Wednesday, January 20, 2021

“We are not born with hard hearts. We are born with soft and tender hearts that, more often than not, are mishandled and consequently broken. The pain is always harsher than expected when each fragment turns to stone. So we pile them high to form a wall of protection around ourselves, determined never to experience such terrible pain again. That is how hearts come to be hardened………… Ironically, our refusal to dismantle the wall is how and why we continue to suffer.”


If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own power. Your self-sufficiency, your selfishness and your intellectual pride will inhibit His coming to live in your heart because God cannot fill what is already full. It is as simple as that. - Mother Teresa: (1910 – 1997: Founded the Missionaries of Charity


Gospel Text: (Mk 3:1-6)

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

 

Reflect, today, upon your own soul and your relationships with others with as much honesty as possible. Do not hesitate to let your guard down and be open to what God may want to say to you. And if you detect even the slightest tendency toward a hardened and stubborn heart, beg our Lord to enter in to soften it. Change like this is difficult, but the rewards of such a change are incalculable. 

 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

“The motive behind criticism often determines its validity. Those who care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the moment they think that they have found a weak spot.”


 “It is a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man's oration, it is a very easy matter; but to produce a better in it's place is a work extremely troublesome.” ― Plutarch: (AD 46 -  119: was a Greek Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, biographer, & essayist)

Gospel Text: (Mk 2:23-28)

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

 

Reflect, today, upon any tendency you have in your relationships with those closest to you toward being excessive and distorted in your criticism. Do you find yourself obsessing over the apparent minor faults of others on a regular basis? Try to step back from criticism today and renew, instead, your practice of mercy toward all. If you do, you may actually discover that your judgments of others do not fully reflect the truth of God’s law.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Many Christians live their lives as though Jesus finished His work in the first century. They seem to think that being a Christian is simply accepting the finished work of Christ, going to church every Sunday to express their worship, and waiting for His second coming. No, no, no. Jesus is working today, just as He did 2,000 years ago, to accomplish His mission….. You may have assumed that the most important thing you could be doing with your life is “X”... “Y”... or….”Z”. Those are all worthwhile endeavors, but each one of those tasks is only significant when it is a subtask of the grand objective: building the kingdom of God.”


If I sit next to a madman as he drives a car into a group of innocent bystanders, I can't, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe, then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (1906 –1945 was a Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident)

Gospel Text: (Mk 1:14-20)

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

 

Reflect, today, upon the beginning of this new liturgical season. Use it as an opportunity to remind yourself of the importance of daily studying and prayerfully pondering the public ministry of Jesus and all He taught. Recommit yourself to a faithful reading of the Gospel so that it becomes an ordinary part of your daily life.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

“God is looking for willing hearts... God has no favorites. You do not have to be special, but you have to be available.”


If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. - Saint Augustine: (354 –  430: was a theologian, philosopher, and the bishop)

 

Gospel Text: (Lk 4:14-22)

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region. 
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. 
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. 
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:


The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. 
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” 
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. 

 

Reflect, today, on the most difficult teaching of Jesus you have struggled with. Everything He says and everything He has taught is for your good. Praise Him no matter what and allow your heart of praise to give you the wisdom you need to understand all that Jesus asks of you. Especially those teachings that are most difficult to accept.