CACINA

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 8, 2017)

Inclusive Text- Readings- Ezekiel 37: 21-28 / Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10-12ABCD, 13 / John 11: 45-56

Think back to a time when you coordinated a project, knew something was wrong but could have gone right, messed up by others, but decided to take the blame and fall on the sword. You may have been involved to some degree knowing that everyone contributed their best but no other course could have been taken. It didn’t mean you had to suffer and die for it but perhaps you avoided going to the end because of fear. Something so minor in that sense, but what would happen, we would get through it, right?

On the other hand, as we know, Jesus had to go through it. Jesus in essence had to fall on the sword because so much was at stake. The soul of humanity was at hand. Jesus could have turned back and leave God, but he knew deep down inside it had to be done.

What were the times in our lives when we could not turn back? What forced us to make the decisions that we had made when it came to others?  Could we have turned back? If we did, why? When we didn’t, what gave us the courage to speak up for the cause?

rev. Michael Theogene

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 7, 2017)

Inclusive Text- Readings- Jeremiah 20: 10-13 / Psalm 18: 2-3ABC, 4-7 / John 10: 31-42

Friends, who is it in our lives that we are trying to impress? Our Creator knows who we are; we do not have to impress God.  God loves us just the way we are but somehow we keep missing that message. But why is it so important for us to impress another human being? Well, if we haven’t noticed by now, people do eventually see through us. This quote says it very well, “Loving yourself is a radical stance in a culture that constantly promotes ways to ‘improve’ yourself, whether through beauty aids or plastic surgery or hair implants or new devices. It takes a great deal of courage to love oneself fully. It takes a wild and passionate heart to look the critical world in the eye and say, ‘I love myself.'”Christine Valters Paintner, PhD
Jesus came to tell the truth of the Creator, what truth are we trying to tell? Who are we really fooling? If the truth, we are so adamant in trying to portray, is what we wish to convey to people, they will see us for who we really are.  We don’t have to prove it, just be ourselves. Some will see us for who we are and others will not.  It is not our job to convince them, it is our job to be the Face of God in all we do
Jesus remained truthful, faithful not only to himself, but to the Father.  Jesus said we can do everything he did and more.  Are we ready for that challenge? 
rev. Michael Theogene

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 6, 2017)

Inclusive Text- Readings- Genesis 17: 3-9 / Psalm 105: 4-9 / John 8: 51-59
Sisters and brothers, do we know God? Do we know Jesus? Do we know ourselves? How well do we know ourselves? Friends, I believe that as we journey in this life trying to know ourselves, in some small part we can learn about ourselves through our interactions with others. Whether good or bad, people are placed in our paths for one reason or another. Sometimes we learn from them and at other times they learn from us. Why were they there in the first place? Not a coincidence, a God incidence.
If we have found it hard at times to be free from persons in our present or past lives, I think we need to ask ourselves, who is it that is placed in our life that we must learn from? Who is it that I have allowed to help me shine or whom have I allowed to smother the light within me. What must we learn?
The people placed in our paths will always remind us of the positive or negative lessons in our lives. The question is my friends, what is it that we can carry further along with us on the journey and what is it that we are afraid to take and what must we leave behind?  
rev. Michael Theogene

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 5, 2017)

Inclusive Text- Readings- Daniel 3: 14-20, 91-92, 95 / Psalm: Daniel 3: 52-56 / John 8: 31-42

Friends, as I mentioned yesterday, remember at one time or another when you may not have felt welcomed. I am sure it has happened to us at one time or another. At the risk of sounding prideful, I have always felt that I can get along with anyone. However, there have been times when I was not welcomed, perhaps because of my friendliness. No matter what I thought of my actions in those moments, it was important not to take it personal and be aware of my lack of sensitivity to others needs in those situations, not my feeling of being unwelcome.

It reminds me of when two people are dating and it seems good and one party decided to break up the relationship, and states, ‘it’s not you, you are great, it’s me.’ Right away we blame ourselves for the breakup but in reality we are being called to live up to the real love of God in our lives and not blame ourselves or others and accept change.

rev. Michael Theogene

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 4, 2017)

Inclusive Text Readings- Numbers 21: 4-9 / Psalm 102: 2-3, 16-21 / John 8: 21-30

Not with standing all of our faults, sisters and brothers, have you ever felt that you did not belong? Perhaps at some point in your job or among family, you may have felt that you did not belong. Sisters and brothers, when we lift up Jesus, the Son of Humanity, then and only then will we realize it is Jesus who serves at our feet. Jesus was able to accomplish this only with the help of the Father. Jesus’ willing sacrifice to suffer for all of humanity is the gift lasting forever. This gift freely given should never be taken lightly. Jesus knew who he was and whose he was. Do we see ourselves as Jesus saw himself? Do we see ourselves in the same manner as Jesus saw himself with God as part of creation? My only wish for myself is that I hope that I am living and walking as Jesus did. By being a testimony of the life and resurrection of the beauty of creation and our place in it. I hope I am living fully the gifts I have been given. For what is given freely, I give back freely to creation as best as I can to all I encounter. Are we the face of God? Are we paying it forward?

rev. Michael Theogene

Reflection for Friday of the Third Week of Lent (March 24, 2017)

Inclusive Text- Readings- Hosea 14: 2-10 / Psalm 81: 6C-8ABC, 9-11AB, 14 & 17 / Mark 12: 28-34

Sisters and brothers, I don’t know about you but I find it very difficult at times to follow one of the instructions of St. Benedict. St. Benedict says, “Welcome all as if they were the Christ”. (Paraphrased) Without sounding as if I am bragging, I could honestly say that I would give the shirt on my back to anybody. I am sure, as we all have in one way or another done this. However, there are the times when I have said those words but have not carried them out. Our actions always speak louder than words. I have learned from my own experience and from what others have mentioned to me, that it is not so much what people say that has an effect on me but by who they are and how they live that really speaks volumes?

rev. Michael Theogene

Reflection for Thursday of the Third Week of Lent (March 23, 2017) Cycle A

Inclusive Text- Readings- Jeremiah 7: 23-28 / Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9 / Luke 11: 14-23

Sisters and brothers, who is it that we rely on for our strength? Do we put our desire for strength in other humans or do we come and place our trust in the one who created us? Sometimes trust in others whether it is close friends or family can be good, but what happens to our trust when those individuals may put us down? This may not always happen but it can because we are only human. What happens to the trust we put in the Creator? Have we found ourselves disappointed?

It seems that it is us who can disappoint God which we know that is never the case. God sees and knows our potential but yet is always patient and gracious towards us and allows us to find our way. Hopefully with God’s help, we can find a way to be able to listen to God’s voice. Listening with the ear of our heart as St. Benedict reminds us. We may be waiting for the lightning bolt to show us what to do, but if we truly quiet our hearts and mind than we can get a glimpse of the whisper of what God is actually trying to tell us.

You have heard it said, God’s delay is not God’s denial as we are reminded by so much in the first and second testament writings. I sometimes believe that if we live without expectation then we will be truly blessed because we will never be disappointed.

rev. Michael Theogene

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 20, 2014

40a8beeb0b264c5bbdcb7b30b1cc1e75_w600Saturday of the Third Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

Isaiah 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz: Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” Then Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, 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.”

tumblr_inline_mgo9e5PyT31qggdq1But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Reflection on the readings: God is tricky: the Lord of surprise and master of the expected. When Isaiah uttered his prophecy, he almost certainly did not appreciate the deepest meaning of what he was saying; he was telling Ahaz that God was faithful and a new king, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah, was to be born. But the words echoed in a small town of Galilee centuries later when a young girl said yes to God’s plan. God is the God of the big picture. Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. When viewed close up, the points are indecipherable, but viewed at a distance, the painting is intelligible and full of meaning. God is the great pointillist. Isaiah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Mary, you, me–we are dots of color on this huge canvas God is painting. What we shall become is only to be revealed at a distance: we cannot know now what surprise God is creating. Advent is the season of expectancy: what we are waiting for is coming but all we can know is that it will surprise us when it arrive.

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 18, 2014

Daily-Prayer-GospelFriday of the Third Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children. An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean. As for the son you will conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb. It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines.” The woman went and told her husband, “A man of God came to me; he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed. I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will be with child and will bear a son. So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb, until the day of his death.’” The woman bore a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him; the Spirit of the LORD stirred him.

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
Mary-Elizabeth_6-24-13.ashx
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.” Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”

Reflection on the readings: Advent is nothing if it is not the season of hope. The central figures in both of the readings today are women who have aged too far to give birth to children. In both readings, an angel announces that God has chosen these women to bear offspring with special missions. In both these cases, God defies every natural expectation and turns lives that were winding down into fresh and unexpected adventures.

All of us enter periods in our lives when our creativity diminishes, and we are certain we have nothing more to give. The readings, and the season of Advent itself, tell a very different story about our temptation to despair. When we are sure that time has passed us by, and we are certain we are finished and nothing more will change, God is always prepared to make everything new again. God is never finished with us until we have breathed our last, and even then, God continues to renew the world we have left behind with the lessons inherent in our lives.

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 17, 2014

10603744_910808098953561_1111979689989480458_nThursday of the Third Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

Jeremiah 23:5-8

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: “The LORD our justice.”

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD, when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives, who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”; but rather, “As the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of the house of Israel up from the land of the north and from all the lands to which I banished them”; they shall again live on their own land.

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a mary-and-joseph-with-jesus.jpgdream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Under Jewish law, Joseph as Mary’s betrothed had a right to sexual relations with Mary. Mary is pregnant, and though the neighbors likely suspect nothing, Joseph knows he is not the baby’s father. Joseph, of course, is horrified, and within his cultural milieu, marrying a woman capable of such a thing is unthinkable to him. But Joseph is a good man, and he doesn’t want harm to come to Mary. Accordingly, he decides to quietly end the engagement with Mary and move on with his life.

God, of course, has other ideas. He sends word to Joseph in a dream that the baby has a unique origin. Joseph now must put faith in his dream. Joseph, the man of faith, does that. And out of Joseph’s faith comes the fertile ground for the world’s salvation; indeed, the name given the baby by the angel in the dream, Joshua (rendered Jesus in Greek, the language of the New Testament), means, Yahweh saves. And thus it is, as the Prophet Jeremiah foretold, that in his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security.

And so it is true with us that whenever we choose to put our faith in God we dwell in security.

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 16, 2014

indexWednesday of the Third Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

Genesis 49:2, 8-10

Jacob called his sons and said to them: “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father. “You, Judah, shall your brothers praise-–your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you. Judah, like a lion’s whelp, you have grown up on prey, my son. He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him? The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs, While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people’s homage.

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Christ, fourteen generations.

Reflection on the readings: When Jesus entered human history, he entered it with all its ambiguities. The list of Jesus’ ancestors as Matthew presents it suggests that Jesus’ ancestors include not just holy men and women but also people who had committed sins as serious as murder and acted out of weaknesses as great as adultery. This list tells us that when God entered human history, God used both what is best and worst about us to do that. And that is the breathtakingly elegant and poetic commencement God’s redemption of humanity.

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 15, 2014

47674d6b9cc1f9a0a4296bc752ba3267_w600Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13

Thus says the LORD: Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted, to the tyrannical city! She hears no voice, accepts no correction; in the LORD she has not trusted, to her God she has not drawn near. For then I will change and purify the lips of the peoples, that they all may call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one accord; from beyond the rivers of Ethiopia and as far as the recesses of the North, they shall bring me offerings. On that day, you need not be ashamed of all your deeds, your rebellious actions against me; for then will I remove from your midst the proud braggarts, and you shall no longer exalt yourself on my holy mountain. But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD: the remnant of Israel. They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; they shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them.

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. Vineyard-croppedThe man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

Reflection on the readings: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus observes that it is not those who cry out, “Lord, Lord,” who are saved. Neither are those who do mighty works in Jesus’ name. Rather, the people who are saved are the people who do the Father’s will. So which of the two sons did his Father’s will, Jesus asks in today’s gospel. Zephaniah says it is the one who became humble and low, taking refuge in the Lord: the one who was authentic and spoke no lies, the one who was naked before the Lord in the totality of reliance on God’s mercy.

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 14, 2014

200_20Monday of the Third Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17a

When Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe, the spirit of God came upon him, and he gave voice to his oracle: The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor, the utterance of a man whose eye is true, the utterance of one who hears what God says, and knows what the Most High knows, of one who sees what the Almighty sees, enraptured, and with eyes unveiled: How goodly are your tents, O Jacob; your encampments, O Israel! They are like gardens beside a stream, like the cedars planted by the LORD. His wells shall yield free-flowing waters, he shall have the sea within reach; his king shall rise higher, and his royalty shall be exalted. Then Balaam gave voice to his oracle: The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor, the utterance of the man whose eye is true, the utterance of one who hears what God says, and knows what the Most High knows, of one who sees what the Almighty sees, enraptured, and with eyes unveiled. I see him, though not now; I behold him, though not near: A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel.

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 21:23-27

When Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them in reply, “I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. Where was John’s baptism from? b03d23995fae721f0b4296bb83fc4895_w600Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.” So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” He himself said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Reflection on the readings: Both of the readings invite the hearers of the prophetic word to consider how we see Jesus. Balaam sees clearly that Jacob will yield a son who will be a great king over the nations. In the gospel, when the chief priests and the elders of the people refuse to see God’s hand in the work Jesus is doing, Jesus asks them if they can at least see God’s hand in the work that John did. Full of calculation and guile, they claim they do not know. The readings ask us to take a stand, to say whether we are for Jesus or against him, but a noncommittal shrug of our shoulders, such as the one the chief priests and elders gave, does not engage the Lord.

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 12, 2014

bd83b5e56b20963d247b43c302f732ac_w600Saturday of the Second Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11

In those days, like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace. Their staff of bread he shattered, in his zeal he reduced them to straits; By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens and three times brought down fire. How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Whose glory is equal to yours? You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses. You were destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob. Blessed is he who shall have seen you and who falls asleep in your friendship.

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 17:9a, 10-13

As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. fc3987f8fccf80d27772fb89e01add46_w600So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Reflection on the gospel: The mystery of salvation is not in the birth of the Child but instead is present in the reason for which the Child comes: as Matthew puts it, to suffer at their hands. We typically celebrate Christmas as a season of joy, and Advent as the herald of the approaching feast shares in that expectant happiness. But if we allow ourselves to enter authentically into the meaning of what enfolds us, we need to acknowledge that what we are doing is not to numb us against the troubles of life. Rather, it is an opportunity to remember and revel in the goodness of God’s gifts in Jesus in the midst of our every exultation and desolation. Only to the extent Christmas recalls to our minds the point of Jesus’ life is our entry into the feast a real participation in the plan of salvation.

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 12, 2014

bridge_over_troubled_water_by_machiavellicro-d59mduaFriday of the Second Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

Isaiah 48:17-19

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD, your God, teaching you how to prevail, leading you on the way you should go. If only you would attend to my commandments, your peace would be like a river, your vindication like the waves of the sea, your descendants like the sand, the offspring of your loins like its grains, their name never cut off or blotted out from my presence.

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ e894b81307dc192f471cb2e373a4661b_w600The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

Reflection on the readings: The spiritual life, in a sense, is a process of discernment of God’s will. Today’s readings counsel us to look at how God is leading us on the way we should go. Where do we look for the signs of God’s activities? We tend to think of things as inside of ourselves, like fasting, and outside of ourselves, like sharing in a banquet, but the fact of the matter is that our insides are a part of the whole, and what is inside is continuous with what is outside. What is God saying to us right here, right now? When we hear a flute, do we dance? When we sing a dirge, do we mourn? God is in the midst of each thought, feeling, and social interaction, however it manifests itself. God is present in all the facts of our lives, inside and outside of us: God is shouting at us in the midst of the music of our existence, if only we have ears to attend to what God is saying.

Carry the Word with you

Posted in scripture by Mike on December 9, 2014

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent, Cycle 1

First reading of the day:

Isaiah 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things: He leads out their army and numbers them, calling them all by name. By his great might and the strength of his power not one of them is missing! Why, O Jacob, do you say, and declare, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know or have you not heard? The LORD is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint nor grow weary, and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny. He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak he makes vigor abound. Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Reflection on the gospel of the day: Advent is an invitation to come to Jesus who says that if we will come, he will give us rest. Jesus never promises to remove our pain, but he does promise to never allow us to be alone in it. We may not always feel God’s presence, but Isaiah tells us the Lord neither grows faint nor weary, that he knows each of by name, and Jesus tells us that God is never far away from us, particularly when circumstances in our lives trouble us.