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Category Archives: :60 Reflections

Healing of Our Sons and Daughters

I hear so often from people whose children no longer go to church or practice the faith. I know it is heartbreaking. More in a moment. In today’s first reading from Isaiah 65, we get a beautiful vision of the future. Check it out!

A royal official comes to Jesus asking Jesus to heal his son, who is ill miles away. At first, Jesus tries to dissuade the man, but he will not be dissuaded. He continues to beg Jesus to come and heal his son. Jesus does so with just a word. He doesn’t have to travel miles to see the boy personally. He speaks, and the son is healed.

So many folks I know and have met desire a healing for their children. Not necessarily a physical healing, but that spiritual healing that keeps them apart from Christ and His Church. We must take a lesson from the royal official and continue in prayer for our children. I believe Jesus desires their healing just as much as we do, and that, in time, that healing will occur. Keep on praying, my friend!

Father, heal our sons and daughters, in every way that they need healing. Draw them back to you, through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Blindness and Sight

Today’s Gospel reading from John 9 is the story of the healing of the man born blind. It is a story of darkness and light. (St. John was big on the theme of darkness and light.)

Jesus and His disciples come upon a man who was born blind. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” He then heals the man of his blindness. After a lengthy discourse with the Jews and the healed man, Jesus says, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

Our blindness has nothing to do with our eyes. It is spiritual blindness – a failure to recognize our own sinfulness. Oddly enough, that blindness comes with great vision – we so easily see fault in others. Let us pray that we may become blind, so that we may truly see the Light.

Father, we pray that you will give us true vision, that we may see through the eyes of Christ, who is the Light of the World. Amen.

Today’s readings

Merry Christmas…Nine Months Early!

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. It is exactly nine months before Christmas. Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas this year! 😉 In the first reading, we see the prophesy from Isaiah: “The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us!’ ”

The readings today all point toward Mary’s fiat, which we see in Luke 1, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Perhaps our Responsorial Psalm for today, taken from Psalm 40, sums it up best. “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.”

Mary has many titles in Catholic tradition. I think that one of my favorite ones, though not an official “title,” is “the first Christian.” Mary was the first one to truly accept Christ. She experienced a closeness with Christ that no one else ever would or could. Many non-Catholic Christian traditions have tried to diminish the role of Mary. Some see her as just an interchangeable cog in God’s big wheel. But Mary’s role can never be diminished. She had every opportunity to say no to God. Yet she chose to say yes. Not just at the Annunciation, but at every moment of her life. Do we?

Father, we thank you for the example of Mary, always saying yes to Your will. May we imitate her today and always. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Do You Get It?

I know a lot of people who have workaholic tendencies. While the reasons are many, I think for some, the “work of their hands” can become their god. In other words, they put work above everything else in their lives, including family and God. See what God has to say about this in today’s first reading from Hosea 14.

In the Gospel reading from Mark 12, a scribe asks Jesus which is the first (in importance, not number) of all the commandments. Jesus answered to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. The scribe affirms this. “And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the Kingdom of God.'”

The scribe got it. We must love God, but that, in and of itself, is not enough. We must love our neighbor as well. And you know your neighbor is not just the person who lives near you. (Heck, they can be hard enough to love as it is!) All of God’s children are our neighbors. So that means we need to love everyone. While in my brain I understand the concept, too often with my heart I just don’t get it. Do you? It’s easier said than done, for sure.

Father, we know these two great commandments with our heads. Help us to get it with our hearts as well. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Being Fully Armed

In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 11, Jesus is accused of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebul. He then talks about a house divided. I want to concentrate today on something else Jesus says in this passage.

“When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils.” What do we make of this saying?

Spiritually, we must be that strong man fully armed. Satan is strong – very strong. If we do not use every weapon at our disposal and rely fully on the strength that God supplies, we are destined to lose the battle. What are those weapons? Prayer, Scripture, the Rosary, the Sacraments. These are what will see us through to victory. Are you fully armed today?

Father, give us your grace and your strength. Help us to be fully armed for the battles we will be engaged in today. Victory is ours, only through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Our Christian Duties

The family is the first school for children. Even if we send them off to a school at some age, we as parents are called to be the primary teachers of our children, especially when it comes to the faith. This is job that never ends. How important do you think this is? See what God has to say about it in today’s first reading from Deuteronomy 4.

In the Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus says that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. The commandments of God were not negated by Jesus. He came to show us how to live out the commandments perfectly. But our obligation to imitate Him does not end at living out God’s commands. It is not enough just to obey. Listen to Jesus’ words. “But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” We must obey and TEACH.

I hear so often these days (to the point of making me nauseous) that we Catholics and Christians need to just worry about our own sinfulness and stop trying to “force” our religion on others. True, we must tend to ourselves; clean up our own backyard and obey God’s commandments. But if we only do this, we miss the second part of the equation. We must also TEACH others about God’s laws. Why? Because that is what Jesus tells us to do. Anything less is being remiss in our duty as Christians.

Father, give us the grace to obey your commandments, to live them out as Jesus taught us. And give us the courage to teach your laws to all who have ears to hear. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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The Importance of the “Unless”

In the first reading today from Daniel 3, we hear the heartfelt and beautiful prayer of Azariah. He, along with his two companions, is in a fiery furnace offering a prayer to God. Spoiler alert: he walks out of that furnace.

The Gospel reading from Matthew 18 is a familiar story about Jesus telling Peter a story after saying he must forgive “not seven times but seventy-seven times.” A man, after being forgiven a large debt, refuses to forgive a small debt. Jesus ends the story with this: “Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

So let’s get this straight. God will punish you UNLESS your forgive others from your heart. Let me ask you something. Do you want God to punish you? I hope the answer is of course not. If there were something you could do to prevent that, would you do it? The good news is, there is! It comes right after the “unless.” Forgive. Not once, not twice, but as many times as you’re wronged. Pretty simple, no?

Father, give us a forgiving heart. Help us to forgive others their wrongs, that you may forgive us and relent of your just punishment. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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A Dad-ly Example

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Joseph. Normally the feast is March 19, but since this year that was a Sunday, the feast is moved to today, because of its importance. In our first reading from 2 Samuel, God says that his Son would spring from the line of David. “I will make his royal throne firm forever.” Joseph, though not Jesus’ biological father, was from the line of David. There are two options for a Gospel reading today, Matthew 1 and Luke 2. In Matthew 1, we read that Joseph was a righteous man, and that God spoke to him through an angel in a dream. And in Luke 2, we read about Joseph and Mary finding Jesus in the temple.

Did you know that not a word of Joseph’s is recorded in the Scriptures? But, many of Joseph’s actions are recorded. I think that this speaks volumes about the person of Joseph. He was certainly a devout and humble man that always did whatever God asked of him. And how special must he have been? After all, he was the one chosen from all time to care for the Messiah and his mother. He was the one who taught Jesus how to behave; taught him a trade and gave him a work ethic. He was the one tasked with protecting the child Jesus and Mary from people and forces that would come against them. He was the one who showed them what holy, masculine love truly was.

As a father, Joseph is especially precious to me. We fathers must work to pattern our fatherhood after blessed St. Joseph, who was surely the most perfect of earthly fathers. He let his actions speak for him. He always did God’s will, no matter how difficult, no matter what other people may have thought. He took a young virgin as his wife, spirited her and the child off to Egypt, then back to Nazareth to make a home for them, all the while dedicating his whole life to God. Dads, are we following the example of St. Joseph? Ask today for his intercession that we might be fathers more like him.

Father, we thank you for the gift and example of St. Joseph. We pray especially for fathers today. Help us to imitate the man that you chose to help raise your Son. Blessed St. Joseph, pray for us. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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The Living Water

Today’s Gospel reading is from John 4, the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.

Jesus and His disciples come to a Samaritan village when the disciples go off to rustle up some food. Jesus is sitting at Jacob’s well when a woman approaches to draw water. Jesus tells her to give Him a drink. This sparks an interesting encounter where Jesus tells the woman facts about her life that He couldn’t possibly have known. The woman is amazed and begins to talk about the Messiah. Jesus replies, “I am he, the one speaking with you.”

I have to admit I would probably be a bit freaked out if someone I had never seen before told me details of my life. The woman recognized Jesus as a prophet. But He made it clear that He is so much more. He is the Living Water. He is the Messiah. And just like the woman at the well, He knows everything about you. Do you believe?

Father, give us always the Living Water, that we may never thirst again. May we drink deeply of Jesus’ love and grace. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Father and Sons

Some beautiful imagery in today’s first reading from Micah 7. We see that God “delights in clemency…will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins.” Then Psalm 103 reminds us that “The Lord is kind and merciful.” And speaking of kindness and mercy, our Gospel reading is from Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son.

You know the story…a son wants his inheritance right away. So the father gives it to him and he promptly goes off and squanders everything in short order. He returns home in shame, only to be welcomed back by his loving father. His older brother, though, is quite peeved at these happenings. The characters in this story are all so rich. I don’t know about you, but at different times in my life, I relate closely with all of the characters. I have been a schlub of a son, squandering the inheritance of my heavenly Father. I have been a jealous brother, harboring a grudge against those that I thought were “unjustly forgiven.” And I have been a loving father, welcoming my kids back into the fold after they screwed up.

Like the father in the story, our heavenly Father is always ready and willing to welcome us back. He waits for us night and day, day and night, hoping beyond hope that we will find our way home. And when we do…well, it’s party time! Today as you read this story, put yourself in the place of all of the characters in the story. When we do, we will be better able to empathize with others, and ourselves, when we encounter these situations in real life.

Father, we thank you for waiting for us on our journeys away from you. Show us the way back, as you welcome us with open arms. Amen.

Today’s Readings