Reading 1 Jas 5:13-20

Beloved:
Is anyone among you suffering?
He should pray.
Is anyone in good spirits?
He should sing a song of praise.
Is anyone among you sick?
He should summon the presbyters of the Church,
and they should pray over him
and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
The prayer of faith will save the sick person,
and the Lord will raise him up.
If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another
and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
Elijah was a man like us;
yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain,
and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land.
Then Elijah prayed again, and the sky gave rain
and the earth produced its fruit.

My brothers and sisters,
if anyone among you should stray from the truth
and someone bring him back,
he should know that whoever brings back a sinner
from the error of his way will save his soul from death
and will cover a multitude of sins.

Responsorial Psalm PS 141:1-2, 3 and 8

R. (2a) Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, to you I call; hasten to me;
hearken to my voice when I call upon you.
Let my prayer come like incense before you;
the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.
R. Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, set a watch before my mouth,
a guard at the door of my lips.
For toward you, O God, my LORD, my eyes are turned;
in you I take refuge; strip me not of life.
R. Let my prayer come like incense before you.

Alleluia See Mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 10:13-16

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Daily Meditation

 

Saint of the Day

 

On this day, many years ago, my sister and I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. I always remember the date because it was very special to celebrate it with her as my closest sibling, both in age and sentiment. The faith we had learned throughout our childhood was confirmed and sealed and we were sent forth. 

This time of year can feel anticlimactic for some of us. The Easter season is now over and the end of the school year brings so much busyness and added stress. We are called upon to attend family members’ sacraments, graduations and birthday parties, all the while trying to figure out what the heck we’re going to do over the summer. 

I will always remember a good friend of mine stating that Ordinary Time was his favorite time of the year. He pointed out that priests wear green at Mass, and that this color is a symbol of growth, just as the green buds appear on the leaves and grow within nature. 

But as I write this, I am not feeling compelled to be joyful in growth or nature or anything at all. A family member is struggling with mental illness, compounded by addition, compounded by homelessness. He seems to be caught in a cycle that he is powerless to get out of, despite doctors and medication and hours upon hours spent on our knees, and he has come to the conclusion that suicide is the only answer. There is only so much that we, his family members can do. Most of his situation is out of our hands. All of his situation is in God’s hands. 

All of us know people who are suffering or perhaps we are suffering ourselves. I invite you to reflect on the following excerpts from today’s readings. May they bring comfort to your soul.  

First Reading: “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing a song of praise. Is anyone among you sick?He should summon the presbyters of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up.”

Psalm: “O Lord, to you I call; hasten to me; hearken to my voice when I call upon you. Let my prayer come like incense before you.”

Gospel: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

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Saint of the Day

 

Saint Bede the Venerable was the first great English scholar. He was born in Northumbria (according to tradition, at Monkton, Durham, east of Newcastle) 672 or 673 and died at the monastery of Jarrow on May 25, 735. Almost all that is known of his life is contained in a notice added by himself to his great work Historia ecclesiastica (v, 24), which states that he was placed in the monastery at Wearmouth at the age of seven, that he became deacon in his nineteenth year, and priest in his thirtieth.

He was trained by the abbots Benedict Biscop and Ceolfrid, and probably accompanied the latter to Jarrow in 682. There he spent his life, finding his chief pleasure in being always occupied in learning, teaching, or writing, and zealous in the performance of monastic duties.

His works show that he had at his command all the learning of his time. He was proficient in patristic literature, and quotes from Puny the Younger, Vergil, Lucretius, Ovid, Horace, and other classical writers, but with some disapproval. He knew Greek and a little Hebrew. His Latin is clear and without affectation, and he is a skilful story-teller.

His works were so widely spread throughout Europe and so much esteemed that he won the name of “the teacher of the Middle Ages.”

Bede became known as Venerable Bede soon after his death, but this was not linked to consideration for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. His scholarship and importance to Catholicism were recognized in 1899 when he was declared a Doctor of the Church.

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Daily Reading

 

Daily Meditation

 

Reading 1 Jas 5:9-12

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of the perseverance of Job,
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,
because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear,
either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath,
but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,”
that you may not incur condemnation.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia See Jn 17:17b, 17a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 10:1-12

Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
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.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Daily Meditation

 

Saint of the Day

 

Several years ago, I participated in a staff enrichment program called “Living Your Strengths”. We all read through a book, learned more about ourselves and were reminded of some aspects that we already knew, but perhaps had forgotten. As we came together for discussion and took the final personality test, we learned more about our coworkers as well. 

The whole point of the exercise was to discover our God-given gifts and talents in order to put them to good use. Perhaps there was a certain ministry or service that we were really good at but were not involved in. Or, on the flip side, perhaps we were involved in something that we felt obligated to participate in because “no one else volunteered”, but were miserable because it was so far outside our comfort zone. 

Today is my older sister’s birthday. If there was ever a case of opposites, her and I would be it. She is shy, introverted and a homebody. I am outgoing, extroverted and look for every excuse to get out of the house. Yet, while we were growing up, we were the best of friends. I stretched her and she stretched me. We were constant companions.

But I’ll be honest, there were times when we found it hard to understand each other, despite our deep love and respect for each other. At times like those, today’s first reading becomes so applicable. “Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.” (James 5:9) It reminds me that she has different gifts and talents than I do, and that God is our only judge. 

This truth was brought to the forefront again during a recent personality exercise with my current employer. We all answered a series of questions and were divided into four different groups. It was then declared that “A, B, C, or D” was our personality type. I realized that this exercise could be both enlightening and dangerous. It is so easy to make flippant comments like “oh, you reacted that way because you’re a B” or “now I get why you do that, because you’re an A”. 

It’s so important to realize that we are all created in the image and likeness of God and that God is our only judge. We are all beautifully and wonderfully made and we are all made so differently. And if we are open to it, we can be deeply enriched by those differences. 

I would invite you to rejoice in your strengths, be enriched by each others’ differences and put them all to good use in service of our Lord and Savior. 

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Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Saint Joanna was the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward (Lk. 8:3) and a disciple of Jesus, and mentioned in Luke (8.3) as providing for Jesus and the Apostles. According to Eastern tradition, when Herod had John the Baptist beheaded, he cast the head out into an unclean place. Joanna took the head and buried it with honour on the Mount of Olives, on Herod’s land. Later, in the reign of Constantine the Great, the head was found.

St. Joanna is also remembered because she was present at both the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. St. Joanna is one of the women Luke says (24.10) discovered the empty tomb on the first Easter when she went to anoint the body. She is especially venerated by the Jesuits.

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Daily Reading

 

Daily Meditation

 

Reading 1 Jas 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 49:14-15ab, 15cd-16, 17-18, 19-20

R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
This is the way of those whose trust is folly,
the end of those contented with their lot:
Like sheep they are herded into the nether world;
death is their shepherd and the upright rule over them.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Quickly their form is consumed;
the nether world is their palace.
But God will redeem me
from the power of the nether world by receiving me.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
“They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Alleluia See 1 Thes 2:13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Daily Meditation

 

Saint of the Day

 

How would you live differently if you knew the full glory that awaits you in heaven? I think we really need to stop and sit with that question, more so perhaps than our ancestors in the faith. In a world where the here and now, the immediate satisfaction, the hard work required to just survive leaves us exhausted and burnt out, we have little spiritual energy to think about the beyond. 

What is heaven? Pope Francis described it this way: “Paradise is not a fairy tale, nor is it an enchanted garden. Paradise is an embrace with God, (who is) infinite Love, and we enter thanks to Jesus, who died on the cross for us” (Wednesday General Audience, October 25, 2017).

On another occasion Pope Francis reflected: “‘So what’s heaven?’ some ask. There we begin to be unsure in our response. We don’t know how best to explain heaven. Often we picture an abstract and distant heaven… And some think: ‘But won’t it be boring there for all eternity?’ No! That is not heaven. We are on the path towards an encounter: the final meeting with Jesus. Heaven is the encounter with Jesus. Heaven will be this encounter, this meeting with the Lord who went ahead to prepare a place for each of us” (April 27, 2018). 

In heaven we will have an unimaginable capacity for joy. When our heart is lit with the anticipation of God’s glory and the immense happiness the Lord will have in satisfying our deepest human longings with his life and love, it is easy to understand why Jesus says, “If something gets in the way of the this, throw it off and keep running to your ultimate destination. Say, ‘Good riddance,’ and surround yourself instead with people and things and activities and ways of being and living and loving that fulfill your dignity as a child of God and a citizen of the Kingdom.”

Pope Benedict leads us to pray, “Come, Holy Spirit! Enkindle in us the fire of your love! We know that this is a bold prayer, with which we ask to be touched by God’s flame; but above all we know that this flame and it alone has the power to save us. We do not want, in defending our life, to lose eternal life that God wants to give us. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit, because only Love redeems. Amen.” (Feast of Pentecost, May 23, 2010)

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Daily Reading

 

Saint of the Day

 

Saint Julia was born of noble parents in North Africa. When she was still quite young, her city was conquered by barbarians. Julia was captured and sold as a slave to a pagan merchant, but she did not complain or feel sorry for herself. She accepted everything, and performed the most humble tasks with wonderful cheerfulness. For Julia loved God with all her heart. In her spare time, she read holy books and prayed fervently.

One day her master decided to take her with him to France. On the way, he stopped at an island to go to a pagan festival. Julia refused to even go near the place where they were celebrating. She did not want to have anything to do with those superstitious ceremonies.

The governor of that region was very angry with her for not joining in the pagan feast. “Who is that woman who dares to insult our gods?” he cried. Julia’s owner answered that she was a Christian. He said, too, that although he had not been able to make her give up her religion, still she was such a good, faithful servant that he would not know what to do without her.

“I will give you four of my best women slaves for her,” offered the governor, but her master refused. “No,” he said, “All you own will not buy her. I would willingly lose the most valuable thing in the world rather than lose her.”

When the merchant was asleep, however, the wicked governor tried to make Julia sacrifice to the gods. He promised to have her set free if she would, but she absolutely refused. She said she was as free as she wanted to be as long as she could serve Jesus. Then the pagan ruler, in great anger, had her struck on the face and her hair torn from her head. She was next put on a cross to hang there until she died. Her feast day is May 23rd.

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Daily Reading

 

Daily Meditation

 

Reading 1 Jas 4:13-17

Beloved:
Come now, you who say,
“Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town,
spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”–
you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.
You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.
Instead you should say,
“If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”
But now you are boasting in your arrogance.
All such boasting is evil.
So for one who knows the right thing to do
and does not do it, it is a sin.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 49:2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11

R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Hear this, all you peoples;
hearken, all who dwell in the world,
Of lowly birth or high degree,
rich and poor alike.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
For he can see that wise men die,
and likewise the senseless and the stupid pass away,
leaving to others their wealth.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Alleluia Jn 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 9:38-40

John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Daily Meditation

 

Saint of the Day