Saturday, August 20, 2016

21st SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C (Readings)

Isaiah 66:18-21
Psalm 117: Go out to all the world and tell the Good News
Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Luke 13:22-30

Isaiah 66:18-21

Thus says the Lord: I know their works and their thoughts, and I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the Lord in clean vessels. Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the Lord.

Psalm 117:1,2
R. (Mk 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News

Praise the Lord all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News

For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News

Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13

Brothers and sisters, You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.  Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.

Luke 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.  For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Sunday, August 14, 2016

20th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, year C (Readings)

Jeremiah 38:4-6
Psalm 40 “Lord. come to my aid”
Hebrews 12:1-4
Luke 12:49-53

Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10

In those days, the princes said to the king: “Jeremiah ought to be put to death; he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.” King Zedekiah answered: “He is in your power”; for the king could do nothing with them. And so they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah, which was in the quarters of the guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud. Ebed-melech, a court official, went there from the palace and said to him: “My lord king, these men have been at fault in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah, casting him into the cistern. He will die of famine on the spot, for there is no more food in the city.” Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite to take three men along with him, and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he should die.

Responsorial Psalm 40:2, 3, 4, 18
R. Lord, come to my aid!

I have waited, waited for the Lord,
and he stooped toward me.
R. Lord, come to my aid!

The Lord heard my cry.
He drew me out of the pit of destruction,
out of the mud of the swamp;
he set my feet upon a crag;
he made firm my steps.
R. Lord, come to my aid!

And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
Many shall look on in awe
and trust in the Lord.
R. Lord, come to my aid!

Though I am afflicted and poor,
yet the Lord thinks of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, hold not back!
R. Lord, come to my aid!

Hebrews 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Luke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Saturday, July 23, 2016

How we receive the Eucharist

17th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (readings)

Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 138: “Lord, on the day I called for help, 
you answered me.”
Colossians 2:12-14
Luke 11:1-13

Genesis 18:20-32

In those days, the Lord said: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.” While Abraham’s visitors walked on farther toward Sodom, the Lord remained standing before Abraham. Then Abraham drew nearer and said: “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?  Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?” The Lord replied, “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” He answered, “I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there.” But Abraham persisted, saying “What if only forty are found there?”  He replied, “I will forbear doing it for the sake of the forty.” Then Abraham said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied, “I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there.” Still Abraham went on, “Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” The Lord answered, “I will not destroy it, for the sake of the twenty.” But he still persisted: “Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?” He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

Responsorial Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

The Lord is exalted, yet the lowly he sees,
and the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk amid distress, you preserve me;
against the anger of my enemies you raise your hand.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Your right hand saves me.
The Lord will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O Lord, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Colossians 2:12-14

Brothers and sisters: You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.

Luke 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Sacrament of the Eucharist as Real Presence

On the Mystery of Eating Jesus' flesh, by Robert Barron

Bishop Robert Barron on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, Year C (Readings)

Genesis 14:18-20
Responsorial Psalm 110: 
“You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Luke 9:11b-17

Genesis 14:18-20

In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words: "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek

The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek

The scepter of your power the Lord will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek

"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek

The Lord has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Luke 9:11b-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people." Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty." They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

WHY THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD MATTERS, by Bishop Robert Barron

Readings:
     year C

WHY THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD MATTERS
By Bishop Robert Barron

The feast of the Ascension of the Lord, which the church celebrates at the end of the Easter season, is, I admit, hard to explain to a lot of contemporary people. Jesus passed, in bodily form, from this world to heaven? Wouldn’t his body still be in some identifiable place within the solar system or the galaxy? I’m sure that the traditional formulation of the doctrine strikes many today as hopelessly pre-scientific and mythological. And even if we were to admit the possibility of such a transition happening in regard to Jesus, how would this in any way affect us spiritually?

The key to understanding both the meaning and significance of this feast is a recovery of the Jewish sense of heaven and earth. In regard to “heaven” and “earth,” most of us are, whether we know it or not, Greek in our thought patterns. By this I meant that we tend to set up—in the manner of the ancient Greek philosophers—a rather sharp dichotomy between the material and the spiritual, between the realm of appearance and the realm of true reality, between the fleeting earth and the permanent heaven. And if we’re spiritually minded, we tend to think of salvation as an escape from this world—this vale of tears—to a disembodied state called “heaven.” The problem is that these convictions have far more to do with Plato than with the Bible.

Biblical cosmology is not fundamentally dualistic. It speaks indeed of “heaven” and “earth,” but it sees these two realms as interacting and interpenetrating fields of force. Heaven, the arena of God and the angels, touches upon and calls out to earth, the arena of humans, animals, plants, and planets. On the Biblical reading, salvation, therefore, is a matter of the meeting of heaven and earth, so that God might reign as thoroughly here below as he does on high. Jesus’ great prayer, which is constantly on the lips of Christians, is distinctively Jewish in inspiration: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Notice please that this is decidely not a prayer that we might escape from the earth, but rather that earth and heaven might come together. The Lord’s prayer recapitulates and raises to a new level precisely what the prophet Isaiah anticipated: “the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth, as the water covers the sea.”

The first Christians saw the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as the commencement of the process by which earth and heaven were being reconciled. They appreciated the risen Christ as the heavenly ruler of the nations, the one who would bring the justice of heaven to this world. And this is precisely why people like Peter, Paul, Thomas, Andrew, and John went to the ends of the earth to proclaim just this new state of affairs: “Jesus is Lord!” What began in the Lord’s resurrection is now ready to burst forth and flood the world through the work of the disciples. Accordingly, just before ascending to heaven, Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It is fascinating to note how the Ascension and Pentecost are linked: in the Ascension, something of earth moves into the heavenly sphere, and at Pentecost, something of heaven—the Holy Spirit—invades the earth. The two events constitute, in short, a foretaste of the great reconciliation for which the entire Jewish religion had for centuries yearned.

The Church, guided by the Holy Spirit down through the ages, is meant to be the privileged place where this coming-together happens. In good preaching, in great Christian art, in the architecture of our churches and cathedrals, in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, in the lives of the saints, and perhaps especially in the liturgy, earth and heaven meet. Think of the moment at Mass, just before the singing of the Sanctus, when the priest invokes the angels (the realm of heaven) and encourages us: “may our voices be one with theirs in their triumphant hymn of praise.” What he is suggesting is that earth might, with Christ, ascend to heaven and that heaven, in the person of the Holy Spirit, might descend to earth—and that the two dimensions might sing together in harmony.

What I hope has become clear in the course of this discussion is that the Ascension of Jesus has nothing to do with a literal journey into the stratosphere, for that would involve simply a transfer to another position within “the world.” The Ascension is Jesus’ journey, not to another place, but to another dimension. But this dimension to which he has gone is not alien to us. It is instead a source of inspiration, power, and direction. And this is why the angels (denizens of heaven) who appear to the disciples just after Jesus’ departure say, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?” What they are hinting at, none too subtly, is this: under the influence of Jesus’ spirit, get to work! Do all that you can to foster the marriage of heaven and earth! Get on with the mission of the church!

Source: Wordonfire.org

The Ascension of the Lord, by Bishop Robert Barron

ASCENSION OF THE LORD, year C (readings)

Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47 “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy; 
a blare of trumpets for the Lord”
Ephesians 1:17-23 or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23
Luke 24:46-53

Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: 
a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the Lord, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: 
a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the Lord, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: 
a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: 
a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

Ephesians 1:17-23

Brothers and sisters: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. Just as it is appointed that men and women die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him. Therefore, brothers and sisters, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have (a great priest over the house of God, “ let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.

Luke 24:46-53

Jesus said to his disciples: “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Sixth Sunday of Easter by Jeff Cavins

6th SUNDAY OF EASTER, year C

Acts 15:1-2,22-29
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
Revelations 21:10-14,22-23
John 14:23-29

Acts 15:1-2,22-29

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved." Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and presbyters about this question. Then the apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. This is the letter delivered by them: "The apostles and the presbyters, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number (who went out) without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: 'It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"

Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

Revelations 21:10-14,22-23

He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, (the names) of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles  of the Lamb. I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.

John 14:23-29

Jesus answered and said to him, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. "I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, 'I am going away and I will come back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.