My Catholic Life! presents the beauty and splendor of our Catholic faith in a down to earth and practical way. These daily audio reflections come from the "Catholic Daily Reflections Series" which is available in online format from our website. They are also available in e eBook or paperback format. May these reflections assist you on your journey of personal conversion!
“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.” Matthew 7:24–25Perhaps one of the hardest things to do in life is to listen. Are you a good listener? Do you know how to listen? Most likely this is a struggle for you since it is a struggle for most people. Listening is more than hearing. Listening implies that one hears AND comprehends. Furthermore, in this Scripture passage, Jesus makes it clear that “listening” is not enough. Once we've listened (heard and understood), we must act. Acting on the Word of God involves a total embrace and surrender to His Word and will. It means you allow the Word of God to dictate your actions and to set your feet “solidly on rock.”The imagery Jesus uses is quite descriptive. A house built on sand is very different than a house built on solid rock. One can only imagine the problems that await a house built on sand. Every storm that comes will cause great anxiety and worry. Fear will always be present as the sandy foundation slowly erodes away. But if the house is on solid rock, there is great confidence in the midst of a storm.Reflect, today, upon the foundation of your life. Advent is a time when we examine whether or not the foundation of our life is Jesus. He entered our world and took on flesh so that He could be that rock foundation. And the path to that rock foundation is to listen, comprehend and act. Set your “house” on Him in this way and no storm will erode the foundation of your life.Lord, may your human life become the foundation of my life. May my life be built upon You who are the Rock Foundation. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” Matthew 15:32The first thing this passage reveals could easily be missed. It reveals Jesus' deep concern for the crowds of people. He not only cared for their souls, He also cared for their bodies in that He did not want them to go away hungry. This reveals Jesus' total care for His followers.We know the rest of the story. Jesus multiplies the loaves and fish and feeds the multitude. And though this is an incredible miracle on a physical level, it is just as miraculous on a personal and spiritual level.Personally speaking, the miracle is that God, the Almighty, the Omnipotent One is deeply concerned about the small detail of feeding the crowd their next meal. This reveals that God is not only concerned for our eternal salvation, He is also concerned about our daily needs.Note that the passage quotes Jesus as saying, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd…” And “I do not want to send them away hungry…” This very personal and human concern of Jesus should offer us great comfort in knowing that His care is deep and exhaustive. The concern Jesus has for the physical need of food for His followers also points to His spiritual concern for His followers' souls. If He cares this much about the body, He cares all the more for the soul and deeply desires to nourish their souls with the food of eternal life.Reflect, today, upon Jesus' deep and all-consuming care for you. Know that there is no detail of your life that escapes His notice. Though that may be hard to believe at times, know that it is absolutely true! Surrender all to Him in trust and know that He is there to reach out to you in your every need.Lord, thank You for Your unfailing and perfect concern for every detail of my life. Thank You for Your perfect attentiveness to my needs. May I always trust in Your perfect care for me and surrender to Your loving providence. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ”Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:18–20What a wonderful feast we celebrate today as we begin our Advent season. Today we honor St. Andrew the Apostle who gives us a perfect example of how to begin our Advent celebration.This passage above reveals a lot for us to ponder. Andrew, along with his brother Peter, was a fisherman. Both of these fishermen were hard at work when suddenly this stranger, Jesus, walked by them and called to them. They immediately left their livelihood and followed after Jesus.Don't miss what happened here. Specifically, there are two things that happened: 1) Jesus walked by these two fishermen and said, “Come after me.” 2) In response, these two men immediately “left their nets and followed Him.”This story of the call of St. Andrew is quite appropriate for the beginning of Advent, because Advent must be a time when we hear Jesus call us anew. It must be a new beginning and a new conversion for us. As Advent begins, we should hear Jesus call to us, “Come after Me!” We should hear Him invite us with an invitation to give ourselves completely to His divine plan and purpose. Listen to Him. Do you hear Him calling?Our response, at the beginning of Advent, must be the same as St. Andrew. We must, without hesitation, leave everything to follow Him. What exactly does that mean? It means that we must let go of anything and everything that keeps us from responding to Christ. It means we must be ready and willing to do whatever Jesus asks of us. And we must be ready to do it the moment He asks.Reflect, today, upon the fact that Advent is a time to start anew. It's a time to let yourself be called to Christ. Listen to Him calling you and respond to Him with your whole heart. Lord, I love You above all things. Help me to hear Your gentle yet firm voice calling me to follow You. Give me the courage I need to respond to Your gentle invitation with complete abandonment. May this Advent be a time of new beginnings and deeper resolve to follow You. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Mt. 8:8This familiar line is taken from the faith of a Roman centurion. He asked Jesus to heal his servant, Jesus agrees to come cure him, and the centurion exclaims this profound faith in Jesus stating two things: 1) He's not worthy of Jesus' presence in his home and, 2) His confidence that Jesus can heal his servant simply by saying the word. Jesus, of course, is quite impressed with this man's faith and obliges him with the physical healing of his servant from a distance. But Jesus does much more than a healing. He also holds this man up as a model of faith for all.This beautiful statement of faith from the centurion is used within the Mass to speak of two matters of faith in regard to the Eucharist: 1) We are not worthy to receive Holy Communion and, 2) We invite Jesus anyway to come and heal our souls.Advent is a time when we especially ponder the great mystery of the Incarnation. It's a time when we especially ponder the mystery of God coming and dwelling with us in physical form. Though this happened over two thousand years ago, it continues to take place at each and every Mass. And at each and every Mass we are called to express the same faith as this Roman centurion.Reflect, today, upon your faith in the coming of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. Each Mass is a manifestation of the God-Man who came to live among us and live within us. If we but have the faith of this centurion, we, too, will be blessed by our God beyond measure.Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief. Help me to see my unworthiness each time I prepare for Holy Communion. And in that humble admission, may I also invite Your healing presence in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“Be vigilant at all times and pray.” Luke 21:36aAdvent begins with a call to vigilance as reflected in the passage above. There are numerous Scripture passages that call us to this vigilance and anticipation of the Lord's coming. Being vigilant means, also, that we are prepared. We are not caught off guard. Imagine if Christmas morning came and you woke up suddenly realizing that you forgot to prepare! Imagine if you had no gifts, no food purchased and no plans were made. Of course you wouldn't allow that to happen, but we do sometimes allow it to happen spiritually speaking. We often are not prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ within our hearts.The first week of Advent also offers the focus of the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus will return again, in all splendor and glory, to judge the living and the dead. We profess that fact every Sunday in our Creed. So, even though Advent is a time for the preparation of the celebration of the first coming of Jesus in the flesh, it is also a time to acknowledge that His first coming is ultimately fulfilled in His final glorious coming.As Advent begins, reflect upon how ready you are for Jesus' coming. Are you preparing for it with the same fervor that you prepare for Christmas through shopping, cooking, decorating, etc.? Are you looking forward to that day when He will return? Are you preparing for the spiritual celebration of His birth? Are you awake and attentive to the numerous ways that God speaks to you on a daily basis?If you find that you are not as prepared for His return in glory as you'd like to be, make this Advent a time when you get your heart ready. Commit to prayer, spiritual exercises, reflection and attentiveness to His gentle and glorious voice.Lord, as Advent begins, help me to put my eyes on You. Help me to open my ears to Your voice. And help me to open my heart to Your glorious presence. May I be attentive to You in every way You desire to come to me. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” Luke 21:36This is the final day of the liturgical year. Tomorrow begins Advent and the beginning of a new Church year. On this day, we are once again presented with a Gospel passage that points to the final coming of Christ. In preparation for that day, the day in which we meet our Lord for judgment, Jesus points to two grave dangers that will cause our hearts to become “drowsy” and leave us unprepared. First, He says that “carousing and drunkenness” will make us unprepared. Second, He says that “the anxieties of daily life” will also leave us unprepared.On a literal level, carousing and drunkenness means a person relies upon alcohol for satisfaction in life, and they do so by using it to live a lively and somewhat carefree life. They live for the moment and look for satisfaction in self-indulgence. And though drunkenness is specifically mentioned here, there are numerous ways that people attempt to live this way.Everyone wants to be happy in life. We cannot not work to achieve this innate desire. No one intentionally chooses to be unhappy. However, many people regularly choose things in life that do lead to unhappiness and discontentment. But they do so with the false conviction that this or that action will satisfy. And though there are many things that provide temporary or superficial “happiness,” the truth is that there is only one thing and one thing alone that provides the happiness and fulfillment we desire. That one thing is the presence of God alive within our souls.The “anxieties of daily life” are also a great burden to so many. No one intentionally chooses to be anxious. No one wants to experience this form of interior disturbance. And though anxiety can come from many sources, physical, psychological and spiritual, one primary source of anxiety is stress that is not dealt with in a proper way. Stress can come from tensions at work, at home or within one's own soul. Stress usually occurs when some difficulty is faced and reacted to with fear, confusion, anger, despair and the like. According to Jesus, giving in to these anxieties can leave a person unprepared for the day of their judgment at the end of their life or the end of the world. But it doesn't have to be that way. Stress and tension, and the anxiety that results from them, is most decisively cured by turning from the difficulty one experiences and turning to a deep and total trust in the providence of God. At Mass, the priest prays after the “Our Father” that God “free us from all distress” and that we will instead “await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.” Faith and hope in God and in His final coming at the end of time is the spiritual cure for the anxiety and distress we often experience in life. Trusting in our Lord, with the utmost confidence, will enable us to achieve this peaceful disposition and with joyful hope and confidence.Reflect, today, upon those things that hinder you the most from being ready to meet our Lord. Perhaps you struggle with ongoing choices that reflect a life of “carousing and drunkenness.” Or perhaps you struggle deeply with worry, distress and anxiety. If this is you, know that freedom awaits. It awaits you if you can only embrace and live the final prayer of this reflection: “Jesus, I trust in You.” Trust Him. Entrust your poor decisions in life to Him. Entrust your sin to Him. And entrust all of your worries and tensions that lead to an unsettled heart. As you do so, try to rest in the consoling arms of our Lord so that you will be fully prepared for that glorious day of our Lord's judgment that awaits.My hopeful Lord, You and You alone are the answer to every struggle in life. You and You alone can relieve me of my burdens and the poor choices I make. Help me to trust in You always and in every circumstance in life. I do entrust myself to You and choose to make You the single focus of my life. Jesus, I do trust in You!Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Luke 21:32–33As we approach the final days of this liturgical year, we continue to read about the end of the world. Today we read that both Heaven and earth, as they currently are, will pass away. This is worth pondering.We know that life is full of change. It has been said that the one thing that never changes is change itself. Everything else changes. But when it comes to earth, it is hard to believe that it will one day “pass away.” Some scientists believe that the earth has existed for over four and a half billion years. That's a long time! Now consider the fact that Jesus prophesied the end of this earth as we know it today. When will it happen? Only God knows.Heaven, as it exists today, is also prophesied by our Lord to pass away. Heaven, as it is right now, is a pure spiritual reality in which the only corporeal bodies present are those of Jesus and our Blessed Mother. The rest of Heaven consists of the Divine Essence, the souls of those who have been redeemed and the angels of God. But if Heaven even passes away, what awaits?First of all, the only reason that these two realities, Heaven and earth, will pass away in their current form is because, at the Final Judgment, there will be a “New Heavens and a New Earth,” as spoken of in the Book of Revelation. At that time, Heaven and earth will be united as one, and this new creation will exist for eternity.But is there anything that is currently eternal? Anything that will never experience change? We humans will be changed at the resurrection of the dead, the angels will encounter a new home, so to speak, and God will establish a new and permanent Kingship. But, according to Jesus' teaching today, the one thing that will remain are His words: “...my words will not pass away.” Again, this is worth pondering.In a world filled with change and uncertainty, we need some form of stability. And that stability is the Truth found in the Word of God. The Word of God, as revealed to us through the Scriptures, must become our rock foundation upon which our whole lives are built and exist. Pondering, praying with, meditating on, and believing the Word of God enables us to stand on firm and unchanging spiritual ground as we go through the change of this life and even the changes that will come at the end of time. Though this may seem somewhat mysterious in nature, it is a helpful truth to understand and believe. Everything will pass away except Jesus' words. Thus, the most secure thing we can do in life is to cling to His words and never let go.Reflect, today, upon the importance of truly immersing yourself in the Word of God. How much time do you spend each week reading it, praying with it and allowing it to become your daily food? The Word of God is not simply a book of teachings meant to inspire you or guide you. The Word of God is a Living Word. It is God in His unchangeable form. God, in His essence, will never change, and engaging Him through the revelation of His written Word is one essential way by which you will be able to experience true stability in life and prepare for each and every change to come until the final order of life is permanently established.My Eternal Word, You are unchanging and eternal. You are the rock foundation upon which I must always rely. As I continue to experience the many changes encountered in this life, please enter my soul through Your written Word, so that I will find the stability I need. As I stand firm in You, I look forward with joy to the New Heavens and New Earth that await. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” Luke 17:17–19He was saved by faith through the expression of gratitude! What a wonderful story to ponder today as we celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving!Though Thanksgiving Day is not specifically a Church holy day, gratitude is certainly central to our Christian faith, as is illustrated by today's Gospel in which ten lepers were healed by Jesus. And their communal reaction is something of which to take note. Nine of them were healed and went about their business, not returning to the source of their healing to thank Him. But one did. This one leper, who was suddenly no longer a leper, returned to Jesus, glorified Him, fell at His feet and thanked Him. This one leper was a foreigner, a Samaritan, but he manifested a faith that we must all strive to imitate. The faith of this Samaritan was evident by the fact that he knew he needed to not only be grateful for the grace of healing but that he also needed to express it.As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we are reminded that of all the things for which we must be grateful, nothing is more important than our gratitude to God for the immeasurable graces He has given us. But as the story goes, it is clearly very easy to overlook the importance of our response to God's blessings. Only ten percent of the lepers responded with such an expression. Therefore, it is helpful today to examine the many reasons we should be thankful and should work to express that gratitude to God.First, God created us out of love. This is no small gift. It is the first gift He has given us and one we often take for granted. God did not need to create us. He did not need to create you. But He did. And the gift of life, the gift of an immortal soul, is something that we must never overlook and always rejoice in.Second, God entered our fallen state through the Incarnation within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Doing so elevated our fallen human nature to a height never known before. Humanity and divinity were united in the Person of the Incarnate Son of God and Son of Man, and we must be grateful for this unmerited and awe-inspiring gift.Third, we know the rest of the story. God, in the Person of the Incarnate Son, suffered, died and rose again. In so doing, He made it possible for every sin of ours to be wiped away. As we die with Him, we are invited to rise with Him. And as we rise with Him, we are invited to share in His glory in Heaven.Lastly, in each and every life, there are countless graces given to us every day. But as spoiled children, we often overlook these blessings and take them for granted. Examples here do not suffice. It is essential that if you want to have a grateful heart that you learn to see these blessings in your own life. Too often we focus on our struggles and pain. But the blessings are abundant, and the more we turn to our Lord in total surrender, the more the blessings flow.Reflect, today, upon the attitude that you have toward the many blessings God has bestowed upon you. Begin by considering the central blessings of God's creation and His saving acts of love. From there, try to ponder the many small ways that God has been with you, guided you, strengthened you, and blessed you abundantly. If you do not see these clearly, then use this day to consciously listen so that God can reveal them to you. As you see your blessings, respond as this one leper. Turn to Jesus, glorify Him, fall at His feet in prayer and thank Him. Doing so will fill you with the same saving faith granted to this one leper.My most generous Lord, You have bestowed upon me blessings beyond my imagination. I realize that I will never fully understand how good You have been to me and will never be able to express my gratitude adequately enough. Please do fill me with a grateful heart. Help me to see Your action in my life and to respond to You as this one leper. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” Luke 21:28This passage above concludes a series of teachings by Jesus on the suffering and persecution that will come in this world. But His teachings conclude with this line above, which offers great hope in anticipation of Jesus' return in glory. This passage speaks of the prophetic vision of Daniel (Daniel 7:13–14) that terrified Daniel when he saw it. He witnessed the great persecution to come, as well as the destruction of all evil that will accompany the return of the Son of Man.When you think about both the final coming of Christ as well as your own future death, what comes to mind? If you were informed by an angel that tomorrow would be that day, the day that the Son of Man would return in all His splendor and glory to bring about an end to this world and to issue forth His judgment upon it, how would you react? Would you be terrified? Overjoyed? Hopeful? Confused? Perhaps a little of each of these reactions would be present. Of this time, Jesus said that “nations would be in dismay” and that “People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming into the world.” So what is your reaction to this promised day of our Lord?Those who “die of fright” are clearly those who will experience this day completely unprepared. Meeting the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Savior of the World and the Eternal Judge when you are completely unprepared should be frightful. Imagine, for example, that you were hosting a large dinner party and you got your days mixed up. The day arrived and you weren't expecting anyone until the following week, but the guests started to arrive in great numbers. Imagine your anxiety and embarrassment. Such an experience would be nothing compared to being unprepared for the judgment of Christ when we stand before Him at the time of our death and then at the Final Judgment at the end of the world.The good news is that on that day, for those who are truly prepared through a life of faith and selfless service of God's will, they are told to “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” If you do all you can to prepare for that day, then it will be a day in which you anticipate with the utmost hope and excitement. You will indeed be able to stand erect, turn your eyes to the coming Judge of All, and receive the eternal reward that He so deeply desires to bestow. But this will be your experience only if you are truly ready for that day through a life lived in complete imitation of Christ.Reflect, today, upon that final day. Imagine every person ever created standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Every sin and every virtue will be made manifest on that day. The minds and hearts of all will be seen in the light as they are revealed to all by God. And those who have lived lives of fidelity will rejoice as they see God's justice and His mercy unite as His judgments are issued forth. If this day is one that frightens you, consider the reasons why. If you do not look forward to this definitive moment in time, then perhaps you need to ponder more deeply those things you need to do so as to be fully prepared. Prepare yourself today. Do not wait. Our Lord could return at any time. Do not be caught off guard.My eternal Judge, You promise to return to earth at a definitive moment in time to bring about the fullness of justice. May I always be prepared for that day through a life lived in union with You and Your holy will. I pray for that day to come quickly, dear Lord, and that all Your children will be ready to meet You when You come. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.” Luke 21:14–15This line is embedded in today's Gospel in which Jesus makes it clear that His followers will be persecuted. Many of them will be seized, sent to prison, hated and even be put to death. For some, this will even happen at the hands of their own family. But Jesus tells them this to prepare them and to let them know that these persecutions will enable them to give testimony to Jesus. The Gospel passage above explains how they are to do this.First of all, giving “testimony” especially means they are to be a witness to Christ. And one of the best ways such a witness is fulfilled is through the various forms of martyrdom. To be a martyr is to be a witness. And those who suffer persecution for the sake of Christ, and then respond to that persecution in accord with the wisdom and inspiration of Jesus, are true martyrs. It's helpful to note that if one is persecuted and responds with anger or returns the violence in accord with their own irrational will, then they are no martyr. They simply become what they have received. They become angry and bitter people. Being a martyr requires both unjust treatment and a response to that mistreatment in accord with God's will. For that reason, though persecution is never initiated by God, it does offer the Christian an opportunity to deeply conform themself to Christ by responding as He dictates.Jesus says that responding to persecution requires that we not prepare a defense beforehand. In part, this is because there is great temptation one experiences when persecuted by another. It is very understandable that when a person experiences persecution in any way, they will encounter anger and be tempted to fight back in a way that is uncharitable and only furthers the disorder. Responding to persecution in accord with the will of God requires great attentiveness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, great humility, and unwavering charity directed at the one doing the persecution. Therefore, Jesus makes the promise that He will be with you in such situations and will give you “a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.” What a grace! But this grace is only available to those who rely completely upon Christ, and not upon their own disordered passions and emotions.Reflect, today, upon this promise from Jesus. Some will encounter little persecution in their lives at various times. But others will encounter severe persecution in various ways, even from their family. Reflect upon any ways that you have experienced the unjust treatment of another and then reflect upon your response. Were you able to immediately forgive? Were you able to set aside your anger, wounded pride and desire for revenge? Were you able to keep your eyes on Christ and rejoice that you have been found worthy to share in the ridicule, persecutions and sufferings that Jesus endured? Pray that you will always be open to the grace of this promise of Jesus so that you will always respond to everyone in accord with the wisdom of God.My persecuted Lord, though You were perfect in every way, You endured much cruelty in Your earthly life. The injustice You endured is beyond our comprehension. But Your response to such persecution was perfect. You were able to transform all ill-treatment into grace and mercy, offered especially for those who mistreated You. Give me the grace I need to imitate Your perfect response and to always rely upon Your wisdom and guidance alone. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” Luke 21:5–6In a literal way, this prophecy of our Lord came true. In 70 A.D., the Temple upon which they were commenting was destroyed. After prophesying this, Jesus then goes on to warn the disciples that there will be many confusions that will come. There will be false prophets, wars and insurrections, powerful earthquakes, famines, plagues, “and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” Why does Jesus prophesy all of these things?The answer was simple. He was not trying to scare them. He was not simply trying to satisfy their curiosity. Instead, He was warning them and preparing us all so that we do not become misled or terrified when they come. He says, “See that you not be deceived” and “do not be terrified.”As the old saying goes, “Life is not a bowl of cherries.” While we live in this fallen world, chaos, confusion, deception, abuse, scandal, conflict and the like will be all around us. And when we do come face-to-face with any such difficulty, there is a temptation to fear, anger and despair. Be it family conflicts, civil unrest or even divisions within the Church itself, God wants us to remain at peace and to trust Him always.Take Jesus' own life as an example. He was arrested, falsely accused, sentenced to death and crucified. And through it all, He remained at peace, knowing that His suffering would become the very source of new life. God can use all things for good for those who love and serve Him.Reflect, today, upon the undeniable fact that your life will involve difficulty. Sometimes that difficulty is self-imposed as a result of your sin, and sometimes it is unjustly imposed on account of the sin of another. Truth be told, we should only be concerned about our own sin. If other challenges come your way that are out of your control, then use those challenges as opportunities to trust. Entrust all things to God, every suffering, every persecution, every tragedy, every struggle, everything. If God the Father could bring about the greatest good ever known through the brutal murder of His own divine Son, then He can certainly do the same with all that you offer to Him in trust. Trust at all times and in all circumstances, and our all-powerful Lord will bring good from everything.My most powerful Lord, You warned us of the many hardships that would come our way before Your glorious return. You did so to help prepare us and to strengthen us in those moments of testing. Please give me the grace I need to always trust in You and to surrender over to You every cross I carry. I do believe, dear Lord, that You can bring good from everything, even those things that are most difficult in life. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“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 21:1–4We must all see ourselves as this poor widow by offering our “whole livelihood” to Christ. Everything we have is a gift from God, and it must be offered back to God, sacrificially, as our gift to Him. The material offering made by this poor widow was two small coins worth very little. The truth is that even if you were the richest person in the world and donated all that you had to God, it would greatly pale in comparison to the gift given to us by our Lord. We are all poor in the big picture of God's grace and His Kingdom. The most any one of us can offer is symbolized by these two small coins.As you look at your own life, how willing are you to give everything you have to our Lord for His glory and service? The only appropriate “offering” we are called to give to our Lord is the “sacrifice” of our entire life. This spiritual truth is something very difficult for those who are very wealthy in the things of this world. Material wealth offers an easy way to live in comfort. Money can provide every modern convenience, entertainment, fun, worldly security and much of what this world has to offer. But money cannot buy fulfillment. It cannot satisfy us in the truest sense. This is why many people who live very luxurious lives are not truly happy.Happiness is found in sacrifice. Specifically, it is found in sacrificial love by which we dedicate everything we are and all that we have to the sole purpose of the glory of God and the furtherment of His Kingdom. Sadly, when one is rich in the things of this world, it is easy to think that offering a portion of their wealth, such as a tithe, means that they can keep and use the rest any way they want. But that's not true. Giving of ourselves completely to God and to His service does not necessarily mean that we donate all of our money to the Church. But it does mean that we offer everything to God. For many, when this complete offering is done every day, God will lead them to use their material resources for the raising of their family, to take care of their basic needs, and, at times, to even enjoy various comforts in life. But the real question is whether or not you truly live as though all you have and all you are is God's and is to be used for His glory and the furtherment of His will.Reflect, today, upon this poor widow. She was greatly blessed to have very little. This made it easier for her to remain detached from money and other forms of material wealth. And in that detachment, she gave all to God. She entrusted all to Him, and Jesus noticed and praised her. Reflect upon our Lord's reaction to you and to the offering of your life to Him. If you are holding back from our Lord, then use the witness of this poor widow to inspire you to daily dedicate everything to the service of God in accord with His holy will.My wealthy Lord, Your riches are all that matter in life. You bestow the riches of eternal salvation and countless other graces upon those who have given all to You. I do give my life to You, dear Lord. I give all that I have and all that I am. Please receive the offering of my life and use me in accord with Your holy will. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” John 18:36Today, on the final Sunday of our Church year, we celebrate the glorious Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Next Sunday begins Advent. On this day we profess the profound truth that our Lord is King! He is the King of all things. He is King of the Universe. And He is King of Heaven and all spiritual realities. However, in the Gospel passage quoted above, Jesus responds to Pilate who was questioning Him about whether or not He was the King of the Jews. Jesus is clear that He is a King, but that His Kingdom does not belong to this world. So where is His Kingdom?We can look at Jesus' statement from two points of view. First of all, if Jesus would have claimed that He were an earthly king, one with civil authority, then Pilate would have judged Him to be guilty of trying to overthrow the Roman authority. This would be unlawful and would be punishable by death. In that case, Jesus could have been found legally guilty of violating civil law.But Jesus was purely innocent. He was morally perfect in every way, and that included His obedience to all legitimate civil law. But Jesus was a King. He was The King of all Kings! Therefore, so as to exercise His Kingship, He declared that His Kingdom was not of this world. In other words, it was not a Kingdom that was in competition with the Roman authorities or any other civil authority. To that, Pilate did not know how to respond.Today and always, God desires that His glorious Kingdom reign in every way. God begins by reigning in our souls. He invites us to invite Him to enter in and take control of our lives. He desires to be the ruler of every passion, desire, thought and action that is ours. When this happens, His Kingdom is firmly established within us.It also needs to be pointed out that Jesus wants His Kingdom to grow. First, it must grow in the minds and wills of all people. But from there, He wants every person to then work to conform every part of our society to the governance of Him as King. This means that as the hearts of civil leaders are converted, they will be called to enact laws that fully support and build up God's Kingdom on earth. It means that business leaders, as they convert, are called to govern their businesses in accord with the will of God so that their businesses contribute to the establishment of God's Kingdom here and now. It means that as the leaders of our schools, sports programs, social programs and the like all invite Jesus to reign in their hearts as King, The King of the Universe will then guide them to conform all of their endeavors to His will and to the continued upbuilding of His Kingdom.The first duty of the Christian, in regard to the governance of every aspect of society, is not to impose God's law from without, as a ruthless authoritarian would. Rather, it is to convert minds and hearts so that God's governance comes forth from within. As God's Kingdom is established in the lives of His people, all objectively grave evils embedded within our earthly laws must be overturned. For example, the legalization of abortion stands out as perhaps the greatest of moral evils, since it involves the taking of a completely innocent life. This and countless other immoral earthly laws must be replaced by the laws of God as hearts and minds are converted to His Truth.Reflect, today, upon your duty to help bring forth the Kingdom of God here and now. Start by seeing your duty to allow God's Kingdom to grow within you and your family. From there, be open to the many ways that God wants to use you to help others do the same. As you do, do not be afraid to work toward the external establishment of God's Kingdom in all that you do and in all that falls within your responsibility. Jesus is King, and He desires to reign everywhere. Cooperate with Him, and His Kingdom will indeed come.My glorious King, I choose You as King of my life, and I dedicate to You all my actions and endeavors. Please use me to further Your Kingdom. I pray for wisdom, prudence and courage as I am sent forth by You to help bring forth Your merciful and just reign in the lives of all people and within the entire Universe that You created. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done! Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Luke 20:37–38Jesus gives this response to some of the Sadducees who question Him about the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the body, whereas the Pharisees did. Thus, the Sadducees asked Jesus about the resurrection of the body using an almost unheard of example. They refer to the levirate law found in Deuteronomy 25:5ff which states that if a married man dies before having children, the brother of that man must marry his wife and provide descendants for his brother. Thus, the Sadducees present the scenario where seven brothers die, each one subsequently taking the same wife. The question they posed was, “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus answers by explaining that marriage is for this life, not the life to come at the resurrection. Therefore, none of the brothers will be married to her when they rise.Some spouses have a hard time with this teaching, in that they love their spouse and desire to remain married in Heaven and at the time of the final resurrection. For those who feel this way, rest assured that the bonds of love we form on earth will remain and even be strengthened in Heaven. And when the end of the world comes and all of our bodies rise and are reunited with our souls, those bonds of love will remain stronger than ever. However, marriage, in the earthly sense, will be no more. It will be replaced by the pure love of the new life to come.This teaching gives us reason to ponder further the beautiful teaching of our Lord about His return in glory and, as we say in the Creed, “the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” We profess this belief every Sunday at Mass. But for many, it can be hard to understand. So what do we actually believe? Simply put, we believe that when we die, our body is “laid to rest,” but our soul enters a moment of particular judgment. Those who remain in mortal sin are eternally separated from God. But those who die in a state of grace will eternally live with God. Most people who die will most likely die with some lasting venial sins on their soul. Thus, Purgatory is the grace of final purification that the person's soul encounters upon death. Purgatory is simply the purifying love of God which has the effect of eliminating every last sin and imperfection, and every attachment to sin, so that the purified soul can see God face-to-face in Heaven. But it doesn't stop there. We also believe that at some definitive time in world history, Jesus will return to earth and transform it. This is His Final Judgment. At that time, every body will rise, and we will live eternally as we were intended to live: body and soul united as one. Those souls who are in mortal sin will also be reunited with their bodies, but their body and soul will live separated from God forever. Thankfully, those who are in a state of grace and have endured their final purification will be resurrected and share in the new Heavens and new Earth forever, body and soul as God intended.Reflect, today, upon this glorious teaching of our Lord that you profess faith in every time you pray the Creed. Keeping your eyes on Heaven and, especially, on the final and glorious resurrected state in which you will live in the new Heaven and Earth must become your daily practice. The more we live with this holy expectation, the more we will live here and now as a time of preparation for this final existence. Build treasure now in anticipation of this glorious day and believe that it is the eternity to which you are called.My resurrected Lord, You now reign in Heaven, body and soul, in anticipation of the final and glorious resurrection of all the dead. May I always keep my eyes on this final goal of human life and do all that I can to prepare for this eternity of glory and love. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words. Luke 19:45–46Jesus had just entered Jerusalem for the upcoming Feast of Passover. He arrived in that holy city and then returned again the next day and entered the Temple area. As He witnessed the corruption of those selling animals for the Temple sacrifices, Jesus responded with fervent preaching in an attempt to cleanse the Temple from this corruption. He quoted the Prophet Isaiah and cried out, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” Luke's Gospel points out the reaction of the chief priests, the scribes and the leaders of the people. They were “seeking to put him to death.” However, as the Gospel further relates, “they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.”It's important to consider this passage within its context. The words that Jesus spoke were words that sought to cleanse the Temple of corruption. With the approval of the temple priests, who benefitted from the temple tax, there were many people who were using the practice of divine worship to make a profit for selfish gain, turning the Temple into a marketplace. Jesus could see this clearly, and many of the people would have also sensed the corruption of these practices. Though they needed to purchase animals for the ritual sacrifices and Passover meal, many of them were most likely disturbed by this abuse. Therefore, as Jesus spoke with fervor and condemnation, it angered those who were responsible for the corruption but left the people with consolation. Hence, they were “hanging on his words.”The Gospel is always consoling, and, for those who are open, it leads them to hang on every word that is spoken. It refreshes and invigorates, clarifies and motivates. Usually when we think of the Gospel, we think of words that are gentle and inviting—words of mercy to the sinner and compassion for those who are struggling. But sometimes the pure Gospel message from our Lord fiercely attacks sin and evil. And though this may be shocking to the evil doers, to those with pure faith, these words also refresh and strengthen.Today, we need the full Gospel message. Many need to hear Jesus' gentle invitation to conversion by which their heavy burdens are lifted. But many others need to hear His firm words of condemnation. And the Church as a whole needs both of these messages to be proclaimed if we are to fully participate in the apostolic ministry of our Lord. Only our Lord has the right to condemn, chastise, and call others to repentance. But we are all called to share in this mission of our Lord. And though we do not have the right to judge the hearts of others, when we see objective evil and disorder within our world and even within our Church, we must cry out with our Lord, “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And when we do hear the holy and inspired words of God's messengers who boldly and courageously proclaim the truth and call others to repentance, it should inspire, invigorate and console us as we find ourselves hanging on their every word.Reflect, today, upon the Gospel messages that need to be preached in our day and age that are both inspired by God and are also fervently directed at corruption within the world and even within our Church. Allow yourself to support such holy preaching and to be inspired by it. Hang on these holy words of God's prophets today. As you do, God will protect them and inspire them to continue His holy mission of purification.My purifying Lord, the corruption within our world, and at times even within our Church, requires Your holy preaching and purifying action. Please send Your messengers to those in need so that all may be cleansed as You cleansed the Temple. May I share in this mission in the ways in which You call me, and may I always hang on every word spoken from Your merciful and fervent heart of love. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:43–44Jesus spoke these words as He looked at Jerusalem from a distance, preparing to enter that holy city for the last time in preparation for His passion and death. As He spoke these words, the Gospel says that Jesus wept over the city. Of course, it wasn't primarily tears over the future physical destruction of the Temple and invasion by Roman forces. It was first and foremost tears over the lack of faith of so many which was the true destruction He mourned.As mentioned above, the city of Jerusalem was indeed sieged by the military commander Titus in the year 70 A.D. Titus was acting under the authority of his father, the emperor, and destroyed not only the Temple but also much of the city itself, as well as the Jewish inhabitants.As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem, so as to enter the Temple one last time to offer His life as the definitive Sacrificial Lamb for the salvation of the world, Jesus knew that many within this holy city would not accept His saving sacrifice. He knew that many within that city would become the instruments of His pending death and would have no remorse for killing the Savior of the World. And though this one point can easily be missed, it should be emphasised that Jesus' reaction was not fear, it was not anger, it was not disgust. Rather, His reaction was holy sorrow. He wept over the city and its inhabitants despite what many of them would soon do to Him.When you suffer injustice, how do you react? Do you lash out? Condemn? Get defensive? Or do you imitate our Lord and allow your soul to be filled with holy sorrow? Holy sorrow is an act of love and is the appropriate Christian response to persecution and injustice. Too often, however, our response is not holy sorrow but anger. The problem with this is that reacting in unholy anger does not accomplish anything good. It does not help us to imitate Jesus, and it doesn't help those with whom we are angry. Though the passion of anger can be used for good at times, it becomes a sin when it is selfish and a reaction to some injustice done to us. Instead of this unholy anger, seek to foster holy sorrow in imitation of Jesus. This virtue will not only help your soul grow in love of those who have hurt you, it will also help them to see more clearly what they have done so that they can repent.Reflect, today, upon your own approach to the evil you face in your life. Consider carefully your interior and exterior reaction. Do you mourn with love over sins you witness and experience? Do you mourn, with a holy sorrow, over your own sins and the sins of others? Work to foster this form of love within you and you will find that it can become a motivation for you to help transform the sins you commit and the sins of others you endure.My sorrowful Lord, You endured the sins of many. You were treated with cruelty and injustice. To all of these sins, including those that you foresaw, You reacted with the love of holy sorrow. And that sorrow led you to true compassion and concern for all. Please give me the grace to imitate this same love of Yours so that I, too, may share in the holiness of Your sorrowful heart. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.' His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.'” Luke 19:12–14There are three categories of people in this parable. The first includes those who received a gold coin and followed the master's request to “engage in trade” until he returned. The second has those who received the same command but were lazy and failed to produce any good fruit from that which our Lord has given them. And the third includes those who “despise” our Lord and do not want Him as their King.Upon the king's return, this first category of people are represented by the two servants who took the gold coins, engaged in trade, and made five and ten more. These are those who have much apostolic zeal. God not only calls us to use the gifts we have received to expand His Kingdom on earth, He also expects it of us. His expectation is a command of love. For those who understand this command, they see it as a glorious invitation to make an eternal difference in the lives of many. They do not see the apostolic works to which they are called as a burden. Rather, they see them as a joy, and that joy fuels their efforts. The result will have exponential effects for God's Kingdom.The second category of people is illustrated by the one servant who kept the one gold coin “stored away in a handkerchief” out of fear. These are the people who avoid evangelizing and furthering the Kingdom of God out of fear. Fear is paralyzing. But giving in to fear is a sin. It's a lack of faith and trust in God. Serving God will inevitably require courage on our part. It will demand that we step out of our comfort zone and do that which we may not immediately feel comfortable doing. But as that servant in the parable foretold, God is a demanding God. And He will not accept fear as an acceptable excuse not to zealously help to build the Kingdom of God.The third category of people is the category in which you definitely do not want to fall. These are those who actively work to undermine God's Kingship and reject Him as God. The world is filled with these people. The only thing we need to say about those who fall into this category is that which our Lord said of them. “Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.”Reflect, today, upon which category of people your life most fully resembles. Most likely it is one of the first two. Do you have great zeal for God's Kingdom? Are you willing to do all that you can to help build His Kingdom? Are you willing to do so even at the cost of great personal sacrifice? If so, then rejoice and know that an abundant reward awaits. But if you are one who struggles with fear, specifically, if you struggle with a fear to evangelize, to share the Gospel and to live your faith openly with humility and love, then spend more time with this parable and the fate of that one servant who hid the coin in the handkerchief. Engage in the apostolate. Commit yourself to the furtherance of God's Kingdom. Dispel all fear and know that you will never regret putting your whole heart and soul into the service of God and the building of His Kingdom.My demanding Lord, You have entrusted me with much, and You demand that I use all that You have given me to help build Your Kingdom of grace. What a privilege it is to be called by You and used by You for this apostolic mission. Please free me from all fear, dear Lord, so that I will never hesitate to serve You in the ways that You call me to serve. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. Luke 19:1–3Once again, our Lord reaches out to someone who comes to Him in humility and need. Zaccheaus was a wealthy man, materially speaking. But interiorly he was poor and in need. And it was this spiritual poverty he was experiencing that led him to seek out Jesus with much determination.Zacchaeus probably never imagined that day that Jesus would offer to come to his home. Clearly, he climbed the tree to get a glimpse of Jesus because he felt a strong desire to know our Lord. Since he was physically wealthy, it seems clear that he no longer was satisfied in life simply because of a comfortable lifestyle. Something was missing, and he couldn't help but know that Jesus held the answer. So Zacchaeus did what some may have thought unusual. He climbed a tree to be able to see Jesus.Why did Jesus stop, look up at Zacchaeus, and call him down, stating that He was going to stay at Zacchaeus' home? It's because Jesus was able to sense the need within the heart of Zacchaeus. Hearts that are poor, in need, and open are very attractive to Jesus. He never misses the opportunity to come to humble souls like this.Zacchaeus responds to our Lord immediately by promising to right the wrongs he has done in the past. He promises to give away half of his possessions and to repay anyone he has extorted fourfold. This reveals the authenticity of Zacchaeus' heart. As Jesus passes by you, what does He sense? Is He drawn to your heart? Is He drawn to you because of your interior disposition of humility and need? It is easy for us to go through life acting as if we have it all together. We can put on a facade that portrays an attitude of strength and success. But Jesus rarely comes to the soul who expresses little need. If we want to draw Jesus to ourselves, then we must acknowledge the poverty within ourselves, even if we are materially wealthy and successful in a worldly way. Every one of us must humble ourselves like Zacchaeus by knowing that Jesus is the only answer in life.Reflect, today, upon the fact that you and you alone have the ability to draw Jesus to yourself. You can do this by looking at your need for Him. Do not hide it. Climb the figurative tree by which you will be able to look for Jesus and, more importantly, by which Jesus can see your manifest desire for Him. As you express your need for Him, know that He will be compelled, by His unshakable love and mercy, to come to you and to stay with you in the house of your soul. And when He does, be ready and willing to abandon all that has been a hindrance to your meeting with Christ in the past.My attentive Lord, You are always aware of every heart that longs for You. You never ignore those who desire You in their life. Please help me to see my own interior needs and struggles and to see You as the only source of fulfillment in life. I commit myself to seeking You out, dear Lord. And as You come to me, I commit to abandon all that has kept me from You in the past. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Luke 18:35–39This beautiful story of the healing of this blind man, named Bartimaeus in the Gospel of Mark, sets for us a model of how we must come to Jesus in prayer. Bartimaeus and his encounter with Christ is an icon upon which we must meditate so as to imitate him in his weakness, openness, confidence and perseverance.To begin, this “blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.” We must see this as an ideal image of how to begin our prayer. When we start to pray, we must see our littleness, weakness and extreme poverty in our spiritual life. We come to God with nothing. Unable to see. A beggar. And one who is incapable of meeting our own spiritual needs. This is Bartimaeus, and this must be the way we come to our Lord in prayer. Sometimes we can fall into the illusion that our prayers are so elevated and pious that God must be very impressed. If that's your struggle, then you are more like the Pharisees. This blind man, however, is the ideal to aim for. So when you begin your prayer, come to our Lord as a spiritually poor and needy beggar.In this state of humility, just as it happened in this Gospel story, you can be certain that “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” So as you sit in your humble and needy state, wait and be attentive to Jesus passing by. Wait upon His gentle voice, His quiet inspiration, His calming and unmistakable presence. If you can humble yourself this way and then sense our Lord's divine presence touching you in some way, then further imitate Bartimaeus by calling out interiorly, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The cry from the depths of your heart in prayer must come as a result of Jesus “passing by.” It must be a response to Him coming to you on His own. As Jesus passes by, spiritually speaking, He waits for you to call to Him. He desires that you call to Him. And He desires that you do it with firm confidence and perseverance.Notice that as this blind beggar cried out, there were obstacles put in his way. The people “rebuked him, telling him to be silent.” But even this was a gift, because it enabled Bartimaeus to cry out all the more. So also with us, when obstacles arise in our prayer, such as distractions, temptations, a lack of consolation, or any other challenge to our prayer, we must see these obstacles as hurdles that must be overcome. Doing so will deepen our union with Jesus, turning that apparent obstacle into a source of blessing.Reflect, today, upon these four aspects of a deep prayer life that are presented to us through the witness of this blind beggar. First, ponder your weakness and poverty as you turn to God in prayer. Second, be attentive to the presence of God as He passes by, waiting for you to call to Him. Third, cry out to Him and beg Him to come closer. And fourth, work to overcome every obstacle to prayer and see those obstacles as opportunities to call out to God all the more.My compassionate Lord, I come to You in my weakness and poverty, I come in need of Your divine touch and healing. As You do pass by, I acknowledge Your presence and call to You. Jesus, please do come to me, have pity on me. Help me to overcome every obstacle to Your love and to trust in You always, never wavering from my commitment to You. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Mark 13:31Yes, 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.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.” Luke 18:6–8It's interesting that Jesus uses the example of a dishonest judge to illustrate the importance of praying to God, calling out to Him day and night for justice. As the parable goes, this judge cared little about a widow in his town who continually came to him asking for a just decision. He felt as though she was continually bothering him. Because she was so persistent, the judge thought to himself, “...because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.” Jesus' conclusion from this parable is quoted above.The simple lesson we ought to learn from this parable is that we must be persistent in prayer. God will always answer our prayers, seeing to it that “justice is done” speedily. But many people have prayed and prayed and prayed for some situation, prayed even for justice, and it appeared that God did not answer their prayer. Thus, some may question the promise of Jesus that persistent prayer will always be answered and justice always be rendered.If this is your experience, it is essential that you remind yourself of two things. First, Jesus' words are true. When we persevere in prayer and trust in God, He hears us and answers. This is our Lord's unwavering promise. But secondly, the “justice” that God delivers may often be different than the justice we expect. It may be that we want someone to pay for a wrong they did to us, but after praying fervently, our expectation is not met by our Lord. For this reason, it is essential that we know that God answers every prayer we pray, but in accord with His perfect will and wisdom. Therefore, God's view of justice at times may be very different than ours. At times, His justice is satisfied by His invitation to us to show mercy in abundance. True mercy always satisfies justice.Take, for example, the case of someone speaking in a rude manner to you. If you offer that situation to our Lord, He will enter in and provide His grace for you to deal with it in accord with His will. Perhaps He will soften the other person's heart so that they apologize, or perhaps, if they don't apologize and their heart is not softened, then God's answer to your prayer will be to give you the grace of humility so that you can love that person despite their unrepentance. Regardless of the way our Lord intervenes, the fact remains that He will intervene and enable you to fulfill His perfect will. If, however, your prayer is that the person be held accountable and condemned, then you are trying to tell God what to do, and He will not accede to your request. All of our prayer must ultimately be for the fulfillment of God's perfect will in accord with His wisdom.Reflect, today, upon how completely you trust in God. Do you know, with certainty, that He will answer every prayer that you fervently pray with faith in accord with His divine will? Believing this is freeing and enables you to live more fully in union with Him. If there is some issue with which you struggle right now, even some apparent injustice, then entrust it to our Lord, day and night without ceasing, and know that His grace will guide you as He answers you in accord with His will.My all-wise Lord, Your will is perfect in all things, and You always bestow Your grace upon me when I pray without ceasing. Please give me a trusting Heart, dear Lord, so that I will never waver in my hope that You will always answer my prayers in accord with Your will. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26–27As we enter into the final weeks of the liturgical year, we begin to turn our attention to the final coming of Christ. In today's Gospel, Jesus gives us the example of Noah and Lot. In both of their stories, people were eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building up, until the very day that the floods came to destroy the earth at the time of Noah and fire rained down from the sky at the time of Lot. Both Noah and Lot were saved, but many others alive at that time met with sudden and unexpected destruction.Jesus says that the “days of the Son of Man” will be similar to these previous two events. At an unexpected time, Jesus will return to earth, and the Final Judgment will ensue. So His message is clear: Be ready at all times.Though we are familiar with this teaching of our Lord, spoken many times and in various ways in the Gospels, many people do not heed the message. It is easy to believe that you always have tomorrow to change, and so you give into temptation today. And then tomorrow comes, and the temptation is once again embraced with the thought that you will work on it tomorrow, and henceforth. We can easily go about perpetuating our sins and embracing our temptations while we have the ongoing good intention of changing tomorrow. This is a mistake for two reasons.First of all, it always remains a possibility that our Lord will indeed come today and that today truly will be the end of the world. Or, it always remains a distinct possibility that your life will come to an end today, suddenly and unexpectedly. If that were to happen, would you be fully ready to stand before the judgment seat of Christ? Most people would not, at least not fully ready. Thus, this should be motivation enough to work tirelessly today to be ready now and every moment hereafter.But we should also see this prophecy of our Lord as applying to every present moment of every day. Jesus is always coming to us, suddenly and without warning, inviting us to serve Him by grace. This Gospel passage states that “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” This applies to the end of our lives and to the end of the world, but it also applies to every present moment of every day. If we continually seek to lose our lives, meaning, to choose the Heavenly realities over the temporal earthly indulgences we are daily tempted with, then we will also daily experience the grace of salvation, here and now, in every present moment of our lives. Reflect, today, upon whether or not you regularly seek to lose your life for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Do you continually choose grace, mercy, Heaven, obedience, love, self-sacrifice, compassion, forgiveness and the like, every moment of every day of your life? If so, then our Lord will continually bestow the gift of His saving grace upon you here and now, preparing you for the ultimate moment of judgment. If not, then you will be more like the people of Noah's and Lot's time who met with sudden destruction when they least expected it. Live for God now, today, in this moment, and you will be eternally grateful you did.My ever-present Lord, You come to me always, suddenly and unexpectedly, and so often I do not hear You or perceive Your presence. Please help me to live continually for You and by Your grace, choosing Heavenly realities over temporary indulgences. May I live this way always, meeting You every moment of my life and anticipating that glorious final meeting with You at the time of judgment. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,' or, ‘There it is.' For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Luke 17:20–21Why did the Pharisees ask Jesus this question? Why did they want to know when the Kingdom of God would come? To answer this question, we must first look at the full context of the various communications between Jesus and the Pharisees. When we do this and see the many ways that the Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus in speech and the times in which our Lord firmly rebuked the Pharisees, it seems clear that the Pharisees did not ask Jesus this question in innocence and openness. Instead, they once again were trying to trap Him. They posed a question by which they gave the appearance of believing Jesus' teachings that the Kingdom of God was coming, but they asked not in faith but in mockery and in an attempt to trip Jesus up in His answer.Jesus' answer is mysterious. It leaves little room for the Pharisees to use Jesus' speech against Him. Perhaps the Pharisees were hoping that Jesus would say that the Kingdom was coming soon, or next month, or within the year. But Jesus' answer leaves them with confusion in the face of this mystery that “the Kingdom of God is among you.”Much of what Jesus says can only be fully understood through faith. He often speaks in veiled language intentionally, because the only way to lift the veil to perceive the meaning of His teachings is to rely upon the inspired gift of faith. Faith is like a key to unlock the secrets of the mysteries of God. Faith becomes a lens through which every parable, every figure of speech, and every mystery taught by our Lord is understood. But without this inspired gift of faith, Jesus' teachings remain mysterious and incomprehensible.When you ponder these words that “the Kingdom of God is among you,” what do you understand? Are you able to use the gift of faith to unlock the meaning of this sacred teaching? Interestingly, reading Jesus' words, spoken in a veiled way, offer us the opportunity to test our own faith. If we read these words and are left in confusion, then this is a clear sign that we need to pray for and be open to the gift of faith. But if we do read Jesus' mysterious teachings and the light of understanding is given to us, then this is a clear reason to rejoice, since this comprehension is only possible through the gift of faith.Reflect, today, upon this sacred teaching of our Lord: “The Kingdom of God is among you.” Meditate on those words and pray for insight and understanding. Jesus' words are true. His Kingdom truly is everywhere, all around us and within us. It is alive and well. Do you see it? Do you perceive it? Do you see your role in building it? Use these questions as a test of your own level of faith and know that God wants to reveal to you these mysteries that are only able to be comprehended by His grace.My mysterious Lord, Your Kingdom is everywhere, all around us and within us. I do believe. Give me the eyes of faith so that I may continually perceive Your hand at work. May I always be attentive to all that You wish to reveal to me and open to the deep meaning of the mysteries You do reveal. Increase my faith, dear Lord, so that I may know You and join in the upbuilding of Your glorious Kingdom. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
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?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” Luke 17:17–19This reply from our Lord came in response to the one leper who returned to Jesus to thank Him. Ten lepers had come to Jesus, stood at a distance, cried out, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And with that, Jesus healed them all. But the heart of this healing is not as much the healing itself as it is the gratitude expressed by only one of the ten.This Gospel relates to us that this one leper did five things to profoundly express his gratitude. He returned, glorified God, did so in a loud voice, fell at the feet of Jesus, and thanked him. What a wonderful witness for us all!By analogy, children often take the loving care of their parents for granted. That's why many good parents regularly remind their children to say “thank you.” In our relationship with God, we can also easily take God's saving actions for granted. We can easily see all the grace we receive as something we deserve rather than as an infinitely merciful gift. When that happens, we become more like the other nine who failed to properly express their gratitude to Jesus.First of all, it must be noted that expressing gratitude to God is not done because God needs these accolades. He does not depend upon our gratitude to affirm His self-worth. This is obvious. God is God, and He does not need our praise in any way. However, giving profound praise and glory to God is essential. It is essential because we need this virtue of gratitude so as to daily be reminded that all we receive from God is an unmerited gift. We cannot earn His love and grace. We do not deserve it. But He chooses to bestow it anyway out of mercy. And the only appropriate response to mercy is gratitude. Profound gratitude.Gratitude is essential because it is the truth. We should always return to our Lord after He has graced us. We should glorify Him with much fervor, crying out to Him with passion. We should, literally and interiorly, fall on our face before Him, at His feet, and thank Him, over and over and over again. Doing so will always help us to remember the truth that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God. An unmerited and undeserved gift of grace.Reflect, today, upon the depth of gratitude in your own heart. Do you often act more like a spoiled and selfish child, or do you regularly perceive the graciousness of God? If you lack in any way this fullness of gratitude, then ponder this one leper. His gratitude, expressed with the fullness of passion, is the most important part of this story. In the end, he was graced far more than the other nine because his healing produced faith; and it was that faith that saved not only his body but his soul. Seek to save your soul by imitating the faith of this one holy and healed leper.My gracious Lord, You bestow Your mercy upon me in superabundance. Without You, Jesus, I have nothing; but with You, I receive everything. May I always know and understand my need for Your grace. And as I am gifted with it, may I respond with the deepest gratitude, thus, saving my soul through faith. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his Body. John 2:19–21We celebrate, today, the Lateran Basilica in Rome, the mother church of the entire Roman Catholic Church. It was given to the Bishop of Rome in the fourth century and remained the pope's primary residence until the building of St. Peter's Basilica, at a time when the Lateran Basilica was falling into ruins. However, the Lateran Basilica to this day remains the most important Church in the world, since it is officially the Cathedral Church of Rome.As we honor this church, we honor more than a building. The Lateran Basilica is a symbol of the one true Church of Jesus Christ. It's interior is beautiful and awe-inspiring so as to point us to the unimaginable beauty of the Church Herself, which is the Mystical Body of Christ.Today's Gospel depicts Jesus entering the Temple and driving the money changers out with a whip and the animals they were selling for profit. As He did so, He cried out, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace.” Psalm 69 is then quoted: Zeal for your house will consume me.Jesus loves His Church as His own Body—because that is what it is. As His Body, the members of His Church are called and sent to act as His instruments, members of His saving action. Much more than a church building, today we honor the Church Herself—which means we honor you, insofar as you are a member of the Body of Christ. And in light of this Gospel passage for today's Feast, we are reminded of the zeal that our Lord has for the cleansing of His Church.How is the Church purified? It is purified by the cleansing of Her members. That means that Jesus desires, with perfect zeal, to drive out every sin from your soul, cleansing the filth that keeps you from fulfilling your essential role as a member of His Body.Sometimes we become slack in our own commitment to be purified. We can easily become comfortable with the sins we commit, and we can form habits that are hard to break. When this happens, it is useful to ponder this story of the cleansing of the Temple and see it as Jesus' desire to cleanse our own soul. At times, we need to be shaken up, challenged, confronted and encouraged with the unwavering zeal in the heart of our Lord.Reflect, today, upon this powerful image of Jesus cleansing the Temple. As you do, apply it to your own life. The people selling and buying in the Temple must have been shocked at Jesus' zeal and actions. If you have become complacent with your sins, try to allow this holy shock to also wake you up. Allow our Lord's zeal to affect you, and know that His purifying actions are acts of love by which He desires to free you to become a more fully functioning member of His holy Church.My zealous Lord, Your heart burns with a deep desire to cleanse me and all Your children from sin. Your zeal reveals Your deep love and Your willingness to do all that You can to make me a fuller member of Your Body, the Church. Open my mind and will, dear Lord, to all that You wish to say to me and give me the grace to respond to Your purifying action in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” Luke 17:1–2Having a millstone placed around your neck and thrown into the sea is very descriptive. Jesus is using very evocative language. A millstone was a large round stone with a hole in the center. If it were placed around someone's neck and they were thrown into the sea, they would obviously sink to the bottom and die. Thus, Jesus is clearly stating that this awful fate is actually better than the fate of those who cause “one of these little ones to sin.”First of all, it should be clarified that no one can actually cause us to sin. Sin is our own free choice, and we, and we alone, will be held accountable for our own sin. One thing that Jesus is pointing out here is that even though every person must take responsibility for their own actions and their own sins, we must also take responsibility for the ways that we act as tempters of others. We are all sinners. Therefore, by our sin, we will all tempt others to sin also. Sometimes we will tempt people to sin by provoking them to anger. At other times we will tempt others to sin by setting a poor example. And on the contrary, we also have the ability to “tempt” people to virtue. Or more properly speaking, to inspire and encourage them.With that said, Jesus explains that the fate of those who act as tempters of others, especially the “little ones,” will suffer consequences graver than an untimely death. The little ones of which Jesus speaks should be understood as those who are weak in faith, overly sensitive, particularly vulnerable at that time in their life, and susceptible to outside influence. This could be a child, or it could be someone who is currently teetering on the edge of despair, confusion, anger, or any serious sin. When you encounter people like this, how do you treat them? Jesus has a deep heart of compassion for these people and wants us to have the same depth of compassion. But sometimes we fail. We may be negligent in our duty to reach out to them. Even this negligence could be a form of causing “one of these little ones to sin.” Of course, it is even far worse if we were to actively agitate them, harshly judge them, provoke their anger, draw them into some sin of weakness and false consolation by our temptation, etc. The simple truth is that Jesus loves those who are weak, vulnerable and sinful, and He wants us to love them with His heart. When we fail to do so, Jesus will hold us accountable for their further fall from grace.Reflect, today, upon the person or persons in your life that appear especially vulnerable, sinful, confused and lost at this time. Who is it that struggles with anger, or an addiction or some sinful lifestyle? Ponder your attitude toward them. Are you judgmental, condemning, belittling and the like? Do you tempt them to fall further into any sins of weakness they commit in a vulnerable state, thus leading them into further sin? Or, when you encounter someone who is greatly struggling, do you turn to them with the deepest compassion and mercy, forgiving any ways that they may sin against you, and work hard only to be there for them in their need, no matter how hard it is on you? Commit yourself to a profound love of all of God's “little ones” and seek to serve them with the heart of Christ so that one day they will eternally rejoice with you in Heaven.My most compassionate Lord, You love the sinner and deeply desire that they turn to You in their need. Please give me Your heart of compassion so that I will be free to love them as You love them. May I never become an instrument of temptation for them to fall further away from You but, instead, become an instrument of Your unfailing mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.” Mark 12:38–40It's important to note here that Jesus says, “They will receive a very severe condemnation.” These words are spoken from Him who is the source of mercy and grace. His heart is full of kindness and compassion, He is gentle and forgiving, and He wants nothing other than our eternal salvation. And yet Jesus is clear that the scribes will be severely condemned.The first thing we should think is that we do not want to be like the scribes! We do not want to receive similar condemnation. Thus, we should avoid their state of sin. So that begs the question, “What sin of the scribes earned them this severe condemnation?”The bottom line is that they were frauds. They were consumed with a desire for “places of honor.” They clearly treated others poorly: “They devour the houses of widows.” What's worse, they presented themselves as people of prayer when they clearly were not. As a result, Jesus severely condemned them.So what do we learn from their errors? We should learn at least the following two lessons:1) The true “place of honor” is the place of the greatest humility. True honor, in the eyes of God, is found when we serve without notice and give without recognition. In this way, our giving and serving are done purely out of a motivation of love and not self-serving intentions. The humble person does not seek to be praised and honored for the love they give. The act of giving and serving is itself the gift they receive.2) Reciting lengthy prayers is not the same as praying. Prayer is about one thing. It's about entering into communion with God. It's about establishing a relationship with Him in a deep, beautiful and abiding way. It's about love. Prayer is not for show or to gain the admiration of others.Reflect, today, upon the harsh judgment Jesus issued toward the scribes. Know that this is done, in part, to teach us what to avoid in life. Avoid all selfish pride. Seek humility and true prayer and you will be greatly blessed.Lord, help me to be a person of true prayer and worship. Help me to remain humble and true. Help me to love You out of love of You alone. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” Luke 16:10What are the “small matters” in life? Most likely, if you asked many different people from all walks of life this question, then you would receive many different answers. But if we consider the context of this statement of Jesus, then it is clear that one of the primary small matters of which He speaks is our use of money.Many people live as though the attainment of wealth were of the highest importance. There are many who dream of becoming rich. Some regularly play the lottery in the very unlikely hope that they will hit it big. Others dedicate themselves to much hard work in their careers so that they can advance, make more money and, so they believe, become happier as they become wealthier. And others regularly daydream about what they would do if they were rich. But from the perspective of God, material wealth is a very small and unimportant matter. Money is useful insofar as it is one of the ordinary means by which we go about providing for ourselves and our families. But it truly is small in importance when it comes to the divine perspective.With that said, one way to be entrusted by Jesus with “great” matters is to use your money appropriately. We become “trustworthy” in this small matter of money when we only give it the value that it has. In other words, we must see money only as one means to the end of fulfilling God's perfect will. When we work to rid ourselves of excessive desires and dreams of riches, and when we use what we have in accord with God's will, then this act on our part will open the door to our Lord to entrust us with much more. What is that “much more?” It's the spiritual matters that pertain to our eternal salvation and the salvation of others. God wants to entrust to you the great responsibility of building His Kingdom on earth. He wants to use you to share His saving message with others. But He will first wait until you show yourself trustworthy in small matters, such as using your money well. And then, as you fulfill His will in these less important ways, you will begin to see Him call you to greater works.Reflect, today, upon the fact that God wants great things from you. The goal of all of our lives is to be used by God in incredible ways. If this is something you desire, then do every small act in your life with great care. Show many small acts of kindness. Try to be thoughtful of others. Put others' needs before your own. And commit yourself to using the money you have for God's glory and in accord with His will. As you do these small things, you will begin to be amazed at how God is able to begin entrusting you with more, and, through you, great things will happen that have eternal effects in your life and in the lives of others.My trustworthy Lord, You were entrusted with the greatest good ever known. Your Father in Heaven entrusted to You the salvation of the world. Please help me to share in this task by being faithful to Your holy will in every small way. As I seek to serve You in the small matters of life, I pray that I will be able to be used for even greater ones. My life is Yours, dear Lord. Use me as You will. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.'” Luke 16:1–2There is much to ponder in this parable and many lessons from which we can learn. To begin, the rich man should be understood as God and you as the steward. This is an important first lesson to learn because it reveals to us that, when it comes to material things in this world, God is the true owner of all—we are only stewards. Think about that carefully. When it comes to all that you own, all your money and possessions, do you hold on to it as if you were the complete master of these material items? Clearly most people do think this way. They may work hard to earn a living, save and buy this and that, build up their bank accounts, and then remain very attached to these material things, seeing them as “mine” rather than as God's. So the first very challenging lesson we should look at is that all we “own” is actually the possession of God. He only permits us to be stewards of the things of this world. Do you believe that?As stewards, we must be committed to use the riches within our stewardship only in the way that God wants it used. In this parable, the steward was reported to the rich man for “squandering his property.” We also are guilty of squandering the possessions of God when we use money in accord with our own will and desires rather than those of God's. This is an exceptionally common tendency, especially for those who have become the stewards of much money. Therefore, the more money that one has stewardship over, the more they will be tempted to squander it, meaning, use it for selfish purposes rather than for the glory of God in accord with His will. This is a hard teaching to accept and live. But these truths are indeed revealed to us by this parable, so it is essential that we listen.The words spoken by the rich man, “Prepare a full account of your stewardship,” are words that we must all anticipate hearing one day. If that day were today, what would that “full account of your stewardship” look like? Have you worked hard for selfish gain? Or have you worked hard to act with great responsibility over the things God has entrusted to your care?As the parable continues, we read that the steward acted “prudently” in that he devised a plan to make sure his material needs were met once he lost his position as steward. The “prudence,” however, that is spoken of here is a reference to the worldly, and therefore, evil ingenuity, cleverness, hard work and commitment many people have regarding the material wealth they seek to obtain in this world. Though it is good to be diligent and hardworking in life, too often this is done for the purpose of selfish gain. Just imagine if everyone who worked so hard at getting rich put even more effort into building up the Kingdom of God on earth! How different this world would be if we had so many hard workers for God's mission.Reflect, today, upon the simple truth that when it comes to the riches of this world, you are only the steward of what you possess, not its master. God wants you free from the attachment to material wealth so that you will be free to use all that you have for His glory and in accord with His purpose. That does not mean that you must donate all you have to charities. Instead, it means that you continually offer all that you have to God and seek to use it in accord with His will and His will alone. If that means you discern that God wants you to buy something new, then buy something new. If that means giving more away, then give more away. If that means living more simply as a holy sacrifice, then do just that. Money cannot buy happiness. Only embracing God's will to the fullest will result in the happiness and fulfillment you deeply desire.My Lord of all riches, You and You alone are the Master of all things created. All that I have and possess are Yours, dear Lord. Help me to believe this and to live my life purely as a steward of the possessions I have. Free me from squandering that which You have entrusted to my care. May I use all for Your glory and only in accord with Your holy will. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.'” Luke 15:4–6Some of the great saints point out that the number one hundred represents perfection. One hundred refers to the perfection of the Kingdom of God, which represents not only all of the saints in Heaven but also the angels. The one lost sheep represents all of humanity as we make our way through this life. Jesus, of course, is the Shepherd Whose attention turns to fallen humanity on a diligent search for us so as to carry us home.First, notice that the Shepherd does not search for the one stray sheep out of anger but out of concern and love. Understanding this is essential if we are to have a correct understanding of how our Lord sees us when we stray. We must see His deep concern, His diligence in searching, and His unwavering commitment to find us in our straying condition. This is not a God Who sits back in judgment and anger but a God Who came to us, took on our fallen human nature, and endured all suffering so as to find us and bring us home.Notice also that in this parable, the Shepherd places the lost sheep on His shoulders and carries the sheep home. Oftentimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that we must make our way back to God by our own effort. But the truth is that God is always there, waiting to pick us up and carry us home. Our duty is to surrender to His merciful hands and to stop running. This is done by turning to Him and allowing Him to come to us and minister to us. The primary effort is on the part of our Lord once we surrender ourselves into His gentle Hands.Finally, notice that the rejoicing mentioned in this parable is on the part of the Shepherd. Of course we also will rejoice at being picked up and carried home to the perfection of God's Kingdom, but our rejoicing is done in response to the joy of our Lord. It is His joy we are invited to share in. It is His heart that is filled with gratitude as we allow Him to tenderly carry us home. “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep,” He says.Reflect, today, upon this holy image of the Good Shepherd. As you ponder this parable and imagery, be attentive to the various thoughts, memories, emotions and fears that are evoked within you. Each one of us is different, and our Lord deeply desires to come to each one of us right where we are, in the midst of our sins. Pondering the compassion of this Good Shepherd will open the door for our Lord to speak to you and to invite you personally to come to Him, turning away from the ways that you personally have strayed. Do not run away. Remain in confidence as He comes to you. Listen to His voice and say “Yes” to Him as He lifts you up to carry you home.My gentle Jesus, You are the Good Shepherd. You love me and search for me with diligence and fidelity. May I trust You enough to stop running from You and hiding from Your gentle voice. Please come to me, pick me up, place me on Your shoulders and carry me home. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25–26After this startling opening line from our Lord, Jesus concludes today's Gospel by saying, “In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” Thus, at first read it appears that we are called to not only renounce all we possess but also to hate those within our own family. But is this truly what our Lord means? Let's begin with the idea of “hating” those within our family and even our own life.Obviously the word “hate” in this Gospel passage is not the same as the sin of hate and anger. In commenting on this passage, one Church Father explains that there are some cases when the best way to love another is through a form of hate. That is, if another were to act as an obstacle to God, working to deter us from the will of our Lord, then our “hatred” for the actions they do must be firmly expressed. But this is love. A refusal to turn from God, by rejecting another's disordered actions, is a way of sharing the Gospel with them. Let's take an extreme example.Imagine that you lived at a time and circumstance where being a Christian was a crime. You were arrested and commanded to publicly renounce your faith. Instead, you renounced that command with every strength of your soul. In this case, you exercise a form of holy “hate” for the persecution the person is imposing upon you. But that is also an act of love toward them as you fully reject their action by renouncing their command.Or consider also how you hate even your “own life.” Let's say that you fall into serious sin, over and over. The appropriate response is not only to repent but also to have a form of holy hatred for the habit into which you have fallen. This is a true hatred for yourself in the sense that it is a hatred for that which you have become by your sin. But this holy hatred has the ultimate goal of passionately overcoming your sin and is therefore a true act of love for yourself.The concluding line of today's Gospel mentioned above calls us to renounce all of our possessions. In other words, we must renounce anything that we are attached to in a way that is contrary to the will of God. Of course, in God's providence most people (except those who take a vow of poverty) are invited by God to have various possessions so as to meet the material needs of life. But even in this case, we must “renounce” all that we possess, meaning, we must not allow ourselves to become attached to anything other than God. But this is freedom in the truest sense. Even if you have many things, it must be understood that those things do not make you happy. Only God and His will can fulfill you. Nothing else. Thus, we must learn to live as if God and God alone suffices. And if it is God's will that you obtain a house, car, computer, television and other modern conveniences, then so be it. But true “renunciation” of all of these possessions simply means that if at any time you were to lose them, then this would be fine. Therein is perfect detachment. The loss of something material would not deter you in any way from loving and serving God and His holy will.Reflect, today, upon these radical words of Jesus. Try to hear them in the way our Lord meant them. Work to be detached from everything that is contrary to the will of God and everything that becomes an obstacle to God in your life. In the end, possessing God alone is more than you could ever hope for. And only if you fully possess our merciful God will you be able to love yourself and others with the pure heart and love of Jesus our Lord.My demanding Lord, You call us all to a life of radical holiness. You desire that I come to love You above all with all my heart. Please give me the grace and wisdom I need to renounce all that is an obstacle to my love and service of You. May You and You alone be glorified in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” John 6:40Yesterday's Solemnity of All Saints gave us an opportunity to celebrate and rejoice in the fact that there are countless people who have gone before us who are now enjoying the glories of Heaven. These faithful souls lived lives that were grounded in God's grace and have been fully purified of all sin. They now gaze at our good God face-to-face.Today, we commemorate the fact that many who die in a state of grace are not immediately ready to stand before the glorious throne of God and see Him face-to-face. The only way this is possible is if every sin and every attachment to sin is purged from our souls. We must have nothing but pure charity alive within us if we are to enter the eternal glories of Heaven. But how many people die in such a state?The Church, in her wisdom and holiness, has taught clearly through the centuries that when a person passes from this world to the next while still attached to less serious sin, they need to be fully purified in order to enter Heaven. This is Purgatory. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (#1030–31a).For some, Purgatory can be a frightening and even confusing thought. Why doesn't God, in His infinite mercy, simply take all our loved ones who followed Him straight to Heaven? The answer is simple. He does! And the path for them to Heaven is this incredible mercy of their final purification.Purification of all attachment to sin within our soul is a mercy beyond what we can imagine. Through this final purification, God prepares the holy souls who have died for an eternity of joy. But this purification is necessary because God, in His love, does not want any soul to live eternally with even a minor attachment to sin. God wants us all free. The truth is that every sin on our soul, even the smallest one, is reason enough for us to be excluded from Heaven. So Purgatory must be seen as a final mercy from God by which He lifts every last burden that keeps us from perfect love, so that our eternity will be one of utmost freedom and ecstasy. God wants us to be filled only with the purity of love forever. Thus, upon our death, we are graced to enter into a final and intense purification of every minor sin, so that when we see God in all His glory, we will see Him with the perfection to which we are called. Purgatory is a gift, a grace, a mercy. It will be painful to go through in the same way that overcoming any sin is painful. But the good fruit of freedom from sin makes every final purification we must endure worth it a hundredfold and more.Reflect, today, upon the spiritual truth that God wants you to be a saint. If you are among those few who die in a state in which you are purified from every sin, then be assured that you have already completed your purgatory on earth. But if you or your loved ones are among the many who still hold some minor attachment to sin at the time of death, then rejoice that God is not done with you yet. Anticipate with much gratitude the final purification that awaits and look forward to the freedom that ultimately comes from that purification.My merciful Lord, You desire that my soul and the souls of all your faithful be purified of every sin, even the smallest imperfection. I thank You for the mercy of Purgatory and pray that I will continually work toward that purification here and now. I pray, also, for all those who have gone before me and are still in need of these purifying fires. Pour forth Your mercy upon them so that they may be counted among the saints in Heaven. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5: 1–3Today we celebrate one of the most glorious solemnities within our Church! Every saint, canonized or not, is honored today. Our Gospel passage lays out the path by which these saints entered Heaven. While on earth, these great men and women lived lives that were poor in spirit, filled with a holy mourning, meekness, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, peace, purity of heart and even persecution. Each one of these Beatitudes concludes by stating the reward that those who lived these qualities obtains: Heaven, comfort, satisfaction, mercy, seeing God, being children of God and rewards beyond what we can imagine in God's Kingdom.The Beatitudes invite us to the heights of holiness. They are not for the faint of heart or for those living a lukewarm spiritual life. These Beatitudes present us with the pinnacle of holy living and challenge us to the core. But every effort put into living these Beatitudes are worth it here on earth and ultimately in Heaven. Let's look briefly at two of these Beatitudes.The second Beatitude states that those “who mourn...will be comforted.” This is an interesting Beatitude. Why is it holy to mourn? Simply put, this form of holy mourning means that you not only have a holy sorrow for your own sins but that you have this holy sorrow as you see the many evils within our world. This is crucial today. First, it should be quite obvious that we must have holy sorrow for our own sins. Doing so means your conscience is working. And when your conscience is working, you will be compelled, by this holy sorrow, to acknowledge your offenses against God and work diligently to change. But we must also have a holy sorrow as we see the many evils within our world. Too often today there is a tendency to undermine this Beatitude by presenting universal acceptance of all things as a good. We are told we must not judge, and though that is true when it comes to judging another's heart, a worldly presentation of this secular “virtue” attempts to lead us to downplay the objective nature of sin. Our secular world tempts us to ignore many objective moral truths by which God guides us into all truth. But as Christians, our first approach must be to despise all that our Lord taught was objectively morally evil. And when we do come face-to-face with immoral lifestyles, the appropriate response must be holy sorrow, not acceptance of grave sin. To mourn over another's poor choices is a true act of charity toward them.The fourth Beatitude calls us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” This means that we not only have a holy sorrow over our sins and the objective evils of our world, but that we also allow ourselves to be filled with a hunger and thirst for truth and holy living. This drive must become a burning motivation within us to do all we can to further the Kingdom of God everywhere. This Beatitude enables us to overcome indifference, inspiring us to bring about change in the face of all opposition. And this drive is fueled by charity and every other accompanying virtue.Reflect, today, upon the beautiful truth that you are called to become a saint. And the surest path to sainthood is the Beatitudes. Read them carefully. Meditate upon them and know that they reveal to you how God is calling you to live. If one of these Beatitudes stands out to you, then spend time focusing upon it. Work to internalize these graces, and God will work wonders in your life, one day making this solemnity within our Church a true celebration of your life well lived.My most holy Lord, You reign now in Heaven and desire that Your glorious Kingdom be firmly established upon earth. Give me the grace I need to seek holiness with all my heart and to especially use Your revelation of the Beatitudes as the path by which I travel. I pray that I will become a true saint in this world and that You will use me to further Your Kingdom now and for eternity. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31The first and greatest Commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. But Jesus goes on to give us the second most important Commandment. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” First of all, it's important to point out that loving God with all your might is the greatest Commandment, in part, because unless you do so, you cannot also love your neighbor. Love of neighbor hinges on whether you love God with your whole being. Only when you love God can that love overflow into other relationships.When you look at the love of neighbor as an effect of the overflow of your love of God, this second Commandment takes on a clearer meaning. Jesus doesn't only say to love your neighbor, He says to do so “as yourself.” So how do you love yourself? You do so primarily by fulfilling the First Commandment of the love of God.Loving God with your whole self is, in fact, the best way to also love yourself. Why? Because we were made for love and communion with God. Loving God is not some extra favor we do for God; rather, it's a way of fulfilling the deepest meaning of who we are. We are made for love and we are made for God. Therefore, loving God is the best way to love yourself.From this starting point, we then move to a better understanding of how we are called to love our neighbor. If the fulfillment of loving yourself is found by loving God and being in an intimate relationship of love with God, then you love your neighbor as yourself by drawing your neighbor into a relationship of love with God also. There is nothing you could do that is more loving for others than to act as a bridge between them and God. And the more directly you act as that bridge, the greater your love for them and the more completely you fulfill this Commandment.Reflect, today, upon the ways that you act as a bridge of love between God and others. Recognize this as your absolute duty, privilege and honor. Commit yourself to a wholehearted love of God and allow that love to overflow and be poured out upon all those with whom you encounter every day. Love is contagious, and it must consume everything you are and everything you do.Lord, I desire to love You with my whole being. Increase my love for You and allow that love to overflow into every relationship I have in life. May love be the one and only mission of my life. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,' and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.” Luke 14:8–9This is an interesting parable. First of all, it must be noted that a true saint would not be embarrassed by such a humiliation. Instead, they would happily give their seat of honor to another. In fact, they would most likely have immediately taken the “lowest” spot, since this form of worldly honor would mean nothing to them. But Jesus wasn't speaking at this time to living saints. He was speaking to people who did struggle with desires for worldly esteem. This shows that the people to whom Jesus was speaking were also insecure and lacked healthy self-esteem.What's beautiful is that Jesus meets these people where they are at, telling them a parable to which they could relate. These were the guests who were present at a dinner being held by one of the leading Pharisees to which Jesus was also invited. Jesus' point was to gently share with them the truth that humility was far better than pride. True exultation and honor is found by humbling oneself and elevating others as a way of pointing to their innate dignity and value as persons. This is a hard lesson to learn.Most people, when in a group of people, will struggle with comparing themselves to others. “She's prettier” or “He's more successful” or “They are very educated,” etc. This common tendency often comes as a result of being personally insecure with who you are as a person. However, if you were able to completely be at peace with who you are, if you loved yourself in the way God loves you, then you would be much freer to love others, see their dignity, and even rejoice in the ways that they are successful and exalted.Jesus concludes His parable by saying, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” To the normal secular mind, this can be a hard truth to grasp. It can be difficult to understand the great value of humility. But humility is simply seeing yourself in the light of truth, in the way God sees you. The humble person does not need the praise and esteem of others. God's love for them is sufficient. For that reason, the humble person not only loves themself as God loves them, but they are then free to turn their full attention to the good of others. This is pure love. And this love is only possible when humility is lived fully.Reflect, today, upon this gentle teaching of Jesus, given to those who greatly lacked humility. Try to see Jesus' concern for them and His desire not to embarass them but to free them from the heavy burden of their insecurities. If you are one who struggles with this, reflect upon our Lord gently inviting you to embrace humility. Pray for this virtue and practice it with sincerity. Know that the attainment of this virtue will open the door to much freedom in your life.My humble Lord, You knew Yourself with perfection and loved Your own sacred soul with the same love the Father in Heaven had for You. Please help me to discover who I am. Help me to see myself as You see me. May I never be burdened by the distorted desire for earthly honors and worldly esteem. Instead, I pray that this glorious gift of humility will live deeply in my soul. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. Luke 14:1Jesus accepted an invitation from this prominent Pharisee to dine at his house. The people at the dinner were “observing him carefully.” It's somewhat easy to picture the scene. For most people, being invited to a dinner with many strangers who are observing them carefully may leave them feeling quite uncomfortable and self-conscious. But Jesus showed up with perfect confidence and an unwavering commitment to share the Gospel. One thing we can learn from this dinner and Jesus' disposition at it is that uncomfortable situations are actually great opportunities to share your faith. We will all have times when we are put in an uncomfortable situation. Imagine, for example, being invited to a party for a distant relative or a new neighbor. You decided to attend and knew that you would know very few people there. The tendency for those who are shy would be to show up, find someone they know, and then spend the rest of the time with that person. But consider what Jesus did. He probably knew very few people at this dinner. Jesus' primary purpose in attending was not to just relax and have a fun time while He met new friends. Instead, His primary purpose was to preach His saving message to those in need. Thus, He went to those in need and did so with confidence.Whether you are one who likes to socialize and meet new people, or are one who dreads such settings, consider the simple fact that these settings are wonderful opportunities to share your faith. Like our Lord, if you are willing to put yourself out there, entering situations that are new and unfamiliar, then you may start to discover that the opportunities abound. New settings and new people are new opportunities to evangelize. True, they are also opportunities to make new friends and enjoy yourself. But if you have a heart set on the desire to share the Gospel, then you will regularly look for new opportunities in which you can somehow share your faith with others.Reflect, today, upon this simple Gospel scene of Jesus attending a dinner, with many people He did not know, for the purpose of sharing the faith with them. Imagine yourself joining our Lord at this meal. How would you have felt? Would you have been self-conscious and uncomfortable? Or would you have seen it as an opportunity to share the Gospel? Reflect upon how zealous you are in your efforts to evangelize others and recommit yourself to this holy endeavor. Tell our Lord you are ready and willing to be used by Him wherever He sends you and then try to see every new adventure and experience in life as a new opportunity to share Christ's saving message with others.My saving Lord, You desire that Your saving message be shared far and wide, to the ends of the earth. Please fill me with zeal for souls. Give me an unwavering desire to share the Gospel with everyone I meet. Please use me, dear Lord, in the way You desire, so that Your love and mercy will be brought to those in need. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles... Luke 6:12Simon and Jude were among those very select few who were chosen by Jesus Himself to be His Apostles. Today's Simon is not the same person as Simon Peter, and today's Jude is not the same person as Judas Iscariot. Little is known about these two Apostles. Simon is referred to as a zealot in the Gospels, which could have meant he was a member of a more radical sect within Judaism. Jude is popularly known as the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes. Some suggest this is because he was often the last Apostle to be prayed to by the early Christian faithful on account of the fact that he shared a name with Judas Iscariot, and praying to Jude reminded people of that betrayer. If that was the case, then in God's providence, since Jude became the last Apostle to be prayed to, he also became the last hope for many and, thus, the patron saint for those with truly hopeless causes.One tradition states that Saints Simon and Jude are linked together in the Roman Canon and also share the same feast day because they were both martyred together on the same day, possibly in Syria, Lebanon, or Persia. However, the true details of their missionary journeys and martyrdom is unclear. The one thing that is certain about these Apostles, however, is that they were Apostles. They were chosen by our Lord and appointed by Him as two of the first bishops of our Church and were given a mandate to share the Gospel to the ends of the earth.From our perspective today, being one of those chosen Twelve is an incredible privilege. The effect of their ministry in establishing the first Christian communities has resulted in our worldwide universal Catholic Church. These men most likely did not realize the impact that their faithful service would have upon the world.As we honor these two Apostles, we are also reminded that each one of us is called to go forth to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We each do so in a way specific to the calling and mission that Christ has entrusted to us. We are each called to make an eternal difference in the lives of those whom we serve. And if we are faithful to our mission, we can be certain that the effects of our apostolic service will be felt in the lives of countless others until the end of the world.Reflect, today, upon Jesus choosing these two men and appointing them as Apostles. As you do, listen to God's voice as He also speaks to you. Do not underestimate the importance of accepting the mission that Jesus gives to you. Say “Yes” to Him in imitation of these two Apostles and know that your choice to serve our Lord in this way will not only have a great effect in your life, it will also have an effect in the lives of many others for all eternity. My glorious Lord, You called these two ordinary men, Simon and Jude, to be Your Apostles. You filled them with Your grace, taught them with Your Word, and sent them forth to preach to the ends of the earth. Please also send me, dear Lord, to whomever You choose. Use me as Your instrument and help me to always remain faithful and zealous, reaching out to those in need, especially to those who lack faith and hope in their lives. Saints Simon and Jude, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Luke 13:27We should definitely take our Lord's words spoken above to heart. It's easy to presume we will be saved. It's easy to simply presume that God is kind and that we are good people at heart and, therefore, salvation is assured. But that's not what Jesus says.So who will be saved? When we get to Heaven, God willing, we may be surprised at who is saved and who is not. This is clearly one of the messages of today's Gospel. Jesus even goes so far to say that some, when they die, will assume they are going to enter into Heaven but will hear our Lord say to them, “I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!” Again, we should take these words to heart.One of the most dangerous sins we can fall into is presumption. Presumption is deadly because it has a double effect upon us. First, the person caught in presumption is one who has committed mortal sin but has not repented of it. But the presumptuous person also remains incapable of repentance because they refuse to acknowledge their sin. Their conscience is not working. They have blinders on and expect God to wear those same blinders. But God sees all things and judges accordingly.The “narrow gate” of which Jesus speaks is a simile used by Jesus to tell us that it is not easy to obtain Heaven. It requires a concerted effort on our part as well as the infinite mercy of God. But regarding our part, the attainment of Heaven is only possible if we intentionally seek out the will of God and respond generously to Him. First, that means we confess and turn away from our sins. But from there, it means that we make every effort to fulfill God's will in our lives.If this is hard to accept, simply remind yourself that this teaching came directly from Jesus Himself. He is absolutely clear and means what He says. If that fills you with a sort of holy fear, then that is a good thing. “Holy fear” is a gift by which we have a well-ordered conscience that is able to identify those things in our lives that have become immovable obstacles to eternal salvation. The same well-ordered conscience will lead us to that narrow gate which is the only path to eternal life.Reflect, today, upon the fact that we must all take eternal salvation seriously. If you find that you have become lax in your spiritual life, then use this Gospel as a motivation to change. Do not allow yourself to be one of those knocking at the gates of Heaven, only to realize that our Lord does not know you. Do all you can to eradicate the sin of presumption from your life, and your reward will be truly great in Heaven.My most merciful Lord, You and You alone can open the gates of Heaven to us, and You and You alone will do so only to those who have responded to Your holy will. Please open my eyes to any ways that I turn from You and remain lax in my spiritual journey. Give me the grace I need to see clearly and to respond to You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.” Luke 13:18–19This short parable should speak to many people far more than they realize. It should be a source of great encouragement to us all as we seek to build up the Kingdom of God through apostolic works.The mustard seed is very small. At first, when someone holds it in their hand, they may not think much of it. But if they did plant it under ideal conditions, that seed could grow into a tree upwards of 20 feet tall.Jesus uses this parable to teach us many lessons. One such lesson is that of our apostolic works of charity. When you think of the call of being an apostle for the Lord, spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth, what comes to mind? Perhaps the first thought is of those who have been entrusted with a very large, public and vibrant ministry. In this case, it is easier to see the good fruit born of one's apostolic works. But what about you? For most people, they may strive to love and serve others in every small way they can, and they fail to see the abundance of good fruit born from their efforts. When this happens, some may become discouraged and lose zeal for the spreading of the Gospel.If this is you, then consider the mustard seed. Planting this small seed is representative of much of our apostolic endeavors. God calls us to do small acts of kindness, share our faith in subtle and even hidden ways, serve out of love even when it is unnoticed, and to do so without ceasing. Do these small acts bear fruit for the Kingdom of God? If you believe this parable of the mustard seed, then the answer must be a resounding “Yes.”Many times in life, we will never see the full effects that our actions have on others. Our negative influence will affect them far more than we realize. And our loving acts of charity, by which we share our faith, will also affect people far more than we realize. Believing in the message of this Parable of the Mustard Seed should lead us to believe that planting those small seeds of faith, through our charity, virtues, and words, will indeed bear an abundance of good fruit, far more than we may ever know, until we enter the glories of Heaven. Reflect, today, upon your duty to daily plant the smallest seeds of faith and love. Do not get discouraged if your efforts do not bear abundantly obvious fruit. Simply commit yourself to the planting, over and over. Take delight in sowing the seed of faith and see this as your mission. If you do this throughout your life, from Heaven you will look back and be amazed at how God powerfully brought forth His Kingdom through those seemingly insignificant acts of faith and love.My glorious King, You desire that Your Kingdom grow far and wide through our efforts of love. Please do use me, dear Lord, to plant Your seeds of faith and charity every day. May I never tire of these apostolic endeavors and may I always take great delight in serving You and building Your Kingdom in every way I can. Jesus, I trust in You. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?” Luke 13:14–15Why would the leader of the synagogue be “indignant” that Jesus cured a woman on the sabbath? She was crippled for eighteen years! Imagine, especially, her family. They would have seen her many years of suffering and shared them with her through years of compassion. If they were present when Jesus healed her on the sabbath, would they have immediately thought, “How dare Jesus do this healing of our mother, wife or sister on the sabbath?” Of course not! They would have rejoiced and been filled with awe, gratitude, and even tears. This normal reaction that her family would have had upon witnessing this miracle is the right response. And, of course, the reaction of the leader of the synagogue was deeply disordered. Why would this leader of the synagogue do such a thing? Though he and many other scribes, Sadducess, Pharisees and scholars of the law struggled with envy and hypocrisy, others may sometimes react similarly to this leader of the synagogue for other reasons. One such reason is scrupulosity.Scrupulosity is the tendency to see God and His holy will through the lens of legalism. “Legalism” is not just being faithful to the Law of God, because that is a good thing. Legalism is a misinterpretation of God's Law by which one tends to put more emphasis upon themselves than upon God. A scrupulous person is preoccupied with themself. They tend to be far more concerned with sin than with God Himself. And though it's vital to be concerned with sin, when fear of sinning becomes a form of obsession, then that obsession has the effect of clouding the pure will of God and leaves a person heavily burdened and unable to joyfully live out the authentic will of God.Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was one saint who openly shared her struggles with scrupulosity in her autobiography. Of this struggle, which she referred to as “oversensitivity,” she said, “One would have to pass through this martyrdom to understand it well, and for me to express what I experienced for a year and a half would be impossible.” However, she eventually experienced what she called a “complete conversion” by which the heavy burden of oversensitivity was lifted. Though this oversensitivity oppressed her in various ways, one way it affected her was that she feared that even some of her random thoughts were mortal sins and that she would be condemned for them.Though the leader of the synagogue was most likely not struggling with “oversensitivity” in the same way as Saint Thérèse, he was acting with an extreme scrupulosity which led him to be harshly judgmental and condemning of our Lord for His good deed done to this crippled woman.Reflect, today, upon any tendency you may have with these heavy burdens. Do you worry in an irrational way about sin? Do you ever find yourself obsessing over decisions, worrying that you may make the wrong one? Do you think about yourself far more than you think about God and others? If so, you may also be carrying a similar heavy burden that our Lord wants to lift. Serving God and His holy will must become the deepest joy of our lives, not a heavy burden. If you find your Christian walk more of a burden, then turn your eyes away from yourself and look to the merciful God. Run to Him with the utmost confidence of a child, as Saint Thérèse eventually did, and allow yourself to love Him more authentically, freed of scrupulous and self-imposed burdens.My merciful Lord, You desire to free me from all that burdens me. You desire that I turn to You with the confidence of a child. Please do free me, dear Lord, from any way that I impose burdens upon myself by my obsessions and irrational worries. May I always understand Your infinite love for me and always walk freely and joyfully in Your ways. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, Bartimaeus began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Mark 10:47These words from Bartimaeus, the blind man, present us with the perfect prayer for a few reasons.First, this prayer reveals the deep humility of Bartimaeus. By praying this prayer, Bartimaeus expresses the fact that he knew Jesus was the source of what he needed and that he was unable to help himself. Bartimaeus knew that he was weak but that Jesus was perfect strength. Thus, Bartimaeus humbly turned to Jesus in his need, recognizing Him as the source.Second, it is a prayer that cries for “pity.” Pity is the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering of others. Pity is mercy and is the form of love given to one by another who has no need of giving it. In this prayer, Bartimaeus asks the all-powerful Lord to show him kindness and mercy, even though he is unworthy of such a gift. This prayer reveals the fact that Bartimaeus knew he was undeserving of help from our Lord, but he cried out for it anyway in the hope that Jesus would help. And, indeed, He does.Third, this prayer reveals a certain and deep passion. It is not just a request for God's help; rather, it is a cry for help. It's a plea and a form of begging. It's an opening up of one's soul to God, without concern of displaying one's own weaknesses or worry that others will witness it or what they'll think. This shows the depth of the blind man's prayer. Reflect, today, upon these three lessons from Bartimaeus' short prayer. We must be humble, beg for mercy, and do so with deep passion and longing. Praying this way will most certainly dispose us to the grace and mercy of God.Lord, Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me. I do humbly beg You with all my heart for Your mercy and compassion. Though I am unworthy, I seek Your grace and trust in Your goodness. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?' He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'” Luke 13:7–9How much good fruit is born from your life? This is an important question to answer honestly. One of the best ways to discern whether or not we are serving the will of God is to look at the fruit being born from our lives.Good fruit is born in various ways and manifests itself in various forms. However, the fruit you must look for is twofold. First, it is the fruit found within your own soul resulting from a life of true prayer and union with God. Second, we must look for the fruit that is born of charity in our actions toward others.When you look honestly at your own soul, what do you see? Often, you may see a sort of war within you in which your disordered passions and appetites fight against the Spirit of God. Good spiritual fruit will require interior purification. Through prayer, fasting, spiritual reading and the like, you must look for ways in which God's Spirit takes control of your disordered human nature and reorders it in accord with His holy will. Though we are all sinners and will all fall at times, we must work diligently to overcome every action, desire and temptation that we can objectively discern to be contrary to the will of God. At times, your fallen human nature can so forcefully draw you into sin that it can confuse your intellect and lead you to rationalization of your sins. But if you want the fruit of God's presence in your life, then you must continually choose to make your interior life a fruitful garden in which the virtues of God grow and are nourished in abundance. So, again, what do you honestly see as you look into your own soul?As God nourishes the virtues within us, and our disordered passions and appetites fall under the control of the Spirit of God, then we will also discover a need to allow the interior fruits of God's love to flow forth from our lives into the lives of others. We will begin to desire selfless and sacrificial living. We will begin to desire to put others first. We will consider others' lives as precious and filled with dignity. And we will overcome judgment, harshness, anger, and the like. We will find ourselves desiring the good of others and will supernaturally be drawn to do many small acts of kindness toward all. But it all starts with one's interior life which our Lord desires to cultivate and fertilize with His grace so that the interior fruits of His love will grow within and ultimately become very manifest in one's daily exterior actions toward all.Reflect, today, upon your soul being like this fig tree that has not been bearing fruit. See our Lord coming to you and asking you to allow Him to cultivate the ground and fertilize it. Know that this requires change on your part. If you are to bear good fruit, then you need this intervention by our Lord. Work with Him, be diligent, and do all you can to begin to bear an abundance of good fruit so that you are not among those who are ultimately cut down by God's justice.My laboring Lord, You never cease to work diligently to cultivate the soil of my soul so that the seeds of Your mercy will grow and produce the good fruit You desire to come forth from my life. Please give me the grace I need to be faithful to a daily life of prayer, a practice of penance and a search for Your holy Word. Transform me, dear Lord, and bring forth the good fruit of Your holy Kingdom in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” Luke 12:57–59The Church Fathers offer many different interpretations of this passage. Among them, Saint Bede says that our “opponent” can be seen as the Word of God, in the sense that the Word of God makes war upon our weaknesses and sins. When we listen to the Word of God, our Lord will convict us of our faults so that we can reconcile our lives with the Truth of the Word of God Himself.When you think about God's holy Word, in its entirety, what most convicts you? Sometimes we try to downplay such personal convictions. We rationalize our actions and dismiss what God is saying to us. Are there any teachings of Jesus that you recall that have truly stung you to the heart? If so, this is a grace, and it's an opportunity to fulfill the lesson from our Lord taught in the passage above. God does not convict our hearts so as to condemn us. Rather, He convicts us, as an opponent to our sin, so that we can “make an effort to settle the matter on the way.” The conscience is a wonderful gift from our Lord and can be likened to this passage above. It is a form of courtroom where our Lord desires not to have to issue punishment upon us. Instead, He desires that we engage His holy Word, listen to what He says, and settle our sin by repenting immediately.Among the many lessons taught by our Lord, it is often the lesson that jumps out at us, even in a startling way, that we need to pay attention to the most. God often brings His most urgent teachings to us by causing us to feel a sense of guilt that cannot be denied. If we listen to these convictions, then we will not have any need to stand before the Judge. But if we do not, if we bury these convictions, downplay them and ignore them, then our Lord will find it necessary to keep at us. We will begin to experience His judgment, and we will see the effects of being out of His good graces. And in the end, if we fail to repent of the more serious sins in our lives, then we will even be held accountable for the smallest of sins. We will be required to “pay the last penny.”Reflect, today, upon the idea that the Word of God, all that our Lord has taught us, is the opponent to the sin in your soul. This good and holy opponent wants only what is best for you. Commit yourself to an ongoing reading of God's holy Word so that you will be continually disposed to hear all that God wants to say to you and so that you will be able to reconcile with our Lord before He is compelled to issue forth His judgments. My most merciful Judge, You desire that I listen to Your holy Word, revealed through Scripture, so as to receive Your most merciful conviction of my sin. I pray that I will be open to always hear all that You desire to say to me so that I can respond with generosity and trust, reconciling with You and others continually through my journey in life. Enliven my conscience with Your holy Word, dear Lord. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” Luke 12:49–50There is much that we can take from these teachings of our Lord. Not only did Jesus say, “I have come to set the earth on fire…” He also said that it's His desire that this fire be “blazing!”Fire is powerful. A blazing fire, for example, can purify the precious metal gold. When heated to a liquid state, the impurities rise to the surface for easy removal. Fire can also consume. When a blazing fire completes its burning, what's left are only ashes. Many great saints have reflected upon the image of fire as an image of the purification God wants to do within our souls. Saint John of the Cross, for example, reflected in depth upon this image. He explained that entering into divine union was similar to a log burning. At first, as the log begins to burn, it crackles and pops. This is because the impurities within the wood, such as moisture or sap, do not burn as the wood burns. But as a log continues to burn, as Saint John explains, eventually the log becomes one with the fire. At first, you can distinguish the log from the fire when only part of the log is burning. But once the entire log is engulfed in the flames and all the impurities are burnt out, you have a piece of wood that is one with the fire. It glows and emits light and heat.When we ponder these words from Jesus regarding His desire to “set the earth on fire,” we must first see this as His desire to purify our souls. Within our souls, there are many impurities that need to be removed if we are to become one with God, emitting His radiance and glory. This purification involves a process of allowing God to bring our sins to the surface so that they are seen and can be removed. But this is only possible if we allow the blazing fire of God's purifying love to consume us.Oftentimes in life, we are content with simply being mediocre in our faith journey. We pray, go to Mass on Sunday, and try to be good. But this is not the life our Lord wants for us. He wants a life that is radically consumed with the blazing fire of His love. He wants us to become so purified from our sin that He is able to become one with us, sending forth the radiance of His glory through our lives. Reflect, today, upon this image of a blazing and purifying fire. Use the image of gold melting to the point that all impurities rise to the surface. Or use the image that Saint John of the Cross uses with the log. God wants so much more from you. He wants to transform you and use you in ways beyond your imagination. Do not be afraid to make the radical decision to allow the blazing and purifying fire of our Lord's mercy to transform you. And don't wait for this to start tomorrow—kindle that flame today.My purifying Lord, You deeply desire to set my heart and soul on fire with the transforming mercy of Your love. Please give me the grace I need to permit You to kindle this fire of love in my heart so that it will truly become blazing and all-consuming. May this blaze ignite me in the inner depths of my heart so that You will shine brightly in my life, bringing forth the warmth of Your love into our world. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Luke 12:39–40These words from Jesus should cause us to sit up and take notice. This parable, followed by the rest of today's Gospel, exhorts us to always be prepared for our particular judgment at the conclusion of our earthly life. There are various reasons these words should be heeded.First of all, the obvious reason is that life for any of us could end at any time. We only need to recall various tragedies in which people have suddenly died from a car accident or from some other unexpected reason. Furthermore, there truly will be a specific moment in time when our Lord does return to earth for the Final Judgment. That moment will take place in an instant without any warning. It's easy to presume that this end of the world when our Lord “comes to judge the living and the dead” will not happen for hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years. But the simple truth is that it could be at any time, when those who are alive least expect it.With that said, there is another important reason to always be prepared and ready to meet our Lord for our particular judgment. Even though our particular judgment will take place in a definitive way at the end of our life when we see our Lord face-to-face, we also encounter Him every day, all day, receiving daily rewards for our fidelity or judgment for our sins. It is useful to see this “hour you do not expect” as every moment of every day. If you can live every day with this ongoing expectation that our Lord is coming to you, today, then every moment can be turned into a moment of much grace.Think about your day today. Does God want to come to you, to inspire you and to lead you to fulfill His holy mission today? Indeed He does. He has a specific mission for you today that will not be there tomorrow. He wants you to be aware of His presence right now so that you can respond to Him with much generosity.Reflect, today, upon the importance of always being vigilant and attentive to God's presence in your life. He wishes to speak to you, day and night, so as to guide you into a life of true holiness. If you can build a habit of attentiveness to His continual comings, then you will truly be prepared for that final coming when you meet our Lord face-to-face.My ever-present Lord, You do come to me day and night, speaking to me, inspiring me, and leading me. Please fill me with the gift of holy vigilance so that I will always be prepared to meet You and hear Your holy voice. May I learn to build a habit of responding to You always. And may I especially be prepared for that glorious moment when I am blessed to see You face-to-face. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.” Luke 12:35–36What does it mean to “Gird your loins?” This phrase, which is not commonly used today, literally means “tighten your belt.” It traditionally refers to one who is wearing a long robe that makes it difficult to move quickly and easily. Thus, to gird your loins means that you tuck in the long robe and tighten your belt so that you are prepared for some physical activity. It was also commonly used to exhort those preparing for battle to get ready. Symbolically, then, this phrase simply means to be ready for something difficult or challenging. It means to be vigilant and prepared. Spiritually speaking, Jesus is telling His disciples to be ready for the spiritual battle that awaits them.Jesus then tells His disciples to light their lamps. That phrase could have a variety of meanings, such as “Do not remain in the darkness of sin or ignorance” or “Let the light of charity shine forth as you navigate through life” or “Allow the light of truth to shine within your mind.” Hence, by the light of faith, they are to be prepared and vigilant, ready to do all that the Lord sends them to do.Today's Gospel ends by Jesus saying that the disciples will be truly blessed if they remain vigilant even until the second or third watch of the night. Some Church Fathers see this as a reference to three periods in one's life: childhood being the first watch, middle age being the second, and old age being the third watch.With these meanings understood, one message we can take from this Gospel is that Jesus is calling us to be vigilant in our faith at every moment of our lives. For those who have lived many years, it may be useful to look back at how faithful you have been throughout every period of your life. God wants to use you in many ways during childhood, through your middle age, and even in old age. The journey of faith must never end. Instead, it must continually deepen as you age. But this will only be possible if you “gird your loins” and “light your lamps.” You must continually be vigilant, continually attentive to the light of faith, and continually be ready to act every time God inspires you to act.Reflect, today, upon the lifelong journey of faith and service of God to which you are called. Being a Christian is not simply something you are born into. If you were born into the faith, then ponder especially what you have done throughout your life to daily deepen and strengthen that faith. Ponder whether or not you have diligently responded to the countless inspirations of the Holy Spirit to spread the light of faith to others. If you have been truly faithful throughout your life, then give thanks to God and recommit yourself to this fidelity for the rest of your life. If you have lacked faith and vigilant attentiveness to the will of God, then place that in the hands of God's mercy and resolve from this day forward to do all you can to respond to the will of God the moment God calls. My most merciful Lord, I thank You for the countless ways throughout my life that You have spoken to me, calling me to fulfill my mission of faith and love in this world. I commit to You, this day, to always remain vigilant and attentive to You everytime You call. Use me, dear Lord, so that I may bring the light of Your saving Gospel to a world in need. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Luke 10:1–2Saint Luke, whom we honor today, was a true evangelist. As an evangelist, he followed the inspiration from our Lord and was used to bring God's saving message to the ends of the earth. And there is little doubt that his ministry will continue to have a transforming effect on the lives of many until the end of the world. Tradition states that Saint Luke became a martyr, being hanged on an olive tree. He is identified in the New Testament as a physician and as a disciple of Saint Paul. Both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are attributed to him.Saint Luke is often spoken of as an evangelist to the gentiles. His Gospel was written in such a way that it didn't presume a full understanding of the Jewish faith and customs. Therefore, it is believed to have been primarily written for those who are not of Jewish origin. Thus, the life and mission of Saint Luke must remind us that the Gospel needs to be shared with all people, especially with those who do not have a deep and sustaining relationship with God.In today's Gospel from Saint Luke, we read that Jesus sent seventy-two disciples “to every town and place he intended to visit.” Only Luke mentions the larger scale sending of seventy-two disciples. The other Gospels only mention the sending of the Twelve. Though many of these seventy-two disciples would have gone to Jewish territory, some would have unquestionably gone to non-Jewish territory. The mission of these seventy-two was to prepare everyone they encountered for the preaching of Jesus and for the establishment of the Kingdom of God.As we honor Saint Luke today and read this passage from his Gospel, we are reminded that we are all sent by our Lord. We are sent to those who share our faith, such as family, friends and fellow parishioners. We are sent to love them and do all we can to help deepen their faith and love of God. But we are also called to share the Gospel with those who do not yet know Jesus as their Savior. There are so many people we encounter every day who have never truly met our Lord. Are there people in your life that God is calling you to reach out to? Who do you know that God may be calling you to share the Gospel with?Reflect, today, upon the fact that the Gospel is meant for everyone. Speak to our Lord and tell Him that you are ready and willing to be used by Him to bring His saving message to others. As you do so, wait on the Lord, listen to His inspiration, and respond when He calls. If someone comes to mind whom you sense God is calling you to evangelize, begin to pray for that person. Pray for them every day and be attentive to any inspiration God gives you to share His love and saving message with them. Do not be afraid to be an evangelist like Saint Luke. Doing so might make an eternal difference in someone's life.My saving Lord, You sent Your disciples on a mission to share Your saving message with all. Today I especially thank You for the life and ministry of Saint Luke. Please use me, dear Lord, to imitate his wonderful example and to share Your glorious life with others. Please lead me and inspire me to especially reach out to those whom You have put into my life. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
Jesus summoned the twelve and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” Mark 10:42–44This is certainly easier said than done. This passage reveals one serious temptation that those “who are recognized as rulers” may fall into. This is the temptation of an abuse of power and a lack of humble leadership.For example, tradition states that at the heart of the fall of lucifer and the demons was a desire for power. “I will not serve” are the words attributed to lucifer. In other words, the desire for power and to be served by others was real and very powerful for these fallen angels. So it is with each one of us.Though we may not be in a position of great power over others, we will most likely all struggle with the desire for power. This can happen in just about any context. Take, for example, a friendship. Very often when there is the slightest disagreement on something, we want our own way. We want to be in charge. Or take the example of home life. How many enter into family life with a desire to serve the others and to humbly submit to the others' wills? This is hard to do. It's much easier to want to be the boss and to dictate to others what is to happen in this or that situation.In the passage above, Jesus makes it clear to His Apostles that when they exercise their “authority” over others they are not to make it “felt” by others. In other words, Jesus was not calling His Apostles to be leaders by brute force, intimidation, manipulation or by any other severe exercise of their authority. The authority that Jesus wanted was much different.Christian authority is centered in love and humility. It's a “leadership” that is lived in true humility. This leadership wins over hearts, minds and wills of others and invites them to follow in charity and love. This must happen within the family, among friends, at church and within society.Reflect, today, upon how you lead others. Do you expect to be the “boss” and expect others to follow you because of your authority? Or do you lead others by humility and love drawing them to Christ through your goodness? Commit yourself to Christian leadership as Jesus intended and you will be amazed at the effect it has within your family, among friends and within the larger community.Lord, help me to be a humble leader. Help me to let Your heart of love and mercy shine forth and to lead by the goodness and kindness of Your merciful heart. Help me to set aside all pride and egotism and to become a servant of all. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.” Luke 12:11–12Jesus lived this Gospel passage in His own life to perfection. He was arrested, interrogated, falsely condemned and questioned by the Chief Priest, Herod and Pontius Pilate. During His interrogations, sometimes He spoke and at other times He remained silent. In preparation for these interrogations, Jesus did not study each ruler ahead of time, trying to figure out what He should say and not say. He did not prepare a defense but relied upon His perfect union with the Holy Spirit and with the Father to be led at every moment in His human nature.Though it may be unlikely that you will be arrested for your faith and put on trial for being Christian by the civil authorities, it is possible that you will experience various other forms of interrogation and condemnation at times during which you are challenged to respond. And more likely, if you are judged by another, you may be tempted to defend yourself in anger, attacking back.This Gospel passage, when clearly understood and lived, should have the effect of calming you and reassuring you during any and every experience of judgment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way” (# 2478). And though you must always strive to do this yourself, there will most likely be times when others do not act in this careful and truthful way toward you. Thus, if you are judged by another, even if what they say has truth to it, it is important that you not react with defensiveness and anger, unless the Holy Spirit has unmistakably led you to do so. The key message Jesus gives is that you must trust that the Holy Spirit will always lead you as you humbly and continually seek to follow His every prompting. This is only possible if you have built a firm habit of attentiveness to the Voice of God within your conscience.Because the experience of rash judgment, detraction, calumny and the like are painful to encounter, you must prepare your defense ahead of time by learning to only rely upon the Holy Spirit in all things. Jesus exhorts us to do so! Therefore, if you daily and humbly seek to fulfill God's will, hear His voice, and respond with generosity, then you can be certain that when the time comes and you experience these forms of judgment, you will be ready. The Holy Spirit will speak to you, inspire you, console you and give you every grace you need to respond in accord with God's will. Do not doubt this. Have faith and confidence in these words and this promise of our Lord.Reflect, today, upon the ways that you have responded in the past to the judgment of another. Try to call to mind specific moments when this has happened. Did you respond with similar judgments? Were you filled with anger? Did you brood over injury? Did you lose your peace of heart? If you have fallen into these temptations, then commit yourself in faith to believe what Jesus says today. Trust Him. Trust that He will be with you in those difficult moments in the future and pray that you will be graced to respond only as the Holy Spirit directs you.My innocent Lord, You were put on trial, judged and falsely condemned. Yet in all of that, You were the Innocent Lamb Who always loved and spoke truth with perfection. When I experience judgment in my life, please fill me with peace of heart and trust in Your promise that the Holy Spirit will be with me, inspiring me and leading me in accord with Your perfect will. Holy Spirit, I abandon myself to You now and always. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.” Luke 12:2–3Immediately prior to this passage quoted above, Jesus told His disciples: “Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees.” This comes after Jesus gives a long and very direct series of condemnations of these leaders in the previous chapter. Jesus is quite serious about their destructive actions. So, after directly confronting them, He then turns to His disciples to warn them of the consequences of these hypocritical leaders.A hypocrite is one who pretends to have some moral virtues but, in truth, is only deceiving himself and attempting to deceive others. For that reason, Jesus assists His disciples by sharing with them the fact that all truth will eventually come to light. Thus, every good deed will eventually be seen by all for its goodness, and every evil intent, no matter how hidden, will eventually come to light. Though the immediate temptation for many in hearing this passage will be to think about others who they think fall into the sin of hypocrisy, it may be far more useful to ponder these truths for oneself. The simple message that Jesus preaches is that we must be people who are truthful in every way. We must be honest with ourselves and make sure that we are fully aware of our inner life, seeing ourselves only in the way that God sees us. This act of honesty and integrity is one of the best ways by which we prepare ourselves for eternal life. How sad it would be if we went through life pretending, on the surface, to be something we were not, only to have the full truth divulged at our final judgment when it is too late to change.Being honest with ourselves can be difficult. It's normal for us to want to be good, to want to be holy, and to want others to think this way about us. For that reason, it is very common for us to put forth only the best image of ourselves, hiding many other things that may embarrass us and even humiliate us. And though we do not have any moral obligation to tell everyone about every sin we struggle with interiorly, it is morally essential that we face it ourselves and do so with the grace of God.One practical way to do this is to ponder the above Scripture passage. Jesus makes it clear that at some time, in some way, everything within us in our hearts and minds will come to light. For some this will happen, by God's grace, during this life as a way for them to change. For others, these secrets will only come to light at their final judgment. The truth, however, is that all that we are, all that we think, and all that we do in a hidden way will come to light. And if that frightens you in some way, that is good. Sometimes we need a holy fear to encourage us to look inward and to deal with all that we keep hidden from others.Reflect, today, upon the importance of striving for a life of true transparency and integrity. The best way to do this is to live every day as if everything within your heart were visible for all to see. If that means you need to change in some way so as to be at peace with what will eventually come to light, then work diligently on making that change here and now. The opposite of hypocrisy, for which the Pharisees were firmly condemned, is honesty and sincerity. Spend time reflecting upon these beautiful virtues and pray that the Lord will gift you with them so that you can live a life of true integrity here and now in preparation for that glorious day of judgment, when all will be “known” and “proclaimed on the housetops.”My revealing Lord, You see all things. You know my heart in every way. Please grace me with the ability to see myself as You see me and to know my inner heart as You know me. As the deepest truths of who I am come to light for me to see, I pray that I will also have the grace to sincerely change so that I may truly glorify You with my actions and become a source of authentic inspiration to all. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say. Luke 11:53–54Over the past few days, we have been reading Saint Luke's version of Jesus' “Woe to you” rebukes of the scribes, Pharisees and the scholars of the law. Today's Gospel concludes these rebukes of love by pointing out that these religious leaders did not convert. Instead, they began plotting against Jesus so as to “catch him at something he might say.” This is what happens when people use God's holy law as a weapon to attack.Normally, we take inspiration from the Holy Scriptures in a positive way, meaning, by reflecting upon Jesus' words and actions and applying them to our lives. However, we can also learn from the evil others commit and allow their actions to inspire us to avoid their sin. In today's Gospel, we are invited to ponder the obsessive plotting of these religious leaders so as to consider whether we also are guilty of their sin.First, note that at the conclusion of Jesus' rebukes, these religious leaders “began to act with hostility” toward Jesus. Normally, when we act with hostility toward another, it is done with the mindframe that we are right and they have done something wrong. We justify our hostility by pointing to their perceived sin. However, it must be understood that every act of hostility on our part is a clear indication that we have started down the road of sin and are not justified in our obsession.Notice also that these religious leaders exercised their hostility toward Jesus by interrogating Him. In other words, in their anger, they kept asking Him questions so as to find some fault with Him. They tried to trick Him and trap Him with their speech using God's very Law handed down through Moses and the prophets. But they manipulated that Law so as to justify their hostility and, out of pride, to falsely accuse Jesus.Think about any times in your life in which you found yourself somewhat obsessed with what you judged to be the sin of another. Hostility in this case can even be passive, meaning you may present a kind disposition on the surface, but interiorly you are obsessively thinking about how you can condemn the person. Often when this happens, we can feel justified in that we convince ourselves that justice must be done and that we are the dispensers of that justice. But if God is in control of our lives, He will not call us to obsessive plotting in regard to another. Instead, when we are following the will of God, we will sense Him inspiring us to act with immediacy, calm, joy, kindness, honesty, and freedom from all anger and obsession.Reflect, today, upon any way that you have seen this misguided tendency within your own life. If you can identify a time when you struggled with hostility toward another, look at the fruit it bore. Was God glorified through your actions? Did this leave you at peace or agitated? Were you fully objective in your thinking? Be honest with these questions and you will begin to discover the road to freedom from such obsessive thinking. God wants you to be at peace. If there is injustice, trust that our Lord will sort it out. You, for your part, must continually work to forgive, act with charity, and direct your attention to the will of God as it is gently presented to you.My patient and kind Lord, You were falsely accused and condemned by many of the religious leaders of Your time because You spoke the pure truth with love, clarity and boldness. When I act with hostility and anger toward another, help me to turn from these sins so that I will never condemn, never judge and never manipulate Your divine Law for my own purposes. Fill me with Your peace and charity alone, dear Lord. Jesus, I trust in You.Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.comCopyright © 2021 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.