How will the light of Christ shine on us today?

Thursday Third Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 10:19-25

Mark 4: 21-25

St. John Bosco

 

I can sort of remember what it feels like to be outside. Because of the winter storm, I have not been outside since noon on Monday. I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our readings are about seeing that light and encouraging others to never give up on that light.

 

In our Gospel, we hear that no one puts a light under something so that it cannot be seen. Jesus is referring to himself when he speaks about this light, which is always burning brightly.

 

When I am struggling to trust in the light of Christ, I ask myself, “Have I ever been in a similar situation?” I try and remember how the light of Christ shined on me to get me through the difficult situation.  If God’s light shone on us once, then it will shine on us again!  

 

In our first reading from Hebrews is a good follow up to our Gospel as the writer tells us to encourage others never to give up and to look for the light of Christ.

 

Today we celebrate the feast day of St. John Bosco. He was well known for his dedication to kids who were abandoned and living in the streets. When others told him to do nothing for them because these kids were hopeless St. John reflected the light of Christ and gave these kids a proper education and teachings of the church.

 

May the Lord bless us with his light and may we encourage others to the light of Christ. May God bless all we do today!

 

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We are consecrated into God’s family!

Tuesday the Third week

 Ordinary Time

Hebrews 10:1-10

Mark 3:31- 35

 

I get disappointed in myself when I do the wrong that I know I should avoid and I do it anyway. I suffer in silence! Our readings call to mind what should be doing and how to stay in our lane and do the things we are called to do.

 

In our first reading, the writer of Hebrews is saying, “The sacrifice of animals is not capable of bringing about the change of our will that we desire. It is only in Jesus Christ who has died on the cross for us, do we get the power to overcome temptation and sin. The writer of Hebrews says, “We have already been consecrated in him.” To be consecrated means to be set apart, that we can win the battle of temptation because we are consecrated in Christ.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is told that his mother and his sisters and brothers are outside waiting for him. He responds, “Those who do the will of my Father are my mother and my brother and sister.”  Jesus is challenging us to look at ourselves honestly, and ask, “When temptation and sin come, whose will do we do? Our will or God’s will?

 

May we come to the Eucharist to be reminded that we are never abandoned, never alone by our God? The Lord only wants to restore to wholeness and his love.   

 

 

 

God’s Word on fire in us!

Third Sunday Ordinary Time

Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10

I Corinthians 12:12-30

Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21

 

I credit a few things and a few people with my vocation to priesthood. In those that are at the top of the list is my Catholic School education and my second-grade teacher Sr. Maria Hosea. She was a beautiful woman from what I could see as she wore a full habit. When all the other sisters stayed inside during lunch recess, Sr. Maria would be outside with us playing kickball. If she was not playing kickball it would be easy to spot Sr. Maria because she always had a group of students around her. My mom would clean the church and when school was done for the summer my mom came home from cleaning the church with two shiny red apples. My mom said, “Sister wanted you to have these apples because she could see something different in you. She knew you were not her best student (Which was very true, I struggled in school) but she wanted you to know that she noticed these things about you.” Wow! What a difference that made in my life! The very next week, Sr. Maria was killed in a swimming accident, she dove off a dock into a lake, and the water was much too shallow. On my ordination day, I thanked Sr. Maria Hosea for seeing something in me.

 

I know there are many great teachers both in public and Catholic schools. Thank you for all that you do, I know you are overworked and underpaid. I am very grateful for my Catholic education because it provides for me an excellent education, but it also helped me to grow in faith. Today we begin to celebrate Catholic Schools. We have an excellent Catholic School as out test scores are some of the highest in the diocese. Our staffs not only teach at a high standard they also can share their faith, pray with our students and we celebrate each week with an All School Mass on Fridays. Today we celebrate the Word of God alive in our midst.

 

In our first reading, the Israelites have been set free and are rebuilding the holy city of Jerusalem. Ezra, the priest, begins to read the Word of God to them, and they begin to weep. The people realize how wonderful it is to hear the Word of God and how hungry they were to hear it. Ezra encourages them to stop weeping, to rejoice in the Lord always and to keep this day holy by never taking the Word of God for granted. Their lives will be forever changed by hearing the Word of God.

 

In our Gospel Jesus goes to the synagogue where he searches for a passage from Isaiah, and reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Instead of preaching on it he rolls up the scroll, hands it back to the attendant and says, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing?” How those people would have been astonished to hear such words. However, would their lives be changed by what they just heard?

 

As we gather in this holy Eucharist may we come to know, that the Word of God is being fulfilled in your midst? How will our lives be changed by what we have seen and heard? May God’s Word always brings us hope and may we always live in God’s Word.

Lord, I have come to do your will!

Thursday of the Second Week

Of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 7:25-8:6

Mark 3:7-12

St. Francis de Sales

 

Are you a list maker? Every day I make a list of things I want to accomplish, and I star the things that are most important. What are the things we have planned to do and what are the most important things to get done? The most important thing we are to do today we are doing right now which is to give God glory and praise.

 

The next most important thing we are to do is given to us in our Responsorial Psalm which says, “Here I am Lord; I come to do your will.” What God is waiting for is for us to take what we have been given here in this Eucharist and go out and live it.

 

In our first reading from Hebrews, the writer is still giving us evidence defining who Jesus is to us. Remember, in ancient times when a person sinned they would bring their sin offering to a priest and the priest would make an offering to God on their behalf. The Hebrew writer says, “We no longer have a high priest who needs to offer sacrifices for us for our sins daily. Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again for us.” What we need to do is believe this and go and live it.

 

In our Gospel Jesus is at the seashore and he is afraid that he may be crushed because so many people are crowding around him wanting to be healed. He asks for a boat to put out away from the shore and continue his preaching, teaching, and healing.

 

We may have some very important things to do today, but the most important is giving God glory in serving others and doing God’s will.

 

Who is Christ to us?

Wednesday of the Second Week

Of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17

Mark 3:1-6

 

The other day while I was in prayer, I was feeling a bit down. I got a pad of paper and pencil and began to write down all the things that I was struggling with and why I was not good enough. I wrote things like fear, lack of self-esteem, and lack of confidence. I filled the whole page with things, but the last thing I wrote was, “In spite of all these things God still finds me loveable and able to do great things.” I underline that last line multiple times.

 

It is good to know who Christ to us? Do we realize who we are in Christ? These are heavy questions so early in the morning, but they are important questions to ask now and then. Our readings are about who is Jesus Christ and what he means to us?

 

In our first reading, the writer is asking the question, “Who is Jesus Christ?” In giving his answer he relates Jesus Christ to the high priest Melchizedek who appeared in Genesis to Abraham who was returning from battle, and he blessed Abraham and offered him bread and wine. In ancient times you were born into a family of the priest as was the tribal family of Levi. The role of the priest was to offer sacrifice for the people. The writer of Hebrews is saying if we do not know where the high priest Melchizedek came from Jesus does not need to come from a line of the priest. Jesus widens the scope of the priesthood and becomes the true high priest.

 

In our Gospel, we are in the third chapter of Mark, and the religious and political leaders are plotting together to kill Jesus. It seems that Jesus goes to the synagogue to provoke a response to prove he is the true high priest. Jesus invites the man with the withered hand to come right up front so everyone can see him. All are wondering if he will heal the man on the Sabbath? One’s hand is symbolic of how what we do to glorify God. Jesus tells him to stretch out his hand, and he heals the man as all watch him. The Pharisees know that no one from God would break the Law of God and heal on the Sabbath.

 

In our priesthood, we are all asked to offer sacrifice to God. In knowing Jesus, the true high priest how will we offer our hands in worship to others?

What can I do for someone today?

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Hebrews 6:10-20

Mark 2:23-28

Day of prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

 

I met a man yesterday who gets up every morning and says, “How can I help someone today?” The man lost his wife back in the fall, and he does not want to sit around, so he has taken on this mantra. Today as we celebrate a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children we could say of ourselves the very same thing, “How are we to help someone who cannot speak or defend themselves today?” I believe our readings are perfect for us.

 

Our first reading from the sermon to the Hebrews comes to a people who may have felt defeated or discouraged because this reading comes as words of great encouragement. The writer says, “God is never going to overlook your hard work and love that you have demonstrated of serving holy ones. Continue what you are doing with hope and never give up.” We also may need to hear these words of encouragement.

 

In our Gospel Jesus and the disciples were walking through a grain field and the disciples were pulling off the grains of wheat and eating as they walked, but it was the Sabbath. Some Pharisees noticed this at told Jesus this is unlawful to do. Jesus tells them that his disciples are answering to a higher power and doing what he wants them to do.

 

We as Catholics need to answer to a higher power by upholding the dignity of all human life from conception to death. We all need to do our part to “safeguard the dignity of every human life.” Let us pray for our officials to enact just laws, let us pray for those who have given up their children through an abortion, and pray for those children.

 

Our role is to stay close to God and love him. The Eucharist we share will help us stay close to Him.

 

 

Our God of abundance!

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 62:1-5

I Corinthians 12: 4-11

John 2:1-11

 

I love our Gospel because we can relate to being at a wedding and experiencing all the joy and happiness of a couple getting married. The other reason I love this Gospel is because it is our story. What I mean by this is everything that happens in this story we either say or do all the time.

 

One of the lines I love is when Mary says, “They have no wine!” There comes a day when the wine runs out in our lives. It is more than when we run out of gas or run out of an ingredient we needed to make something. I am talking about when in our lives we say, “The party is over. My glass is empty. I am all but dried up, and I have nothing more to give.” Each one of us could tell a story of how this has happened in our lives. It could be the death of a loved one a loss of a friendship or marriage. Despite all of our best efforts, good intentions, and hard work the wine of our life is dried up and gone and loneliness and desperation sets in. However, we have those moments when behind all those stories is a desire for a wedding of our life to happen, to once again know the simple joy and happiness of life. Our readings put us in touch with all those feelings, and give us a direction of what we are to do when desperation sets in.

 

 

Our Gospel story today is about a wedding, and at the time of Jesus, weddings would be spread out over a few days. A wedding planner had their work cut out for them. At this wedding, the wine runs out, and this would be cause for great embarrassment to the couple and their families. Mary goes to Jesus and says, “They have no wine.” Jesus responds with, “Woman, what concern of this is mine?” Mary does not respond to his question because she knows that compassion and empathy for others wins out over whatever Jesus means by his statement. Mary tells the wait staff, “Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus instructs the servants to take the six stone jars, which would hold 120 to 150 gallons and fill them with water and bring them to the head waiter. The servants take the jars to the head waiter, and he says, “You have saved the best for last.” Jesus is saying, “Get ready, to encounter God, because when you are on empty or have no more to give, I have an abundance to give you.”

 

When we are empty and all dried up is when our miracle of being filled again with choice wine can begin. I do not know how it happens I just know it happens, I have experienced it many times in my life. We come to this Eucharist to experience simple bread and wine that will be brought forward in procession. It will be turned into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and it will be enough, it will be an abundance for us.