My Daily Visitor

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sep 18,2012 - 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

"Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts." (1 Cor 12:31) When I read this verse it stood out to me like a big neon sign. Paul, when speaking to the people of Corinth, suggests that each of us has a unique gift but we must cultivate to find it.

When speaking about the body of Christ and His church, he addressed the early Christian followers that "some people God has designated in the church to be, first apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then mighty deeds; then gifts of healing, assistance, administration and a variety of tongues" (1 Cor 12:28). So much as to say that we all have a special quality that God has given us, a unique talent, if you will, to serve God and the Church of Christ. 

There is no incorrect way to serve, just as there is no less an important part of the body. The hands are equally important as the feet; the eyes are equally important as the nose; etc. There are many ways to contribute to your church and community. However, like anything else, you must participate fully to realize it's reward.

"Lord, thank you for revealing to me my unique gift. I will participate fully in your church to share in the fellowship of Christ" - Amen

Meditation: 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31 (

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Sep 14, 2012 - John 3:13-17

Today's gospel teaches us that Jesus is the name above all others. God "greatly exalted him" (Phi 2-9) so that "every knee should bend" (Phi 2-10) at his name. It was the sacrifice on the cross that Jesus gave willingly to save us from sin that seperated him from all others.

In the first reading from Numbers for today, Moses and God were blamed by the people of the Exodus that they were starving and questioned why God freed them from bondage. They complained "Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!" (Num 21:5). So God sent seraph serpents to bite his people, many Isralites died. When the people repented, God instructed Moses to make a seraph and mount it to a pole so that when the people saw it, even those who had been bitten would recover and live.

This pole with an angelic figure and is compartive to Jesus being hung on the cross. Those that look to that figure will be saved, just as those people of Israel during the Exodus who were saved by looking at the seraph pole. Mounted high for all to see. The figurative symbol of Jesus hanging from a tree is one catholics look to. It's not enough for us to see a cross as protestants do. It's important to see the actual figure, suffering for us all and dying for each of us. A symbol similar to the one Moses created and mounted to the pole for the Isralites to see.

"Lord, when I see you on the cross, I am reminded that your suffering has paid my way to eternal life. Grant me your saving grace that I may one day be united with you in heaven." - Amen

Meditation: John 3:13-17 (

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Sep 10, 2012 - 1 Corinthians 5:1-8

Today's reading is one of my favorites because it underscores the importance of going to confession. Confession is very important in your relationship with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. God, in his infinite wisdom gave us his only Son to deliver us from sin, just as God used Moses to deliver his people from bondage out of Egypt. Sin IS bondage. They are shackles that bind us and do not let go. Our faith, through the Holy Spirit, has given us the Sacrement of Confession or in today's terms, Sacrament of Reconciliation to free us from those shackles. In turn, after we are cleansed and washed clean, we partake in the celebration of Christ and unite with him through the Sacrement of Communion.
Freeing yourself from these shackles of sin is a daily struggle. Being human we are born with original sin that makes it impossible to be perfect. We can strive for that perfection, however, by going to Mass each Sunday, going to confession on a regular basis, going to Communion at Mass, and doing charitable work for those less fortunate. As a Lector, Eucharistic Minister, Knight of Columbus, ESL Aide and a Welcome Committe Member at our Church, I speak from experience that there is no greater gift you can give to God than to devote your available time to charitable works.
I recommend involving yourself in your community so that you too can experience God's love through the eyes and voices of those that thank you for your service. You will feel a sense of love and compassion that cannot be felt elsewhere and you will not be dissappointed.
"Lord, continue to use me as an instrument for your love. Through the Holy Spirit, grant me the wisdom to seek those out who need my help" - Amen.

Meditation: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 (

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sep 4, 2012 - 1 Cor 2:10b-16

Today's first reading is a bit complex to understand but basically it states that there are two forms of consciousness. One who is spiritual and one who is not. The one who is not spiritual cannot judge the one that is. What does God mean by this?
To take it further, it is the Holy Spirit that teaches us divine wisdom and not wisdom taught by man. Since the Holy Spirit is equally divine with God and Jesus Christ, it is His wisdom that we should seek. The thoughts of God can only be comprehended by the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is God. God being three devine persons enlightens us with the truth taught by the Holy Spirit.
The person who chooses not to receive these truths from the Holy Spirit cannot discern or judge those who receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus had told his Apostles that "when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide
you into all truth" (Jn 16:13). Pope Leo the XIII said "The Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of truth, because he proceeds from the Father, eternal Truth, and the Son, substantial truth, receives from each of them, along
with his essence, all truth, which he then communicates to the Church, helping never  to err"
In a perfect world, we should all be perfect but we are not. But God has given us the ability to choose. The abilty to discern what is good and what God has directed us to do. But it only comes to us through the Holy Spirit. That is why it is important to attend Church each Sunday to listen to the truth that God and the Holy Spirit has set before us through the daily readings and Gospel. It is communicated by the Holy Spirit and through the Church to each and every catholic who attends mass all over the world. I myself, try to prepare for Mass each Sunday and read the day's readings so that when I sit in church and listen to God's words, the truth has already begun to sink in. It is that truth that sets us free to yearn for Christ.
"Lord, heavenly father, your wisdom is taught to me by the Holy Spirit, who enlightens me to yearn for Christ. Allow me time for your truth to sink in so that I may continue walk in your path". - Amen

Meditation: Luke 4:31-37 (

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sep 1, 2012 - Matthew 25:14-30

After reading today's Gospel, I found it worth researching on the internet. I researched it for two reasons. One, I wanted to compare my understanding of it to see if I was pretty close to popular opinion. Two, I wanted to be able to use that understanding to better my relationship with God.

Here is my understanding of Matthew 25:14-30:

Jesus taught the parable of the talents to prepare His church. Jesus knew that he was going to be crucified and therefore wanted to prepare us for what lies ahead. He also wanted to instruct us on how to live while we wait for his return. On a personal level, he wants us to use what we have been given in this life to do good. That is to say, whatever talents we have been given, large or small we are to seek to increase it's value as it relates to God's teaching. A poor person with little to no talents should seek to increase their position in life and give back to the community as much so as the person who has everything. Talents in this sense does not mean economic wealth but personal wealth, i.e., health, wisdom, knowledge, stewardship, etc.

Today's Catholic church is the foundation of this teaching. As we wait His joyful return, the Catholic church continues in this stewardship. She continues to invest it's "talents" as she awaits the return of its founder and Master, Jesus Christ. Even with all it's flaws, the Catholic church continues today to invest it's talents to spread the Gospel of Christ and to serve others. There is no perfect religious organization. Each has it's flaws because they were created by and for human beings. As Catholics and stewards of Christ, we should use our talents to continue to grow our church so that when she stands in judgment on His return, Christ will give us greater responsibilty to continue our life in heaven.

"Lord, thank you for entrusting me to serve you. I will continue to use my talents to increase it's wealth so that in my time of judgement, you will look favorably on me." - Amen

Meditation: Matthew 25:14-30 (

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Aug 29, 2012 - Mark 6:17-29

In today's reading, Mark tells the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. John, who was recognized by many as the greatest prophet at the time, some even believing he was the Christ, was imprisoned by Herod. Herod found John interesting and liked to hear him speak. But it was Herodias, the ex-wife of Phillip, Herod's brother, that detested John because John spoke out in public of her marrying Herod, her brother-in-law. John stated "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife" (Mk 6:18), speaking to Herod.

I stopped to think that times have not really changed since those early Christian years. There was still malice, hatred, deceit, idolotry, etc., that drove people to murder, executions and betrayal. In the year 2012, those behaviors still exist in today's times. I believe what seperates us from those times is that today, we are rooted in Christ. In those days, I compare it to the outlaw days of our western culture. There was not much law and order except by those who wielded the staff. And they ruled with iron fists and without conscience where beheading was not thought of twice.

Today, because we ARE rooted in Christ, those who choose to do bad know the consquences of their actions. Christ did an awesome job of laying out the law for us and the consequences that we face if we choose not to follow him. A million beheadings will not equal what we face in damnation if we turn away from God. Often times I think how my decisions affect my final judgement. Did I do everything I could to follow Christ? Did I love and serve the Lord to the best of my ability? How do people see me as it relates to Christ? Do I take the time to speak to at least one person everyday about Christ?

It's a complex way of living but Christ, in all his wisdom, made it very easy for us. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mk 12:31).

"Lord, even in times of distress, give me the wisdom to love my enemies and neighbors as myself. Grant me peace where there is dispair. Open my heart to receive the Holy Spirit at all times." - Amen

Meditation: Mark 6:17-29 (

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aug 25, 2012 - Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b

Today is the first Sunday in Ordinary Time. It is also the day I was chosen to read the first reading at today's 11:15am Mass. It was the reading from the book of Joshua. Joshua, in this reading, challenged the Isralites to make a choice between false gods or the true God that led them from slavery in the land of Egypt.

As I read the verses, I imagined a large group of leaders of the community gathered around to hear Joshua talk. Joshua, who was Moses' apprentice, was a well respected leader in his community. He led the Isaelites in conquering the land of Canaan after Moses died. Joshua was putting his cards on the table. He MADE his choice and was frustrated over the fact that his people were turning away from the true God that saved them from bondage. No beating around the bush, it was either a take or leave it situation.

After Mass, I went to the reception hall to mingle with the congregation and I was approached by Sister Rita. Sister Rita is so tiny that I didn't even notice her approaching me when she tapped me on the shoulder. She said "I enjoy hearing you, you are a very good lector....would you consider volunteering for our ESL program?" I was humbled that this little tiny nun came across the room to speak to me and ask me that question. Clearly she was moved by God to come and seek me out. At this moment, I reflected on my reading and thought to myself, "she is asking me to make a choice to follow God and be a leader in your community by volunteering". She was very sweet and I did not have the heart to turn her down.

God comes to you in many ways. Sometimes you don't recognize it. Other times, he grabs your attention immediately so that your left in amazement that he chose you. In either case, it feels wonderful to know that your efforts to follow God and spread his Gospel bears fruit. A fruit that feeds one person or a multitude.

"Dear God, you came to me today and asked me to volunteer. I accepted gladly because you are always there for me when I need you. Thank you for choosing me. Through Jesus Christ our Lord...Amen"

Meditation: John 6:60-69 (

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Aug 22, 2012 - Matthew 20:1-16

Today is my 31st wedding anniversary. I thank God each and every day for introducing my lovely wife into my life. She is my heart and soul and without her I would be incomplete. Happy Anniversary honey!!!

In today's gospel we have the parable of the Landowner who pays an equal day's wages to those he hired for one hour and to those he hired for a full day. This parable is sometimes difficult to understand because as humans we are taught from the time that we are little that what you reap is what you sow. In other words, hard work pays off. And to those who are lazy or "idle", as the Lord states, you do not get anything or little in return.

God makes it clear in this Gospel that it is never too late to lead a religious life. Whether you become active in God's life at the end of your time on earth or since you were old enough to remember that you followed God, He will invite you " to go into his vineyard" as long as you seek him. The pay is the same for all who follow Him, life everlasting in Heaven!! Jesus made that possible for us when he died for our salvation. He defeated death and created a threshold for us to step over to be with Him forever in His kingdom.

"Lord, Thank you for accepting me as your faithful servent to love and serve you. I accept your wages to work in your vineyard. It pleases me to serve you!! - Amen 

Meditation: Matthew 20:1-16 (

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Aug 20, 2012 - Matthew 19:16-22

I have been away for a while but I am back now. I lost my focus on God for a few weeks and I am endevouring to return my focus back to him. No one is perfect and with that being said....

In today's Gospel, Jesus is approached by a young man who asks, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?". This young man is most concerned about how he is going to be judged in the afterlife. Did I do enough to enter in the kingdom of God? Will I be worthy enough to stand before God? Does God expect more of me to be found worthy of heaven?

Jesus puts his mind to rest by saying "There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." But the young man is still bothered that he hasn't done enough. Then Jesus replies "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

This got me to thinking how extremely difficult it is to be "perfect". As a human being, it is virtually impossible to be "perfect". I think also about Mother Theresa and how perfect she must have been during her time on earth, yet, as a human being, I am sure she also had flaws. So Jesus gives us the straight and narrow truth with a reassurance that he doesn't expect us to be pefect but to DO YOUR BEST! Keep the commandments, because a perfect life would be that you completely divest yourself of everything you own and give it to the poor. Your clothes, home, car, shoes, money and all other material possessions.

Keep the commandments and leave the rest to God. God loves us and he will never abandon us but he does want us to care for each other. Doing so will make this world a much better place.

"Lord, come into my heart so that I can be more charitible and love my my neighbor as myself" - Amen

Meditation: Matthew 19:16-22 (

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Aug 6, 2012 - Mark 9:2-10

After reading today's Gospel I thought to myself, why would Jesus only allow Peter, James and John on the holy mountain so they may see him transfigured? Did he not trust the other disciples to see this transfiguration? Perhaps he didn't feel they were ready to see him that way. Maybe Jesus knew that if he had shown his transfiguration and the apparition of Moses and Elijah the other disciples would not be able to keep it to themselves as Jesus requested of Peter, James and John.

Imagine holding a secret like that until AFTER Jesus had died and rose from the dead. They also had trouble figuring out what Jesus meant about "rising from the dead". Have you ever held a secret until the appropriate time? It's very hard because we want to share what we've just heard or seen.

Well the secret is certainly out! Jesus died for us and all our sins. He manifested to human form to be like us and to lead us from darkness to light. As the verse in Mark states "and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them." (Mk 9-3). This dazzling white became the light of the world. Jesus is our light and key to everlasting life if you choose to accept him.

"Jesus, your brightness shines a beacon in a dark place. Shine bright always so that I may always find you amidst the darkness and trials I encounter each and everyday." - Amen

Meditation: Mark 9:2-10 (

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Aug 4, 2012 - Mt 14:1-12

When I read today's Gospel, I was reminded of the book of Genesis, when the serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden tree, who then tempted Adam to eat of it too. 

The devil has been at work since the beginning of time. It was no different in the time of King Herod. Like Adam who was tempted by Eve, Herod was tempted by Herodias, the wife of his brother Phillip. John the Baptist, who Herod had imprisoned, warned Herod that it was unlawful to keep his brother's wife. Filled with hate for John the Baptist, Herod could not kill him. Doing so would have caused a riot in his kingdom. The Bible states, "Although he (Herod) wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they regarded him (John the Baptist) as a prophet." (Mt 14-5). 

But the devil did not stop his work. During a birthday celebration for Herod, Herodias gave Herod a gift of dance by her own daughter, which I'm sure was very provacative even by todays standards. After the dance, Herod was so weak and far from God that he "swore to give her whatever she might ask for." (Mt. 14:7). Herodias, under the influence of Satan, whispered to her daughter to ask for John the Baptist's head on a platter. Herod had no choice to meet her demand since he promised her whatever she might ask for in front of witnesses and guests.

How many times has Satan entered our lives? Maybe it has not been as drastic as asking for someone's head on a platter but he is at work each and everyday. The futher out we are from God, the easier his temptations become. That is why it is so important to pray and to take some time out each day to meditate on the Word of God. Even if it's for 10 min a day. Those small steps lead to bigger ones and soon enough, Satan has no power over us. 

"Lord, you are my strength. Keep the evil one away so that I may focus on your wisdom and love for me." - Amen

Meditation: Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24 (


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Friday, August 3, 2012

Aug 3, 2012 - Matthew 13:54-58

In today's Gospel, Jesus attempts to teach in the synagogue in the city where He was born. While teaching there, the leaders of the synagogue were astonished at his "wisdom and mighty deeds" (Mt 13-54). I thought to you myself, how would I react today if I had known Jesus all my life and he started performing miracles and wonderous deeds? Would I believe in him or would I write him off as crazy or pretentious?

It's easier to question and use logical explanations to reason away something new to us rather than to trust and accept what your eyes see. And because his own townsmen did not believe in him, he chose not to teach there due to their "lack of faith" (Mt 13-58). This decision by Jesus can be compared to the sowing parable where "the one who hears the word and understands it" (Mt 13-23) will bear fruit.

The verse that spoke to me today is "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house." (Mt 13-57). This verse speaks volumes of how we treat our family and friends and we grow complacent with each other. If we can choose to treat each situation with a new way of looking at things, we too will bear fruit to understand and serve the Lord.

"Lord, give be wisdom to understand your teachings so that I do not grow complacent in my understanding. Teach me to learn and accept new things to grow and serve you" - Amen

Meditation: Matthew 13:54-58 (

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Aug 1, 2012 - Matthew 13:44-46

Today's first reading, Jer 15:10, 16-21, speaks to us about repentence. One particular verse stood out for me that says "in my presence you shall stand". I've often thought about how life would be in isolation without God. I recall the many times that I have chosen to distance myself from God. But even during those times, God was always trying to reach out to me. It was not until I truly repented that I felt God's presence in my heart.

The Lord goes on to say, "For I am with you to deliver and rescue you".  What a wonderful feeling to know that God is with me to lift me up when I fall. That is why our sacrament of reconiliation is so vital to being closer to God.

"Lord, you life me up when I fall. I accept you as my Savior and only wish to do good. Free me from the shackles of sin, so that you may deliver me and rescue me"  - Amen

Meditation: Matthew 13:44-46 (

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012 - Matthew 13:36-43

In today's Gospel in Matthew, I find Jesus' explanation of the weeds in the field to be one of the most powerful scriptures in the New Testament. Jesus is giving us the blueprints of how we are going to be judged at the "end of the age". Not only will we be judged but the angels will root out the Kingdom of "all who cause others to sin and all evildoers" and the angels will "will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth".

I conjure up visions of people surrounded by a ring of fire and they are screaming and agonizing for eternity. That is not the way I wish to find myself for all eternity so I will continue to "have ears" so that I "ought to hear" the Word of God and try to live my life out spreading the gospel and serving the Lord.

"Lord, do not cast me out to the darkness. Send unto me the Holy Spirit so that I may listen with my heart all that you instruct me." - Amen.

Meditation: Matthew 13:36-43 (

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Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012 - Matthew 13:31-35

In today's first reading, God instructs the prophet Jeremiah to take a loin cloth and hide it in a cleft of a rock. After a length of time, God tells Jeremiah to go back to the rock and inspect the loin cloth but Jeremiah finds it rotted. God then tells Jeremiah that the loin cloth represents "the pride of Judah" and "the great pride of Jerusalem". He calls them "wicked people...who walk in the stubborness of their hearts" (Jer 13:1-11).

It got me to thinking of how many times I chose not to follow God or Jesus Christ. It was during those times that were the most turbulent for me. Since strengthening my relationship with God and Christ, I have been able to withstand many obstacles. Trusting in God gives you hope, even if that help doesn't come to you right away, you learn to wait in the fullness of time for God to act. That peace of mind is more valuable than any material object I want or need.

"Lord, in the fullness of time, I trust in you to protect me from all anxiety. I will wait in continued joy for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. - Amen"

Meditation: Matthew 13:31-35 (

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28, 2012 - Matthew 13:24-30

In today's Gospel, Jesus uses a parable to teach the crowds about the Kingdom of Heaven. The parable is about a man who sowed good seeds in his field and then retired for the night to sleep. Then, while he was sleeping, an enemy came in the night and planted bad seeds all through his field so that weeds would choke off his crop. When the crop started producing, so did the weeds and both grew together in the field. However, to avoid his wheat from being pulled up with the weeds, he asked his slaves to "Let them grow together until the harvest" (Mt 13:30). This way the wheat would have fully taken root and the weeds could be pulled without damaging the crop.

I am reminded of the many times I try to give my children stong advice. The advice I give them is the wheat and the distractions, bad influences, choices they make, are the weeds. In time, I know that the advice I give them will eventually take root. And when I see them act on the advice I give them, I know then that the weeds in their lives have become weak. Those weeds that were preventing them from making good decisions, have been pulled from their life garden. God knows that we are going to be tempted all the time while we strive to be good. But when the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, we should be ready like the crop at harvest time to reap all the good we have done so that we can take the bad and "tie them in bundles for burning" (Mt 13-30).

Meditation: Matthew 13:24-30 (

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July 26, 2012 - Matthew 13:10-17

In today's Gospel, Jesus is trying to explain to his disciples why he speaks in parables. My focus on today's reading is "they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand" (Mt 13:13).

I think to my grandsons where I have to come down to their level sometimes to teach them or make them understand a particular topic or concern I have on their behavior. Much like Jesus and His times, the people in those days had a hard time grasping what Jesus was teaching them. Toddlers or infants have no experience in the ways of this world, and are hungry for knowledge. So too were the people in Jesus' time but they had to be spoken to in parables for them to understand what Jesus was conveying.

Think about the times when you were faced with a situation where you had a chance to teach or use a parable of somekind to make someone understand. As Jesus did in his day, it was important to teach with compassion. We too should use compassion when teaching, especially when we're trying to teach and spread the Gospel.

"Lord, send the Holy Spirit into my heart to use compassion in my daily life"

Meditation: Matthew 13:10-17 (

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July 28, 2012 - Matthew 13:24-30

In today's Gospel, Jesus uses a parable to teach the crowds about the Kingdom of Heaven. The parable is about a man who sowed good seeds in his field and then retired for the night to sleep. Then, while he was sleeping, an enemy came in the night and planted bad seeds all through his field so that weeds would choke off his crop. When the crop started producing, so did the weeds and both grew together in the field. However, to avoid his wheat from being pulled up with the weeds, he asked his slaves to "Let them grow together until the harvest" (Mt 13:30). This way the wheat would have fully taken root and the weeds could be pulled with damaging the crop.
I am reminded of the many times I try to give my children stong advice. The advice I give them is the wheat and the distractions, bad influences, choices they make, are the weeds. In time, I know that the advice I give them will eventually take root. And when I see them act on the advice I give them, I know then that the weeds in their lives have become weak. Those weeds that were preventing them from making good decisions, have been pulled from their life garden. God knows that we are going to be tempted all the time while we strive to be good. But when the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, we should be ready like the crop at harvest time to reap all the good we have done so that we can take the bad and "tie them in bundles for burning" (Mt 13-30).
Meditation: Matthew 13:24-30 (

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25, 2012 - Mt 20:20-28

In today's Gospel, the verse that I chose to reflect on is "Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matt 20:28). When the mother of the son's of Zebedee came to Jesus to ask him to command her sons to sit at his right and left, Jesus responded, "My chalice you will indeed drink (speaking about her sons), but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
This response from Jesus is a good example of how Jesus always humbled himself before God. He never took advantage of his position of God's son. He always kept focus on serving others and never wavered from that, even as he died on the cross.

Meditation: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 (

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012 - Micah 7:14-15, 18-20

Today's first reading reminds me of a very dark period in my life. I was on a course of self-destruction. God was the furthest thing from my mind. I was about to lose my wife, my children and everything that I had built as a family. My father had died just years earlier and I was hell-bent, as they say, to ruin all I had worked for.
One day, a dear friend of mine, who to this day I feel God sent to me, took me out to eat at a BBQ restaurant. We were discussing my screwed up life and he presented to me an analogy that I will never forget. Much like today's first reading, he began by pointing at my now dirty plate of food I had left behind. He said, "You see that plate in front of you? Those are your sins, and when they wash that plate after your done, it will be cleaned as new." "That's how God forgives our sins" he continued. "He allows us to start over and he doesn't care about the sins that are washed away as long as you go to Him and stop sinning".
That was my "aha!" moment as Oprah would say. It opened my eyes to a much larger picture of life. Even though I had heard this reading in church many times it had never hit home until that day at the restaurant. I am forever grateful to my friend for that day. Since that time, I have lived a more humble life, not that it has not been free of mistakes, but I go to that day as a reminder that I can start new each and every morning when I go to God for prayer and guidance.

Meditation: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 (

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Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012 - 6:1-4, 6-8

The last sentence in today's first reading sums up pretty much what God expects of us; "You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God." (Mi 6:8)

God knows we're going to sin. HE knows the thoughts in our minds, he can count the hairs on our head. Wouldn't it be easier to "love goodness, and to walk humbly"? Reflect on this very simple passage to come away with a renewal of spirit. God only wants us to know him and love him with all our heart. Nothing more, nothing less.

Meditation: Micah 6:1-4, 6-8 (

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012 - Mark 6:30-34

Today's gospel teaches us that we do not always have time to ourselves as we would like. Sometimes situations present themselves to us where we are given an opportunity to teach the Word of God or guidance for someone who is hungry for instruction. Our time is valuable and we should always take sometime to ourselves to rest and reflect on God. However, there are times when we are given the instrument of teaching even when we are at our most vulnerable.
"God, you are the master teacher and I love you. Give me the wisdom to teach to those who hunger for your words, even when I am exhausted and cannot find time to myself."

Meditation: Mark 6:30-34 (

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Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012 - Matthew 12:1-8

Choosing mercy over judgement is something you have to practice to master. How many times have we figuratively pointed our finger at someone and say "He's going to hell!" or "Don't associate with that person, he's gay!" Choosing mercy or judgment allows us to focus on the good things about someone. It's not that we are overlooking that person's sin or not giving it a second thought but it's not our job to judge when there is a much higher power already doing that for us. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, those sins included ALL sins, not just the ones we want to pick and choose. We have to trust in the Lord that he's going to address those sins at the proper time for that individual. In the mean time we can focus on the good of ALL people as much we can humanly can.
Meditation: Matthew 12:1-8 (

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012 - Matthew 11:28-30

Something wonderful happened to me and my family yesterday. For the past 3 1/2 years, we've been struggling with job loss, health issues and family crisis. It's been a roller coaster ride of emotions that have tested our spiritual strength. We got notified that we were approved for a mortgage reduction on our home. It was a day filled with tears of joy and thanks to our Lord our God. I truly believe that our faith in God has pulled us through. Today's reading in Matthew 11:28-30 teaches us to lay down our spiritual burdens at God's feet. It is only through Him that we find peace and joy in our hearts.

Meditation: Matthew 11:28-30 (

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Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012 - Mt 5:38-42

Liturgic day: Monday 11th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mt 5:38-42): 

Jesus said to his disciples, "You have heard that it was said: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this: do not oppose evil with evil; if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer the other. If someone sues you in court for your shirt, give your coat as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give when asked and do not turn your back on anyone who wants to borrow from you".

"I tell you this: do not oppose evil with evil"

Today, Jesus teaches us that forgiveness can overcome hate. Talion's law meant some progress, as it limited the wish to retaliate down to a fair proportion: do unto others as you would have them to, unto you; otherwise, it would be unfairness; this is what the aphorism "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" actually means. It was, however, a limited progress, as Jesus Christ emphasizes in the Gospel the need that love overcomes revenge; this is how He expressed it when, on his Cross, He interceded for his executioners: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34).

Nevertheless, truth should always accompany forgiveness. We do not just forgive because we feel helpless or gravely embarrassed. Quite often, the expression “to turn the other cheek” is misinterpreted as waiving our legitimate rights. Certainly, nothing of the sort. To turn the other cheek means to denounce and interpellate, with a peaceful but categorical gesture, whoever has done the injustice committed; it is like saying: "You slapped me on the cheek, now what, you want to slap me on the other too? do you really think you are behaving rightly?". Jesus replied serenely to the high priest's rude servant: "If I said something wrong testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?" (Jn 18:23).

We can, therefore, see what our Christian behaviour must be: not to retaliate, but to stay firm; to be open to forgiveness but clearly say things. It is certainly not an easy task to accomplish, but it is the only way to put a stop to violence and show the world the Divine Grace it is lacking of, so often. St. Basil advises us: "Believe me and you will forget the offences and insults you get from your fellow man. You will see how differently you will be named; he will be called angry and violent while you will be cited as meek and peaceful. One day, he will repent of his violence, but you will never regret your meekness".

Comment: Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García (Sant Quirze del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012 - Jn 19:31-37

Contemplating today's Gospel

Liturgic day: Sacred Heart of Jesus (B)

Gospel text (Jn 19:31-37):

As it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so they might take away the bodies. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who had been crucified with Jesus.

When they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead; so they did not break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a lance and immediately there came out blood and water. The one who has seen here gives his witness so that you may believe: his witness is true and He knows that he speaks the truth. All this happened to fulfill the words of Scripture, 'Not one of his bones shall be broken'. Another text says: 'They shall look on him whom they have pierced'.

"One of the soldiers, however, pierced his
side with a lance"

Today, before our very eyes —or better still before our interior eyes, illuminated by faith— is the figure of Christ who, having just died on the Cross, has had his side pierced by the Centurion's sword. "Immediately there came out blood and water" (Jn 19,34). What a distressing but at the same time eloquent sight! There is not even the slightest room for doubt: Jesus is 100% dead. What's more that mysterious "water" which would not have flowed out of a normal healthy body, would indicate, according to modern medicine, that Christ would
have died of a heart attack or what could even have been described as a burst heart. It is only in these cases that there occurs a separation of the serum and the red blood cells. This would explain the anomalous "blood and water".

Christ, therefore has truly died, and He has died because of our sins, for what He desired with most urgency, the cancellation of our sins. "With my death, I have defeated death and have exalted Man to the sublimity of Heaven" (Meliton of Sardis). God, who has kept to his promise of raising his Son from the dead, will also keep to his second promise: He will also raise us from the dead and will seat us at His right hand. He requires of us a minimum condition: to believe in Him and to allow ourselves be saved by Him. God never imposes himself on anybody. He fully respects human liberty.

Of that Man who's heart they stabbed "They will look upon the man whom they have pierced." The Apocalypse, too, confirms this: "Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him: and they also that pierced him." (Rev 1,7). This is a sacred requirement of divine justice: in the end even those who have obstinately rejected it will have recognise the truth. Even the self-idolising tyrant, the ruthless killer, the proud atheist... all of them without exception will feel
obliged to kneel down before Him, acknowledging him as the one and only true God. Isn't it more worthwhile to become friends with Him as of now.

Comment: Fr. Raimondo M. SORGIA Mannai OP (San Domenico di Fiesole,
Florencia, Italy)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 14, 2012 - Mt 5:20-26

Liturgic day: Thursday 10th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mt 5:20-26):

Jesus said to the crowds, "I tell you, then, that if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.

You have heard that it was said to our people in the past: Do not commit murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial. But now I tell you: whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial. Whoever insults a brother or sister deserves to be brought before the council; whoever calls a brother or a sister "Fool" deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell.

So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your gift to God. Don't forget this: be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There you will stay, until you have paid the last penny."

"If you are not righteous in a much broader way
(...), you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven"
Today, Jesus invites us to go beyond what any reliable law-abiding person can go. Even, without falling into any evil deeds, routine quite often hardens the desire of seeking sanctity, by comfortably adapting ourselves to the habit of just a good behavior, and nothing else. St. John Bosco used to say: "The good is the enemy of the best". It is there, where the Master's Word reaches us, inviting us to be righteous in a "much broader" way (cf. Mt 5:20) that starts from a different attitude. Bigger things that, paradoxically, look lesser and smaller. To get angry, to scorn and disown your brother are not the right things for the disciple of the Kingdom who is supposed to be —nothing less but— the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:13-16), as of the applicability of the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-12).

With authority, Jesus changes the interpretation of the negative precept "Do not kill" (cf. Ex 20:13), by the positive meaning of the deep and radical demand of reconciliation, which, for additional emphasis, is put in relationship to the cult. Thus, no offering is valid when "you remember that your brother has something against you" (Mt 5:23). This is why it is so important to settle any dispute as, otherwise, the invalidity of your offering will be turned against you (cf. Mt 5,26).

All this can only be attained through a great love. "Indeed —St. Paul will say—: the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet', and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'. Love does no wrong to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law" (Rm 13:9-10).

Help us beg to be renewed in the gift of charity —to the minimum detail— towards our neighbor, and our life will be the best and most authentic of all our offers to God.

Comment: Fr. Julio César RAMOS González SDB (Salta, Argentina)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012 - Mt 5:13-16

Liturgic day: Tuesday 10th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mt 5:13-16):

Jesus said to his disciples, "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its strength, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it. You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lamp-stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven".

"You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world"

Today, St. Mathew reminds us of those words Jesus said regarding our mission as Christians: to be the salt and the light of the world. On the one hand, the salt is a necessary seasoning to make foods taste good: without salt, most dishes are almost worthless! Throughout centuries, on the other hand, salt has been a fundamental element to keep victuals from corruption. Jesus tells us: —You must be the salt of your world, and like the salt, you are to be tasty and avoid corruption.

In our time, many have lost the sense of life and claim it is not worth their while; that life is full of disappointments, difficulties and suffering; that it goes by very fast and that it has death, as a final perspective, and a sad one too.

"You are the salt of the earth!" (Mt 5,13). It is up to Christians to give flavor to life: by showing the joyful and serene optimism of he who recognizes himself as the son of God, for everything in our lives can be a path to sanctity; by making difficulties, suffering and pain help us to purify ourselves; and by realizing that, at the end of our lives, life in Glory —the eternal happiness— is waiting for us.

And, also as the salt does, Christ's disciples, must preserve from corruption: where there are Christians with living faith, there cannot be injustice, violence, ill-treatment of the weak ones... Rather on the contrary, the virtue of Charity must shine in full force: worrying for others, solidarity, generosity...

And, thus, Christians are the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:14). A Christian is the torch that, with the example of his life, shows the path to Salvation, by bringing the light of truth everywhere in the world... Where, before, there was only darkness, uncertainty and doubts, now, there is light, certainty and self-confidence.

Comment by: Fr. Francesc PERARNAU i Cañellas (Girona, Spain)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9, 2012 - Mk 12:38-44

Liturgic day: Saturday 9th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mk 12:38-44):

As Jesus was teaching, He also said to them, "Beware of those teachers of the Law who enjoy walking around in long robes and being greeted in the marketplace, and who like to occupy reserved seats in the synagogues and the first places at feasts. They even devour the widow's and the orphan's goods while making a show of long prayers. How severe a sentence they will receive!".

Jesus sat down opposite the Temple treasury and watched the people dropping money into the treasury box; and many rich people put in large offerings. But a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins. Then Jesus called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those who gave offerings. For all of them gave from their plenty, but she gave from her poverty and put in everything she had, her very living".

"A poor widow also came and dropped 
in two small coins"
Today, as in Jesus' times, some pious persons —and even more so, some religious "professionals"— may be tempted by a kind of spiritual hypocrisy. This is evidenced through self-conceited attitudes, which we try to justify by our feeling better than all the rest: after all, we are the believers, the ones who practice..., the pure ones! If nothing else, at times, deep inside our hearts, we may feel like that; without, however, "making a show of being praying" or, even less, trying to "devour anybody's goods".

In sharp contrast with the masters of the law, the Gospel presents a simple and almost insignificant gesture on the part of a poor widow that provokes Jesus' admiration: "But a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins" (Mk 12:42). The actual value of her donation is almost nil, but the woman's decision is admirable, heroic: she gives everything she has.

With this gesture, God and the others went ahead of her and of her own needs. She fully let herself in the hands of Providence. She had nothing else to rely upon because, quite willingly, she had given it all to the service of God and to the attention of the poor. Jesus valued her generosity and her desire to praise God and help the poor, as the most important offering of all that had been made —perhaps, most ostentatiously— in that Temple.

Salvation is to be found in the nucleus of our own conscience, when we decide to open ourselves to God and live at the disposal of mankind; and when the election value is not given by the quality or quantity of the work made, but by the purity of intention and loving generosity.

Comment: Fr. Enric PRAT i Jordana (Sort, Lleida, Spain)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 8, 2012 - Mk 12:35-37

Liturgic day: Friday 9th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mk 12:35-37):

As Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he said, "The teachers of the Law say that the Messiah is the son of David. How can that be? For David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit declared: 'The Lord said to my Lord: sit at my right until I put your enemies under your feet'. If David himself calls him Lord, in what way can he be his son?". Many people came to Jesus and listened to him gladly.

"David himself calls him [the Messiah] Lord"

Today, Judaism still claims the Messiah has to be the "son of David" that must inaugurate a new age of the kingdom of God. We Christians "know" the Messiah, Son of David, is Jesus Christ and that His kingdom has already started —as a seed that germinates, grows up and bears fruit— and will become a visible and magnificent reality when Jesus comes back at the end of time. But already now Jesus is the Son of David and allows us to live "in hope" by enjoying the benefits of the Messianic Kingdom.

The title of "Son of David" applied to Jesus Christ forms part of the backbone of the Gospel. In the Annunciation, the Virgin received this message: "And the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end" (Lk 1:32-33). The destitute that begged Jesus to cure them, were saying: "You son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mk 10:48). When Jesus solemnly entered in Jerusalem He was acclaimed: "Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest " (Mk 11:10). The very old book Didache thanks God "for the holy vineyard of David, your servant, that we have come to know through Jesus, your servant".

But Jesus is not only the son of David, but also the Lord. He confirms it solemnly by quoting the Davidic Psalm 110. The Jews cannot understand it: it is impossible that the son of David can also be the "Lord". St. Peter, witness of Jesus resurrection, clearly saw that Jesus had been constituted "Lord of David", because "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day (...), but Jesus God rose up, whereof we all are witnesses" (Acts 2:29-32).

"His Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power", as St. Paul names him (cf. Rm 1:3-4), has become forms of the attraction focus of all men's hearts, and thus, softly attracting us towards him, He already exerts now his lordship over all men that address him with Love and in Trust.

Comment: Fr. Josep LAPLANA OSB Monk of Montserrat (Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain)

June 7, 2012 - Mk 12:28-34

Liturgic day: Thursday 9th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mk 12:28-34): 

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, "Which commandment is the first of all?". Jesus answered, "The first is: 'Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength'. And after this comes another one: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'. There is no commandment greater than these two".

The teacher of the Law said to him, "Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice".
Jesus approved this answer and said, "You are not far from the kingdom of God". But after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

"There is no commandment greater 
than these two"

Today, in Mark's Gospel, we see how one of the scribes asks Jesus: "Which commandment is the first of all?" (Mk 12:28). The question is somewhat cunning. In the first place, because he is trying to establish some sort of ranking amongst the different commandments; and, secondly, because his question is centered in the Law. This is logical, bearing in mind that the question comes from a master of the Law.

The Lord's answer takes to pieces the spirituality of that "master of the Law". And the attitude of the disciple of Jesus with respect to God can be summed up in two points: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart" (Mk 12:30) and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mk 12:31). The religious behavior is defined in his relationship with God and with his neighbor; and the human behavior, in his relationship with the others and with God. St. Augustine says the same with other words: "Love God, and do whatever you please". Love God and love the others, and all the rest will just be a consequence of this plenitude of love.

The teacher of the Law understands it perfectly well. And he adds that to love God with all one's heart, and one's neighbor as oneself, "is more important than any burnt offering and sacrifice" (Mk 12:33). God is awaiting our reply, our total deliverance, "with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength" (Mk 12:30), for God means Truth, Goodness, and generous dedication to others. "Offerings and sacrifices" have a meaning only insofar they will be the true expression of this double love. And to think that, at times, we use the "little commandments" and "the offerings and sacrifices" as stumbling-block to criticize or wound others!

Jesus approves the reply of the master of the Law with "You are not far from the kingdom of God" (Mk 12:34). For Jesus, whoever loves his neighbor over everything else is not far from God.

Comment by: Fr, Rodolf PUIGDOLLERS i Noblom SchP (La Roca del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6, 2012 - Mk 12:18-27

Meditation: Mk 12:18-27

How reliable is the belief that all will be raised from the dead? The Sadducees, who were a group of religious leaders from the upper classes in Jesus' time, did not believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead to eternal life. They could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes! Aren't we often like them? We don't recognize spiritual realities because we try to make heaven into an earthly image we can touch and see. The Sadducees came to Jesus with a test question to make the resurrection look ridiculous.

The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, did not believe in the existence of  immortal beings - whether humans, angels, or evil spirits. Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven which ended in death. Jesus responds to their argument by dealing with the fact of the resurrection and immortal life. Jesus shows that God is a living God of a living people. The scriptures give proof of it. In Exodus 3:6, God calls himself the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived on the earth.

That friendship with God could not cease with death. David in the Psalms also speaks of the reality of immortal life with God. In Psalm 73:23-24 we pray through the words of David: "I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory." The Holy Spirit reveals to us the eternal truths of God's unending love and the life he desires to share with us for all eternity.

Paul the Apostle, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17) states: "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him," God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The promise of paradise (heavenly bliss and unending life with an all-loving God) is beyond human reckoning. We have only begun to taste the first-fruits! Do you believe the scriptures and do you know the power of the Holy Spirit?

"May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too
shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart's vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages." (Prayer of Origen, 185-254 AD)

This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2012, whose website is located at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 5, 2012 - Mk 12:13-17

Meditation: Mk 12:13-17

What do we owe God and what's our 
obligation towards others?

Paul the Apostle tells us that we must give each what is their due (Romans 13:6-8). The Jewish authorities sought to trap Jesus in a religious-state dispute over the issue of taxes. The Jews resented their foreign rulers and despised paying taxes to Cesar. They posed a dilemma to test Jesus to see if he would make a statement they could use against him. If Jesus answered that it was lawful to pay taxes to a pagan ruler, then he would lose credibility with the Jewish populace who would regard him as a coward and a friend of Cesar.  If he said it was not lawful then the Pharisees would have grounds to report him to the Roman authorities as a political trouble-maker and have him arrested. Jesus avoided their trap by confronting them with the image of a coin.

Coinage in the ancient world had significant political power. Rulers issued coins with their own image and inscription on them. In a certain sense the coin was regarded as the personal property of the ruler. Where the coin was valid the ruler held political sway over the people. Since the Jews used the Roman currency, Jesus explained that  what belonged to Caesar must be given to Caesar. This story has another deeper meaning as well. We, too, have been stamped with God's image since we are created in his own likeness (Genesis 1:26-27).

We rightfully belong, not to ourselves, but to God who created us and redeemed us in the precious blood of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul the Apostle says that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). Do you acknowledge that your life belongs to God and not to yourself? And do you give to God what rightfully belongs to Him?

"Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you all my being.  Moreover, I owe you as much more love than myself as you are greater than I, for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself. I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love." (prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)

This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2012, whose website is located at

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012 - Mk 12:1-12

Meditation: Mk 12:1-12

What does Jesus' parable about an absentee landlord and his tenants say to us?

The hills of Galilee were lined with numerous vineyards, and it was quite normal for the owners to let out their estates to tenants. Many did it for the sole purpose of collecting rent. Why did Jesus' story about wicked tenants cause offense to the scribes and Pharisees?

It contained both a prophetic message and a warning. Isaiah had spoken of the house of Israel as "the vineyard of the Lord" (Isaiah 5:7). Jesus' listeners would likely understand this parable as referring to God's dealing with a stubborn and rebellious people. This parable speaks to us today as well. It richly conveys some important truths about God and the way he deals with his people. First, it tells us of God's generosity and trust. The vineyard is well equipped with everything the tenants need. The owner went away and left the vineyard in the hands of the tenants. God, likewise trusts us enough to give us freedom to run life as we choose.

This parable also tells us of God's patience and justice. Not once, but many times he forgives the tenants their debts. But while the tenants take advantage of the owner's patience, his judgment and justice prevail in the end. Jesus foretold both his death and his ultimate triumph. He knew he would be rejected and be killed, but he also knew that would not be the end. After rejection would come glory the glory of resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father. How do we share in this glory?

By submitting to Jesus' kingly rule in our lives. Jesus promises that we will bear much fruit (certainly the fruit of peace, righteousness, and joy, and much more besides) if we abide in him (see John 15:1-11).The Lord also entrusts his gifts to each of us and he gives us work to do in his vineyard the body of Christ. He promises that our labor will not be in vain if we persevere with faith to the end (see 1 Corinthians 15:58). We can expect trials and even persecution. But in the end we will see triumph. Do you labor for the Lord with joyful hope and with confidence in his triumph?

"Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which you have given us; for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us. O most merciful redeemer, friend, and brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more
dearly, and follow you more nearly, for your own sake!" (Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester, 13th century)

This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2012, whose website is located at

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012 - Jn 17:11b-19

Liturgical day: Wednesday 7th of Easter

Gospel text (Jn 17:11b-19): 

Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed, "I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world whereas I am going to you. Holy Father, keep them in your Name that you have given me, so that they may be one, just as we are. When I was with them, I kept them safe in your Name, and not one was lost except the one who was already lost, and in this the Scripture was fulfilled."

"But now I am coming to you and I leave these my words in the world that my joy may be complete in them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world; just as I am not of the world. I do not ask you to remove them from the world but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world; consecrate them in the truth —your word is truth. I have sent them into the world as you sent me into the world, and for their sake, I go to the sacrifice by which I am consecrated, so that they too may be consecrated in truth".

"That my joy may be complete in them"

Today, we live in a world which does not know how to be truly happy with the happiness of Jesus, a world which seeks the happiness of Jesus in all the wrong places and in the wrong ways. Seeking happiness without Jesus only leads to deeper unhappiness. Just look at the soaps on TV, there is always somebody in trouble. The soaps on TV show us the misery of a godless life.

But we want to live this day with the joy of Jesus. Jesus prayed to his Father in our Gospel today, "I leave these my words in the world that my joy may be complete in them" (Jn 17,13). Notice that Jesus wants his joy to be complete in us. He wants us to be full of his joy. This does not mean that we will not have crosses, for "the world has hated them because they are not of the world" (Jn 17,14), but Jesus expects us to live with his joy no matter what the world thinks of us. The joy of Jesus is to permeate us to our very core while the superficial rumblings of a godless world should not penetrate us.

Today then let us live with the joy of Jesus. How can we acquire more and more of this joy of Jesus? Obviously from Jesus himself. Jesus is the only one who gives us the true joy that the world is lacking as we see in the soaps on TV. Jesus said, "If you remain in me and my words in you, you may ask whatever you want and it will be given to you" (Jn 15,7). Then let us spend time each day in prayer with the words of Jesus in the Scriptures, let us eat and consume the words of Jesus in the Scriptures, let them be our food, so that we may be satiated with the joy of Jesus: "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon" (Benedict XVI).

Comment: Fr. Thomas LANE (Emmitsburg, Maryland, United States)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012 - Jn 16:5-11

Liturgical day: Tuesday 6th of Easter

Gospel text (Jn 16:5-11): 

Jesus said to his disciples, "But now I am going to the One who sent me and none of you asks me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief because of what I have said. Indeed believe me: It is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, it is to send him to you, and when He comes, He will vindicate the truth in face of the world with regard to sin, to the way of righteousness, and to the Judgment. What has been the sin? They did not believe in me. What is the way of righteousness? I am on the way to the Father, meanwhile you will not see me. What Judgment? The Ruler of this world has himself been condemned".

"It is better for you that I go away"

Today, we are presented with a deeper understanding of the reality of the Ascension of the Lord. In the reading from the Gospel of John on Easter Sunday, Mary of Magdala is told not to cling to the Lord because "I have not yet ascended to my Father" (Jn 20:17). In today's Gospel Jesus notes that the disciples "are overcome with grief because of what I have said", but that "it is better for you that I go away" (Jn 16:6-7). Jesus must ascend to the Father. Yet, He still remains with us.

How can he go, yet still remain? This mystery was explained by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI: "Given that God embraces and sustains the whole cosmos, the Lord's Ascension means that Christ has not gone far away from us, but now, thanks to the fact that He is with the Father, He is close to each one of us forever".

Our hope is in Jesus Christ. His conquest of death gave us the life that death can never destroy, His Life. His resurrection is a verification that the spiritual is real. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing can diminish our hope. The negatives of the world cannot destroy the positive of Jesus Christ.

The imperfect world we live in, a world where the innocent suffer, can point us to pessimism. But Jesus Christ has transformed us into eternal optimists.

The living presence of the Lord in our community, in our families, in those aspects of our society that can rightfully be called “Christian” have given us a reason for hope. The Living Presence of the Lord within each one of us has given us joy. No matter how great the barrage of negatives that the media delights in presenting, the positives of the world far outweigh the negatives, for Jesus Christ has risen.

He ascended, but He has not left us.

Comment: Fr. Joseph A. PELLEGRINO (Tarpon Springs, Florida, United States)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10, 2012 - Jn 15:9-11

Liturgical day: Thursday 5th of Easter

Gospel text (Jn 15:9-11): 

Jesus said to his disciples, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love. You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete".

"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you"

Today, we hear again the intimate confidence Jesus made last Holy Thursday: "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you" (Jn 15:9). The Father's love for the Son is immense, tender, dear. We can read it in the Book of Proverbs, when He affirms that long before initiating his deeds "Then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while" (Pr 8:30). This is how He loves us and, prophetically announcing it in the same book, He adds: "Playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the sons of men" (Pr 8:31).

The Father loves the Son, and Jesus tells us so: "And He that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him" (Jn 8:29). The Father loudly proclaimed it in the Jordan, when He says: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Mk 1:11) and, later on, in Mount Tabor: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him" (Mk 9:7).

Jesus has replied, "Abbà", Pater! Now He reveals us, "As the Father has loved me, so I love you". And what shall we do? To stay indeed by his love, to abide by his commandments, to love His Father's Will. Is not this the example He gives us? "I always keep my Father's commandments and remain in his love".

But we, who are weak, fickle, cowards and —why not just admit it— even wicked at times, shall we then lose his friendship forever? No, He will not allow us to be tempted well over our own forces! And, if we ever fail to abide by his commandments, let us ask him the grace of quickly coming back to him, as the prodigal son to the Father's house. And of being able to receive the Sacrament of Penance and be forgiven our sins. "I love you —Jesus tells us—. I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete" (Jn 15:9-11).

Comment: Fr. Lluís RAVENTÓS i Artés (Tarragona, Spain)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Huffington Post article: What Is Love?

What Is Love? Sheryl Paul | May 05, 2012 12:38 PM EDT

Comments (402)

We live under a massive cultural delusion about the nature of real love. Propagated by mainstream media, from the time you're born you're inundated with the belief that love is a feeling and that when you find "the one" you'll sense it in your gut and be overcome by an undeniable sense of knowing. When the feeling and corresponding knowing fade (for the knowing is intimately linked to the feeling) and the work of learning about real love begins, most people take the diminished feeling as a sign that they're in the wrong relationship and walk away. And then they start over again, only to find that the now-familiar knowing and feeling fade again... and again... and again.

If love isn't a feeling, what is it?

Love is action. Love is tolerance. Love is learning your partner's love language and then expressing love in a way that he can receive. Love is giving. Love is receiving. Love is plodding through the slow eddies of a relationship without jumping ship into another's churning rapids. Love is recognizing that it's not your partner's job to make you feel alive, fulfilled, or complete; that's your job. And it's only when you learn to become the source of your own aliveness and are living your life connected to the spark of genius that is everyone's birthright can you fully love another.

Although it's nearly impossible to capture this elusive word into a single definition, M. Scott Peck says it poignantly in The Road Less Traveled:

Love is as love does. Love is an act of will --namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.

By stating that it is when a couple falls out of love that they may begin to really love I am also implying that real love does not have its roots in a feeling of love. To the contrary, real love often occurs in a context in which the feeling of love is lacking, when we act lovingly despite the fact that we don't feel loving.

And as my favorite fiction writer on real love, Kate Kerrigan (author of a must-read for every engaged and newlywed couple, "Recipes for a Perfect Marriage"), writes in her fabulous essay, Marriage Myths:

You don't have to encourage it, or welcome it, but you better learn to suck it up from time to time. We have mythologized love to such an extent that people are no longer prepared for the realities of long-term relationships. We are taught that it is good not to compromise, not to put up with anything we don't like, not to sacrifice our own beliefs for anyone or anything. Yet compromise and sacrifice are the cornerstones of marital love.

No matter what way you dress it up, the best thing you can bring to a marriage is not the feeling of 'being in love', but romance's poor relation: tolerance. Add to that enough maturity to be able to fulfil your own needs and you have some hope. Optimism and chemistry, which seem to be the bedrock of the modern marriage, just don't cut it, folks. And while I am pontificating, one more tip for the ladies: Try to find a man who has that most underrated of qualities: character. I did and so far my Oscar hasn't bothered him. Although I am still waiting for my cooked breakfast...

Sound pessimistic? It's reality, not a welcome word in a culture addicted to fantasy. But here's the good news: when the initial infatuation feeling fades and you do the real work of learning how to love and be loved, something infinitely richer and sustaining than flimsy infatuation flowers in the garden of your marriage. Over time, these plants grow roots that are sturdy and strong. They are nourished by soil that is well-worked as you've sat beside each other and yanked out the weeds of intolerance, impatience, frustration, and fear. It's work that can and must be cultivated over a lifetime, and yet we expect to enter marriage with a perfect, rose-filled garden. Again, this is the fantasy that our culture propagates and throws many young people into despair when their fledging relationship fails to measure up to these unrealistic and damaging expectations.

If you're in a fulfilling, long-term marriage, you know what I mean and I'm preaching to the choir. But for the women and men who I work with every day in counseling,it's a crushing moment when the infatuation drug wears off and they're left to begin the real work of loving. And it's even more devastating when this happens during their engagement, a time our culture hammers into their head as the happiest in their life. It's time to send a different message to young people about the difference between infatuation and love. If we're going to restore marriage to a place of honor and respect, we must teach that the role of one's partner is not to save you from yourself and make you feel alive,fulfilled, and complete; only you can do that. It's time to teach a different message. Let's begin the conversation here.

Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books,her Home Study Programs and her websites. She has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as well as on "Good Morning America" and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, "Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes", visit her website at

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3, 2012 - Jn 14:6-14

Liturgical day: May 3rd: Philip and James, apostles

Gospel text (Jn 14:6-14):

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. If you know me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know him and you have seen him". Philip asked him, "Lord, show us the Father and that is enough". Jesus said to him, "What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever sees me sees the Father; how can you say: ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?. All that I say to you, I do not say of myself. The Father who dwells in me is doing his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father. Everything you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. And everything you ask in calling upon my Name, I will do".

"I am the way, the truth and the life. If you know me, you will know the Father also"

Today, we celebrate the feast of Philip and James, Apostles. The Gospel refers to those chats Jesus used to have with the Apostles only, with the purpose of giving them a clear idea about himself and his Mission on Earth. For the Apostles were very much imbued with the ideas Jews maintained about the Messiah: they expected a terrestrial and political liberator, whereas Jesus' person did not meet at all with any of those preconceived images.

The first words we read in today's Gospel are in reply to a question by the apostle Thomas. "I am the way, the truth and the life. If you know me, you will know the Father also" (Jn 14:6). This reply to Thomas gives way to Philip request: "Lord, show us the Father and that is enough" (Jn 14:8). Jesus' answer is —in actual fact— a reprimand: "What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip?" (Jn 14:9).

The Apostles could not quite understand the unity between the Father and Jesus; they did not quite realize Jesus is God and Man in one person. But He does not limit himself to prove his equality with the Father, He also reminds them they are to keep on carrying out his Saving Work: He confers upon them the power to do miracles, He promises them they will forever be with him, and that everything they ask in his name, He will do.

But Jesus' answers to the Apostles are also intended for all of us. Saint Josemaria says, when commenting this text: "‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. With these unmistakable words the Lord has shown us, which is the path that leads to eternal happiness (...). He points it out for all men, but especially He emphasizes it for those who, as you and I, have told him we are decided to take up seriously our Christian vocation"

Comment: Fr. Joan SOLÀ i Triadú (Girona, Spain)