September 24, 2017

Reading 1 IS 55:6-9

Seek the LORD while He may be found,
call Him while He is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, Who is generous in forgiving.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD.
As high as the Heavens are above the earth,
so high are My ways above your ways
and My thoughts above your thoughts.

We must look for the Lord.  He is all around us for us to find Him.  He allows Himself to be found and does not hide from us.  He wants us to find Him and be with Him.  These evil people must stop their wicked ways and flood themselves by the ocean of God’s grace.  God’s thoughts and ways are so much better than ours, and we need to recognize this fact.  We tend to think our thoughts are amazing, and we think we have to live how we want, but are we looking at what God wants?  Are we truly praying and pondering over His Word and what He whispers to us?  We need to be humble and get to know God better to see what He has to say for our lives instead of being stubborn and clinging to our own minds.  We must surrender and allow God to inundate our thoughts and take control of our lives.  Let the King be the King.

Reading 2 PHIL 1:20C-24, 27A

Brothers and sisters:
Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. 
If I go on living in the flesh,
that means fruitful labor for me. 
And I do not know which I shall choose. 
I am caught between the two. 
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better. 
Yet that I remain in the flesh
is more necessary for your benefit.

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

We all long to be with Christ.  We know His promises and love and want that immediately.  Especially when we feel pain and hardships in this life, we just want to be able to rest in His Arms and be protected.  We know the reality is that we are on this earth, and we will experience many many difficulties.  We can either choose to complain each day and just dream of the day we are with Christ, or we could live here for Him for the time being.  Christ can shine through our lives if we conduct ourselves in a way that imitates Him.  This can benefit His Message because we will be making disciples all along our lives.  Although we look to the future with joy when we are with the Risen Lord, we can live here and now for Him.

Gospel MT 20:1-16A

Jesus told His disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard. 
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off. 
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise. 
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage. 
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage. 
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you. 
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 
Take what is yours and go. 
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? 
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

How often do we complain and grumble about what we want or what we think we deserve? We try to blame others and want explanations for the reason things are the way they are.  We want more than others if we think we did more, and want to make sure others don’t get the same (as if that actually affects us).  The thing is God doesn’t owe us anything.  Just how the landowner could do what he wanted with his money, God does not have to give us anything.  He does because He loves us, and this especially shows in the Person Jesus.  God wants us to worry about ourselves.  When we are pessimistic, we lose focus on the blessings He has given us.  That is plain selfish.  We must remember to be grateful for what we do have, and to love our brothers and sisters instead of competing and fighting with them.  How much it must hurt God when we constantly gripe about what we think we should have rather than rejoicing in the gift of Jesus’ death and Resurrection.  Prioritizing Jesus to be the Center will change everything.

 

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September 17, 2017

Reading 1 SIR 27:30—28:7

Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance,
for He remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the LORD?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
can he seek pardon for his own sins?
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside;
remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;
remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.

We sinners know what’s wrong but still choose to do it.  Why? These sins that we keep committing recur as habitual sins.  Or we switch up our sins.  The beautiful part of it is that God is merciful and full of grace.  We are wiped clean and are as pure as white snow.  This does not mean keep sinning.  We need to stop sinning because how we love the Lord is by serving Him.  One of the ways to serve Him is by loving our neighbors as well.  When people do wrong to us or hurt us, we have to forgive them as God forgives us.  What God gives us should flow from us, especially grace and mercy.  We cannot be selfish with the gifts God give us because then we would be hypocrites.  How can we not give to others what God gives to us, and how would we feel if God didn’t give them to us?

Reading 2 ROM 14:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

We should be living for God.  Everything we think, say, and do should be for His glory.  Our lives should not be for our own comfort, pleasure, and enjoyment.  We are here to serve and model Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  We are called to a life of humility, not to boost ourselves.  At the end of our lives, we cannot take anything anyway from this world except our relationship with Jesus.  He is the Ruler of all, and we need to recognize our lives are His, not ours.

Gospel MT 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked Him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?” 
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. 
That is why the Kingdom of Heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants. 
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. 
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt. 
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan. 
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount. 
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused. 
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt. 
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair. 
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! 
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. 
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt. 
So will My heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

The Gospel is related to the First Reading.  The servant was forgiven by the master but could not forgive his fellow servant.  He looks like such a hypocrite.  This is how we are when we don’t forgive those who hurt us.  It does not matter what they’ve done or how many times they’ve done it.  Jesus wants us to forgive them.  I know now we think about the best friend that cheated with your boyfriend, the parent that abused you, the bully that picked on you, and so on.  But all of these must be let go of in our hearts.  We have to move on from the pain and hurt and choose to still love them.  Not forgiving those who wronged us is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  It also offends God.  When we have too much pride to forgive others, we are saying that we think we are better than God.  That we are too good to do things that He even does.  We need to swallow this pride and learn that love heals all.

 

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September 10, 2017

Reading 1 EZ 33:7-9

Thus says the LORD:
You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel;
when You hear Me say anything, You shall warn them for Me.
If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die, “
and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way,
the wicked shall die for his guilt,
but I will hold you responsible for his death.
But if you warn the wicked,
trying to turn him from his way,
and he refuses to turn from his way,
he shall die for his guilt,
but you shall save yourself.

As the Body of Christ, we are responsible for our brothers and sisters.  Saving souls is a mission we have, and we need to take it seriously.  We need to tell others about Christ and warn them if they are not following Him since we do know Him.  God wants all His children with Him in Paradise, and we are His agents in this life.  It is our problem if we do not help those in their walks with the Lord.  Ignorance is not bliss here.  If you do not know Christ, you will not be saved.  Therefore, we have to get up and get moving.  There are so many people out that that have yet to accept Christ into their hearts.

Reading 2 ROM 13:8-10

Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, “
and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 
Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the Law.

All the Commandments about not doing evil can be summarized by saying we must love.  Love heals all wounds and prevents evil from taking hold on us.  Everything in the law is fulfilled with love especially because Jesus is Love Himself.  While deciding if something is wrong or hurting anyone, ask yourself am I loving well? Am I loving like Jesus?

Gospel MT 18:15-20

Jesus said to His disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that ‘every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.
If he refuses to listen even to the church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by My heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in My Name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

There is strength in numbers.  The more disciples the better.  Jesus says that He is with those that are gathered in His Name.  The Name of Jesus holds so much power, especially when His followers are together in His Name.  A community of faith is so important (one of the reasons we have church).  We are enriched by each other’s passion and knowledge. You may not be strong where I am, and I may be weak where you are strong.  This fills the gaps in the believers as we become a more whole family.  I feel more encouraged when I see more Christians to strengthen my relationship with the Lord because I do not feel as alone in this world on my journey with Him.  Praying for and with other believers is so important and has beautiful , saving effects.

 

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September 3, 2017

Reading 1 JER 20:7-9

You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped;
You were too strong for me, and You triumphed.
All the day I am an object of laughter;
everyone mocks me.

Whenever I speak, I must cry out,
violence and outrage is my message;
the Word of the LORD has brought me
derision and reproach all the day.

I say to myself, I will not mention Him,
I will speak in His Name no more.
But then It becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding It in, I cannot endure It.

The Fire burning in his heart and soul is the Holy Spirit.  There is such a strong desire to talk about God that Jeremiah cannot hold back as much as he tries.  I love that God prevails.  There may be times when we want to talk about God, but we might think of past times when we were made fun of or ridiculed.  We may have been mocked or lost friends because of our faith, and that leaves a sting.  People might not have dated us or hired us because of our religious beliefs, and that leaves us confused.  Why is something so good taken as a bad thing.  After so many times, we may grow angry with God.  Why is this happening while serving Him? This can cause us to not want to mention Him anymore and to hide more parts of our faith.  Well, that won’t work for long! God wants to be known and loved, and we are His messengers.  There is no way we can stop talking about the Creator and Savior of the universe.  Love conquers all.

 

Reading 2 ROM 12:1-2

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. 
Do not conform yourselves to this age
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and pleasing and perfect.

   Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice.  How beautiful.  That is exactly what Jesus did.  He is the Sacrificial Lamb.  He wants our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies.  Our souls and bodies are connected and intertwined so what we do with one affects the other.  There are so many ways to offer God our bodies.  We can use our time to help those in need and use our hands to serve food to the hungry or ears to listen to the depressed or lonely.  We can take care of the physically impaired or orphans.  This is using the parts of our body to imitate the Lord.
   Another way is chastity.  Saving ourselves sexually for marriage and then practicing chastity within marriage is an excellent form of spiritual worship.  We are giving God our bodies by practicing self control, patience, and trust.  It is especially hard in this day and age when sex has become so casual and carefree.  But like St. Paul says, we must not conform to this age.  We must be refreshed and renewed by Jesus, allowing us to know what God whats us to do with our lives.

Gospel MT 16:21-27

Jesus began to show His disciples
that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised. 
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to You.” 
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an obstacle to Me. 
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow Me. 
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life? 
Or what can one give in exchange for his life? 
For the Son of Man will come with His angels in His Father’s glory,
and then He will repay all according to his conduct.”

  We must think how God does.  We cannot stay in our selfish, limited point of view as human beings.  We need to stay concentrated on the Face of God and set our minds on the things above.  We have to die to ourselves and rise with Christ.  We cannot run to the world for comfort and happiness because it will only leave us thirsty.  If we prioritize and value money, shoes, jewels, popularity, social climbing, etc, we will get wrapped up and lose ourselves.  Is it worth all the pleasure to lose your soul?
  We must recognize the fact that there are going to be crosses in life.  Jesus says this.  As a follower of Him and His cross, we have our own to carry.  There will be difficulties, struggles, diseases, test failed, unemployment, rejection, and loss but Jesus is with us.  He carries His cross and now helps hold ours.  We are never alone and have to remember when we want to complain, everyone else has crosses, too.  God will never give one that is too heavy.  We may have to bend to hold it, but we will not break.

 

August 27, 2017

Reading 1 Is 22:19-23

Thus says the LORD to Shebna, master of the palace:
“I will thrust you from your office
and pull you down from your station.
On that day I will summon My servant
Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;
I will clothe him with your robe,
and gird him with your sash,
and give over to him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and to the house of Judah.
I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder;
when he opens, no one shall shut
when he shuts, no one shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot,
to be a place of honor for his family.”

God said the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.  Pride is an idol, and Jesus warns us about this vice.  He promotes humility, and He Himself practices it, especially with His death on the cross.  I am guilty of it, too, but we cannot let pride take over our hearts and minds.  Jesus shows us that He wants His servants to lead, not the selfish ones that boast of their power.

Reading 2 Rom 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How inscrutable are His judgments and how unsearchable His ways!
For who has known the Mind of the Lord
or who has been His counselor?
Or who has given the Lord anything
that he may be repaid?

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.
To Him be glory forever. Amen.

God knows everything, and our minds are so finite.  We often times cannot understand what God is doing, but He knows perfectly well.  We should not get mad at Him when we do not know what is going on because who would want a god they could understand?  Just because God is speaking loudly doesn’t mean He is not working on things.  Plus, He owes us nothing but gives us everything.  All He deserves is glory.  We must remember, too, that everything is for Him.  This should prioritize our tasks and put our thoughts in perspective.  All of our thoughts, words, and actions should have the intention of honoring God.

Gospel Mt 16:13-20

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and
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.”
Then He strictly ordered His disciples
to tell no one that He was the Christ.

Jesus chose Peter to lead the Church.  Peter was not perfect so why do we have such trouble when we think God is calling us to do His work.  We think He could not be possibly wanting us to do this or that.  In reality, we are wrong.  God uses all of us to accomplish His mission.  All we have to do is say yes.  Our shortcomings, failures, and flaws should not hold us back from our full potential because that is doubting God’s choice in us.  We need more faith, faith in God and faith in our abilities.  We are all parts doing our job to form the Body.  Jesus chose Peter to show us that we can do it.

 

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August 20, 2017

Reading 1 Is 56:1, 6-7

Thus says the LORD:
Observe what is right, do what is just;
for My salvation is about to come,
My justice, about to be revealed.

The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
ministering to Him,
loving the Name of the LORD,
and becoming His servants—
all who keep the Sabbath free from profanation
and hold to My Covenant,
them I will bring to My holy mountain
and make joyful in My house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be acceptable on My altar,
for My house shall be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.

Jesus wants us to do what is right.  This is not always easy, but if we follow Him, we will be full of joy.  We must love Him and His Covenant because then we will be joined to Him and what’s better than that? Jesus saves.

I will admit that it gets very hard trying to keep the Commandments daily, but I can say from experience that nothing is worth sinning.  No matter how pleasing something is or how happy a sin makes you in the moment, it is not worth hurting a relationship with God.  I rather be 1 day in His house than 1,000 years “enjoying” a sin.

Reading 2 Rom 11:13-15, 29-32

Brothers and sisters:
I am speaking to you Gentiles.
Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous
and thus save some of them.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world,
what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that He might have mercy upon all.

Mercy is so beautiful and so underrated.  Feeling God’s mercy is like nothing else.  Being forgiven by others when you wrong them is one thing, but being forgiven by God is something else.  There is no logical reason He should forgive us, especially after giving us His Son -yet we still sin-  but the reason is love.  He loves us so much that He allows mercy to be the bridge that brings us close again and again.

I cried one time when I specifically felt God’s mercy.  It was right after Confession, and I was overwhelmed by this feeling of forgiveness by my God and my Lord, Who so graciously makes me feel whole again even though I am broken.  These tears were happy tears.  Thank God for the priesthood, too, because it was through this priest that I felt God.

Gospel Mt 15:21-28

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.
Jesus’ disciples came and asked Him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

The woman was healed because of her faith and persistence.  We need to believe that Jesus will heal us when we ask.  It might not be right away or in the way we ask Him, but He will always provide.  I want that kind of faith that moves mountains, the kind that doesn’t give up.  I also want that persistence especially in prayer so I can push through even when the going gets tough.  We should all learn to be like this woman, constantly asking and believing in Jesus even in the most difficult times.

 

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