Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath Bartholomeus Breenbergh [ Web Gallery of Art ] Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel Luke 4:21-40 ( New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition) Jesus began to speak in the synagogue: ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.”’ And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three y
In today’s Gospel from Mark, (Mark 5:1-20), I pondered why Jesus asked the demon, “What is your name?” (Mark 5:9). Why would Jesus ask such a question, when Jesus, as God, knows everything? And the demons know Jesus’ true identity! Well, what Jesus is really doing here, by asking the demon for his name, is turning the tables on the demon, “thus gaining power over the demon possessing the man.” 1 The demon must respond to Jesus’ inquiry, because He must respond to God. By doing so, the demon reveals his name. Jesus doesn’t need to do the same in return, because He is God. Thus, Jesus exerts His power over the demon. This encounter from today’s Gospel reminds me of an incident that occurred to me, several years ago. At one Saturday evening Mass, I watched people as they received Communion. I saw a man place the consecrated host in his pocket and start walking for the door. As a trained Eucharistic minister, I knew what he did was wrong, because we are expected to consume the host
As I was contemplating making holy boldness the topic of this post, surfing TV channels took me to a preacher who was speaking on— guess what? holy boldness! Talk about affirmation. Perhaps someone (maybe me) needs to be encouraged to practice this virtue. Holy boldness is the courage to do something daring for God’s sake, the faith, or the love of others. Back in 2016, I wrote about Mary’s holy boldness https://bit.ly/2S5UEGG. This was manifested in her original yes to being God’s mother and again when as a young pregnant girl, she braved the difficult journey to help her pregnant cousin Elizabeth. There are other bold ancestors in our spiritual tree. At the ripe old age of seventy-five, Abraham dared to move his household to an unknown land. Moses confronted Pharaoh and made an outrageous demand to free his slaves. David dared to face Goliath. Esther came before her Gentile husband and king, knowing that she might be killed for it. Ruth followed her mother-in-law to a
Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget the Good News, the Gospel of Christ. Oh yes, we keep trudging to Mass, trying to pray, maybe reading a few lines of a spiritual book before we nod off but we lose sight of the real goal of the Christian life. Holiness I would say the goal of the spiritual life is to cooperate with Grace, and so grow slowly closer to our Beloved through the power of His death and resurrection. In even simpler terms, God changes us so we can freely receive His love and let it flow through us to others. This goal—union with God—is not a fairy tale, not only for the saints of old. As Pope Francis has said in GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE , holiness is for all, for all states of life, even for modern, busy people. continue
Photo taken at Evergreen Lavender Farm, Virginia by Jeanne Grunert. I realized this weekend that I was reacting strangely to a story unfolding on social media. I was acting as if it was personal, and it wasn't. A little reflection, a few memories later, and I realized an old hurt was resurfacing. The pain we cause others by our gossip is long-lasting and deeply felt. It's also grossly underestimated among the many sins every single one of us, myself included, commits, especially in this modern age where social media and television encourage us to speculate, gossip, and share what we "know." Read the whole piece, here: The Pain We Cause by Gossiping .
In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus tell the parable of the sower. Jesus knew that the Apostles did not completely understand what He tried to convey. He responded to them by asking, “ Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables ” (Mark 4:13)? Understanding God’s Word requires some interpretation. As you read Scripture, do you confidently think you truly understand what God conveys in the passages that you read? Odds are the answer is no, and if you answered no, then you are in good company. Some passages are easy to discern. Then there are others that have multiple meanings, or multiple layers to discern. How, then, are we to discern the true meaning of God’s Word? The Magisterium Aids Us in Understanding God’s Word In many other Christian faiths, the faithful discern God’s Word on their own, as they do not have an authoritative source to rely upon. Yet, when Jesus instituted His Church, He knew from the very beginning, as is evident fro
HOMILÍA DEL SANTO PADRE JUAN PABLO II Ciudad de México, Catedral Viernes 26 de enero de 1979 Queridos hermanos en el Episcopado y amadísimos hijos: Hace apenas unas horas que pisé por vez primera, con honda conmoción, esta bendita tierra. Y ahora tengo la dicha de este encuentro con vosotros, con la Iglesia y el pueblo mexicanos, en este que quiere ser el día de México . Es un encuentro que se inició con mi llegada a esta hermosa ciudad; se extendió mientras atravesaba las calles y plazas, se ha intensificado al ingresar en esta Catedral. Pero es aquí, en la celebración del Sacrificio eucarístico, donde halla su culminación. Pongamos este encuentro bajo la protección de la Madre de Dios, la Virgen de Guadalupe, a la que el pueblo mexicano ama con la más arraigada devoción. leer más...
St Luke Painting the Virgin Mary , Marten de Vos [ Web Gallery of Art ] In Year C of the three-year Sunday liturgical cycle the gospel is nearly always from St Luke's Gospel. Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 ( New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition) Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed. Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, ret
If you want to grow in spirituality, and learn the mystic way, then you will want to get a copy of David Torkington’s Wisdom from the Western Isles . In this thought provoking book, we meet the main character, Peter Calvay, a mystic in his own right. He acts as a spiritual guide for a young man named James. Torkington does a masterful job at interweaving the stories of the two men’s lives, who are completely different. James is Protestant, searching for meaning in his life. Peter is a middle-aged Catholic, who experienced much spiritual growth and is considered a mystic. Through Peter’s kindness and willingness to share his experiences and knowledge with James, we all get the benefit of Peter’s Wisdom from the Western Isles . The story is set in Torkington’s native England, thus the reference to the Western Isles. Peter Calvay teaches us how to pray, and why we should pray daily. One of my favorite lines states, “Prayer is a process of continual inner conversion that involv
Scripture dictates a few rules about speaking. On Sinai, God gave two commandments regarding words: We are not to take the name of God in vain and we are not to bear false witness. Jesus says we are not to make oaths to attest to the truth of what we are saying but to let our yes mean yes and our no mean no (Matthew 5:37). James warns against cursing and urges controlling the tongue, which he calls, "a restless evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8)! As someone who has often engaged in conversations, I would like to offer a few additional rules that can make communications go more smoothly and prevent hard feelings. These are along the order of the suggestion that before speaking we should ask ourselves: "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" 1. Look at the speaker. You may know how annoying it is when someone you are talking to looks beyond you to see if there is a more interesting person around. I've found it especially affirming when someone looks di
In today’s Gospel, from Mark 2:18-22, we see Jesus ask the people, “ Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them ” (Mark 2:19)? He asks this question in response to an inquiry about why Jesus’ disciples are not conducting the proper fast. This question has many layers of understanding behind it. So, let’s first set the stage with some proper background information. This will help us better understand where this question stems from, and why fasting is important. In typical Jewish tradition, the Jews fasted on the Day of Atonement, asking forgiveness of sins. They would do this because they knew that sin separates us from God. Fasting reminds us of our need for food and for God, who provides all, to meet our needs. Thus, fasting brings us in touch with our need for God, who not only provides, but forgives our sins. What is Jesus Asking/Stating? Now, to understand Jesus’ question, we need to peel away the layers of the onion, so to speak... Read more...
It's been a month for space exploration 'firsts,' and a 'farthest.' Ultima Thule became the most distant object visited by a probe on January 1, with the New Horizons flyby. A few days later, China's Chang'e-4 mission landed in the von Kármán crater, part of the moon that's not visible from Earth. It's the first lunar farside landing, and the first time plants sprouted on the moon...." (More on A Catholic Citizen in America .)
In the midst of a family crisis, I found refuge in the words of the prayer Jesus gave us. When we are open to the Holy Spirit, the Father shines His purifying light on us. The process is often painful, though, because when the light of the Father comes into our hearts and lives, the darkness is pushed out. Looks like I must be open to God’s work because my whole life has been shattered by decades-old secrets revealed by angry adult children. The whole process is messy but God breaks through my anxiety some days so I can respond to His call for complete surrender. However, like most mothers, I try to fix problems only to make situations worse. Back and forth I go, from heavenly peace to a state of sheer panic when I can hardly function. However, through it all, I know God is using this mess to bring healing to the whole family, just like He is healing His entire Church. Our only recourse is to draw closer to the heart of the Lord and give Him our fiat, in the middle of our con
The Marriage at Cana , Marten de Vos [ Web Gallery of Art ] Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel John 2:1-11 ( New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition) On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and tak