Sunday, August 20, 2017

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope - Money Changes Everything


A young man approached Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Introductory Prayer: Dear Lord, I believe in you because you know what is best for me and what I must do in order to reach heaven. I hope in you because you have called me to detach myself from worldly things in order to possess you. I love you because you are greater than any of the things you have created.

Petition: Lord, grant me spiritual detachment from material things.


  1. Are You Sure? Sometimes we ask for or desire something without really considering the conditions necessary to obtain it. We understand that most things cannot be obtained for free; nevertheless, in the spiritual life we easily forget this. What the rich young man asks for is the most valuable, the greatest possible achievement, but he thinks getting it will be easy. Maybe he was accustomed to being able to buy whatever he wanted with money. He probably didn’t even think that Christ might tell him to detach himself from his possessions. The fact that we could want something, but not want to do what is necessary to attain it, should raise a question: Do we really want it?



  1. A First Step to Eternity: Christ takes the young man’s question seriously. He doesn’t want to waste the young man’s time allowing him to think things are easier than they really are. Sadly, in today’s society people are used to seeking what requires the least effort. This is not the way of a true Christian. To get to heaven – and everybody should really want to – one thing is totally necessary: “Keep the commandments.” That means to avoid sin. God’s love for us precedes the commandments. When we love someone, we do not treat that person in any old way, but rather in a way that reflects the love we have for that person. So, we keep the commandments not just to follow a moral code, but to show in a specific way our love for God. This step is very important, but it is only a first step to heaven.



  1. Not So Sure: The rich young man had no trouble with living the commandments. Feeling confident, he asks for more, and Christ asks him to leave his possessions. He wasn’t expecting this. He went away sad, because he had many possessions. The problem is not having possessions, but that having many possessions makes us more preoccupied with material things than with “things of above,” as St. Paul would say (see Colossians 3:1). In the Gospel, Jesus says, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).


Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, help me to love you above all things. I realize that I am attached to things that sometimes lead me to forget you. And yet, I can’t avoid hearing in the depths of my soul your words: “You cannot serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). Help me understand that it is not worthwhile to have many things, but not have you.

Resolution: I will examine myself to see what commandments I am not living fully and detach myself from some concrete thing that prevents me from doing so.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Daring Doggedness


At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, "Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us." He said in reply, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But the woman came and did him homage, saying, "Lord, help me." He said in reply, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you want me to have faith in you, faith that hearkens to your words without any second guessing. I hope in your words, not relying solely on my own strength or reasoning. I love you. You continue to astonish me by showing me that your ways are not my ways.

Petition: Lord, fill my heart with gratitude and trust even when those I love suffer.


  1. My daughter… “My daughter is tormented by a demon.” Sufferings of strangers stir our compassion. But when a son or daughter suffers, anguish can reach fever pitch. Imagine the agony of the mother in this Gospel passage. Imagine the near-physical pain she felt in the depths of her heart. However, her love nourished her hope and propelled her to seek out Christ. When those we love suffer, we need the same wisdom to seek the Lord.



  1. Unfathomed Dimensions: Only a mother or father knows the depths of his or her love for a child: “Words cannot express.…” We truly understand love when it involves people we know and love. Contemplate the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine the false accusations, scourging, humiliations and the crucifixion. Now imagine your own son or daughter, or mom or dad or loved one, suffering the same fate. Christ’s passion takes on a new dimension.



  1. Our Title to God’s Grace: "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." Faith and humility move Christ’s heart. How easily we adopt a spoiled-child mentality, believing that we deserve more. “The earth doesn’t owe you a living,” a sage once said. “It was here before you.” How much happier we are when we acknowledge our littleness and unworthiness, when we recognize our status as creatures of God who gives us life, breath and every beat of our heart. All we possess is a gift of his creative love. How happy we are when we are grateful and let him know this a thousand times a day.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, I will praise and thank you a thousand times and in a thousand ways for all you do for me. Even sufferings, I know, come from your hand for my greater good, although I may not always perceive the good at that moment. Give me the gratitude, faith and trust to accept my cross and rejoice in your creative love for me.

Resolution: I will thank the Lord repeatedly throughout the day.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time - The Parental Vocation

Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe in your presence here with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I hope in you. I know that you will always take care of me. I want this time with you to be a sign of my love for you. I seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual consolation for myself.

Petition: Lord, help me to be faithful in carrying out the commitments of my state of life.

1. Bringing the Children to Jesus: Being a parent is a lofty vocation. To be entrusted with the integral formation and eternal salvation of another human being is a task that is enough to make one dissolve into fear and trembling. Above all, parents have to show the good spiritual instincts of the people in today’s Gospel: They have to bring their children to Jesus. They need to teach them to pray, to go to Mass and above all, to learn that Jesus truly is their best friend with whom they can share everything. What a gift to give to children!

2. “Do Not Prevent Them”: There are many ways to hinder a child’s path to Christ. Our bad example is one of the main ones. Children pick up on the incoherence between our admonitions and our actual behavior. It’s particularly unnerving when a parent begins to see his own defects mirrored in his children. That can serve as a warning call that we need to be living the Christian life with more authenticity. Our example needs to be a catalyst towards the good.

3. The Kingdom of Heaven Belongs to Such as These: A good Catholic parent has only one true bottom-line aspiration for his kids: that they get to heaven! This is worth all the prayers, sacrifices and late nights. Precisely because the Kingdom is where they belong, parents should have immense confidence that the Lord will send them the graces they need to persevere and carry out their mission effectively. Christ is the parent’s biggest cheerleader! He wants nothing more than that happy reunion in heaven, where the parent will hear those wonderful words from his child, “Thanks for helping me to get here.”

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for my parents, and all they did to help me grow in the faith. I am sorry for the times I judged them harshly. Grant them your abundant blessing.

Resolution: I will say a special prayer for my parents (especially if deceased) and give them a call to thank them.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time - From the Beginning It Was Not So…

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh ? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe in your presence here with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I hope in you. I know that you will always take care of me. I want this time with you to be a sign of my love for you. I seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual consolation for myself.

Petition: Lord God, fill me with your grace so I can meet your lofty expectations.

  1. Hardness of Their Hearts: The Pharisees heard Jesus’ teaching against divorce at the Sermon on the Mount, a teaching which contradicted the practice of the Jews. And so they sought to trap him in this instance into putting his teaching in opposition to Moses. They were hoping to discredit him. But Jesus knew their twisted intentions and grounded his teaching on God’s original plan for man and woman. He knows that they were looking to get around the will of God and carve exceptions. Jesus felt no need to pander to the crowd or offer an easier way out when challenged. His focus was on what God intended. Even today he challenges everyone to respond.
  1. A New Law: Jesus’ teaching seems so counter-cultural, no less today than in his own time. How can he be so bold and ask for so much, since we still labor under the same sin, imperfection and hardness of heart as the people of Moses’ time and his time? The key is that Jesus does not simply add new laws; he brings the grace to be able to live as God intended “from the beginning,” that is, before sin entered the world. Christ can ask more of us because he himself brings the grace for us to live our lives before God in a new way. By grace we are made “new men (and women) in Christ” and transformed into children of God who are empowered to live in holiness and the full truth.
  1. Never Give Up: The disciples seem to be discouraged at first, because the new teaching of Jesus is difficult to live: “then it is better not to marry.” They are seeing things through their own narrow experience and through the lens of popular opinion. Yet they must make the transforming encounter with the grace of Christ. We, too, need to believe in that grace and to communicate it to others, since it enables us to love others “as he loved us.” It is what brings the vitality and freshness to our Christian lives, and makes us able to offer something new and hopeful to the world around us.

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, give me the faith and confidence to believe with all my heart that your grace is enough for me. Teach me to believe that your commands are always supported by your grace and that I can live as a new man in you.

Resolution: I will ask for an unbreakable hope in the power of God’s grace acting in me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Human Harshness vs. the Charity of a Saint

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe you are present here with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I hope in you. I know that you will always take care of me. I want this time with you to be a sign of my love for you. I seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual consolation for myself.

Petition: Lord, grant me a more forgiving heart!

  1. Human Harshness: “He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’” The Gospel gives a startling example of human harshness. History recalls another one. In Auschwitz, the camp deputy commander, Karl Fritzch, decided that the most effective way to keep prisoners from trying to escape would be an overwhelming example of reprisal. Ten men in Block 13 were picked out for starvation. The thought of innocent men dying because of another’s escape would definitely make anyone think twice about it. The master of our Lord’s story is angry at the harshness of his servant. We can only imagine the Lord’s anger at the harshness of a place like Auschwitz, called by Pope-Emeritus Benedict, “a place of horror” and “unprecedented mass crimes” (May 28, 2006). Let us purge our own hearts of the evil of harshness, which brings down such misery on our own soul.
  1. St. Maximilian Steps Forward: The Lord’s answer to Peter in this Gospel, “not seven times but seventy-seven times,” points to a heroic living of the virtue of charity and forgiveness. St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast we celebrated this week, gives us an example of that kind of love. When the commander had picked out his ten victims, St. Maximilian had been passed over. No doubt the others who were spared were breathing intense sighs of relief. Instead, St. Maximilian stepped forward and offered to take the place of one of those chosen, Franciszek Gajowniczek, who cried out in anguish over his family. We can only shake our heads in amazement that the flame of love could burn so brightly in that “place of horror.”
  1. The Cross Sets the Standard: The examples of the saints challenge us. They don’t give us a “superhuman” example, but rather the testimony of what men and women are capable of doing when they allow the grace of God to work in their souls. We, too, have many occasions when we are called to live a higher degree of virtue, but so often we cut ourselves a little too much slack. When Peter asked about a seven-fold forgiveness, he was being quite generous. But the “seventy-seven times” that Jesus speaks about is measured against the Cross, the symbol of the Lord’s infinite love and forgiveness. Saints like Kolbe understood this. Let’s try to imitate it today, in ways both big and small.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I can only be amazed at your work through the soul of St. Maximilian Kolbe. You enabled him to lay down his life for another, in imitation of your own self-sacrificing love. Help me to embrace the same path of love and forgiveness.

Resolution: I will immediately forgive any wrongs I suffer today, and I will try to sacrifice myself in a hidden way for someone else.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Tough Moments

Jesus said to his disciples: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ´every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.´ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Introductory Prayer: Father, thank you for this time of prayer. Help me to be attentive to the inspirations of your Holy Spirit. This day may be filled with many challenges and activities but throughout them all I invite you to be with me.

Petition: Lord, help me to me an instrument of your peace.

1. If Your Brother Sins Against You: Catholic life is filled with many peaks and valleys. The Church’s soul is the Holy Spirit, but the body’s members can be less than saintly. At times, people can be scandalized by the “humanity” of the Church. “Isn’t he a Catholic? How can he do that?” Jesus, however, was not surprised, and we find him in the Gospel today outlining a procedure to deal with sinful behavior. Our love for the Church is realistic: Jesus came to save sinners; we can’t be surprised when we encounter sin. But realism isn’t cynical. We know that God is infinitely more powerful than our sinfulness. “Where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).

2. Fraternal Correction: Very often the sin that we encounter in the Church is right under our own roof. Fraternal correction can be a duty of charity; however, if we relish the thought, that’s a bad sign. We need to purify our intention of wounded pride or any thought of payback. Our motive must be to truly help the other person. Part of this is the desire to be effective, and this means doing things the right way. Going public is not the first step, as the Lord makes clear. By quietly seeking reconciliation we can do much to bring healing to our relationships.

3. The Power of Prayer: Interpersonal conflicts can be among the heaviest crosses that we bear. When the hurts and the slights have accumulated beyond counting and forgiveness is either hard to give or hard to obtain, what is there left to do? The Lord tells us: Pray! Get others to pray with us and for us. “Where two or three are gathered in my name.…” The Lord wants to act in and through our prayer. As Catholics who believe in the gospels, we know that miracles happen. Sometimes it may seem that only a miracle will bring about reconciliation. Miracles will come only to those who ask for them.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you taught us to gather together in prayer. Grant your Church greater unity and charity. Help us to help each other. Give us the humility to be open to correction. I believe that your love will triumph!

Resolution: I will pray fervently before correcting anyone.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - God Lifts Up the Lowly


In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary´s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in your wondrous, shining glory, although this is hidden from my eyes. I hope in the peace and everlasting joy of the world to come, for this world is a valley of tears. I love you, even though I am not always able to discern the love in your intentions when you permit me to suffer. You are my God and my all.

Petition: Lord, help me to be humble!


  1. All Generations Will Call Me Blessed: When Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption, it was a cause of great joy throughout the Catholic world. Believed for centuries, it entered the realm of official Catholic dogma. Our Lady is brought to heaven to share in the glory and joy of her Son and our Lord. We have always looked to Mary as our mother, and so the feast of the Assumption continues to fill us with happiness. She is with Christ, and she is our mother more than ever. We entrust ourselves to her in the same way that Pope Saint John Paul the Great did, “Totus Tuus.”



  1. Scattering the Proud: Proud people are generally very focused on whatever serves their best interests. So “scattering” is a very good verb to use to indicate what happens to the proud when God goes into action. Mary rejoices in that “scattering,” but who are the proud? Maybe we don’t have to look any further than ourselves. How much we fight with that root sin of pride! Mary is happy when pride gets scattered and the perspective we have widens. Instead of just seeing things from our own myopic point of view, this scattering opens up the “thoughts of our hearts” to see others and their needs. Nothing is more Mary-like than that.



  1. Lifting Up the Lowly: This feast of the Assumption is proof that God literally lifts up the lowly. Like her Son and his Ascension, Mary is lifted up by God into the realm of eternal life. Sometimes we cling to our pride out of a sort of instinct of self-preservation—“If I don’t look out for number one, who will?” But Mary’s humility is a lesson for us. Our true self-fulfillment lies in becoming everyday more filled with God; We can only do that if we are not filled with ourselves. Let’s ask Mary to help us to live more like her and experience the true joy—the lifting up—that there is in humility.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you for giving us such a wonderful mother. She helps me to stay on the path of fulfilling your will. Help me to be able to sing a Magnificat in my own soul, “The Almighty has done great things for me!”

Resolution: I will be generous and joyful when I am asked to help out.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr - Death and Taxes

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day." And they were overwhelmed with grief. When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, "Doesn´t your teacher pay the temple tax?" "Yes," he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, "What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?" When he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him, "Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you."

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe in your presence here with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I hope in you. I know that you will always take care of me. I want this time with you to be a sign of my love for you. I seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual consolation for myself.

Petition: Lord, help me to acknowledge your greatness with my words and actions.

1. No Tax Loopholes, Not Even for Jesus: Jesus draws from Peter the admission that collectors of the Temple Tax did not consider him the Son of God, and that they did not consider the Temple the house of his Father. They therefore thought he was subject to the tax. In effect, by obliging him to pay the tax they implied that they considered him a subject or a foreigner. Joined with Jesus’ prediction of his Passion, the scene harkens back to the line from the opening of John’s Gospel, “He was in the world and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him” (John 1:10-11). How this must have broken the heart of Christ to find himself unwelcome among those he came to save. And how often we leave Christ alone in our churches and chapels, with no one to visit him or acknowledge his presence there. 

2. A Place Where Christ Is Welcome: What does it mean for us to welcome Christ into our life? It must be more than a warm emotion. Rather it must be opening ourselves to the presence of him who comes to make his home among us and share our lives. We have a God who is so close to us and wants a relationship with us. He wants our time and our attention. Welcoming Christ into our life means recognizing him not as a foreigner who comes from afar to impose himself, but as our personal Lord -- as our master, and our savior. It is his will that must rule in our life and direct our behavior. We must acknowledge that only he has the word of life and we must turn our lives to him in loving obedience. The fruit of this will be interior peace and profound joy. 

3. A Society Without Christ Is Empty and Confused:Today we see how frequently Christ is refused entry into the world, and how frequently he is marginalized by so many of those who have great influence in society and in our culture. He is deliberately excluded from the world of politics, from the world of science, the arts, of business, law, and medicine. Often he is treated in the media only when it chooses to ridicule him. As followers of Christ, we must bring him and his word of life back into every sphere of human activity, for a world without Christ is a world that knows neither its origin nor its destiny and will turn against man himself. 

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, give me courage to make your presence felt in the world around me. Let me not be afraid to show that my faith in you is the center of my life and gives meaning to all I do. Let me give witness of the joy I experience in living by your law in my life.

Resolution: I will find time to spend with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament today or find a way to give witness to Christ in the midst of my daily occupations, manifesting my faith publicly.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Peter On the Water and In the Water


Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Introductory Prayer: Father, I believe in you with all my heart. I trust in your infinite goodness and mercy. Thank you for so patiently guiding me along the pathway to everlasting life. I love you and offer all that I have and all that I do to you, for your glory and the salvation of souls.

Petition: Lord, help me to trust in you when I am making my decisions.

1. The Divine Name: As if being battered by the wind and waves weren’t enough to instill a feeling of doom and dread, in the midst of it all, the apostles saw a shadowy figure gliding along the water. They were scared! Who wouldn’t be? Jesus speaks directly to their fear. “Take heart, it is I,” – literally in early Greek translation, “I am.” This is biblical code language that evokes in a powerful way the presence of God. When Moses stood before the burning bush, at a loss as to how he, the tongue-tied fugitive from Egypt, was supposed to go back to the Pharaoh and convince that hardened soul to liberate the enslaved Hebrews, he felt he just could not do it. God’s answer to Moses’ hesitation and doubt was to tell Moses his name, “I AM”. God’s very name is presence, and that presence brings reassurance. We are not alone as we face life’s challenges.

2. Walking on Water: Peter’s gut reaction is to believe in Christ. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” As he stands up in the boat, preparing for that daring leap, the other disciples are hunkered down, still holding on for dear life. Peter’s faith inspires us: At times we face crucial decisions and feel like we are about to jump out of a boat as well. The indecision we experience can seem rational. We don’t want to drown, after all. But Peter’s leap was not simply blind or foolhardy. He knew that by himself he was better off putting on a life jacket. But Christ was commanding him, “Come.” This story is not a recipe for rashness. It is a story of faith-filled obedience. When we know in our heart of hearts that Jesus has said “Come,” the leap that we take is a good decision because it is grounded in faith and trust.

3. A Helping Hand: Peter takes the leap, but he brings all his flaws with him as he lands on the solid water. The wind and the waves overwhelm his awareness of the miracle, and along with the doubt he finds himself in the water. How beautiful that Peter’s very fall awakens his faith again. He does not attempt to rely on his own swimming prowess to get back into the boat. He cries out, “Lord, save me.” Christ’s heart is filled with mercy. He immediately stretches out his hand to save his water-logged vicar. He is anxious for Peter—and us—to learn the lesson. “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” In other words, “Don’t take your eyes off of me! I will keep you afloat.”

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you called Peter to walk on water. As long as he believed in you and your power he was fine, but his doubt got the upper hand. Strengthen my faith so that I can be obedient to you. Help me when the wind and the waves are fierce, and the inclination to doubt asserts itself. Help me to stay on top of the water!

Resolution: I will pray first and then make faith-filled decisions today.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Turn to Jesus

A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said, "Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." Jesus said in reply, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me." Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ´Move from here to there,´ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."


Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you want me to have faith in you, faith that hearkens to your words without any second guessing. I hope in your words, not relying solely on my own strength or reasoning. I love you. You continue to astonish me by showing me that your ways are not my ways.

Petition: Lord, give me the grace to trust you.

  1. Never a Dull Moment: Just before this event, the apostles were with Christ at the Transfiguration. Have you ever come out of a retreat on fire to change the world, and then the unexpected cross comes your way – a negative comment, a temptation you have not had before, a tragedy in the family? You were in the clouds surrounded by God’s glory, and then you came crashing down to the reality of this world. Let the moments of glory be your strength to face and persevere through all the challenges that lie ahead. We have to be strong. We have to keep moving ahead even though we seem to have bullets flying by our heads, as do soldiers in war. We have to have faith.


  1. Genuine Faith: The apostles go out and think they can cure people, but they forget the secret ingredient – faith. It is not the apostles who are doing the work; it is God working through them. Could it be that they had forgotten this fact and fell into presumption? How often do we have a great time at prayer, only to walk out the door and return to our self-centeredness? We have no power aside from Christ. Put your faith into action. Make sure your actions are done with Christ and through Christ.


  1. Looking Back: Let’s move forward to the time when Peter looked back on all these occurrences and realized how patient our Lord had been with him. He also saw Christ’s merciful love to all people. Do I find daily nourishment in seeing how patient and merciful our Lord is? Do I often lose my cool and get anxious simply because I do not know how to deal with others’ faults or with people who clash with me? Is it tough for me when people do not see the obvious? Am I short tempered with others, not dealing well with their shortcomings and failures? Turn to Christ. Look at him, see his simple smile and recall how long he waited for you to look him in the eyes and change your ways.


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you always had your hand stretched out to me, but often I used my hands for my own endeavors. Take me by the hand now, and lead me where you want me to go.


Resolution: Today when I go to prayer, I will look back on the road traveled thus far and be grateful.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin - Selling Your Soul

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father´s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom."

Introductory Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me to seek the things that are above. Help me to seek the things that last forever, so that all the things that I do may give you glory and help my brothers and sisters to grow closer to you, who live and reign with Christ, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Petition: Father, give me the courage to take up my cross and follow in the footsteps of your Son.


  1. Friends of the Cross: There are many Christians that are willing to be friends with Jesus in good times. However, there are very few Christians that are true friends of Jesus, who embrace the cross at all times, even in the bad. Of course, it is never easy to be a friend of the cross, but who wants to be a fair-weather fan of Jesus and his Gospel? Our Christian lives are a constant battle. We should never forget that. We all are tempted to escape from the reality of our situation from time to time. Nevertheless, whoever perseveres until the end will be saved and have a fruitful life. We can’t expect to have a glorious eternity full of celebration and joy if we don’t shed some blood, sweat and tears here on earth for the sake of Christ and the good of our brothers and sisters.



  1. Money Can’t Buy You Love: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?” In other words, Jesus is saying that it doesn’t matter how much money you make, or what kind of car you drive, or what kind of clothes you wear, or what kind of degree you have. You might spend your whole life trying to earn millions of dollars and amass all sorts of luxuries and securities, but you will have done all this in vain. You will have missed out on the true meaning of life and the true treasure of love. Don’t make the mistake of constantly trying to make life easier and more comfortable for yourself. You will only end up being hopelessly miserable and extremely lonely.



  1. Paybacks Are Tough: “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father´s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.” It is clear that Jesus will not let us into heaven just because we say we believe in him. He also makes this clear in other teachings throughout the Gospels. Faith alone is not sufficient to be saved. Even Satan and his devils believe — and shudder (cf. James 2:19). Let us reflect on the words of Saint James for further insight: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).


Conversation with Christ: I pledge allegiance to the cross and to the holy, Catholic Church; and to the Kingdom for which it stands: One Body in Jesus Christ, everlasting life, with forgiveness and freedom from sin.

Resolution: I will perform some corporal work of mercy today. (“The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2447]).

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr - The Force of Love

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, today you give me the example of St Lawrence. He gave his life so that your name would be honored and loved by all people. I would like to have the courage to follow his example of courageous love and die to myself so that I will merit graces for the many souls in need. 

Petition: Lord, help me to forget myself and put your interests before mine.

1. Christ’s Love: Christ would never demand something of us that he has not already lived himself. There is no deity worshiped by men, other than Jesus Christ, who has sacrificed his life out of love for his believers. It is Christ’s sacrificial love which has the power to multiply love in our lives. Christ’s act of selfless love gives birth to other acts of the same kind. 

2. St Lawrence: St Lawrence was a deacon of the early Church in the middle of the third century. He died a martyr by being roasted slowly on a grill. When he had been grilled for some time he asked his murderers to turn him over so as to “grill the other side”! Lawrence’s faith and courageous love are fruits of Christ’s sacrifice. Although we may not be called to such heroism, Christ won the same grace for us to bear our crosses and live a life of selfless love and generosity. 

3. Fruit of Fidelity: When we reflect on the lives of the saints we are inspired by their faithful service to Christ and his Church. Their fidelity is a fruit of Christ’s fidelity. Our own acts of fidelity will give life and courage to others to do the same. Constant fidelity is above all the fruit of the grace of God, and our cooperation with it. Constant fidelity until death is the fruit of the fruits of this grace combined with our response. God is the one who creates in a soul the indispensable greatness needed for fidelity. Above all, he grants us the daily gift of his fortitude to persevere in it.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord, help me to be more generous in my daily commitments to you. Although you may not be calling me to be a martyr like St Lawrence, please allow me to offer small sacrifices each day for the Church and the salvation of souls. 

Resolution: I will offer a sacrifice of fidelity to my prayer or apostolic commitments today for the souls in purgatory.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary - Daring Doggedness

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, "Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us." He said in reply, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But the woman came and did him homage, saying, "Lord, help me." He said in reply, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you want me to have faith in you, faith that hearkens to your words without any second guessing. I hope in your words, not relying solely on my own strength or reasoning. I love you. You continue to astonish me by showing me that your ways are not my ways.

Petition: Lord, fill my heart with gratitude and trust even when those I love suffer.


  1. My daughter… “My daughter is tormented by a demon.” Sufferings of strangers stir our compassion. But when a son or daughter suffers, anguish can reach fever pitch. Imagine the agony of the mother in this Gospel passage. Imagine the near-physical pain she felt in the depths of her heart. However, her love nourished her hope and propelled her to seek out Christ. When those we love suffer, we need the same wisdom to seek the Lord.



  1. Unfathomed Dimensions: Only a mother or father knows the depths of his or her love for a child: “Words cannot express.…” We truly understand love when it involves people we know and love. Contemplate the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine the false accusations, scourging, humiliations and the crucifixion. Now imagine your own son or daughter, or mom or dad or loved one, suffering the same fate. Christ’s passion takes on a new dimension.



  1. Our Title to God’s Grace: "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." Faith and humility move Christ’s heart. How easily we adopt a spoiled-child mentality, believing that we deserve more. “The earth doesn’t owe you a living,” a sage once said. “It was here before you.” How much happier we are when we acknowledge our littleness and unworthiness, when we recognize our status as creatures of God who gives us life, breath and every beat of our heart. All we possess is a gift of his creative love. How happy we are when we are grateful and let him know this a thousand times a day.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, I will praise and thank you a thousand times and in a thousand ways for all you do for me. Even sufferings, I know, come from your hand for my greater good, although I may not always perceive the good at that moment. Give me the gratitude, faith and trust to accept my cross and rejoice in your creative love for me.

Resolution: I will thank the Lord repeatedly throughout the day.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest - Mission Impossible?

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. "It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, "Truly, you are the Son of God." After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you want me to have faith in you, faith that hearkens to your words without any second guessing. I hope in your words, not relying solely on my own strength or reasoning. I love you. You continue to astonish me by showing me that your ways are not my ways.

Petition: Lord, may my prayer lead me to step out from my comfort zone today.


  1. Loneliness and Prayer: Jesus dismissed the crowds and went up on the mountain by himself to pray. He was willing to leave the comfort of others’ company to be alone with God. Being in silence without others may lead briefly to a certain loneliness and interior emptiness. We may feel the impulse to seek out others – anything – to anesthetize us from the pain of being alone. If this is the case, we need to persevere in prayer. This suffering from silence can turn into joy and peace. But we must remain with God and learn to enjoy his presence in quiet prayer.



  1. Fear of Prayer: "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." At times our fear of silent prayer can be stronger than Peter’s fear of Jesus on the water. We are so used to the company of others, of keeping busy, of being needed, of “zoning out”, that we fear relinquishing these comforts even for a short time of prayer. We must be willing to give up these common comforts, at least temporarily, if we will learn to pray. We must empty ourselves to be filled by Christ, to trust and rely on his strength.



  1. A Firm Resolve: “After they got into the boat, the wind died down.” Once we “get into the boat,” that is, once we resolve to embrace silent, focused prayer, our fears die down like the wind. We have to make a firm decision to dive full force into our prayer, overcoming inertia of every stripe, if we wish to experience the freedom, peace and joy of true prayer. Ask the Lord for that grace and be generous as you begin.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know the sluggishness I experience as I set out to pray. You know how I am tempted to put it off and just do something else. Give me the faith and courage to launch into the deep – to begin to pray with all my heart.

Resolution: I will make a firm resolve to pray intensely today.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time - Feed Them Yourselves!


When Jesus heard of it, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said to them, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have here." Then he said, "Bring them here to me," and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over-- twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you want me to have faith in you, faith that hearkens to your words without any second guessing. I hope in your words, not relying solely on my own strength or reasoning. I love you. You continue to astonish me by showing me that your ways are not my ways.

Petition: Lord Jesus, increase my faith.


  1. When Our Efforts Bear Little Fruit: Our mission is to extend Christ’s Kingdom in society. Each one of us must do so according to his or her state in life. At times, however, it may seem that our efforts are not bringing about the desired results. We love Christ so much, and yet so many of our family, friends and acquaintances do not know or love him at all. We love our country and wish that all our fellow countrymen would discover for themselves the beauty of our Catholic faith. We know that in this faith lie all the answers to the fundamental questions and aspirations of the human heart. We work hard, we brainstorm initiatives, we join with others, we strive to do our best, and yet, it sometimes seems that others are not hearing Christ’s message. What is wrong? What more can we do?



  1. Feed Them Yourselves: Our Lord tells the apostles to feed the multitude. How could they possibly feed 5,000 men, not to mention women and children? They had only five loaves and two fish. Surely this was a parable, they thought. They were too focused on how little they could do; they did not see beyond their own weakness. What went through their heads when he told them to sit the people down in groups? What did they say in that moment? We don’t know. We do know, however, that they listened to Christ. They did what they were told. They did not go about complaining that it was pointless. And so, in their act of obedience they actually began to feed the people themselves.



  1. What Is Impossible for Man Is Possible for God: Our Lord multiplied the loaves of bread and the fish by his divine power. Interestingly, he fed the people through the Twelve. The apostles, despite their weakness, were the vessels who distributed the multiplied bread and fish to the people. Christ can do great things in us as well, if we let him. In the face of the challenges of the New Evangelization, if we bring our weakness and limitations to Christ and are ready to do as he asks, then we, too, shall bear great fruit.


Conversation with Christ: Once again, Lord, you show us your goodness and kindness. The apostles turned to yand poured out their hearts. And you answered their prayers, giving them fruits beyond all measure. Lord, I want to pray as they prayed. I want to do what you ask as they did, in faith and love.

Resolution: I will ask for the grace to serve as Christ’s vessel of evangelization, striving not to allow difficulties to cause me to lose heart.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord - Listen and Learn

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my beloved Son; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Get up and do not be afraid." And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, "Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

 Introductory Prayer: I come before you, Lord, a sinner in awe of your great love and mercy. I believe in you, and I put you at the center of my life. I humbly put all that I am before you and, like the apostles, recognize my littleness before your grandeur. With the help of the Blessed Mother’s intercession, I place this meditation in your hands, trusting that you will give me the graces that I need most.

 Petition: Lord, teach me how to listen to your voice. 

 1. Unexpected Graces: Peter, James and John are privileged to go with Jesus atop the mountain where he is transfigured before them. What a splendid sight it was: Jesus conversing with Moses and Elijah before their very eyes. They are beside themselves and are in awe at what unfolds. This is the way Christ is with each of us. When we least expect it, he gives us a wonderful dose of his grace to strengthen us in our walk with him. This privilege, however, isn’t simply for us to look at and admire; it is a call to respond to his invitation of love. Jesus was calling these three apostles to a deeper level of love and trust in him; he is doing so with us, too.

 2. Listen to Him: At this sight, the apostles are awestruck and don’t know what to say. Peter feels compelled to say something, although it seems he really didn’t know what he was saying. The question is: Why did he feel as if he had to say something? Often in the spiritual life, we can struggle with the temptation to say too much. In this Gospel passage we hear the portentous words of the Father: “This is my son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Christ is calling us to listen attentively to his words and not to feel compelled to have to say something. He is looking for a response in action more than in words.

 3. Get up. Be Not Afraid: When his Transfiguration is over, Jesus gets the three apostles up. This experience of Christ was beyond them. Yet Christ is educating them as to his true nature, his divine nature. They don’t have to be able to explain it or understand it fully; they need to act in faith. This is what we are called to do: act in faith. There is no time for us to be afraid of what the future will bring. We must get up out of our comfort zones and our attitudes, listen to Christ, and do as he says in faith. There is so much for us to do and so little time in which to do it. We need to make use of every instant to learn from the Lord himself through prayer and the sacraments and to make a real difference in the world by bringing more souls to know, love and live for Christ. 

 Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to me and for showing me how to listen to God and do his will faithfully. I know that I can frustrate you, putting my two cents in and talking when I should be listening to you. I need to continue to learn how to listen more attentively to you. Please help me to be open and docile to you and your loving messages for me.

 Resolution: In my prayer time today I will dedicate myself to listening to the Lord. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time - Heeding or Silencing the Conscience

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus and said to his servants, "This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him." Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, for John had said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they regarded him as a prophet. But at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for. Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe you are looking for me. You stand ready to come to me in this moment of prayer. You want to help me see your love and where I can grow to be more like you. Thank you for your patience and goodness with me. I want to give myself totally to you.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to hear your voice more clearly today.

 


  1. A Disturbing Voice: John the Baptist had been sent to prepare the way for Christ. He was a witness to the holiness of God. He tried to awaken the sense of sin and the need for repentance. He spoke clearly and was afraid of no one. Sometimes the voice of God in my conscience can be bothersome, like John’s voice was to Herod. Yet a clear reminder of what is right and wrong is an act of mercy from God. He is giving us a chance to awaken from our lethargy and realize that our immortal souls are at stake. I should thank God when my conscience reminds me of things I need to change in my life.


 

  1. What’s Wrong With a Little Entertainment? There is nothing wrong with having celebrations in our life and moments of joy and relaxation. A Christian’s life is rich in moments of happiness. But, as was the case in Herod’s birthday party, there exists the danger of looking for entertainment and relaxation in activities or pastimes which can simply manipulate our passions, weaken our morals, and deeply offend God. If we are unable to choose our entertainment wisely we can end up throwing away the richness of our spiritual inheritance for cheap thrills. Herod ends up as a murderer rather than a good king. His unchecked passions of sensuality and human respect make him use his power to destroy rather than protect. I must remember that even in the moments of relaxation I have the responsibility to protect and foster my Christian identity. I should look for healthy pastimes where I can share the joy of Christian living with my friends and family.



  1. The Proverbial Second Chance: When Herod hears of Jesus, his conscience pricks him. He knew he had killed a man of God. Somewhere in his heart he knew that God would have the last word. The presence of Christ is an additional grace that the Father offers Herod so that he may be converted. Unfortunately it is a grace that Herod will not take advantage of, just as he did not take advantage of the presence of John the Baptist. In my own life, how many times does the Father have to remind me of my call to holiness? Do I realize how much mercy the Lord has already shown me? What is it that I am still withholding from him? Today I will seek a deep conversion of heart in that area where I know I have still been withholding myself from God.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for enlightening my conscience with your Gospel. Help me to see where I have become deaf or insensitive to the call of your teachings. I want your grace to triumph in my life. Help me to be brave to change what offends you and to live a life of Christian authenticity.

Resolution: I will receive the sacrament of reconciliation today and also invite someone else to receive it.