The Chaos to Come

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

All Saints for Today

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”  Luke 21:10-11

This prophecy of Jesus will most certainly unfold.  How will it unfold, practically speaking?  That’s still to be seen.

True, some people may say that this prophecy is already being fulfilled in our world.  Some will try to associate this and other prophetic passages of Scripture with a certain time or event.  But this would be a mistake.  It would be a mistake because the very nature of a prophecy is that it’s veiled.  All prophecy is true and will be fulfilled, but not all prophecy will be understood with perfect clarity until Heaven.

So what do we take from this prophetic word from our Lord?  Though this passage may, in fact, refer to more grand and universal events to come, it may also speak to our own particular situations present in our life today.  Therefore, we should allow His words to speak to us within those situations.  One specific message this passage tells us is that we should not be surprised if, at times, it appears as if our world is rattled to the core.  In other words, when we see chaos, evil, sin and malice all around us, we should not be surprised and we should not get discouraged.  This is an important message for us as we press on through life.

For each one of us, there may be many “earthquakes, famines, and plagues” that we encounter in life.  They will take on various forms and will be the cause of much distress at times.  But they do not need to be.  If we understand that Jesus is aware of the chaos we may encounter and if we understand that He actually prepared us for it, we will be more at peace when the troubles come.  In a sense, we will be able to simply say, “Oh, this is one of those things, or one of those moments, Jesus said would come.”  This understanding of the challenges to come should help prepare us for them and endure them with hope and trust.

Reflect, today, on any particular ways that this prophetic word of Christ has taken place in your own life.  Know that Jesus is there in the midst of all apparent chaos, leading you through to the glorious conclusion He has in mind for you!

Lord, when my world seems to cave in around me, help me to turn my eyes to You and to trust in Your mercy and grace.  Help me to know that You will never abandon me and that You have a perfect plan for all things.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Doing “Great” Things!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

All Saints for Today

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”  Luke 21:1-4

Did she really give more than all the rest?  According to Jesus, she did!  So how can that be?  This Gospel passage reveals to us how God sees our giving compared to the worldly view.

What is giving and generosity all about?  Is it about how much money we have?  Or is it something deeper, something more interior?  Certainly it is the latter.

Giving, in this case, is in reference to money.  But this is simply an illustration of all forms of giving we are called to offer.  For example, we are also called to give of our time and talents to God for the love of others, the upbuilding of the Church and the spreading of the Gospel.

Look at giving from this perspective.  Consider the giving of some of the great saints who lived hidden lives.  St. Thérèse of Lisieux, for example, gave her life to Christ in countless small ways.  She lived within the walls of her convent and had little interaction with the world. Therefore, from a worldly perspective, she gave very little and made little difference.  However, today she is considered one of the greatest doctors of the Church thanks to the small gift of her spiritual autobiography and the witness of her life.

The same may be able to be said of you.  Perhaps you are one who is busy with what seems to be small and insignificant daily tasks.  Perhaps cooking, cleaning, caring for the family and the like occupy your day.  Or perhaps your employment takes up most of what you do each day and you find you have little time left for “great” things offered to Christ.  The question is really this: How does God see your daily service?

Reflect, today, on your calling in life.  Perhaps you are not called to go forth and do “great things” from a public and worldly perspective.  Or perhaps you do not even do “great things” that are visible within the Church.  But what God sees are the daily acts of love you do in the smallest of ways.  Embracing your daily duty, loving your family, offering daily prayers, etc., are treasures that you can offer God every day.  He sees these and, most importantly, He sees the love and devotion with which you do them.  So do not give in to a false and worldly notion of greatness.  Do small things with great love and you will be giving an abundance to God in service of His holy will.

Lord, I give myself to You and to Your service this day and every day.  May I do all I am called to do with great love.  Please continue to show me my daily duty and help me to embrace that duty in accord with Your holy will.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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The Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Readings for Today

Happy Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe!  This is the last Sunday of the Church year which means we focus on the final and glorious things to come!  It also means that next Sunday is already the First Sunday of Advent.

When we say Jesus is a king, we mean a few things. First, He is our Shepherd. As our Shepherd He desires to lead us personally as a loving father would. He wants to enter our lives personally, intimately and carefully, never imposing Himself but always offering Himself as our guide. The difficulty with this is that it’s very easy for us to reject this kind of kingship. As King, Jesus desires to lead every aspect of our lives and lead us in all things. He desires to become the absolute ruler and monarch of our souls. He wants us to come to Him for everything and to become dependent upon Him always. But He will not impose this sort of kingship upon us. We must accept it freely and without reservation. Jesus will only govern our lives if we freely surrender ourselves over. When that happens, though, His Kingdom begins to become established within us! And through us in the world.

Additionally, Jesus does wish for His Kingdom to begin to be established in our world. First and foremost this takes place when we become His sheep and thus become His instruments to help convert the world. However, as King, He also calls us to establish His Kingdom by seeing to it that His truth and law is respected within civil society. It’s Christ’s authority as King that gives us the authority and duty as Christians to do all we can to fight civil injustices and bring about a respect for every human person. All civil law ultimately gains its authority from Christ alone since He is the one and only Universal King.

But many do not recognize Him as King, so what about them? Should we “impose” God’s law upon those who do not believe? The answer is both yes and no. First, there are some things we cannot impose. For example, we cannot force people to go to Mass each Sunday. This would hinder one’s freedom to enter into this precious gift. We know Jesus requires it of us for the good of our souls, but it must still be embraced freely. However, there are some things that we must “impose” upon others. The protection of the unborn, poor and vulnerable must be “imposed.” The freedom of conscience must be written into our laws. The freedom to practice our faith openly (religious liberty) within any institution must be “imposed” also. And there are many other things we could list here. What’s important to point out is that, at the end of all time, Jesus will be returning to Earth in all His glory and He will then establish His permanent and unending Kingdom. At that time, all people will see God as He is. And His law will become one with “civil” law. Every knee will bend before the great King and all will know the truth.  At that time, true justice will reign and every evil will be corrected.  What a glorious day that will be!

Reflect, today, upon your own embrace of Christ as King.  Does He truly govern your life in every way?  Do you allow Him to have complete control over your life?  When this is done freely and completely, the Kingdom of God is established in your life.  Let Him reign so that you can be converted and, through you, others can come to know Him as Lord of all!

Lord, You are the sovereign King of the Universe.  You are Lord of all.  Come reign in my life and make my soul Your holy dwelling place.  Lord, come transform our world and make it a place of true peace and justice.  May Your Kingdom come!  Jesus, I trust in You.

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The Truth Wins!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and his Companions, Martyrs – Memorial

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers…”  Luke 20:27-29a

And the Sadducees go on to present Jesus with a difficult scenario in order to trap Him.  They present the story of seven brothers who each die without having any children.  After each one dies, the next takes the first brother’s wife as his own.  The question they pose is this: “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?”  They ask this so as to trick Jesus because, as the passage above states, the Sadducees deny the resurrection of the dead.

Jesus, of course, gives them the answer explaining that marriage is of this age and not of the age of the Resurrection.  His answer undermines their attempt to trap Him, and the scribes, who do believe in the resurrection of the dead, applaud His answer.

One thing this story reveals to us is that the Truth is perfect and cannot be overcome.  The Truth always wins!  Jesus, by stating what is true, unmasks the foolishness of the Sadducees.  He shows that no human trickery can undermine the Truth.

This is an important lesson for us to learn in that it applies to all aspects of life.  We may not have the same question as the Sadducees, but there is little doubt that as we go through life we will come up with difficult questions.  Our questions may not be there as a way of trapping Jesus or challenging Him, but we will inevitably have them.

This Gospel story should reassure us that no matter what we are confused about, there is an answer.  No matter what we fail to understand, if we seek the Truth we will discover the Truth.

Reflect, today, upon that which challenges you the most in your journey of faith.  Perhaps it’s a question about the afterlife, or about suffering, or creation.  Perhaps it’s something deeply personal.  Or perhaps you have not spent enough time as of late to come up with questions for our Lord.  Whatever the case may be, seek out the Truth in all things and ask our Lord for wisdom so that you may daily enter more deeply into faith.

Lord, I do desire to know all that You have revealed.  I desire to understand those things that are most confusing and challenging in life.  Help me each day to deepen my faith in You and my understanding of Your Truth.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Saint Andrew Dung-Lac>>>

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Purification

Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

Saint Clement I – Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro – Saint Columban

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”  Luke 19:45-46

This passage reveals not only something that Jesus did long ago, it also reveals something that He desires to do today.  Additionally, He desires to do this in two ways: He desires to root out all evil within the temple of our world, and He desires to root out all evil in the temple of our hearts.

In regard to the first point, it is clear that the evil and ambition of many throughout history have seeped into our Church and world.  This is nothing new.  Everyone has most likely encountered some sort of hurt from those within the Church itself, from society and even from family.  Jesus does not promise perfection from those we encounter every day, but He does promise to vigorously go after evil and root it out.

As for the second and most important point, we should see this passage as a lesson for our own soul.  Each soul is a temple that should be set aside solely for the glory of God and the fulfillment of His holy will.  Therefore, this passage is fulfilled today if we allow our Lord to enter in and to see the evil and filth within our own souls.  This may not be easy to do and will require a true humility and surrender, but the end result will be cleansing and purification by our Lord.

Reflect, today, upon the fact that Jesus desires to bring about purification in many ways.  He desires to purify the Church as a whole, each society and community, your own family and especially your own soul.  Do not be afraid to let Jesus’ holy wrath work its power.  Pray for purification on all levels and let Jesus accomplish His mission.

Lord, I do pray for the purification of our world, our Church, our families and most especially my own soul.  I invite You to come to me this day to reveal to me what it is that grieves You the most.  I invite You to root out, in my heart, all that is displeasing to You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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A Grateful Heart – Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Day, United States

(Outside the United States – click here for the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time)

Readings for Today

Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”  Luke 17:17-18

Happy Thanksgiving!  Though Thanksgiving Day is not specifically a Catholic holy day, it certainly goes hand in hand with our life of faith.  Spiritually speaking, we all know that gratitude is central to the Gospel message.  Thanksgiving Day presents us with the perfect opportunity to look at this particular aspect of our faith.  We are called to be eternally and deeply grateful.  How grateful to God are you?

Perhaps we all struggle in various ways with gratitude.  It’s fair to say that we will never be grateful enough until we are perfected in Heaven.  But, for now, it’s important to look at gratitude and to try to let it increase in our souls.

First, we will never be grateful unless we see clearly all that God has done for us.  It’s so easy in life to focus in on all the struggles we face and, as a result, to get down, depressed, frustrated and even angry at times.  What’s far more challenging is to look beyond the crosses and burdens we face each day to see the abundance of grace and mercy given to us by our Lord.  Unless we see that mercy and grace, we will struggle greatly with authentic gratitude.

So on this Thanksgiving Day, reflect upon this simple question: Do I see all God has done for me?  Do I see His abundance of mercy alive in my life?  The Gospel passage above reveals that Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one of the ten returned in gratitude.  Are you like one of the nine who failed in gratitude?  If so, you most likely struggle with seeing all the true and abundant blessings from God.  If you can humbly admit you struggle with total gratitude, you will have taken the first step to seeing more clearly and the first step to fostering the deeper gratitude you ought to have.  Being grateful means you see the truth clearly.  Be open to that truth and God will change your life as He fills you with joy!

Lord, please do fill my heart with an abundance of gratitude.  Help me to turn my eyes to Your infinite grace and mercy.  Help me to see beyond the struggles of life and the burdens that get me down.  In place of these, help me to become increasingly aware of all You have done for me and all that You continue to do.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Reflection for Thursday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

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Building the Kingdom

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Memorial

“I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.”  Luke 19:26-27

Whoa, Jesus was not a pushover!  He was not timid in His words in this parable.  We see here the seriousness of our Lord regarding those who act contrary to His divine will.

First, this line comes as the conclusion to the parable of the talents.  Three servants were each given a gold coin.  The first used the coin to earn ten more, the second earned five more and the third did nothing but give back the coin upon the king’s return.  It is this servant who is chastised for doing nothing with the gold coin he was given.

Second, when this king went off to receive his kingship, there were some who did not want him as king and tried to stop his coronation.  Upon his return as the newly crowned king, he called in those people and had them slain before him.

We often like to speak of the mercy and kindness of Jesus, and we are right in doing so.  He is kind and merciful beyond measure.  But He is also a God of true justice.  In this parable we have the image of two groupings of people receiving divine justice.

First, we have those Christians who fail to spread the Gospel and fail to give what they have been given.  They remain idle with the faith and, as a result, lose the little faith they have.

Second, we have those who directly oppose the kingship of Christ and the building up of His Kingdom on Earth.  These are those who work for the upbuilding of the kingdom of darkness in numerous ways.  The ultimate result of this malice is their utter destruction.

Reflect, today, upon the seriousness of the Gospel.  Following Jesus and building up His Kingdom is not only a great honor and joy, it’s also a requirement.  It’s a command of love from our Lord and one He takes seriously.  So, if it’s hard for you to serve Him wholeheartedly and to commit to building up the Kingdom out of love alone, do it at least because it is a duty.  And it’s a duty for which our Lord will ultimately hold each of us accountable.

Lord, may I never squander the grace You have given me.  Help me to always work diligently for the upbuilding of Your divine Kingdom.  And help me to see it as a joy and honor to do so.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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More for Today – Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Building the Kingdom

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Memorial

“I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.”  Luke 19:26-27

Whoa, Jesus was not a pushover!  He was not timid in His words in this parable.  We see here the seriousness of our Lord regarding those who act contrary to His divine will.

First, this line comes as the conclusion to the parable of the talents.  Three servants were each given a gold coin.  The first used the coin to earn ten more, the second earned five more and the third did nothing but give back the coin upon the king’s return.  It is this servant who is chastised for doing nothing with the gold coin he was given.

Second, when this king went off to receive his kingship, there were some who did not want him as king and tried to stop his coronation.  Upon his return as the newly crowned king, he called in those people and had them slain before him.

We often like to speak of the mercy and kindness of Jesus, and we are right in doing so.  He is kind and merciful beyond measure.  But He is also a God of true justice.  In this parable we have the image of two groupings of people receiving divine justice.

First, we have those Christians who fail to spread the Gospel and fail to give what they have been given.  They remain idle with the faith and, as a result, lose the little faith they have.

Second, we have those who directly oppose the kingship of Christ and the building up of His Kingdom on Earth.  These are those who work for the upbuilding of the kingdom of darkness in numerous ways.  The ultimate result of this malice is their utter destruction.

Reflect, today, upon the seriousness of the Gospel.  Following Jesus and building up His Kingdom is not only a great honor and joy, it’s also a requirement.  It’s a command of love from our Lord and one He takes seriously.  So, if it’s hard for you to serve Him wholeheartedly and to commit to building up the Kingdom out of love alone, do it at least because it is a duty.  And it’s a duty for which our Lord will ultimately hold each of us accountable.

Lord, may I never squander the grace You have given me.  Help me to always work diligently for the upbuilding of Your divine Kingdom.  And help me to see it as a joy and honor to do so.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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More for Today – Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Calling Out for Mercy!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

All Saints for Today

[H]e kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!”  Luke 18:39c

Good for him!  Here was a blind beggar who was treated poorly by many.  He was treated as if he were no good and a sinner.  When he began to call out for mercy from Jesus, he was told to be silent by those around him.  But what did the blind man do?  Did he give in to their oppression and ridicule?  Certainly not.  Instead, “He kept calling out all the more!”  And Jesus took notice of his faith and healed him.

There is a great lesson from this man’s life for us all.  There are many things we will encounter in life that get us down, discourage us and tempt us to despair.  There are many things that are oppressive to us and difficult for us to deal with.  So what should we do?  Should we give in to the struggle and then retreat into a hole of self-pity?

This blind man gives us the perfect witness of what we should do.  When we feel oppressed, discouraged, frustrated, misunderstood, or the like, we need to use this as an opportunity to turn to Jesus with even greater passion and courage calling upon His mercy.

Difficulties in life can have one of two effects on us.  Either they beat us down or they make us stronger.  The way they make us stronger is by fostering within our souls an even greater trust in and dependence upon the mercy of God.

Reflect, today, upon that which tempts you the most toward discouragement.  What is it that feels oppressive to you and difficult to deal with.  Use that struggle as an opportunity to cry out with even more passion and zeal for the mercy and grace of God.

Lord, in my weakness and struggle, help me to turn to You with even more passion.  Help me to rely upon You all the more in times of distress and frustration in life.  May the wickedness and harshness of this world only strengthen my resolve to turn to You in all things.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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The Word of God

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Readings for Today

Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles – Optional Memorial

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin – USA Optional Memorial

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Mark 13:31

Yes, it is true.  Heaven as it is now and Earth as it is now will pass away.  The Gospels and the Book of Revelation speak to this truth.  As we draw close to the end of this liturgical year, we are reminded of this fact.  We are reminded that Jesus will return in splendor and glory and will make all things new.  The world as we know it will be made anew and Heaven will be joined to this new Earth and all will be one.  Jesus will reign in this new world as the glorious King of all.

One thing this tells us is that we should not become overly attached to the things of this passing world.  True, earthly wealth and possessions may offer a temporary satisfaction to our lives, but never a permanent satisfaction.  In time, the things of this world will all disappear.  So, if we work to build up only earthly wealth and possessions, we should know that all those things will eventually pass away and we would be left with nothing.

So what is it that is eternal?  The answer is given in the passage above.  Jesus says that His “words will not pass away.”  Namely, all that is true and revealed by God as true is eternal and worth holding on to.  This reveals to us that Jesus’ words are the true riches that we must seek.  By embracing His Word, clinging to it, entering into it, believing it and letting it change us, we are embracing the eternal.  We are embracing that which we will have for all eternity.  This is an important truth to understand and live.

Reflect, today, upon the simple fact that everything in life is passing away except the words of our Lord.  All that He has spoken and revealed to us will remain for all time and these truths are the only thing in life worth working for.  Turn your eyes to the Word of God and try to grasp its meaning more deeply so that you can begin to build up treasure in Heaven here and now!

Lord, I do believe all that You have spoken and revealed.  Help me to listen to You all the more and to cling to Your every word.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Also for Today:

Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

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