Sunday, October 31, 2010

Worthy of His Calling

October 31, 2010
Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

Indeed, before you the whole universe is as a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook the sins of men that they may repent. Wisdom 11:22-23

To this end, we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. Luke 19:5-6

“Zacchaeus, come down” is an invitation of the Lord to all of us. The Lord sees every effort we put out to find him. I imagine Zacchaeus as a very dignified man. A tax collector has a position of responsibility. He is disliked because of his job to collect taxes for Rome. He is considered a traitor to his people because he is working for the oppressors. Yet he wanted to have a clear vision of Christ. He is small of stature and thus not able to see over the heads of the crowd. Jesus intended to pass through the town until he saw the effort Zacchaeus put on to be able to see him. Jesus comes to Zacchaeus just as he would come to us for the efforts we put out to be close to Christ. What I do in my life that might seem foolish to my world come alive with meaning if that is how I am searching for Christ. Christ makes a big thing out of the littlest thing I would do to be closer to him.

We study how to be closer to Christ each day of our lives by the Examen of Consciousness of Christ ( in our days. The practice is called the Examen. We check out before we go to sleep what God was doing in our lives through Christ. Christ is the deeper level of meaning in everything we do in our love for one another. Our piety is how we live our lives in Christ. Our study of how Christ is in our day reveals the mystical of our day. How Christ is in everything we do can never be taken for granted. We find more of his presence in our lives by looking for him. When we see movements of his closeness we offer gratitude to the Lord. Then we look for ways to improve our awareness of what he is doing for us. Seeing him there makes us move heaven and earth to come closer to him. We regret the moments we missed him. We promise to do better. How we plan to do better is the particular Examen.

The best of all our actions of the day is our prayer. Prayer is more than words. We are Contemplatives in Action when we realize that everything we do is for the Lord. Christ came to spread the good news that God loves us. We identify with the love of Christ when we are reaching out to the last and the least of our fiends. What we do for the needy Christ takes as done for himself. How we love the Christ that is in the hungry, the naked, the sick, the prisoner, the homeless is found in anything and all that we would do to alleviate the suffering of the unfortunate in our world. It might be just a prayer that someone else reach out to the person we are unable to help. Christ comes to save the lost. What we do in his name makes us Christ to our world. Thus the name of our Lord Jesus is glorified in us and we in Christ in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Companions at the Table

October 30, 2010
Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

My eager expectation and hope is that I shall not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness, now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. Philippians 1:20-21

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.” Luke 14:8-9

As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.
My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?
My tears have been my food day and night, as they ask daily, “Where is your God?”
Those times I recall as I pour out my soul,
When I went in procession with the crowd, I went with them to the house of God,
Amid loud cries of thanksgiving, with the multitude keeping festival. Psalm 42:2-25

Why were banquets so important to Jesus? Don’t forget that his dear cousin John the Baptist’s execution was sealed in the deal made by Herod at the banquet for his birthday. Talking about banquets may also have been a popular image in Biblical Palestine where life was not easy and attending a banquet was probably a very infrequent occurrence. So the aspiration to be invited to a banquet might be a very attention-getting story for Jesus to use in his preaching and teaching.

Today, the experience might be like attending a sporting event, concert or show for your favorite team or performer. When you arrive at the Verizon Center, Nissan Pavilion or the Kennedy Center, you rush down to the front row for that Wizards game, Lady GaGa concert or performance of Phantom of the Opera. However, just before the proverbial curtain goes up, the usher taps you on the shoulder and has some VIP (mayor, senator, congress-member, etc.) whom he wants to place in your coveted seat. The curtain goes down on your ability to boast to your friends about seeing up-close and personal John Wall torch the nets for 30 points, Lady GaGa torch the audience or the Phantom torch the theatre.

Place yourself instead inside the picture of this imaginary banquet painted by Jesus. Image your eager self invited to this banquet and finding upon arrival that the best seats in the house have not already been taken. You not only would be pleased to be there, you would rush to those seats of honor. Imagine the similar crushing emotion when asked to give up that seat to a scribe or Pharisee who arrived later than you. The best course of action: Take the lowest place and enjoy the company of your companions. Then, if given an honor, step up and accept it in the same spirit of humility.

It also is interesting to note that this banquet story immediately precedes the story of the great banquet to which many were invited but refused the invitation. How many times do we send our regrets because work gets in the way of fellowship? Certainly, we do not want to be counted among those who are a “no-show” at the banquet ordered up in honor of Jesus of Nazareth.

You have the ability to vicariously participate in a banquet held in the honor of Jesus of Nazareth with your fruitful labor.

As you know may know, many Cursillo companions at table also are involved in a prison ministry known as Kairos. What is Kairos? The mission of the Kairos Prison Ministry is to bring Christ's love and forgiveness to all incarcerated individuals, their families and those who work with them, and to assist in the transition of becoming a productive citizen.

Why support Kairos? In addition to the fact that is one of the Corporal Acts of Mercy, there is a fiscal reason: 95 percent of all incarcerated men, women and youth are ultimately released. Most move back into the community. Their success is greatly multiplied when they have a religious experience while incarcerated.

If ex-offenders do not go back to prison we are all safer, we save an incredible amount of money and the community is healthier! Recent studies indicate that Kairos prison ministry reduces the return to prison rate by 70%. This saves the taxpayers millions of dollars every year.

Recently, The Virginia Department of Corrections revealed that in those prisons which have an active KAIROS program, violent incidents (inmate to inmate or inmate to guard) are decreased by 80 percent. This also has helped drop the attrition rate of guards in those prisons by 50 percent. That also helps save our tax dollars in addition to making the prisons a safer environment.

How can YOU help? In addition to your prayers for the next Kairos weekend, you are being asked to bake cookies. Yes that is right "cookies."

Cookies are a highlight on the retreat where the team introduces these men to the Lord many times for the first time. They are an inducement for the prisoners to come to the retreat and it works. But they need a whole lot of cookies: One of our Cursillistas has been asked to bring 100-120 dozen with him to meet their needs. So, YOU can help by bringing any number of homemade cookies to St. Mary of Sorrows next weekend -- Saturday and Sunday, Nov 6 & 7 – and placing them in the marked box in the foyer of the Parish Center. Your parish also may have people active in Kairos to whom you can drop off cookies.

Directions on what cookies are allowed and how to package them are at If you have children or grandchildren in either Confirmation or high school Civics, this is a easy way for them to get those needed service hours--a win-win!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

But They Kept Silent

October 29, 2010
Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

How great are the works of the Lord! (Psalms 111:2)

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question. (Luke 14:1-6)

Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I may not keep silent when You ask me questions to which love and compassion and strength in You are the answers.

The answers to Jesus’s questions in today’s Gospel seem so easy to us. Of course we should cure whenever we have the opportunity, Sabbath or no. But the answers likely seemed just as easy for the Pharisees. After all, they were so intent on following the letter of the law that during the persecutions of Antiochus, they refused to defend themselves against an attack because it came on the Sabbath.

Remaining silent often seems the prudent course—when we are so dumbfounded by the question that we see no point in answering; when we don’t know the answer; or, worst of all, when we are ashamed or fearful about the answer we would give. But in those cases, shutting down the potential for dialogue keeps us from sowing seeds and from learning from the knowledge of others.

In today’s first reading, Paul prays that our Christian love grow in knowledge and perception. That can’t happen in a vacuum. Don’t understand why we’re moving to a new translation of the Roman Missal? Ask. Don’t understand why some of the ordained advise people to vote for or against political candidates while others don’t? Ask. Don’t understand where your weekly contributions to your parish go? Ask.

And if the people who should be able to give you the answers remain silent, keep asking.

What is the question Jesus is asking you that you are not answering, from fear or pride or self-righteousness? Through contemplative prayer or sharing with a trusted friend or family member, work on finding a way to respond.

He Chose

October 28, 2010
Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles… Luke 6:12-13

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way!
(Traditional Hymn)

What do you do when you have a big decision to make? Are you a legal pad kind of decider? Take the yellow-ruled paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side list the “pro” factors. On the other side list the “con” factors. Through some process weighing each side, figure out which course is best and go with that one.

What happens when you have to pick between two options which are both overwhelmingly positive? Or what if neither choice seems any good? That yellow pad does not hold all the answers or even the pathway to the right answer.

Jesus had a fairly big momentous decision to make. He pulled himself back from the activity of daily life and sought solitude with the Father. And his recent activities were certainly starting to stir up the local authorities. The scribes and the Pharisees were starting to plot to get Jesus because he was healing on the Sabbath and violating other Jewish customs. Jesus got fully involved in what we might today call a “retreat.”

He departed.
He spent the night in prayer to God.
He came down from the mountain.
He called his disciples.
He chose the Twelve.

I bet there was no legal pad on that mountain. Even without one, Jesus built a foundation with those Twelve choices. He was the capstone, the keystone, the cornerstone. But Jesus was not the whole building. If he was going to build the Kingdom of God on earth, then he needed help. He needed a foundation. He did not take out a help wanted ad. He did not hire a head-hunter. He did not wade through resumes.

He departed.
He spent the night in prayer to God.
He came down from the mountain.
He called his disciples.
He chose the Twelve.

If we imitate Jesus, if we make decisions this same way, then our building will be held together with that same capstone. We will be bound together with others who turn to the Lord in prayer so that we will be built together into the dwelling place for God.

What big decision do you have to make?

Considering changing jobs? Refinancing your mortgage? Buying a new house or apartment and moving? Hiring new staff? Making gifts to charity? Making other major purchases?

Jesus shows us the way to make big decisions. How can you adapt his approach to the decision you face?

He departed.
He spent the night in prayer to God.
He came down from the mountain.
He called his disciples.
He chose the Twelve.

Now that the foundation is built, additional laborers are needed. Are you ready? Are you ready for Jesus to choose you? Are you ready if he does not?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seeing Christ in Everything

October 27, 2010
Wednesday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O’Sullivan

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord. Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, willingly serving the Lord and not men, knowing that each will be requited from the Lord for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Masters, act in the same way towards them, and stop bullying, knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven and that with him there is no partiality. (Ephesians 6:1-9)

Suscipe (St. Ignatius of Loyola)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.

Our reading today from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a small part of a larger section of advice from the apostle on how to live as Christians on an everyday basis. In these verses, the apostle addresses fathers and children as well as slaves and masters. Children should honor their parents and obey them. Fathers should bring their children up to know the Lord and his teachings and do so in a manner that doesn’t incite their children to anger. All advice that we should heed today in family relationships.

But what about his words to slaves and masters? After having fought a bloody civil war almost 150 years ago in this country which resulted in slavery being abolished here, St. Paul’s words on the subject sound somewhat shocking to our ears. “Slaves, be obedient to your human masters…” However, we need to take into account that this letter was written in the first century and that, at that time, slavery was an entrenched institution throughout the Roman Empire. More importantly, the apostle enjoins both slaves and masters to go about their business as “slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, willingly serving the Lord and not men.”

I think St. Paul is telling us that no matter what our station in life, the important thing is to live in Christ, to be aware of God’s presence in every aspect and moment of your life. In my Cursillo group, we are reading The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by James Martin, S.J. In the book, the author relates the story of the life of one of the Jesuit saints, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (1532-1617). He was a Jesuit brother “who for forty-six years served at the Jesuit college in Majorca, Spain, in the humble job of a porter, or doorkeeper.” He was responsible for ushering in visitors, finding the students they wanted to visit, taking messages, giving alms when requested, etc. The remarkable thing is that he was always looking for God in every moment of that humdrum job. He prayed, “’Lord let me know you. And let me know myself.’” Whenever the doorbell rang, he imagined “that it was God himself who was standing outside seeking entrance. On his way, he would say, ‘I’m coming, Lord!”’ (p. 100)

I wish I could say that I am as conscious of God’s presence at every moment as St. Alphonsus was. Certainly when I’m at Mass or meeting with my Cursillo group or praying, I’m aware of God’s presence. But what about when I’m taking out the garbage, unloading the dishwasher, listening to a co-worker, writing a report or answering my phone at work? Imagine how different my life would be if I really did see Christ in everything!

Take a few moments to reflect on your day. When you interacted with your spouse or your children this morning, were you conscious of Christ’s presence? What about when you were driving to work on the Beltway or I-66 or when you were riding the Metro? Think of all the ordinary things you do every day and reflect on how extraordinarily wonderful your life could be if you could feel Christ’s presence in every aspect of it!

If you’re looking for a good book to read on finding God in every aspect of your life, I strongly recommend The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything.

Happy are all who fear the LORD

October 26, 2010
Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

Brothers and sisters: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)

For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the Church, because we are members of his Body. (Ephesians 5:29)

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.” (Luke 13:18,19)

O God, enlighten our leaders and those who are running for office. Strengthen them spiritually. May they overcome partisan differences and be true public servants for the benefit of everyone in our country while remembering the needs of our global neighbors. Give us the courage to fulfill our civil duties yet always following first the Risen Christ, who through his Passion, has truly brought us spiritual victory for our salvation.
(based on the words of Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez)

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians speaks about the great mystery of Christ’s relationship to the church and brings it home to how we, members of Christ’s body and children of God, should live out that relationship. It is rooted in love! Respect and life is precious. Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. He uses the analogies of husband and wife and Christ and church. We could use the analogy of neighbors, friends, or even people who are different from us because it is Christ’s sacrifice which allows us to live.

We marvel that the mustard seed becomes a huge plant; it shows us God’s wonder. But there is a miracle within the marvel because the bush is larger than its own life as it provides homes for birds and nourishment for humans. God’s creation is so precious and such a generous gift. As we grow in our relationship with God, do we provide a home for others to sing their songs or in which to find fruit?

Despite sin, despite failure, despite human refusal to humbly accept our own smallness God so loves us and the mystery of Christ’s love of us prevails. Strive this week to consider how much you – and every human – are loved.

As Election Day gets closer, the rhetoric and accusations are increasingly disrespectful, hateful, hurtful and often full of lies. Try to humbly take your place as a member of Christ’s body and consider that other perspectives might have some good, some truth within them. Take time each day before the elections to pray for politicians and (this one might be difficult) journalists and “pundits”, especially those members with whom you most disagree. Pray that love motivate them not greed or desire for power. Don’t pray that the election will go the way you want. Pray instead that the life-giving force of love prevail. If we, as members of Christ’s body are busy praying, we will have less time to be part of the divisiveness.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You Are Set Free

October 25, 2010
Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Ephesians 5:8-9

He was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. Luke 13:10-13

Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, Nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers.
Rather, the law of the LORD is their joy; God's law they study day and night.
They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.
But not the wicked! They are like chaff driven by the wind.
Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.
The LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. (Psalm 1:1-6)

“Let God love you.” With these words, Sister Agnes kicked off a recent weekend for men at the Dominican Retreat House. Today’s scripture passage reminds me of that little instruction. Let God love you, on God’s terms.

If we behave like God, then the very first song in the Book of Psalms gives us a luxurious image of what our life will be like. The crippled woman wanted to prosper so she woke up that morning and decided to head to the synagogue and ask for healing. She, too, knew it was the Sabbath. Yet she was willing to let God love her on God’s terms.

The crippled woman turned to Jesus for his love and was healed. No matter what our affliction or addiction, filling our lives with Jesus gives up the chance to replace what ails us with who love us. When we fully rely on God, we can stand straight up for Him no matter what or whom is the adversary.

Sometimes, we put our possessions or our leadership positions in society, jobs, church or elsewhere ahead of letting God love us. That is the attitude taken by the leader of this synagogue who told Jesus not to cure on the Sabbath. He was still living in darkness.

If we let God love us, who are we to tell God when to love us? God does not mark time in minutes, hours or days. God does not mark time in weeks, months or even years. God is present always and loves us always. Neither we nor any synagogue leader can erect barriers nor burdens nor limits to that love because as we read in Romans, “nothing can stop us from the love of our God.”

St. Paul tells us to be imitators of God. As we move into the light of the Lord, we must be like God in the example of Jesus who encouraged us to be perfect as the Father is perfect. We may not attain perfection but that does not mean perfection is not a goal for us.

Thinking in terms of a strategic plan, if perfection is the goal, then we can pursue perfection with one objective: Share God’s love by putting love in action everyday by being merciful to all those you encounter.

Who will be the object of your perfection pursuit today? Who will you encounter next? Maybe that is why he or she was sent into your life. See everyone you meet today as an instrument sent by God to let you love them as God loves them. The next person you meet may hold your ticket to perfection (heaven). All aboard!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

No Favorites

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

For he is a God of justice, who knows no favorites. Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed. Sirach 35:12-13

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 18:13-14

The Lord gradually strips us of all the pious practices we do for the sake of looking holy. Gradually we come to realize that only God is holy and we surrender to the work of the Lord in us. We draw closer to the Lord as we pray from the distance our humility gives us. Our spiritual righteousness can get us into trouble. When Paul talks about his righteousness, he says he has competed well. He talks about having finished the race. He has kept the faith. Paul accepts the fact that Christ is his justification. Paul has soaked his life with Christ. He has died with Christ so that he might rise in Christ. The closeness to Christ is the race he is on. Paul sees Christ through the eyes of Christ, the just judge. Paul longs for the closeness to Christ that is the crown of righteousness that awaits us for the good we have done in our lives. Our piety is made u p with all the ways we have lived out Christ’s way of doing things. To long for the appearance of Christ is to long for finding ourselves in Christ.

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is a case study on how to pray. Honesty makes me challenge myself on how I pray. The Pharisee lives in me when I am going through the routine of community prayer without my heart in what I am doing. Humility is what the tax collector teaches. His cry for mercy is seen in his prayer of the body. He does not raise his eyes to heaven because he knows himself as a sinner. He beats his breast as a sign of his sinfulness and his need to put his heart into the prayer. He is exalted because he humbled himself. The Pharisee is humbled because he exalted himself. Our reading from Sirach says it all. “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.” The one who serves God willingly has prayer heard by God and answered. The Lord does not delay to judge justly. Psalm 34 says it neatly. “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” The Lord redeems the lives of his servants.

I put my heart into my prayer by focusing the Lord as best I can. I look at the eyes of Christ on the cross and see the world through his eyes. I see the look he gives his Father and the look Christ has for me. My prayer goes to God through Christ. Christ is the Word of the Father’s love for us in his dying on the cross for our redemption. Christ would be my word to the Father asking from him forgiveness for all my ingratitude for what he Christ has done for me. Again and again I will bring my prayer to the Christ of the Cross to feel his embrace and forgiveness of the sinfulness I bring to his embrace from the cross. Christ is our hope for the mercy of God. All our trust in self must give way to oneness with the love of Christ who dies for us that we might have his life.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Living Truth in Love

October 23, 2010
Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16

“[H]e said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. (So) cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:7-9

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

Shall we “be like a child” as Christ tells his disciples? Or shall we wait for the time when, as St. Paul writes today, we “attain mature manhood?” These competing allusions to “age” -- being childlike and being mature – actually may not in fact present opposite views but similar views.

Jesus encouraged us to be childlike and to be reborn (from above or in the Spirit). In fact, these were not statements about the age, but of the characteristics with which we must take on in order to be known as children of God.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4

In order to achieve this level of humility and innocence, St. Paul recognizes that it will take maturity and experience gained through lives devoted to piety, study and action. Through these experiences, we have the path to “live the truth in love.”

The maturity of which St. Paul refers also is not about age. Maturity refers to living in “perfection” and with “mercy” and “humility.” If we are growing, we must grow toward the light, toward the perfection which Jesus showed us as his example in life when he descended in order to ascend. Thus, our goal as children of God is live and act and love in such a fashion that we may ascend to the same heights as Jesus did in this life and in the life with Him to come.

The other key lesson in today’s Scripture is about change. “Repent!” With this growth, we will grow away from our old selves and into new persons in unity with Christ. If we do not change, Jesus paints a pretty bleak picture of the future. However, the bleak future of our old selves can live in the hope of change thanks to the enduring patience of our God who acts like the tolerant gardener, always cultivating and fertilizing and pruning us for a fruitful and enduring life in the Spirit.

If this change and growth comes slowly, how can we help the process move along?

In a talk last weekend at the Dominican Retreat House, Friar Jude Winkler, OFM Conv., listed any number of behaviors to which we are “addicted.” There are many such sources of these lists. Here is one sample. Are you “addicted to any of these things or behaviors?

The more we pursue any of these, Fr. Jude explained, the less room Jesus has in our lives. However, he warned those listening that we can not change them all at once. “Pick one and work on that,” he encouraged.

Which addiction can you pick to work on and eliminate so that your fig tree will have more room to bear fruit?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Live in a Manner Worthy of the Call You Have Received

October 22, 2010
Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

Brothers and sisters: I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
(Ephesians 4:1-6)

Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. (Psalms 24:6)

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” (Luke 12:54-56)

Lord, I ask You to help me focus on the signs of Your presence in my life today instead of on what may or may not happen tomorrow.

It’s just eleven days away, the voting for thirty-seven Senate seats, 435 House seats, and a variety of state and local offices. Prognosticators and office water cooler experts have spent untold hours jawing about the likely party shifts.

It all matters, of course, because it matters who we elect as our leaders. But sometimes, we get so caught up in talking about what’s going to happen in the future—whether it’s a Senate seat, the American Idol title, or the amount of snow that will fall in the coming winter--that we resemble the crowd Jesus castigates in today’s Gospel reading. They were so concerned with forecasting the future—in this example, the weather, based on their knowledge of historical patterns—that they missed other signs—the coming of John the Baptist; John’s identification of Jesus as “the son of God; the fact that Simeon, who had been promised Christ would appear in his lifetime, had died;" the list goes on and on.

The Lord doesn’t call us to live our days doing the best we can to predict what will happen tomorrow. Rather, He calls us to live, as Paul says, “in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” The call we have received is to live and love in Christ’s example. And we don’t need a handicap sheet or the Farmer’s Almanac to do that.

Spend at least thirty minutes today living in the moment, rather than thinking and planning for the next hour or the next day or the next week.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


October 20, 2010
Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Luke 12:49-51

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21

If we ever needed St. Paul’s prayer for understanding God in Ephesians, today is the day. Everywhere Jesus walked, he greeted people with words of peace. He told his friends to greet others in peace when he set the apostles out on their mission. When he greeted them after the resurrection in the Upper Room, he said, “Peace be with you” even though he knew there was fear in their hearts. Jesus was the “peace-be-with-you” kind of a guy.

So what do we make of the Gospel?

Fire for us is a terrible thing. Fire comes after attack as we saw on September 11, 2001. Fire destroys lives and homes in California and the west when it goes wild at various times throughout the year. However, fire also is a purifying ritual in the Bible. Fire refines. Fire separates. Fire purges.

If left to our own free will (mixed with a generous portion of temptation from the world), we will never be ready for God’s mission he has envisioned for us. Jesus wants to separate us from any distractions, possessions and diversions which will keep us from that mission.

When we accept this work on earth, we may not be greeted with universal acceptance. People will wonder what we are doing, why we are doing it and why this work matters so much. Even our own families may not understand the direction in which we are led by Jesus’ message.

We see the first true example of this division in our Holy Week rituals and Mass. From the triumph of Jerusalem to the triumph over death on Calvary, Jesus’ own friends, family and neighbors are scattered for fear of death. They run away. They put him on trial and as he hangs on the cross, only a very few are there with him to the bitter yet so sweet new beginning.

As we approach an election less than two weeks away, it is easy to allow the media and our own personal opinions to divide us. Red states. Blue states. Purple states. Striped states. Republican. Democrat. Tea Party. Coffee Party. Jack Daniels Party. Whatever.

Yet in Christ we can be, and are indeed, united. As Paul prayed, we are united in our connection back to the same God who loves us all. He loves us so we can be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self. He loves us so we may know that His son, our friend and brother Jesus dwells in our hearts through faith rooted and grounded in love (action).

Make our unity in Christ’s love be foremost in your minds and hearts for the next two weeks and always. There is always room for informed debates on policy. Yet there is never room to destroy or hate others just because they disagree with you.

People go to the gym, county recreation center, Lifetime Fitness or our basement to work out our muscles and build up strength before we go out into the world. Before we can work on our mission for God the world, we need to work on our inner muscles as well. Paul prayed for strength through the Spirit for our inner selves. Put on your calendar time every day to work on both your physical strength and your inner strength so you can be prepared to tackle the divisive road ahead with love for all.

Hang your hatred on a tree and put your love into action.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bring a Friend to Christ

October 20, 2010
Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O'Sullivan

Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
For great in your midst
Is the Holy One of Israel!
(Isaiah 12:6)

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 3:7-10)

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come… Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” (Luke 12;39-40, 48b)

…Give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name;
Among the nations make known his deeds,
Proclaim how exalted is his name.
(Isaiah 12:4)

Any one of today’s Scripture readings alone could have served as the basis for a whole Daily Tripod, but when I read them in their entirety, I thought what a perfect combination they are for what we’re about in Cursillo.

First, we are reminded of the wondrous gift we have received. In Isaiah 12 we are entreated to sing with exultation and thanksgiving, for the Holy One of Israel is in our midst! God is with us! St. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, says this God in our midst is to be found in the "inscrutable riches of Christ."

St. Paul goes on to say that by the gift of God’s grace, he has been called to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, to bring them to faith in the Lord.

Not many of us have had the dramatic sort of revelation the apostle Paul experienced on the road to Damascus, but we are all called in our own ways to spread the Gospel. In Cursillo, we say we are called to “make a friend, be a friend, and bring a friend to Christ.”

The Gospel reading for today serves to lend urgency to our efforts. We don’t know how many tomorrows we will have before we are called to account for our actions. We have been entrusted with the greatest gift of all, salvation in Christ, and, therefore, great things will be expected of us.

Make a friend. Be a friend. Bring a friend to Christ. Making friends has never been something I’ve worried about. Wherever life has taken me, I’ve made friends along the way. I don’t think being a friend is that difficult, either. Yes, you have to put some effort into maintaining friendships, but if you treat your friends the way you wish they would treat you, you will be a good friend.

But how do you bring a friend to Christ? That’s a little more difficult. If you’ve ever read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, you know that you aren’t likely to succeed by trying to force your ideas wholesale on someone without respect for who they are and what their experiences have been. Bringing someone to Christ is, I think, often a much subtler process, akin to what happens in the parable of the sower. You sow the seeds. You water them and feed them. Some of them will grow to fruition and some won’t. Some of the seeds could take so long to mature that you yourself may never see the resulting plant. But, nonetheless, we are called to plant those seeds.

Before you plant any seeds, though, you may need to get outside of your comfort zone. We all have friends through Cursillo and other church groups and, for many of us, these tend to be the majority of people we socialize and interact with. But these friends are already Christians! You need to be thinking of other people you encounter, maybe at work, maybe on your street, maybe as close as in your home.

The first seed is planted through prayer. Pray that Jesus will work through you to touch your friends and pray that your friends will respond with open hearts. Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, speaker, columnist and author, writes a weekly column for his website. He wrote one a few months ago about what you can do when someone in your family is not a believer or has fallen away from the practice of his or her faith. What he says applies to bringing anyone to Christ: When you love someone and pray for them, “he or she is touching the ‘hem of Christ’s garment,’ is being held to the Body of Christ…They are touching the Body of Christ because your touch is Christ’s touch.” So pray, pray, pray!(, “Touching Our Loved ones Inside the Body of Christ”)

The second seed has to do with yourself, with exemplifying the faith to which you are calling your friend. In order to have credibility as a witness to Christ, you have to be something or embody something that someone else would like to be or have. You have to be the face of Christ to your friends. You have to be faithful, prayerful, kind, generous, etc.

There are many other seeds involved in this whole process of bringing a friend to Christ, but these are two I often think about.

On Monday nights at 8:00 I like to watch “The Journey Home” on EWTN. Each week a different guest tells his or her story of coming to or returning to the Catholic Church. Many of the guests are Christians who have come from other churches, but for some, the Catholic Church is where they first met Christ. If you have time some Monday evening, it’s worth watching.

Take a few minutes today to prayerfully reflect on your own faith journey and to give thanks for those who have sown the seeds of faith in your life. What was it about them that brought you closer to Christ?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blessed are Vigilant Servants

October 19, 2010
Memorial of Saint John de Brébeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and their companions

By Beth DeCristofaro

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the Blood of Christ. … Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:13, 19-22)

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. (Luke 12:37)

Jesus, our Brother, you won the heart of St. Isaac Jogues and helped him grow as a caring, courageous person. He dedicated his life to sharing his love for you by carrying the Good News about your love for all people to others. Remembering the spirit of St. Isaac Jogues, may we all grow in caring and courage. Help each of us, Jesus, to be strong and gentle messengers of your love. Amen.

What a gift – unearned and free – we have been given, that Jesus calls us to be part of the dwelling place of God which He is building here on earth. Each day, each minute that we breathe that call is renewed, such is the generosity of a God who would “wait on us” out of His great love.

Yet why do I find myself in such difficulty with this gift? What Jesus asks of me, vigilance and constancy to Him and help in building of the Kingdom, just seems overwhelming much of the time. While I sure spend enough time preparing for a family trip or projects at work perhaps part of my problem can be illustrated in my attitude about housework. And that analogy is apt with Jesus’ example of the servants waiting the return of the master. For me, housework is always there, it is boring, it can feel demeaning and if I don’t get it done then I can do it tomorrow…or the next day. At times I treat Jesus the same way. Because Jesus is always with me, if I don’t talk to Him today then I can talk with Him tomorrow…or the next day. If you saw my house, you’d know how that goes! That is certainly not vigilance.

And then there are stories like those of Saint John de Brébeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues. Their stories are inspiring and frightening. Their vigilance was to be called thousands of miles from their lives, agreeing to live in cold, primitive, dangerous conditions out of love for God and then to be horribly tortured and killed. No wonder I’m overwhelmed with the thought of being so vigilant. But I have never been called to such faithfulness. I am called to be faithful here in this relatively safe although fast-paced, materialistic and decadent country. May my prayer be for courage to remain vigilance when boredom, distractions and arrogance tempt me.

Pray for those who have difficulty with vigilance. Pray that they might be given the perseverance and courage to await the bridegroom with enthusiasm and service. Pray also for people around the world, of many faiths, who are being persecuted for their faith. An interesting article, one of a series on the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, can be found in National Catholic Reporter about the state of Christians (and Muslems) in Iraq.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Only Luke is with Me

October 18, 2010
Feast of St. Luke, evangelist

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. 2 Timothy 4:16-17

He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’” Luke 10:2-5

Saint Luke brought us the Gospel, the news of the Rising Sun from on high.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has come to his people and brought about their redemption. He has raised up the sign of salvation in the house of his servant David, as he promised through the mouth of the holy ones, his prophets through the ages: to rescue us from our enemies and all who hate us, to take pity on our fathers, to remember his holy covenant and the oath he swore to Abraham our father, that he would give himself to us, that we could serve him without fear – freed from the hands of our enemies – in uprightness and holiness before him, for all of our days.

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High: for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his path, to let his people know their salvation, so that their sins may be forgiven. Through the bottomless mercy of our God, one born on high will visit us to give light to those who walk in darkness, who live in the shadow of death; to lead our feet in the path of peace. Luke 1:68-79

If the proofreaders were sleeping tonight, then you might be reading about how to “Feast off St. Luke.” They spelling checker did help me find and correct the typo in the headline. However, I almost left it in place because in this Liturgical Cycle C, we have indeed been “feasting off” the words and stories brought to us by St. Luke, evangelist and social worker throughout the year. Luke is the patron saint of artists, brewers, butchers, doctors, notaries, and painters.

Luke provides the largest portion of the content in the New Testament. Not only did he write down one of the four major books of the New Testament, but he also composed Acts of the Apostles and accompanied Paul on his journey to Rome (as we learn in today’s first reading).

Luke details the merciful side of Jesus emphasizing the Lord’s compassion and patience with the sinners and the people who are suffering including Samaritans, sinners and shepherds. St. Luke also delivers many of the best stories in the Gospel, passing on the parables of the sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet, the lost sheep and coin, the prodigal son, and the good thief. Average people like you and I appear throughout his Gospel – sinners, widows, carpenters, soldiers, and more.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible appears in Luke where Jesus lays out the plan for his public ministry, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. This Nazareth manifesto guides Jesus’ public ministry in that first temple visit and also foreshadows Jesus’ challenge to the authorities (Luke 4:16-21). This both set in motion his public ministry and also confounded the people listening and set in motion his rejection in his hometown and his ultimate rejection by the Jewish people.

According to Catholic Online, Luke’s is the “gospel of the poor and of social justice.” He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses “Blessed are the poor” instead of “Blessed are the poor in spirit” in the beatitudes. Only in Luke's gospel do we hear the Canticle of Mary and the Canticle of Zechariah, cornerstones of the Daily Office. He also gives us Mary 's Magnificat where she proclaims that God “has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53).

Luke also provides the narrative stories for the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary: the Annunciation, the Visitation with Elizabeth, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple and the Teaching/Disappearance in the Temple. Luke’s writings in these stories also provide the entire Biblical foundation for the most popular prayer of all, the Hail Mary.

While St. John’s Gospel may provide the poetry of the New Testament, the richness of the Good News brought to us by St. Luke does indeed provide something to “feast” off of today and everyday.

Luke was a physician and described many of the medical conditions Jesus encountered in greater detail than the other synoptic gospel writers Matthew and Mark.

Today, in honor of St. Luke, pray for those who are sick that the hands and minds of their physicians and surgeons will be blessed and guided to healing if that is the will of God. Pray for those who have no doctors to care for them that they will get access to quality health care and for your own doctors that their work will be guided by the spirit of life and healing at all times.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Convince, Reprimand, Encourage

October 17, 2010
Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight. Moses' hands, however, grew tired; so they put a rock in place for him to sit on. Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Exodus 17:11-12

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:1-2

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:6-8

Prayer gives growth to our piety and piety allows us to treat God as a real person we talk to. How much conversation we have with God in our lives shows our piety to its best advantage. How we get the attention of someone we want to listen to us takes the form of raising our voice, touching a person, and getting in their way. There are many ways to get the attention of God in our prayer and Moses was doing it by raising his hands. Conversation between lovers has holding hands as a way to relate. Raising our minds and hearts to God at times needs the help of our body. Moses tried to keep his arms raised so that God would intervene on the side of the Hebrews. I can raise my hands in prayer for a moment. To keep them raised for the day would need the same type of help Mosses received from his assistants. How much easier it is to pray when I am with others who have their soul raised to God. The hands are a mere symbol of what we try to do with our mind and heart. To keep the focus of our souls on God each moment of the day is what the injunction to pray always is all about. We study how Christ prayed to discover how to reach God. Prayer goes to Christ and through him to the Father. All Scripture is inspired by God. What the Scriptures teach us about prayer helps us grow closer to God in all that we do in Christ and through Christ. Our study takes us to Christ.

We pray always without becoming weary when we bring our lives to Christ. He is the way, the truth and the light of our prayer. We study how to proclaim Christ whether it is convenient or inconvenient by beginning and ending our day with him. Our Gospel about the widow asking the judge for justice by bothering him until he gave justice for the sake of his own convenience is a good image about how insistent we ought to be in our prayer. Too many people say to themselves that God knows best which is all too true, but they leave it to God to do what God would do when we bother to bring our neediness to prayer. The world is what God created it to be. God gave us the freedom to ask. God choose the world where we would use our freedom to deal with God. We cannot deserve God’s love. He does not force it on us. We open ourselves to God’s love by our prayer. Even as the unjust judge gave justice because he was asked insistently, how much more will our loving God give us justice because we ask in the name of his Son?

I bring God into my entire day by the prayer of St. Ignatius. “Direct O Lord all my thoughts and actions by your divine inspirations and carry them out by your divine assistance that every prayer and action of my day may always begin from you and by you be happily carried out.” Giving God ‘carte blanche’ on the day by bringing his Son into everything we do makes it possible to pray always. The people of God become the Mystical Body of Christ. We take our part in the divine plan by turning ourselves over to Christ. We thus live our lives as a real Christ to each other. Our morning offering lifts all of us into Christ. It makes our lives true prayer and brings us to God in Christ. At the end of the day we examine all the ways we found ourselves with Christ that we may come to realize in a lived consciousness of Christ in our lives what it truly means to be in continuous prayer to God. To live is to pray. To pray is to find ourselves in Christ.

Friday, October 15, 2010


October 16, 2010
Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way. Ephesians 1:22-23

“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.” Luke 12:10-12

May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21

Three complementary views of the persons in the Trinity emerge from today’s readings which contrast Jesus and the Father and then Jesus and the Spirit.

St. Paul portrays Jesus as the CEO of the Church in the world in his letter to the Ephesians. God placed Jesus on earth over all things which were, in turn, placed at his feet. Yet even though they have dominion over similar localities, Jesus as head or ruler is different from and greater than the temporal rulers and authorities who are referenced in the Gospel. No matter what people say about Jesus, they will be forgiven. When the disciples are brought before rulers and authorities, Jesus will not be by their side like a defense lawyer or advocate. Instead, he says not to worry about a defense because the Holy Spirit that he will send will provide it. The disciples do not know it at the time, but this defense strategy will be played out when Jesus stands before Herod and Pilate.

Offenses against Jesus – like betrayal, scourging, whipping, crucifying and killing – are pardoned or pardonable. “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” However, anyone who offends the Holy Spirit will not be so lucky. Such blasphemies will not be forgiven. Here, Jesus draws a warning line in the sand. So, if we expect the Spirit to be the source of courage when we face persecutions and prosecutions, then we better keep the Spirit on our side.

God the Father is more removed from our day-to-day lives in one sense. Yet in another, the Father is the source of all good things that come to us through the Son and the Spirit. The Father is the glue that binds the Trinity together.

God is the Gift Giver, granting a “spirit of wisdom and revelation” which will help our study get to know God.

God’s gifts also are the wellspring of our piety. Gifts from God enlighten the eyes of our hearts” and reveal hope, riches, and our inheritance – Jesus.

God’s action inspires our action in His name. He worked through Christ and then raised his only Son from the dead. Jesus then moved from the head of the Church on earth to co-ruler of all creation seated at God’s right hand in the heavens.

What are you doing with God’s gifts this weekend? How can you celebrate in this wonderful autumn light the “fullness of the one who fills all things in every way?”

The newsletter from the Arlington Peace and Justice Commission asks us to reflect on all that is happening in this Respect Life Month, a month that emerged after the latest execution in the state of Virginia of Teresa Lewis. In the wake of this latest use of capital punishment, the Commission commented, “As a church we have a long way to go to share our awareness of the sacredness and dignity of ALL human life.”

Where are you challenged by the Church’s teachings on the consistent ethic of life in which all things are placed at the feet of Jesus, not the rulers of principalities and earthly authorities?

Be Revealed

October 15, 2010
Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church

By Melanie Rigney

Brothers and sisters: In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. (Ephesians 1:11-12)

Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own. (Psalms 33:12)

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.” (Luke 12:2-3)

Lord, I tremble at the thought of my whispers being proclaimed to all. Help me to understand I am Your own, warts and all, and to be transparent in a way that is pleasing to You.

My friend Cec Murphey, a retired Presbyterian minister and coauthor of Ninety Minutes in Heaven and dozens of other books, recently wrote a column titled, “What I Say about Myself.” It began:

People often tell me I’m transparent—and perhaps that’s accurate. They don’t realize that being open is part of my plan for self-growth and an important ingredient for me to tell others of my self-perceptions. I say it this way, “I know of myself only what I say of myself.” I also believe that the more I know who I am, the more open I am to know and understand God at work in my life.

Transparency is a good thing, but hard to achieve. We make nice at work, then grumble about our boss at home. We make nice at church, then grumble about the pastor in our prayer groups. We make nice with our families, then grumble about them to our friends.

And what would be accomplished if we said the same things to the very people we’re grumbling about? We might be surprised. People generally find out about the things we’re saying about them behind their backs anyway.

May we give thought before we speak in a whisper and otherwise, so that we reflect Christ in those whispers as well as in our public proclamations, in what is said in the darkness as well as in the light.

What are you saying in the darkness? Pray for the strength to say it in the light as well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Mystery of His Will

October 14, 2010
Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

In [Jesus], we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:7-10

Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Luke 11:47-48

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

God has made known to us his secret. And some may not like what we hear in it.

Our two readings today give us a stark contrast between the true prophet promised and revealed in that mystery and the false prophet. In Christ, the true prophet, we are blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,” we are holy and without blemish before God. That certainly is a very wonderful place to be and state in which to live.

However, when Christ confronts us with the truth, he challenges us to abandon our ways and adopt his. In the reproach to the Pharisees, Christ calls out the false prophets and enumerates charges against them.

“Woe to you!”

If we do not reject those who killed the prophets, then we share in the sins of these murderers. Recall the story of Lazarus who ignored the poor at his gate only to feel that same rejection when his cries from the pain of Hell were ignored. Lazarus had his chance to choose. The Pharisees have their chance to choose. We have our chance to choose to change, too.

Jesus continues his lecture by calling out the Pharisees for being learned but not sharing that knowledge with others and for not only refusing his invitation to enter but also for stopping others who tried to follow Jesus.

What did the Pharisees do after hearing these very tough accusations from Jesus? Did they examine their lives and actions and change? No. The mystery revealed in this rebuke set the Pharisees on the course of hostility that led Jesus on the path which was a mystery to us but not to him. This led Jesus on the path to Jerusalem and then to trial, then to Calvary.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall get you rejected, arrested, flogged, crowned with thorns, burdened by your cross, nailed to it and left hanging to die alone. I beg your pardon. God never promised us a rose garden.

If you were among the Pharisees, what would you have done? Would this encounter with Christ have led to your conversion, your change? Or would you have dug in your heels and continued pursuing your old habits? If the Pharisees were with us today, how could they not change?

So, imagine Jesus is rebuking you. What would his charges be against you today? What will you do about it? Cruise up the River of Denial or explore the New Path of Change.

Will you take the path of the crowd following the false prophets and the Pharisees? Or the path less travelled, the path of the True Prophet that will reveal the mystery of love? Even if you know the path to truth will lead to suffering?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where is the Love?

October 13, 2010
Wednesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O’Sullivan

Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, Nor go the way of sinners nor sit in company with scoffers. Rather, the law of the Lord is their joy; God’s law they study day and night. They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither, whatever they do prospers. But not the wicked! They are like chaff driven by the wind. Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just. The Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. (Psalm 1)

“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like… In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:19-21a, 22-23)

The Lord said: “Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” Then one of the scholars said to him in reply, ”Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” (Luke 11:42-46)

Love consists in sharing
what one has
and what one is
with those one loves.

Love ought to show itself in deeds
more than in words.
(St. Ignatius of Loyola, Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, p. 141)

Each of our Scripture readings today is a study in contrasts. The psalmist says one can either be deeply rooted in God as a fruit-bearing plant near a life-giving stream or without direction or purpose as chaff blowing in the wind, coming to no good end.

Paul phrases it a little bit differently in his letter to the Christians in Galatia. A person can either be self- or flesh-centered and produce works of immorality, impurity, etc., or Spirit-centered and bear the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, etc.

In the Gospel reading the contrast is between two different approaches to faith and those around us. On the one hand, we have the Pharisees and the scholars. As Jesus points out, they are more interested in seeing the last little letter of the law carried out than in the love and justice of God, which should be regarded as the underpinnings of the law. They are carried away with their self-importance. They want to be fawned over and treated as VIPs. They are totally self-absorbed. On the other hand, we have Jesus, the Son of God, the “ultimate VIP,” so to speak, who loves, forgives and heals sinners, tax collectors, Samaritans and a whole host of other folk the Pharisees wouldn’t look at twice.

As I was reflecting on this Gospel passage, I wondered what it would be like to have Jesus come to dinner at my house. First of all, I’m sure I would go into mega-Martha mode! Not until all the preparations were complete would I even begin to consider what we would talk about. I’d like to think I would fare a little better than the Pharisee host in today’s reading. But the truth is I think there’s a little bit of the Pharisee in me. I hope Jesus would take into consideration some of the things I do – go to Mass, tutor the little boy next door in reading, sing in a choir, be a part of my Saturday morning Cursillo group, write for the Daily Tripod on Wednesdays, etc, etc.

But the thing about Jesus is that he sees right through to our core. And I can imagine him saying, yes, these things are a start, but where is the love when you’re leaving Sunday Mass in such a rush to go to lunch with friends that you’re impatient with others still walking to their cars or cars pulling out of parking spaces in front of you? You just received my Body and Blood, but you can’t patiently give a fellow Christian five minutes to get out on the road?

Where is the love when you’re rushing around doing all these things and don’t have time to listen to your friend on the phone whose little boy is being bullied at school, or your elderly parents who called up because they’re lonely? There are many more examples he could bring to my attention in addition to these.

On second thought, maybe I’m not so eager to have Jesus over for dinner.

Take a few minutes to imagine yourself inviting Jesus to your house for dinner. Picture all the preparations, the desire to put your best foot forward for this most honored of all guests. See him sitting across the table from you, knowing everything there is to know about you. Imagine Jesus asking you, where is the love?

Christ Set Us Free

October 12, 2010
Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

The Pharisee was amazed to see that (Jesus) did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. (Luke 11:38-39)

Let your love come to me, LORD, salvation in accord with your promise.
Let me answer my taunters with a word, for I trust in your word.
Do not take the word of truth from my mouth, for in your edicts is my hope.
I will keep your teachings always, for all time and forever.
I will walk freely in an open space because I cherish your precepts.
I will speak openly of your decrees without fear even before kings.
I delight in your commands, which I dearly love. (Psalm 119: 42-47)

There is such delight and hope in the words of Paul and the song of the psalmist. Christ set us free! Paul, who was imprisoned and harassed by Romans, Christians and Jews alike could say this. He knew that in the freedom which Christ gave him, human bonds were potentially painful and even lethal but actually irrelevant to his life.

The psalmist sings gratitude for God’s word which directs and guides human life And I delight in your commands which I dearly love. I am certainly not one who feels that commands are freeing. Personally I tend to itch under “commands” delivered by another unless I see rational use and good consequences from them. Earlier in the psalm, there is a verse: I am a sojourner in the land; do not hide your commands from me. (Psalm 119:19) The psalmist was, as Paul was, as I am and as you are, sojourners in this world where it is easy to lose our way and become slaves to the illusions of the world. Jesus pointed this out to the Pharisee - that adherence to laws which were about appearance rather than commitment of heart and spirit are a form of slavery. They did not free but rather allowed people to hide their innermost, corrupted selves from the world. But Jesus assured the Pharisee that God knows.

God’s commands free because God’s word guides and directs us to the heart of God. God’s word, incarnate in Jesus, shows us how the word came to life on the roads of Galilee and today on the roads of Fairfax, Virginia, the office buildings in D.C., the churches, homes, playgrounds and businesses of the world.

Today we can find ourselves all too easily slipping into the slavery of being busy. Not that all busy is wrong! But are our involvements enslaving us? This week, in one of those busy, pressed moments, take 20 minutes and spend them with God. Carve out a slice of what would normally be filled with some other activity. Pray a rosary, take quiet prayer time, or attend Mass in the middle of your day.

If you feel distracted and pressured, pray: “I choose freedom in you, Lord Jesus.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Set Us Free

October 11, 2010
Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Therefore, brothers, we are children not of the slave woman but of the freeborn woman. For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. Galatians 4:31-5:1

While still more people gathered in the crowd, he said to them, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation." Luke 11:29-30

“Prayer makes visible the right, and reveals what is hampering and false. In its radiance, we behold the worth of our efforts, the range of our hopes, and the meaning of our deeds… However, prayer is no panacea, no substitute for action. It is, rather, like a beam thrown from a flashlight before us into the darkness. It is in this light that we grope, stumble, and climb, discover where we stand, what surrounds us, and the course which we should choose."
—Abraham Joshua Heschel

Freedom. Christ set up free. The yoke of slavery is sin and temptation in the world. Yet Jesus came to show us a different way. He showed us a better way than the alternatives. However, he never claimed that it was an easier way.

What has you enslaved?

Is it your pride – a pride that refuses to admit error and refuses to build bridges?

Is it an overindulgence in the temporary pleasures of this world rather than the fulfilling love that Christ offers to us?

Is it illness that brings you pain, isolation and fear?

From these and more, Christ comes to set us free. But it is hard to hear him above the din of our culture. When His message breaks through the clutter around us, it remains hard to understand his message. So, like the Ninevites, we continue to grasp for signs that will free us when all we have to do is look around for the signs of the gifts of God’s love.

From what has Christ set you free? What must you do to gain this freedom?

Think back to different times in your life when you have been trapped by different temptations. How did you break out of those traps? Did you quit smoking? Get in shape? Avoid alcohol?

Jesus told that crowds that we must listen and obey his word. He is the only sign that we need.

Sometimes we can break bad habits without knowing we are getting His help. However, many programs to help people break addictions encourage people to realize that their life is influenced by a Divine Power.

By accepting His word, we have the Divine Presence that will fill up the space and time in our lives which was occupied by old addictions and bad habits. The Word will then reveal the direction which we should pursue instead of our former ways.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stand Up and Go

October 10, 2010

Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before him and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant." "As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it," Elisha replied; and despite Naaman's urging, he still refused. 2 Kings 5:15-16

As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met (him). They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" Luke 17:11-13

The thrill of being thanked for something is always there. We are created in the image and likeness of God. What we know about God we eventually find to be part of the truth of who we are. What we know about the good of ourselves, we know about God. If we like to be thanked for the good we have done, it should not surprise anyone that God likes to be thanked for the good he does for us. Everything in creation is a hymn of praise and thanks to God. That goes without saying. The blessings of creation should never be taken for granted. We can learn to say thanks to God by living up to what we have been created for. We learned as children that we are created to praise reverence and serve the Lord our God with all that we are. Our thanks for life itself should be the continuous prayer of the human race. Our thanks for the good that is done for us opens the giver to give more. We can never be grateful enough for what God has done for us or will do for us if we but ask.

The story of Naaman in the Old Testament and the story of the ten lepers in the New Testament accentuate the need to say thanks for the good done for us. How do we say thanks to the Lord for the forgiveness offered us by Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? The leprosy of sin has been taken away how many times in our lives without our thanking God for what his son has done for us in dying on the cross to bring us reconciliation with his Father. We say thanks by not doing what we confessed again. But woe to us in our weak human flesh that pulls us away from the good we could do by our penance. Paul challenges us to bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen by God that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. If we are willing to die with Christ, we shall reign with him in heaven. Goodness is its own reward. I can love God all the more by the surrender of those things that I love in this world for the sake of the next world.

The heart that was pierced on the Cross is the source of the Sacramental life of the Church. I need to allow myself to be soaked again and again the waters of Salvation that find expression in the Sacraments of the Church. I need to deny my appetites for the sake of others that I may be the source of the healing of Christ in others. I need to echo in my life the gratitude of Paul who rejoices that he can fill up what is wanting to the sufferings of Christ by what he does for the Body of Christ that is the church. In all circumstances, we need to give thanks to the Lord for the good he allows us to do in his name for each other. Each day we need to give thanks to the Lord for all the gifts we have received in the bounty of Christ’s love for us. We need to be the bounty of his love for each other. We can only keep in our spiritual journey what we give away for Christ. Our gratitude is the ultimate paradox of life because it frees us up to be Christ for each other in the gift we would make of our lives in his name.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Promise Might Be Given

October 9, 2010

Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

But scripture confined all things under the power of sin, that through faith in Jesus Christ the promise might be given to those who believe. Before faith came, we were held in custody under law, confined for the faith that was to be revealed. Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian. Galatians 3:22-25

While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed." He replied, "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." Luke 11:27-28

The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all. Because of the holy service they have professed, or because of dread of hell and for the glory of everlasting life, they carry out the order of the prioress as promptly as if the command came directly from God. God says of people like this: "No sooner did they hear than they obeyed me (Ps. 18:45);" again, God tells teachers: "Whoever listens to you, listens to me (Lk. 10:16)." Such people as these immediately put aside their own concerns, abandon their own wills, and lay down whatever they have in hand, leaving it unfinished. With the ready step of obedience, they follow the voice of authority in their actions. Almost at the same moment, then, as the teacher gives the instruction the disciple quickly puts it into practice out of reverence for God; and both actions together are swiftly completed as one.

It is love that impels them to pursue everlasting life; therefore, they are eager to take the narrow road of which God says: "Narrow is the road that leads to life (Mt. 7:14)." They no longer live by their own judgment, giving in to their whims and appetites; rather they walk according to another's decisions and directions, choosing to live in monasteries and to have a prioress over them. Members of this resolve unquestionably conform to the saying of Christ: "I have come not to do my own will, but the will of the One who sent me (Jn. 6:38)." Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 5. Obedience

As St. Paul teaches the Galatians, before faith, our behaviors were dictated by law. But the love of Christ has freed us from most laws – except for the law of love, the love of God and the love of our neighbor. The result of such faith is unity of all.

What does this mean in real terms for us? Faith and obedience to God’s Word is what makes us sisters and brothers of Christ. Neither blood, nor law nor genealogy dictate the family tree of the Lord. Faith is its seed. Faith is its root. Faith is its branches.

What does it matter? In a world filled with hatred and division, we are called to recognize our common humanity through humility and obedience to the word of the Lord. In St. Paul’s words, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendant, heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:27-29

There is neither American nor European, Hispanic nor African-American, Asian-American or Native American. There is neither Christian nor Jew, Muslim nor Hindu, Buddhist nor Atheist. We are all one in Christ.

To make this a reality, we must put aside our own personal agenda and take up the agenda of the Lord. What can you set aside today in order to bring about unity? What can you do to focus on our unity, not our divisions?

Every Kingdom Divided Against Itself

October 8, 2010
Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

Brothers and sisters: Realize that it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham. Scripture, which saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, Through you shall all the nations be blessed. (Galatians 3:7-8)

He has given food to those who fear him; he will forever be mindful of his covenant. He has made known to his people the power of his works, giving them the inheritance of the nations. (Psalms 111:5-6)

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?" (Luke 11:15-18)

Lord, help me to find unity—with You, Your Church with my sisters and brothers, and within myself.

The Catholic Encyclopedia ( cites today’s Gospel reading in writing about what it calls “the essential unity of the true Christian Church.” That Church’s characteristics, the writer says, include:
• Unity of doctrine
• Reception of the same sacraments
• Unity under the same authority as instituted by Christ

With the seemingly never-ending pedophile scandals, visitations of women religious, excommunication of a nun who was faced with the agonizing decision of supporting saving the life of a mother or an unborn child, and other headlines, retaining belief in the unity of doctrine and authority can be excruciatingly difficult. Anne Rice, the vampire novelist and returned Catholic, left the Church again over the summer, saying she remains Christian but can’t deal with the Church.

For some of us who struggle with authority, Illinois Appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien’s August article in the Chicago Tribune resonates a bit more fully: “Would someone in Rome formally excommunicate me, please? I want to be excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church because walking away will break my heart.”

And yet we, like O’Brien, stay. We try to effect change where we can while still remaining true to the Church’s core beliefs. We try to remember it’s an imperfect Church, run at all levels by imperfect people. We try to focus on that we do believe, with all our hearts, in Jesus and our sacraments.

And, like O’Brien, we pray, “Come Holy Spirit.”

Pray today for Pope Benedict, his staff, the cardinals, the bishops, and all their flocks.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The One Who Seeks

October 7, 2010
Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

Did you experience so many things in vain?--if indeed it was in vain. Does, then, the one who supplies the Spirit to you and works mighty deeds among you do so from works of the law or from faith in what you heard? Galatians 3:4-5

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! Our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley, of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, Mother of God.

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Today, we focus on Our Lady of the Rosary and the prayers contained in this meditation. Yesterday, the daily scriptures focused on the Lord’s Prayer. Some Catholics consider the Rosary the perfect prayer. Others may consider the Lord’s Prayer to be the perfect prayer.) However, in the span of less than 48 hours, scripture leads us through some of the prayers in the Church which have the richest meaning.

No matter which one of these prayers (or perhaps something else) may be your favorite, the lesson in today’s Good News is to pray consistently and persistently. Whatever your prayer intentions are, if you turn in faith to the Lord, he will hear you and will respond.

For some of my Catholic friends, they truly connect and pray the Rosary with joy – even when the distractions of life interrupt their meditations. For others, the Rosary has not yet become a prayer with which they have any special affinity.

I have sometimes found that when the prayer speaks to me in my personal situation or in the situation in which my family is experiencing, then the prayer holds a more special meaning. Dropping your child off at school and leaving him or her there leaves an emptiness in our hearts. Maybe that was the emptiness and fear that Joseph and Mary experienced when Jesus wandered off to teach in the temple. Running out of food and wine at a wedding party could cause a host special embarrassment – like the event was not planned carefully. Solving that – delivering the host from such anguish – may drive home the social significance of the mystery of the Wedding at Cana.

Allow Our Lady of the Rosary to speak to you today through the Mysteries of the Light.

The Baptism of Jesus: When have you witnessed a child or adult Baptism? When have you gone through a special initiation into an organization like a fraternity, the Knights of Columbus or other group? When have you turned to Jesus and asked for his assistance in the same trusting way Jesus put the beginning of his public ministry into the hands of John the Baptist?

The Wedding at Cana: When did Christ open your heart and change you into His disciple? When have you asked Mary to intervene with her son on your behalf or on behalf of your prayerful intentions?

The Proclamation of the Kingdom: When has the preaching of Jesus rung out in your ears like it did to those who witnessed the Sermon on the Mount? When have you changed the direction in which you are seeking happiness in order to follow the way, the truth and the light as preached that day?

The Transfiguration: When have you had a “mountaintop” experience with the Lord?

The Institution of the Eucharist: What has Christ changed in your life? How do you share in His ministry and in His suffering and resurrection?

Consider using the Rosary in your palanca for the candidates on the Cursillo this weekend.