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Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

So many people do not REALLY have faith in Christ or in his resurrection.  They see Jesus as a nice guy who said good things like "Love each other" but the idea that Jesus rose bodily from the dead seems both a figment of imagination as well as an unnecessary part of the gospel story.  Today's scriptures ask us to reconsider the significance of Jesus' bodily resurrection, though.

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Do you feel safe? It’s a complicated question.  In many of our workplaces, we hear slogans about safety being the number one priority.  After the recent Tornado outbreak, we may be wondering how safe our homes are property will be as climate change makes these kinds of storms worse and more common.  Sometimes we feel insecure or unsure about our relationships with friends, family, children, and spouse.  We may not feel financially secure.  And unfortunately, our faith is no guarantee that each of these concerns will not happen.  So, what is it are we praying for in today’s psalm?

Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

Scripture Readings

Liturgically, we find ourselves winding down the Easter season and preparing for Pentecost this weekend. In the rhythm of our calendar year, we find ourselves in graduation season. Many people are celebrating high school and college graduations with loved ones and preparing to send young people off to their next phase of life. Often these become tear-stained celebrations that involve good-bye’s and moving vans. The graduation ceremonies almost always include speeches given by select students and invited dignitaries, in which the graduates are exhorted to embrace their future with zeal, courage, and vigor, and to consider the legacy they wish to leave. These speeches are a commissioning of sorts – a sending forth with motivating words to guide them in their future endeavors.

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

The scene that we encounter in the reading from John today is quite striking. Jesus raises his eyes to heaven and begins to speak. He is praying to God. He is not talking to the apostles or teaching them how to pray. He’s talking to God, the Father, as he puts it. This is an extraordinary gift to us—a rare and intimate glimpse into a communication between Jesus and God. In his prayer, Jesus remembers what God called him to do and how he answered that call all the days of his earthly life. He reports that his teaching has had powerful effects. The Logos was not just heard but taken (like the Eucharist) into people’s minds and bodies and made into their flesh and soul. Thus, he tells the Father, they belong to God now. God called Jesus to this work, and he has done it. As he anticipates his passion he knows that he has done what God asked.

Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

Scripture Readings

Today is the Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, the Ugandan martyrs canonized by Pope Paul VI. All 22 of these saints were young men between the ages of 13 and 30 when they were brutally murdered in 1886 by the Bugandan king for adhering to their Christian morality. The elements of good and evil, purity and depravity are clear and easily identified in the story of their persecution. Even while our own stories are less dramatic, we find ourselves deeply inspired by their faith and courage---because they stayed with Jesus.

Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr

Scripture Readings

“After [Paul’s] arrival he gave great assistance to those who had come to believe through grace.  He vigorously refuted the Jews in public, establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus” (Acts 18:27b-28).  Those are the closing words of our first reading today.  It captures nicely what this whole section of Acts is all about.  Paul, invigorated by the Holy Spirit, is supporting, nurturing, growing, and defending the primitive church and the disciples it is composed of.  And why do this?  Why does he face persecution, arrest, and beatings?  Why does he stand for people he has never met, even former gentiles?  Why does he stand against his own people?  It really is a tense question. 

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Scripture Readings

For many of us, we start our day with a morning ritual that likely includes breakfast, cleaning up prayer, making lunch or lunches and then out the door.  Sometimes while we are rushing around we get distracted thinking about how the day is going to unfold.  This often happens to me in the midst of prayer.  Usually by the time I have hit the door at work my persona changes.  Perhaps this happens for all of us, we need to be different people at work.  The transition for me is that my heart moves into visitation mode.  It is a blessing that the day is spent visiting others and allowing the Lord to visit me through the people I meet.

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

In our gospel acclamation today we hear - “I will not leave you orphans says the Lord. I will come back to you and your hearts will rejoice.” (Jn. 14:18). What a beautiful promise from the Lord - he will not leave us as orphans.

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

As you enter into prayer with these readings, I encourage you to read Acts 17:16-21, also. I think those verses provide important context to the assigned passage. We find St Paul proclaiming the Gospel in Athens to a very tough audience. At that time, Athens was alive in its heyday as a center for philosophical thought, and a metropolis filled with idols, temples, and statues to the pantheon of Greek gods that people worshipped and consulted for guidance in their daily lives. The philosophers passed their time in the marketplace and on city streets debating with one another and listening to the ideas of the respected teachers.

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Today’s readings are pretty intense for significantly different reasons.  On one hand, there is the persecution, imprisonment, and liberation of Paul and Silas.  On the other hand, there is Christ’s departure and assurance to his disciples.  Both attest to the power and presence of God in times of trouble and uncertainty.

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Today’s first reading from Acts has particular significance for me, since I visited the site where St. Paul met Lydia while on pilgrimage last November.  We celebrated Mass on the banks of the small stream that is described in the reading.  As I reflect on the scripture today, there are insights that further my understanding of how God works not just back in the early church, but even now in 2019.

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel immediately brought to mind the idea of an ambassador or an emissary.  Here are the verses that I want to reflect upon, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.  …  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.  If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.  And they will do all these things to you on account of my name…”  I know, it is a charming little passage.  To offer a juvenile side note, this passage is a perfect set up for Jesus to look at us when we complain and say, “I told you so.”

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.