Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Lord Hears the Cry

July 1, 2009

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

God heard the boy’s cry, and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his. Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink. Genesis 21:17-19

They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” Matthew 8:29


In my misfortune I called, the LORD heard and saved me from all distress. The angel of the LORD, who encamps with them, delivers all who fear God. Learn to savor how good the LORD is; happy are those who take refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you holy ones; nothing is lacking to those who fear him. The powerful grow poor and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who among you loves life, takes delight in prosperous days? Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:7-15


Sometimes it is amazing how cruel even good people can be to the ones they love. Before Isaac was born, Sarah and Abraham went to all lengths to have descendants – even to the point where they used Sarah’s slave Hagar to impregnate her and bear a son.

Now we see Sarah and Abraham blessed with a child in their advancing years. Once Isaac is born, they turn their back on the slave who did everything she was asked to do. They expel her and she continues in humble obedience even though it appears that the two will die of hunger and thirst in the desert. However, God hears their cry in the desert and comes to their rescue…something Abraham did not do.

God takes care of some things even when we overlook our responsibility to our sisters and brothers. God acted in the common interest even when we did not.

The opposite comes through in the Good News. The demons have no common interest with Jesus. They think they are free to torment people until the end of time. Jesus, however, has other plans for these demons.


What do we do to act in the common interest of the poor and outcast in society?

Today, we live in an era where the term globalization is bandied about freely. In the global village of a shrinking world, we have a tendency to remain aloof and detached from the people who make our food, sew our clothes, build our cars and other machines, and tend to our services. We may pay them for their service. However, sometimes we (or their employer) do not pay them a fair wage because we want to enjoy the goods and services produced at the lowest possible Wal*Mart price rollback.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that Pope Benedict XVI has just signed his latest encyclical on ways to make globalization more attentive to meeting the needs of the poor amid the worldwide financial crisis. The document, entitled “Charity in Truth,” is expected to be published soon.

In the AP story, the pope said his third encyclical outlines the goals and values that the faithful must defend to ensure solidarity among all peoples. Benedict has frequently spoken out on the financial crisis, urging leaders to ensure the world’s poor don’t end up bearing the brunt of the downturn even though they are not responsible for it. He has said the downturn shows the need to rethink the whole global financial system.

One way we can begin to act this out is through supporting the fair trade movement. Commonly one of the first steps is to buy coffee and chocolate where the farmers get a fair price for their crops from the coffee or cocoa cooperative. You can always start with little things liker buying fair trade coffee instead of name brand or niche brands (www.larrysbeans.com is one source). Through sales we do at St. Mary of Sorrows, fair trade coffee even costs less than its counterpart in the grocery store. Plus, it has the added benefit of still being packages in full one-pound containers. (Often, commercial coffee products are being offered in smaller and smaller packages for the same high price). Plus, the fair trade coffee often tastes better than commercial coffee.

For the price of two Café Mochas at Starbucks, I can buy a whole pound of Larry’s Secret Espresso Blend #17. Is this what they mean by “taste and see the goodness?” Sometimes the “sacrifice” is just the change.

Because we remain so detached from the people who produce our goods, it is hard for us to hear the cries of the poor in countries like Honduras where a military dictator just ousted the government which was duly elected by the people of that small nation.

Yet the Lord hears the cry of the poor. Let us work together on more ways we can open our ears and hear the Word of the Lord as it comes to us through the voices of the poor.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Calm Our Storms

June 30, 2009

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, "On your way! Take with you your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of Sodom." … “Oh, no, my lord!” Lot replied, … Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to. It's only a small place. Let me flee there – it’s a small place, is it not? — that my life may be saved." (Genesis 19:15, 18-20)

…a violent storm came up on the sea… (Jesus) said to them, "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?" Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. (Matthew 8:24-26)


Shelter under Thy protection, O Thou Spirit of purity, Thou Whom art the All-Bountiful Provider, this enthralled, enkindled servant of Thine. Aid him in this world of being
to remain steadfast and firm in Thy love and grant that this broken-winged bird attain a refuge and shelter in Thy divine nest that abideth upon the celestial tree. (Baha'i prayers - `abdu'l-bahá)


Jesus did not call up this storm; storms happen at sea. Jesus calmed the storm and amazed the hearts of his friends. They didn’t earn it – they had only “little faith”. But he loved his friends and acted upon that love as he did – and does - always. Storms happen in our lives, too, often changing our perspective. The loss of a spouse can bring a family back together. An attack causes a society to appreciate freedom in new ways. A disastrous accident raises heroes.

But we must be careful even as we learn from storms. Replacing one priority with another is not necessarily the lesson to be learned. Clinging to family too tightly can sour relationships. Grasping onto freedom as the greatest good can make societies insular and paranoid. Holding up heroes can cause us to look for villains or be disillusioned when the hero falters.

Storms can bring us to know God in new ways – a God who stills the storms within and about us, because we are loved. We can meet a God who listens and responds to our prayers because God loves us so much. Perhaps the disciples and Lot were saved not in spite of their “little faith” and grudging negotiations but because they turned to God in the storm. Was Lot’s wife’s action a turning away from God? Was she petrified by clinging to priorities which she could not leave behind? Lot bargained but he also trusted in God’s intention. Seeing storms as a way to know and love God better calls for surrendering our priorities and accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow him.


A violent, deadly storm for many people is hunger. How do we use food? Do we eat to assuage personal, internal storms such as loneliness, frustration, imperfections, or worries? Do we buy foods to impress and taste the most exotic? Do we waste food? Surrendering to God fills us as only God can fill us and allows us to share and give to others. How do we help others caught in the storm of hunger?

As reported in Zenit, Pope Benedict XVI’s June 14th appeal during the Corpus Christi Angelus address included, “[Hunger] is an absolutely unacceptable situation that even after the efforts of recent decades is proving difficult to reduce,” the Pope lamented. “I therefore hope that … strategic decisions will be made, sometimes far from easy to accept but which are necessary in order to assure basic foodstuffs and a dignified life to one and all, in the present and in the future.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization has reported that this year, global hunger will reach an all time high, with one-sixth (1.02 billion people) of the planet's population going hungry. The FAO affirmed that the increase in hunger is not due to poor harvest, but rather to the economic downturn that has brought about lower incomes, coupled with food prices being higher.

Hunger was being reined in during the 1980s and the first part of the '90s, but for a decade, it has again been on the rise, FAO reported. This year, the number is projected to rise 11%.

Though the majority of the world’s undernourished live in developing countries -- the most in Asia and the Pacific (642 million) -- there are some 15 million in developed countries as well. http://www.zenit.org/article-26259?l=english

Sunday, June 28, 2009

But Who Do You Say That I Am

June 29, 2009

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles - Mass During the Day

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, "Get up quickly." The chains fell from his wrists. Acts 12:6-7

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Matthew 16:15


Lord, I try to bless you at all times but then I get distracted or someone sets me off and I slip away into my old habits. They do die hard if they die at all. Count me among your poor and open my ears and my mind so I will no longer be a poor listener. Magnify your work on earth through me and magnify my awareness of your presence in my life and the lives around me. As I seek you, I trust that you will answer my call and deliver me from the evils surrounding me. Help me to always look to God and reflect your goodness in my eyes, my smile, my mind and my heart. Send me companions who will free me from the prison of my personal passions and lead me to being close to you. Consume me so that I will know how good it is to live in your presence. Amen.


Today’s encounter between Peter and Christ defines “awe of the Lord” for me as it reveals a critical milestone and turning point in the narrative of the Gospel of Matthew.

We learn just a few verses that after this reading that Jesus strictly ordered them not to reveal the fact that he was the Messiah to anyone. In addition, now that the disciples know Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus has to prepare them for what was going to happen. From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21) So let’s get back to what happened when this little boat was pulled to shore.

Imagine Jesus climbing out of that boat, getting his footing on the sand and gazing into Peter’s eyes. When he got the answer he desired from Peter, the Lord knew he was no longer rooted in shifting sand. Instead, he had solid ground upon which to proceed with his mission…a rock upon which he can build his church.

After talking with Peter, I’ll bet that the Lord checked in with the other passengers in the boat and those gathered at the beach. Turning to me, he asks the same questions with his penetrating brown eyes and engaging smile.

Sunday during Mass, our Joyful Noise choir sang, Pescador Des Hombres by Cesareo Gabarain a song which fits so nicely with this reading.

Lord, when you came to the seashore
You weren't seeking the wise or the wealthy,
But only asking that I might follow.
O Lord, in my eyes you were gazing,
Kindly smiling, my name you were saying;
All I treasured, I have left on the sand there;
Close to you, I will find other seas.

Jesus asks me (and you) the same questions he has for Peter and Paul because he still needs people to build his church.

What imprisons you?

What lion is intent on swallowing you?

What angel is waxing her wings to save you?

But who do you say that I am?

Is not our entire faith journey pivotal on the answer to this last question? If Jesus was just another priest, prophet, thief or king, nothing that occurred in Jerusalem would have mattered much to history and to us. It is only when we know the Lord, that the Lord knows us.

He knows what our boat carries. He doesn’t care what baggage is stowed there because he has need of our love and our labor. It is our hands that Jesus needs for service, our hearts for loving, and our arms for lifting the poor and broken.

Our journey is all about attaining the faith that Peter expresses in today’s Good News. That faith allows us to get close to the Lord, keep him with us and remain with Him. That faith is what we celebrate at the beginning and end of every Mass and every day between our celebrations.

At the start of every Mass, the celebrant proclaims, “The Lord be with.” His words and our answer to this question makes it so. At the end of Mass, the celebrant dismisses us with the message to keep the Lord with us until we return to the table again. “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Thanks be to God.


I am. Jesus’ question today echoes God’s proclamation in the Hebrew Bible. Instead of delivering that identity to us, God seeks us. God wants to know what our faith tells us about our relationship with him.

Sunday’s Good News revealed the faith of the centurion Jarius and the woman with the hemorrhages. In both cases, their faith far exceeded the faith expressed by those closest to Jesus. However, Jesus was and is a magnet.

What is drawing out your faith?

How does your faith compare to theirs?

How would you answer the questions put to Peter on the beach in today’s reading?

Don’t be afraid to admit what I am thinking. I have a long way to go. Please be a companion on my journey.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Justice is Undying

June 28, 2009

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, And there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the nether world on earth, for justice is undying. Wisdom 1:14-15

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich. not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your surplus at the present time should supply their needs, so that their surplus may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. 2 Corinthians 8:9, 13-14

“Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Mark 5:36


Christ became poor by becoming one of us. He emptied himself of his Godness so that we might become rich by imitating him when we emptied ourselves of our riches that we might become poor like Christ. Christ gave a permanent dignity to the one willing to become poor for the sake of others in sharing the poverty of Christ by being willing to empty oneself out for the needs of the poor of our world. In the poverty of Christ our poverty becomes the riches of heaven in the likeness to Christ our freely embraced poverty brings. The invitation of Christ to the rich young man is all too easily forgotten by our wealth mad world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Poverty that brings likeness to Christ and piety that bring oneness with Christ are too easily overlooked in our world today.


The dilemma of the spiritual journey is simple. If I could give as much glory to God by riches or poverty, would I choose poverty rather than riches if both were equal so that I could be more like the Christ who did just that? God loved us so much that he sent his only son to be one with us so that he could make up in the person of Christ’s own human body all the sinfulness of our human nature. John 3:16-18 tells it straight. God so loved us that he gave us his Son. The question for all of us is. “Do I love God so much that I would be a perfect embodiment of his son?” Would I be willing to live his love for all my brothers and sisters of the human race so that God would know how much I love him in the degree of oneness I have with his son? God formed us to be the image of his own nature in our willingness to love each other as God has loved us in his son. We are called to imitate Christ so that by our poverty we might become rich with the love of God. God does not love us more by what we do. God’s love is everlasting. God is love and he could never love less. The paradox of Christianity is that we can only have what we give away. We accept God’s love in the love we share with one another. God’s love lives in us in our sharing it with one another.


We need to come to Christ like Jairus, one of the synagogue officials, who pleaded for the life of his daughter. Our actions bring us the touch of Christ. He will not force himself upon us. He is open to our asking. The greatest thing we can do in our apostolic life is pray for each other. We need to ask for the touch of Christ on our lives. He looks on those he touches with a healing love. The desire of our heart for the needs of the world is the cry of the Spirit of the Lord that God listening to God answers. Our apostolic work needs to be charged with the spirit of Christ that the touches of Christ by our prayer bring us. The woman of our Gospel is alike to us in all the times we sneak up on Christ without the spark of our love for Christ. She wanted her healing badly. She recognized the power of Christ’s love. She came to Christ in her need. She learned how to be open and received the gift of her healing and her love for Christ was sparked in the answer to the great sadness of her life. Our world needs us to approach Christ openly in our needs so that the world can learn how to respond to God’s presence in one’s life. Our study and our actions need to be fed by our prayer so that we can live the freedom of the children of God. We are called to be Christ for one another. No one is too much a child for the life giving love of Christ that is in our hearts to be shared. Our Lord Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel of this Sunday. The Lord not only is telling us to arise from our sleep but to bring the power of his love by living our lives in his name. Our piety, enlightened by our study is brought into action by our prayer. We can only save our lives by losing them in Christ for the sake of each other. Our faith in Christ will save our world.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not Worthy

June 27, 2009
Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

“Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.” Because she was afraid, Sarah dissembled, saying, “I didn't laugh.” But he said, “Yes you did.” Genesis 18:14-15

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Luke 1:46-49

The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Matthew 8:8-10


Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. Only say the word, and I shall be healed. We thank you for counting us worthy to stand by your side and to serve you. Amen.


Servants have a central role in today’s Mass and I do not mean the celebrant and the people in the pews. They do too. I am just not talking about them today.

Some of the servants in these stories are obvious. Abraham greets the strangers but then has his servants (slaves?) help to prepare the water for cleaning the Lord’s feet, bread to serve, meat, and more. Abraham also assists in the service to the Lord after he calls upon others to help.

The soldier brings his request humbly to the Lord in Matthew’s Gospel. The centurion is an officer and has the ability to command others to action. However, he, too, recognizes his limitations and comes before the Lord in humility and service – not by making demands.

Peter’s mother-in-law could probably bask in the fact that her son-on-law had his miraculous friend cure her miraculously. But rather than sit as his feet listening to him preach, she served the Lord. Her service may be seen as an act of gratitude for the gift of healing that she received.

There are many kinds of service depicted in these readings. However, we can not ignore the fact that Jesus also put himself into the position of servant to his people. As a leader, he received the wishes and requests presented to him by the people of faith. As a servant, he fulfilled those requests.

By acting on these petitions, the Lord shows that no one is unworthy. As the button reads, “God Don’t Make Junk.” By acting on these petitions, the Lord shows that everyone is worthy of his service, healing and grace. By genuinely taking on the mantle of humility, we are lifted up by the service that the Lord provides to us when he answers our prayers.


Where can you be a servant-leader this weekend in your own household? In your parish? To the Cursillo team in formation for the women’s weekend?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You Can Make Me Clean

June 26, 2009

Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

I will maintain my covenant with him as an everlasting pact, to be his God and the God of his descendants after him. (Genesis 17:19)

Just so will they be blessed who fear the Lord. (Psalms 128:4)

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, "Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean." He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, "I will do it. Be made clean." His leprosy was cleansed immediately. (Matthew 8:1-3)


Father of Mercy, forgive my failings, keep me in Your Grace, and lead me in the way of salvation. Give me strength in serving You as a follower of Christ. May the Eucharist bring me Your Forgiveness and give me freedom to serve You all my life. May it help me to remain faithful and give me the grace I need in Your service. May it teach me the way to eternal life. (Unattributed prayer at Catholic Online.)


A good friend and I talked recently about Jesus’s post-resurrection appearances. Thomas saw the wounds; the disciples who encountered him on the road to Emmaus saw him in the breaking of the bread; Mary Magdalene recognized his voice. He came in the form people needed him to come, we concluded. And what an amazing thing that is.

In today’s Gospel reading, we see that same grace. Jesus touches a leper before healing him. One wonders when the afflicted man had last felt a friendly human touch – the law prohibited it, after all – and what the crowds thought as Jesus did it. They likely oohed and ahhed a few moments later when the man’s physical wounds were healed, but the emotional healing provided by that touch may have passed them by completely.

Sometimes, we strive to emulate Christ by doing service—feeding the poor, advocating for immigrant rights, marching for the unborn, assisting the elderly. The work can make us grim; there is, after all, an unending sea of humanity that requires our attention. And yet, when we focus on the mechanical aspects of service, we miss the lesson Christ taught us in the touching of the leper. We fail him and ourselves when we go through the motions and withhold a touch, a smile, a laugh, or a hug.

Let us strive to come in the form people need us to come. Bless—and let others bless you.


Smile at everyone you meet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Set Solidly on Rock

June 25, 2009

Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

But the LORD'S messenger told her: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD'S messenger, “that they will be too many to count. Besides,” the LORD'S messenger said to her: “You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, For the LORD has heard you, God has answered you.” Genesis 16:9-11

Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. Matthew 7:24-25


Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever. Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD, proclaim in full God's praise? Happy those who do what is right, whose deeds are always just. Remember me, LORD, as you favor your people; come to me with your saving help, That I may see the prosperity of your chosen, rejoice in the joy of your people, and glory with your heritage. Psalm 106:1-5


Yesterday, we reflected on the birth of John the Baptist. Today, we look further back into Biblical history to the birth of Ishmael.

As historical figures, John and Ishmael have some similarities in their qualities. Both went out into the desert. Both were detached from civilization. However, rather than comparing and contrasting the offspring, what do we learn about servant-leadership from their mothers?

Hagar. Elizabeth. Mary. All of these exemplary women epitomize the virtues Matthew writes about in today’s Good News. They listened. No matter how unwelcome the news might have been. Sarah probably did not want a baby by a man married to another. Elizabeth was old and past her prime birthing years as was Hagar. Mary was at the other end of the age spectrum…young, impressionable and pregnant by a man she was not planning to marry.

In all these stories, there could be the hint of tabloid scandal if they unfolded today. I can only imagine the headlines we might read at the grocery checkout line!

Eighty-six year old man fathers baby of slave!

Escaped slave returns to master; bears child. Family denies relationship.


Let your imagination fill in others. Then, forget the headlines. Inquiring Christians want to know more. Through the grace of God, these three woman advanced Biblical history by listening to the word of God as it was delivered to them. But they did not stop there. They acted upon the Word.

The New Covenant is not about descendants being numerous. The New Covenant is not about having abundant, verdant land to call your own. The new covenant is founded on the pillars of hearing and acting. These pillars are set solidly in bedrock. When we listen and hear the Word, we are compelled to act upon it. When Jesus listens and hears our petitions, he is, in turn and in love, compelled to act on our prayers.

What is Jesus hearing from you? What are you hearing from Jesus? May we do always what is just. When we do, we know that God will answer us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Light to the Nations

June 24, 2009

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist - Mass During the Day

For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:5-6

All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:66


(From the “Canticle of Zechariah”)

And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace. Luke 1:76-79


(Note: As we move back into Ordinary Time, we also now begin the parade of saints throughout the summer, celebrating some of the most vibrant witnesses in our faith tradition who help point the way back to God. How else to begin these lessons than by starting with the man who not only answered the clarion call from within the womb, but also then sounded the trumpet for all of us to hear?)

“What, then, will this child be?”

This was not just an idle wonderment of Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph. It is a refrain woven into the hearts, minds and souls of every parent and parent-to-be. What new parent has not thought that thought and hoped for a crystal ball to see the future?

How do we know if that baby in our arms will grow up to discover a cure for cancer or AIDS or world hunger? How do we know if that baby in our arms will grow up with cancer, or AIDS or hunger?

How do we know if that baby in our arms will grow up to prepare the way of the Lord in the modern world? Is there a mustard seed of Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day or Paul Farmer ready to sprout like a shoot from the heart of this child? Or will this child need the guidance of a modern-day saint disguised, Joseph-like, as a simple and loving sandal tying parent?

Who are we to mess with God’s plan? No more can we stop the sun from rising or the rain from falling. If we try, we know that we will be called before the Lord to answer for our actions. God promises us nothing but the best. Doesn’t he promise that his tender mercy “will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace?”

Yet how often do we want to place something else before God’s desires? How often do we put our consumerism before our Christianity?

God is with us. Emmanuel. That was what John came to unveil. Before the curtain on the temple was torn asunder, John lifted it up to give us a glance at the morning sun. While the birth of Jesus was an act of history, it also was a timeless act of love. It is an act repeated with the birth of every child every where on earth.

God is with us through Jesus. God is with us through the holy Spirit. God is with us through each other. No sonnet from Shakespeare can say it better than the Psalmist:

Darkness and light are but one. You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be. How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them! Were I to count, they would outnumber the sands; to finish, I would need eternity. Psalm 139:12-18


Are we being consumed by God or are we letting the world around us consume us?

John the Baptist was the First Vice President of Marketing for Christianity, Inc. He was the public relations director, speechwriter, adman and market researcher. He was so totally detached from society that his clothes and his food were the simplest items so nothing distracted him from his mission.

What is your big distraction? What part of your house needs an “extreme makeover” in order to be ready when Christ comes knocking on your door?

In “Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire,” William T. Cavanaugh reminds us that St. Augustine said that human desires are endless. “Desire is not simply negative; our desires are what get us out of bed in the morning. We desire because we live. The problem is that our desires continue to light on objects that fail to satisfy, objects on the lower end of the scale of being that, if cut off from the Source of their being, quickly dissolve into nothing.” The solution to the restlessness of desire is to cultivate a desire for God. The Eternal, in whom our hearts will find rest.”

How can you follow the example of John the Baptist and shift your desires from things to the people around you? How can you attach yourself to a greater desire to follow the precious designs of God?

Monday, June 22, 2009

May Our Lives Speak

June 23, 2009

By Beth DeCristofaro

So Abram said to Lot: "Let there be no strife between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land at your disposal? (Genesis 13:8-9)

LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy mountain? Whoever walks without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart. (Psalm 15:1-2)

Jesus said…"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction…
(Matthew 7:12-13)


May the works I've done speak for me. May the life I live speak for me. Lord I'm leaning and depending on You, if I do right You're gonna see me through…When I'm resting in my grave, there's nothing more to be said; may the works I've done, let it speak for me, (for me). (From the Spiritual “May the Works I’ve Done”)


Abraham was a rich man, rich in possessions but also rich in faith in his God. Henri Nouwen would say he was moved by a spirit of abundance, totally sure in the blessings God had given him. Abraham let his brother choose the best land yet he, himself, did not lose. God promised his descendants would number as the dust on the earth. The psalmist’s beautiful praise shows what this faith was about.

But Jesus sees even beyond, quoting the prophets but warning that God’s rewards are not a cause – effect phenomenon. At the time, there was belief that a good life naturally was rewarded. Jesus told us differently. The narrow path means difficulty; it is meant to be walked with faith even in – especially in - the face of sorrow and uncertainty. But Abraham’s certainty surmounts difficulty. Abraham’s life was for God not for his own riches as Jesus wants ours to be.

Furthermore, Jesus sees how much more plentiful is the dust than even humans can reckon. In Mark’s Gospel we meet a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, "Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She replied and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps." (Mark 7:25-28) This Gentile’s faith, which was as strong as Abraham’s faith, saved her daughter.

We don’t know the limits of God’s love. Jesus asks us to limit neither our love nor our faith that God is ours and that we are God’s.


The “golden rule” is a part of many cultures and religions. For example:

Judaism: “What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor. That is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary. Go and learn”

Islam: “No one is a believer until you desire for another that which you desire for yourself.”

Hindu: “The true rule of life is to guard and to do by the things of others as one would do his own.”

Even Aristotle had a sense when he said: “We should behave toward friends as we would wish friends to behave toward us.”

What will your works say about you?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Remove the Wooden Beam

June 22, 2009

Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” Matthew 7:1-2


All this flashy rhetoric about loving you,
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through;
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, reassurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;
I talk of love – a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek –
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.
(Poem by C.S. Lewis)


Judging. It’s so easy! We judge others and the world all the time. This kind of judging is not the controversial Olympic skating (or diving) “one-to-ten” kind of judging but, rather the “don’t-do-to-your-neighbor-what-you-do-not-want-them-to-do-to-you” kind of judging.

Today, the personal transgressions of our political leaders get pretty big play in the media. Nixon, Clinton, Vitter, Craig, Ensign, Gibson, Giuliani, Spitzer, Maguire, Sosa, Bonds, et. al. They have a tendency to make themselves such easy targets. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of judging others when private actions do not measure up to public rhetoric.

Society is judgmental. After all, who doesn’t like it when a leader is caught in a blatantly hypocritical “do as I say not as I do” “the rules don’t apply to me” action. But society is people. And as people, we do not let our judging stop at the top with the politicians, celebrities and other public figures. We judge our neighbor when his grass is not mowed often enough. We judge our students with the grades we assign them.

Jesus takes a different tack. He wants us to do as he does and as he says. He withstood the betrayal of a friend, the abandonment of his followers, and the denial of his closest disciple. His church and his government did not offer him protection. He even felt like his father had forsaken him.

But everything is a return to the Father. God sent Jesus into the world so that Jesus would return to God and bring us along with him. Matthew here reminds us of the same sentiment from John 3:17-18 -- For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Too often we use Jesus and his teaching to denounce others rather than looking into the mirror. Like C.S. Lewis, the first step is to recognize that we are all flawed.

Recently, I read Don Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz, a stream-of-consciousness journal of the author’s quest to discover where God is most real in our lives. God may be on a dirt road walking toward us also but we may not know it unless we, like Miller, look over the hill for Him. Early on in the book, Miller addresses the problems we encounter in life. Miller observed:

I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man’s mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God.

For Miller, God does not emerge on a mountaintop. Miller confronts the problems of the world as they unfold on Nightline and NPR. He watches stories about people who are committing some pretty heinous crimes and wonders if all of us are capable of such actions. Through it all, he surmises:

I know now, from experience, that the path to joy winds through this dark valley. I think every well-adjusted human being has dealt squarely with his or her own depravity. I realize this sounds very Christian, very fundamentalist and browbeating, I I want to tell you this part of what the Christians are saying is true. I think Jesus feels strongly about communicating the idea of our brokenness, and I think it is worth reflection. Nothing is going to change in the Congo until you and I figure out what is wrong with the person in the mirror. (bold emphasis added)


Miller concludes that God likes us to change. “I think part of His love for us is moving us to new places in our hearts, minds, and souls. And in our relationships, too.”

Where is God trying to move you today in terms of how you judge others and the world? What is your wooden beam that must be removed before you can see clearly?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Calming the Stormy Sea

June 21, 2009

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

And who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands? When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door, And said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled! Job 38:8-11

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Mark 4:37-39


One of the easiest scenes of the Gospel to contemplate is Christ asleep on a stormy sea. What a storm it must have been that men who made their living on the sea would be terrified! Waves breaking over the boat are scary and the fear of the Apostles makes sense. Our piety can be a statement of a moment of fear because it is so much easier to turn to the Lord when our lives are out of control. While moments of great fear can easily turn us to the Lord, our true piety is seen in our awareness of the Lord that does not depend on good times, but rather is like the sun that shines and on the good and the bad alike. The Lord addressing Job out of the storm claimed his control on the storms of his life and speaks to us alike. The Lord sets limits on the problems of our lives and fastens the bar of its door. The reality is that the Lord will never allow us to be tempted beyond the limits of his graces for us. At the limits of our fears the lord says to the waves of our fears that they can come no farther. His graces are where our fears can be stilled.


When we realize that the love of Christ impels us, our piety brings us to the conviction that Christ has died for all. Our piety brings us to union with Christ. Our study allows us to discover that we all have died with Christ in our willingness to live for Christ who was raised from the dead. In Christ, we are all a new creation. Old things have passed away and new things have come. Our study unfolds the fabric of our salvation. Study teaches us how to depend on Christ. It makes it possible for our awareness to grow of all the ways Christ would be in our lives. He calls us to be his presence in the ways we would temper each other’s fears. He reaches out to us in the storm tossed boat of our lives. He might seem to be asleep, but he is with us and his presence gradually becomes our security.


Our hearts tells us when to wake up. We live in the richness of his love which allows us to calm the stormy seas of the fears and trepidation of our companions of the journey. Too often we might seem to be asleep to the needs of those around us. Whatever we do for the least ones of our lives, Christ accepts as done for him. The poor we always have with us and we have to be awakened to the needs of our communities. We are part of the mystical body of Christ in our belonging and our reaching out and touching the hurts of those around us. What we do, is the actions of our spiritual journey. Sometimes we can see what needs to be done. All too often we need to be awakened to the ministry that Christ calls us to and asks of us. Our actions and our faith meet in the apostolic plans of our lives. The beauty of sharing our plans with others is the reality of Christ voice. By our all too feeble words of encouragement for those who work with us, Christ calms the stormy seas of our today.

In My Father’s House

June 20, 2009

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” Luke 2:48-49


“Just a Closer Walk with Thee”

Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

I am weak, but Thou art strong, Jesus, keep me from all wrong, I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Through this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more, Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom's shore, to Thy shore.


Some parents may have been accidentally separated from a child who got lost in a big department store, shopping mall, or park. Frantic minutes tick by until a reunion occurs. Having had those anxious moments both as a lost child and then as a separated parent, I know the anxiety of minutes.

Joseph and Mary had days of worry. Their son intentionally stayed behind in Jerusalem when they set out to return home to Nazareth. With this episode, Luke leaves behind the story of the infant narrative and starts to teach about Jesus leaving behind his human family for his divine family, leaving behind his human vocation for his divine vocation.

Imagine how frustrated the Holy Parents were with the reaction that they encountered with Jesus. I can almost hear Mary sitting around the dinner table years later, after the Crucifixion, telling the apostles about the day she “almost” lost Jesus.

If she kept this short heartbreak welled up inside of her immaculate heart, how much more she kept inside on Good Friday afternoon as her son’s human life was taken from him. Did she think she lost his love forever? Did she know what promise fulfilled the next three days would hold?

In these days of ordinary times, we are reminded again and again of the obedience and humility that Jesus exemplified. We are given example after example for us to follow as we try to live our lives according to the rules “of God” and not the expectations “of humanity.” What is revealed in this very first episode beyond the infant narrative is the aim of Jesus’ entire life: a return to the father. But those closest to Jesus did not realize it at the time.

But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. Luke 2:50-51

The Last Supper discourse that Jesus delivered touched on communion and dwelling with him and the Father. Today, we can see this theme established in Luke. First, Jesus came into this world to be with us. He first had to live in the house with Mary and Joseph. Then, as he moved on to the next phase of life and ministry, he had to get closer to his heavenly Father.


Jesus’ lesson for us today is to show how his whole life was oriented toward God. How do we live communion with the Father and with each other?

Too many times, we are consumed by advertising. It is on our hats and t-shirts, our bumper stickers and magazines. Everything is packaging which may inform us but also creates in us false desires that assume owning a Nikon makes us great photographers, owning a Ford makes us a great driver and owning a Sony makes us a great entertainer.

Ignore the demands that advertising places before you today and seek out Christian desire in what you do today. Only then will we stop trying to get closer to your “Calvins” and really get closer to your Lord. Only then will you be able to say “Nothing comes between me and my Lord.”

Thursday, June 18, 2009

To Me This Grace Was Given

June 19, 2009

Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

By Melanie Rigney

My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not a man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you. (Hosea 11:8-9)

With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)

To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. (Ephesians 3:8-10)

(W)hen they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. (John 19:333-35)


From the depth of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before Thee, O Most Sacred, Divine and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay Thee all the homage of love, praise and adoration in my power.Amen. —St. Margaret Mary Alacoque


It’s easy to be good at the symbols of faith. We’ve probably all known Catholics who hung one of those framed pictures of a bleeding heart of Jesus, draped a few palm fronds around it, and called it good.

But when Christ appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675, he didn’t ask her to have people worship a picture—or a literal heart, for that matter. She says she saw his heart, then placed her heart in his and giving her a piece of his flaming heart. In Revelations of Our Lord to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque, she wrote:

(He) showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure Him all the honour and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which His heart is the source.

Pope Benedict illumined the matter further four years ago:

In biblical language, “heart” indicates the center of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell. In the Heart of the Redeemer we adore God's love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy. Practicing devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life.

Meditating on the Sacred Heart can bring us comfort and provide a meaningful connection to Christ. But if we truly adore him, we don’t stop there. We seek to emulate his life, to bring others to him, to see him in others and to let others see him in us. We don’t have to be rich or smart or perfectly pious to do that; in fact, St. Paul in today’s second reading calls himself “the very least of all the holy ones.” How worthy we think we are is not the point. We are called to share “the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to the light of all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God.”

Just as Christ’s water and blood flowed out of his physical body after his crucifixion, so we are called to let his love flow out of us to let others learn of the joy of our God’s salvation. Let it flow freely; this is not a time for conservation.


Identify a favorite teaching of Jesus. Journal about how that lesson helps you draw water at the fountain of salvation... and what you can do to quench the thirst of others.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Of God

June 18, 2009

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me! Please put up with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:1-2

If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:14-15


Jesus told you he wants your peace,
and Jesus told you he wants you healed.
Jesus lifted up the blind man.
He lifted up the dead.
He lifted those who mourn their own.
He did just what he said,
and Jesus rose for you, and he rose for me.
He died and rose
that we might know his peace and Be forgiven, be forgiven,
be forgiven of the sin that you hold on.
Be forgiven, be forgiven,
Jesus died and rose
that you might know his love,
and be forgiven.

("Be Forgiven" by Tom Booth)


Back in Science class, I remember learning about Newton's Law's of Motion. The third law goes something like this if I remember Mr. Malachi's lectures from Thorne Junior High: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Today, we learn God's First Law of Forgiveness. For every act of forgiveness we initiate, we will receive an equal share of forgiveness from God. However, if we do not practice forgiveness, then God has no reason to shower his forgiveness on us. He can save it for others who practice forgiveness with others.

Paul echoes a similar message – we humans can "be of God" that is we can choose to act like God and emulate his generosity toward others. Or not. It is our choice…we can forgive and be forgiven or we can withhold forgiveness and remain accountable for all of our sins.


As the song Stairway to Heaven reminds us, "Yes, there are two paths you can go by but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sees in Secret

June 17, 2009

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. Matthew 6:4


Father, you are the gardener and you sent your Son to be our true vine. Help us to always dwell in you as you do in us. We can not bear fruit without you. Help us to remain united with Jesus, the vine. Make us his fruitful branches because apart from him, we can do nothing. (Based on John 15:1-4)


Jesus often stresses his point in teaching by repeating it. And when he repeats something THREE times, he is raising a flag over the words and calling on us to notice these messages well. Today, we have an important lesson which Jesus repeats three times. In almsgiving, prayer and fasting, Jesus advises us to undertake each task in a manner through which others will not know what we are doing.

But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. Matthew 6:3-4

But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. Matthew 6:6

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. Matthew 6:17-18

In between these three counsels, Jesus teaches us how to pray the prayer we have come to call the “Our Father.”


Jesus was not one for being flashy. He might have fared better with the Roman and Jewish leaders if he had an agent. But Jesus did not want or need an agent. He knew the Advocate would follow him.

Jesus was here to teach by words and examples. Many people have worked on building upon the important lessons Jesus shares in Matthew 6. Among my favorites in this arena is Rev. Thomas Keating, OCSO. Visit the web site listed below for some interesting articles which may help you with your secret piety and prayer practices.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Pray for Persecutors

June 16, 2009

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Praise the Lord my soul. Who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free. (Psalm 146:8-9)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)


In every respect, my God, may I be guided by my faith in you. May I seek to grow in knowledge of you and may I each day deepen my love for you. May my life be a statement of thanksgiving for your gift of life and your constant mercy. May my actions be a testament of your presence in each and every living thing you created.


Oh, where to begin on this chapter from 2 Corinthians? Paul encourages the Corinthians to give, in a “capital campaign” type drive, for Jerusalem. What we lose in translation to English is Paul’s play on words; footnotes from the NAB state: “The grace of God: the fundamental theme is expressed by the Greek noun charis, which will be variously translated throughout these chapters as ‘grace’, ‘favor’, ‘gracious act’ or ‘gracious work’…. The related term, eucharistia, ‘thanksgiving,’ also occurs” (http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/2corinthians/2corinthians8.htm#v1 )

Paul says also that Jesus’ poverty “enriches” us. Scholars debate the meaning of these words. Some “interpret the wealth and poverty as succeeding phases of Jesus' earthly existence, e.g., his sense of intimacy with God and then the desolation and the feeling of abandonment by God in his death.” (NAB, above) To me this is an astounding understanding of Jesus’ divinity and humanity which sets him above and apart yet aligns him directly with us as well. Do we not have or desire those moments of intimacy – surrounded and uplifted by God? Yet do we not also feel abandoned, helpless, hopeless, frustrated and saddened in difficult times in our lives?

Jesus is there with us. Through his gracious act Jesus is always there with us. And with Jesus is the Giver of all Life, God. And with Jesus is the fulfilling courage and wisdom of the Spirit. Astounding. The LORD sets captives free. Praise the Lord, my soul!


Take a moment with today’s readings and the footnotes in the NAB (link above). Is our life uplifted by gracious acts or gracious works? Is our life eucharistia? We’ve heard about a lot of persecutors in the news this week. Pray for them. Are we one of them?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Through Much Endurance

June 15, 2009

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful; as unrecognized and yet acknowledged; as dying and behold we live; as chastised and yet not put to death; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things. 2 Corinthians 6:8b-10

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” Matthew 5:38-39


Dear God, how in the sinful world can we offer no resistance? Your Son, in his obedience and humanity, stood at trial and offered no resistance when facing execution. Then, when sentenced, no matter how unfairly, he quietly carried his cross up Calvary. Yet we want to act…we want to help defeat evil. Help us to do it using your ways not ours. Amen.


The cultural contradictions of Christianity really emerge in today’s readings.

We have all seen the famous phrase attributed to Gandhi that “an eye for an eye” justice makes the whole world blind. Long before the leader of Indian independence uttered that pronouncement, Jesus was trying to take the spirituality of his followers beyond the retribution ideas expressed in the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus’ audience was intimately familiar with the passage from Leviticus 24:19-20. Anyone who inflicts an injury on his neighbor shall receive the same in return. Limb for limb, eye for eye, tooth for tooth! The same injury that a man gives another shall be inflicted on him in return. Jesus was trying to restore the covenant of love and challenge us. One way he did this was to change the rules with which the people were comfortable. In his contemporary time, Jesus tossed aside the rules of Leviticus. Would he do the same to us? If Jesus were alive today, based on Matthew 5, would he reject the concept of proportionality in the “just war” theory. Among the Principles of the Just War is this one: The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.

However, Jesus said turn the other cheek. No violence was acceptable, even if retaliating for harm done. In doing so, once again Jesus was turning the tables on the belief of the community. You can call Jesus many things, but do not call him conventional.


In isolation, Matthew 5 (and other comments by Jesus) could support a debate position saying that Constantine and Augustine were wrong to advance the “just war principles.” However, the Church exists in the modern world – a world in which we confront evil on the micro- and macro-levels daily. It also is a world in which Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves and to love our enemy.

In this world, the challenges to Christianity abound. For one dose of reality, read Nicholas Kristoff’s essay in this week’s NY Review of Books on the violence in the Sudan (“What to do about Darfur?). Point your browser to http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22771.

If we are going to live up to our Christ-centered responsibilities to our sisters and brothers, what do we do about evil in the world short of sending in troops everywhere there is oppression? Kristoff paints a bleak (chilling?) picture of what is happening in Darfur right now. He writes:

The slaughter in Darfur has now lasted more than six years, longer than World War II, yet the "Save Darfur" movement has stalled—even as the plight of many Darfuris may be worsening. Many advocates for Darfur, myself included, had urged the International Criminal Court to prosecute the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir. We got what we hoped for—on March 4, the court issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. But the immediate result was that Bashir expelled thirteen foreign aid organizations and closed three domestic ones. Millions of Darfuris have been left largely without assistance, and some are already dying.

Looming in the background is the risk that war will reignite between north and south Sudan, and if that happens Darfur will be remembered simply as a mild prologue to an even bloodier war. The north and south are each accumulating weapons and preparing for a resumption of the civil war, which, between 1983 and 2005, killed two million people. South Sudan is scheduled to hold a referendum in 2011 to determine whether it will remain in Sudan or secede, and everybody knows that the southern Sudanese will vote overwhelmingly for separation if the present regime remains in power in Khartoum. But two thirds of Sudan's oil is in the south, and it is almost inconceivable that the north will accept the loss of this oil without a fight. If you believe that Sudan is so wretched that it can't get worse, just wait.

Yikes! The prescription Mr. Kristoff writes for this situation is heavy on military presence, although not direct U.S. intervention including:

Enforcement of a no fly zone with proportional strikes at military aircraft when Sudan uses its military for bombing raids on its own people,
Constructive peace talks with members of the Mandate Darfur coalition
Doing more with sanctions
Diplomatic pressure on China to suspend military sales
Encouraging the overthrown of the Bashir government
Arm sales to south Sudan leaders by our allies (even if we do not do it ourselves).

Do such military and diplomatic solutions square with Matthew 5? If not, then how can we prevent the continued slaughter of innocents? Do we dismiss it with a Cain-like attitude that we are not the keeper for our sisters and brothers?

One side of that argument may not be popular with Catholics on the right. The other may not be popular with Catholics on the left end of the political spectrum. However, a peace-filled solution in the Sudan like those that occurred in South Africa or Poland may not take place for years to come if the international community (including the United States) does not help it along. Is that fair to those who are suffering?

Where are you willing to go?

What are you willing to do?

What comfort zone are you willing to leave behind?

Saturday, June 13, 2009


By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Christ given, self received

We are a Eucharist people. Our Church lives are built around the Eucharist. Eucharist today is the Sacrament most frequented. It is familiar without being fully understood because it is a mystery of our faith. God will always come to us when we receive Eucharist. Accepting Communion is accepting Christ. Communion brings us a deeper oneness with Christ. Eucharist brings with it both commitment and challenge. It is the perfect paradox of giving and receiving. Christ gives self and challenging our gratitude asks us to make a gift of ourselves. Christ freely gives himself and waits on our gift of self to complete Eucharist.

Want to be a Christ

Every Eucharist I receive opens the question of whether I really want to be a Christ. Christ becomes one with me. But he does not force himself on me. I have to welcome him into my life and my spirituality is the work of my becoming one with him. The question spirituality puts on every heart is quite simple. “Am I really willing to be who Christ would have been if he was lucky enough to be me?” Eucharist makes Christ the deepest reality of my life. My freely embracing the mind and the heart of Christ makes me over more fully into whom I am meant to be in Christ. Christ has to become my heartfelt response to life.

Christ’s heart = my heart

Eucharist is as open as the Sacred Heart. We can accept the gift of love. But when we try to put reasons on why another loves us, we take love out of mystery and mystery out of love. The heart has reasons the mind will never comprehend. In life, the mystery of the why of love is out of reach. Justice has a reason. Love does not have a reason. Love belongs to God and wherever there is love, God is there. Love is a response to life the mind grapples with without full comprehension. We often take love for granted even though love is nourished by affirmation.

Eucharist verifies freedom

The aura of mystery and faith surrounding Eucharist prevents total understanding. Eucharist to be gift needs freedom that gives its meaning to gift. Perfect gift calls for a return of love. In Eucharist the gift is Christ. The giving of Christ in Eucharist is intimately connected to the pain and love of the cross. His dying for us motivates the commitment and challenge of Eucharist. Eucharist and the love of Christ are one and the same mystery. That is why Eucharist and the Sacred Heart devotion belong together in our consideration.


Eucharist is the self-gift of Christ. The Eucharist of Christ's love is the giving up of his body and the shedding of his blood for the forgiveness of sins. When we have given up our bodies, shed our blood, washed clean the hurts and tended the suffering of our brothers and sisters around us, we will be a Christ-like Eucharist. The mystery of Eucharist is found in us by our willingness to be vulnerable, to be open, to share our lives and our love. Then we will be able to say with Christ: "This is my body which will be given for you...this is my blood which will be shed for you..."(Luke 22: 19,20).


Eucharist is a way of giving thanks. The most wonderful possible thanks is a total gift of self. Am I willing to be Eucharist for another? Can we truly be Eucharist for a vague someone? Can we ever say "thank you" enough to someone so as to be Eucharist? We need to be able to say "thank you" to the people who come into our lives, for their coming, for the gift they bring by being there. Eucharist, in our Church, is a sign of belonging. When we say thanks by a Eucharistic Celebration, we say “thanks” in Christ. Union with Christ makes our thanks his even as it makes us who we are in Christ. Such a ‘thank you’ gives life to the Church. Our life in Christ makes Christ our love to the Father. Christ becomes our perfect thanks to the Father.

Forever gratitude

Eucharist is the perfect thanks for a gift given without being asked. There is no way we would know how to give thanks for a gift we did not even recognize as given. How will we give thanks to the Lord for all he has given to us? The Psalmist says he will invoke the name of the Lord and be forgiven. Our thanks for forgiveness is heard in Eucharist as the richness of the Christ love we possess as children of God. Our Christ life in Eucharist becomes the cry of thanks ringing down through the ages as the life of the Mystical Body of Christ in us. Sharing Christ's life in Eucharist makes us a part of all the prayers of gratitude. The one same Eucharist belongs to all the ages before us and after us to the end of time. Christ's prayer rings through the ages to the end of time. Because we are part of the Mystical Body of Christ, we belong to all ages. Christ is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. In Christ we are all one.

Living Eucharist

Most of us have never really been challenged to say what Eucharist means. We need to be able to give Eucharist meaning in our lives by saying "thank you" for a gift that is our life. Then, we will really be able to live Eucharist and be Eucharist for each other. Eucharist is the most human mystery of our faith because it literally brings together, in a moment of time, a human response to God. Eucharist goes beyond receiving the bread and wine. Eucharist has a special meaning in each of us. We must be simple as children and as open to Eucharist as a child can be. The following is an example.

Touch of the Divine

A five-year-old child pestered his parents so persistently to receive Eucharist that he was taken to the parish priest. The priest questioned the lad to see if he really understood what the Eucharist was about. When asked what Eucharist meant, the young child took the priest by surprise when he answered: "Eucharist is that moment which happens to someone when he is caught up into God!" What the child was saying, whether he was aware of it or not, was that in the moment of receiving Eucharist, one comes to the realization of what heaven is all about. Heaven is not just someplace to be some day. In Eucharist the reality of heaven is anticipated today, in the here and now. Eucharist touches the beatitude of heaven in this moment. There should be an ecstasy in our Eucharist that is the reality of being caught up into God! Eucharist is our foothold in heaven.

Our life as Eucharist

Christ giving the Eucharist and being one with us needs to meet with our giving Eucharist and being one with him. If Christ is to be recognized in the breaking of the bread, then the Christ of our hearts will burst forth when we can be recognized by the giving of our lives. Eucharist is our life as gift. We have to choose to give the gift of our love and our life. Gift can not be forced out of us. The gift is received as the divine indwelling joining the receiver of the gift with the giver in our very selves. Love goes toward union, and there can be no union greater than the gift of Eucharist, our own and Christ's.

My body – Christ’s body

At the Last Supper Christ shared the last moments of his life with all the anxieties of a father who would have the last chance to talk to his children. He put his heart and his soul into trying to make sense out of the time he had spent with his apostles. The Last Supper discourse is a last will and testament. It reads with the urgency of one taking advantage of a final moment to say something. Eucharist sums up all Christ was trying to say with his life, making possible the giving of life, and claiming the deepest responses of life. The willingness to give became one with the actual giving on the cross. The legacy of Eucharist was willed to us at the Last Supper. We are reminded of this during our liturgical worship at the consecration of the bread and wine. Eucharist is commitment. When a priest holds up the piece of bread and says the words, "This is my body," Christ comes alive again. I am Christ. At that moment, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me! There are times that I am so overwhelmed by this statement it blows my mind. I have to allow the Christ who is the deepest meaning of my life to say, "This is my body". The purgative way, as found in the history of spirituality, is the dying to all the things I am, in order that Christ might truly live in all of me. I have got to be able to shove aside, strip myself of, and shuck all the accretions that our times, our history, our culture and sinfulness put in the way of Christ as the deepest meaning of human life.

Letting Christ out

Reaching the core reactor, the source of all energy, the door of the heart can be flung open and Christ can be let out on the world. Letting Christ out, I come alive with his love in this world. I am able to reach the moment of Eucharist; I am able to say: "This is my body," and mean: "Now I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."(Galatians 2:20)

Mystical Body

Priesthood can be misunderstood. We can lose sight of the fundamental fact that there is only one priest in the history of the Church - Jesus Christ. We are all capable of a share in his ministry. A priest may have a greater share in his power to institute the Eucharist, but together we are a priestly people. When a priest celebrates Eucharist in the name of the people, he is challenging all to celebrate their priesthood. The priest challenges the people to literally offer their bodies, so that the priest may really say in Christ: "This is my body!" Thus the Mystical Body of Christ comes alive.

Commitment to Community

This sets up the moment of Eucharist; the totality of our commitment to live the Christian life. The Christian, by definition, is another Christ. The priest is no longer standing alone before his community saying, "This is my body.” The entire community celebrates with him. He is fully priest when somehow or other he is evoking from everyone who is sharing Eucharist with him, that same response: "This is my body." The strength of our commitment to community and the way we offer our time and energy to each other makes Eucharist come alive as a radical statement of who we are in Christ.


In those who hold back in their offering of themselves, who do not want to give that total gift, their gift is incomplete. We do not invite just anyone to come to Eucharist, but rather invite those people who make a commitment in our Church to each other, to live their lives for each other, to share who they are and what they are for the sake of each other.

Forgiveness- Life-giving

Eucharist has to be the giving up of something essential for the sake of another. There is no greater essential than life. Eucharist is life giving. Christ loves us so much he gives us the very love he has from the Father. It is made possible by the truth of a forgiveness that is just as much a part of Eucharist as the bread that is broken and the wine that is poured. Eucharist is for the sake of forgiveness. The truth of forgiveness is new life. Love is forgiving and life giving at the same time. Eucharist reaches out to the need of another and allows the need of the other to replace our need. We truly have a right to life and we give away our right to life for the sake of another's need.

Freely given

Eucharist is a delicate and sensitive moment. Giving to each other has to be done freely to be gift. We can possess others in such a way that we demand what they give to us. For the gift to be Eucharist it has to be freely given. We have to work at creating the community that would excite people to make such a radical gift and commitment of themselves to each other. We have to want so desperately what the other is offering that our whole being cries out in pain when we cannot have the gift, which is Eucharist. Therefore, a Christian community will never be a boring community. How can we cope with the fact that we could go ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, seventy years as a Catholic, and were never challenged to make the radical commitment: "This is my body."

Atonement brings oneness

We come to the consecration of the wine. "This is my blood which will be shed for the forgiveness of sins." Jesus is offering his life for our sake. His atonement makes us one with each other. His gift adds another dimension to love. We make up for the weakness of our brothers and sisters. In our call to oneness, we must be able to transcend the differences that naturally exist, and see Christ present in each and every member of our community.

Real oneness

How do we deal with differences? The truth of a Christian community is found in the fact that differences do exist. Actually, the mystery of Eucharist is that a Christian community is to be known in the breaking of the bread, and the shedding of the blood. Any community boasting of having members who are all alike is not a Christian community. We do not have a name for it, but if there are not liberals and conservatives, old and young, middle-of-the-roaders, and all the rest, we are not talking about the mystery of how it is possible that such a group could love one another. The radicalness of Christian love is that, somehow or other, differences become unimportant in the light of seeing Christ as the reason to love those brothers and sisters who are apparently different.

Loves inward pull

Somehow the Christian community transcends the inner forces responsible for throwing everything off to the periphery; transcends it by a love that sends everything into the heart of Christ. The statement: See how those Christians love one another," is made from the perspective of this transcendent, centripetal love. The pain of communities, all those things in a community causing people to be rent asunder, the centrifugal force of sin, is set aside. Eucharist is the eternal word of the Sacred Heart, received as a love feeding every heart, nourishing us with Christ's life.

To be Eucharist is to be a giver

Eucharist is the perfect celebration of community. Eucharist belongs to the body of Christ, and while it might be true that a private moment of life could be Eucharist, the dynamic of Eucharist is always going to be the fulfillment that community makes possible. We need each other, and the sight of Eucharist should call us to be givers to each other. To be Eucharist is to be a giver. The only thing we can change in any relationship is what we are giving to the relationship. The truth of a good relationship is the truth of the Eucharist that is given. The more freely we give ourselves, the truer the Eucharist of our lives.


The giving community is a growing community. The community ceasing to give to the real needs of our world is a dying community. Eucharist will reach its fulfillment when our concern touches the whole world. Love calls us beyond the limitations of self-interest. Eucharist belongs to the dream of a world with no boundaries, where there will be no poor and needy. The destiny of Eucharist is that all the riches of our world will meet the needs of God's poor. Eucharist is God's desire to share, and we are worthy of Eucharist when we are willing to share all of our riches with the world. Eucharist is the begging of another to take advantage of our need. What makes it possible is the mystery of Eucharist at work in our hearts, calling us to be the richness of Christ's love to the world.

Human Made Divine

Christ's love is found in Eucharist. We may think of Eucharist as the reality of God's gift to us of his Son. We may think of ourselves as being worthy of this gift, and, therefore, in a sense, being equal to the gift, or we may think of Eucharist as our Lord reaching out and taking us to himself. Then, even as we transcend our human weakness, in that Divine Love, we find in Eucharist such a force of energy and power we are allowed to truly love, to dream the impossible dream, in a world that says that such love is absurd, a scandal, and ridiculous! There has to be in Christian love a radicalness that would make us jealous, would be so exciting that it would make us want to be a part of it.

Born Again

The Church has had to die again and again so as to reflect the meaning of Eucharist. The cross has always been a part of Christianity, and as such gives one of the deepest meanings of Eucharist. Those moments of history when it was not comfortable for people to be special servants of Christ, needed the strengthening power of Eucharist so that members of the Church would be equal to the difficult times, to persecution. Today, when it is difficult to be a priest or religious, even a Christian, it is necessary for us to have a deeper awareness and strength of Eucharist.

Never Alone

Eucharist is the guarantee that God did not leave his people after he had sent his Son, after the Resurrection of his Son. Eucharist is the source of the power of love that is always going to be a challenge in the lives of every one of us. This challenge will, never be fully met, but it will be a means by which we can let Christ make up the difference in our lives, in our love, in the love we give to other people.

Love is Eucharist

Eucharist is the perfect combination of all the pain and suffering of our human race in which Christ is dying again and again. We live in a world where there are millions who have been uprooted, are without a home, or even a space to call their own. There are those who experience hunger every day, and watch others die from that hunger. They demand that we become involved in their lives. We stop being comfortable. Thus our lives are claimed as Eucharist!

Who We Are

All of us have to be lifted out of ourselves so it may be possible for us, in Christ, to discover our real selves. Each of us is called to be a love, and discover a love, that would make Romeo and Juliet seem pikers in the gift they offered to each other. Living the Eucharist of Christ, accepting the challenge to give our lives for the sake of others, and saying each time we come to the celebration, "This is my body," opens each of us to the possibility of that special love.

‘Maxing’ Eucharist

It is not possible for Eucharist to be Eucharist if we wait for someone else to do the work. Each of us is called to be Eucharist to each other in, order for the Eucharist offered on the altar to become truly Christ. All of us are called to give something more than our leftovers - leftovers of time, of resources, of talents. We are called to give our life's blood to each other, to the community, to the Church. We give our all, so that in our celebration, Christ may be alive in us. It is not enough any longer to be talking about the minimal. So many people today ask whether the Church still teaches that you have to go to Mass on Sunday. It is time we wake up to the fact that what the Church is trying to say is that it is not enough just to go to Mass on Sunday. We need more men and women who are willing to go to Mass every day, who are willing to make of their lives a daily Eucharist.

Pearl of Great Price

There are things we would do every day if we could, because we like them and enjoy doing them. If we had a chance to buy the Pearl of Great Price, we know we would offer a great deal for it. Eucharist is the pearl of great price, the greatest God deal of them all. Eucharist is an ignored gift, too often taken for granted. The frequency with which it is received hardly speaks its importance to Christians. The reverence with which one receives Eucharist is hardly ever all it could be. We would never treat a stranger the way we treat our Lord. How much are we really willing to give up of our time, and leisure, and sleep for the chance to celebrate or partake of Eucharist? Have we made of the celebration of Eucharist the centerpiece of a life given to Christ? Do we really claim Eucharist as the pearl of great price in our lives?

Giving Self Away

Fasting and acts of sacrifice can make Eucharist possible. This is not restricted to the seasons of Lent and Advent. To go without eating more than we need may be the beginning of Eucharist; to go without sleeping more than is necessary may be the beginning of Eucharist; to go without buying everything we want may be the beginning of Eucharist. We begin to be something of the Christ who emptied himself of all that belonged to him as Son of God so that he could take on himself our sinfulness. Christ's love can only have the fullness of its reality, of what it is intended to be in us, when we are willing to give all we are to the ones we love. We have to be willing to respond positively to the challenge to be Eucharist.

Demanding Love

We grant you the Church today is not exactly what it was thirty years ago. We are proud and glad it is not. Eucharist demands of us more of a gift than ever before. All of us, religious and lay, are together on a journey. The fullness of our commitment challenges us to live, and live up to, Eucharist. If we do, what we face in each other is Christ, and what others will see in us, is Christ.

Never Taken for Granted

We take the celebration of Eucharist for granted. Many young people would rather be elsewhere than at a Eucharistic celebration. Even Religious, whose lives are meant to be manifestations of their deep love for the Lord, devise alternate celebrations to replace the gift Christ would make of himself in the Eucharist; they do not like a tradition, which puts a premium on a male priesthood. Personal passion and anger replaces Christ's passion and death celebrated in the Eucharistic liturgy. Christ would not force his gift on us, and yet we would force a gift to be given, as we would have it given. Somehow, if we are to be faithful to our traditions, we have to claim Eucharist as the mystery of union. Christ really present in our world today demands the presence of Eucharist. Eucharist today needs the union Eucharist is meant to be. The union with the will of the Father proclaimed by Christ's death on the cross, needs our dying to what is not Christ in us so Eucharist may bring the union of minds and hearts. Living the public life of Christ in our own day and age will allow us to know him in each other by the breaking of the bread.

Freshness of Eucharist

Eucharist calls us to be a forgiving people, We forgive by forgetting. We need to find in the richness of Eucharist a reason to be grateful about each other. We need to enjoy, in the excitement of Eucharist, a fresh start for each other and ourselves. The fresh start of Eucharist is far beyond the extraordinary of a life being saved; a once in a lifetime event is made part of the bread of every day living. We have never been perfect in our relationships with each other. Love calls for the perfect gift and when we give less than ourselves, we are not giving Eucharist.

God’s People

Eucharist makes us a God people. Our being alive in Christ is the Sacrament of the Present Moment. Eucharist can make any moment special, and says that it is not what we are doing, but with how much love we are doing it that is important.

Eucharist of the Present Moment

The love with which we live makes our celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice all the more real. The Pharisee had mastered what law was all about. The Christian needs to master what the love of Christ is all about. The beauty of the Mystical Body of Christ is the goodness of Christian lives. Christianity, to be real, needs to claim from our hearts the integration of what we say with what we do. Eucharist is the capturing of the love of God in an action using the staff of life, bread, as the symbol of food, and wine as the symbol of drink, to show us the fullness of God's being involved in our lives. The fullness of our response to life is possible if we would make of every moment of our lives something special in the power of a life lived as Eucharist.

The Perfect Answer

Eucharist makes it possible for us to take the Cross of Christ on our shoulders, to express his heart, and to lay our claim to his Resurrection. The Resurrection is God's statement that Eucharist is life, that dying for the sake of one another is a gift of life that will make us whole and one again. Now there is an answer to the question: "What shall I return to the Lord for all he has given me?" Eucharist is the perfect answer. We need to say to each other: I will give you Eucharist. I will give you Christ. The Christ who is my body, my blood, is now also my life, your life, and we are one. The gift that is given and the gift received make it possible for the Word who is Love, to be made flesh, yours and mine. My 'yes' to your gift and your `yes' to my gift become the heartbeat of the New Creation.

Receiving is Giving

Eucharist is re-creation, a reaching out to all with the pains of our sufferings, and the joys of our happiness which, in the giving, have now become another Eucharist, another Hymn of Thanksgiving. As our bodies and our life's blood give new life to our world, our yes to the challenge of Christ's Eucharist becomes our commitment to his way, his truth, and his life. Our very lives become Christ's Eucharist to the world. The gift given is truly passed on. In the very giving, the meaning of Christ's Eucharist is fulfilled with our yes, which has become his gift to the needs of others. We show our thanks for his gift by giving our gift. The love that we pass on becomes the secret of holding on to his love. The only way to hold on to his love is to share it in Eucharist. Eucharist is Eucharist.

We pray to the Lord:

Lord of giving, you have opened our hearts by the totalness of the gift you have made of yourself. Allow us to begin the gesture of a return for all that you have done for us. Allow us to be great givers and total responders for all we have received through your Word. Allow the mystery of how you are in our lives to make of us true Eucharist to all that need the gift we have to offer. Allow us to never count the cost of giving, in the hope we have of giving your gift. Let us be willing to take the challenge involved in giving. Make us worthy to be called Christians in the totalness of our giving.

Lord of commitment, you have called forth from our hearts an equal need to make the love we would offer last forever. Help us to take away time limits in what we give. Allow us to eternalize the gift of any moment of our lives. You are always faithful to your promise, call forth from our hearts a fidelity that will know no end. Allow us to be Christ-like in the fullness of the following of you so that we will never know a limit of time or place for the Eucharist we would make of our lives. Permit the exchange of our hearts so we may know the unity of the entire human race in Christ's heart, now ours.

Giver of the gratitude that is Eucharist allows us to be Eucharist. Makes it possible for us to be truly grateful in all we do and say. Make us resound with a joy capable of claiming the gratitude of our friends for you. Gift us with the life of your Son so that our gratitude may reach you, giver of all we are. Let us be grateful servants in the truth of the Eucharist our lives can be for each other. Let us make of our lives a hymn of thanksgiving. Let our Eucharist be for all commitment and challenge.

Help us to answer the question of whether we would be willing to be who Christ would have been if he were lucky enough to be us by the Eucharist we would make of our lives for one another.