Friday, August 29, 2014

Reflection: Psalm 33

Friday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time – Psalm 33

The Psalm Response for today is a hymn of thanksgiving to our God who blesses us so abundantly. When I stop and think about it, I realize that I very seldom thank God for the abundant gifts that are given to me each day! I just take them for granted. Most of the gifts I receive during the day are not spectacular. Typically they are fairly ordinary: a thank you, a helping hand, a “how are you?” Yet these simple gifts from another speak of care, concern and thoughtfulness! Today may we strive to be awake to how God is present to us and is blessing us. Let us give thanks to God for the many gifts we will receive this day!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reflection: Psalm 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

Thursday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time – Psalm 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

The psalm response for today is a familiar one. It is a psalm of praising God’s name forever. Do we remember to praise God for the many blessings God has bestowed on us? In the midst of a busy life, we may not recognize the many ways that God blesses us all day long! Most often the blessings are simple: a hug from your child, a compliment from your spouse, a phone call from a friend or a beautiful summer day. It is so easy to miss the many ways God gifts us each day! Today let us open our minds and hearts to “see” God’s presence today---especially in the seemingly small ways!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reflection: Psalm 128:1

Wednesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time – Psalm 128:1

The Psalm Response for today is from Psalm 128. The psalmist speaks of the blessing it is to “fear” God. Typically when we hear the word “fear” we understand the word to mean “being fearful” as in to be afraid, worried or nervous. However, when the psalmist speaks of “fearing the Lord,” he is speaking of a stance of awe, respect and honor! True “fear of the Lord” is a wonderful attitude to cultivate. Our God is not a God we need to be afraid of. Our God is kind, loving, and forgiving! In today’s world, those gifts are often in short supply. May we open our eyes and hearts to these gifts of God today. May we share these gifts with the people we encounter today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Reflection: Matthew: 23:13-26

Tuesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew: 23:13-26 

The Gospel for today is the “woe to you” Gospel. In this reading, Jesus is berating the Scribes and Pharisees for being hypocrites! Jesus doesn’t get angry very often but when he does, he has good cause and his anger is justified. Jesus is telling the Pharisees to “get their own houses” in order rather than “judging” what other people are doing.

I assume that we also don’t like it when other people seem to be judging us. Yet it is so very easy to slip into judgment of others. Who are we to judge? We only know what we see! We truly don’t know what is going on in other peoples’ lives. Judgment of others is not ours to do! It is God’s to do. Today let us strive to catch our judgments of others and then let go of them!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 23:13-22

Monday of 21st Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 23:13-22 

Today’s Gospel is really a “downer!” It is the passage where Jesus is berating the scribes and the Pharisees. He is accusing them of being hypocrites. They act holy but often take advantage of those who have so much less than they do! Their actions do not always exemplify what they preach.

I would guess that at times, all of us have a “Pharisee” within us! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we always “practiced what we preached?” However, the reality is that, at times, we fail to do this. In a way, this can be a good thing! Knowing how we fail at times may enable us to be more understanding and compassionate when others fail. We are human after all! May we pray for the grace to forgive ourselves when we fail!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 16:13-20

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Matthew 16:13-20 

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples: “Who do people say that I am? What are they saying about me?” His disciples told him what they had heard. Some people thought he was John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the other prophets!

But then Jesus asks them: “who do you say that I am?” Perhaps this is the question that Jesus is asking us today! It can be easy to give a flippant answer or to parrot back what we learned in Religious Education years ago. However, this is a question we may need to ask ourselves once again! Who is Jesus for me now at this time in my life? Is he a friend? A stranger? Our Savior?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 23:1-12

Matthew 23:1-12 

 In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is warning the crowd and his disciples to choose their mentors wisely. He warns them not to blindly follow those who have authority. We need to look at their actions and choices. Are they “practicing what they preach?” For many of us, it is easy to say what needs to be done. However, it is not easy to practice it day after day!

Perhaps we need to periodically ask ourselves: “Are we practicing what we preach?” It is very easy to say what should be done but the real test is if we put it into practice each and every day!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Reflection: The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Matthew 22:34-40

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Matthew 22:34-40

Today we commemorate the Queenship of Mary. Even though we celebrate this as a “feast,” neither of today’s readings is about Mary. The readings are from the regular cycle of readings.

The first reading is from the Book of Ezekiel. It is the story of the plain that was covered with dry bones. What a powerful image that is! Can you remember a time in your life when this image would have spoken to you? A time when you felt dry, empty, lifeless? What was happening in your life at that time? What were some of the emotions you experienced during those weeks or months? How did you cope?

We all have desert experiences at different times in our lives. Typically these experiences are neither comfortable nor pleasant. When we are in the desert, we need to be prepared. If we don’t have water and supplies, we will die! The same is true when we are in an “emotional desert.” We need support and care. We need someone to walk with us in this desert. We need to know that we are not alone. This often is a time when we need God the most!

It is interesting that in this reading, the process of the spirit returning to the bones did not happen all at one time. Rather, it was a process. First, the bones joined together, then skin, and so on. During these desert times, can we believe and trust that life will seep back into our souls and body? Most often it feels like this “desert” will never end! The reality is that at times we may be in the “desert” for a very long time. But the desert will come to an end! We just have to have faith and trust! May we remember the words of Ezekiel: “I will put my spirit in you that you may live! I have promised and I will do it!” In dry and empty times, let us cling to God’s promise!