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Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

I often get asked, "Why is Christianity so legalistic?  Why are there so many rules?"  This seems intuitively wrong to many, especially when they read that Jesus himself broke laws.  For instance, Jesus broke the Sabbath in order to heal people (see Mark 3).  He favors mercy over legalisms and love over obeying a rule that doesn't lead to more love.

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

There are rules, and there are RULES.  For the Hebrew/Jewish people of the old and early new testaments, the rules were the way to God.  By keeping the Law, they could be sure they were carrying out God’s will on Earth.  Unfortunately, as Peter says in today’s first reading, they were also really bad at it: “Why then are you now placing on the shoulders of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?”  In the second reading, Jesus reiterates this old idea that the way to God, the way to Love, is to follow the commandments. 

Elizabeth Wourms, D.Min., is joining us as a new contributor to the Ite Missa Est daily reflections. We are grateful that she has agreed to share her wisdom, knowledge, and talents with us. Elizabeth is a recent convert to Catholicism and newer member of Immaculate Conception Parish.

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Doing and Being. As disciples of Jesus, we live in the tension between the doing of our faith – the working it out, and the being of our faith – living securely in our identity as sons and daughters of the Living God. I see this tension reflected in today’s readings.

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Jesus offers his disciples, peace. Jesus offers us peace. “Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” (John 14:27) “Peace" not as the world gives. What exactly does that mean? What is the distinction between the peace Jesus offers, and the peace the world gives?

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

One of the most important parts of recovery in 12 step programs is telling 'your story'. Basically, it consists of telling what your life was like before, what happened, and what it's like now. The 'what happened' portion of the story usually describes the turning point in a person's life when they have an experience of God (Higher Power) and begin the journey of personal conversion. It is a very powerful experience for both the one that speaks and those that receive it. And whether we know it or not, each one of us has a story to tell.

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

How often in Scripture do we get a scene where Jesus seems to be shaking his head wondering when people are going to get it. In today's Gospel I see him doing this in response to Philip, but the reality is, I can truly relate to Philip.

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

How often in Scripture do we get a scene where Jesus seems to be shaking his head wondering when people are going to get it. In today's Gospel I see him doing this in response to Philip, but the reality is, I can truly relate to Philip.

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

I think we live in a culture that thrives on opposites.  We teach our children early on about opposites: light/dark, hot/cold, wet/dry, open/shut, and so on. We buy sweet n’ salty mixes at the store; we love to have our cold slushy milkshakes alongside crispy fries and hot hamburgers; we like a good love story about opposites attracting; and, let’s face it, our political system seems to thrive on having a good mix of opposition on the floor of congress (even as some decry the nation’s lack of unity.

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

We hear in today’s first reading Paul recounting the story of how God saved Israel and made them into the chosen people.  There’s something about humanity that thrives on the stories of how we became who we are today.  Who brought you to the Lord?  Take time this morning to remember them and the story of how you became a faithful follower of Christ.  What conversations and teachings stick with you?  What actions and movements of the heart proved God’s loving way is The Way?  Was it your parents, or ministers of the Church?  Was it a priest or sister or brother?  Was it other family members or friends?  How did you come to believe, and continue believing?

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

So much of our life is driven by growth.  As children we grow physically as our bodies mature.  Our minds expand as we learn both academically and from experience.  As adults we seek growth temporally through careers and employment, and personally through our interpersonal relationships.  Most of this growth is something we can see and measure.

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle

Scripture Readings

We live in a culture that puts a premium on choice. And that is often a good thing as when two people fall in love with each other and choose to make a lifetime commitment to one another. Or when someone decides to take a risk in order to send their life in a new and promising direction. Or when someone finally resolves to start taking care of themselves by getting some help with an addiction. But choice can also often be pretty meaningless as when we are paralyzed in the cereal aisle trying to figure out which one of six different versions of some whole grain cereal is the best. Or when we are flipping through the 500 channels on our TVs at night and can’t seem to find an end to the infomercials, talking heads (perhaps better called “yelling” heads these days), or ads for pay-per-view shows. Or when we’re trying to discern the finer differences among various versions of some device or gadget we’ve run a search for on Amazon.

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

A recent trip to New Mexico gave me the opportunity to learn about Native Americans and their history and culture. As I was admiring their arts and crafts, one design stood out- the storyteller doll.  This pottery based artwork presents an elder surrounded by children as the elder has an open mouth telling the stories of their people When reading today’s scripture, I was reminded that so much of our faith is based on stories that were shared and passed on. Even today we are called to be “story tellers” to our children and to the world, so that our faith continues to be remembered and celebrated.

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

When have you met someone who has gone through a tremendous transformation? You knew them at one time and the next time you saw them you didn't recognize them. Peter is one such man who went through this transformation twice (at least).

Friday of the Third Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Joel and I have a table grace that we say at meals when we have guests. It's the table grace we sang at our wedding: "Be present at our table, Lord - be here and everywhere adored. These people bless and grant that we may feast in paradise with thee. Around this table may the Lord be ever and always adored - the weary find a welcome rest and all who suffer want be blest." We love bringing this small reminder of our wedding to our family practices of hospitality. We are reminded often that the practice of hospitality is part of our vocation as Christians.

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Today's readings speak to the importance of strong, honest, faith-filled catechesis. Just as Philip asks the Eunuch - "do you understand what you are reading?" we are to similarly ask this of ourselves and of those in our care, whom we minister to. The Eunuch's answer is one of great wisdom. "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" We cannot simply read the Bible and expect all pieces of it to make sense. We must turn to the church for wisdom and guidance - for instruction.

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Sometimes the joy of the resurrection is harder to participate in when times get tough.  When we are in the midst of facing the loss of job, or struggling through the pain a shattered friendship, or even journeying with a loved one who is near death, Easter joy might seem vanquished.  We may not feel it, but these times are when the Lord is trying even harder to remind us of his desire to feed us and lead us to from death to new life.

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Both exciting and challenging things are happening in the scripture readings the Church gives us this week. This is particularly true in the First readings from the Acts of the Apostles, which has the same author as Luke’s gospel and is an account of the beginnings of Christianity. This time after Jesus’ resurrection, beginning with his ascension, more than 2000 years ago, can both challenge and inspire us Christians today in 2019.

Monday of the Third Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

What is the 'Work of God'? We encounter this particular phrase in today's Gospel. Jesus says to the people, " This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent". In Bendictine communities, the Work of God refers to the Liturgy of the Hours, the daily prayers that set the 'pulse' of each day. The ancient text known as the Rule of Saint Benedict sets down the way of monastic life in minute detail. There is much in this ancient rule that can be misunderstood even though countless commentaries have been written over the centuries. What cannot be misunderstood is what Saint Benedict says is this: "Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God". (RB 43.3)

Saturday of the Second Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

We belong to a culture obsessed with replies.  We like to have answers to every question and bumper sticker slogans to every situation.  Sometimes that falls short though.  For instance, maybe someone faces a tragedy and our first response is, “I don’t know what to say.”  Why do we have to say anything?  I think that we are so present to one another digitally that we have forgotten the power of real presence, but I think today’s readings remind us of the power of presence.

Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles

Scripture Readings

It is amazing, that quite often in the ministry we do that we are ministered too.  Amazing difference can be made through sharing ourselves and our gifts with others.  In the ministries we all do, listening can be a powerful gift to those who are lonely or suffering or simply in need of encouragement.  We are called to be the encounter with Christ and encounter Christ in others.  Our presence can make a profound difference in a situation, and often we receive what we have shared ten-fold.