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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.

Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings

In the first Reading, Peter and the Apostles are “obeying God rather than men,” teaching and talking about Jesus.  They witnessed everything that Jesus did, along with the Holy Spirit.  Here in the Easter Season, we are celebrating Jesus’s resurrection, but also his victory over oppression, violence, worldly power, and evil.  The poor always suffer the most from the sinful nature of people in positions of power.  But in Christ, we have a way to rise above that worldly power.  We have in the Holy Spirit an unstoppable heavenly power, freeing us from all coercion and hardship by enabling us to rise above our suffering, to use it for our sanctification.  In this holy season, what do you ask God to help you rise above?  What hardships do you need the Lord to transform?

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

We live in a culture in which the truth seems to have become relativized.  Whether it be climate change, clean water standards, or how we define what constitutes life the truth seems to be determined by the one who has the power.  Perhaps in many ways it has always been this way. Still no matter many times the Nazi’s or other dictators have criminalized a race or a religion, it does not make their rhetoric true.  Yet in our country it seems to be common thinking that if one says a lie enough it will make it the truth.  It is almost as if people think the truth can be locked away and hidden away from the people.

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

The book of Acts is such a gift to the church because in it Luke tells us how to be the church after Easter—that is after Jesus’s earthly ministry has come to an end and he has formed the church through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the passage before us today, we learn three important lessons about how to be the church.

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings

We are in the midst of the Easter season, but how do we continue to live our lives as “resurrection” people.  Both readings today reveal the answer- the Spirit of God.  God’s Spirit inspires us with the courage, love and grace that we need to go forth and build the Kingdom of God.

Saturday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

A friend of mine and I have occasionally gotten together and recorded little 5 minute shorts about some topic regarding the faith. We called them Trailblazers and have always had a blast recording them. We’ve opened with references to Pinky and the Brain, compared God and Tolkien, likened Lent to spring practice for baseball, and bounced all over the place. During one episode we recorded, my friend shared a quote from C.S. Lewis that immediately came to mind as I read today’s readings.

Friday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

So the Easter egg hunts are done. At our house, we've eaten all the candy, save for a few jelly beans. Yet it is still Easter! The great thing about our Catholic tradition is that we have no holds barred when it comes to the Resurrection. We celebrate, lavishly, for eight whole days.

Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

In this gospel, and many others, I find myself really connecting with the apostles - not for their faith but for their total cluelessness.  It’s easy to read this passage and think, “don’t you guys get it? This is Jesus. He’s risen.” But if I am being honest with myself, I would have been even more clueless than they are if I were alive in Jesus’ day. I often think I would be like Thomas, not truly believing Christ had risen until I touched the wounds in his hands and feet.

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

Our great Octave of Easter celebration this year is mingled, for me,  with tears and sadness for our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, and elsewhere - where violence and terrorism has threatened to overtake our Resurrection songs.