the streets;
Before the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken,
And the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the broken pulley falls into the well,
And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the life breath returns to God who gave it.

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
all things are vanity!

— ECCL 11:9-12:8

The peace of the Lord be with you. Once again the Old Testament reading reminds us of the stages of life. It particularly tells us to enjoy the days of our youth as these days will pass by quickly.

The days of our youth are days in which we are formed and made ready for the work which lays ahead of us. Some of these days will be glorious and others will be challenging allowing us to grow in new ways. This process is not only true for people, but also for communities and societies.

Throughout this process, it is important that we remember those things that are timeless and eternal. At the foundation of youth and all other stages, is the love of God who as the text above says makes our lasting home.

Today may we blessed to see the glory of God shining in the world through the various stages of life and making us ready for the life to come. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Saturday, September 26, 2020

Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task that God has appointed
for the sons of men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time,
and has put the timeless into their hearts,
without man’s ever discovering,
from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

— ECCL 3:1-11

The peace of the Lord be with you. This  piece from the Scriptures is so timely for things that are happening in our world today. It reminds us as history unfolds there will be a variety of things that will occur many of which will seem nonsensical and unnecessary, but as we’ve talked about in the past, none of us on the human side of things has the mind of God nor fully understands his ways. I guess that’s the reason they call it faith rather than knowing.

Holy Trinity I trust in you.

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

Readings for Friday, September 25, 2020

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them,

Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.

Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.

—Luke 9:1-6

The peace of the Lord be with you. There are so many layers to our Gospel today. One message of the Gospel today is that to be a follower Jesus means to be sent. Another meaning in the Gospel is that to be a follower of Jesus is be one who heals and tells others about the goodness of God. A third message is that to be a follower of Jesus means to be one who puts their trust in God for ones sustenance.

So today may the grace of God be with us and aid us in all our endeavors for the betterment of the world and the glory of God. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told,

Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.

He said to them in reply,

My mother and my brothers 
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.

The peace of the Lord be with you. Family has a lot of definitions and variety. As I grew up, close friends of my mom and dad were referred as aunt or uncle although they had no blood relationship to our family. In the Gospel today, Jesus broadens the definition of family beyond blood lines to those who follow the ways of God. If you think about this it makes a lot of sense as we have a common point of origin. Jesus makes the point that it is the desires of our heart that truly makes us daughters and sons of the most high. This is how we truly bear our family resemblance.

So today let us live out this legacy of love as we take up our daily work using our talents to make the world a better place in His name. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, September 22, 2020