Sts. Joachim and Anne

Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Exodus 16:1-5,9-15  +  Matthew 13:1-9
July 26, 2017

“And He spoke to them at length in parables….”

Jesus paints four illustrations in today’s parable.  The first three are pictures of the sower laboring in vain, because of “the path, rocky ground”, and “thorns”.  Only the fourth illustration describes seed falling “on rich soil”, producing “fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Continue reading

Divine Intimacy § 239: “Divine Providence”

Divine Intimacy § 239 is titled “Divine Providence”.
The following reflection is based upon Father Gabriel’s meditation:

When we reflect on Divine Providence as one of the divine perfections, we naturally think of Salvation History.  But we might wonder, what would Divine Providence have looked like throughout history, had Adam and Eve never committed the Original Sin, and had all their progeny also never sinned?  Surely God’s Providence still would have been at work, but certainly it would have manifested itself in a much different manner. Continue reading

St. James, Apostle

St. James, Apostle
2 Corinthians 4:7-15  +  Matthew 20:20-28
July 25, 2017

“…so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

Today we celebrate the feast of the apostle James.  But two of the apostles were named James.  The apostle whose feast we celebrate today is usually called “James the Greater”.  This James was the brother of St. John the Apostle. Continue reading

The 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time [A] *

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [A] *
Wis 12:13,16-19  +  Rom 8:26-27  +  Mt 13:24-43
July 23, 2017

“‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Weeds and wheat.  Jesus’ parable today is simple.  But like the grain of wheat itself, it can bear much fruit.  Jesus told us that He came into this world so that we might have life, and have it abundantly.  But accepting that gift of life is challenging at times for every follower of Jesus, especially for those called to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

By way of example, consider three different married couples, each facing a different situation.

First, John and Mary have just gotten married.  They are excited about settling down and starting their new life together.  They want to raise a family eventually, but are not in a financial position to begin right away.  They figure that they will be ready to have children in about two years. Continue reading

July 24, 2017

Monday of Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Exodus 14:5-18  +  Matthew 12:38-42
July 24, 2017

“‘…there is something greater than Solomon here.’”

If one were to choose a saying of Our Lord from elsewhere in the Gospel to summarize His point in today’s Gospel passage, the following would be a possibility:  “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required” [Luke 12:48].  A more mundane way to express Jesus’ disapproval of the request for a sign would be to say that the scribes and Pharisees don’t know what they’re asking for.  It’s dangerous to ask for a sign, because with the sign comes a responsibility. Continue reading

Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace

The Vigil of Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace
July 22, 2017

One of the unfortunate changes made to the Sacred Liturgy following the Second Vatican Council (note that I said “following” and not “by” the Second Vatican Council) is the elimination of commemorations at Holy Mass.  For example, July 16 is the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  This year, however, that date fell on a Sunday, and so at Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form, on her feast day she could not be commemorated liturgically (unless you were in a Carmelite parish, friary or convent, or a parish named after her). Continue reading

The 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time [A]

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [A]
Wis 12:13,16-19  +  Rom 8:26-27  +  Mt 13:24-43
July 23, 2017

“‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’”

Weeds and wheat.  Jesus’ first parable in today’s Gospel passage is simple.  But like the grain of wheat itself, it can bear much fruit.

Saint Augustine of Hippo, the greatest teacher of the Catholic Faith in the Church’s first millennium (at least, after the close of the apostolic age), wrote one of his three greatest works on this parable’s theme.  While On the City of God grows from the simple truths heard in today’s brief parable of seven verses, it is a massive work of 22 books.  In this work St. Augustine shows how complex and messy the world can be as weeds and wheat grow amidst each other.

St. Augustine’s masterpiece is in fact a contrast between “the city of God” and “the city of man”.  This contrast is analogous to the parable’s consideration of the wheat and the weeds.  But it’s not a simplistic contrast between Heaven and earth:  a contrast that condemns this world in which we live.  Nor is it a simplistic contrast between the Church and the state, with the Church being presented as flawless. Continue reading

Divine Intimacy § 235

Divine Intimacy § 235 is titled “Infinite Love”.
The following reflection is based upon Father Gabriel’s meditation:

The older one gets, the more one is tempted to look backwards at one’s past.  Although the adage claims that “hindsight is 20/20”, each sinner looks at his past in the same way that he looks at the present moment, and also at the possible futures that lay before him:  that is, with jaundiced, self-serving sight.  That sight may be 20/20, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not colored by self-interest. Continue reading

St. Mary Magdalen

St. Mary Magdalene
Songs 3:1-4  +  John 20:1-2,11-18
July 22, 2017

“…while it was still dark….”

Early in the morning on the first day of the week… that is to say, in the beginning… we see Mary Magdalene huddled at the tomb weeping.  We must give her credit for this, since the apostles themselves were not faithful to the Crucified Lord in this way.  For ourselves, we pray for the grace to persevere in the midst of suffering, to allow our souls to thirst for Our Lord and God without despair in the midst of that suffering.  We pray for the ability to hope during those times when we cannot see the Lord present before us. Continue reading