Monday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time

Monday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time
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.

Our Lord slowly tries to teach us how intimately related are the commands to love both God and neighbor.  It is in Christ Jesus that the divine Word of God is made flesh.  It is in Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross—the sacrifice of the altar—that we share sacramentally in Christ’s life, in order that we might share morally in His life by loving both God and neighbor fully.

However, we must be honest with ourselves, and be mindful that we are hardly advancing in the spiritual life if repentance is the largest part of our prayer.  Our penance merely disposes us to be God’s servants rather than His rivals.  When we consider the words of Christ in today’s Gospel passage, we see how completely we are to give of ourselves to others.

If our own spiritual houses are in order, how devoted are we to helping others build theirs?  How willing are we to be patient with others, with those who cannot be patient in their own prayer?  How will others learn the need for patience if not by seeing our example?  How willing are we to accept insults in silence and pray for the one who insults?  How will others learn the need for forbearance if not by seeing our example?

As we share in the sacrifice of the altar, may Almighty God help us see in our daily lives who it is in most need of a Christian witness.  May Almighty God strengthen us through the Body and Blood of Christ to be the ones to offer that witness.

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
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.

The Church, however, has learned over the centuries a simple means by which to explore this awesome mystery.  The Church reflects upon who God is by looking at what God has chosen to do.  When we take this tack—when we try to get a running start at Who God is by looking at what He’s done—we’re using a simple principle.  It’s used in philosophy and theology all the time.  This principle has a very technical name.  It’s called “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree”.

The area of life where we’re most familiar with this principle is families.  You have a parent, and you have a child, and about the child you say, “That apple didn’t fall far from the tree”.  When you say that, everyone knows what you mean.  The child resembles his parent.

We hear a divine example of the “apple principle” in today’s First Reading from the Old Testament Book of Proverbs.  In this passage is a discourse given by “the wisdom of God”.  In the second half of the discourse, we hear two intriguing statements.  Wisdom not only says, “When the Lord established the heavens I was there,” but also, “then was I beside Him as His craftsman… and I found delight in the human race.”

Wisdom is the Lord’s “craftsman”, who “found delight in the human race.”  Everything God created in the universe was created with wisdom—that is, was created in an ordered way—because God Himself is All-Wise, and His apples don’t fall far from the tree.  Nonetheless, out of all of God’s creation, it’s “in the human race” that wisdom takes particular delight.  In the beginning—in the Book of Genesis—we hear the Lord say, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” [Genesis 1:26].  In other words, the apple that is the human race didn’t fall far from the tree, and in fact is the apple of God’s eye [see Psalm 17:8].

Today’s Responsorial Psalm carries this same idea forward in its own poetic way.  The psalmist cries out in wonder to God, asking, “When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers… What is man that You should be mindful of him… ?  [Yet] You have made him little less than the angels…  You have given him rule over the works of your hands”.  The psalmist here reminds us that with great power comes great responsibility.  In other words, because God created mankind in His Image and likeness, God gave mankind a share in His “rule over the works of [God’s] hands”.  Or as we might rather put it today, God entrusted to man the stewardship of the works of God’s hands.

All this, of course, begs two questions that lead us into the heart of today’s feast:  #1: what is the Image and likeness of God; and #2: what is God’s work?  The answer to both is simple, because the answer to both is the same:  to love. The image and likeness of God is love, and God’s work is the work of love.

“God is love” [1 John 4:8].  Because God is love through and through—because God is 100% love—everything that God does is loving.  There’s no divorce between who God is and what He does, the way that in your and my lives as sinners, often what we choose to do does not reflect who God has called us to be.  The divine Image is to be love, and so we also are called always to do what is loving in every circumstance.

To help us in this regard, Holy Mother Church teaches us by means of the Sacred Liturgy.  We could say that last Sunday, this Sunday, and next Sunday form a triptych:  a three-paneled icon that focuses our devotion.  Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi display before us the Holy Spirit within the Church, the Father Who is the Source of the Trinity, and the Blessed Sacrament of Our Savior’s Real Presence.

Prepare for next Sunday’s feast of Corpus Christi with an eye to growing in your capacity to love:  to be love through your daily choices.  The Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, made present sacramentally through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, shows us sinners our clearest example of what it means to “be love” through our human will and heart.  Rather than love only those who are lovable, only when circumstances make it easy to do so, Christ calls us and strengthens us through the Eucharist to love from within His sacrificial love, and so enter more deeply into the Life of the Trinity.

click HERE to watch Jeff Cavins’ reflection for Trinity Sunday (3:41)

click HERE to watch the homily of Fr. Ben Cameron, CPM for Trinity Sunday (8:27)

click HERE to watch the Trinity Sunday homily of Archbishop José Gomez (11:14)

+     +     +

click HERE to read Pope Francis’ 2016 Angelus address for Trinity Sunday

click HERE to read Pope Emeritus Benedict’s 2010 Angelus address for Trinity Sunday

click HERE to read St. John Paul II’s 1998 homily for Trinity Sunday

Saturday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Saturday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
2 Corinthians 5:14-21  +  Matthew 5:33-37
June 15, 2019

   “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’”   

Saturday is the day of the week dedicated to Our Blessed Mother Mary.  We ought, each Saturday morning and/or afternoon, spend time in devotion to her.  One way to foster such devotion is to reflect on the Scriptures from that morning’s Mass in light of Mary’s life and vocation. Continue reading

Friday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time

Friday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 4:7-15  +  Matthew 5:27-32 
June 14, 2019

   “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’”   

Jesus continues in today’s Gospel passage to give examples of the Law being fulfilled.  These two examples are about adultery and divorce.  While both examples concern human sexuality, Jesus’ teachings about these two grave sins take different approaches. Continue reading

St. Anthony of Padua, Priest & Doctor of the Church

St. Anthony of Padua, Priest & Doctor of the Church
2 Corinthians 3:15—4:1,3-6  +  Matthew 5:20-26
June 13, 2019

   “But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment….”  

In yesterday’s Gospel passage, Our Lord stated that He had come not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.  Beginning today, in the Gospel at weekday Mass we hear examples of Jesus fulfilling the Law. Continue reading

Wednesday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time

Wednesday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 3:4-11  +  Matthew 5:17-19 
June 12, 2019

   “I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”   

This week we’ve begun to hear Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, from the fifth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel account.  Jesus today sets the framework for the teachings He’s about to offer the disciples.  We could sum up this framework with these words:  “I have come not to abolish [the Law] but to fulfill.”  Continue reading

St. Barnabas, Apostle

St. Barnabas, Apostle
Acts 11:21-26;13:1-3  +  Matthew 5:13-16
June 11, 2019

   “But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?”   

At weekday Mass we hear this week from the Sermon on the Mount, which is found in the fifth through seventh chapters of the Gospel account of Saint Matthew (5:3—7:27).  In today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls His disciples “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”.  Either of these could serve you as the basis for a long period of meditation.  But consider just one aspect of what Jesus sets before you today. Continue reading

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Genesis 3:9-15,20  +  John 19:25-34
June 10, 2019

   And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.   

On the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes last year, Robert Cardinal Sarah—the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments—announced the institution of a new obligatory memorial for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.  This memorial is to be celebrated every year on Pentecost Monday, which is to say, the day following Pentecost Sunday, which is to say, the second day of the Octave of Pentecost. Continue reading

Pentecost

Pentecost
Acts 2:1-11  +  1 Cor 12:3-7,12-13  +  Jn 20:19-23
June 9, 2019

   When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.   

Almost 2000 years ago on this day, the Church was born.  The Church would be nothing without the Holy Spirit.  The Church couldn’t have been born without the Holy Spirit, and she could not live today without the Holy Spirit.  Where the Church is strong, it’s because of the Holy Spirit.  Where the Church is weak, it’s because the Holy Spirit is not given His due. Continue reading