Saturday, September 23, 2017

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary “TimeWorking for God”

Jesus told his disciples this parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o´clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ´You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.´ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o´clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o´clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ´Why do you stand here idle all day?´ They answered, ´Because no one has hired us.´ He said to them, ´You too go into my vineyard.´ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ´Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.´ When those who had started about five o´clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ´These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day´s burden and the heat.´ He said to one of them in reply, ´My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?´ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."


Introductory Prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe in you because you have revealed your plan of love to the Church. I hope in you because you are more interested in my happiness and salvation than I am. I love you because you have loved me without my deserving your love.

Petition: Lord, help me to appreciate and be grateful for your grace.

There Is Always an Opportunity: One of the worst experiences is to accept that you have lost the last opportunity to do something you have always wanted to do. This can occur in any human situation: job opportunities, university acceptances, etc. In the spiritual life, on the other hand, there is always the opportunity to live only for God, the opportunity to be redeemed. There is always the possibility to start again. Why is this? It is because God has granted us our time on earth to walk towards him. Therefore, even if we fall, he continues to give us the strength to get up. That is why the sacrament of reconciliation is so important. When we lose grace, our spiritual strength, we can regain it in the sacraments, especially in confession.

Expecting More Than You Deserve: Considered from a merely human point of view, this Gospel’s situation is an unjust one. Whoever works more should receive more than those who work less. We tend to forget, however, that in terms of the spiritual, everything is a gift. There is nothing in our nature that can demand grace. The demands of our faith are not “favors” we do for God, but existential obligations. That is why Christ reminds us, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ´We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do´” (Luke 17:10).

The Generosity of God: God’s generosity is a manifestation of his love for us. He knows each and every person intimately and personally. He knows that the needs of some are bigger than those of others. To think that God loves some people more than others is an injustice to God. We owe love and respect to others because we are all human persons with the same dignity. We owe adoration and love to God because he is our creator and provident Father. But God owes nothing to his creatures. Everything he gives us is gratuitous and a fruit of his infinite love. It’s too easy to treat God in a human way, forgetting that he is God. The most beautiful gift he gives us is his grace.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, I sometimes see things from a very human and selfish point of view. Sometimes I find myself getting angry because others may have more than I do. Help me understand that the most important thing to be truly happy in my life is to be aware of the need I have of your grace.

Resolution: I will thank Christ for his grace and love and will try to imitate him by being generous to others.



Friday, September 22, 2017

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest “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.

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.

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.

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 21, 2017

Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time “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.

“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.

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.

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.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs - Perpetually Dissatisfied

"Then to what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, ´We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.´ For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ´He is possessed by a demon.´ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ´Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.´ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children."

Introductory Prayer: Eternal God, prayer is your gift to me. I believe that you give me complete and unlimited access to your power and mercy. I want to value this gift of prayer above all things. As I begin this meditation, I renew my faith, my hope and my love for you.

Petition: Lord, give me discernment and constancy in my efforts to follow you.


  1. Endless Excuses: Some very good and religious people in Jesus’ day complained about John the Baptist, precursor of the Messiah, because of his austere lifestyle. “He must be crazy,” they said. They also complained about Jesus’ apparently excessive liberality with sinners and nonbelievers. The habit of constantly sifting reality through our own preconceptions can lead us to reject the things of God. This is the opposite of faith. It is even the opposite of the healthy exercise of reason and has become a limiting rationalism. Rather than seeking to place God neatly in our own self-created and prearranged world, we need to let ourselves be shaped by God’s criteria.



  1. Fickleness: Spiritual fickleness inevitable leads us to reject God. The inability to follow through on a particular spiritual path necessarily leaves us midcourse, far from the goal. It does not matter whether we follow the austerity of the disciple John or the apparently liberality of the disciples of Jesus. What matters is that we follow through to completion whatever particular path God has given us. As long as we move, God can guide our steps. If we don’t move, there is nothing to guide. Waiting around for some mythical “perfect conditions” is in reality capriciousness and unwillingness to commit.



  1. Wisdom: Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit by which we are able to see and comprehend the divine and human realities from God’s perspective. Wisdom leads to equilibrium and balance in our judgments and assessments. We prepare for this gift by our effort to make good decisions and live by them. The supernatural gifts build upon the human virtues.


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I am indebted to you for your teaching and for your example. Help me to learn from your life and your example, and keep me from ever dismissing them as irrelevant. Help me to be constant in my resolutions so that I will continue to grow closer to you and serve you better.

Resolution: I will avoid making excuses today.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time - From Death to Life

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep." He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, "A great prophet has arisen in our midst," and "God has visited his people." This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, what a joy and what a gift to have this time to be with you alone! I want to know you more deeply. I want to hope in you more firmly. I want to love you with greater constancy in my daily life. Only you can give me these gifts. Only you can make me a bold and joyful apostle of your Kingdom.

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to appreciate and remain in the state of grace.

1. Compassionate and Merciful: Surrounded by many enthusiastic followers, Jesus encounters a funeral procession as he approaches the city gate. He stops walking, he stops his conversation, and he shifts his full attention to the grieving mother who has lost her only son. Luke explains that Jesus was “moved with pity.” Jesus, in his human nature, felt much compassion for this grieving woman. He “feels her pain.” How much more does Jesus in his divine nature comprehend the pain—physical, emotional or spiritual—that each of us encounters in our daily lives. As in the case of this widow, he meets each of us with compassion and will work a miracle if we let him. Sometimes the miracle is that he relieves our pain, as he does for the widow in this Gospel passage. But sometimes the miracle is that he forgives our sins or strengthens us to bear our pain for his sake, and for the sake of bringing more souls to eternal happiness in his kingdom.

2. The Church’s Joy: The Church, often called “Mother Church,” rejoices when her sinful children return to a life of grace through the sacrament of confession. Saints Ambrose and Augustine saw this Gospel story as reflecting this truth. St. Ambrose tells us that the Church is a mother who intercedes for each one of her children like the widow for her only son (Commentary on Saint Luke’s Gospel, V, 92). Saint Augustine points out: “The widowed mother rejoiced at the raising of that young man… Our Mother the Church rejoices every day when people are raised again in spirit. The young man had been dead physically; the latter, dead spiritually. The young man’s death was mourned visibly; the death of the latter was invisible and unmourned. He seeks them out who knew them to be dead; only he can bring them back to life” (Sermons, 98, 2).

3. Raised from Spiritual Death: Christ, in his endless mercy, wants eternal life for each one of us. The treasury of his compassion is inexhaustible, as Saint Faustina tells us. In his mercy, Jesus gave his earthly, ministerial priests the power to forgive sins (John 20:22-23). When our venial sins are confessed and forgiven, we receive more grace (a greater share in the divine life of the Trinity) and draw closer to Christ, receiving strength to avoid mortal sin. When our mortal sins are confessed and forgiven, we not only receive grace and draw closer to Christ, but we are raised from the worst kind of fate, namely, spiritual death, the eternal death of our soul. Praise God! No wonder Mother Church rejoices.

Conversation with Christ:  Lord Jesus, through confession, I can be sure that I am forgiven, and you restore peace to my soul. Do not allow my pride and my shame ever to keep me from taking advantage of this beautiful sacrament, the sacrament of freedom. 

Resolution:  I will spend at least five minutes examining my conscience today and begin preparing my next confession, which I will go to this week.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time - Lord, Say the Word…

When Jesus had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, "He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us." And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ´Go,´ and he goes; and to another, ´Come here,´ and he comes; and to my slave, ´Do this,´ and he does it." When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

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: Lord Jesus, grant me the gift of a deeper faith.

1. The Centurion  Frequently the people to whom God has given the most recognize him the least. For that reason, he extends the gift of faith to other men and women, especially the simple and humble of heart. The centurion exemplifies this dynamic of God´s grace in our lives. We should strive to be like him: simple, humble, and confident in the powerful action of Jesus in our daily lives.

2. Lord, I Am Not Worthy to Receive You  These words manifest the centurion’s humility. They should also manifest our humility and faith in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, since they are the words we pray at every Mass just before receiving our Lord in Holy Communion. When we receive the Blessed Sacrament, we truly receive Christ — body, blood, soul and divinity. Our faith is the key to opening up our hearts to Christ’s healing grace.

3. Not Even in Israel Have I Found Such Faith  Don’t we want Jesus to say these words to us? Isn’t it much better than hearing those other words of Christ: “When the Son of Man returns will there be any faith on earth?” (see Luke 18:8). Christ calls us to be a fresh well of faith, hope and love so that even if he does not find it anywhere else, he can always be consoled by our undying faith. 

Conversation with Christ:  Lord Jesus, I want to repeat these words of the centurion. I do believe in you and in your Real Presence in the Eucharist. In my times of doubt or weakness of faith, I will call out to you, “Only say the word and I shall be healed.” 

Resolution:  I resolve to pray these words with all my heart today at Mass, in a visit to the Eucharist or in a spiritual communion.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Forgiveness from the Heart

P
eter 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."


Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, as I prepare for the coming of Easter during this Lenten season, I turn to you in prayer. You have been merciful to me. Many times you have pardoned the great debt I owe. I trust in your merciful love and wish to transmit your love to many others faithfully. Here I am, Lord, ready to learn from your tender heart.


Petition: Lord, enlighten me to your gift of mercy.


1. An Unpayable Debt: Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother. Jesus gives a short answer, telling a parable to make sure his answer is understood. In the parable God is the king, and we are all the servants who owe the king a huge amount. We are all in debt to God. He created us and keeps us in existence and gives us every good thing we have, every talent and virtue. We owe God everything. He owes us nothing. Do my daily thoughts and actions reflect this truth?


2. The Forgiving King: The servant, not being able to pay, falls to his knees and begs for more time so that he can pay back the debt. The king offers him more than just time – he pardons the entire debt. God is generous. When we turn to him and ask for forgiveness, he offers us much more than we could hope for – he pardons our entire debt. Then why, we might ask, does the king settle accounts with his servant if he is so generous? Why not pardon the debt from the beginning instead of ordering him along with his wife and children to be sold? He calls the servant to account so that the servant will realize how much he owes and in realizing this, he might imitate God when dealing with his fellow-worker. God does not want us to be punished for our sins. He desires to forgive us the great debt we owe him, but he calls us to account for our sins in the hope that we will recognize how much we have both received from him and owe to him and thus will ask for forgiveness.


3. Unequal Treatment and Abuse of Freedom: After being pardoned, the servant does not treat his debtor in the same merciful manner. He sends him to prison. He had every right to do so. In justice, his fellow servant owed him money; but in doing so he abuses the liberty that he has just been given. He does not stop to reflect that in this moment he himself should rightly be in slavery, sold along with his wife and children in order to pay his debt. He does not reflect that he is able to confront his fellow servant only because the king has had pity on him in the first place, giving him liberty. The offenses we suffer from our fellow men are real offenses, but before we demand justice we must stop and reflect that it is only because God has forgiven us our sins that we have the liberty to demand reparation from our fellow men. That reflection must lead us to have the same mercy with our fellow men that God has had with us.


Conversation with Christ: Lord thank you for this time of prayer. I must recognize that you have been merciful with me and forgiven me the great debt I owe. Thank you for the many times you have given me a second chance. During this time of Lent, help me to practice mercy toward those who owe or offend me.


Resolution: I will think of someone who has offended me and say a prayer asking God to help me forgive them.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs - Solid Foundations

Jesus said to his disciples: "A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. "Why do you call me, ´Lord, Lord,´ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus I believe that the commands you give derive from your love for me and your desire for my happiness. Help me to trust you even when I don’t understand everything. I believe that there is no one who loves me as you do, and no one is more worthy of my love than you. Assist me in this prayer to know you better and to love you more.

Petition: Lord, grant me the graces to be authentic in my self–giving. Help me to live the Gospel as the guide for my life and always follow you as my ideal.

1. Known bBy Its Fruits. Today´s Gospel passage follows on yesterday’s where we find a very significant question urging us not to be presumptuous and hypocritical: "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother´s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?" (Luke 6:41). How easy it is to notice other people´s defects and sins, but not see our own! How can we tell if our eye is clear or if a wooden beam impedes it? The test is in our actions. As Jesus tells us: "Every good tree is known by its own fruit." The fruit represents our actions and words.  From these we know the quality of the tree. In fact, good people bring forth good things from their heart and bad people bring forth evil. Jesus here echoes the ancient saying of Sirach: "The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does a man´s speech disclose the bent of his mind" (Sirach 27:6).

2. Christ-centered. “Building your individual and community edifice on rock means endeavoring to grow always in the sublime knowledge of Christ. It means looking to him to shape your lives according to his message, and so, firmly rooted in faith and charity, to be equipped for looking after Christ´s interests at every moment. In this way you will be able to acquire that interior strength which defies rain, floods, and wind. You will build the kingdom of God in today’s society, especially among the youth …, so in need of lived certainties –– certainties derived from an unshakeable faith and trust in Christ. Christ, dead and risen again, who is the principle of new life for us, is always at our side as a guarantee of victory amidst adversity” (Homily of Pope John Paul II, June 28, 1979).

3. Digging Deep. It is costly to dig deep. Just the quantity of earth to be moved can be daunting. Add to this the cost of removing the rocks and roots likely to be found, and it begins to be more appealing to build a house directly on the surface. Yet to build a structure that will last, we need to sink good foundations. This is a principle also applicable to our spiritual life. If we hope to have a life of virtue that will stand the storms and the test of time, we need to be willing to work patiently and with a plan, going deep. 

Dialogue with Christ: You are my rock, Lord Jesus. In you I always find security amid the storms of life. You are my shelter from all the attacks of the enemy. Keep me well-rooted in prayer and the sacraments so that I may bear good fruit for your kingdom. Never let me be satisfied with less than the plan you have for me. Don’t let me be taken in by the flashy but shallow temptations the world has to offer. Help me to stay always faithful to you.

Resolution: I will read today from a good book about Christ and strive to know him better.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows - Taking Mary into My Home

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother´s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

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. Thank you as well for giving us your Mother at the foot of the cross.

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in my filial love for Mary, your Mother and mine. 


  1. Standing: Today is a Marian feast: “Our Lady of Sorrows”. Mary, like me, had no particular love of pain and sorrow. The first announcement of her vocation by the Archangel Gabriel mentioned nothing about it, being filled only with messianic promises. However, soon after Jesus’ birth, Simeon completed the dimensions that were to enlighten her vocation: “…and a sword will pierce your heart that the thoughts of many might be revealed”. Recognizing the fulfillment of her calling in the accompanying of her Son during his crucifixion, she does so with a desire to fulfill God’s mysterious plan, not reluctantly, but standing closely to Jesus with all the sorrow that this implied for her.



  1. Last Will and Testament: The words Jesus speaks to his mother and his beloved disciple are equivalent to his last will and testament. He bequeaths what is most precious to him to a beloved person. To Mary, he gives the friend that he loves so much, who will also need her help in the difficulties he will face. To John, he gives his greatest human comfort, his mother who is his best disciple. He knows that she needs him, an adopted son, to comfort and accompany her.



  1. Mary Makes My Home Sweet: John took his responsibility for Mary seriously, taking her into his own home. Home for John was nothing less than the Church that Jesus founded. Mary was to have the pride of place there, as Jesus’ mother, and as she who knew, loved and served him best. She also took her role seriously, so seriously that she immediately perceived that all those she encountered were her adoptive sons and daughters. In this house that is the Church, Mary is the sweetness of the traditional saying, “Home, sweet home”.


Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I can’t thank you enough for entrusting your mother to me and me to her. I want to take care of her by being an attentive, faithful son who imitates you. That’s what will console her and make her heart rejoice. Mary, be always at my side and intercede for me before God, in order that I persevere in following your Son.



Resolution: I will make my devotion to Mary very personal, whether it be in spontaneous conversation with her or contemplating the mysteries of Christ’s life while praying the Rosary.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Feast of the Triumph of the Cross - To Be Lifted Up

No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.


Introductory Prayer: Lord, my weak nature still rebels at the thought of humiliation, sacrifice and hardships of many types. I still seek self-centered triumphs not rooted in love. I am energetic only for easy victories, loosing all resolve when the cost is high. Only by meditating on your most holy cross can I bolster my fighting spirit to accept totally all that I find hard and painful in my mission. Your cross will teach me that only through embracing the cross will my life’s most precious victories be granted. 


Petition: Grant me Lord, the grace to be captivated by the power and mercy that flows from your blessed cross. 


1. In order to be lifted up, I must be brought low “To be crucified, humanly speaking, is to be disgraced and humiliated. But from God’s point of view it means being lifted up, indeed, to be lifted up by means of the cross. Christ is the Lord and he becomes Lord of everything and everyone in this elevation by means of the cross. It is in this way that we look upon the cross, with the eyes of faith, instructed by the word of God, guided by the power of God. Here then is the mystery of the triumph of the cross.” (Pope John Paul II, Homily, Sept. 14, 1987, Phoenix, Arizona USA). Contemplate the mystery of God’s wisdom at work in the Son, and see how he longs to repeat it in me. I must accept with an open heart being “brought low” in every hard moment, knowing that only in trials can love be brought to perfection, only in suffering can God’s power be made more transparent to the world. 


2. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent The Israelites had to look up to the seraph mounted on a pole to be healed from the effects of their sins. (cfr Number 21, 4-9) This looking up was the act of faith Yahweh required to tie them to an event in the future that was foretold in the cross-like symbol. We must “look up” to be raised up by the cross. “Who could believe what we have heard and to whom has the power of Yahweh been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:23). No human logic – no matter how sophisticated – will reveal to me the mystery and the depth of the victory that flows from the cross of Christ. Only faith will unleash its power in my soul. Only by approaching the person of Christ with a total embrace of this salvific act, looking up to this Lord wounded out of love for me, can I be healed of all my resentments, vain calculations, doubts and bitter complaints before all that costs me in life. 


3. God so loved the world The world is in a frenzy for having created a culture of counterfeit love. Only by preaching Christ crucified, only by living from the sign of what God has done for each one personally, in all of its unforgettable and brutal objectivity, can we redeem the meaning of the human heart and leave no room for misunderstanding. Do we know, really know what God has done? Love for God and in God is neither an emotion nor a sentiment, neither a convenience nor power play. His love is built on the total and unconditional gift of himself through his Son. We are redeemed in many ways through the cross, but perhaps the most compelling part of this act, is the response in kind God provokes in every believer who experiences what God in a scourged and tortured human body is doing for him: caritas Christi urget nos—the love of Christ compels us.  


Dialogue with Christ: Lord, I am compelled before the long and painful hours you spent on the cross for me to accept more joyfully my struggles in life. I will work to stop all envy and self-pity and now return gratitude to you for my hardships. You so loved the world that you sent your only Son, and you have so loved me that you sent me my crosses so that I could experience your Son’s victory more completely every day. I cast away all fear and mistrust and live with the confidence and hope that flows from the triumphant cross. 


Resolution: I will embrace some difficulty today out of love for Christ crucified.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church - Leap for Joy for Heaven


Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way."

Introductory Prayer: God the Father, thank you for the gift of creation, including my own life. God the Son, thank you for redeeming me at the price of your own Body and Blood. God the Holy Spirit, thank you for being the sweet guest of my soul, enlightening my mind, strengthening my spirit and kindling the fire of your love in my heart.

Petition: Father, help me to seek the things that are above.


  1. Because You Say It, Lord… In this passage, I can picture Jesus raising his eyes to look into the faces of his followers. Today, he looks into my eyes and engages my attention with his loving gaze. I accept what he tells me because it is he who speaks. I believe that he has the words of eternal life. Naturally, poverty, hunger, sorrow and being excluded do not appeal to me, but they are the values of my beloved Lord, and that is enough for me.



  1. Seek First the Kingdom: Jesus encourages me to strive for the values of his Kingdom, to be forgetful of myself and my well-being. He will take care of me and give me recompense. Heaven awaits me – laughter and joy, a fullness that is unfathomable. It is arduous not to seek “heaven on earth” in riches and pleasure and in fitting in with the crowd. It takes a vision of faith and a spirit of perseverance.



  1. Warning Signs: St. Luke transmits to us not only the Beatitudes, but also their opposites. These are like warning signs. If my path is aligned with these opposites, I had better be attentive – where does that road lead me in the long run? Where my heart is, there also is my treasure. Is heavenly, eternal happiness my heart’s desire or are earthly, temporal delights?


Conversation with Christ: Lord, give me the joy of experiencing some of the heavenly joy of being united to you here on earth. Help me to find my fulfillment in loving you, in giving my life to you.

Resolution: I will examine what motivates me in my daily duty, striving to purify my intention. I will act out of love of God and not out of self-love.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time - Prayer and Action


Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.

Introductory Prayer:  God the Father, thank you for the gift of creation, including my own life. God the Son, thank you for redeeming me at the price of your own Body and Blood. God the Holy Spirit, thank you for being the sweet guest of my soul, enlightening my mind, strengthening my spirit and kindling the fire of your love in my heart. 

Petition: Call me to you, Lord Jesus, and remind me of my personal mission.

1. A Place and a Time for Prayer  Frequently the Gospel tells me that Jesus prayed to his Father. What was his prayer like? First, he sought out a place that is appropriate for praying. Secondly, he dedicated a significant amount of time to prayer. I can see him climbing a mountain in order to spend an entire night in prayer. I can certainly learn from my Lord’s example. Imitating him, my prayer life can be enriched.

2. A Special Calling  Perhaps Jesus’ prayer is a bit longer than usual on this occasion. When there is an important decision to be made, he consults his Father to know his will. He does not improvise when calling twelve of his followers to be his apostles, his “sent ones,” his representatives. When Jesus calls me to do a special mission for his Kingdom, he also ensures that it accords with the eternal plan of the Father.

3. A Channel for God’s Grace  Having spent the night in prayer, Jesus has prepared himself to give generously of himself the following day. United to his Father, the source of all good, his actions channel this goodness towards those who are enslaved to evil spirits or in need of divine healing. Of course, Jesus is God, and he has that power in himself by his own right. However, he wants to give me an example of how to be a branch united to the vine, in order to produce fruit that will last.

Conversation with Christ:  Lord, I do not know how to pray as I ought. Teach me how to pray: to prepare a place and to set aside some time exclusively for prayer. So often I act without praying, relying only on my own ingenuity and intelligence. Make me see that I need your wisdom. Help me to ensure, through prayer, that my actions are conformed to your will.

Resolution:  I will strive to offer at least one spontaneous prayer to God today, amid the activities of my daily life. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time - Do Good, Always and Everywhere



On a certain Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the Sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, "Come up and stand before us." And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?" Looking around at them all, he then said to him, "Stretch out your hand." He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

Introductory Prayer: God the Father, thank you for the gift of creation, including my own life. God the Son, thank you for redeeming me at the price of your own Body and Blood. God the Holy Spirit, thank you for being the sweet guest of my soul, enlightening my mind, strengthening my spirit, and kindling the fire of your love in my heart.

Petition: Lord, make me a magnanimous, great-hearted person, one who always desires the good of others.

 


  1. Teaching and Doing: When Jesus speaks, he convinces those of good will who are present. The people commented that Jesus spoke convincingly, not like the Pharisees. That’s because Jesus preached only what he was willing to put into practice himself. He practices what he preaches. This is my Teacher and Master, who speaks of compassion and shows it. This is he who lowers himself to washing his followers’ feet at the Last Supper because he wants me to do the same.



  1. Doing Good, Regardless of What Others Think: Jesus is omniscient, knowing even what others are thinking. He often chides the Pharisees, because he sees their nitpicking and pettiness. They are guides of the people, yet they stand aloof from their needs and constrain the people to follow many rules that they themselves do not fulfill. Jesus sees a person in need whom he can help. Although he sees around him many critics scrutinizing his words and actions, nothing will keep him from doing this good deed. When I feel the weight of others’ eyes upon me, can I still practice charity regardless of what they think?



  1. Saving Life: There is a culture of death and a culture of life in this Gospel. The judgments of the Pharisees make them critical of Jesus to the point that they become enraged. Eventually, they will plot to kill Jesus. They couldn’t care less about the plight of the man Jesus heals. Jesus speaks the words of life in the synagogue. He enriches life through healing. I must learn from Jesus how to be a beacon of light and life amid the divisive culture of egoism and death that surrounds me.




Conversation with Christ: Lord, you can read my heart, as you read the hearts of the Pharisees. I also have a tendency to be critical and not always constructive. Make my heart be more like yours, desiring good, and being generous despite the criticisms that might come my way.

Resolution: I will strive to perceive the needs of another person today, someone in particular. Then, I will seek to do what I can to help that person, if possible in a way that does not draw attention to myself.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Twenty-third Sunday 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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest - The Heart of the Matter

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?" Jesus said to them in reply, "Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions." Then he said to them, "The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I worship you because I came from you. I long for you because you made me for yourself. I praise you as my ever-present helper. I call on you as my powerful protector. ( Universal Prayer of Pope Clement XI )

Petition: Lord, purify my heart.


  1. The Pharisees’ Heart: Sometimes a short phrase reveals so much about what is happening inside a person’s mind and heart. One can get a glimpse into Hitler’s corrupt heart with his famous phrase: “I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.” His actions were of the cruelest. Thirty years ago, when Saint John Paul II was elected pope, the simple phrase, “Be not afraid”, indicated the attitude he would have for the following 26 fearless years of his papacy. In this passage the Pharisees say so much about the state of their own hearts by saying so little: “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” The Pharisees are all caught up in the externals of the law and miss the big picture that Christ came to bring: complete love for God and heroic love of neighbor. As Christians we are not called to have a heart that calculates the cost, but rather one filled with unconditional love.



  1. A King’s Heart: Another character in this passage is King David, whom Christ hails for having chosen to feed his starving army over scrupulously following some norms of the law regarding eating. From the story of David and Goliath, we learn that David had a brave heart from his youth and that he trusted in God over his own limitations. Young David’s heart was honest and humble: King Saul was trying to kill him, yet when David had the chance to kill Saul in a cave, he relented and later made amends with Saul. David’s heart was weak when he fell in love with Uriah’s wife and then had Uriah killed. Nevertheless David’s heart did not grow cold from this sin; rather, he repented deeply: “Have mercy on me, God in your goodness blot out my offenses, wash away all my guilt, from my sin cleanse me” (Psalm 51). With time and patience David formed a remarkable heart that loved God and neighbor.



  1. The Sacred Heart: What love the Heart of Christ shows his apostles in this passage. Imagine the scene: Christ walking through a ripe field of grain with his closest friends, laughing, joking, talking about the town they just visited, speaking of their dreams, and also snacking on the ripe harvest. Christ’s heart was so immersed with love for these men who would be the pillars of the Church and who would bring his message to the whole world. How far his thoughts were from the littleness and pettiness of the empty details of the worn out laws! His law is the new law of love: “Behold the heart that has so loved men.” Christ looks at us the same way he looked at his apostles in the field – as friends who are called to be the pillars of the new evangelization, as apostles who are to bring his words to the end of the earth. He needs us to say “yes” to this call!


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the unconditional love of your heart. I want to repay your love for me by loving you back with the same intensity. I know I always fall short of this, but you know my heart, and you know I want to be close to you until the day I meet you face-to-face in eternity.

Resolution: With a repentant heart, I will go to confession today.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Birth of Mary

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

Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, on this day when we celebrate the birth of your mother, help me to reflect on her beauty as a creature of God preserved from all stain of sin, a model for my Christian life. You know my misery in comparison to the glorious beauty of your mother. Help me through this prayer and through my daily struggle to do your will to identify myself more and more with her. It was your grace that made Mary who she is, and it is your grace that will transform my soul to become a pleasing offering to you. In these few minutes of prayer I want to open my heart to that grace. 

Petition:Lord, help me to identify myself with your Mother.

1. Mary is One of Us. The Gospels say very little about Mary. There is no account of her own birth to Joachim and Ann. However we do know that she was born into this world in the same way we were. Mary is a human being like us in all things but sin. She had to grow up. She had to learn to read and write. She had to learn how to pray. She had to live her life in the lights and shadows of faith. We can identify with her because she is one of us brought into existence in this world with all of its joys and sorrows, triumphs and tribulations. 

2. What is Different? The one way we differ from Mary is that she was saved at her conception from original sin in anticipation of becoming the mother of Jesus. Another way of saying the same thing is that she lived her entire life under the impulse of grace, never refusing God’s grace and never acting out of selfish motives. Mary had a pure heart that was always in tune with the movements of the Holy Spirit. Even before the Annunciation she must have had an incredible prayer life. Her life was a continuous conversation with God. Her every act, word and desire was meshed with God’s grace that flowed freely in her soul.

3. We Too Can Live Like Mary. Every time we act under the impulse of grace we are imitating Mary. The more our thoughts, words and actions take their cue from the Holy Spirit the more they resemble the thoughts, words and actions of the Blessed Virgin. In this way we become very much identified with her. We, like her, are born into this world, a part of humanity; we, like her, live the life of grace in such a way that it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives within us. What a wonderful reality! We can live our lives as Mary lived hers. We can identify ourselves so closely with her. 

Dialogue with Christ: Dear Lord, I am your creature, brought into existence by your loving hand. Everything I am and have I owe to you. Help me to live my life under the impulse of grace so that my every thought, word and act will have the fruitfulness of your grace. Thank you for giving me your Mother as a model for my life, someone who is so close to me, a human being who had to deal with the difficulties and trials of this life as I do, yet someone who can show me how to live my life always close to you.

Resolution: Today, I will look for an opportunity to respond to the grace of God in imitation of Mary.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time - Teaching the Thickheaded


While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for revealing your tender, merciful, Sacred Heart to us. Your Heart gives me the confidence to turn back to you as many times as I fall. I know that I hurt you the most when I neglect to trust in your infinite love for me. And so now in this meditation, good and kind Jesus, I intend to rest in your love.

Petition: Lord, give me faith so I can be a docile instrument in your great work of saving souls.


  1. Jesus Sees Our Hearts: In today’s Gospel we see Our Lord presented as a wonderful teacher of souls. First, Christ is a teacher to the multitude whose hearts were opened to his teaching by his marvelous miracles. He is also more subtly presented as a teacher to Saint Peter, whom he would later choose to lead his Church. His first lesson to Peter, besides the one Peter hears Jesus preach from his boat, is the very personal message of his worth in Christ’s eyes. Jesus provides a miracle just for Peter—not to heal him of some infirmity, but to demonstrate Christ’s overflowing love for him. He speaks loudly through his action of the miraculous catch. Whether through want or abundance, health or infirmity, am I able to discern Our Lord’s lessons for me in my life? Am I open to his lessons of love?



  1. From the Depths of Our Faith: Our Lord implemented a deeper lesson plan with Peter in order to prepare him for his great mission of being the first pope. Peter would need to move to a more supernatural level if Christ were to entrust him with the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Testing his generosity, Christ commandeered Peter’s boat in order to teach the crowds gathered at the shore. Then Jesus led Peter to make an act of faith: he asked him to set out into the deep and drop his nets at a time when it didn’t appear opportune to fish. If Peter were to answer the supernatural call to be a fisher of men, he would have to depend on Our Lord’s working of miracles. Only by the grace of Christ is God able to redeem what humanly seems unsalvageable.



  1. A Lesson of Mercy: Mercy is God’s divine method of teaching: by showing mercy to sinners, Christ teaches us important lessons. Peter’s intentions are discovered and revealed in his confession at the shore. Peter confesses his lack of faith despite his “obedience” to Our Lord’s command to cast out into the deep. Our Lord taught Peter a great lesson when he blessed Peter’s feeble and meager faith with a contrastingly abundant catch of fish. Does my faith in God show in my actions? Am I willing to respond generously in the work of the New Evangelization?


Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me with the grace of your mercy to accept  what seems unfeasible in human terms. Help me to accept your call for me to work in establishing a civilization of love in today’s world. Help me Lord, to be always faithful to your friendship, sincere in my faith, and diligent in service to you and my neighbors in need.

Resolution: Today I will pray and make a sacrifice to Our Lord so that he sends generous and holy vocations to the Church, especially where she needs them the most.