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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful!

20050930

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, September 30, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Baruch 1:15-22
Psalm 79:1-3, 5, 8-9
Luke 10:13-16

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Whoever rejects you, rejects me. . ."

Oh woe to those who reject Jesus. And those who reject the followers of Jesus reject Him. . . sometimes. Not all who say "Lord, Lord" are true followers of Jesus.

What must we do to be a follower of Jesus, one who brings the message of good news? We must be like the Master Himself. We must be willing to deal with sinners in their native land. We must be willing to love people who, given our own way about things, wouldn't deserve the time of day, much less love. We must be willing to give up all the things we often use to supplement or replace Jesus.

And then, wonder of wonders, when we start to really follow Him, we will discover how much we are like Him. When we allow Him to do so, He comes and lives within us, filling us and guiding us, and speaking through us to those around us. It is this follower of Jesus who brings the good news. It is this follower of Jesus that it brings woe to reject.

Let us pray each day to become the Jesus that the world either accepts or rejects by its own choice. And let us pray that the world comes to know Jesus through us.

- JuandelaCruz

(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050929

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, September 29, 2005
The Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, archangels

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Revelation 12:7-12
Psalm 138:1-5
John 1:47-51

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel."
(John 1:49)

Today's readings begin with the Old Testament's description of the cosmic battle being waged between good and evil. Daniel had a vision of God in His Judgment Seat and saw the slaying and burning of the beast, the defeat of Satan who sought to corrupt mankind created in God's image, and prevent Him from bringing salvation to humanity.

In John's New Testament "Revelation," the dragon (satanic evil) is fought by the Archangels who prevented his seizing the Christ Child from Mary and swept Him to safety. It is this Holy Child grown to full manhood and perfection in His spirit who gave to God's people both salvation and the power to achieve it. Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, perfect and without blemish of any sin, conquered evil by the shedding His blood and redeemed us by putting our sins to death in His own human flesh. His act invites us, through the power of His grace given us by His Holy Spirit, to also die to our sins and so "work out" our salvation through obedience to Him, God's living Word of Life.

Today's Gospel finds Jesus gathering men to become His Apostles, to bear God's healing love into this world. Encountering Nathaniel, Christ saw into the heart of this man whom He saw in fervent prayer and invited him to join His group. Though at first skeptical, after seeing and hearing Jesus, Nathaniel instantly recognized His Divine Nature. The truly faithful in whom the power of the Holy Spirit is strong, recognize God's presence in one another. Why then did Jesus also choose Judas, His betrayer? God's mercy will, up to the last moment of our lives, give us every opportunity to be saved.

O merciful Redeemer, draw us and hold us in deep and genuine prayer; that, knowing You, we may be enabled to readily perceive and accept the good and reject all evil. Amen.

- Marie Bocko,
OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050928

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Wenceslaus, martyr
St. Luis Ruiz and companions, martyrs

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Nehemiah 2:1-8
Psalm 137:1-6
Luke 9:57-62

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The Gospel for today might sound pretty harsh. Is Christ really saying not to bury the dead, and not to say goodbye when He calls us to follow Him? Perhaps the word that might catch our attention is the word “BUT.” How often do we have good intentions of following the will of God “BUT” some other interest takes us away. We might miss the 'grace of the moment" as they call it. Perhaps it was at that moment that someone needed your love or a helpful task done. When it is not done, then the opportunity to connect is gone -- the moment slips by.

It takes prayer, observation skills, patience and perseverance to keep tuned into the will of God. Often our own agenda seems more significant but is it? What really matters when we consider eternity? The choice then becomes obvious.

"Thy will be done, O Lord"
(The Our Father)

Joan of Jesus,
OCDS
(jmurphy at utica dot edu)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050927

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Vincent de Paul, priest

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Zechariah 8:20-23
Psalm 87:1-7
Luke 9:51-56

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's gospel we see once again the great contrast in what were age-old beliefs and the changes that Jesus brought to us. For what appears to be a minor offense, James and John asked the Lord if they should bring destruction to the Samaritans -- only to be promptly rebuked by Jesus. There are some interesting lessons to be learned here.

First, it would appear that these two disciples had been given some powers, or at least thought they had control of some heavenly powers through their association with Jesus. Jesus' refusal to allow them to use this power for bad purposes, is very powerful in itself and teaches us the lesson that any power we are given should be used only for the good of others and never for bad.

Second, there was an age-old animosity between the Jews and Samaritans and Jesus refusal to use destructive powers, teaches us there is a new way to treat our enemies: with love and respect. The respectful way to eliminate an enemy is to make him a friend and not to destroy him -- which supports the first lesson we learned.

Finally, there is a hint of the lesson that Jesus taught about "turning the other cheek" in this passage. After Jesus rebuked the disciples, they left for another village and avoided the Samaritans. When one meets an enemy it is much better to turn and walk away than confront them and cause more hatred.

Jesus' message of love, compassion and peace was strange to his followers. They lived in a country occupied by a foreign force, subject to oppression and laws that conflicted many times with their faith. They had been looking to a political messiah and instead found the true Messiah of peace. A Messiah whose lessons came hard at times, and continue to come hard today.

- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050926

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, September 26, 2005
The Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Zechariah 8:1-8
Psalm 102:16-21, 29, 22-23
Luke 9:46-50

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's Gospel, Jesus says something very precise namely that He considers that those who who were not in the company of the Apostles worthy of the message and rewards of the salvation He preached. It is appropriate that we recognize the importance of Jesus' teaching in our own time, for there are many who are not in full communion with our beloved Church yet strive with great determination to do good according to the informed light of their consciences.

For those who have been graced to hear (and keep) the Word of God, Holy Mother Church is the repository of all that is required to form a good conscience. It is however not only a great grace, but a tremendous responsibility, that we utilize what we have seen, what we have heard and have come to know -- not just for the good and salvation of our own souls, but for that of others and indeed, for the whole world.

That means as true imitators of Christ we are expected to spread the Gospel message with faithfulness and as Christ did, with determination and love, not excluding anyone, but welcoming all to the banquet of paradise.

"... any man who is not against you is on your side."
(Luke 9:50)

- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050925

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, September 25, 2005
The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Ezekiel 18:25-28
Psalm 25:4-9
Philippians 2:1-11
Matthew 21:28-32

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

“...You saw, ...change your minds and believe...”
Matthew 21:32

Clearly, pointedly, belovedly, our Lord reveals that ‘doing’ what is God’s will, rather than concurring without following through, is the ‘way’ one enters the kingdom of God. Hearing one’s call, then responding faithfully in the labor of achieving this, requires a discipline of will to listen, trust, obey, and to conform oneself to the work of God.

Evidenced throughout the holy life of Jesus, He replies to His searching parents, they may know He is ‘found’ about the work of the Father. One thus understands, where and how one finds Jesus, whenever one feels lost to Him... simply, “be about the work of the Father.” One who follows through with one’s actions, is “about the work of the Father”, and thus ‘finds’ the presence of the Son.

One knows the Father through the Son who is about His Father’s work. That is how one makes Him known as well, to others.

Our Blessed Mother at Cana also instructs us to “Do whatever He tells you.” He may then achieve with our humble wash basins of efforts, the graced and choicest blessings for God’s glory.

O Lord, grace us, in courage, to “do greater works than these’...” to always be about the work of the Father, extending You, present in us, Your mystical body, Word, Sacraments, and by remaining in You to bring You to others - healing, teaching, praying, laboring tirelessly; “...thy kingdom come, thy will be done...”
Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050924

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, September 24, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Zechariah 2:5-9, 14-15
Jeremiah 31:10-13
Luke 9:43-45

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's Gospel, the disciples of Jesus seem to have their hands over their ears as Jesus tells them of his impending Passion and Death. They just don't want to hear about it. In the months and years in which they have followed Jesus, they have formed their own ideas of what His future--and theirs--will be. He will be gloriously enthroned as an earthly King and Liberator of Israel, and they themselves will share Power and Authority. It's the subject of their thoughts and plans so often that we wonder how much they really did hear of Jesus' message.

We are not so very different. We often picture in our mind what Jesus looks like, and how He talks and walks. That's only natural. We know that He loves us with incredible allowances for our failings. And that's as it should be. But what about the challenges He makes? What about those "hard sayings". Do we just brush them aside after a few minutes of reflection?

O Jesus, help me to really accept those predictions of suffering and pain for those who follow You. And grant me Your "toughening Grace" that I may be strong enough to face with patience and humility whatever share of the Passion You have chosen for me. Let me remember that, if You are the one who has custom-made my cross, then I must embrace it with the same love with which You will give it. Amen.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins@frontiernet.net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050923

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, September 23, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Pio of Petroclina, priest, religious

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Haggai 2;1-9
Psalm 43:1-4
Luke 9:18-22

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"But Who Do You Say I Am?"

Jesus asks first, "Who do the crowds say I am." The apostles come up with any number of answers, some of which are shared with us. What would our answer to that question be? A nice guru, a cool hippie countercultural sort of guide, a good man, a good teacher, a troublemaker? Who knows? By looking at today's world, it's very difficult to say who the crowds think Jesus is, if they think about Him at all.

But the more important question Jesus asks the apostles, and by extension all of the "children" of the apostles--every living Christian--is "Who do you say that I am?" And that is a very interesting question because we may answer it in two different ways. We might have one answer on our lips and one in our actions.

When people look at what we do and how we conduct ourselves day-to-day, what do they see of Jesus? What does our daily conduct say to the world about what we think of Jesus? Are we gentle, kind, helpful, serene, hopeful, and joyous? Do we open the gates of the kingdom of heaven? Or are we harsh, judgmental, imperious, difficult? Do we paint an image of love or of judgment?

We spread the gospel more by who we are than by what we say. Are we the disciples who sit at Jesus' feet and take in all that He says, serving others from fullness of heart? This is where all service starts. It is in a prayerful life that we begin to tell the world about Who Jesus is.

- JuandelaCruz

(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050922

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, September 22, 2005
The Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Haggai 1:1-8
Psalm 149:1-6, 9
Luke 9:7-9

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom."
(Psalm 111:10)

One of the most hazardous occupations is proclaiming God's absolute and unchanging truths to a sinful world. God's truth is based upon His love. He invites us to participate in this love that is His very essence by developing a relationship with Him that leads us to our perceiving His perfect love and as a result recognizing the sanctity, the divine origin, of all human life. Moral relativism, on the other hand, is an invention of those having no knowledge of God and who claim that truth must change with the times and circumstances. This belief places man above God and frees us to selfishly manipulate and trample on one another for our benefit or convenience. The world is presently existing by this scenario.

This latter situation relates to Mary's sorrow at seeing her Son, the Incarnation of God's love and truth being reviled, abused and finally crucified by those ignorant of the God they purportedly worshiped. Simeon's prediction was fulfilled; Mary's heart was repeatedly pierced in a figurative way, while the piercing of Christ's heart was literal. In this, Christ's final sacrifice, the blood and water issuing from His wound baptizes and cleanses from sin all those who lovingly live in His word. "The rise and fall of many" predicted by Simeon applies to us and depends upon our acceptance or rejection of living in God's Holy Word.

Most generous Father, we thank You for the precious gift of new life You have given us in Your son. By Your grace, may we never be seduced by this world's lures and lies. Amen.

- Marie Bocko,
OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050921

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Matthew, apostle and evangelist

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
Psalm 19:2-5
Matthew 9:9-13

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

It is awesome to think of the important roles of the 12 apostles, and harder even to imagine what it would be like to have Christ in their midst every day. In the Gospel of today, we see how simply Christ called forth Matthew to follow Him, to become an apostle.

Christ called each of us to 'follow Him' on the day of our baptism. Each of us is unique and has been given a role to perform that no one else can do. We, like the apostles, are to be 'Church' to others. Each of us is a walking reflection of what it means to be a Christian. Most of us are not given outstanding tasks to perform, but every task we perform is important in building up the Kingdom of God. No one else can do it. So let us consider that at the break of each new day, Christ is at our bedside saying to us, as He did to Matthew, "Follow Me".

"Here I am Lord, I come to do your will"

Joan of Jesus,
OCDS
(jmurphy at utica dot edu)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050920

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr
St. Paul Chong Hasang, martyr
and their companions, martyrs

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Ezra 6:7-8
Psalm 122:1-5
Luke 8:19-21

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.
Luke 8:21

Today's gospel reading may be one of the toughest to swallow. On the surface our Lord seems to be rejecting his family outright. In fact, In Mark's version of this incident, Jesus asks the question, "Who are my mother and brothers?"
(Mark 3:33) Why would He seem to brush away His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary who bore Him and those who were his family for thirty years before He began His ministry?

To read the scripture this way is certainly to miss the point. The Father, through His Son has adopted us into His holy family as Paul says in Ephesians, "In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved." This adoption makes us all brothers and sisters to each other and to our Savior, all of us children of the Father. This is precisely what Jesus is saying, that those of us who hear the Word of God, take it to heart, believe in faith and follow His way are truly His brothers and sisters. In no way is he dismissing His earthly mother and "brothers" since He speaks here strictly in the spiritual sense.

This certainly was a radical change in the religious thinking of His time and the Pharisees who heard this most certainly were angered that He had the audacity to claim a father-son relationship with God, and to include all of his followers as well. But that is the part of the beauty of God's salvation plan. He loves us so much that He desires the closest relationship possible with us and has adopted us as His own.

- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050919

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, September 19, 2005
The Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Januarius, bishop and martyr

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Timothy 2:1-8
Psalm 28:2, 7, 8-9
Luke 7:1-10

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Sometimes the words of Holy Scripture seem so clear and the message straightforward and uncomplicated. At other times they can even be confusing and not reflect at all what one might imagine God would have us understand. Today's Gospel contains both of these points. First of all Jesus says we are not to hide our light as if under a bushel basket or bed; then goes on further to say that in the end there is nothing that will remain hidden. That seems pretty straightforward.

Then Jesus says something that sounds like a modern flippant cliché namely that the rich get rich and the poor get poorer. It doesn't sound very reassuring from the Just One who is all loving and merciful. Could it be He really meant it just the way we hear it?

I would never pretend to know that I have the right answer, but rather that it is something for me to pray about so that I might gain insight to what the Lord intends to reveal to me.

In doing so, I am certain that with God's grace, the lesson will be meaningful and of assistance on my spiritual journey. It is not important to know so that I may take pride in knowledge, but to know that I may more faithfully and perfectly do all that God wills.

"Incline my heart according to Your will O God.
Lead me on straight paths, for Your Name's sake."

- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050918

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, September 18, 2005
The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Philippians 1:20-24, 27
Matthew 20:1-16

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

“I wish to give...”

Jesus’ parable is about the landowner who, in ceaseless recruitments, from the first to the last hour of the day, returns to the marketplace to find and ‘give’ what each there seeks, labor. He queries the “unengaged” and proposes to every remnant the choice for “engagement.” All who will receive, are given a place to come and labor, even in the final hour.

His immense generosity becomes most evident with those engaged last, as He chooses to reward these “first” so all may see His bounteous mercy. These receive the same “due” as those who labored early.

One realizes in this, that each soul is immensely desired by and has an inestimable value to God. One who wills to finally receive what others receive early in their lives, is no less valuable or beloved to God. He reminds us to share His joy at whatever point in time souls choose the union of eternal life with Him. All are called to receive fully, what He generously gives freely, the immeasurable gift of His mercy in love for eternal life.

O Lord, may I never cease seeking and inviting souls to You. Those who appear to remain idle, ignoring invitation after invitation, let me pursue in prayer for their salvation. Help me to love them to You through generosity of spirit. Let my prayer be yours, my heart for You alone, my love, my Lord. I wish to give. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050917

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, September 17, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary time

St. Robert Belarmine, bishop and doctor of the Church

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Timothy 6:13-16
Psalm 100:2-5
Luke 8:4-15

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

How many times have we heard this Gospel about the sower and the seed? I dare say that there were times in our lives when we took it deeply to heart, pondered it, let it sink deep into our souls, and even experienced a change in our lifestyle because of it. Perhaps it was a sermon on forgiveness that we heard, or an exhortation to listen to God calling us to evangelize. Perhaps we listened from a hospital bed or while grieving for a dear loved one.

There are two ways of looking at this parable--one is to examine the nature and quality of the seed itself, and the second (which is the focus of Jesus' parable) is from the condition of the soil on which the seed falls. Let's take a look at the first point-of-view.

Jesus' words are always potentially life-giving. After all, we're told that Scripture is a "two-edged sword". And we're also told that all of Scripture is useful for instruction and spiritual growth. Why, then, don't we leave our "hearers" filled with energy and resolve to act on what we have heard? Perhaps because the preacher was ill-prepared, or boring. Perhaps the sound system was faulty, or there were babies crying loudly. Even in these circumstances, we can offer a silent prayer that the Lord will let us take just one thought away with us. Or perhaps we can pray for the preacher that God will inspire him with greater enthusiasm and holiness. Perhaps his bishop will offer him a refresher course in preaching! Through faith and good will, we can always take something with us from the Word of God.

From the second point-of-view, let's make sure that we are awake, alert, and well-disposed through prayer, humility, and love, to be "good soil" for the Word that we hear. When we say a prayer to the Holy Spirit, He will always fertilize our soil.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins@frontiernet.net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050916

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, September 16, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Cornelius, pope and martyr
St. Cyprian, bishop and martyr

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Timothy 6:2-12
Psalm 49:6-10, 17-20
Luke 8:1-3

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God"

Jesus taught by doing. He gathered around Him the twelve apostles and they went forth proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. That news is proclaimed to this very day. It is proclaimed in the word that is read from the pulpit. It is proclaimed during the homily that the priest gives to the people. It is proclaimed in the actions our individual churches take for the good of the community.

We are part of this proclamation. We are people of the Word. Our lives are a sign to those around us. As we are loving and giving and accepting, they begin to see an image of God. As we are harsh and forbidding and intemperate, we portray quite a different God--one who, in fact, does not exist.

We proclaim God in our daily lives. Is the God we proclaim one of Good News? Or is He one of harsh judgment and extreme demands? Does He eat with sinners and talk to publicans as Jesus did? Or does he keep to himself and only issue forth to make demands or to tell others what they are doing wrong.

Let the news we proclaim in our action be the Good News of the Love He has for all people without exception. Let the light that shines within us be the true light of Christ, beckoning to those around us, inviting them in.

- JuandelaCruz

(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050915

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, September 15, 2005
The Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Sorrows

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Timothy 4:12-16
Psalm 111:7-10
John 19:25-27

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom."
(Psalm 111:10)

One of the most hazardous occupations is proclaiming God's absolute and unchanging truths to a sinful world. God's truth is based upon His love. He invites us to participate in this love that is His very essence by developing a relationship with Him that leads us to our perceiving His perfect love and as a result recognizing the sanctity, the divine origin, of all human life. Moral relativism, on the other hand, is an invention of those having no knowledge of God and who claim that truth must change with the times and circumstances. This belief places man above God and frees us to selfishly manipulate and trample on one another for our benefit or convenience. The world is presently existing by this scenario.

This latter situation relates to Mary's sorrow at seeing her Son, the Incarnation of God's love and truth being reviled, abused and finally crucified by those ignorant of the God they purportedly worshiped. Simeon's prediction was fulfilled; Mary's heart was repeatedly pierced in a figurative way, while the piercing of Christ's heart was literal. In this, Christ's final sacrifice, the blood and water issuing from His wound baptizes and cleanses from sin all those who lovingly live in His word. "The rise and fall of many" predicted by Simeon applies to us and depends upon our acceptance or rejection of living in God's Holy Word.

Most generous Father, we thank You for the precious gift of new life You have given us in Your son. By Your grace, may we never be seduced by this world's lures and lies. Amen.

- Marie Bocko,
OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050914

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Numbers 21:4b-9
Psalm 78:1bc-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38
John 3:13-17

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

The readings of the day are full of symbolism, familiar to the people of Moses' time. In the first reading a serpent is placed on a pole and anyone who had been bitten by a serpent and looked at the pole, would be healed. The people were familiar with the rod or staff of Aesculapius, son of Apollo. The name, Aesculapius, was the Roman name for the god of medicine. Today it is used by some medical associations as a symbol for healing, sometimes called the caduceus.
(Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 2001)

The death of Christ on the Holy Cross, brings that symbol to completion . The actual death, more than a symbol, opens again the gates of paradise for all of humankind and enables us to attain our full roles as brothers and sisters of Christ. We still have the gift of free will and we can accept or reject that role. Let that death not be in vain!

"Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the Cross for us"

Joan of Jesus,
OCDS
(jmurphy at utica dot edu)

____________________

These meditations are also available by email subscription
©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050913

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

St. John Chrysostom

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Timothy 3:1-13
Psalm 101:1-3, 5-6
Luke 7:11-17

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today’s Gospel Reading we get a quick snapshot of what our Lord’s ministry was all about. Let’s take a closer look....

It must have been a real surprise to the onlookers when they saw Jesus approach and actually touch the coffin. His action made the coffin bearers stop, probably because they were shocked at what he did. The religious laws addressed contact with a corpse and the religious leaders would certainly have been disgusted by His actions. Contact with a corpse made one unclean. It is interesting that Jesus adhered to much of the law, but at times ignored points of it when they conflicted with his mission.

Jesus came to bring life, which He does in today’s reading by actually restoring life to a dead man. Since life was so central to His message, He deliberately disregarded a part of the law to bring life. Having pity, He told the man’s mother not to weep, bringing her comfort and reassurance that all would be well. Our God brings life, has pity on those who are suffering and puts the law in its rightful place.

Jesus continues to bring life today. His ministry lives on in us, and in the teachings of His Church. He continues to show mercy to those who suffer. He restores what was lost. This is our Lord, a loving and life-giving God!

- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)

____________________

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20050912

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, September 12, 2005
The Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

The Most Holy Name of Mary

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Timothy 2:1-8
Psalm 28:2, 7, 8-9
Luke 7:1-10

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Today's First Reading and Gospel refer to those with legitimate authority. It is a subject that has always fascinated me. When teaching Confirmation Class I often discovered that my students didn't really understand the origin of their parents legitimate authority over them. They failed to see that their parents had a holy responsibility and would be held accountable for their exercise of it.

Children, therefore, need to be taught that parental authority is legitimate because it is God who grants it and expects that it will be properly executed. On the other hand God expects that children will properly obey their parents, for in obeying them they obey Him.

Proper civil authority is also based on the authority which comes from God and presupposes that it's for the common good that laws are enacted and enforced. What then is the big deal about all this? It is no less than this: that all disorder stems from the fundamental failure to respect the authority of God and others who, by right, have legitimate authority. Until the Creator is obeyed, no lasting order will ever exist.

Let us pray that all will come to love God and follow all He commands. Then, let us pray for our leaders and those with legitimate authority who have been appointed or elected to serve others. They need our prayers to be true imitators of the Just and Holy One who alone is the ultimate authority over us all.

- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

____________________

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20050911

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, September 11, 2005
The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 27:30—28:7
Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12
Romans 14:7-9
Matthew 18:21-35

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Love Forgives the Debt

God generously allows Himself to be moved with compassion, forgives, and expects one’s corresponding gift of loving mercy for others.

One witnesses in the torrents of a hurricane’s wrath and destruction, the mortal wounds of lives lost, families splintered, homes and work taken. There is a “debt” of need that is created that seeks forgiving remediation and healing for these mortal wounds of death and destruction.

Compassionate waves of generous care, opened hearts, homes, jobs, and medicine, reveal God’s mercy through those who provide a magnanimous ‘seventy-seven times’ response to this “debt” of need. The mortal wounds suffered will gracefully heal through His merciful love that “forgives” to bring forth new life, hope and peace through His servants. This echoes His question, “Which is easier to say, “Pick up your mat and walk”, or “Your sins are forgiven?”

“How often and how much must I ‘forgive’?” is answered in the recognition of one’s total debt to God. The truth that all one is -- and has -- is from God, inspires “What can I give Him in return for what He so generously gives to me?" … surely, all that I am, all that I have, is not enough! The repayment of our debt through forgiveness, mercy, and love extended to others, is commanded in His “Love one another as I have loved you.”

O Lord, may the debt of the immense sorrow, loss, and destruction suffered by so many, be forgiven through our tireless help, prayers and compassion through Your redeeming mercy.

Amen, Amen....


- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

____________________

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20050910

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, September 10, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Timothy 1:15-17
Psalm 113:1-7
Luke 6:43-49

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

We are almost shocked at St. Paul's self-abasement. He sees himself on a par with Nero and other s like him. We almost feel that Paul is overdoing it! Still, look at the way other saints have done the same as St. Paul -- St. Teresa of Avila, St. Augustine, St. Francis and many, many others. When we realize what God did in their lives, we begin to wonder if a dissolute life is a prerequisite for great holiness.

This is a good day for us to really examine our past. Most of us can "dig up" some rather unsavory deeds and attitudes from our past! Such recall leads to a realization of God's immense mercy and love for us in forgiving our sins and weaknesses. Indeed, it seems that the greater our sin, the more abundant is the mercy of the Lord. There is truly no limit to God's loving forgiveness.

When we come to this realization, we must not passively accept it, but must use this truth to stir ourselves to greater humility, greater gratitude, and more intense abandonment of our lives to the Divine Will. Whatever God will ask of us from this moment on, we resolve to do. Whatever He will ask us to endure for His sake and the sake of the whole world, we will endure.

O Lord, thank you for the words of St. Paul, and the writings of so many saints. They stir my heart to love, and a realization of how far I have yet to go in my journey toward perfect conformity to Jesus.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins@frontiernet.net)

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20050909

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, September 9, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
St. Peter Claver

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 11
Luke 6:39-42

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye?"

The truth of what Jesus says in this gospel passage is an exceedingly hard one to come to terms with. In our very flawed, very human way, we are all too ready to look upon the failings of others than we are to look in the mirror and see our own.

One of the things Jesus tells us here is to purify ourselves, to see ourselves for what we really are. It is only in the gaze in the mirror that we become aware of "amazing grace." It is only by knowing ourselves thoroughly that we can begin to know and understand others.

One of the reasons we are so willing to accuse others is that we know so little about ourselves. More often than not what enrages or irritates us about another is our own flaw grown (seemingly large). Jesus offers the remedy for this--self-awareness. And it is in this self-awareness that empathy and sympathy for the sinner grows. It is in understanding our own sinfulness that we become aware of the splendor of the love of God. By looking in the mirror and seeing our sins, we learn the compassion of Jesus.

Leading others to God rarely starts with haranguing them about their sins and weaknesses. Although this is sometimes the ploy one must use on the most hardened cases. More often than not, we open the hardened heart of a sinner by sitting and listening without judging, without trying to fix all the problems we are hearing. In short, the solution begins with unconditional love. And this awareness of our own sinfulness teaches us compassion and unconditional love.

- JuandelaCruz

(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

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20050908

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, September 8, 2005
The Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Micah 5:1-4 or Romans 8:28-30
Psalm 13:6
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

She will bear a son Jesus and he will save his people from their sins
.(see Matthew 1:21)

Today's reading in Micah contains the often repeated promise of "One" who is to come for the deliverance of Israel. The question is, how will God accomplish this? God had already given Israel the Law to guide them to holiness, to become an example to the world of God's loving power. However, their frequent disobedience of the Law prevailed over their living in the love upon which God's law is based. The Law alone did little more than reveal their sins to them; they required a total change of heart.

Psalm 13 defines God's means of effecting the needed change. He would show His loving mercy by coming to His people in human flesh as the rising "sun of justice," showing them how to live selflessly and sacrificially in His truth and love, and providing them with the power needed to live in obedience to His Law. This promise is fulfilled in the New Testament with the birth of His Christ.

The feast we celebrate today indicates God's careful preparation for the coming of His Son into this world. The Blessed Virgin Mary was a spotless vessel cleansed from original sin from her very conception in her mother's womb. This is why she is also called the Immaculate Conception; her being freed from the stain of sin from the first moment of her life made her fit to bear the Divine Child, Jesus. Hers was the most powerful utterance in human history when she said "Yes" to God. It is this same word spoken and lived by us in obedience to Him that can continue to bear His blessed life into this world.

O Redeemer King, may we always seek Your grace to live in the same wisdom, humility and loving obedience to our heavenly Father as You and Your mother Mary. Amen

- Marie Bocko,
OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050907

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Colossians 3:1-11
Psalm 145:2-3, 10-13
Luke 6:20-26

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Haven't we all heard the expression "put on your glory suit"? The readings of today describe the meaning behind that phrase. In the first reading we are told that "When Christ, your life, appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory."
(see Colossians 3:1-11) What a tremendous thought!

Like all promises there’s much work for us to do before we can even think of wearing a 'glory suit'. Both the first reading and the gospel describe in detail the efforts we must make. Most of us spend our lives struggling with' putting to death the parts in us that are earthly', as mentioned in the first reading. In the gospel we hear how Christ toppled the common 'value set' of the day with His reference to the poor, hungry and bereaved as being the blessed of the times. His harsh words for those who have their fill of life's pleasures now can make us take notice.

Some of us work long and hard to fit into the size clothes that we wore in high school. It takes considerable effort. How much harder must we work to get ready for this 'glory suit'; but the rewards will be infinite! They are always 'on sale' as Christ paid the bulk of the cost with His blood. He leaves the rest for us to do!

Joan of Jesus,
OCDS
(jmurphy at utica dot edu)

____________________

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20050906

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Colossians 2:6-15
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11
Luke 6:12-19

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

As I read the gospels, I am struck by the many miracles Jesus performed during His ministry. But there is one very big miracle that scripture does not directly point out proves Christ’s divinity to me more than any other miracle. That miracle is how the gospel was spread to such far away places by such a small group of relatively simple people.

In today’s gospel reading we meet the twelve apostles as they are listed by name. While we do not know a lot about some of them, we know that they were common, everyday people. A few were fishermen. Peter was married and lived with his mother in law. One was a tax collector. Paul, the apostle to the gentiles who came later, was a tent maker. These were not highly educated men from the priestly ranks or rulers of the land. They were actually quite simple people, who struggled to make a living, care for their families and worship God.

The one thing they had in common was that they were open to the Lord’s word and His works. They took a huge chance and in total faith left their professions to follow Him and spread the Good News of the Kingdom. All but one paid the ultimate price through martyrdom.

This is the miracle: God chose average people to do His extraordinary work. He continues to do this today by putting average people in soup kitchens, aid shelters, overseas missions and parishes across the world. Our call is not to be extraordinary, but to be ourselves, hear His word and follow him. Then, the miracles happen.

- Don Claunch,
SFO
(dlclaunch at bresnan dot net)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050905

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, September 5, 2005
The Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Colossians 1:24--2:3
Psalm 62:6-7, 9
Luke 6:6-11

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

In today's First Reading there is a little phrase which has always baffled me. St. Paul says he is filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. I always thought there was nothing lacking in Christ's suffering; so, why Paul's strange words? I finally just decided it was something I just didn't understand, and moved on.

Today, when I was required to read this passage from Colossians, it began to be clear that Paul was not saying that there was anything missing or lacking in the suffering of Christ, but that there are things in the world that were still in need of Christ's saving help. It was these situations that were lacking, lacking because there was no knowledge or acceptance of the redemption won by Christ's suffering. Paul went on to say that he would fill up those areas in his own flesh by making God present, by preaching and teaching the sacrificial love of God.

When it finally occurred to me what Paul was saying, it made me realize that we too are called to fill up what is lacking, by bringing into focus the suffering of Christ so that all might know the extent they are loved and deemed precious in God's eyes. We are to show compassion and love, forgiveness and understanding. We are to heal those who are afflicted and burdened. We are to be like Jesus who, in today's Gospel, publicly mended the man with the withered hand, in spite of Pharisaical criticism.

Let us then look around to see those situations in our own sphere of influence, where there are those who lack what they need; and let us fill it up by bringing to them the love of our suffering and yet triumphal Lord.

- Donna Raye Nelson,
OCDS
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050904

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, September 4, 2005
The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Ezekiel 33:7-9
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Romans 13:8-10
Matthew 18:15-20

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

Union in Christ receives all through prayer; What about sin that divides?
(see Matthew 18:15-20)

“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.” This hope rests in Jesus’ promise that whatever we ask in His name will be granted by His Father because He is with us. We need only ask together and trust. We can truly, “Be not afraid,” because “Peace” is with us.

Jesus first reminds us however, that sin divides us, and He prescribes the process for resolving that sin between us. This is most noteworthy as it reminds us we are to prefer “release” rather than “binding” one another’s sins. Resolving the issue privately is the first option Jesus prefers and “wins over” the brother, protects his privacy, reputation and elicits good will. Failing to resolve the sin privately, Jesus suggests one take one or two others to impartially listen and assist with resolving the sin. Refusal to listen to these, one next seeks the counsel of the church, which, if refused by the transgressor, Jesus suggests, invokes treatment as one would a regard a persistent nonbeliever or one who takes advantage of others. His authority to forgive or retain sins begins on earth and remains so in heaven.

O Lord, may Your sobering reminder encourage the stubborn soul to humbly repent and remind the injured soul, to seek all possible means to assist with the resolution of sin for the good of the other’s soul. Amen.

- Mary Williams
(www.impactbydesign.biz)

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050903

The Catholic Calendar for Saturday, September 3, 2005
Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary time

St. Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Colossians 1:21-23
Psalm 54:3-4, 6, 8
Luke 6:1-5

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

We have such difficulty in balancing the law with common sense. Jewish Sabbath laws were extremely strict, forbidding even the preparation of meals or traveling beyond a few yards. Jesus' followers were hungry, yet the law forbade them to pluck even a few strands of standing grain! When Jesus allowed his disciples to do so, he incurred the fury of the Pharisees. Jesus is invoking what many call "common sense" or balance. There is an old saying which states "Virtus stat in medio" (Virtue follows a middle course). How refreshing! "Pietism" which may be defined as a hypocritical attitude toward religious practice, would set the rule "Thou shalt look good" as the standard rule and guide. How offensive and insulting to our God who tells us that a proper inner disposition of humility and reverence is the true standard for all outward gesture.

Even in our own observance of Sunday rest, it is important for us always to bring a heart that is at peace, intent on true re-creation of the whole person. It should always include Eucharist, but a spirit of outreach to our neighbor and time with our families as well. Whatever we do, should be done in the spirit of charity, inclusivity, and true Christian joy. Joy comes from gratitude to God who has graced us with a beautiful world and opportunities for praise and reflection, activity as well as total relaxation. If we keep all this in mind, then Jesus will be truly the center and Lord of our Sabbath

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(smartins@frontiernet.net)

____________________

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20050902

The Catholic Calendar for Friday, September 2, 2005
Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Colossians 1:15-20
Psalm 100:1-5
Luke 5:33-39

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Can you make the wedding guests fast when the bridegroom is with them?"

Whenever I am down, I stop to think about this passage. How can I be depressed when the Bridegroom is with me?

The passage means so much more to those of us who came after Jesus' glorious transformation because in that transformation, as we have come to understand, we have the bridegroom with us every moment of every day.

How can you fast when there is so much cause to rejoice?

We can't. We need merely remember that Jesus is, was, and ever shall be. He is the eternal bridegroom, He is the help of our souls. He is with us in this moment and in every moment.

So the next time you are tempted to sorrow turn and look to see the bridegroom who looks at you. He loves you and He has always been there and will always be there.


- JuandelaCruz

(http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/)

____________________

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©1986-2005 The Way, The Truth, The Life


20050901

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, September 1, 2005
The Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time


Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Colossians 1:9-14
Psalm 98:2-6
Luke 5:1-11

A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture:

"Do not be afraid, henceforth you will be catching men."
(Luke 5:10)

Today's Gospel events follow Jesus' violent eviction from His native town when speaking in their synagogue He quoted Isaiah's prophesying the coming of God's Messiah and asserting that He is its fulfillment. This was upsetting enough, but they became enraged when Jesus told them that they "the chosen," through unbelief, were excluding themselves from God's kingdom while foreigners accepting His message were being admitted.

Following this incident, He continued on to perform healing miracles and preach the good news of salvation to crowds hungering to hear God's word. At the Lake of Gennesaret, to allow the crush of people to better hear His message, He boarded Peter's fishing boat and asked him to set out a bit from the land. Concluding His talk, He instructed Peter to proceed further out and again cast out his fishing nets that had remained empty through his entire previous night of hard work. In a spontaneous act of faith, Peter obeyed and was rewarded with a catch of fish that filled two boats almost to sinking.

Astonished by this divine outpouring and seeing himself unworthy of God's generosity, Peter fell humbly at Jesus' feet but was told not to fear; for he was to become a fisher of men, sharing His good news to draw others to God's kingdom. Jesus uses Peter's act of obedience to teach him and us that faith unleashes God's power, His boundless grace
for man's good. In contrast, the faithless rejection by the Nazareans closed and bolted the door to God's saving grace.

Blessed Savior, pour out Your Spirit upon us that we may become more sensitive to Your loving Presence and faithfully respond to all Your biddings. Amen.

- Marie Bocko,
OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)

____________________

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