Sunday, May 31, 2015

Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr "Payback Time"

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ´They will respect my son.´ But those tenants said to one another, ´This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.´ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture passage: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?" They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd, for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them. So they left him and went away.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come before you humbly. As one who has frequently fallen into sin, I am aware of my weakness. Your great love, though, assures me that your grace can keep me on the path to holiness.

Petition: Lord, let me be open to you and your messages.

Stand Corrected: Being corrected hurts. Being corrected in public hurts even more. And having one´s whole way of life corrected — well, that really stings. And so it must have been for the group of leaders who approached Jesus. Our Lord, in a not-so-subtle way, tells them that they are wrong. Wrong about their self-righteousness, wrong about their narrow reading of Scripture, and wrong about how they think God works in the world. This blinded them to the Son of God when he came among them. We like to think we would have been different ― we would not have rejected Jesus, we tell ourselves. Are we so sure? Aren´t we really like the leaders of Jesus´ time when we fail to listen to his agents ― a bishop, a parish priest, a legitimate superior? Have I said no to Christ lately?

"Another Servant" God doesn´t give up on us after one try. He often sends a number of messengers into our lives, to draw us closer to him. Such is the illogic of a Father´s love. Where do we miss the clues that God sends us? It could be in something a child says; a line from a homily; an e-mail from a friend in crisis ― these are the ordinary means God uses to reach out to us. Old Testament prophets faced rejection by the people of God. Have things changed much? Could I be turning a deaf ear to a prophet?

"This Is the Heir" The tenant farmers don´t seem very bright. They murder the son in order to get his inheritance. What father would give an inheritance to someone who killed his son? It doesn´t make sense. Then again, sin doesn´t make sense either. Many times we reject Christ in our life and then wonder why our prayers to God the Father go (seemingly) unanswered. What could we be thinking? How often do I offer up a sacrifice or an act of charity for a prayer intention?

Conversation with Christ: Let me live up to the demands of my faith, Lord. Let me realize that my dignity as a Christian demands that I try to live a life worthy of my baptism ― that I not be satisfied living like everyone else.

Resolution: I will offer up a decade of a rosary for a family member who is far from the faith.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity "The Great Commission"

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you. I believe you have called me to the faith and to share that faith. I trust that you will fill me with your spirit of courage and truth, so that I might faithfully assimilate and transmit the faith. I love you. I want to love you more with my prayer and with my life, and so grow in the unity of the love you share with your Father and the Holy Spirit.

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to understand better and adore this great mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Standing Between Heaven and Earth: Jesus Christ stands on the mountain of the Ascension, drawing all creation back to his Heavenly Father. He stands between heaven and earth as our God, our redeemer, our best friend, and as one who will walk with us every step of the way. Together with the disciples, let us adore him. Lord, we worship you, we thank you, we adore you. We thank you for your great goodness, burning love and unfathomable mercy. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.

Go Therefore and Make Disciples of All Nations: What does Jesus do with his power over heaven and earth? He uses it to unite sinful men with the all-holy God. How almighty his power must be to transform sinners into children of God and heirs of heaven. And how does Jesus bring about this transformation? He empowers his apostles to teach his truth and transmit a participation in his divine life. Lord Jesus, thank you for the light of truth that dispels the darkness of our minds. Thank you for the life of grace bestowed upon us in baptism. And thank you, Lord, for the bishops and priests who bring us — through your divine power — God’s own truth and a share in the life of the most blessed Trinity. Thank you for St. Peter and all his successors who keep us united in one, holy and universal Church as we journey toward the heavenly kingdom.

Baptizing Them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: Without water, we would die of thirst. Without the Redemption, we would die in our sins, forever excluded from our destiny — union with God in the eternal happiness of heaven. How fittingly then, Jesus uses water to give us the fruits of his glorious Redemption. Not water alone, but water blessed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us bow down in adoration before the infinite power of Our Lord. Through the ministry of his priests, Jesus raises the dead to the supernatural life of grace. Thank you, Lord, for the awesome gift of baptism and for adopting me as your child.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Heavenly Father, you are now my own Father. I am your beloved child in Christ. Holy Spirit of God, gift of the Father and the Son, make your home in my heart. Direct my every thought, word and deed to glorify the most Holy Trinity.

Resolution: I will often repeat with the holy children of Fatima: “O Most Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most Precious Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of thy dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world.”

Friday, May 29, 2015

Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time "From Heaven or Earth?"

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the Temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him and said, "By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?" Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me." They argued with one another, "If we say, ´From heaven,´ he will say, ´Why then did you not believe him?´ But shall we say, ´Of human origin´?” - they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to you to pray. Even though I cannot see you, I trust that you are present and want very much to instruct me in your teachings. In the same way you demonstrate your love for me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for you by dedicating this time to you with a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to you and respond with love.

Petition: Jesus, grant me true sincerity and uprightness of life.

The Day After: It was the day after Jesus had caused an uproar in the Temple at Jerusalem, the like of which had not been seen for a long time. Jesus had overturned the moneychangers’ tables and driven out the animals. Anyone else would surely have landed in prison, but this was Christ, and his hour had not yet come. Still the chief priests and scribes are looking for an explanation –– or better an excuse –– to accuse Jesus. He shrewdly answers their inquiry with a question that they cannot answer for fear of revealing their insincerity before the crowds. How this insincerity on the part of the scribes and Pharisees offended Our Lord! He would not speak to them plainly because their purpose was to twist his words. Do I detest insincerity as well? Do I find traces of dishonesty in my own life? Am I more concerned about what others think or about what Christ thinks?

Why Did You Not Believe in Him? Jesus did not say these words, but they knew he could have. Their troubled consciences were aware it would have been a fitting accusation. Why had they not believed in the precursor of the Lord? Was it not for the same reasons that they would not believe in the Lord himself? John the Baptist had called them on their insincerity. They went to receive his baptism of repentance, but they did not really mean to amend their lives. Would Jesus have to reproach me for any insincerity? Do I ever go to receive the sacrament of penance without a real desire to change my life? Or do I avoid confession altogether because I really don’t see anything in my behavior that needs to change?

We Do Not Know: This is certainly not the first or the last time that ignorance is pleaded to avoid the consequences of the truth, but this kind of ignorance is clearly culpable. The speakers were not uneducated men, but rather the leaders of God’s people, responsible for guiding them along the way of God’s covenant. While it was generally accepted that John the Baptist had been a great prophet who stirred sinners to repentance with his preaching and example of austerity, the Jewish authorities were unwilling to accept that anyone besides themselves could claim any authority in God’s name. Truly they did know, but they were unwilling to accept the truth. Do I ever lean on ignorance in plowing forward with some action that I’m not sure is quite right?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, at times I know what your will for me is, but it costs me greatly to put it into practice. Sometimes I am too worried about what others think and say, or I am afraid of the consequences. Grant me a spirit of sincerity and strength always to accept and follow your will. 

Resolution: I will arrive a little early to Mass tomorrow in order to spend a few quiet moments with Our Lord asking for the grace of always being sincere and upright in my actions.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time "Jesus and the Fig Tree"

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it. Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the Temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the Temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. He was teaching and saying, "Is it not written, ´My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations´? But you have made it a den of robbers." And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered." Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ´Be taken up and thrown into the sea,´ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."

Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to you to pray. Even though I cannot see you, I trust that you are present and want very much to instruct me in your teachings. In the same way you demonstrate your love me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for you by dedicating this time with you in a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to you and respond with love.

Petition: Lord Jesus help me to learn how to unite prayer and action.

Jesus and the Fig Tree: We witness Jesus withering a barren fig tree right down to its roots even though he knows that it is not the time for harvesting figs. Jesus never worked a miracle for himself, so we know it was not a punishment for not satisfying his hunger. This event immediately precedes his entering the Temple at Jerusalem where he expects to find people “busy about his Father’s affairs.” Instead he finds them occupied in worldly activity, and often fraudulent and unjust activity at that. The fruits of honesty and uprightness that Jesus expects to find are simply not there; so in a sense the fig tree symbolizes Jerusalem. Am I honest in my dealings with others? Do I realize that the Lord expects me to bear fruit? Do I invest my time well, in both prayer and action, to this end?

All in a Day’s Work: This Gospel passage would make for a good documentary on a day in the life of Christ. He starts out early from Bethany to Jerusalem, he enters the Temple, faces the wrath of those there as he cleanses it, and then teaches for the rest of the day before returning to Bethany late in the evening. The very next day he begins his ministry again by teaching on the importance of faith in prayer. Jesus did not waste a second of his day; rather, he went about fulfilling his Father’s will. Still, Jesus was not a busybody. He did not generally meddle in others’ affairs, but he certainly was not about to allow worldly activity of a dishonest nature in his Father’s house. And so he throws the dishonest merchants out of Temple. Do I use my time well? Does that include the time I dedicate to prayer? Do I always act respectfully in God’s house where my Eucharistic Lord dwells?

Praying with Faith: Prayer and action are intimately tied together. Jesus was right in driving the moneychangers and animals from the Temple. Certainly we’re not supposed to busy ourselves with worldly affairs while we’re in church. But it’s very proper to bring our worries and concerns, our joys, successes and failures to Christ in prayer. It’s good for us to ask Our Lord his viewpoint about our concerns and ask for his grace to continue on. And when we do set aside time specifically for prayer to encounter Christ, then we find the strength and desire to spread his message to others. It’s through prayer that we’re filled with apostolic zeal. When we dedicate our day to loving service of God, our day itself becomes a prayer. Is my prayer the source of interior strength, and is my action a loving prayer?

Conversation with Christ: My Jesus, you ask much of me, but you are always at my side assisting me with your grace and presence. Help me to use my time wisely on behalf of your Kingdom.

Resolution: I will program in five extra minutes of prayer today for the sake of serving Christ better.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time "Proclaiming God´s Merciful Love"

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to you to pray. Even though I cannot see you, I trust that you are present and very much want to instruct me in your teachings. In the same way that you demonstrate your love for me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for you, by dedicating this time to you with a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to you and respond with love.

Petition: Lord, grant me to be a courageous witness of you and your Kingdom.

Attentive Listening: We need to hear Christ telling us in our hearts to go and preach with our lives. We spend so much time thinking about ourselves and so little time thinking about Jesus and his Kingdom. Through baptism he has called us not just to know about our faith, but to act on it and share it with others. The blind beggar was attentive to Jesus passing by; this attentiveness was the first step to his cure.

Fearless Proclamation: Christ wants us to be as St. Paul was: bold in preaching and defending the truth. He wants us to overcome human respect. Many times we catch ourselves being influenced by what others think and say, and we are incapable of being ourselves. The world tries to intimidate us by laughing at us and making us look ridiculous. What they really want to do is just force us to live our faith in a private manner without bearing witness to Christ and the truth. At those times we should be like Bartimaeus—crying out even more loudly, standing up for what is right, and sticking by it at all times. It’s going to cost us, but then again, didn’t it cost Christ his life to stand up for the truth?

Restoration of Sight: Blind Bartimaeus’ life would never again be the same. He was completely transformed by Christ interiorly—even his physical ailment was cured. He could see again. “To see” means to understand our life and all it entails from God’s perspective. “To see” means that we are happy fulfilling God’s will for us, no matter what God is asking of us.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I ask you to help me to see the great things you are doing in my life. Help me to see the moments of the cross as true opportunities to grow in my personal relationship with you.

Resolution: I will use Jesus Christ’s name and example in a conversation I have with someone today.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wednesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time "On Sitting and Serving"


The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the Twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again." James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What is it you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They replied, "We are able." Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.

Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to you to pray. Even though I cannot see you, I trust that you are present and very much want to instruct me in your teachings. In the same way that you demonstrate your love for me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for you by dedicating this time to you with a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to you and respond with love.

Petition: Lord, help me imitate your example of loving service.

Jesus Sets His Face Toward Jerusalem: Jesus is walking ahead of his disciples, firm and determined. A few of those following him are growing uneasy, but James and John seem not to grasp the seriousness of the situation. Jesus is accompanied, but in a certain sense, he is alone. Again and again he has tried to explain to his followers that his mission will lead him to be rejected and mocked and eventually to suffer the cruelest of deaths. But they seem incapable of grasping the message; from their vantage point, none of this makes any sense. At times we, too, hear Christ’s words about taking up our cross daily and losing our life for his sake, and we are either terrified at the prospect or its meaning eludes us. Jesus, however, continues inviting us to follow in his footsteps and carry our daily crosses with our eyes fixed on our heavenly home, the New Jerusalem.

The Ambitions of James and John: James and John were hand-picked disciples of the Lord. Jesus had often allowed them to accompany him when he went off alone to pray. They both felt a deep affection for Our Lord, and so it is not surprising that they wished to be near him when he entered into his glory. Jesus doesn’t reproach them for their petition even though it comes at a moment when his heart is burdened with deeper concerns. Rather, Jesus invites them to reflect on the consequences of their request. To be on Jesus’ right and left in his glory means to pass through a similar trial as the one he must soon undergo –– they would have to be situated on his right and left on the day he is lifted up on the cross. Jesus also invites us to “seek the things above” and place our ambitions on heavenly sights and not earthly glory. If our love for Jesus is true, then it must withstand the test of trial and suffering.

The True Meaning of Authority: Most of us prefer to command than obey. Ambition quickly leads to rivalry and bitter feelings, as happened to the twelve apostles. Jesus quickly intervenes and gives us a valuable lesson on the meaning of authority, a lesson to be taken to heart. Authority of any kind has only one purpose: service. Do I view the authority that I have been given as a service? Am I more concerned about being obeyed –– immediately and exactly –– than about setting an example for others? How can I be more like Jesus in exercising my authority? Do I realize this is a specific way of picking up my cross and following after Jesus?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to be zealous for the things of above. Do not allow my heart to be ambitious but rather be meek and gentle like yours.

Resolution: I will seek to serve others no matter who they are.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest "The Rewards of Self Denial"

Peter began to say to Jesus, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first."

Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to you to pray. Even though I cannot see you, I trust that you are present and want very much to instruct me in your teachings. In the same way that you demonstrate your love for me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for you by dedicating this time to you with a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to you and respond with love.

Petition: Lord, help me to have a pure intention in my acts of self-denial.

Peter’s Question: At first glance Peter seems to be selfish, as if he were saying, “We have given up everything, now what’s in it for us?” His question is not prompted by selfishness, but rather is a response to Jesus’ previous statement that it is very hard for a rich man to enter heaven. In light of the difficulty of riches, Peter wants to know what the chances of entering the kingdom of God will be for someone who has given up everything to follow Christ. How detached from material possessions must we be in order to be assured a place in heaven? Jesus does not give us a concrete answer to this question, but he does tell us that those who have given up everything will not only receive a reward of eternal life in the age to come, but also ample reward in this life.

The Real Motivation: Reward is not given only to those who simply give things up, but rather to those who give things up for the sake of Christ and for love of the Gospel. Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice — or for that matter, sacrifice for a selfish reason — is worth nothing in God’s eyes. Sacrifice has value only when it is done for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, for love. Our intention in self-denial must be to glorify Christ or to witness to the Gospel message. Is this the real motivation of my self-denial?

Eternal Life: The reward for our self-denial begins in this life and has its culmination in the life to come. The difference between one and the other is that in this life there are also persecutions. In this life we enjoy both the love of Christ and suffering persecutions for his sake. This life is a life of purification of our love, purification of our intentions. By proving our love now, we will enjoy life with Christ for all eternity.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know how attached I am to myself, my possessions and my comforts. Help me to give up what I need to give up — out of love for you and your Gospel, not out of love for myself or what I might get out of it. Help me not to be afraid to deny myself for the sake of drawing nearer to you.

Resolution: I will give up something that keeps me from drawing closer to God.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time "The Price Is Right and the Choice Is Yours"

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."

Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to you to pray. Even though I cannot see you, I trust that you are present and want very much to instruct me in your teachings. In the same way you demonstrate your love for me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for you by dedicating this time to you with a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to you and respond with love.

Petition: Lord, help me to be detached from the goods of this world so I can follow you more closely.

God Is Good: The rich young man recognized Christ’s goodness. He kneels down before him knowing that Jesus possesses something that he does not have. What is it? The spirit of unconditional love. Christ leads us out of ourselves and asks us to trust him more. And so, Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI encourages us, “I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life” (Homily, April 24, 2005).
Looking at the Good Side of Things: It is easy to dwell on the cost of something. The young man’s face falls because he looks more at the cost than at the reward. The price is something that he would feel now, while the reward is something that will come later. How often in life do we experience this truth! The world we live in seeks instant gratification without wanting to pay the price. Rather than concentrating on the cost, we should focus on the benefits promised by God. We will discover that the cost is small and the benefits last forever. Do I have spiritual endurance? Am I am able to wait for the Lord and patiently invest in eternal goods now?

Detachment: Saint Paul tells us that nothing can outweigh the knowledge of Christ Jesus. But in this man’s case, he had allowed something else to outweigh Christ. Comfort, security and material things beat the invitation of Christ to be perfect. Attachments lead to sadness; there is no room for God in a heart that is already full of the things of this world. Only detachment leads to true joy. God gives himself to the one who seeks him without any strings attached.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to live a life of freedom. Help me to recognize your goodness. May my faith always see the good side of things, seeing all in my life as an opportunity to love you. I want to be attached to you and detached completely from my sinfulness.

Resolution: I will pick one thing that I can detach myself from today.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pentecost Sunday "The Power of the Spirit"

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Introductory Prayer: Today, Lord, we celebrate the gift of your Holy Spirit to the Church, which you won for us through your patient suffering on the cross. I believe and trust in his power to make me a better apostle of your Kingdom, to bring fervor where I have grown tepid, to instill detachment where I have become too indulgent, and to perfect the innocence of my baptism, which leaves my soul more pure and worthy to serve and honor you each day.

Petition: Come Holy Spirit, fill my heart with your grace and enkindle in me the fire of your love.

The Doors Were Locked: What is it that makes a disciple of Christ stop cold in the path of conversion and commitment? Cloaked underneath our spiritual inertia and lack of zeal are not so much our personal defects or our lack of human virtue as blindness to the dynamic power of the Crucified and Risen Lord. We can leave our self-made prisons only by opening our hearts to a faith in Christ that is total: total trust (in spite of the confusion of the present and uncertainty of the future), total hope (by breaking away from having to see the ideal in ourselves before we will act), and total divine confidence (in setting aside the sins of others and our personal failures that keep us stuck in myopic visions of life). Christ comes through bolted doors again today to ask us to unlock them with a real experience of the Risen Lord in the power of the Spirit.

Peace Be With You: It is vital to examine our “peace” and see if it truly speaks of the peace of the Upper Room. Substitute “satisfaction” for the word “peace,” and see where our hearts have tried to find consolation this past week. Then substitute the word “fulfillment.” This is the peace that Christ brings through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some passing satisfactions are part of life, and we can be grateful for them. When we seek them for their own sake, however, we can easily drown out the life of the Spirit, who comes to bring us deep peace and fulfillment in life. Pentecost must convince us above all about prayer and the order of life that permit us to have constant contact with sources of grace and divine inspiration.

Receive the Holy Spirit: In the sacrament of penance, we are forgiven our sins through the action of the Holy Spirit, who makes the actions of Christ present through the priest. We believe that mercy founds hope and change in our soul. Why, then, do we not believe that this same grace from the Holy Spirit can make us heroic saints, victorious in trial, patient in difficult relationships and more effective as apostles? Christ assures us that his power will never leave us, so we have no reason to “slip into neutral” after a few bad incidents in our life. Rather, the Holy Spirit’s goal moves us from mercy to transformation into Christ, permitting us spiritually to carry and reveal his wounds to an unbelieving world.

Conversation with Christ: Oh, Jesus, I will trust more in the power of your Holy Spirit to change me than in my own efforts. I will depend on you in that face-to-face encounter I need to have with you every day. Let the sources of divine grace become my true food, and may I move away from feeding my soul on passing pleasures and vain ambitions. 

Resolution: This week, I will write down daily all the lights and inspirations of the Holy Spirit I receive, and I will try to act on them with promptness, confidence and generosity.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter "You Follow Me"

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, "Master, who is the one who will betray you?" When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus said to him, "What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me." So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just "What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?" It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.
Petition: Lord, increase my faith, hope and love.

1.  The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved: Peter is walking with Jesus along the shore where Jesus has just foretold his future martyrdom. He turns to ask Jesus about John, who was following them. Throughout his Gospel, John designates himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. It is as if the most striking point of John’s life and experience with Christ was that Jesus loved him. It became his identity. How often do I reflect on Christ’s love for me? How often do I cherish it?

2.  What About Him? Jesus responds to Peter’s question with a question of his own. What concern is it of yours what happens to John? Christ’s relationship with his disciples is deeply personal. Each has a mission to complete in life. We can get distracted thinking about and comparing ourselves to others, or whether they may or may not be following Christ. However, these comparisons with others (or their gifts, or their mission) can frequently be a sign of our pride. We have our own mission to fulfill, and no one can take our place. We need to concentrate instead on that part of our mission which is still ahead of us, yet to be fulfilled.

3.  We Know That His Testimony Is True: John is a witness to all that has taken place in his Gospel. His testimony was entrusted to a community of believers and has come down to us under the guarantee of the Church. The Gospel presents us with what Jesus actually said and did. We need to hold fast to our faith in the Gospel and not get sidetracked by modern interpretations that cast doubt on everything. When we read the scriptures we hear God’s voice. Do I read them with such faith?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the testimony of your life that I find in the Gospel. Increase my faith. Help me to read the Scriptures and meditate on them with greater fervor. I know that you want to speak to me through them. Help me to follow you today.

Resolution: Today I will help another person read a passage of the Gospel prayerfully.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter "Love Demands a Loving Response"


After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." He then said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.

Petition: Lord, help me to respond with love to your self-giving love.

“Do You Love Me?” The moment for which Christ has been preparing ever since his Resurrection has arrived. He is alone with Peter. Their last encounter before Jesus’ death was that sad occasion when Christ looked at Peter, forgiving him after his threefold denial. Now Christ takes Peter a little apart from the others and gives him the opportunity to affirm a threefold pledge of his love. The one, supreme condition for Christ to renew Peter’s commission to tend his sheep is Peter’s love for his Master. Love is the one, supreme condition for each of us who aspires to be an apostle. Peter’s love has been purified by his betrayal of Christ during the Passion: It has been chastened and humbled. Now Peter entrusts everything -- even his love -- into Christ’s hands: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Do my failures enable me to love Christ more, with greater trust?
“Can Love Be Commanded?” Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI posed a provocative question in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love). How can Christ demand love from us in order for us to be his followers, his apostles? In other words, “Love cannot be commanded; it is ultimately a feeling that is either there or not, nor can it be produced by the will” (no. 16). The response to this apparent quandary is twofold. In the first place, love can be commanded because it has first been given. “God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing. He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and since he has ‘loved us first,’ love can also blossom as a response within us” (no. 17). In the second place, “it is clearly revealed that love is not merely a sentiment. Sentiments come and go. A sentiment can be a marvelous first spark, but it is not the fullness of love” (no. 17).
“Love in Its Most Radical Form” What, then, is the essence of love, that love which Christ first gave to us and which he in turn demands of us as his followers? “It is characteristic of a mature love that it calls into play all man’s potentialities; it engages the whole man, so to speak. Contact with the visible manifestations of God’s love can awaken within us a feeling of joy born of the experience of being loved. But this encounter also engages our will and our intellect. Acknowledgment of the living God is one path towards love, and the ‘yes’ of our will to his will unites our intellect, will and sentiments in the all-embracing act of love” (Deus Caritas Est, no. 17). As Pope John Paul the Great has phrased it so many times, true love is the gift of one’s entire self.
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for helping me to see, through Pope Saint John Paul the Great and Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, the meaning of authentic love. Thank you for your limitless love for me. Your love is the standard to which my own poor love must rise.

Resolution: I will give myself to Christ today in acts of love that embrace my whole person: intellect, will and sentiments.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter "God’s Eternal Love"

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: "I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith in your love.

Who is God? In his first epistle, John tells us that God is love. Before the foundation of the world, the Father loved the Son. Within the Trinity there is a perfect sharing of life and love. Even after the Incarnation, Jesus remained in his Father’s love. At Christ’s baptism, the Father spoke of his love for his Son. “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). At the Transfiguration he repeated this sign of love: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). These moments manifest God’s inner life.

A Share in His Life: God created us to share in the loving relationship of the Trinity. The Father’s plan is to love us, to bring us into Trinitarian love. He wants to love us in his Son with a Father’s eternal love. If we could catch a mere glimpse of the reality of this love, it would transform our lives. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son into the world (see John 3:16). Love is at the heart of the universe.

Sharing in God’s Love: God is love, and if he is in us, it is as love. God pours his love, himself, into our hearts. As he shares his life, he shares his love. This is the love that he wants us to give to others. Jesus gave his disciples the love he had received from his Father, and sent them forth to continue his work of sharing that love with all of humanity. Think of the people today who are lonely and lost, starving for love and attention. They have no clue that God loves them with an eternal love or that he has loved them intimately, deeply and perfectly from all eternity. They do not know that this love has given them life and maintains them in existence. People need to hear the good news of God’s love. This is our mission.

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to share your love with those around me. Don’t allow me to remain focused just on myself and the circumstances in my life. I need you. I need your love, as do so many others. I need to love in order to give myself to your work, but I also need your constant help and support.

Resolution: I will let someone know that God loves them.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter "In But Not Of the World"

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “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 protected them in your name that 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 truth. Your 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.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you. I believe that you are here with me. I thank you for your loving presence in my life. I place all of my hope in you. I humbly offer you the love in my heart and my desire to continue your mission in the world.

Petition: Lord, strengthen my resolve to serve you.

He Always Loved Those Who Were His Own in the World: Jesus completed his mission of protecting those entrusted to his care. He fulfilled his vocation as a man; not one of his apostles was lost except the son of destruction. We have his protection still. He sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us. We have the help of his mother, Mary, and all the saints in heaven. We are surrounded by a great crowd of saints, who support our efforts to live as God wants us to live. They are God’s gift to protect us on our pilgrimage in life.
Here For the Spiritual Battle: As Jesus was leaving the world, he prayed for his disciples. He did not pray that they would be taken out of the world, but that they be kept from the evil one. Sometimes we can feel beaten up and broken, and we seek to flee the battle. Jesus needs us in the combat and entrusts us with the fight. He doesn’t keep us from the battle, instead offers us the strength of his help. He is with us, fighting at our side. He is within us, giving us the interior strength to do his will.
Just Passing Through: Although we are in the world, we are here as pilgrims. We are passing through on our way to heaven. We have a mission: to save the souls that God has entrusted to our care. It is easy to get distracted, to begin to look for calm, ease or a more comfortable resting place for our weary souls and bodies. The world remains attractive to our fallen nature. Alluring advertisements can leave their mark on us, and we can desire the things of earth more than the treasures of heaven. This is why we must give priority to prayer in our life and contemplate life from the perspective of eternity.
 Conversation with Christ: Jesus, protect me from the evil one. He is battling me on many fronts. Keep me strong in your love. Don’t let me give in to discouragement or despair. I have the protection of your love and your intercession. Increase my hope in you. Help me to continue your work in the world.

Resolution: I will speak to someone about Christ today, sharing with them the love he lavishes upon us.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter "Jesus’ Priestly Prayer"


Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in my love for the Father and for souls.

A Legacy of Prayer: The supreme hour of Jesus has come. As he anticipates his agony of self-giving love to the extreme, Christ has no thought for himself. His heart turns to its one and only love, the one for whose glory he has carried out every act of his earthly existence: his Father. But at the same time, that invincible love for his Father embraces all those whom the Father has entrusted to him. Christ leaves his followers a legacy that will remain their greatest source of confidence throughout the ages: his priestly prayer. In this, Christ teaches us how to pray. Christ prays first that his Father may be glorified by glorifying the Son. What is the supreme glory with which the life of the only Son of God will culminate? The answer is in his bloody immolation upon the cross.
The Cross is True Glory: “The word ‘glory’ refers to the splendor, honor and power which belong to God” (The Navarre Bible: St. John, pg. 202). How can Christ’s humiliating death on the cross and his abandonment by his closest followers give honor to God and reveal his splendor and power? How can the cross be Christ’s supreme glory? First, it reveals a love without limits, a love that does not say, “I will go this far and no farther.” Christ’s words, “Father, forgive them,” bear witness to a love that is stronger than sin. The Resurrection, which follows the cross, testifies to a love that is stronger than death itself. Second, the cross is the fulfillment of Christ’s mission. His obedience to the Father, even to death, redeems all of mankind. Have I embraced the cross in my own life as the one way to follow Christ? Embracing the cross is the only sure path to love Christ and glorify the Father.
Jesus Continues to Trust in Me: Throughout this Gospel passage, Christ’s words ring with an unshakeable confidence. Even though he will die, abandoned by his disciples, in agony and humiliating failure, Christ continues to trust. He trusts both in his Father and in those very disciples who will soon desert him. Our Lord’s trust in us as his followers must inspire within us a similar unwavering confidence in our mission to save souls, to bring others to Christ, and to transform society itself. By ourselves we can achieve nothing. But we have the assurance of Christ’s own prayers and the promise of his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will speak in the hearts of all those who Christ calls to bring closer to him. Let us pray often to our great advocate: “Holy Spirit, inspire in me what I should think, what I should say, and what I should leave unsaid, so that I may achieve the good of all my brothers and sisters, fulfill my mission, and make Christ’s kingdom triumph.”
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for loving me to the extreme of dying in unspeakable agony upon the cross. Thank you for your gift of the Holy Spirit so that I can follow your path of self-giving love.

Resolution: I will speak with the Holy Spirit throughout the day and offer to the Father and for souls each cross Christ sends me.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter "Trust in Christ’s Victory"


The disciples said to Jesus: "Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God." Jesus answered them, "Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.

Petition: Lord, give me an unwavering confidence in your victory over sin and evil in my life and in the world.

Jesus Knows Our Weaknesses: Jesus warns his disciples that they will all flee from him in the Garden of Gethsemane when the guards come to arrest him. He is preparing them not for their fall, but for their recovery. He never expected them to be perfect, without flaws, mistakes or shortcomings. He doesn’t expect it of us either. There have been times when we have all abandoned him to follow the selfishness of sin. We sought our own pleasure, as he sought the nails of the cross and the scourging of the lash. Where am I struggling right now? Am I wavering over a compromise with sin in my life? Ask him for the strength and light to live as his faithful friend.
Trust in the Father’s Presence: Even as the disciples left him, Jesus was not alone. His Father was with him. This essential union of love in his life with his Father was the strength that carried him forward to embrace the cross. He could be calm in the midst of the storm and endure unimaginable sufferings during his passion and death. Jesus lights the way for us in the midst of our own struggles and trials in life. It is natural for us to feel isolated from everyone when we are suffering and struggling, alone in the pain and the emptiness of our life. But God is with us; he is within us. We are never alone.
His Victory is My Victory: Jesus never promised his disciples an easy life. He was very clear with them that in the world they would have trouble. It is the same for us. If the world has rejected Christ, it will reject us. We can’t be surprised when opposition and difficulties come our way. It is part and parcel of following Christ and shows that we are heading in the right direction. It is hard to keep fighting, fighting the enemies within and without, but Jesus is with us. We need faith to see that he has won the victory. He has overcome sin and death and he is there at the right hand of the Father.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, it is hard to keep fighting. Sometimes it seems I make little progress. I have the same struggles and difficulties every day. I’m overwhelmed by the evil I see in the world, and it can be hard to see your victory in many places, in many families and homes. Give me the hope that I need to keep seeking your will in all things.

Resolution: I will pray for those who are struggling in their faith.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord "Letting the Lord Work"



Jesus said to his disciples: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Lord help me to be an apostle of your kingdom.

1. God’s Paradoxical Plan of Salvation: Jesus ascends into heaven, but before he does, he leaves his disciples a mission. He assigns them the task of building up his Church. Maybe we are so accustomed to the story that it no longer astonishes us –– but it is truly incredible. These were the same men who just a few weeks earlier had abandoned Christ and locked themselves up in a room out of fear. Humanly speaking anyone would have bet a good deal that their mission was doomed to prompt and certain failure –– yet here we are two thousand years later! I too, am called by Christ to spread my faith, and if I ever feel that I am not the best qualified for this mission, well… I just have to remember that my Captain is sitting at the right hand of the Father, directing the whole operation.

2. Signs of God’s Providence: Time and time again throughout history, Our Lord has shown signs of his power at work in his Church to strengthen our faith. Extraordinary miracles have always accompanied the preaching of the Gospel right to our own day. Devils are still driven out, and many sick are still being cured in the most extraordinarily unexplainable ways. The greatest miracle of all however is the miracle of Christ’s continued presence with us in the Eucharist and the conversion of heart that takes place in the sacrament of reconciliation. God is constantly at work for his people. Even when he doesn’t grant us astonishing signs, he does shower countless signs of his providence upon us every day. Am I able to recognize them?

3. The Lord at Work: The key to success in the mission of being a witness to Christ and his Gospel is found in letting God work. Like the first apostles, we have to cast our nets where the Lord directs us. So many times pride and human ambition have stood in the way of God’s plan. We don’t have to be anything special to work for the Lord; all we need to do is to follow his direction. What great quality do we really possess anyway that is not a gift from God and his already? Am I confident that the Lord is already at work in me? Do I recognize the signs of his provident love in my life, and do I thank him for them?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to understand that being an apostle is not an option, but a demand of my baptism. It is the way I can respond to the immense love you have shown to me. Please continue to work in my life.

Resolution: I will pause before I go to bed and reflect on the signs of God’s providence in my life, thanking him for them.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter "Confidence in the Father’s Love"


Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father. On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Father, help me to confide in you.

1. Ask and You Shall Receive: As a child I was often bashful to the extreme when dealing with strangers. I remember once my dad asked me to leave a food package at the rectory office as a contribution to the parish food drive for the poor. I was scared stiff. Finally after I got up the courage, I rang the doorbell, dropped the box and ran. At times we can feel the same apprehension and uncertainty before prayer. We are not sure if God will take kindly to “being disturbed” in his care for the universe to listen to our request. Ultimately, we need to remember how much God likes to be asked and to trust that, if what we are asking for is for our good or that of another, God will certainly grant it.

2. God’s Self-Revelation: Language is a vehicle of communication, and like every means of expressing ideas, it is limited. Speech, however, is really pushed to its limits when it tries to express realities about which humans have no clear conceptualizations. God’s power, his awesome majesty and his very being are far beyond our limited scope of comprehension. Jesus, as true God and true man, becomes the bridge between our human language and God, whom he knows intimately. Jesus uses the most adequate expressions possible for God –– such as Father ––, but he also reminds us that he is speaking in figures. One day he promises to tell us clearly and even introduce us to him. Is this my greatest hope? Would I be ready right now to be introduced to God the Father?

3. “The Father Himself Loves You” - Our Holy Father, Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, reminds us of the Father’s love: “True, no one has ever seen God as he is. And yet God is not totally invisible to us; he does not remain completely inaccessible. God loved us first, says theLetter of St John, and this love of God has appeared in our midst. He has become visible in as much as he ‘has sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him’ (1 John 4:9). God has made himself visible: in Jesus we are able to see the Father (cf.John 14:9). Indeed, God is visible in a number of ways. In the love-story recounted by the Bible, he comes towards us, he seeks to win our hearts, all the way to the Last Supper, to the piercing of his heart on the cross, to his appearances after the Resurrection and to the great deeds by which, through the activity of the apostles, he guided the nascent Church along its path” (Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est [God Is Love], December 25, 2005).

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, you have revealed the immense love the Father has for all people by the ultimate self-giving of your life. Help me never to doubt your love for me. Help me to respond to your love though fidelity to your will and the practice of exquisite charity.

Resolution: I will say a decade of the rosary for missionaries who are preaching God’s love to others.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter "On Grieving and Rejoicing"


Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Lord, give me great peace and interior joy in the midst of life’s trials.

1. “You Will Weep” Grief is not an agreeable experience in itself. Jesus doesn’t promise his disciples that by following him they will be shielded from the sorrow characteristic of any exile in a foreign land. A Christian’s value system is diametrically opposed to the worldly view. Be honest and the common opinion will consider you backward or naive. Be kind and you will be seen as gullible. Be faithful to the love of your spouse and you will be seen as having repressive tendencies. The list could go on and on. An authentic Christian stands out among the fingers of the world as truly the sorest thumb. Have I accepted this unpleasant and challenging element of Christianity?

2. “I Will See You Again” “Your grief will become joy.” The disciples were surprised and discouraged by Jesus’ crucifixion, but Jesus’ death would not be the final scene in the play. After the dramatic events of Calvary came the joy of the Resurrection, a new and glorious life. How happy the disciples must have been to see Our Lord again! But even then Jesus seems to play “peek-a-boo” with his disciples. He walks through walls bringing them joy and then he just disappears again. We can have a similar experience in prayer. The alternation of dryness and consolation is an essential part of God’s pedagogy with us. Sometimes it seems that the Lord is right beside us and other times that he is on foreign business. Am I able to exercise my faith in the presence of the Lord beyond the state of my feelings at the moment?

3. “Your Hearts Will Rejoice” Sometimes the charge is leveled against Christianity that its moral prohibitions are a source of sorrow and frustration. A closer look shows a different picture entirely. The closeness of the Lord, along with the recognition that the goods of this world are fundamentally good gifts lavished by the Father upon his children, brings profound joy. When we are able to distinguish the presence and action of the Lord in every created thing and through every circumstance, we experience a joy unknown to the world. “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” Do I have this joy founded on my faith and the awareness of God’s immense personal love? Does my obedience to the moral law stem from a complete trust in God who desires my happiness?

Conversation with Christ: My Jesus, when you are near me I experience great joy. I know that you are always with me. Help me to exercise my faith and to be able to strengthen the faith of those of my brothers and sisters who need me to show them your love.

Resolution: I will offer up any difficulty that the Lord sends me today for those who do not yet have the joy of his friendship.


Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle "Intimacy with God"

Jesus said to his disciples: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father´s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one´s life for one´s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.


Petition:Jesus, let me fulfill your command of charity.

1. The Greatest Love: Jesus makes a startling comparison: He likens his love for his disciples with the immense love his Father has for him. Before even the world came to be, the Father and the Son were immersed in boundless, mutual love. The Holy Spirit is this bond of love. The intimacy of the union and self-giving of the Blessed Trinity surpasses any human comparison, and yet Our Lord tells his disciples he loves them in a like manner. Do I realize how deeply my Savior loves me? Does the truth of Christ’s personal love for me, proven from the height of the cross, fill me with awe and find an ever more generous response in my spiritual life?

2. The Greatest Treasure: The circumstances and timing surrounding Jesus’ designation of his disciples as friends reiterates the authenticity of the title. Jesus is just a few hours away from being abandoned and betrayed by those he now calls friends. Still, Our Lord is so moved by love that he looks beyond his followers’ betrayal, to the victory he is about to win for them. Jesus also offers me his friendship. He invites me to “remain in his love.” I am not called to be a spectator, but to discover the joy found in accompanying him. To follow the “Crucified One” will always be demanding, but his friendship is a treasure which far surpasses the weight of the cross.

3. Written on Our Hearts: The mutual love of the Father and the Son, which Jesus gratuitously extends to us as his friends, should bear fruit in charity. The first Christians took very seriously Christ’s command of charity. It was their distinctive mark. It set them apart from the peoples among whom they lived. It was the magnetic force that attracted so many to join their ranks. The command to love each other is the logical result of our personal worth as people loved by the Lord. If Jesus loves my brother or sister so much that he gave his life for him or her, can there be any excuse for me not to show respect and deference on their behalf? Charity is the badge of every true Christian. How can I better live Christ’s commandment of love, starting within my own family?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I pray that I will never cease to be astonished by the depths of your personal love for me. You call me your friend even though I have not always lived up to the demands of this calling. I want to be a better and truer friend of yours.

Resolution: I will show a simple act of kindness to a member of my family today.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter "Nothing But the Truth"


Jesus said to his disciples: "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 coming. He 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."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Petition: Lord, allow me to be sincerely and truthfully yours.

1. My Truth Before God: Jesus tells his apostles he has many more things to tell them, but it seems that they are not yet ready to accept the truth. They were not ready, for one thing, to acknowledge the fact that in a few short hours all of them would flee before the prospect of the Cross, leaving Christ quite alone. I, too, may find it hard to see, or to accept, a realistic picture of my relationship with Christ or my state of soul. I may justify myself or my indifference with any number of psychological consolations. I might convince myself that I am not quite as bad off as so-and-so. Perhaps I put up an excellent external show, living all the motions, but with little true conviction and sincerity.

2. Cheap Deceptions: In our consumer-oriented world, first impressions often seem to count more than the goodness or evil of a thing. Opinion polls appear to set the standard for right and wrong, and a false idea of tolerance is a highly held ideal. Truth can be seen as bluntly offensive, and so it is repackaged in a more appealing way. However, none of these attempts by the “spirit of the world” can ever succeed in the end, just as no amount of darkness can ever stop the smallest beam of light. The Holy Spirit is at work in the world declaring the truth loud and clear in the depths of the human soul. Only the truth -- which comes from Christ -- has the power to bring true peace and joy to the human heart when all illusions are shown up as such.

3. Living in the Truth: As Christians we must be on guard against the spirit of insincerity. No one who lives outside the truth can claim to be a disciple of Christ. Little falsehoods in our lives are utterly destructive to the action of the “Spirit of Truth” in our souls. Our Savior never spoke out so strongly against anything as he did against the pretended righteousness of the leaders of his time. How many things have I done recently just to be praised by others? How many good things have I done which are known to God alone? Am I capable of standing firm to my convictions in the face of misunderstanding or ridicule?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, the example of your life and death is one of complete honesty. Empower me through the “Spirit of Truth” to be sincere in all that I do before God and others.

Resolution: I will ask forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation at the first available opportunity for any insincerity in my life.