17th Week, Saturday, Aug 1

Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24 / Matthew 14:1-12

God speaks through Jeremiah: "Reform your ways!"

The Dallas Morning News carried a story about an Olympic hopeful. It began: "Jeff Kostoffs list of achievements fills an entire page in the Stanford swimming guide, but missing among the . . . U.S. distance records, NCAA titles and medal performances, is mention of . . . his best friend from high school.

17th Week, Friday, Jul 31

Jeremiah 26:1-9 / Matthew 13:54-58 
Jeremiah prophesies trouble:The people threatened Jeremiah.

When Samuel Morse explained his plans for telegraph communication in 1842, some people ridiculed him. When Bell Telephone applied for a patent in 1876, some communication experts dismissed the telephone idea as a toy. When Thomas Edison outlined his plans for an incandescent light in 1878, the British Parliament laughed at the idea. Something like that happened to Jeremiah in today's reading. He was not only ridiculed but threatened with death for speaking out in God's name.

18 Sunday A - Liturgical Prayers

Greeting  (See First Reading)

The Lord invites us:
Listen to me
and you will have good things to eat
and rich food to enjoy.
May the Lord nourish you with his body
and may he always be with you. 
Introduction by the Celebrant (Two Options)

17th Week, Thursday, Jul 30

Jeremiah 18:1-6 / Matthew 13:47-53
We are clay in God's hands: He fashions us like a potter.

Rembrandt was a 17th-century Dutch painter. He is still regarded as one of the world's greatest artists. Rembrandt's wife, Saskia, died in the midst of his career. Following her death, he went into a period of deep mourning, in which he didn't paint at all. Eventually he resumed painting again. When he did, he painted with a new power and passion. Some critics suggest that the death of his wife was a turning point in his career. It transformed him into an outstanding artist. Rembrandt's story illustrates how God can use tragedy to fashion us into something better than we originally were.

18th Sunday A: Multiplication

5 Sundays: Summary

1) Preparing the soil: Meek and humble of heart. The word humility comes from the Latin, humus which means earth. Be earthy, natural, without put on. That's the sort of soil.
2) Types of soil: Defiant (rocky/stony), distracted (thorny) and defeated (birds picking or people trampling). Ignatius of Loyola had a defiant and distracted heart in the beginning but never defeated.

St. Martha - Jul 29

St. Martha

Martha was born of noble and wealthy parents, but she is still more illustrious for the hospitality she gave to Christ our Lord. After His Ascension into heaven, she was seized by the Jews, together with her brother and sister, Marcella her handmaid, and Maximin, one of the seventy-two disciples of our Lord, who had baptized the whole family, and many other Christians. They were put on board a ship without sails or oars, and left helpless on the open sea, exposed to certain shipwreck. But God guided the ship, and they all arrived safely at Marseilles.

17th Week, Tuesday, Jul 28

Jeremiah 14:17-22 / Matthew 13:36-43 
A disaster strikes Judah: The people wondered if God still loved them.

A newspaper described what was left of the town Udall, Kansas, after a tornado: "All homes were shredded to splinters. Only the shells of stores and office buildings stand above the hip-level mass of kindling strewn across the area "And from the population of 500 persons, no one has been found who has not been injured in some way….

17th Week: July 27- August 1 - Reflections

July 27 Monday: Mt 13:31-35: 31 Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33 He told them another parable.

17th Week, Monday, Jul 27

Jeremiah 13:1-11 / Matthew 13:31-35
God talks about his people: "I made them cling to me closely."

One approach to prayer is to get in touch with ourselves before trying to get in touch with God. For example, we sit in a chair and relax. We become aware of our clothes gripping our shoulders, legs, arms. We feel the chair gripping our body, shoes gripping our feet. When we are in touch with ourselves, we then try getting in touch with God. For example, we pray to God like this:

St. James, Apostle - Jul 25

St. James, Apostle,
2 Cor 4:7-15 / Matthew 20:20-28

We are special: He who raised Jesus will raise us.

Eighty-year-old John Quincy Adams was shuffling along outside his home one day. A neighbor greeted him, saying, “How’s Mr. John Quincy Adams this morning?” The eighty-year-old replied: “John Quincy Adams himself is very well, thank you. But the house he lives in is sadly dilapidated. It is tottering on its foundations. The walls are badly shattered, and the roof is worn. The building trembles with every wind, and I think John Quincy Adams will have to move out of it before long.  But he himself is very well.”

17th Sunday - Video Notes

16th Week, Friday, Jul 24

Jeremiah 3:14-17 / Matthew 13:18-23 
God speaks to the people of Jerusalem: “Return, rebellious children.”

Ed Baldwin was a banker, and his wife, Janice, a career woman. Both were moving up the corporate ladder. Neither bothered about religion or church. But something was missing from their lives. One Sunday, by chance, they attended church. Something happened to them both. They began to see that the one “who dies with the most toys” isn’t the winner of the game of life. To make a long story short, Ed and Janice have turned their lives inside out. She now devotes all her time to their new baby. He devotes all his time to study for the ministry. Apparently, others feel the way Ed does. The average age of the students in his seminary is 37.

17th Sunday A: Hidden Treasure - Video

16th Week, Thursday, Jul 23

Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13 / Matthew 13:10-17
My people have sinned: “They have forsaken me, their living water.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn is a Russian novelist. He fled his native land and later received the Nobel prize for literature. Writing in National Review magazine, he describes several boyhood memories. One involves being taunted by his playmates as he accompanied his mother to the one remaining church in his town. Another involves someone tearing away the cross that he wore around his neck. A final one involves old people saying of the tragedies befalling Russia, “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

17 Sunday A - Liturgical Prayers

Greeting  (See Second Reading)

God chose us specially long ago
and destined us to become true images of his Son,
so that Jesus might be the eldest
of many brothers and sisters.
May our brother Jesus be always with you.

16th Week, Wednesday, Jul 22

Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10 / Matthew 13:1-9 
Jeremiah protests his calling: “I am too young!”

John Powell writes in Through Seasons of the Heart: “There’s an old Christian tradition that God sends each person into this world with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with a special act of love to bestow. “No one can speak my message, or sing my song, or offer my act of love. These are entrusted to me.” None of us is too young, too weak, or too old to deliver a message, sing a song, or bestow an act of love. Regardless of who we are, we have a mission to fulfill in this world. It was given to us by God himself.

17 Sunday A: The Hidden Treasure - Parables of the KOG

There is a price for relationship - Treasure Hidden Rabindra Nath Tagore, the mystic poet of India, tells a memorable story from his own life which illustrates the truth of what Jesus teaches in today’s gospel, namely, that there is a price we have to pay in order to be in his kingdom, to keep a relationship with him.

A Shrinking Church?

16th Week: July 20-25: - Reflections

July 20 Monday:

 (St. Apollinaris, Bishop, Martyr)
Mt 12:38-42: 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  41 The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. USCCB video reflections:

16th Week, Tuesday, Jul 21

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 / Matthew 12:46-50 
God is forgiving: He casts our sins into the sea.

In Forgive and Forget, Lewis Smedes tells about a Jewish prisoner who worked in a Nazi field hospital. One day a nurse asked him to accompany her to the bedside of a dying German soldier. The soldier asked to be forgiven for his part in persecuting the Jews, saying, “I know what I am asking is almost too much, but without your answer I cannot die in peace.”

16th Week, Monday, Jul 20

Micah 6:1-4, 6-8 / Matthew 12:38-42 
The Lord instructs us: Walk humbly with your God.

Richard Nixon resigned the presidency August 8, 1973. His resignation ended the Watergate scandal that sent several of his aides to prison. What happened to him and his staff? Why did so many talented people go bad? In his book Born Again, Charles Colson, one of Nixon’s aides who went to prison, gave his own answer. Referring to C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, Colson said that one passage in that book “seemed to sum up what happened to all of us in the White House”:

16 Sunday A - Liturgical Prayers

The patience of God our Father,
the love of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the strength of the Holy Spirit
be always with you.
Introduction by the Celebrant 

A. There Must Be Time To Heal
We all wish to see a world without evil, a Church without faults. To see that the real Church and the real world are not sinless and not perfect makes us impatient. Jesus reminds us today: be patient, for God is patient with the Church and with the world, and also with us. Let’s not forget this. He gives us the time to change. Let us ask Jesus in this Eucharist that we may begin the change of  the world and of the Church with the change of ourselves.

16th Sunday: WHEAT & WEEDS: Notes on the Video

16th Sunday: WHEAT and WEEDS: Mt 13:24-43:

The Lord in Mathew’s “Kingdom of God” discourse speaks about the seeds, soil, weeds, treasure and food for all (Eucharist) for four Sundays. That is the Word of God despite many oppositions, resistances, disturbances, persecutions would become food for the soul. Our sowing is o feed the spiritual hunger or the nourishment of the world. 

15th Week, Saturday, Jul 18

Micah 2:1-5 / Matthew 12:14-21
Micah warns Judah: “What you take will be taken from you.”

Micah bears a striking resemblance to Amos. He preached around 700 B.C., just before Assyria destroyed Israel in the north. Like Amos, who lived some 50 years before him, he came from the vicinity of Bethlehem. Micah also spoke out in the same blunt, unpolished way as did Amos. But where Amos preached to Israel, Micah preached to Judah in the south.

15th Week, Friday, Jul 17

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8 / Matthew 12:1-8
Hezekiah prays to God: God answered his prayer.

Alexis Carrel was a French physician who did much of his work in the United States. He eventually won the Nobel prize for his contributions to the field of medicine. After a period of religious doubt and skepticism, Carrel underwent a profound conversion.

16th Sunday: Wheat and Weeds - Video Reflection

16 Sunday A: Wheat and Weeds - Stories & Reflection

Gospel text: Matthew 13:24-3

Michel DeVerteuil 
General Comments

15th Week, Thursday, Jul 16

Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19 / Matthew 11:28-30 
Isaiah holds out hope: Those sleeping in their graves will wake up.

After the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, a newspaper carried two pictures side by side. The first picture showed the ship’s side ripped open by the huge iceberg. Under it was printed: “The weakness of man, the supremacy of nature.” The second picture showed a passenger giving his place in a lifeboat to a woman with a child in her arms. Under it was printed: “The weakness of nature, the supremacy of man.” Isaiah sees the southern kingdom in similar terms. By itself, it appears doomed and without hope. With God’s help, however, it can rise from the grave and live again.

15th Week, Wednesday, Jul 15

Isaiah 10:5-7, 13-16 / Matthew 11:25-27 
Isaiah rebukes Assyria: “Can an ax be greater than its user?”

The nation of Assyria destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel. Now it threatened to destroy the southern kingdom of Judah, as well. Isaiah portrays Assyria as an ax in the hand of a woodsman (God) who was grubbing out the undergrowth from his vineyard (Judah). God was using Assyria to purify Judah. Meanwhile, Assyria grew arrogant, thinking that it alone was responsible for its power and its victories. This led Isaiah to remind Assyria that without the power of the woodsman’s arms the ax is useless.

15th Week: July 13-18: Reflections

July 13 Monday 
(St. Henry): Mt 10:34–11:1: 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. 37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.

15th Week, Tuesday, Jul 14

Isaiah 7:1-9 / Matthew 11:20-24 
God speaks through Isaiah: “If your faith is firm, you’ll be firm.”

Tennessee Williams wrote a play called The Night of the Iguana. In one scene Hannah Jelkes is talking to Mr. Shannon, who seems to have a drinking problem. Hannah says, “Liquor isn’t your problem, Mr. Shannon.” And, of course, Mr. Shannon says to Hannah, “Then what is my problem?” Hannah says, “The oldest one in the world—the need to believe in something or in someone—almost anyone— almost anything . . . something.”

15TH Week, Monday, Jul 13

Isaiah 1:10-17 / Matthew 10:34-11:1 
Isaiah calls for reform: “Stop all this evil.”

In the early days of history, when punishments were still cruel and unusual, a man was caught stealing sheep. The authorities branded the initials S. T. (sheep thief) on his forehead. As the years passed, the man reformed his life, making up for his past.

Wild Life and Railway Tracks in India

14th Week, Saturday, Jul 11+ St. Benedict

Isaiah 6:1-8 / Matthew 10:24-33 
Isaiah has a vision of God: “Holy, holy, holy!”

God’s call to Isaiah came about 20 years before the northern kingdom fell to Assyria. Thus, some of his prophecies are directed to the northern kingdom of Israel. Most, however, are directed to the southern kingdom. Isaiah sought to get the people of Judah to reform their ways before the same fate that befell Israel befell them. In all, Isaiah’s career arched like an umbrella over 40 stormy years of the history of God’s chosen people.

German Church - Catholics Leaving

A "Francis bishop" in Germany says Church is becoming irrelevant

Bishop Heiner Wilmer says Catholicism must find alternative ways to 'radiate presence and charisma'

Bishop Heiner Wilmer of Hildesheim. (Photo by Moritz Frankenberg/dpa/MaxPPP)
Catholics in Germany formally left the Church in record numbers last year. The exact figure was 272,771 – a statistic recently confirmed by the national episcopal conference.

French Catholics issue call for Church reform

Prominent French Catholics issue call for Church reform

Michel Camdessus, former Vatican policymaker and IMF director, is editor of new e-book calling for a change in Catholicism according to the vision of Pope Francis

14th Week, Friday, Jul 10

Hosea 14:2-10 / Matthew 10:16-23 
Hosea concludes his prophecy: Return to the Lord, your God.

There’s a line from a song in the musical Paint Your Wagon that goes something like this: “I’m so lost, so very lost, that even God can’t find me.” This line could have been applied to Israel during the period when Hosea preached. Israel had strayed far from God and from the covenant. They were lost, terribly lost. Today’s reading makes it clear that God, indeed, did make heroic efforts to find Israel. But Israel refused to be found. The nation turned further and further from God and, eventually, fell to Assyria in 722. It was a tragedy of the first magnitude.

14th Week, Thursday, Jul 9

Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9 / Matthew 10:7-15 
Hosea talks about God’s love: “I was the one who taught you to walk. ”

Joseph Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, wrote a book called Twenty Letters to a Friend. A letter from her father contains this excerpt: “You don’t write to your little pap. I think you’ve forgotten him. ....Never mind, I kiss you. I am waiting to hear from you.”

14th Week, Wednesday, Jul 8

Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12 / Matthew 10:1-7 
Hosea prophesies disaster: The people must suffer for their sins.

The northern kingdom was prospering when Hosea began to prophesy in Israel. In fact, this is what stirred Hosea into action. He rebuked the nation, saying that the more fruitful their orchards were, the more altars they built for false gods; and the more productive their fields were, the more pillars they erected to pagan idols. Hosea warned the people that they must reform. If they didn’t, punishment would descend upon them. It would be so severe as to make them “call out in the mountains, ‘Hide us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’” But Hosea might as well have been talking to a brick wall. When stomachs and pocketbooks are full, warnings fall on deaf ears.

Caged Animals with the top open and yet Prisoners

14th Week, Tuesday, Jul 7

Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13 / Matthew 9:32-38 
Hosea warns Israel: “Sow the wind; reap a storm.”

A building contractor built large luxury homes. To increase his profits, he routinely cheated on the materials he put into his homes. He had it down to such a science that no one could detect his shortcuts. At times his cheating was so bad that the homeowners were in serious danger because of under-designed electrical systems and the like.

15th Sunday A: The Sower, the Seeds and Growth

 Gospel text: Matthew 13:1-23
sower1Michel DeVerteuil 
General Comments

On this and the next two Sundays we have parables of Jesus for our meditation so it would be good to remember the special characteristics of parabolic teaching.
1. Parables are wisdom teaching.  By reading them we get a new insight into life – e.g. parenting, friendship, leadership, spiritual guidance, etc.

15 Sunday A: Liturgical Prayers

The word of God is alive and active:
it is the living person of Jesus our Lord.
May he continue speaking his Word to you,
May you open your hearts to it,
and may the Lord Jesus be always with you. 

Introduction by the Celebrant 

A. The Seed Of The Lord
It is heartening to see that many families respect and venerate the Word of God so much that they keep a Bible in their homes. It is hoped that they also read it and apply it in their everyday lives. God’s Word is powerful, yet it is at the same time so humble as to beg us to receive it well and put it into practice. We ask the Lord Jesus who is here with us to let his mighty and humble Word move us.

14th Week, Monday, Jul 6

Hosea2:16-18, 21022 / Matthew 9:18-26
Hosea prophesies in Israel: I will speak to Israel’s heart

Hosea followed Amos as God’s prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. Like Amos, he was appalled at the evil in Israel and spoke out fearlessly against it. But Hosea’s prophecies were more compassionate in tone than were the prophecies of Amos. Perhaps that’s because of the personal tragedy that Hosea experienced in his life. Actually, little is known of Hosea’s life, other than he seems to have been married to an adultress. He loved her deeply in spite of her infidelity. Conditioned by this painful experience, Hosea tried to draw Israel back to the covenant by love rather than by threat. He compared God’s love for Israel to that of a loyal husband for his disloyal wife.

14th Week Year 2: July 6-11:

July 6 Monday (St. Maria Goretti, Virgin, Martyr): Mt 9:18-26: 18 While he was thus speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your  hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.”

14 Sunday A - Liurgical Prayers

A. Joy for the Humble of Heart
B. I Will Give you Rest

Greeting (See the Gospel)
It is Our Lord Jesus who invites:
“Come to me, all you who labor
and are overburdened
and I will give you rest.
Learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble of heart.”
May this gentle Lord always stay with you.

14th Sunday A - A Quick Look

13th Week, Saturday, Jul 4th

Amos 9:11-15 / Matthew 9:14-17
Amos holds out hope to Israel: God said, “I will rescue my people.”

If we refuse to breathe, the air doesn’t punish or suffocate us. We punish or suffocate ourselves. If we beat our fist against a brick wall, the brick wall doesn’t punish our fist by making it bleed. We punish or bloody it ourselves. This may help us understand better the situation between Israel and God.

14th Sunday A : Come to me all who are Burdened

“Do you have any idea who I am?" 
The Los Angeles Times published the story of a commercial airline flight cancellation which resulted in a long line of travelers trying to get bookings on another flight. One man in the line grew increasingly impatient with the slow-moving line.  At last, he pushed his way to the front and angrily demanded a first-class ticket on the next available flight. "I’m sorry," said the ticket agent, “First I’ll have to take care of the people who were ahead of you in the line." The irate man then pounded his fist on the ticket counter, saying, "Do you have any idea who I am?" Whereupon, the ticket agent picked up the public address microphone and said, "Attention, please! There is a gentleman at the ticket counter who does not know who he is. If there is anyone in the airport who can identify him, please come to the counter." Hearing this, the man retreated, and the people waiting in line burst into applause.   We are like this man. We have forgotten how to wait patiently. In today’s gospel, Jesus invites us to learn his meekness and humility. (Tony Kadavil)

St. Thomas Feast - Jul 3rd: Liturgy

The gospel has some beautiful texts about St. Thomas. Not only the “My Lord and my God” after his doubt and hesitation to believe, but also “Let us too go and die with him,” and the question “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How could we know the way?” And the  Lord’s, “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Tradition has him go as far as Persia and the Malabar region in India, where the Christians are still called “the Christians of St. Thomas.”