Category Archives: 60 Reflections

Judge Not

In the first reading today we find ourselves in Genesis 12. We see the LORD telling Abram, “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.” So at the tender age of 75, Abram departs. In the Gospel from Matthew 7, Jesus says, “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.”

Is it just me, or does it seem that this is one of the most quoted passages in Scripture these days? In these days of moral relativism, everyone wants to do their own thing. And invariably, when they wish to do what is wrong in the sight of God, and others call them on it, the first thing we hear is “Judge not lest you be judged!” In other words no one is allowed to say that anything is wrong any more. If we stand up for traditional marriage, the lives of the unborn, defending the innocent, we are immediately labeled as judgemental bigots.

Let’s get something straight about this saying of Jesus. Jesus did not mean that we may not judge the ACTIONS of people. If taken to this illogical conclusion, why would we have laws or courts or JUDGES? We can, in fact we MUST judge the actions of people. There are rules and laws that must be followed. Paramount among these are the laws of God. Legal abortion, homosexual “marriage” and embryonic stem cell research are all things that go against the laws of God. We have a responsibility to judge these things. What we cannot do is judge the hearts of people. Only they and God know where their hearts are. Let us pray that ours are in the right place.

Father, give us a proper sense of judgment. Help us to discern right from wrong, and leave the final judgment of souls up to you. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Have you ever felt worthless? I suspect we all struggle with those feelings from time to time. Nothing could be further from the truth. We see this in today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 10.

Jesus tells the disciples how precious they are in the sight of God. Now, his “compliment” may not sound so special to our ears. He says, “You are worth more than many sparrows.” Uh, gee…thanks, Lord. Jesus’ message really is that God knows everything. He even knows every feather of every sparrow. Jesus says, “Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.” In essence, there is nothing that God does not know about us. A frightening thought, indeed. But there is an upside.

Despite all of our foibles and follies, God loves us. He cares about us. Not just about the big, earth-shattering events in our lives. But even the small stuff, down to the minutest detail. Jesus’ reassurance of our worth in the eyes of God reminds me of a Mastercard commercial. Five sparrows: two small coins. A nice haircut for all the counted hairs on our head: $20. You, to God: Priceless.

Father, you know that we are so small. Thank you for taking notice of us. Thank you for loving us, even through all of our weirdness. Amen.

Today’s Readings


John the Baptist

Today the Church celebrates the Nativity of John the Baptist. In the first reading today from Isaiah 49, we see the messianic prophesies, all of which certainly could be attributed to John the Baptist. In the second reading from Acts 13, St. Paul talks about how John heralded the word of salvation. And the Gospel reading from Luke 1 is about the birth and naming of John.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#523) says that John “surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.” John had a large following of disciples. He certainly could have started his own religion, preaching his own message and drawing people to himself. But he knew that he had another calling. Everything he did pointed the way to Christ. We are called to share in that mission; to emulate John the Baptist and point others to Christ.

One of my favorite lines from Scripture came from the mouth of John the Baptist. In John 3:30, when speaking of Christ, John says, “He must increase; I must decrease.” If we share in that mission, it begs the question, what are we doing to make Christ “increase?” Are we encouraging others to repent, and to follow the Lamb of God, as John did? Are we eating locusts and wild honey and wearing camel skin? 🙂

Father, thank you for the witness of John the Baptist, who heralded the coming of the Christ. May we do the same in our lives each day. Amen.

Today’s Readings


Jesus’ Heart

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus speaks of His heart in the Gospel reading from Matthew 11: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.”

The heart is a funny thing, isn’t it? We know that it is just a muscle, a vital organ. But we also know that the heart is so much more. We talk about matters of the heart; of love and hate, romance and infatuation. Someone who is very generous is know to have a big heart. Someone who is unfeeling is said to have a heart of stone. And we also know that we cannot hide our heart from God. He sees right into the heart.

So, what do you think Jesus’ heart is like? We can say with full assurance that there has never been a heart like the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For His is no ordinary heart. Inside of Jesus beats the very heart of God. A heart filled with love and compassion. A heart that longs to hold and nurture each and every one of His children. Jesus’ heart is a heart for you.

Father, show us ever more the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Help us draw closer to you, that our hearts might more clearly resemble His Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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A Different Gospel

Apparently there were some preachers coming through Corinth that were preaching a gospel different from the one that St. Paul had been preaching and teaching. And St. Paul addresses this in 2 Corinthians 11. We’ll talk about that shortly. The Gospel reading today is from Matthew 6, where Jesus teaches us how to pray. We know the prayer as the “Our Father.” Probably as familiar to us as our own names, right? And yet so rich and full of meaning that we could never plumb its depths. So today, say it slowly, read it slowly, savor every word and phrase. See what God will work in your life through the Lord’s Prayer!

Pope Benedict XVI was big on speaking out on the dangers of relativism. In today’s first reading, St. Paul does the same in a roundabout way. Listen to his words to the Corinthians…”For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough.” Hmmm…seem the more things change, the more they stay the same.

As there were in Corinth, there are many today who are preaching a false gospel. And, as St. Paul said to the Corinthians, “you put up with it well enough.” People continue to buy into the world’s lies. Sometimes it seems like fewer and fewer want to listen to the Church. But the Church preaches and teaches the true Gospel, the teachings of Jesus as handed down to the Apostles and their successors for 2000 years. If you hear anything that contradicts that, even from “superapostles,” don’t be fooled. Why put up with that which will lead you astray?

Father, forgive us for those times that we are seduced by a false gospel. Give us the wisdom to always turn to the truth, as given us by your Church. Amen.

Today’s Readings


God Supplies

If you read today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 6, you might think it is Ash Wednesday. It’s not, but this is the exact same reading we hear every Ash Wednesday. Jesus teaches about the three pillars of Lent, almsgiving, prayer and fasting.

In today’s first reading from 2 Corinthians 9, we see what may be one of the most well-known passages in Scripture – “for God loves a cheerful giver.” (I suspect your pastor and the folks at your diocesan stewardship office have shared that passage with you.) Have you ever read what comes after that, though? “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God.”

My bride always likes to remind me that God cannot be outdone in generosity. In other words, the more we give, the more God supplies. This often has nothing to do with money. When we bless others, God will pour out blessing upon blessing to us. Try it. It never fails.

Father, help us to be generous. We thank you for always supplying blessings to us when we share our blessings with others. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Genuine Love

Love is at the core of the message of Jesus. We see this clearly in both of our Scripture passages in today’s Mass. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus tells us we must love our enemies. And in the first reading from 2 Corinthians 8 St. Paul has words that test the genuineness of the love of the people.

St. Paul speaks of the great generosity of the Christians of Macedonia. They begged Paul to allow them to help in service to the holy ones. St. Paul then says, “May you excel in this gracious act also. I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others.”

Have you ever begged someone to let you help them? Perhaps they were in a tough spot but were too proud to ask for help. You did it, not out of some misguided desire for lauds, but out of love. So it is with Christ. He loved even His enemies so much that He died for them. Are we giving out of a sense of duty, or out of genuine love?

Father, show us how to be more generous. May we always give generously out of genuine love in our hearts. Amen.

Today’s Readings


Returning Insult for Insult

When is the best time for someone to turn to the Lord? To give their life to Jesus? The answer is NOW! St. Paul says as much in our first reading today from 2 Corinthians 6. “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” If you’re hesitating in any way about giving your life more fully to God, meditate on these words. The time is now!

In our Gospel reading today from Matthew 5, we hear Jesus’ famous admonition to “turn the other cheek.” This phrase can be difficult to understand. It must be taken within the greater context of teaching of Christ. Be sure to read today’s passage to get the big picture. This does not mean that we are not allowed to defend ourselves from one who wishes to cause us physical harm. We can do so in an appropriate manner. Backhanding someone on the right cheek was a form of insult. Jesus’ saying was meant to teach in the broad context about retaliation. We’re not to return insult for insult.

When we’re wounded – physically, yes, but even more emotionally – our first instinct is to strike back. We want to get back at our attacker with guns a-blazin’. The office gossip, the jealous co-worker, the ex that can ‘t seem to move on. Jesus tells us that retaliation is not the way. Temperance, prudence and yes, love, must rule the day and rule our hearts. As hard as it may be, the best way to “retaliate” is to kill them with kindness.

Father, forgive us for the times we take on “an eye for an eye” attitude. Teach us to be people of forgiveness and kindness. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Corpus Christi

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of The Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. All of the readings today point to the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith. The Gospel reading from John 6 is particularly poignant.

I’ve read statistics that say that 65-75% of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I so hope that that is inaccurate. Many say that it is symbolic. I want to encourage you to study authentic Catholic teaching on the Eucharist. As Catholics, we believe that Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said. The Biblical evidence is incontrovertible. On this Feast of Corpus Christi, let us thank God that Jesus gave us the way to eat His Body and drink His Blood throughout all time.

Father, we thank you for the gift of the Eucharist. Strengthen our belief in the Body and Blood of Christ. Amen.

Today’s Readings

Ambassadors for Christ

Remember the days when a man’s word was his bond? These days that seems a bygone era. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus speaks of the importance of our words. “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One.”

In today’s first reading from 2 Corinthians 5, St. Paul writes, “So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us.” Ambassadors for Christ. What is the job of an ambassador? It is to be a go-between; to be a spokesperson for and improve relations between two entities. To further goodwill and promote the interests of the one for whom he or she works. If you think about it, those are perfect job descriptions for us as disciples of Christ!

How are we doing at that job? Are we truly promoting Christ to everyone we meet? Are we furthering goodwill of the Kingdom of God? As Christ’s ambassadors, we need to make sure that we’re bringing the message of our “boss” (Jesus) out into the world. We need to be building bridges of love and compassion. Because there are an awful lot of wounded people who need those things right now.

Father, thank you for the privilege of being ambassadors for Christ. Give us the grace to take that job seriously. Amen.

Today’s Readings