June 25, 2020

Thursday of the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

First Reading: 2 Kings 24:8-17

Responsorial: Psalm 79:1B-2, 3-5, 8, 9

Alleluia: John 14:23

Gospel: Matthew 7:21-29

In the Gospel reading today, Jesus says: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.” If we look at the lives of the Saints, we will see that they all had ordinary virtues but to an extraordinary degree. Yes, some of them worked miracles and performed other extraordinary feats. But if you looked in the basement, you would see that their foundation was not some esoteric power, but the “ordinary” virtues of faith, hope, and charity available to all in the Christian life.

This is one of the dangers and temptations in priestly and religious life. Because ordained ministers and consecrated religious “represent” the Church in more visible ways, their talents and personalities are on more public display. The...Read more

June 24, 2020

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

(Wednesday of the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time)

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6

Responsorial: Psalm 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15

Second Reading: Acts 13:22-26

Alleluia: Cf. Luke 1:76

Gospel: Luke 1:57-66, 80

The liturgical celebration of the Nativity of John the Baptist takes places 6 months before the Nativity of Christ, which begins properly on the evening of December 24 with the Christmas Vigil. Both of these dates are just shortly after the respective winter and summer solstices marking the shortest and longest days of the year. Thus, Jesus comes into the world after the three shortest (i.e. darkest) days, reflecting that he is the light of the world – the days becomes progressively longer for the next 6 months. (The three darkest days from December 21 to 24 culminate Advent and are said to reflect the darkness of Christ’s three days in the tomb in order to draw a connection between the Nativity and the Resurrection.)

Thus, the Nativity of John the Baptist taking place 6 months after the celebration of Christmas has...Read more

June 23, 2020

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

First Reading: 2 Kings 19:9B-11, 14-21, 31-35A, 36

Responsorial: Psalm 48:2-3AB, 3CD-4, 10-11

Alleluia: John 8:12

Gospel: Matthew 7:6, 12-14

In the Gospel reading for today, Jesus expresses the well-known golden rule, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” While this might seem to be a straight-forward principle, in practice, it is anything but. Because the unstated assumption of this rule – if taken in overt literalness – is that you and the other person are of like mind and circumstance. For example, a large man might greet a friend who is another large man with a hearty slap on the shoulder, and welcome this in return. But if he did this to a smaller man or a woman it might be received as something discomfiting or even hostile.

Empathy is one of the hardest virtues to develop because people can have radically different temperaments, intellects, tastes, and experiences. It’s also simply the case that we see things through our own lens and have trouble understanding how other people can see or value things...Read more

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