The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Vigil Readings:
Jeremiah 1:4-10  +  1 Peter 1:8-12  +  Luke 1:5-17
Readings of the Day:
Isaiah 49:1-6  +  Acts 13:22-26  +  Luke 1:57-66,80
June 24, 2019

   For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.   

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is so important a feast that there are two full sets of Scripture readings for Holy Mass.  One set is proclaimed at Vigil Masses on the evening before the feast day, unless June 24th is a Monday as it is this year, in which case the Vigil is impeded by the celebration of Sunday Mass.  The second set of Scripture readings is proclaimed on the feast day itself.  Yet regardless of whether you attend Mass on the evening before or the day of June 24th, the Gospel passage that you hear will be taken from the first chapter of St. Luke’s account of the Gospel. Continue reading

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Gen 14:18-20  +  1 Cor 11:23-26  +  Sequence  +  Lk 9:11-17 
June 23, 2019

   When the sacrament is broken, / Doubt not, but believe ’tis spoken, /  That each sever’d outward token /  doth the very whole contain.   

If you were to survey a hundred Catholics and ask them why the Church says they have to go to Mass on Sundays, the most common answer might be either, “Because I’ll go to hell if I miss Mass” or “Because going to Mass is how we get to Heaven”.  While there’s truth in both of those statements, they need to be placed in a broader context.  Saint Paul puts us on the right track at the end of today’s Second Reading.  He explains to the Corinthians what it is that they’re doing when the Eucharist is celebrated:  “you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.”

St. Paul doesn’t say that celebrating the Eucharist is a proclamation of the power that Jesus showed in the miracle of the loaves and fishes.  He doesn’t say that the Eucharist is a proclamation of visible power at all.  The Eucharist is a proclamation of death:  of the death of God in the Flesh.  This is true for us today, also.  When you participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, “you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.”  At Holy Mass, when the Eucharistic Prayer is offered, you are transported mystically and sacramentally to the spot of Calvary, on the day of Good Friday some 2000 years ago.

Why this focus?  Why is the Eucharist a proclamation of Jesus’ death?  For one thing, it’s because the death of Jesus is the price of our salvation.  Proclaiming the death of Jesus can help us to grow morally:  in our gratitude to God, and so also in our expressions of charity.  These pale in comparison to the sacramental grace that we’re able to receive through a devout and worthy reception of  Holy Communion.  Nonetheless, we might ask, why did God choose the death of Jesus as the means of our salvation and the vessel of His grace? Continue reading

Saturday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Saturday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
2 Corinthians 12:1-10  +  Matthew 6:24-34
June 22, 2019

   “You cannot serve God and mammon.”   

These famous words from Jesus mark a clear divide between Heaven and earth, and between the spiritual and the material.  But to consider these words of Jesus seriously, we need first to address an underlying assumption. Continue reading

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Aloysius Gonzaga
2 Corinthians 11:18,21-30  +  Matthew 6:19-23
June 21, 2019

   “…where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”   

Today’s Gospel passage from the Sermon on the Mount seems to have two distinct sections.  Nevertheless, a connection suggests itself.  The first section concerns wealth of different types.  The second concerns the human eye and light.  So what does human vision have to do with human wealth? Continue reading

Thursday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Thursday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
2 Corinthians 11:1-11  +  Matthew 6:7-15
June 20, 2019

   “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”   

Putting the Gospel passages from recent weekday Masses in context, we see the theme of God the Father emerge.  These passages come from the Sermon on the Mount.  Two days ago the Church proclaimed the last section of Matthew 5, the last phrase of which is Jesus’ command to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Yesterday’s Gospel passage concerned the performance of “righteous deeds”, for which God the “Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Continue reading

Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
2 Corinthians 9:6-11  +  Matthew 6:1-6,16-18 
June 19, 2019

   “And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”   

Today’s Gospel passage is—to the verse—the same passage that we hear every year on Ash Wednesday.  The Church proclaims it today, in the middle of a week in Ordinary Time, because the cycle of Gospel passages for weekday Mass tends to go sequentially through a Gospel account.  This is different than the cycle for Sunday Mass, in which the Gospel passage more often jumps throughout the course of the Gospel account. Continue reading

Tuesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Tuesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
2 Corinthians 8:1-9  +  Matthew 5:43-48 
June 18, 2019

   “…pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father….”   

Today’s Gospel passage is from the first third of the “Sermon on the Mount”.  This “inaugural address” is recorded in full only in Matthew, in Chapters 5-7.  Today’s Gospel passage forms part of a series in Chapter 5 of five contrasts between the commands of the Law and Jesus’ commands to love.  Each contrast uses a variation of the form, “You have heard it said… but I say to you.” Continue reading

Monday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Monday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
2 Corinthians 6:1-10  +  Matthew 5:38-42
June 17, 2019

   “Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back….”   

As we continue to hear Our Lord preach the Sermon on the Mount, it is striking how down to earth His words are.  He does not speak fluff:  the sort of words that we hear from so many spiritual gurus.  He gives very practical advice about how to treat others.  In doing so, Our Lord is drawing us into a deeper relationship with the Father. Continue reading

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity [C]

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity [C]
Prv 8:22-31  +  Rom 5:1-5  +  Jn 16:12-15
June 16, 2019

   “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”   

The Church celebrates today the central mystery of our Christian Faith.  The life of the Most Holy Trinity is the mystery from which all other mysteries of our Catholic Faith flow.  Yet the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is difficult to wrap our heads around. Continue reading