Tag Archives: mass readings

Reflections on Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Read today’s readings from the USCCB

By Sam Pierre

Advent is a time that I often catch myself dreaming of home. The celebration of a recently married couple inviting a new member into their family always makes my heart yearn for my own family. It truly is a time when I simply want to shut myself in with those who mean the most to me and smile contentedly about how much love surrounds me. And yet, today’s first reading reminds me of how much more overwhelming the thought is of living in the house of the Lord. Our Psalm points out a similar theme in that, “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.” We have reason to eagerly await our invitation into Heaven: rich foods, choice wines…I mean, Jesus throws a heck of a Christmas party! The Apostles, popes, archangels, the Blessed Virgin Mary; it’s a pretty great guest list to be on!
Meditating on the joy of living in the house of the Lord puts my heart in a beautiful state of peace and excited anticipation. However, sometimes I get homesick for Heaven and ignore the reality in which I live now. That love which we anticipate enjoying fully in Eternity is the same love which we must share with God’s people on earth.

Someone had to give up his/her dinner in order for Jesus to perform his miracle in today’s Gospel reading. Sure, Jesus did the heavy lifting when it came to multiplying the seven loaves and a few fish, but someone donated that food. Similarly, Jesus only performed the miracle, he did not walk around physically feeding the crowd, other hands served in that way. Jesus “needed” the service of those around him in order to fully bless the crowd that day.

In what ways is God calling each of us to be his hands and feet? Significant tithing is a new phenomenon for me. For the first time in my life, I am making a real paycheck and I am recognizing the call to utilize a portion in service to God. And yet, as a severely indebted medical resident, my financial resources are limited. But how many people in today’s Gospel actually served Jesus financially? Only a few. The vast majority served by organizing, spreading the food and cleaning up the leftovers. Could I donate some of my time? Might I carry some granola bars and a few inexpensive winter hats to keep in my car to offer to the homeless guy I pass on my way to the hospital each morning? How about simply going out of my way to offer a word of encouragement to a downtrodden neighbor? In spite of my newfound ability to donate financially, the Gospel is calling me to a well-rounded service approach.

Together let us meditate on the anticipated joy of our invitation into Jesus’ Heavenly party. Then let’s apply the love we derive from that excitement to acting as our Lord’s instruments of service in a multitude of ways during this giving season.

From Creighton University

Commentary for Tuesday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Zacchaeus is a rich collector of taxes. Each of us, like him, is attached to worldly things. Zacchaeus, like you, wants to see who Jesus is. But Zacchaeus has two strikes against him.

The first strike against Zacchaeus is the crowd, because everyone wants to see Jesus. It’s easy to get lost and not to be loved in the crowd. One might ask himself, “How can Jesus love everyone?” The second strike against Zacchaeus is his small size, which may represent the size of our soul. One might feel unworthy of God’s love, and ask himself, “How could Jesus love little old me?”

So Zacchaeus climbs up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus. This is all Zacchaeus wants: to see Jesus. But that’s not enough for Jesus.

Here’s the turning point in this gospel passage. When Jesus reached the place where Zacchaeus had climbed the tree, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly; for today I must stay at your house.” Jesus takes the initiative to reach out to this individual. And just as he reached out to this little sinner, he is trying to reach into your life.

Catholic Diocese of Wichita

Scripture Commentary for Sunday, Oct. 20

Readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

Through our second reading, Saint Paul describes how God’s Word speaks to us through the words of the Bible. But the “Word of God” is not limited to the Bible. We listen to the Word of God in the Bible in order to receive an even greater gift. Opening our selves to this greater gift is one of the most basic “moves” of the Christian life.

It is not a coincidence that Holy Mass follows the pattern that it does. The two main parts of the Mass—called the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist—are not interchangeable. The Mass would not make sense if we celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist first, and then the Liturgy of the Word. This is so because the Word is proclaimed first as a preparation, in order to lead us as pilgrims and disciples towards the Word made Flesh.

We can see this if we overlay the outline of the Mass upon the outline of salvation history. Consider what we might call the “first half” of salvation history: the time of the Old Testament. During this long period of time, “God spoke” his Word “in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets.” But in the “second half” of salvation history—the time of Christ and His Body, the Church—“God spoke to us”, and speaks to us today, “through His Son”, the Word made flesh, who proclaimed to His followers: “Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my Body, which will be given up for you.”

Catholics are at times accused of being ignorant of the Scriptures, and unfortunately there are times when this criticism is justified. To that extent, we must dispel our ignorance, because the words of Saint Jerome are just as true today as when he wrote them: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

But if our devotion to Scripture does not lead us to a deeper devotion to the Eucharist, we miss the entire point of God becoming human, of the divine Word becoming flesh and blood. After all, what did God the Son say on this earth that God the Father could not have said from the heavens? Couldn’t God the Father have spoken the Beatitudes from Heaven, rather than Jesus speaking them during the Sermon on the Mount? Couldn’t God the Father have taught His People from Heaven how to pray to Him, rather than Jesus teaching us the “Our Father”? What words had to be spoken by one who is both fully divine and fully human? “Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my Body, which will be given up for you.”

Diocese of Wichita

Reflections for Saturday, October 12

Click here to see today’s readings.

Today’s First Reading from the Book of Joel is taken from its final chapter. The second half of Joel concerns the judgment of the LORD at some unspecified future time. This “day of the LORD” is described in apocalyptic terms that are much more sweeping than the prophecies Joel makes in the first half of the book.

Eschatology is the branch of theology that concerns “the last things”. The Greek word “eschaton” means “end” in the sense of “goal” or “fulfillment”. In both the Old and New Testaments, the “end times” includes the LORD’s judgment. But with the coming of the Gospel, this judgment was revealed in a new light. That light, of course, is “the light of the world” [John 8:12]: Jesus Christ.

Old Testament eschatology, however, is not without hope even if it is without saving knowledge of the One who will bring that hope. Today’s First Reading uses language that can seem dramatic and frightening, but which is finally reassuring for those who are truly the LORD’s people. For example, we hear today that the “heavens and the earth quake, but the LORD is a refuge to His people….” For us Christians, we can reflect on this First Reading in light of the Church being the People of God, and how our sharing in the life of the Church reflects our closeness to the Lord Himself

Diocese of Wichita

Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for August 23

When we were little we were expected to memorize the basic truths of our Faith. At the top of the list were the Ten Commandments, which could be difficult to memorize. Today’s Gospel passage offers a clue to help us to remember—or to teach—the Ten Commandments more easily.

If not pointed out, we may never have noticed that in many pictures of Moses bringing down the two tablets from Mt. Sinai, the Ten Commandments are not divided five and five. Rather, the first tablet has the first three commandments, and the other tablet the remaining seven. This illustrates Jesus’ teaching today: that there are, in fact, simply “two commandments”.

On the Cross most especially, but in fact in His very divine Person, Jesus embodies the unity of these “two commandments”. True God and true man, Jesus’ teaching today merely foreshadows what He teaches us on Calvary. Some people teach an ethic that promotes complete devotion to God, but ignores if not disdains the corruption of man. Others teach an ethic that promotes an apotheosis of human nature, but disdains if not altogether denies God. Neither of these “two commandments” in fact can stand or be understood thoroughly without the other. Jesus reveals the meaning of each of these commandments in His divine Person.

Commentary from the Diocese of Wichita

Commentary on the Sunday Readings

Catholic News Service publishes “Word to Life,” a commentary series on the Sunday Scriptures. Here is the commentary for August 18.

The Concho Padre

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola – Wednesday, July 31

Today’s Readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. St. Ignatius lived about 400 years ago, a time when a lot of people were not being obedient to God and to His Church.

Ignatius was a soldier from the country of Spain. During a battle, he was hit by a cannonball, which shattered his leg. So of course he had to spend a lot of time in the hospital to recover. He liked to read adventure books, but the people in charge couldn’t find any books like that, so they gave him a book of the lives of the saints to read instead. And as Ignatius read that book, he found the lives of the saints more interesting than his own life, and he realized that up until then, he had not been obedient to God. Ignatius realized that God had a certain plan for him to follow.

Much later, after spending many years in prayer by himself, and many years studying in schools all around Europe, Ignatius felt that he was ready to begin doing special work for God. He founded a new religious order called the Society of Jesus, whose members, called Jesuits, made a special promise to God. They made four promises to God, and the fourth promise was a promise to be obedient to the Holy Father, the pope, doing whatever he asked them to do.

Immediately the pope asked the Jesuits to begin traveling throughout the world to teach the Catholic faith, and this is what they did. Today, there are Catholics in many parts of the world who were first taught the Faith by the Jesuits, and Jesuits today continue to have a special job in schools all over the world of teaching the Faith that Jesus gave us, and that the pope and the bishops of the world explain to us

Wednesday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time – Commentary

Click here to see today’s Mass readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

“A sower went out to sow”

Now if you ask me what Jesus Christ means by the sower who goes out early to sow seed in his field: my dear brethren, that sower is the good God himself! He began his work for our salvation from the beginning of the world by sending his prophets to us before the coming of the Messiah to teach us what we had to do to be saved. And, not satisfied with sending his servants, he came himself, marked out for us the way we should take, and came to preach his holy word.

Do you know what those people are like who aren’t sustained by that holy word or who abuse it? They are like the sick without a doctor, like a traveller who has gone astray without a guide, like a poor man without means. Let us rather say, my brethren, that it is altogether impossible to love God and please him without being nourished by this divine word. What is there that can draw us to attach ourselves to him if not because we know him? And what enables us to know him with all his perfections, beauty and love for us if not God’s word, which teaches us all he has done for us and the good things he is preparing for us in the life to come if we try hard to please him?

Saint John Marie Vianney
Patron of Parish Priests

The Concho Padre

Commentary – Tuesday of the 16th week in ordinary time

Readings for today.

Have you ever considered yourself a brother or sister of Jesus?

Do you consider yourself as part of His family?

Hopefully your answer is an affirmative YES. However, if you have never considered yourself as part of Jesus’ family, He is inviting you today to consider the invitation. “Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Some have tried to interpret this Gospel story in different ways:

1) They say that Jesus is putting down His mother Mary. This is not the case at all. Jesus is rather affirming all of us who try to do His will. And the Scriptures are clear about Mary’s role – “Blessed are you among women…” (Luke 1:42) And Jesus followed the 4th Commandment of honoring His father and mother.

2) Others say that this Scripture means that Jesus had biological siblings and therefore Mary is not ever-virgin. I think the key Scripture that points to Jesus not having siblings is John 19:27 – “John, behold your mother.” Jesus was watching out for His mother from the cross because in that society women only had social standing through the men in their families. Joseph had already died and Mary’s only son, Jesus, was about to die. If Jesus had brothers, Mary simply would have been entrusted to one of them. However, Jesus entrusted His mother to John, the beloved disciple.

The significance of this Scripture is that the Lord invites us all to be a part of His family – intimate members of His household. We become His sons and daughters through our baptism. But we must also do the will of God the Father to maintain that relationship. What must we do to do the will of the Father?

We must pray to know the will of the Father.

We must put our faith into action.

We must have the courage to follow wherever the Lord calls us.

Is there anything holding you back?

Are you spending quality time in prayerful conversation with the Lord every day in order to know His will?

Are you putting your faith into action?

Have a blessed day!

Fr. Burke

Sunday’s Scripture Commentary

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. As part of their service, they offer a weekly Scripture commentary called “Word to Life.”

Read more

The Concho Padre