Friday, September 30, 2016

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church - Better Than Success

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, I approach you in prayer, knowing that these are some of the most important moments of the day. This time I spend with you helps put the rest of the day in perspective and gives me a sense of my total dependence on you. With childlike simplicity I trust in your loving providence. Though I am unworthy to be in your presence, I at least want to offer you my best effort during this prayer, seeking only to please you.

Petition: Let me see, Holy Spirit, that the most important thing in life is to reach heaven, and to act as if I really believe that.

  1. Name-dropping: The disciples marvel at the power of Jesus’ name, even before demons. Such is the great power of Christ in the world. “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12). Christ, as the Messiah who came to redeem us, is in a league by himself. Thus, all authentic devotion, be it to Mary, be it to a favorite patron saint, only has sense insofar as it leads us to Christ. He is and remains the best model for us. As Vatican II teaches, Christ “fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). Is there anyone I put ahead of Christ in my life?
  1. The Ledger: Jesus seems to shrug off the victories over Satan. What he deems more important for his disciples is that their names are written in heaven. Indeed, Christianity is about more than just defeating the devil. Ours is an eminently positive faith, designed to help us grow in our love for God and in our imitation of the virtues of Christ. As an exercise in love, it is open-ended, always inviting us to do more for others and for Christ. Love knows no limits, so we shouldn’t think that we “have arrived.” Do I understand that I’m called to love and to imitate Christ till the last moment of life?
  1. Model Son: Love drives Christ, specifically love for his heavenly Father. The realization that he does his Father’s will impels Christ to undergo hardships, tiredness, hunger and rejection. But he won’t be deterred. As a young man in love, Christ seems to have an endless reserve of energy for the sake of his Beloved. It is his secret source of strength, so to speak. Thus he teaches us a deep truth of human nature. “Man cannot live without love,” wrote Pope Saint John Paul II in his first encyclical. “He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him.” If ever we feel burned out by the world, we should ask ourselves, “How much do I love others? Do I gladly sacrifice myself for others? Do I seek the good of others first?”

Conversation with Christ: My faith is first and foremost a relationship with you, Lord. It requires a constant response of love on my part. Help me be generous in responding to your inspirations toward love.

Resolution: I will show thanks for my faith by doing an extra act of charity today.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Friday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time - A Reality Check


Jesus said to them, "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, ´Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.´ Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."

Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, you have given me the beautiful gift of faith on the day of my baptism. I believe in the value of your redemptive sacrifice. Do not allow worldly concerns to clash with my lofty vocation. You know my weakness. I hope that you will give me every grace necessary to win heaven for myself and many others. I love you more than any creature. I thank you, and I humbly come before you as I begin this prayer.

Petition:Lord Jesus, keep me focused on my mission of love. 

1. A Reminder In Luke 9, John and James must have felt like midgets when our Lord rebuked them for desiring to petition heaven to rain fire and brimstone on the Samaritans. However, they quickly learned that the battle wasn’t to be fought with bazookas and cannons, but with humility and kindness. Perhaps James and John misunderstood this at first. Perhaps they started to confuse being humble with being mediocre. Maybe they were concerned that Jesus would be a doormat, and that he would expect the same of them. Jesus wanted his friends to be humble, but certainly not to be doormats or naïve victims. Jesus wakes them up with these forceful words.

2. An Object of Mercy Capernaum saw Christ perform great miracles. There was a reason why so much mercy and marvel entered Capernaum: It was to invite the people to respond to Christ’s love. However, they responded to his outpouring of love and mercy with passivity, and evil forces were able to infiltrate into Capernaum’s cultural milieu. This passivity triggered our Lord’s fiery words, which are a mysteriously loving warning. Jesus was not angry at the people of Capernaum as John and James were at the Samaritans. He was concerned that the pearls of divine mercy and love he had given to them were uselessly cast under swine’s feet. Jesus hoped to revive their memory of them.

3. It’s Worth Listening Few things might wear on a successful general more than trying to organize depressed and lifeless troops for battle. When a general says, “Pull out”, “Cover your flank”, or “Attack”, the last thing he needs to hear is: “We don’t feel like it”, “We can’t” or, “We don’t want to”. This seems to be why Jesus has directed such harsh expressions toward the inhabitants of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. Their passivity and lack of response to Jesus’ mighty deeds was enough to prompt his harsh assessment of their fates.

Conversation with Christ:Christ our King, you want me to be your unwavering soldier. Help me to bear witness to you and to help the hearts, minds and wills of others grow in love for you. May I be an example of and influence in virtue and faith to those who surround me. 

Resolution:Out of love for Christ, I will curb an impure or gossip-based conversation at work or school today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Feast of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael, Archangels – Angelic Company

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I approach this time of prayer earnestly. I believe that you have called me to be faithful and loving in your service. I thank you along with Mary, the saints and the holy angels for the marvelous works of creation. I will humbly try to reflect your greatness to all I meet today by honestly fulfilling my duty.

Petition: Lord, help me be an instrument of your peace and love.

  1. Honesty Is the Best Policy: Once as Jesus spent the whole night in prayer, he searched for apostles that would be honest and sincere. Jesus took a liking to Nathanael when he discovered an Israelite without guile in his heart. Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him. It seems that Jesus admired this angelic trait in men. As soon as he saw Philip bringing Nathanael forward to meet him, Jesus immediately noticed the virtue Nathanael lived. If I want to be highly thought of by Jesus, then I need to be sincere in mind and heart.
  1. The Holy Angels: The Church venerates today the holy service of three of the archangels. They stand out for their honest love for God’s most holy will. With such fidelity, St. Gabriel faithfully delivered the most important messages of human history to Zacharias and Mary. St. Michael wrestled with Lucifer and cast him out of heaven. St. Raphael came to the aid of Tobias in the Old Testament. In these angels there isn’t any duplicity of heart. God asks them a favor and they truly fulfill it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to implement our talents and gifts toward a service of this nature? Wouldn’t it be great to be honest instruments of God’s infinite love like these three archangels?
  1. The Lord’s Gaze: Jesus looks into the heart and doesn’t judge by appearances. Christ’s gaze penetrated Nathanael on this occasion. Jesus penetrates the motives of my heart even though they are kept hidden from the others. Jesus is the first one to know if I am true to the faith I have received. If I am faithful to the dictates of my conscience and obey God’s lead, in private or in public, then I have nothing to hide and nothing to lose. If on the other hand, I am dwindling in my surrender to Christ by boredom and monotony, then it is about time I sought renewal. Christ needs me! How many are dying and fading away because they lack Christ and his love? I, in turn, have been graced by many special spiritual favors! Jesus gazes into my eyes and dreams of my fidelity and love.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for the example of these three archangels and of the holy apostles. The holy apostles ended up shedding their blood for you and the holy angels aid us on our journey towards you. Lord, seeing so many lacking the faith, I resolve to be your tireless instrument, like them, so that many may come to praise you for all eternity.

Resolution: I will visit the Eucharist (if this is impossible, then kneel before the crucifix) and repeat confidently, Lord I wish to be your instrument – help me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wednesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time Costly Christ

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you.

Petition: Let me willingly accept the cost of following in your footsteps

  1. Hidden Expenses: A would-be disciple of Jesus’ boasts that he will follow Our Lord anywhere, whatever the sacrifice. Jesus’ response makes us wonder whether the fellow understood what he would be getting into. Following Christ is demanding — and not always glamorous. We might dream of doing great things for Christ, but then find the day-to-day struggle distasteful (“the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head”). Unglamorous challenges take many forms. A new wife might discover to her chagrin that her husband can’t handle finances. Or a parent with high hopes learns that a child has a learning disability that will limit her ability to excel. Or a husband takes a higher-paying job to support his family, only to find his new boss is a tyrant. Or a teen suffers ridicule at public school for her modest clothes. All these trials can be the cost of following Christ. What price am I willing to pay?
  1. Family Ties: Christ tries to dissuade another would-be follower from “burying his father.” The man was probably settling his father’s estate and getting too involved in family finances. Our Lord wanted him to cut with all that, immediately, and get on with the work of the Kingdom. Too often money matters distract us from doing what Christ wants. No wonder St. Paul warns, “The love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). Is money holding me back in my relationship with Christ? Am I working longer hours than I need to, just for the sake of money?
  1. Long Good-bye: The moment of decision had arrived. But instead of joining Jesus’ camp, the would-be disciple felt the tug of family ties. As followers of Christ, we have to be willing to make a fundamental option for Christ — an option that by necessity excludes other paths. Does this sound hard? It should sound familiar. Think of the young woman who says yes to a proposal of marriage. She does so assuming that her beloved has long broken off other romantic relationships. Or take the student who decides to go out for the soccer team at school. He rules out spending hours of practice on the basketball court. By extension, if we want to follow Christ, why do we fritter away hours in activities that have nothing to do with our faith or the Church? Are there things I need to weed out of my life?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me focus my energies better on you and what you are asking of me. Let me not be distracted by activities or material possessions or even relationships that aren’t helping my spiritual life.

Resolution: I will weed out one thing from my life that doesn’t fit in with my state as a Christian. It could be a Web site, a subscription to a publication, an immodest piece of clothing, a relationship.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Memorial of Saint Vincet de Paul, Priest. Heavenly Helpers

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you. 

Petition:  Lord Jesus, make me meek and humble of heart.

1. An Unpopular Strategy: Jesus was like the general of an army. His wasn’t a visible enemy, though; his enemy was the hidden forces of evil itself. Jesus waged war on the devil until the bitter end. “This was the purpose of the appearing of the Son of God, to undo the work of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Jesus marched on toward Jerusalem, and this Gospel described his march with a military term: “resolutely”. Nevertheless, even though he was engaged in fierce combat, Jesus didn’t show it in a way the world understood. Our Lord approached his battle in Jerusalem like a sheep being led to the slaughter. His strategy was humility. Humility was the atomic bomb that he would drop on Satan’s designs and plans. He thus undid the pride and arrogance of Lucifer.

2. A Lesson in Humility: St. John the Evangelist is an active participant in this passage. He himself knew that Jesus’ purpose was to wage war (see 1 John 3:8), and he and his brother dreamed of being well-decorated in Jesus’ battalion. They sought places at his right and left hand in the Kingdom (see Mark 10:35-37), and now they seek to use their rank as apostles to bring down revenge on their opponents. Jesus rebuked them, redefining for them the idea of kingship in his reign. They learned quickly that the weapons of attack were kindness, gentleness, charity and humility.

3. Mission Oriented: In military standards, a commander-in-chief might have considered the incident in Samaria a defeat. Christ was uprooted from their presence, so humanly speaking, he lost. This however, is not the case. Had Jesus complained or retaliated against the fanaticism of the Samaritans, that would have been a defeat. Instead, the Gospel tells us: “They journeyed to another village.” Simple as that! Christ won victory because he didn’t waste time on fickle, whimsical and capricious expectations; rather as a true soldier, he forgave, forgot and continued to the next town. 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, allow me to understand the bumps and bruises of your “boot camp.” It is hard to understand why life is so taxing for my weak nature, but I know that we are at war with the forces of evil. Seeing you die for this war and winning it gives me greater courage to commit my bit to the war effort. Help me to prefer the virtue of humility over my pride. 

Resolution: Today, I will be to the one who does an everyday chore in my house. I will make the coffee for all or wash the dishes to demonstrate to the Lord (and myself) that I can be humble. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Monday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time Whoever Receives This Child

An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest." Then John said in reply, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company." Jesus said to him, "Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you."

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come to you this morning needing your strength and help. The vocation you have given me is awesome, but I am weak. Come to help me. Never let me feel alone and unaided. I know that you are with me.

 

Petition: Lord Jesus, strengthen all families and grant parents a deeper faith and perseverance.

 

1. The Parent’s Adventure. Being a parent isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s a lot tougher. A rocket may malfunction, but it won’t defy you. So when Jesus pronounced this word to his disciples -- “Whoever receives this child…” -- in which he responds to their argument about which of them was the greatest, he could very well have given a discourse on parenting. His disciples needed to learn about humility, and this is the daily bread of good parents. Parents “receive this child in his name.” They don’t pick a “designer” child. They receive the one that the Lord sends them. And then the adventure begins. At all ages and stages -- from the newborn’s hungry cry in the middle of the night to the teen-ager’s complaint that he isn’t trusted, from the titanic battle of wills with the “cute” two-year-old to the taking out of a loan to cover the eldest daughter’s wedding reception --, parenting teaches humility, because no human being can possibly do it right all on their own. Good parents are good because they have learned to depend on God. If the Lord gives a mission, he also gives the grace to carry it out.

 

<b>2. Fides et Ratio  Faith and reason are the pillars of parenting. Faith is so necessary precisely because it is so challenged. To see Christ in the child who sits reverently in the pew during Mass is easy; to see him in the child who gleefully pushes the guaranteed-reaction button is not. Both require faith, but the ungratifying side of parenthood forces the one seeking to please the Lord to pray more insistently and to seek the grace to not yield to the pressure of human emotions. Reason is necessary as well. A good parent needs a large store of wisdom and prudence, the fruit both of inquiry and experience. As the theological principle puts it, “grace perfects nature, but it does not replace it.” God will not supply for the negligence of someone who doesn’t invest time and effort. A parent doing their beststriving with all their might to take care of the precious souls entrusted to them, will find the Lord always near to support their efforts.

 

3. The Least Are the GreatestJesus was referring to humble persons, but no doubt felt the same about children: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.” The Christian parent’s attitude about children is the fruit of the Savior’s teaching and example. As the apostles began spreading this message through the Roman Empire, they were flying in the face of a far different view. Consider this fragment from a letter written by a Roman soldier to his wife back home: “As soon as we receive wages, I will send them to you. If — good luck to you! — you bear offspring, if it be male, let it live; if it is a female expose it. How can I forget you? I beg you not to worry….” Tender concern blends seamlessly, and repulsively, with a casual death sentence. The new attitude brought by Christ is reflected by Diognetus in his letter to the Emperor: One of the distinctive aspects of Christians was that “they do not expose their infants.” In the Christian view the “least are the greatest,” because they have the greatest claim on our love. They need us the most. The parents of a Down’s syndrome child give a tremendous example of this love. Parents’ commitment to their children, no matter what, is a precious gift to us all: It reminds us of the unconditional love of the Father, who cares for us all, not because we are useful, but because he loves us. 

 

Dialogue with ChristLord, help me to understand how I have to reflect your love to others. At times I am impatient, angry and full of resentment. Help me to channel my emotions with faith and grace. I hope that I will never give in to my pragmatic streak, seeing people just in terms of their usefulness. Help me to love others as you have loved me.

 

Resolution:  For parents: I will lead my children to Christby leading family prayers. For others: I will try to lend a hand to a harried parent out of love for Christ.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lax about Lazarus

Jesus said to the Pharisees: "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man´s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ´Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.´ Abraham replied, ´My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.´ He said, ´Then I beg you, father, send him to my father´s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.´ But Abraham replied, ´They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.´ He said, ´Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.´ Then Abraham said, ´If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.´"

Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you. 

Petition: Lord, make me more aware of the people around me who need my help.

1. Nice Isn´t Enough: The rich man in today´s Gospel is the proverbial “nice guy.” His good qualities abound. He does, after all, accept his fate meekly. He doesn´t ask to be released from hell; he asks for only a drop of water to quench his thirst. And when he can´t get even that much relief, he begs for a special messenger in the hopes of sparing his own brothers a similar fate. He at least thinks of the welfare of others. Yet, all that niceness didn´t save him from eternal punishment. Do I ever think that just being a "nice" person will get me to heaven? Might I be using my own standards to judge my worthiness, rather than using God´s standards? 

2. The “O” Word: The rich man never seemed to be bothered by Lazarus. The poor man was doubtlessly a pitiful sight to behold. Some people would have been quick to send servants to chase the beggar away. But not the rich man; no, he deliberately left the beggar alone. And that is where the rich man erred. His was a sin of omission. The rich man lost his soul not for what he did, but for what he failed to do. Am I much better? Is there someone in need, right under my nose, who I routinely ignore? Is there something I could be doing to end an evil? Do I help the pro-life effort? Do I contribute to the poor? Do I dedicate time to a needy child or sibling or in-law?

3. Late Love: The rich man, now condemned, shows concern for his five brothers. They, presumably, are living it up — and destined for the same end as their hapless sibling. The rich man´s concern is well-placed, but his timing is late. If only he had shown concern for his brothers´ souls when he was alive — then he might have made an impact. Caring for family members, helping them reach heaven, is the most loving thing we can do for them. Everything else will be meaningless if our own behavior (or omission) prevents others from attaining salvation. Does that prompt me to pray constantly for family members? To offer up sacrifices for them? Do I try to help others grow in their faith?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, my time in this world is short. Too many people suffer the unexpected death of loved ones and then regret that they didn´t do more for them. Let me not make that same mistake. Help me see that each day is a gift, and each encounter with another person is an opportunity to show your love to them.

Resolution: I will do an act of charity for someone whom I have been taking for granted.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time -The Majesty and the Cross-

And all were astonished by the majesty of God. While they were all amazed at his every deed, he said to his disciples, "Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men." But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.


Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know how easily I make promises in times of consolation and comfort and how readily I withdraw and lose faith in the face of the cross. Give me a faith, hope and love strong enough to weather any cross and embrace any task for your sake. 


Petition: Lord may my faith and trust in you not be shaken when I am faced with suffering and cross in my life. 


1. “And all were astonished by the majesty of God.” Jesus had just released a boy from a demon that was throwing him into convulsions and causing him to foam at the mouth. This should sound the alarm for all that the spiritual battle demands a rigorous response of prayer and sacrifice and great trust in Christ, who alone can give us the grace to conquer the devil, the world and the flesh. “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and the by the word of their testimony…” (Rev 12:10-11).


2. “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men…” The people who surrounded him were fascinated when Jesus cast out the demon. Still, his ensuing words were too much to swallow, mere folly to their minds. But “has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor 1:20-25).


3. “But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them…” They did not understand the saying because they were not yet willing to bear his cross: 

“Jesus has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the Cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection. Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus -- love that is flee from all self-interest and self-love!” (Imitation of Christ, Bk. II Ch.11) 


Dialogue with Christ: Lord, make me love you for who you are and inspite of the cross this implies for me. May I love you in good times and bad, without counting the cost. 


Resolution: Seek the cross in fulfilling my duty today, out of passionate love for Christ.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest "Mistaken Messiah"


Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God.” But he gave them strict orders and charged them not to say this to anyone. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the author of life and the giver of all that is good. You are the Prince of Peace and my mainstay. You are my healer and the cure itself. I need you, and I need to give you. I love you and commit myself to you entirely, knowing you could never let me down or deceive me. Thank you for giving me your very self.

Petition: Lord Jesus, grant me the courage to bear witness to you as the Messiah.

  1. “According to the Latest Poll…” Frequently we hear in the news opinion polls concerning certain topics, people or events. There is nothing novel about that. But when Christ himself polls popular opinion by asking, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”, he isn’t interested in his public rating. If this were his motive he would have become very discouraged, because the public opinion was so far from the truth. “What do you mean, John the Baptist?” –– there is quite a difference between the bridegroom and the best man at the wedding feast. Other’s opinions stray even farther. What matters in life is not what others think or say about us. The only opinion that matters is God’s: what he thinks about us and what we do. Lord, not everyone knows you. We live in a generation that seeks more signs. Send us your gift of faith so that we might truly believe and thus be saved.
  1. Personal Convictions: Jesus had three short years to shed his blood for our redemption and found his Church. In founding the Church he had to transform some rough fishermen. He had to bring them to believe firmly his divinity and mission so that they would continue the work of salvation after his death. Jesus had just spent some time in prayer, and he knew from where the transformation would come. Just how much had his disciples managed to open their hearts to the Father’s work? “Who do you say that I am?” Peter rises to the occasion. He couldn’t have said it more concisely and exactly: “The Messiah of God.” How about me? Who is Jesus for me? Is he truly my Messiah and Redeemer? Do I preach this truth to others by the way I live and the words I speak? I want to be a more ardent apostle of your Kingdom, Lord. Give me convincing words and actions so that others might come to recognize you as the Messiah of God.
  1. The Pharisees Got It Wrong: So that there would be no mistake as to the meaning of Peter’s confession of faith, Jesus decided to define the term. ‘Messiah’ means… “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” The Pharisees misunderstood the figure of the Messiah. They thought the Messiah would deliver them from Roman occupation. They had not understood that slavery to Rome was nothing in comparison to the slavery to sin and to the “prince of this world.” If we are to conquer sin and Satan today, there is only one way: the cross. Jesus is the savior of the world. Through his passion and death he has become the solution to all of our problems. This is why he tells us: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I fear that cross with every fiber of my being, but let your will –– and not mine –– be done. I know that if you are with me, everything will work out in the end. I want to be a better apostle of your kingdom.

Resolution: Despite the opposition I may encounter, I will try to make every encounter with others today an occasion to share my faith with them and bring them closer to God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time.Conversion of the Heart

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, "John has been raised from the dead"; others were saying, "Elijah has appeared"; still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” But Herod said, "John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?" And he kept trying to see him.

Introductory Prayer: As I enter your presence today, Lord, I know that I am not worthy to be with you. “But you alone, Lord, have the words of eternal life and I believe; I have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” I kneel before you in contrition, adoration and hope in your mercy.

Petition: Help me, Lord, to be converted to you more fully.

1. Our Daily Conversion to God: Herod’s desire to see Jesus is not precisely based on faith or on motives of conversion.  During the entire time of his imprisonment, John the Baptist had constantly invited Herod to conversion. “Herod was in awe of John, knowing him to be a good and upright man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him” (Mark 6:20). Yet Herod continually postponed converting. We need to convert daily. It isn’t enough just to say that we have accepted Jesus as our personal lord and savior and have been “born again,” we have to start living that new life, renewing our option for Christ each day. Today I want to convert from my weaknesses and shortcomings. I want to draw closer to you, Lord.

2. What Is the Truth? There comes a moment in life when we have to look in the mirror and see ourselves as we truly are. It takes courage to look directly and ask, “Who are you really? What are you making of yourself and the talents God has given you? What is the truth?” Now, not everything in Herod’s life is relative; there is one truth he does accept: “John I beheaded.” This could have been the point of departure for true conversion and acceptance of God’s mercy in his life. He at least recognized he had made one mistake. All that he was hearing about Jesus made his conscience uneasy. He was afraid that his sin was coming back to haunt him. Conversion always begins with the acceptance of our failures and inclination to evil. It is said that St. Philip Neri used to look at himself in the mirror in the morning and say: “Lord, watch out for Philip today lest again he betray you.”

3. Blessed Are the Pure of Heart… Jesus himself taught us in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.” Explaining this beatitude a little more in detail St. Gregory of Nyssa says: “The man who sees God possesses in this act of seeing all there is of the things that are good. By this we understand life without end, eternal incorruption and undying beatitude. With these we shall enjoy the everlasting kingdom of unceasing happiness; we shall see the true light and hear the sweet voice of the Spirit; we shall exult perpetually in all that is good in the inaccessible glory.” Seeing and possessing God is the result of our daily conversion. It is the promise of peace of heart, true happiness and everlasting life. It is the fullness of everything man can desire in this life and in the life to come. It is the very meaning of our existence. What more could we ask for?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I truly long to see your face. Do not hide your face from me. Help me to accept myself as I truly am and strive to overcome my weaknesses and my inclination to sin. Help me purify my heart so that I might see you in my everyday life and possess you forever in the life to come.

Resolution: I will seek true conversion today by reciting a sincere Act of Contrition and trying to attend Mass or at least make a visit to Christ in the Eucharist.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist With the Eyeglasses of Faith


As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ´I desire mercy, not sacrifice.´ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Introductory Prayer: You are true goodness and life, Lord. Closeness to you brings peace and joy. You deserve all of my trust and my love. Thank you for the gift of life, my family and above all of my faith. I’m grateful too, for the gift of the Church which you founded on the Apostles.

Petition: Lord, help me to be simple and straightforward in my faith.

1. Simplicity Is Bliss: The tax collectors were considered traitors of the Jewish people since they were working for the Romans, the “oppressors” of God’s chosen people. The ordinary Jew would not even converse with one such as this. But Jesus says to him, “Follow me.” Matthew got up and followed him immediately, no questions asked, no conditions. What beautiful simplicity! He didn’t know that Christ was going to make him one of the Twelve. In a certain sense we might say that he signed a blank check and gave it to Jesus. Matthew doesn’t sit down to calculate, he only accepts. He then goes a step further: He invites Jesus to his house for dinner. A Jew generally invited only his true and closest friends and relatives to dinner. It was a sign of intimacy, friendship and love. Matthew goes overboard and lays out the red carpet for Christ in his life.

2. Complicated Calculations: In contrast to Matthew’s straightforwardness, we see the Pharisees’ “righteousness.” Jesus’ dining with a sinner like Matthew is a scandal for them. They really have to confront this Rabbi about his “shameful conduct.” The problem is that they haven’t understood the first thing about the Messiah. Their very point of departure is flawed. They are looking at Christ (and God) from a very rational perspective when the only valid outlook is faith and love. This happens frequently in our lives as we begin to judge events, circumstances and others without faith and charity. Before we realize it, we may have rejected and possibly even defamed our neighbor, a civil authority, or a priest or bishop. We are not looking at things from a supernatural vantage point but rather from our merely human standards.

3. Back to the Basics: Christ puts everything back into perspective. "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ´I desire mercy, not sacrifice.´ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." Once again Jesus invites us to elevate our thoughts to a supernatural plain. Why did God become man? We repeat it frequently, at least every Sunday in the Creed: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven.…” It is important to examine the degree to which I see and judge everything in my life through the prism of faith. A true believer, a real apostle, must form this “sixth sense” in all of his daily dealings. We form this habit through prayer, our frequent and intimate contact with God. We need to ask God for the gift of faith, which gives us a new perspective on life. 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to be a simple person, one who accepts you and your demands without calculations and complications. Free me from all impediments and grant me your grace so that I might become a convinced, faithful and intrepid apostle of your kingdom, as was St Matthew.

Resolution: In prayerful dialogue with God, I will examine at least three moments or events of my day. (This I can do even at home, in the car or waiting in line, etc.)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs. God’s Adoption Plan

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you." He said to them in reply, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, in this Jubilee Year of St. Paul, I turn to you with renewed zeal for the salvation of souls. I believe in you and your love for me. Teach me to live and spread the Catholic faith ardently. Increase my faith, hope, and love so that I may exclaim with St. Paul, “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Petition: Teach me your will, Lord Jesus, that I may be adopted into God’s family.

1. Relationships
These brief Gospel lines provide a glimpse into the personal life of Jesus during his public ministry: He has left home; He has begun his preaching tour – yet those who are dear to him are still part of his life. In particular, “the mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him.” Mary and others of the house of David who have known him since he was young seek his company. The crowd, clinging to Christ’s words, is sensitive to the value of family and how Christ regards it. God has written “family” into human nature. Conscience can detect the importance of these relationships. “Honor thy father and mother.” Am I respectful of family life? Do work or other pursuits keep me away from those who should be dear to me? Do I ever pull others away from their family obligations?

2. My Family or God’s Family?
What constitutes a relationship? When speaking of family relationships, God wrote them into human nature at creation. When speaking of the Incarnation of the Son of God, however, a new relationship between God and man is created. Our human nature is now related directly to God through the person of God’s Son. When the angel Gabriel had announced the plan of God to her, Mary responded, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  Jesus identified his mother in a very personal way when he replied, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it." Mary is the model of hearing God’s word and responding. My response to Christ in faith can introduce me into a personal, familiar relationship with him.

3. Child-Heirs of God
Jesus has revealed the secret to entering into a personal relationship with him as brother or mother: heed the word of God. Thus, I may regard Jesus as my eldest brother who, in turn, reveals God the Father to me. St. Paul reflects on this mystery: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God” (Galatians 4:4-7).

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, teach me to be more attentive to God the Father’s will, so I may truly regard you as brother.

Resolution: Today, for love of God, I will do something to build a family relationship as Christ would.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time "A Just Settlement"

Jesus said to the crowd: "No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you dwell in brightness, truth and love. Nothing makes sense without your love. Without you, Lord, insipidity invades people, things and events. I believe that you are my refuge and the source of my happiness now and forever. I am convinced that your promises will be fulfilled sooner or later; this is why I prefer a single day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.

Petition: Lord, enlighten my mind and heart to follow your path that leads to the endless day.

1. Torch Bearers: There are advantages to carrying a torch in the dark. This common knowledge informed our Lord’s address and helped him propose it to his listeners. At night, a torchbearer sheds light so that all who are with him can walk confidently, without stumbling along a dark path. Time is not wasted stepping insecurely and hesitantly; rather, the whole group walks purposefully and goes quickly where it needs and wants to be. When a group has a torchbearer, all in it are relieved, including the torchbearer himself. This is the value of my faith to a highly secularized society. Do I nurture an appreciation for the gift of faith that I have received from God? Am I afraid to allow its light to shine?

2. Wisdom at its Best: Jesus affirms, “For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” When I am not praised and recognized by others, I might feel sad or forgotten. This is when I need to shine a lot of light to get out of that black hole. Do my good works seem to go unperceived? The Lord himself will expose them on the judgment day. The more they are hidden from others now, the more merits I will gain before God. All secrets will be cracked open in the future. My duty is not to crack them open now, but to keep them hidden and to be a torchbearer for the journey to that place of eternal reward.

3. A Rewarded Success: “To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” Here Jesus plumbs deeper into what we have already reflected on.  “To anyone who has” obviously refers to the torchbearer who has successfully led his band of friends. He will be entrusted with more responsibility, or simply respected by the others. “And from the one who has not”: The torchbearer who can’t keep his flame alive will be ousted. He will be taken away. Do I staunchly live the fire of the faith, or do I hesitate in witnessing to his love? 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to be a wise torchbearer. Do not allow laziness and presumption to distract me from the basic task of keeping my lamp filled with oil at all times. Lord, give me a robust faith!

Resolution: In my conversations today, I will bear witness to the light by avoiding all slanderous talk, and I will elevate the topics of conversation by talking about things that could inspire others to praise God. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 'The Choice of Masters'

Jesus said to his disciples, "A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ´What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.´ The steward said to himself, ´What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.´ He called in his master´s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ´How much do you owe my master?´ He replied, ´One hundred measures of olive oil.´ He said to him, ´Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.´ Then to another he said, ´And you, how much do you owe?´ He replied, ´One hundred kors of wheat.´ He said to him, ´Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.´ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the author of life and the giver of all that is good. You are the Prince of Peace and my mainstay. You are my healer and the cure itself. I need you, and I need to give you. I love you and commit myself to you entirely, knowing you could never let me down or deceive me. Thank you for giving me your very self. 

Petition: Lord my Savior, today help me to exert my heart’s effort for your cause. 

1. Two Faces: To say one thing and to do the opposite must be the hardest moral strife for the human heart to bear. Those who live with two faces indeed live in a restless state. Their conscience dictates one way, but their deeds are displayed conspicuously to the contrary. They bear a responsibility that they are obliged to fulfill, yet they waste time in peripheral nonsense. Thus they let down those who might reap the benefits had they been faithful to that responsibility. This rips the ethical peace in the two-faced individual. 

2. A Worthy Solution: Having two faces creates suspicion in human relationships. Nevertheless, our Lord finds a redeeming mechanism in place – a worthy outcome to the deeds of this insincere steward. The steward, on learning that his time is limited, craftily conjures up friendships with the debtors he was doing business with from the start. His master praises the tactic used by the fired steward. The master even studies the prudence and creativity of this current, untrustworthy enemy so as to teach the incoming stewards how to deal trustworthily with customers and vendors. Such dedication in crunch times could be very useful and quite glorious – especially when it is performed by reliable stewards. What good could be truly achieved! 

3. One-Sidedness: On one hand, there seems to appear a great blessedness when the steward implements skills like kindness and prudence, deals intelligently, and does more in less time. Yet, on the other hand, he still undermines the wishes and desires of the master. How do I see this in my life? In my relationship with Christ and his Church, do I recognize the great blessedness in possessing a love for God and in putting my skills, talents and gifts to use solely for God’s glory and the establishment of his Kingdom? Does everything I do, ranging from conducting a family activity to receiving a phone call in the office or going to a party, have this unifying drive for God’s glory and the establishment of his Kingdom?

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Divine Master, for sharing with me briefly an important lesson in becoming a true follower of yours and becoming truly happy in the depths of my heart. Help me to raise my heart high, as I endeavor to praise you by my thoughts, words and deeds. 

Resolution: Today, as I deal with someone, I will truly look for their benefit by helping them and being kind to them. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

September 19, 2015. Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time Treat Me Like Dirt!


When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to him, he spoke in a parable. "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold." After saying this, he called out, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear." Then his disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be. He answered, "Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that ´they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.´ This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for this precious time of meditation and dialogue with you. In meditating on the Parable of the Sower, help me to change so that I will not put any thorns, rocks or hardness of heart in the way of your plans for my life.

Petition: Lord, grant me docility to your will for me.


  1. Hard Ground: We act like hard ground when we hear the inspirations of the Holy Spirit to do what is right, but let them pass as if it were no big deal. We let the devil take away the grace Jesus offers us, and it does not sink into our hearts. Many times superficiality and a lack of faith prevent us from reflecting and taking advantage of the lights that God gives us. We should pray to be more spiritual.



  1. Rocky Ground: How many of us hear the Word of God with joy and follow Christ in the peaceful times, but fall away in the times of trial? We need to let our spiritual roots grow deeper; we need to let the roots of God’s word grow more profoundly into our hearts. The best way to do this is by reading and meditating on the Gospel and solidifying this faith through the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist.



  1. Thorny Ground: The thorny ground represents those of us who are slowed down in our spiritual life by the anxieties, riches and pleasures of life. When the ground of our hearts is thorny, we fail to produce the mature fruit that Christ expects. And we live in the midst of so many thorns…. In order to let God’s grace grow in us, we have to sacrifice our own comfort and pleasure, because apart from the cross there is no growth in personal holiness.


Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, treat me like dirt … but good dirt. I don’t want to place thorns or rocks or hardness of heart in the way of your word. I want to be fertile soil for your word so that you can use me as an instrument to save souls and glorify you.

Resolution: I promise to pray these words many times today: “Not my will, but yours be done.”

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs 'Love Is Not Snobbish'


Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod´s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you came into this world to redeem sinners. I hope in you and in your power to transform my soul, by your grace, from sinfulness to holiness. Lord, I love you and offer you the longings of my heart to put you truly first in my life. I want to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.

Petition: Jesus, teach me to live universal charity.


  1. “Accompanying Him Were the Twelve” In this rather commonplace phrase from the Gospel, we perceive Jesus’ universal charity. He chose his twelve apostles from many different backgrounds. Most of them probably would not have been friends were it not for Christ. Matthew was a tax collector; Peter, James and John, fisherman. Judas was more “sophisticated” than the rest. Yet, Jesus called them all to be his closest collaborators. As a result, they would come to cooperate with and appreciate each other. When Christ is at the center of any relationship, differences can not only be overcome, they can become points of strength as well.



  1. Mary, Called Magdalene: Not only did he choose men to be his close collaborators, but as the Gospel says there were also “women who provided for him out of their resources.” Jesus assigned them different roles, but he saved and transformed their lives all the same. We think of Mary Magdalene as a close friend of Christ, but we should also remember that he transformed her, with the power of God’s grace, by expelling seven demons from her.



  1. The Wife of Herod’s Steward: Another of the women following Jesus was “Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward.” It is amazing to realize that the Gospel took root even in the midst of the fiefdom of Herod, a man who had absolutely no esteem for our Lord. We, then, should never ‘write someone off.’ Prayer, sacrifice, and charity can be effective means for the worst sinner’s conversion. Jesus’ message was capable of inspiring followers in all societal conditions and groupings. Similarly, we are called to build the Kingdom at all levels of our secularized world.


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, you give us the example of unconditional love for each and every person. You do not care what our background is or how many sins we have committed. Your mercy is infinite and everlasting! Thank you for your love. I beg you to teach me to love without limits.

Resolution: I promise to practice universal charity today by being kind to someone with whom I do not ordinarily associate.