Saturday, May 26, 2018

God wants interactive, dynamic, relationship with us. Today’s readings show us our part (May 26, 2018)

Key:
What these passages tell us about God
What these passages tell us to do
What these passages tell us to avoid
Commentary

Reading 1 JAS 5:13-20
Beloved:
Is anyone among you suffering? He should 
pray.
Is anyone in good spirits? He should 
sing a song of praise.
Is anyone among you sick? He should 
summon the presbyters of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the LordThe prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.

Therefore, 
confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. Elijah was a man like us; yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land. Then Elijah prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.

My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you should stray from the truth
and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever 
brings back a sinner from the error of his waywill save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Responsorial Psalm PS 141:1-2, 3 AND 8
R. (2a) Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, 
to you I call; hasten to me; hearken to my voice when I call upon you.Let my prayer come like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.
R. 
Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, set a watch before my mouth, a guard at the door of my lips.
For 
toward you, O God, my LORD, my eyes are turnedin you I take refuge; strip me not of life.
R. 
Let my prayer come like incense before you.

Alleluia SEE MT 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father,Lord of heaven and earth;you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R.
 Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 10:13-16
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to medo not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
God wants dynamic, interactive, relationship with us. He therefore calls us:

A.    To pray, in good times and in difficulty.  In good times those prayers take the form of praise and song. In tough circumstances they take the form of petitions and intercessions (first reading, psalm).

B.    To get rid of the things that separate us from Him by confessing our sins. The joy of reconciliation brings us closer to him (first reading). That’s why he gives us the gift of the sacrament of confession. More on that wonderful gift can be found at A good confession is like restarting your computerConfession also seems to be a lot like composting, and What we can learn about sin from back aches

C.    To be in active, interacting, community with fellow believers (first reading). That makes sense; we are His body, His Spirit is within every believer, so we are with Him when we are with our fellow believers. The first reading tells us that our interactions are to be open, active, and mutually beneficial. Take a chance and get involved in something at your parish you haven’t engaged with before. Strike up a conversation with someone at church you don’t know or know well. Pray for specific persons in your parish even if they are not on the prayer list or haven’t asked for prayer; it will draw you closer to them. If you need ideas about who to pray for, pray by name for the greeters, ushers, lectors, cantor, and servers; they are usually listed by name in the bulletin, and include them in your prayers throughout the week.

D.   Spend intimate, open time with Him (psalm, gospel). Find time for a daily mass (or two or three) between Sundays.  Adoration is another way to do this.  Spend time reading, contemplating, and praying over the readings God gives us every day. A new reading can be found every day here. 

E.    If your enthusiasm wanes or your schedule gives you second thoughts about engaging in those things, think about the good things God wants to give us:
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God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1

Sunday, May 20, 2018

God is exceedingly good and wants us to receive His goodness (readings for May 20, 2018)

Key:
What these passages tell us about God
What these passages tell us to do
What these passages tell us to avoid
Commentary

Reading 1 ACTS 2:1-11
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

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

Responsorial Psalm PS 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 
R. (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O LORD! the earth is full of your creatures;
R. 
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme; I will 
be glad in the LORD.
R. 
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.
R. 
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

 GAL 5:16-25
Brothers and sisters, 
live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.
Sequence
Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Come, Holy Spirit, come! 
And from your celestial home shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best; you, the soul's most welcome guest; sweet refreshmenthere below; in our labor, rest most sweetgrateful coolness in the heat;solace in the midst of woe.
most blessed Light divine, shine within these hearts of yours, and our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught, nothing good in deed or thought, nothing free from taint of ill.
Healour wounds, ourstrength renewon our dryness pour your dew;wash the stains of guilt awaybend the stubborn heart and willmelt the frozenwarm the chillguide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore and confess you, evermore in your sevenfold gift descend;give them virtue's sure rewardgive them your salvation, Lord; give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.

Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
R. 
Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And 
you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are comingHe will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you."


1.    God is exceedingly, exceedingly, good. He is goodness itself and the source of all goodness we experience and are. He is truth. (psalm, second reading, sequence, gospel)
2.    God wants us to get His goodness, in the sense of understanding it, in the sense of receiving it, and in the sense of living it out, in the sense of delivering it to others. That is why He affirmatively and extraordinarily reaches out to communicate Himself to us. (first reading, gospel)
3.    So how do we respond to that great, wonderful, goodness?
A.   Enjoy it, revel in it! (psalm)
B.    Be infused with it, be marinated in, be transformed by it, let your life be guided and powered by it. (second reading)
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C.    Accept no substitutes! The world, the flesh, and the devil offer lesser things that, while superficially attractive/enjoyable, are far less that what God wants for and from us. Those substitutes distract us from the far greater good that God is/offers. Don’t be distracted by or accept those shoddy things. (second reading)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

God loves us and makes great efforts to call us to Him (readings for May 13, 2018)

Key:
What these passages tell us about God
What these passages tell us to do
Commentary
Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers
—there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place —.
He said, “My brothers,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
He was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.

“For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
May another take his office.

“Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men
who accompanied us the whole time
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Judas called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the eleven apostles.

Responsorial Psalm PS 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
R. The Lord has set his throne in heaven.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, 
bless his holy name.Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and 
forget not all his benefits.
R. 
The Lord has set his throne in heaven.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him
.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us
.
R. 
The Lord has set his throne in heaven.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. 
The Lord has set his throne in heaven.

Reading 2 1 JN 4:11-16
Beloved, if God so loved us,we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, 
if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us
.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever 
acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God
.
We have come to know and to 
believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.

Alleluia CF. JN 14:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord. I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. 
Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 17:11B-19
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your namethat you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your namethat you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely
.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the evil one
.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truthYour word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world
.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth
.”


1.   God loves us and makes great effort to call us to Him
A.  He came to us in the form of Jesus (gospel, second reading). That was an incredible, sacrificial, act of love. See Philippians 2:6-8.
B.   He endured, and endures, the world’s scorn and rejection to draw us to Himself (gospel)
C.   He continues to love and care for us (gospel)
D.  He calls us to deliver His love by loving one another (second reading)

Those realities are well support paragraph 1 of the Catechism:

“God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.”

2.   God knows and controls all (first reading, psalm, gospel). His word instructs us in how to respond to His love while we are still in the world:
A.  Believe in God’s great love for us (psalm, second reading)
B.   Commit ourselves to truth (gospel), but do so with great love (second reading)
C.   Reinforce our commitment to God and His truth by marinating ourselves in His word (gospel).
D.  Reinforce our and other folks’ commitment to God and His love by loving others (second reading).

E.   Reinforce our faith by praising God (psalm).