Category Archives: 60 Reflections

Fly Like an Eagle

We’re back in Isaiah for our first reading today. The final verse in today’s reading is Isaiah 40:31. I’ll talk about it in a moment. Our Gospel passage today is a short one, from Matthew 11. Jesus tells the people, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” A great reminder for us that when the troubles of the world are bearing down on us, we can truly find rest in Jesus.

“They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” I know so many people for whom this verse has been a life saver. We hear in the Scriptures often of the need for persistence. And this verse really gives us a sense of that. But it also conveys the truth of where that persistence comes from. Hint: it doesn’t come from us.

Have you ever looked on in awe at an eagle in flight, soaring above the earth? I know I have. To me that seems like the greatest of freedom. Total exhilaration. It’s the same feeling we get when we put our hope in the Lord. When we give our lives up to God, there is nowhere He can’t take us! But…a word of caution: There will always be those who do not want you to soar; those who will try to hold you back and keep you down. Beware of them. Always remember – you can’t soar with the eagles if you’re hanging around with chickens and turkeys.

Father, help us today and every day to put our trust and our hope in you alone, that we may soar as on eagles’ wings. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Our Loving Mother

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego on a hill in Tepeyac, Mexico, in December of 1531, she declared, “I am your most merciful Mother; I want to show my loving clemency and compassion to those who call upon me in their sorrows.” The miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that appeared on Juan Diego’s tilma is venerated to this day. There are different options for readings for today.

In Zechariah 2, we read, “Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the Lord.” The fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus is the crux of our faith. That God almighty, the creator of the universe, the Author of Life, came to dwell among us. And this is why the Church so honors the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because it was through her that this prophecy was fulfilled. And in the Gospel reading from Luke 1, we see that Elizabeth “got it.”

The words that Mary spoke to Juan Diego should echo in our minds. “I am your most merciful Mother.” Remember that we are all God’s children; His family. And, like a perfect family, we have a loving Mother. Let us come to her with our sorrows. For, if anyone knows about sorrows, it is Mary. And she, like a loving Mother, will give us comfort.

Father, we thank you for our loving Mother, Mary. We take comfort knowing that she shares in our sorrows, and intercedes for us through Her Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Be Strong, Fear Not!

I’m hearing more and more about how so many people are frightened today. Not just because of terrorist attacks or random violence. Sure, that’s part of it, but it goes to something much deeper. Today’s readings give us hope and some powerful advice.

In the first reading from Isaiah, we read this: “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!” In the Gospel reading from Luke 5, Jesus heals a man who was paralyzed.

Why are so many people frightened today? I believe it is because they don’t feel a sense of control. The whole world has spun out of control! Here’s the funny thing: for us, control is an illusion. We feel things are out of control, but the truth is we never had control in the first place. You know who does, though? God. As Jesus fulfilled the prophesy in Isaiah perfectly, let us today fulfill it as well, telling others, “Be strong, fear not!” Because the reality is, God’s got this!

Father, forgive us for being such control freaks, and losing heart. Help us to know that you always have things under control, and to proclaim to others, “Be strong, fear not!” Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Pointing the Way to Jesus

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent. For the Gospel reading, we go to the beginning of the Gospel according to Mark. It all starts with John the Baptist.

John knew that he had a job to do – to point the way to the Messiah. It would seem that John did not know that his own kinsman, Jesus of Nazareth, was that Messiah. He knew that the Messiah was coming and, even though His identity was temporarily hidden, John pointed the way to Him.

Have you had someone in your life that has pointed the way to Jesus for you? Perhaps it was your parents and godparents at your baptism. Maybe later in life someone guided you along in your spiritual journey. They were your John the Baptist. We should be sure to express our gratitude to them. And we should be willing to play the part of John the Baptist to others, pointing them toward Jesus and eternal life. Is there anything greater you could do for someone?

Father, we thank you for those people who pointed the way to Jesus for us. May we always point the way to Jesus for others. Amen.

Today’s Readings


The Teacher

As you read today’s first reading from Isaiah 30, I hope your mind is immediately drawn to Jesus. We see these prophesies so perfectly fulfilled in Jesus. More on that in a moment. In the Gospel reading today, we see Jesus sending out the Twelve, with authority. He tells them, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

Today’s prophesies of the Messiah in Isaiah 30 are striking. Listen to these, and see if they don’t perfectly apply to Jesus. “He will be gracious to you when you cry out…The Lord will give you the bread you need…no longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher.” Gracious; hearing when we cry out; giving us the bread we need; being our Teacher. Notice that teacher is spelled with a capital “T.”

There’s an old axiom that says when the student is ready, the teacher will come. You’ve probably seen that play out in your life numerous times. I know I have. At just the right time someone will come along with a lesson to teach me. In the case of humanity, the students were ready. And so God sent the Teacher. He’s still around. Are you ready to be His student?

Father, we thank you for sending Jesus to teach us about you. May we be willing to learn at His feet more and more each day. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Mary’s Immaculate Conception

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is a Holy Day of obligation. Let’s talk briefly today about what the Immaculate Conception is, and isn’t. Probably the most common misconception (no pun intended) that people have is that the Immaculate Conception refers to the moment when Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary. This is incorrect. Others think that it refers to Mary being conceived without her parents having intercourse. This, too, is false.

The Immaculate Conception was defined officially by Pope Pius IX in 1854. But it has always been believed and taught by the Church. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 491, it says, “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” In essence, Mary participated in the redemption of Christ from the moment of her conception.

Mary has many titles; the New Eve, the Ark of the New Covenant, the Immaculate Conception. As the first Christian (see today’s Gospel reading from Luke 1), it only stands to reason that she would be the first to receive the gift of Christ’s redemption. And notice that the Church does not say that this was because of any merit of her own. No, this was a singular grace, given by God, by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ. Mary herself intimates this in her magnificat…”For He has looked upon his lowly handmaid..” And, for every moment of her life, Mary exuded this grace and always pointed the way to Her Son.

Father, we thank you for the Immaculate Conception; for the example of our Blessed Mother. As we honor her, we thank you for allowing us to participate in that same redemption. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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All Talk, No Action

Having a strong foundation is vital – for buildings and for people. Having a strong foundation is one of the themes we see in today’s readings.

In our Gospel reading today from Matthew 7, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but on the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” This would not be the only time that Jesus would speak of the importance of our actions. He makes it clear time and time again that lip service to Him is not enough.

Appearances are often very important to us. We want to look nice, say nice things, impress people. I’m sure you’ve probably met someone who is great at saying all the right things; but when it comes down to it, their actions don’t back up their words. I suppose to some degree most of us are like that. Sometimes we say things that we know people want to hear, make promises that we have no intention of keeping. Well, God doesn’t fall for that nonsense. We can pray all the right prayers, say all the right things, cry out, “Lord, Lord,” all we want. But if we’re all talk and no action, it ain’t gonna wash. Let’s always be sure that we’re not just paying lip service to Jesus. Let’s make sure that our, “Lord, Lord,” is followed up with doing the Father’s will.

Father, forgive us for the times when we’re all talk and no action. Give us the grace to do your will today. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Behold our God!

In the Gospel reading today from Matthew 15, Jesus feeds a great multitude. He says, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd…I do not want to send them away hungry.” The disciples gave Him seven loaves and a few fish. Jesus fed the whole crowd. Afterwards, there were seven baskets of fragments left over.

In the first reading from Isaiah 25, the prophet speaks of a time when “The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; the reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth…On that day it will be said: ‘Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!’ ” These two readings actually fit together quite nicely. How? The Eucharist!

Jesus did not want to send anyone, for all time, away hungry. And so He left us the Eucharist. His Body and Blood, that we, and all people for all time, might not hunger. At Mass, right before the Eucharist, the priest holds the host aloft and proclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God…” See the connection? “Behold our God!” Just as Isaiah prophesied! In the Eucharist, this prophesy is eternally fulfilled. Thank you, Jesus!

Father, we thank you for the gift of the Eucharist; Jesus, “Our God, to whom we looked to save us!” We thank you that this is the day of salvation! Amen.

Today’s Readings

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Revealing the Father

Our first reading today is from Isaiah 11. “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” This is a prophecy about how the Messiah, Jesus, would descend from the line of David. (Jesse was David’s father.) We’ll see this reading again as we draw closer to Christmas.

In the Gospel reading today from Luke 10, Jesus says, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” That begs the question: To whom does the Son wish to reveal the Father? I believe that the answer to that is everyone.

Jesus is the revelation of the Father. When we look upon Jesus, we see God. Jesus has revealed to humanity who the Father is. As we know, not everyone accepts this. It was so in the time of Jesus, and still is so today. I believe that part of our job on earth is to help others to recognize God the Father, through the Son, Jesus Christ. As Jesus has revealed the Father to you, so you must reveal the Father to others. How do we do that best? By imitating Jesus. I know…easier said than done. Are you up for it?

Father, we thank you for revealing yourself to us through your Son, Christ Jesus. May we help others to recognize you, Lord, by showing them your grace and mercy. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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The Universal Church

The word “catholic” means universal. We see prophesies about the universality of the Church in today’s readings.

In the first reading from Isaiah 2, the prophet says of the mountain of the LORD, “All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: ‘Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.'” And in the Gospel reading from Matthew 8, Jesus says, “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Christ’s Church indeed reaches all nations. It’s amazing to think that at any given moment, there is a Mass being offered somewhere on planet earth. The Church is truly universal. Yet there are still so many who have not heard. or simply have not accepted, the gospel. Let’s be sure that we bring the good news to all we encounter today.

Father, we thank you for allowing us to participate in the banquet of heaven, the Mass. May we bring the good news to all and continue to build the Kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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