YEAR OF FAITH
OCTOBER 11, 2012 ̶ NOVEMBER 24, 2013
Pope Benedict XVI established a "Year of Faith" which
11th October 2012, marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of
Vatican Council II, and ending on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus
Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date also
marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of
the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by Blessed John Paul II with a
view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the
faith. Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “The Year of Faith . . . is a summons to
an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the
MAY IS MARY'S
month of May, with its profusion of blooms was adopted by
the Church in the eighteenth century as a celebration of the
flowering of Mary's maidenly spirituality. With its origins
in Isaiah's prophecy of the Virgin birth of the Messiah
under the figure of the Blossoming Rod or Root of Jesse, the
flower symbolism of Mary was extended by the Church Fathers,
and in the liturgy, by applying to her the flower figures of
the Biblical books of Canticles, Wisdom, Proverbs and Sirach
In the medieval period, the rose
was adopted as the flower symbol of the Virgin Birth,
often depicted in the rose windows of the great
and expressed in Dante's phrase,
'The Rose wherein the Divine Word was made flesh,' and
from which came the Christmas carol, 'Lo, How a Rose 'ere
Blooming.' Also, with the spread of the Franciscan love of
nature, the rose of the fields,
waysides and gardens, came to be seen as symbols of Mary.
During this month of May we can consider ways we can imitate
to the presence of God and thereby create springtime in this
world which will anticipate that eternal spring in the next.
* Honor Mary by praying a Rosary each day (See
* Read some inspiring literature about Mary.
* Set up a little Shrine to her outside or inside your
* Love her!
novel on Mary of Nazareth: "SONG OF THE DOVE"
will be published by ACTA
publishers in 2014. Check out
SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST
(Acts 2:1-11, Psalm 104; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13)
KEY VERSE: He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy
Spirit" (v 22).
READING: On the fiftieth day after Passover, the Jews celebrated Shavuot,
the feast of the "first fruits" of the harvest,
and to commemorate the giving of the Torah on
Sinai. The Christian feast of Pentecost, which occurs
50 days after Easter,
marks the descent of the Holy Spirit on the
disciples (Acts 2:1-4). In John's Gospel, the resurrection, ascension and the
descent of the Spirit occurred on the same Easter Sunday. It is most likely that the disciples
were gathered in the upper room where the Last Supper had been held. But they
were fearful that the emissaries of the Sanhedrin would come to arrest them.
Upon seeing the Risen Lord, the disciples were
overjoyed. Just as the breath of God created
first human being (Gn 2:7), Jesus breathed forth the Spirit creating the new
people of God, the Church. Empowered by the Spirit, Jesus' disciples were sent
forth to bring peace through the reconciliation of sinners.
novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was
first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back
to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost.
Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for
the light and strength so sorely needed by every Christian.
REFLECTING: In what ways has the Holy Spirit empowered my life?
PRAYING: Holy Spirit, help me to bring peace and forgiveness to others.
TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
me, Spirit of God, that I may think what is holy.
Drive me, Spirit of God, that I may do what is holy.
Draw me, Spirit of God, that I may love what is holy.
Strengthen me, Spirit of God, that I may preserve what is holy.
Guide me, Spirit of God, that I may never lose what is holy.
SECOND PART OF
The outpouring of the Spirit
at Pentecost is called the birthday of the universal Church. Through
the Spirit the Church realizes her call to preach the Gospel of Christ
to the whole world. The Feast of Pentecost brings the
fifty days of the Easter Season
to a close. The Paschal
candle, which has been kept in the sanctuary throughout the Easter Season and
lighted during the liturgy, is taken from the sanctuary at the end of the Mass
of Pentecost, sometimes in procession, and placed in the church's baptistery
where it remains for the rest of the year.
second part of Ordinary Time begins with the day after Pentecost and runs to the
Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. The Masses of the Solemnity of the
Most Holy Trinity and the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
replace the first two Sundays of this season of Ordinary Time.
The season of
Ordinary Time helps us to meditate on the
mighty works of God through the Risen Christ and the sending of the Spirit. It
is a time to grow in our faith in response to God's invitation to follow Jesus. We have a challenge to make our
ordinary days extraordinary!
MONDAY, MAY 20
Weekday (Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time)
(Sirach 1:1-10; Psalm 93)
KEY VERSE: "All things can be done for the one who
believes" (v 23).
READING: When Moses descended from Mount Sinai,
he found that the people had lost faith in God and were practicing idolatry (Ex
32:15-20). When Jesus came down from the Mountain of the Transfiguration, he
was also met with disbelief. Like Moses, Jesus was exasperated with the people's
infidelity. A man approached Jesus and asked him if he could
cure his son, as his disciples had been unable to do so. The boy apparently
suffered from epilepsy. The boy's father confessed his desire to believe, but he also admitted that in
this desperate situation he had doubts whether Jesus was able to do so. Jesus
told him that all things could be done for those who had faith. The
father of the child cried out, "I believe; help my unbelief!" Then Jesus rebuked the power
of evil (In the ancient world, illnesses were attributed to evil spirits). Although the boy appeared to be dead, Jesus took his hand and raised
him up (a resurrection image). The awestruck disciples questioned Jesus as to
why they had been unable to effect a cure. Jesus answered that faith in God's
power must be accompanied by prayer.
REFLECTING: How can I help someone to trust in Jesus'
healing power when
their faith is weak?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, help me to believe in you in all
the difficult situations I face.
Optional Memorial of Bernardine of Siena, priest
Bernardine's preaching skills were so great
that he filled the piazzas of Italian cities.
Thousands of listeners flocked to hear him and to
participate in dramatic rituals and exorcisms. A renowned
peacemaker in the Franciscan tradition, he tried to calm
feuding clans and factions in the turbulent political world
of the Renaissance. His preaching visits would often
culminate in mass reconciliations as listeners were
persuaded to exchange the bacio di pace, or kiss of
peace. He contended that the
catalyst of civil discord in the urban setting was malicious
gossip, which led to insults, and, too often, vendettas
by aggressive males. His surprising allies in his
peacekeeping mission were the women who comprised the
majority of his audience.
In Canada, the
celebration of Victoria Day is the official celebration in Canada of the
birthdays of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. Victoria Day was
established as a holiday in Canada West (Now Ontario) in 1845, and became a
national holiday in 1901. Before Victoria Day became a national Holiday,
people had celebrated Empire Day, beginning in the 1890s as Victoria
approached her Diamond jubilee in 1897. Victoria, queen of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and empress of India was born on 24 May
1819. She ascended the throne after the death of her uncle George IV in 1837
when she was only 18. She ruled until her death in 1901 when her son Edward
the VII became king of England.
TUESDAY, MAY 21
(Sirach 2:1-11; Psalm 37)
KEY VERSE: "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name,
receives me" (v 37).
READING: As Jesus traveled through Galilee, he taught his disciples about his impending suffering and death (see Mk 8:31).
For a second time, his disciples failed to
comprehend his words. Their concept of the Messiah was one who would reign with power over Israel's
enemies. Consequently, they argued among themselves about what rank and position each
of them would have in the
coming kingdom. When they arrived in Capernaum, Jesus corrected their distorted
view. He lovingly placed a small child in their midst,
and in that way, he taught them by means of a
living parable. The child
powerless and needy in the community whom the disciples must be willing to serve. Whoever
these lowly ones, were in reality serving Jesus and God who sent him.
REFLECTING: How do I serve the "little ones" in my
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, help me to see you in the poor and suffering.
Christopher Magallanes, priest and
martyr, and his companions, martyrs
Christopher Magallanes was a parish priest at Totatiche,
Mexico. He worked with the indigenous people to form
agrarian cooperatives with the town's people
and to evangelize the poorest populations that were
being neglected. When the anti-Church government closed all
seminaries, he started his own
seminary at Totatiche, which was quickly suppressed. He
formed another, and another, and when they were all closed,
the seminarians conducted classes in private homes. Captured
by government authorities, he was heard to shout from his
jail cell: "I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with
all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God
that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided
Mexico." Christopher Magallanes was joined in martyrdom by
twenty-one diocesan priests and three devout laymen, all
members of the Cristeros movement, who rose up in rebellion
against the anti-Catholic Mexican government during the
(Sirach 4:11-19; Psalm 119)
"There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who
can at the same time speak ill of me" (v 39).
READING: Jesus warned his disciples about problems they would face as they
led the Church after his death and resurrection. He admonished them about worldly ambition
(v 33-37), and petty intolerance. Seeming not to hear him, his disciples arrogantly suggested that some exorcists, who
not belong to their company, should be prevented from expelling demons in Jesus' name. Jesus
challenged their closed-mindedness, and encouraged them to affirm good wherever they found
it. They must imitate God's
tolerance toward all people of good will.
No one could do the mighty deeds of God and at the same
time speak ill of Jesus. All who did good by the power of Jesus' name were contributing to building
up the kingdom. Even the simplest acts of charity would be rewarded.
REFLECTING: Am I judgmental toward those who are not of my
Lord Jesus, help me to be open-minded toward all who do your
Memorial of Rita of Cascia, religious
her early youth, Rita showed interest in a religious life.
However, when she was twelve, her parents betrothed her to
an ill-tempered, abusive individual. Disappointed but
obedient, Rita married him when she was 18, and was the
mother of twin sons. She put up with her husband's abuses
for eighteen years before he was ambushed and stabbed to
death. Her sons swore vengeance on their father's killers,
but through Rita's prayers and interventions, they forgave
the offenders. Upon the deaths of her sons, Rita again felt
the call to religious life, and she was admitted to the
Augustine monastery at age 36. Rita lived 40 years in the
convent, spending her time in prayer and charity, and
working for peace in the region. She was devoted to the
Passion, and in response to a prayer to suffer as Christ
she received a chronic head wound that appeared to have been
caused by a crown of thorns, and which bled for 15 years.
Rita is well-known as a patron of desperate, seemingly
impossible causes and situations. This is because she has
been involved in so many stages of life - wife, mother,
widow, and nun She buried her family, helped bring peace to
her city, saw her dreams denied and yet never
lost her faith in God.
THURSDAY, MAY 23
(Sirach 5:1-8; Psalm 1)
KEY VERSE: "Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will
you restore its flavor?" (v 50).
READING: Jesus told his disciples
that any kindness or help given to the people
of God would not lose its reward.
Conversely, to cause a weaker member of the community to stumble is to win
eternal punishment. The metaphor of being cast into the
sea with a millstone around one's
neck was to have no hope of the future.
Using hyperbole (exaggerated speech), Jesus
told his followers to be ruthless in their
renunciation of evil. It would be better to enter heaven "crippled" or "maimed" than
to be cast whole into the fires of Gehenna (originally a site of child sacrifice to
Baal Moloch, 2 Kgs.23:10; later a garbage dump
with smoldering fires that suggested the punishment of the
wicked.) Jesus' disciples should have a purifying effect on the community. Just as
the impure salt from
the Dead Sea easily lost its flavor, they must be careful not to lose their
zeal for God. Jesus warned them
suffering and persecution would refine them like "fire" (v 49).
REFLECTING: Am I careful that my words and actions do
not give scandal?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, help me to be a good example to
everyone in my community.
FRIDAY, MAY 24
(Sirach 6:5-17; Psalm 119)
KEY VERSE: "Therefore what God has joined together, no human
being must separate" (v 9).
READING: At the time of Jesus, rabbis differed in their opinion as
to what constituted sufficient grounds for divorce. The scriptures permitted a
man to divorce his wife for immoral behavior (Dt 24:1). A woman had no such
rights. When some Pharisees questioned Jesus regarding divorce,
he gave them
the authentic interpretation of the Law by recalling the basic values underlying the
scriptures. God's original intent was that a man and woman become "one
body" (Gn 2:21-24), a symbol of God's unity with the people. This
relationship should not be sundered without sufficient cause
or capricious human will. In the
letter to the Ephesians, marriage foreshadowed Christ's oneness with his
REFLECTING: Am I committed to my vocation as a sign of my fidelity to
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, bring your compassionate healing to all who
suffer separation and divorce.
SATURDAY, MAY 25
(Sirach 17:1-15; Psalm 103)
KEY VERSE: "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the
kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (v 14).
READING: Jesus told his disciples that they must serve the simple and
lowly ones of the Christian community (Mk 9:36-37). He warned them
punishment awaited those that gave scandal to these "little ones"
(v 41-50). When some people brought their children to Jesus so that he could bless them, his disciples
rebuked the parents for being a nuisance. Jesus was indignant at their insensitive behavior. He
told his followers that it was only the childlike who were worthy to enter God's reign. Children
were powerless and dependent on their parents to
provide for their needs. Jesus’ wanted to encourage his followers to be
receptive to the powerless rather than seeking power for themselves.
They must be like children, humbly relying upon God with trust and love.
These were the attributes they needed
if they desired to enter
REFLECTING: Are there hurting children in my life
who need my loving
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, bless me
as your little child.
Optional Memorial of Bede the
was born around the time England was Christianized. Raised
from age seven in the abbey of Saints Peter and Paul at
Wearmouth-Jarrow, Bede lived there his whole life. A
Benedictine monk, Bede was the most learned man of his day,
and his writings started the idea of dating this era from
the incarnation of Christ. He was
a teacher and author, writing
about history, mathematics, music, astronomy, poetry,
grammar, philosophy, homiletics, the
Saints, and a Bible commentary. The central theme of
Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica was
of the Church using the power of its spiritual, doctrinal,
and cultural unity to stamp out violence and barbarism. Our
knowledge of England before the 8th century is mainly the
result of Bede's writing. He was declared a Doctor of the
Church on 13 November 1899 by Pope Leo XIII.
Optional Memorial of Gregory VII,
VII, born as Hildebrand, was elevated to the papacy in 1073.
One of the great reforming popes, Gregory took the throne
as a reformer, and Emperor Henry IV promised to support him.
At that time,
simony and a corrupt
clergy threatened to
destroy faith in the
Church. Gregory suspended
clerics who had purchased
their position, and ordered the return of all purchased
church property. The corrupt
clergy rebelled; Henry IV
broke his promise, and promoted the rebels. Gregory
involved in lay
investiture. He summoned
Rome, but the emperor's
supporters drove Gregory into
exile. Henry installed the
Guibert of Ravenna, who was
Rome by Normans who
supported Gregory. The Normans
were, themselves, so out of control that the people of
Rome drove out them and
Pope retreated to Salerno
where he spent the remainder of his
until his death in 1085.
Optional Memorial of Mary
Initially sent to a convent at age 14, Catherine de'Pazzi
was taken back home by her family who opposed her religious
vocation and wanted her to marry well. They eventually gave
in to her desires, and Catherine became a Carmelite of the
Ancient Observance at age 16,
taking the name Sister Mary Magdalene. A mystic, she led a
hidden life of prayer and self-denial, praying particularly
for the renewal of the Church and encouraging the sisters in
holiness. Her life was marked by many extraordinary graces.
She was canonized in 1669 by Pope Clement IX.
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
(Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5)
KEY VERSE: "But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to
all truth" (v 13).
Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit
enlighten their minds after he was raised to glory with the Father. The
work of Christ would be continued on earth through the indwelling Spirit who
guide the Church to all truth. Just as Jesus only spoke the words he heard from
the Father, the Spirit does not speak alone, but
interprets Christ's eternal
message of truth for each generation. The word "Trinity" does
not appear in the Bible, but since the year 200 CE, the term
has been used to denote the central Christian doctrine that
God is absolutely one in nature and essence, and is three
distinct persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-eternal
and deserving equal honor and glory.
Each person of the Trinity is whole and complete, of the same substance, not
divided but one.
This revelation of the Father and Son through the Spirit was transmitted
by the apostles and the evangelists through their teaching, example,
institutions and writings. This "Apostolic Tradition" has been preserved by the
Spirit in the doctrine, worship and the sacraments of the
In what ways do I teach God's truth to others?
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, illuminate my mind to
understand the Church's teachings.
NOTE: Pope John XXII established the feast day for universal
observance of Trinity Sunday in AD
MONDAY, MAY 27
Weekday (Eighth Week in Ordinary Time)
(Sirach 17:20-24; Psalm 32)
KEY VERSE: "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will
have treasure in heaven" (v 21).
READING: A rich man approached Jesus and asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life.
Jesus told him that the answer to his question could be found in the Law
which was a reflection of God's righteousness.
When the man said that he had kept the law all of his life, Jesus invited him to take another step
on his spiritual journey. By sharing his wealth with the poor, the man would be rewarded
with even greater treasures in heaven. But the rich man was unable to part with his possessions,
and he walked away saddened. Jesus warned his disciples that wealth could be an obstacle to the
kingdom of God. He used the image of a heavily laden camel trying to squeeze
through the city gates to show that his followers should not be so weighed down with material goods that they would be unable
to pass through heaven's gate.
REFLECTING: What does my parish do to help the
poor? What do I do?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous with the gifts you have given
Memorial of Augustine of Canterbury
Augustine of Canterbury,
also known as St.
Augustine the Less to distinguish him from his
illustrious namesake St. Augustine from Hippo.
was a monk and abbot of St. Andrew's abbey in Rome. He was
sent by Pope Gregory the Great with 40 brother monks,
including St. Lawrence of Canterbury,
to evangelize the British Isles in 597. Terrifying tales of
the Celts sent Augustine back to Rome in fear, but
Pope Gregory told him he had no
choice, and so he returned and spread the faith
throughout England. One of his
earliest converts was King Ethelberht who brought 10,000 of
his people into the Church. Augustine was
ordained a bishop in Gaul (modern France) by the
archbishop of Arles, becoming the
first Archbishop of Canterbury. Augustine
helped re-establish contact between the Celtic and Latin
churches, though he could not create his desired uniformity
of liturgy and practices between them. Anglican Archbishops
of Canterbury are still referred to as occupying the Chair
"The memory of
the righteous will be a blessing." Proverbs 10: 7
Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was established in 1868 to
commemorate the dead from the Civil War. The first official observance
included a program at the National Cemetery at Arlington and memorial
services in various communities. General John A. Logan of the Grand Army
of the Republic designated May 30, 1868, "as a day for strewing with
flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense
of their country, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village,
or hamlet churchyard in the land." Memorial Day was expanded after
World War I to include American casualties of any war or military
action. It is celebrated in most
states on the last Monday in May.
TUESDAY, MAY 28
(Sirach 35:1-12; Psalm 50)
KEY VERSE: "But many that are first will be last, and the last will
be first" (v 31).
READING: Jesus taught his disciples that they could not enter heaven by their
own merits, nor could wealth or power gain them entry. The astonished disciples asked who then could be saved. Jesus
told them that salvation could only be achieved by God's grace. Peter protested that he and the other disciples had given up everything
to follow him. While Jesus acknowledged their tremendous sacrifices,
that God would return a "hundredfold" what they had renounced. Though they would suffer
persecution in the "present age," nothing could compare with God's gift of eternal life in the "age
to come" (v 30). Even if the world regarded the disciples as being in the lowest place, they would be
place in God's reign.
REFLECTING: What is the Lord asking me to relinquish?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, help me to let go of those things that keep me from
WEDNESDAY, MAY 29
(Sirach 36:1, 4-5a, 10-17; Psalm 79)
KEY VERSE: "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant"
READING: For the third time, Jesus told his disciples of his coming
passion and death, yet they did not fully comprehend his
words. Two brothers, James and John, told Jesus that they
would do whatever he asked if he would guarantee them a place of honor in the kingdom. Jesus
told them that they did not
understand what they were asking for. Were
they as willing to share his suffering as they were his glory? Jesus must drink the bitter
cup of his destiny in Jerusalem and be immersed in the bath of pain (sacramental symbols of
Eucharist and Baptism, Christ's dying and rising). All who aspired to greatness should imitate Jesus who served others and offered
himself for the sake of all.
REFLECTING: Is achieving recognition my greatest
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, help me to become a servant
without hope of reward.
THURSDAY, MAY 30
(Sirach 42:15-25; Psalm 33)
"Go your way; your faith has saved you" (v 52).
As Jesus passed through Jericho, which
was about 15 miles from Jerusalem, there
were some in the crowd who looked upon him with hostile
eyes. Among the crowd was Bartimaeus, a man who
had no physical sight. He was a beggar
who would sit by the roadside pleading
for alms. When he heard that it was Jesus going by, Bartimaeus cried out for
mercy, calling Jesus by the Messianic title "Son of
David" (the popular belief of
Messiah was of a king of David's line who would restore
Israel's greatness). This blind man had
greater insight into Jesus'
true mission than those who were sighted.
While Jesus' disciples were
attracted by his powerful deeds, they could not
recognize him as
the suffering servant of God who
healed the sick and opened the eyes of the blind
(Is 29:18). Although many tried to prevent Bartimaeus
from coming to Jesus, he was rewarded for his faith. The
blind man's sight
was restored and
he followed Jesus as a disciple on "the way" (v 52, an early
name for the Christian faith).
What prevents me from seeing Jesus
Lord Jesus, open my eyes to your presence all around me.
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On
January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of
the French peasant class near the province of Lorraine. At a
very early age, she heard voices of St. Michael, St.
Catherine and St. Margaret. In May, 1428, her voices told
Joan to go to the King of France and help him re-conquer
his kingdom. After overcoming opposition from churchmen and
courtiers, the seventeen year old girl was given a small
army with which she raised the siege of Orleans on May 8,
1429. She then enjoyed a series of spectacular military
successes, during which the King was able to enter Rheims
and be crowned with her at his side. In May 1430, as she was
attempting to relieve Compiegne, she was captured by the
Burgundians and sold to the English when Charles and the
French did nothing to save her. After months of
imprisonment, she was tried at Rouen. Through her
unfamiliarity with the technicalities of theology, Joan was
trapped into making a few damaging statements. When she
refused to retract the assertion that it was the saints of
God who had commanded her to do what she had done, she was
condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress,
and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. She was nineteen
years old. Some thirty years later, she was exonerated of
all guilt and she was ultimately canonized in 1920 by Pope
Benedict XV. Her feast day is May 30.
FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
(Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Psalm 33)
KEY VERSE: "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken
to you by the Lord would be fulfilled" (v 45).
READING: Mary was accorded the greatest honor
and privilege given to a Jewish woman, that of being the mother of the
long-awaited Messiah. The sign of God's promise was
that her barren kinswoman Elizabeth
had conceived a son in her old age. Mary was the
obedient servant of the Lord, and she traveled the four day journey to the hill
country of Judah to assist her kinswoman. Upon hearing Mary's greeting, the babe
within Elizabeth's womb leaped for joy.
Elizabeth was astonished that Mary, the mother of her Lord, should come to her.
Her words echoed
King David's wonderment when the Arc
of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem: "How
can the ark of the Lord come to me?" (2 Sm 6:9,
14). Mary was the Arc of the New Covenant bearing her
divine son in her womb. Elizabeth proclaimed that Mary was blessed because she trusted that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled.
REFLECTING: In what ways can I follow Mary's example of
PRAYING: Mary my mother, help me to have faith in God's promises to
(Sirach 51:12cd-20; Psalm 19)
KEY VERSE: "Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these
things" (v 33).
READING: The prophet Malachi foretold the arrival of God's messenger who
would purify the Temple restoring it as a suitable place of worship (Mal 3:1-3). When Jesus
cleansed the Temple making it a "house of prayer for all peoples" (v 17), he incurred the
wrath of the religious leaders. They demanded to know by whose authority
he was acting. Jesus
counter-questioned his adversaries asking them whether John's baptism was of divine or human origin. Because
of John's popularity, the religious leaders feared that they might antagonize the people.
they refused to answer Jesus, he did not respond to their question.
REFLECTING: Do I pray for both secular and religious
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, help me to obey your authority in all matters of faith
Memorial of Justin, martyr
Justin was born around 100 in Samaria of pagan Greek
parents. He was brought up with a good education in
rhetoric, poetry, and history. He studied various schools of
philosophy in Alexandria and Ephesus, joining himself first
to Stoicism, then Pythagoreanism, and
then Platonism, looking for answers to his questions.
While at Ephesus, he was impressed by the steadfastness of
the Christian martyrs. Justin became a Christian, but he
continued to wear the cloak that was characteristic of the
teacher of philosophy. He opened a school of Christian
philosophy and there he engaged the Cynic philosopher
Crescens in debate, and soon after was arrested on the
charge of practicing an unauthorized religion. He refused to
renounce Christianity, and was put to death by beheading
along with six of his students, one of them a woman. A
record of the trial, probably authentic, is known as The
Acts of Justin the Martyr. The
earliest explanation we have
of the Eucharist is from St.
On Sunday we
have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live
in the city or the outlying districts. The recollections of
the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as
long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the
president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to
imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the
readings. Then we all stand up together and pray. On the
conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are
brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives
thanks to the best of his ability, and the people give
assent by saying, “Amen”. The Eucharist is distributed,
everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to
those who are absent. We hold our
common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the
week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight
and created the world, and because on that same day our
savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead. (First Apology
of St. Justin Martyr)
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST
(Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
KEY VERSE: "They all ate until they had enough" (v.17).
READING: When Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim the reign of God, he told them to
"take nothing for the journey" (Lk.9:3). Just as Israel had to learn to depend
on God for their daily needs, Jesus' disciples must trust in God's providence. As a
parable in action, Jesus multiplied the bread in the wilderness and fed the multitude.
Jesus' four Eucharistic acts sum up every aspect of his life. Just as he takes,
blesses, breaks, and shares the bread with the people, Jesus takes God's revelation, blesses it by his words and deeds,
offers his body and blood on the cross, and shares God's life with the world. Jesus is our
daily bread, our nourishment on our journey to God's kingdom. His precious blood
sacrificed on our behalf gives us everlasting life.
REFLECTING: In what ways does our parish care for the hungry poor?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, fill me with your life-giving food so that I may feed
Church is the body and blood of Jesus Christ on earth. One day Fr. Anthony DeMello saw a starving child shivering in the cold. Angrily he looked up and said,
"God, how could you allow such suffering? Why don't you do something?" There was a long silence, and then
Fr. DeMello heard these words, "I did...I made you!"
(Ninth Week in Ordinary Time)
(Tobit 1:3, 2:1b-8; Psalm 112)
KEY VERSE: "The stone which the builders rejected has become the
cornerstone" (v 10).
READING: Generally, parables should not be
treated as allegories, and meaning should not be sought in every detail. The parable of the Tenants is an
exception. In this parable, Jesus allegorized Israel's failed religious leadership. These leaders would have recognized
themselves in Isaiah's Vineyard Song (Is 5:1-7). In Jesus' parable, the owner (God) of the vineyard
(Israel) sent his servants (the prophets) to the tenants (the religious leaders). But the tenants rejected
the servants' messages and murdered them. Then the vineyard owner sent his "beloved
son" (Jesus) thinking they would respect him as the rightful heir, but they murdered him, too. Jesus said that
since God's Son was rejected, the rights and privileges owed
to Israel would be transferred to the new Israel
(the Gentiles) who would hear and accept
God's Son. The parable closed with a quotation about the stone that was rejected
and became the cornerstone (Ps 118). The rejected stone was Jesus, who was regarded
as having little importance, but
into God's plan. In Jesus' death and resurrection
the Church was established through Peter (the Rock) and his successors.
REFLECTING: Do I fail to listen to God's messengers
sent to me?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, raise up righteous leaders in your Church today.
Memorial of Charles Lwanga and his companions, martyrs
Charles Lwanga was the chief of the400 pages in King Kabaka
Mwanga's palace in Uganda, Africa who were
appointed to different tasks.
Charles trained the
others to be exemplary servants of the king but later
pointed them towards Jesus Christ as their savior. As strong
followers of God they prayed
constantly even under death threats. Charles Lwanga was
among those who became the famous martyrs of Uganda, burnt
at Namugongo on June 3, 1886. Charles Lwanga's death was a
slow one. He was tied on a low stake where he was burnt
separately. He never feared the fire but remembered that
there was fire for the unbelieving
executioners that would last
forever. The rest of the martyrs
were tied in groups of threes and
thrown into fire, where they kept singing and praising God
until they perished. To honor these modern saints, Paul VI
became the first reigning pope to visit sub-Sahara Africa
when he visited Uganda in July 1969, a visit
that included a pilgrimage to the
site of the martyrs. He also dedicated a site for the
building of a shrine church in honor of the martyrs, at the
spot where Charles Lwanga was killed in Namugongo.
TUESDAY, JUNE 4
(Tobit 2:9-14; Psalm 112)
KEY VERSE: "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what
belongs to God" (v 17).
READING: Some Pharisees and Herodians (supporters
of Herod Antipas) tried to entrap Jesus regarding
his position on the
Law. They flattered him insincerely saying that he
was a "truthful teacher" of the ways of God. They
asked Jesus whether or not paying taxes
to the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar (14-37 AD),
violated the Mosaic Law. The Herodians were loyal to Rome and saw no conflict in observing their law. Even though the Pharisees
objected to the Roman occupiers of their land, they joined
the Herodians who intended to force Jesus into taking an anti-Roman position
so that the government would do away with him.
Since the religious leaders were using the emperor's coins and participating
in his economic system, they already took upon themselves the duty of
paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus recognized their hypocrisy, and ended the controversy by saying that they should pay
Caesar his due. But he reminded them that they
had even a greater
obligation to God.
REFLECTING: Do I compromise my beliefs when I am challenged?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to discern the truth.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5
16-17a; Psalm 25)
KEY VERSE: "He is not God of the dead but of the living" (v
READING: The Sadducees were a conservative group within Judaism. Unlike
the Pharisees, they did not believe in oral tradition, but alleged that all
revelation ended with Moses. Neither did the Sadducees believe in the resurrection
of the dead, and they challenged Jesus' teaching on life
after death. They presented him with an
absurd situation in which a woman who had been married to seven different men,
all of them died. Intending to
entrap Jesus, the Sadducees asked him whose wife the woman would be in the
"supposed" resurrection. Jesus told them that they misunderstood the
risen life as merely a continuation of the present life. Jesus reminded them
that the God of their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the God of all
who are eternally alive.
REFLECTING: Is there someone I need to console with the belief in the resurrection?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, thank you for inviting me to share eternity with
Memorial of Boniface, bishop and martyr
Boniface was educated at the Benedictine monastery at
Exeter, England. He was a missionary to Germany from 719,
assisted by St. Albinus.
Boniface destroyed idols and pagan temples, and
then built churches on the sites.
In Saxony, Boniface encountered a tribe worshipping a Norse
deity in the form of a huge oak tree. Boniface walked up to
the tree, removed his shirt, took up an axe, and without a
word he hacked down the six foot wooden god. Boniface
stood on the trunk, and asked, "How stands your mighty god?
My God is stronger than he." The crowd's reaction was mixed,
but some conversions were begun. As Archbishop of Mainz he
reformed churches in his see, built religious houses in
Germany, ordained St.
Sola, and founded or restored the
dioceses of Bavaria, Thuringgia, and Franconia. Boniface
evangelized in Holland, but was set upon by a troop of
pagans, and he and 52 of his new flock were martyred.
THURSDAY, JUNE 6
(Tobit 6:10-11, 7:1bcde, 9-17, 8:4-9a; Psalm
KEY VERSE: "There is no other commandment greater than
these" (v 31).
READING: The scribes were the learned interpreters of the Law of Moses. They
Ten Commandments given to Moses into 613 rules and regulations. One
scribe recognized Jesus' skill as a teacher, and asked him which
one of the Mosaic Laws was the
greatest. Jesus recognized the scribe's sincere search for truth,
and he summed up
the entire Law with two basic
decrees, which he saw as inseparable. They
laws upon which all the other commandments
were based: to love God with
one's entire being (Deut 6:5), and to love one's neighbor as oneself
(Lev 19:18). The scribe declared that
the love of God and neighbor was worth more than any religious acts
perform. Because the scribe understood this principle, he moved a step closer to God's
REFLECTING: Is my love of God demonstrated by the way I love my neighbor?
Do I have a healthy self love?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, help me to love
others with the love you have shown to me.
Optional Memorial of Norbert, bishop
St. Norbert was born around the year
1080 in the town of Xanten near Cologne, a town near
the Holland-German border. Norbert
did not begin his career as a reformer. Quite the opposite,
for he took holy orders as a career move, a practice that
was eroding the credibility and effectiveness of the Church.
A narrow escape from death led to a conversion experience.
After three years of self-scrutiny and prayer, he concluded
that he should seek ordination to the priesthood and commit
himself to Jesus and the ideals of the Gospel. A changed
man, he returned to the parish community, determined to live
as a principled priest and anxious to engage in active
ministry. He founded the order of Canons Regular of
Prémontré, France, the Norbertines, starting a reform
movement that swept through European monastic houses. The
Norbertines vowed to seek Christ by means of community
living, poverty, obedience and celibacy. Norbert held before
them the dream of the first Christians after Pentecost whose
community life was characterized by the power of the Spirit
and a desire to be of service to others.
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
(Ezekiel 34:11-16; Psalm 23; Romans 5:5b-11)
"But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and
has come to life again" (v 32).
The religious leaders complained that Jesus welcomed sinners
and dined with them.
It was to this self righteous group that Jesus addressed three
"mercy" parables to describe God's infinite love and forgiveness. In
each story, Jesus portrayed something of value that was lost: a sheep, a coin
and a son, and of the great joy when they were found. In the first story, Jesus
portrayed God as a shepherd who searched for his lost sheep. Ezekiel said of
God, "I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed"
(Ez 34:16). God is always ready to pour out love and mercy upon anyone ready to receive it. Only those who
were spiritually poor and recognized their own
sinfulness were able to acknowledge their need for
Am I a sign of Christ's love to others?
Sacred Heart of Jesus,
help me to love you more and more.
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of
Jesus goes back at least to the 11th century, but through
the 16th century it remained a private devotion, often tied
to devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ. The first feast of
the Sacred Heart was celebrated in 1670, in Rennes, France.
But it took the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
(1647-1690) for the devotion to become universal. In all of
these visions, the Sacred Heart of Jesus played a central
role. Christ asked St. Margaret Mary to request that the
Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated in reparation for
the ingratitude of humanity for the sacrifice that he had
made for them. Almost 100 years later, in 1856, Pope Pius IX
extended the feast to the universal Church. It is celebrated
on the day requested by our Lord—the Friday after the octave
(or eighth day) of Corpus Christi, or 19 days after
Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20; Psalm:Tobit
KEY VERSE: "His mother meanwhile kept all these
things in her heart" (v 51).
READING: The angel Gabriel told Mary
that she was to conceive
and bear the Son of God. Mary's
"blessedness" as the Mother of God came from her willingness to submit to
God's will. Throughout her life she was continually challenged by her
son who was "a sign of contradiction" (Lk 2:34). When
Jesus' gifts of teaching and healing were revealed,
many opposed him and finally killed him. As Mary stood at the foot of the
cross, did she remember the angel's promise that her son's "kingdom would last
Did she recall the words of Simeon that "a sword" would pierce her heart?
Though Mary's life was full of
she never lost faith in God or her
son. Full of grace and full of sorrow, Mary's answer to God was
the same as her son ̶ always "Yes."
REFLECTING: Am I able to say "Yes" to God as Mary
PRAYING: Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for the healing of our
Memorial of the Immaculate
Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
devotion to the Heart of Mary is connected with that to the
Heart of Jesus; nevertheless, it has its own history.
Christians were early attracted by the love and virtues of
the Heart of Mary. The Gospel itself invited this attention.
Simeon's prophecy paved the way and furnished the devotion
with one of its favorite representations: the heart pierced
with a sword. It was, so to speak, at the foot of the Cross
that the Christian heart first made the acquaintance of the
Heart of Mary. But Mary was not merely passive at the foot
of the Cross; "she cooperated through charity", as St.
Augustine says, "in the work of our redemption".
Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Virgin Mary, tender Mother, to fulfill the desires of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your
Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to
your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most
Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our
country and all the world. Please accept our consecration,
dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your
designs in the world. Amen.
My book, Song of the Dove: A story of
Mary of Nazareth, will be published in 2014
TENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(1 Kings 17:17-24; Psalm 30; Galatians 1:11-19)
KEY VERSE: "A great prophet has risen among us!" and
"God has looked favorably on his people!" (v 16).
READING: Jesus had healed the servant of a Gentile
Centurion (Lk 7:1-10). Then Jesus went to the town of Nain,
a day's journey from Capernaum. When Jesus saw
a widow accompanying the bier of her dead son,
was moved with compassion for her.
Since the widow had no husband or son to support her, she would
soon find herself destitute. Risking the possibility
of ritual impurity
for touching a corpse (Nm 19:11), Jesus
laid a hand on the litter bearing the
dead man. With a word of authority
him to rise to life. Luke compares Jesus' ministry to
that of two prophets in the Hebrew Testament. The prophet
Elijah revived the only son of a Gentile widow in Zarephath
(1 Kgs 17:8-24). And the prophet Elisha raised to life the
only son of a Shunammite woman whose husband was old (2 Kgs
4:31-37). When Jesus raised the widow's son and gave him
back to his grateful mother, the people praised God for
sending a new prophet to them.
REFLECTING: How can I offer Christ's compassion
to someone who is
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, thank you for your compassionate
love that raises me to new life.
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ISIDORE, PATRON OF THE INTERNET
St. Isidore of Seville (601) was one of
the most learned men of his day. Among his prolific works, he wrote a
rule for Religious Orders, a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of
the Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation. He was
proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1722 (Feast Day
April 4). St. Isidore is being considered as patron saint of computer
users and the Internet. He writes: "All spiritual growth comes from
reading and reflection. By reading we learn what we did not know; by
reflection we retain what we have learned. Reading the Holy Scriptures
confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns
our attention from the follies of the world and leads us to the love of
"We need to enter into this modern and increasingly active network of
information with realism and trust, knowing that if it is used with
competence and attentive responsibility, it can offer valid
opportunities for the spreading of the Gospel message" Pope John
Paul II, May 12, 2002