August 13, 2017

Reading 1 1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a

At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter.
Then the LORD said to him,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by.”
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny Whispering Sound.
When he heard This,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

God was in the Whisper.  He was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire, and so many of us are waiting for God’s lightning bolt to strike down to give a message.  There lies a problem in the noise and distractions of the world because it can cloud over what God is trying to say to us.  His Message may be mixed in with all the drama and chaos of the world.   We have to silence ourselves in prayer and contemplation and know that God is trying to reach us.  We have to quiet the enemy, who tries to take us away from our Savior.  Lord, help us be intimate with You and rid ourselves of the distractions that take our attention from You.

Reading 2 Rom 9:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie;
my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness
that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my own people,
my kindred according to the flesh.
They are Israelites;
theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants,
the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
theirs the patriarchs, and from them,
according to the flesh, is the Christ,
Who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Being a follower of Christ is hard.  It is going to be difficult but worth it.  We have to bear our crosses and follow Christ.  The world will hate us for worshipping Jesus, but He is God.  Everything good comes from God, and we must therefore worship, praise, and glorify Him in all we do.

Gospel Mt 14:22-33

After He had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede Him to the other side,
while He dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.
When it was evening He was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
He came toward them walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a Ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to Him in reply,
“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out His Hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

Many of us are just like Peter.  We want proof, and even after proof, we still doubt.  We think we know more than God as if Peter knew the waters were dangerous and Jesus didn’t.  Jesus knew how terrifying the winds were just like how crazy our lives are, and He promised to protect Peter.  Peter went out on the water, but as soon as he took his eyes off Christ, he fell.  Doesn’t that sound familiar? When we take our eyes off Christ, we fall.  We stumble in life when our concerns aren’t of God.  We fail when we think we know better than God and when we try to do things on our own.  We have to trust Jesus to take care of us, and to keep Him as the Apple of our Eye and focus our attention on whatever He says.  Do not let the distractions turn our heads from our Savior.  Our Lifeguard walks on water.  What I also think is amazing about all this is that even after Peter doubted, Jesus saves him when Peter pleads.  This shows the grace and mercy of our Lord no matter how many times we hurt Him.  There is always repentance and forgiveness.  Just like He was asking Peter that day, God is asking us to do something scary, take a risk, and take a chance for Him.

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Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord August 6, 2017

Reading 1 Dn 7:9-10, 13-14

As I watched:

Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took His throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on His Head as white as wool;
His throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where He sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to Him,
and myriads upon myriads attended Him.
The court was convened and the books were opened.

As the visions during the night continued, I saw:

One like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of Heaven;
When He reached the Ancient One
and was presented before Him,
The One like a Son of Man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
His Kingship shall not be destroyed.

Jesus is King.  His Kingdom is forever.  No matter how much time goes by or events happen in the world that try to destroy God’s Kingdom, It will never end.  There will be people that attack Christianity and try to take away the seriousness of God’s Power.  All must serve Him because He alone is the One True Master that deserves our enthusiasm, energy, and attention.  Jesus is King of our lives, hearts, and minds.

Reading 2 2 Pt 1:16-19

Beloved:
We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we had been eyewitnesses of His Majesty.
For He received honor and glory from God the Father
when that unique declaration came to Him from the majestic glory,
“This is my Son, My Beloved, with Whom I am well pleased.”
We ourselves heard this Voice come from Heaven
while we were with Him on the holy mountain.
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
You will do well to be attentive to it,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

We must listen for the Voice of God.  It is when we will do well because He knows what is best.  We have to listen for It because the many distractions and noises of the world will take us away.  As soon as we do hear It, we have to act on It and make It known for those who have not heard It.  God’s Message will change us, and we must be attentive like Jesus’ disciples on the mountain, constantly yearning and searching for His Words.

Gospel Mt 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And He was transfigured before them;
His Face shone like the sun
and His clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with Him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a Voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased;
listen to Him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead”

The Transfiguration is such a powerful Mystery that cannot be explained.  Only God’s Power could make something like this happen.  God the Father said to listen to His Son, with Whom He is very pleased.  Do we listen to His Son?  We must love God’s Commands.  We should want to grow closer to Him by doing what He says regarding our lives.  We want God to be pleased with us, too.  He is the only One about Whose opinion we should care.  Every day should be dedicated to making God happy and following this example of the Person Who was transfigured.  Let us not forget all the amazing miracles Jesus performed and give the miracles the right attention they deserve.  Just recognizing them alone requires Him to be worshipped.

 

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July 30, 2017

Reading 1 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, “Ask something of Me and I will give it to you.”
Solomon answered:
“O LORD, my God, You have made me, Your servant, king
to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve You in the midst of the people whom You have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give Your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge Your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of Yours?”

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him:
“Because you have asked for this—
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches,
nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right—
I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.”

I am amazed at Solomon’s request, not because of Solomon but because of myself.  I know that I probably would have asked for something selfish, and quite frankly I do it in prayer often.  There is nothing wrong to make requests for oneself or pray for oneself, but it is convicting and admirable to hear of someone asking for so genuinely something for other people.  Solomon wanted understanding so he could better fulfill his role for God’s Kingdom, as we all need a better understanding of right and wrong.

Reading 2 Rom 8:28-30

Brothers and sisters:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to His purpose.
For those He foreknew He also predestined
to be conformed to the Image of His Son,
so that He might be the Firstborn
among many brothers and sisters.
And those He predestined He also called;
and those He called He also justified;
and those He justified He also glorified.

We need to trust God.  He does not play games and is constantly working for our good.  He wants us to be more like His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is on our side and wants what’s best for us.  Not only is He making it happen for us behind the scenes, but we are justified and glorified.  We always have a Defender and Encourager because of God.

Gospel Mt 13:44-52

Jesus said to His disciples:
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And He replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven
is like the head of a household
who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

The Merchant with the pearl and person with the Treasure are examples of how we need to be for the Kingdom of Heaven.  They left everything they had for It.  We must make God’s Kingdom our Main Focus and prioritize accordingly.  We need to look at our lives and see what we place before the Kingdom.  What reigns in our hearts?  The Kingdom should be Number One as we serve our King.  If need be, we must leave everything else behind in order to find the Kingdom.

 

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July 23, 2017

Reading 1 Wis 12:13, 16-19

There is no god besides You Who have the care of all,
that You need show You have not unjustly condemned.
For Your Might is the Source of justice;
Your Mastery over all things makes You lenient to all.
For You show Your Might when the perfection of Your Power is disbelieved;
and in those who know You, You rebuke temerity.
But though You are Master of might, You judge with clemency,
and with much lenience You govern us;
for power, whenever You will, attends You.
And You taught Your people, by these deeds,
that those who are just must be kind;
and You gave Your children good ground for hope
that You would permit repentance for their sins.

Even though God is almighty, strong, and powerful, He still loves His people and is slow to anger.  He can crush us and destroy us, yet He gives us grace and mercy.  He gives us hope because we can be redeemed by repenting for our sins.  God cares for all people and wants us to turn to Him instead of away.

Reading 2 Rom 8:26-27

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit Himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the One who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because He intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.

I need my weakness aided.  We have pride, but we must remember we are nothing without Him.  We all fall short of the glory of God, but with the Spirit’s help, we have help to speak to God, pray, and surrender to His will.  He will guide us and make sure we stay on the right path.

Gospel Mt 13:24-43  

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
“The kingdom of Heaven may be likened
to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him,
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

He proposed another parable to them.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'”

He spoke to them another parable.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open My Mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.

Then, dismissing the crowds, He went into the house.
His disciples approached Him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one,
and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send His angels,
and they will collect out of His Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Good and bad will be next to each other in this world.  Unfortunately, the bad may bring the good down, but in great cases, the good bring the bad up to a better moral level.  We cannot judge who is a weed and leave that up to God only.  Many people want the world to be without the weeds, but the harsh reality needs to be faced.  There is evil and suffering, and we were put here to love and be loved.  The Gospel Message will save souls.  All those who know Jesus have the responsibility to further this Message.

A mustard seed is so tiny, but it grows so large.  Faith can be compared to a mustard seed because faith will continue to grow if we nurture it.  We never know when we are plating seeds of faith into other people just by talking about our faith and love for Jesus.  Therefore, we should not be ashamed but should pronounce our faith in God and promote His glory, thanks, and praise.

 

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July 16, 2017

Reading 1 Is 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall My Word be
that goes forth from My Mouth;
My Word shall not return to Me void,
but shall do My will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

The Word of God never passes away and is permanent.  God’s Word accomplishes many miracles and works wonders.  There is power in His Word for all people of all times.  People like to say the Bible is irrelevant because it was written so long ago, but God’s time is different than our time.  The Word of God will go on forever and does not have an expiration date.  We should revere anything God says and believe in the power His Word holds.

Reading 2 Rom 8:18-23

Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the One who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 

All the pain, suffering, and torture we go through on earth does not compare to the joy we will experience in Heaven.  Even though there are many hardships we endure now, the glory and happiness will be an infinite amount times that.  Although the difficulties hurt now, this should give us some strength and motivation to get through them and continue to push through.

Gospel Mt 13:1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around Him
that He got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And He spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The disciples approached him and said,
“Why do you speak to them in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

“Hear then the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one
who hears the Word of the Kingdom without understanding It,
and the evil one comes and steals away
What was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the Word and receives It at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the Word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the Word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the Word
and It bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the Word and understands It,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

Which seed are you? I often try to think which one I am, and I think it depends on the situation.  Sometimes we hear the Word, and we quickly lose It because we do not have a good foundation.  Other times the problems of the world or the insults of others cause the Word to fade from us.  At times our busyness, fears, and worries get in the way of us and the Word.  None of these are excuses, and we should open our hearts, minds, eyes, and ears to God’s Word because It has transformative power that can inspire, heal, help, and guide us through life.

We all need to strive to be the seed that bears fruit.  We need to take what God gives us and turn it all around into good.  We cannot let good things stop the continuing or growing because we are lazy or do not feel like spreading God’s Message of Life and Love.  We need to work to make sure there is fruit from us and that other seeds land on good soil in order to grow into something amazing.

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July 9, 2017

Reading 1 Zec 9:9-10

Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your King shall come to you;
a just Savior is He,
meek, and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the foal of an ass.
He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim,
and the horse from Jerusalem;
the warrior’s bow shall be banished,
and He shall proclaim peace to the nations.
His dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

The Lord tells us to rejoice! How many times do we go through the day sad, depressed, or upset?  Joy is a command from God.  Our King is humble and comes to us.  We often say how we feel distant from God, but that is never His fault.  Our Savior even comes to us, meanwhile we are nothing compared to Him and His glory.  His rule will cover the whole earth, and He will bring peace.  This is especially comforting knowing how many countries have turmoil, but Jesus’ Reign will wipe that all away and reach every inch of this planet.

Reading 2 Rom 8:9, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
You are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.
If the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the One who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through His Spirit that dwells in you.
Consequently, brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.

We must be of the Spirit, not the flesh.  The flesh tends to rule people, especially today because of the amount of sexualized ads, commercials, etc.  It has become a time when people are used as objects because they do not respect their bodies as the temples they are.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us, and that should be revered.  The Spirit gives us life, and we must not be slaves to the flesh.  Not only lust but materialism, gluttony, greed, pride, laziness, etc, are all sins of the flesh that try to chain us down and take us from our Lord.  We have to live according to the Spirit and not allow anything else to control us.  We must serve Him and Him alone for all our lives.

Gospel Mt 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth,
for although You have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
You have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to Me by My Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For My yoke is easy, and My burden light.”

Knowing our Father is an honor.  He does not have to reveal Himself to us, yet He does.  The Prime Example is Jesus Christ, and He shows His Love for us through Him.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

We all need rest.  I know personally I run around from place to place and never seem to stop.  This can be a bad thing when I am so exhausted that I am not giving God the proper time in prayer or if I am not loving others well.  I am always so stressed and seem to not rely on God and try to do it all on my own.  This is a problem because our strength runs out.  We must turn to Him, and He will help us overcome anything.  We just have to trust Him.

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July 2, 2017

Reading 1 2 Kgs 4:8-11, 14-16a

One day Elisha came to Shunem,
where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her.
Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine.
So she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God.
Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof
and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp,
so that when he comes to us he can stay there.”
Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.

Later Elisha asked, “Can something be done for her?”
His servant Gehazi answered, “Yes!
She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years.”
Elisha said, “Call her.”
When the woman had been called and stood at the door,
Elisha promised, “This time next year
you will be fondling a baby son.”

We must be hospitable, for we do not know when we are entertaining angels.  We have to treat everyone as if He is Jesus because we are not better than anyone, and we should love as He loves.  The Spirit of God is in all of us, and knowing that requires giving people the utmost respect.

Prayer is so powerful and changes everything.   We need to come to God with everything and never cease praying.  We need to be asking our brothers and sisters about their spiritual needs.  It is often overlooked but must be done in order to care for them in a transcendent way.   God longs to hear from us, and many times we treat prayer as just something else to do or a burden.  We need to use prayer as the communication to God and run into His Arms by telling Him our plans, fears, and joys.  Prayer is an honor, and we should be grateful that we have this access to Him.

Reading 2 Rom 6:3-4, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into His death?
We were indeed buried with Him through Baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.

If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with Him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over Him.
As to His death, He died to sin once and for all;
as to His Life, He lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Suffering makes us more like Christ.  We were baptized to His death as well, but because He defeated sin and death, we have life.  He is the only Reason we are alive, and we need to act alive.  So many times we act dead and as slaves to sin because we are not giving Jesus enough credit for His Sacrifice.  It took His one death to save us all, and we must move from the old ways toward new life.  Since He died for us, we have to live for Him.

Gospel Mt 10:37-42

Jesus said to His Apostles:
“Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me;
and whoever does not take up His cross
and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives Me,
and whoever receives Me receives the One who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is a righteous man
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because the little one is a disciple—
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

Don’t we all love our families with every inch of our fiber? The wording may come off a little harsh, but this is to show how serious Jesus is about prioritizing Him.  He must be Number One in our lives.  Nothing is to come before Him in our hearts, minds, or souls.  We cannot think so highly of ourselves, goals, dreams, wants, and passions that God gets put on the back burner.  When we put our happiness and peace not in Him, it just results in failure.   Every answer we seek is Jesus.  We can gain the world and lose our soul, and then what ?  We will all have pain and things we love but despite that all, our eyes need to be fixed on our Savior.

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June 25, 2017

Reading 1 Jer 20:10-13

Jeremiah said:
“I hear the whisperings of many:
‘Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!’
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
‘Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him.’
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty Champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, You Who test the just,
Who probe mind and heart,
let me witness the vengeance You take on them,
for to You I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
for He has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!”

All throughout life, we will hear people from every angle trying to bring us down.  This will happen especially in the area of faith.  We will get mocked, hated on, questioned, doubted, etc.  People may even try to hurt us or just ostracize us because of our beliefs.  These people may not be enemies; they may be friends that turn on you because your faith somehow “offends” them or they just “don’t get it”.  We may be tempted to give up our morals and religious principles because of the harassment and discouraging words of others, but God is with us.  We will not fail in the struggle; we will prevail.  He helps us with every trial we go through and takes on our enemies for us.  For this, we should praise, honor, and glorify Him with all our hearts because we are never alone.

Reading 2 Rom 5:12-15

Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned—
for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world,
though sin is not accounted when there is no law.
But death reigned from Adam to Moses,
even over those who did not sin
after the pattern of the trespass of Adam,
who is the type of the One Who was to come.

But the gift is not like the transgression.
For if by the transgression of the one the many died,
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of the one Man Jesus Christ
overflow for the many.

Sin and death are linked.  The result of sin is death, and before Jesus, death was atoned by the sacrifice of an animal.  The people lived under the law and had to obey the Jewish customs to make up for their wrongs.  Jesus is seen as the New Adam because He wiped away the sin that Adam brought into the world.  We need to think about how much of an impact Jesus’ death has.  If every man was affected by Adam’s sin, then God’s grace granted through Jesus is an infinite amount stronger.  We must take this grace and really appreciate how powerful and life-altering it is.  It changes the world.

Gospel Mt 10:26-33

Jesus said to the Twelve:
“Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges Me before others
I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father.
But whoever denies Me before others,
I will deny before My heavenly Father.”

I love when Jesus tells us not to be afraid.  I have so many things in life that I am scared of, but if I just listened to my Savior, I’d feel a whole lot better.  Fears limit us and bring us down by holding us back on things we should say or do.  Religion is an area where we may be scared to share because of what others may think or we think we do not know enough, but Jesus says we must proclaim it and bring light to the darkness.  We are His messengers and His representation on earth.  We cannot be afraid to spread the Good News and share what we know is Truth.  He says that if we deny Him on earth, He will deny us for Heaven.  I rather be known as a “Jesus freak” to people here on earth (which is such a small amount of time) than be rejected for eternity by God, Who sacrificed His Life for me.  He takes care of us and knows everything about us inside and out.  We must trust that He is fighting for us and even if bad things happen, He is working it for our good.

 

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Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, June 18, 2017

Reading 1 Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a

Moses said to the people:
“Remember how for forty years now the LORD, your God,
has directed all your journeying in the desert,
so as to test you by affliction
and find out whether or not it was your intention
to keep His Commandments.
He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger,
and then fed you with manna,
a food unknown to you and your fathers,
in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live,
but by every word that comes forth from the Mouth of the LORD.

“Do not forget the LORD, your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
that place of slavery;
Who guided you through the vast and terrible desert
with its saraph serpents and scorpions,
its parched and waterless ground;
Who brought forth water for you from the flinty rock
and fed you in the desert with manna,
a food unknown to your fathers.”

Faith will be tested.  It is part of life, and we have to trust God.  He is always guiding us, but only those with strong faith will withstand the many hardships that are guaranteed to be faced.  People with faith will be questioned, doubted, mocked, ridiculed, insulted, etc…Those with weak faith or wrong intentions will not survive it all.  The intention of believers is to serve God not self, and those that are truly in it for Him will be blessed.  It is easy to neglect and forget what God has done for us when in the trials of life, but we must remember and never overlook how far He has carried us.  He has always been with us and will never give up on us; for He sees us as a prize.  Indifference and ungratefulness pierce the Heart of Jesus.

Reading 2 1 Cor 10:16-17

Brothers and sisters:
The cup of blessing that we bless,
is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ?
The bread that we break,
is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?
Because the loaf of bread is one,
we, though many, are one body,
for we all partake of the one loaf.

We are all together under Christ.  There are so many reasons humanity is divided, but He is the Cause of unification.  We are all quick to bicker, fight with, and judge others, but if we all thought of other people – even strangers – as brothers and sisters, so many of the world’s problems would be solved.  We should take time to think of the areas where we are self serving or flat out mistreat people.  We are one big Family because of Christ and need to help keep peace and harmony on earth.

Gospel Jn 6:51-58

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
“I am the Living Bread that came down from Heaven;
whoever eats this Bread will live forever;
and the Bread that I will give
is My Flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this Man give us His Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true Food,
and My Blood is true Drink.
Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood
remains in Me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent Me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on Me
will have life because of Me.
This is the Bread that came down from Heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this Bread will live forever.”

We all need Jesus.  He gives us eternal life.  Corpus Christi is such an important day because it reminds us how special the Eucharist is.  I know that when things become normal, they lose their being special.  We can never let this happen to the Eucharist for us because It is What gives us life.  We are connected to God through the Eucharist, and His Sacrifice is sacred.  It is our way to redemption and how we are saved.  We should yearn to be close to Him and feel that we can never get enough of Him because without Him, we are dead and our spirits are lifeless.  This Bread is not like any other bread because It truly is the Body of Christ just as the wine becomes the Blood of Christ.  Therefore, we should remember that the “bread” we think we need is nothing compared to Him.  All the worldly wants we have does not compare, and we must put in perspective what we are prioritizing.

 

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June 4, 2017, Pentecost Sunday

Reading 1 Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under Heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

God wants to be heard, and He will make the impossible possible in order to do so.  The Holy Spirit came and drove out fear and filled the Apostles with zeal.  They all spoke in different languages so that all people could understand God’s Message.  It is amazing to think God has this power.  He defies status quo to reach His people.  We must allow the Hole Spirit to fill us because we have the potential to perform astounding acts for the Lord.

Reading 2 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
Who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. 

We all have the Holy Spirit in us working to bring more of God into the world.  We may judge others because they sin differently than us, but they also have different spiritual gifts.  We are all have various talents and passions, but we all thirst for the same Spirit.  We need to recognize that some people will be great at some things, but you will be better at others and vice versa.  Therefore, we need to do our part and perform well in the areas God wants us because we can serve better.  The Holy Spirit is in all of us that proclaim that Jesus is Lord, and He can unify us all under His Name.

Gospel Jn 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When He had said this, He showed them His Hands and His Side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Jesus gives peace.  We are all yearning and striving for peace.  The world is chaotic, and we all want an escape.  Jesus gives a different kind of peace.  This is the Holy Spirit, the Lover of our souls.  This peace surpasses anything the world has to offer because true peace isn’t the absence of problems but the Presence of Christ.

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