Elijah’s Whisper – My Whisper

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Elijah’s Whisper – My Whisper

Bubbles2 Then the LORD said (to Elijah), “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.”  A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” 1 Kings 19:11-13

Why are YOU here, beloved?

Was it to discover magnificent colors? Was it to find colorful music or awesome videos? Was it just curiosity? Was it accidental? Were you really looking for God, for Hope, for true LOVE somewhere in this menagerie we call the web?

silenceOr were you just hiding in a cave, waiting on the Lord to Whisper in your ear – a Word – LIFE! Life, it’s in You! And YOU are beautiful in the Eyes of God, no matter what the world may say or think.

You are Loved!!

Every day the Lord whispers in our ears – Words of HOPE, Words of LOVE, and maybe not even words – just His JOY in our hearts.

Let’s follow the Scriptures of our daily Mass and see if we can catch those Words – simple but beautiful – Whispers to the Wind . . .

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03-04-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 4, 2021
(St. Casimir)
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,

but still bears fruit.  Jer_17:5-10

In whom or what do we trust, beloved?  Do we trust in riches?  Is it our job and employer in whom we trust?  Is it our family, our friends, or even our Church?  Jeremiah tells us today that there is only One in whom we could trust who will save us in times of distress and keep us fruitful!  It is the Lord.  Trust in Jesus alone, dear one, and Jesus will see you through it all: poverty, unemployment, death, desertion, covid-19.  Trust in Jesus!!

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03-03-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 3, 2021
(St. Katharine Drexel, Virgin)
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”  Mt_20:17-28

Couldn’t have been more clearly said.  And Jesus told His disciples this multiple times.  So why weren’t they more prepared?  Why weren’t they even awake when that fateful moment came?  It was all in the plan.  For, as they say, there would be no resurrection with a death.  It says a lot about human nature.  And yet it promises us something far better than the temporary and chaotic existence we live.  As we prepare for our commemoration of the Resurrection of Jesus, it’s a good time to ponder this life.  Will I be welcomed into the eternal bliss of heaven?  Maybe a good time to think about how we can make every day count a little more in the eyes of God.  Love!

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03-02-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 2, 2021
Jesus said, “The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  Mt_23:1-12

Sometimes we can get so self-conscious about what others think of us, how we talk, what we wear, how we look.  Jesus is telling us today that all of that doesn’t really matter.  What really matters is, whether we can put anyone and everyone else above us?  Can we look at others without judging them, without comparing them to ourselves?  Can we let go of ourselves enough to see the best in those we might otherwise be looking down at.  Maybe it’s really us whom the rest of the world IS looking down at.  And, you know what, it really doesn’t matter.  All that matters is how good of a person we can be in serving everyone (even ourselves, when it’s necessary)!

Today, I offer birthday blessings to my beloved sister Patricia.  Hope you have an awesome day, Patricia.  Happy Birthday!  Love you always!

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03-01-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 1, 2021
Jesus said, “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Lk_6:36-38

What greater reason to be abundant in our giving, beloved! And maybe, not even for the sake of our own good, but for those to whom we are giving. What a blessing we can be! The blessing of Jesus!

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02-28-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 28, 2021
(2nd Sunday of Lent, B)
After the Transfiguration of Jesus, As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.  Mk_9:2-10

I’ve probably done this a thousand times myself and may even still do it, but, I remember as a manager, with multiple assistants, each in charge of several different projects, having an associate come up to me frustrated with a problem and touting all the details of their frustration, while I had no idea which project he or she was referring to.  Once we were both on the same page, it was a whole lot easier to hash out a resolution.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own issues that we forget that others can’t read our minds.  And when we verbalize those thoughts to others, they have no idea where we’re coming from.

Jesus had just been through, maybe a nerve-racking discussion with Elijah and Moses, when the time came to return back to normal life (if any of Jesus’ life could be called normal).  And yet He knew that the event that had just transpired could not become public knowledge (at least yet). If word about it came from the disciples, it would probably mean their downfall and Jesus’ as well.

So answering in a kind of cryptic manner, Jesus did tell them when it could be made public, which totally baffled the disciples.  They had no idea what He was talking about (death? rising? who? when? where?), let alone understanding the shocking vision they had just witnessed.  The mind of Jesus was on the future.  And somehow, His disciples would have to know, or at least have heard about His pending death and resurrection ahead of time, so that when it did happen they wouldn’t be caught totally off-guard, but might remember that He had told them all along.

Could you imagine holding in a story such as the Transfiguration of your Lord.  It had to be excruciating, at least until it was forgotten under all the other events that were about to happen.  And the disciples DID remember, after the resurrection, not only about the Transfiguration, but about all the times Jesus said something inexplicable, that now made sense.

Sometimes, beloved, we just have to hold certain truths, certain miracles, certain visions in, until the time is right.  It may not be today, or even tomorrow, but hang in there.  The right person and the right time WILL come.  And then it will all make perfect sense!

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02-27-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 27, 2021
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.‘  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. . . .  So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Mt_5:43-48

Love, Pray, Care and do not hate.  This is being perfect!

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02-26-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 26, 2021
Thus says the Lord GOD: If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live?  None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die.
Ez_18:21-28

Jesus said to His disciples, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’  But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment,”  Mt_5:20-26

So, BE Good and all this will be yours as well!
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Today we hear about the value and the reason for living a virtuous life.  For some of us, we need constant reminders of that reason.  And we might even need a little conversion.

You see, the prospect of conversion can sometimes be a slow process, with that mental wrangling between the “should I’s” and the “shouldn’t I’s.”  And that is really why, year after year, we torture ourselves, I’m sorry, we condition ourselves, with this Season of Lent.

Occasionally, the “should I’s” win out, and we actually improve some moral deficiency in our lives.  But more often than not, between the distractions, or laziness, or Satan’s temptations, we make it through Lent no better off, than when we started.  And part of the problem is that we haven’t been convinced, or are able to convince ourselves, of sufficient reason to change.

Of course, the caveat to this slow conversion process is when some outside, traumatic event jolts us into an awakening; into finally understanding the reason for a need to change some aspect of our lives.  And it happens in the blink of an eye!

An example of such a traumatic event might be the unexpected death of someone close to us, close in age, or in relationship, like Lot’s wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt, because of an insatiable curiosity, and a quick peek.

Another traumatic conversion event might be a near-death experience ourselves, like Jonah and the whale, or Lazarus, or the little boy in the “Heaven Is For Real” book.  Or it might be like the miraculous, blinding-light conversion of St. Paul, or the Marian vision of St. Juan Diego.  Or, even in our own lifetimes, the trauma of the 911 Event, which has caused many a conversion.

Now, granted, these traumatic-inspired conversions occur much-less-frequently than the slow conversions.  That is why, sometimes, we need to shock ourselves, or condition ourselves, to understanding the reason for living a life of virtue.

And you know, what it simply gets down to, is the fact that, “we are all going to die.”  And if we believe any of this religion stuff, that we’ve been filling our minds with, we also know that there – WILL BE a “Judgment.”

Well, we could just sit there in our sinfulness, and say or think that “I’ll convert just before I die.”  And the Prophet Ezekiel substantiates that rationale, reminding us of God’s great mercy toward, even the wicked, who repent.  But, how do we know that death will give us ample time to make that conversion, and not surprise us like Paul’s flash of light.  And then, it will be – too late.

So, Death and Judgment ARE our Reason!

And since we’re already familiar with living somewhat virtuous lives, just being here at Church, mid-morning, on a weekday, or reading this religious related blog, Ezekiel also tells us that there, is no turning back for us.  We are committed to completing this life as a life of virtue or suffering the consequences of a sinful death.

So maybe instead of a “total conversion,” we need an “ongoing formation.”  We need a period of Lent every year, just to remind us of our Reason. . . . That death and pain and suffering after mortal life (hell) – is really not a very cool place to be, especially when we
are offered, instead, Eternal Life, at the simple cost of virtue!

And with that, we might be wondering, “Well, how perfect DO I need to get?”  Jesus points us in that direction today.  And what we learn from Jesus, is that – there is – always MORE Perfect . . .

So this process of Conversion is really an endless one, just as Paul found out, after his blinding-light experience.

And what we discover in the process, is that every moment we are able to take One – More – Breath, it is a another Gift of God in time, for us to grow in Virtue.  Time to say, “Thanks” to others, even for the mundane, to say “I’m sorry” for the tiniest of infractions, to say “Yes” to the unknown or the unexpected, that just might BE God’s Will for us, to say, “I love you,” at whatever the cost:  “I love you all, forever!”, like tomorrow will never come.

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02-25-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 25, 2021
Jesus said, “everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.”  Mt_7:7-12

God loves the cheerful giver, the humble leader, the repentant sinner, the poor and needy and everyone else who asks in loving kindness.  Give and you will be given to.  Be selfish and you just might die in need.  Blessed be God forever!

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02-24-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 24, 2021
Jonah announced, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed.”  When the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.  When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.  Jon_3:1-10

Jesus said to the crowds, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.”  Lk_11:29-32

When we were children, our parents told us to wash our hands before we ate, to say our prayers before we went to bed, and to never speak disrespectfully to an adult.

We understood the consequences of disobedience, and our parents always used that little hand sign to remind us; of course, with a scowl on their faces to make sure we understood.

We may not have understood the reasoning behind all those commandments, but somewhere in the back of our minds, we just  trusted that our Parents knew best.

Sixty-some years later, we now have our government telling us to wash our hands. The chaos in our world has caused us to WANT to pray before bedtime. And many of our children or grandchildren have pretty much lost respect IN anything, or FOR anyone.

It seems, that sign of discipline has not only been long forgotten, but it’s now been turned into a condemnable evil, as the chaos escalates all around us.

We might say, the same thing happened to Sodom, Gomorrah, and Nineveh in the Bible.  With no discipline, with no moral compass, all three cities were doomed to utter destruction.  And Jesus foresaw the same thing happening to His fellow Israelites, and their homeland, Jerusalem, unless they changed.

These people were so beaten; between the Babylonian exile, the Egyptian, Greek, and now Roman oppression; with the Samaritans, the Gentiles, and even their own Jewish religious leaders against them, they found it very difficult to trust anyone, let alone someone who called Himself “the Son of Man,” the Christ, the Messiah, and the Savior.

So Jesus reminded them about Jonah and Nineveh.

Jonah himself, was a sign of obstinate stubbornness, of haughty pride and of vindictive hatred. And it took – a near-death experience to cause him to finally relent, to give up to the will of God, instead of clinging on to his fear, his flight, and his self-preservation.

Francis Thompson, the writer of the epic poem, ‘The Hound of Heaven,’ fully understood our total inability to hide from God.  And so did Jonah, after a miserably failed attempt – to run.  So, reluctantly and hesitantly, Jonah set out, like the great Prophets of old, to proclaim God’s message of disaster to the undisciplined, the disrespectful, and the Godless, dirty-handed citizens of Nineveh.

And yet, there, in the midst of the chaos, the terror and the immorality of this immense city, from somewhere, beautifully hidden, deep within the sacred hearts of those heathen sinners, the light of God broke through, and repentance reigned.

It was like that moment, in a heart-breaking love story, that you just cannot keep those tears back any longer.

The people of Nineveh chose not to take the route of Sodom and Gomorrah, but would, instead, humble themselves to experience the true mercy of God.

And God’s great mercy abounded!

Jesus spoke to the broken children of Israel about the Sign of Jonah to the Ninevites.  And that sign was a wake-up call, for them, just as it is for us.

You see, God is not looking for the Proud, the Self-sufficient, the Relativistic, the Indifferent, the Undisciplined, nor the Dirty-handed.  But He IS seeking the humbled heart, the loving soul, the pure and caring and loving Children whom He has placed deep within every one of us.

Jesus wants us to let go of our sin, to repent, and to trust in Him, so that when that final judgment does arrive, we will arise to the true life and the dignity awaiting us, as God’s beloved Children.

And then we will hear God say to us, just as He did to those repentant Ninevites, “Well done, my good and faithful servants!”

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02-23-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 23, 2021
(St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr)
Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. . . . (Our Father) . . .“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”  Mt_6:7-15

1. Get right to the point.  Don’t waste God’s, or your, precious time.
2. What you give you get.  What you don’t give you won’t get.

Though you might be babbled to (at) and you might be unjustly transgressed, forgive them anyway!  And move on…

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02-22-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 22, 2021
(The Chair of St. Peter)
Jesus asked His disciples, “who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply,  “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”   Mt_16:13-19

Today our universal Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.  Now, we might think it a bit odd to celebrate a Chair.  But it’s really the recognition of the person who occupies the chair – that we’re celebrating today.

You know, when you think about it, we all have our favorite chair for watching TV, or knitting, or reading Scripture.  And we’ve seen how, in our courts, the judge will always sit in a little fancier chair – in the front and center of the room.  And even in our parishes, we see the priest or pastor sitting in what we call the Presidential Chair.  You see, that Chair is a place of honor, it’s a place of leadership, and it’s a place of holiness.

Well, we see the same thing with the larger Church, our universal, Catholic Church.  Beginning with St. Peter, who was Jesus’ designated leader for His Church, which we heard in our Gospel reading today, we have had 266 subsequent leaders of the Church, whom we call Popes.  And the Chair that the Pope sits in is called the Cath-edra.  It is that special place from which the Pope will make important announcements about our faith.

And it’s from that name, Cath-edra, that every Central Church, of every diocese in the world, gets its name, Cathedral.  That Cathedral is the home Church of the diocesan Bishops, who are the successors of the first Bishop, St. Peter, by their special Ordination.  And remember, it’s not the Chair that makes them special, it’s the person.

These people, the Bishops, are the Shepherds, who are hand chosen by Jesus to lead us, God’s children.  Now of course, we know, that none of us, even our holy Bishops, were created Perfect, like our True Shepherd, Jesus.  But the Bishops are trained and have experience in performing those special Leadership tasks that Jesus taught His Apostles.  And they have to do this in the framework of a world that’s screaming and clawing to bring them down.

Their job is not an easy one.  And that’s why – they need us to pray for them.  That’s why they need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance to protect them, and us, from the wiles of evil in our world. And through all that, they even need a place to rest once in a while.

Thus, we celebrate the Chair.

If you ever happened to see a picture of the Holy Spirit as a dove in a golden-yellow background, that looks like this:

you may not have realized that what you were looking at is a 17th century masterpiece created by the famous Italian sculptor and artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

It’s actually an alabaster window called the Gloria.  And that Gloria is located in the Apse, behind the main altar, of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. In front of the Gloria is a 40-50-foot bronze sculpture, also created by Bernini, depicting this Chair of St. Peter, called the “Cath-edra Petri.”  The entire structure from the floor to the top of the Gloria’s rays is about 100-feet tall.  And enclosed within the sculpture of the Chair is the relic of an old chair, reminiscent of one that St. Peter himself may have presided Mass in.  That relic was given to the Church by the Roman Emperor, Charles the Bald, in the year 875 ad.

It’s all a beautiful reminder of the Glorious Gift that God has given to us in Christ Jesus.  You see, much like the Bishop’s Chair, but better, it is Jesus who is our true place of rest.  It is Jesus who leads and shepherds our way; reminding us of our need for repentance in those times of weakness, just as He did with St. Peter, and feeding us with His Body and Blood to help us carry on.

And it is Jesus who brings us the Hope of one day sitting with Him and all the Saints and Popes in the Glory of His Heavenly Kingdom forever.

And that’s a Chair to celebrate!

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02-21-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 21, 2021
(1st Sunday Lent, B)
..God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark,  in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water.  This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,  1_Pt_3:18-22

Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  Mk_1:12-15

Every year, beloved, we take this journey through Lent.  It’s supposed to be a time of conversion.  We, try as we might, work towards improving our illness of sin.  We work towards improving our relationship with God.  And we work towards finding that Kingdom, believing all that Jesus taught us and renewing our faith in the only one who can save us, Jesus.

These are not easy tasks for us mere, mortal humans.  But fear not, beloved, for that is why Jesus is here, in our Church, in our Sacraments, in our community and as the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  All we need do is let go of thinking it’s something that we alone have to do.  Jesus is here to help us.  And He’s already done the hardest part!  Trust in Him!

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02-20-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 20, 2021
Jesus said, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”  Lk_5:27-32

As we go through life, beloved, we come to the point of realizing that: “If it’s not broken, we shouldn’t try to fix it!”  And the reason is that, through enough silly experience, we’ve broken too many things that were working perfectly well before we ever touched them.  Jesus didn’t come to fix those who loved and respected God, those who believed in Him, those who loved each other.  But He did come to teach the rest of us what that love really looks like.  He came to set us straight about when we’re following rules and saying prayers and partaking in Sacraments just for the show of it, versus because we truly believe in their significance with respect to love; the love we hold deep in our hearts for God and for one another.  Jesus didn’t come to break what was working, but to fix what wasn’t!

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02-19-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 19, 2021
Thus says the Lord, God, This is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!  Is_58:1-9a

And so it was, and so it is.  Yes, a part of the point of fasting is for us to learn the virtue of self discipline.  If I can control what I make myself control, then when the unexpected comes about, I’ll have a better chance of using that discipline in real life.  I will not get mad, I will not overeat, when a banquet is set before me.  I will not complain when there is nothing to eat.  And more and most importantly I will consider my neighbor before myself.

This is primarily what God is looking for, as he voiced to Isaiah the prophet.  And Jesus confirms that definition of fasting by his own actions and teachings.  Love one another and let nothing keep you from that love.  It takes discipline sometimes, to even go as far as (not hating but) caring for those who don’t care for us.

Yes, we need the discipline.  And even more so we need the love, God’s love, Jesus’ love for everyone!

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02-18-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 18, 2021
Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, but delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night.  Ps_40

Who are we following, beloved?

Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”  Lk_9:22-25

This, beloved, is the life – of not following sinners, the wicked, or the insolent.  This is the life of not caving in to our every emotional feeling and whim.  This is the life where God and His commandments surpasses all idolatry (that’s TV, social media, food, job, coffee, smoking, drugs…..)  This the life of loss for the sake of gain.  And the gain is an eternal life with God the Father, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit, along with all the saints who preceded us, especially our loved ones.  It’s Lent, beloved, time to pick up our crosses and experience conversion from death into Life!

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02-17-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 17, 2021
(Ash Wednesday)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.”  Mt_6:1-6,16-18

Not a show, an internal conversion of heart.

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02-16-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 16, 2021
When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved.  Gn_6:5-8;7:1-5,10

And yet, out of nothing, God can create beauty.  Rather than eliminate everything, God found Noah, a man of His own heart. And from Noah and his family, God created a new humanity.  Unfortunately, the seed of evil survived the flood and mankind had to wait a while before their salvation would appear again, this time in the form of God-man named Jesus.  And like the wheat and the weeds which Jesus spoke of, we all have to live together until the final harvest where we will all be sifted, the weeds to be burned and the flour to form a new beauty, the bread of everlasting life!

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02-15-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 15, 2021
The LORD said to Cain: “Why are you so resentful and crestfallen. If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”  Gn_4:1-15,25

So, always “do well” beloved.  We can old up your heads, because we know that we can be the master of sin and not his victim.  And we know that our strength comes from the Holy Spirit and Jesus, all to the glory of God our Father.  Do well!

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02-14-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 14, 2020
(6th Sunday Ordinary Time, B)
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.

He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.  Mk_1:40-45

Takes us back to yesterday’s reading about Adam’s difficulty with obedience.  You know, very often orders and commands are given to prevent us from hurting others.  But more often it’s all about protecting us.  Parents love their children so much that they want nothing to hurt them, especially something the child unnecessarily does to himself. Jesus didn’t want to be known solely as the great “miracle man.”  He came to teach us about God’s love, about how we should love and respect one another.  And mixed in with that respect is humble obedience.  Maybe it’s not just about not hurting others.  Maybe it’s about our own salvation as well!

Happy Valentines Day, beloved!
It’s all about love!

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02-13-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 13, 2021
After Adam and Eve had eaten from the forbidden tree, it was time for them to endure the consequences of that decision.  And being the primal human creatures, their actions set the stage for all of humanity that followed them.  Sin was born.  And we’ve suffered the consequences ever since.  . . .

To the man he (God) said: “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat, “Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.”  Gn 3:9-24

Any man who is the caretaker of his home knows well the battle of the weeds in his yard.  Any farmer, as well, knows the battle he faces every year with unwanted growth in his farmland.  And thus, through our God-given creativity, we’ve invented materials to assist us in reducing the weeds, needless to say, to our own detriment when we eat the desired plants that have absorbed those materials.  We’ve manipulated the genome of the crops to survive the weeds or even kill off the weeds themselves, again to our own detriment.  But we haven’t employed the natural way that God has given us to coexist with nature, feed ourselves and respect the ground that gives that food to us (because of our own greed). Which all goes back to that sin that Adam led us into.

And yet, God still and will always love His creation . . .

For the man and his wife the LORD God made leather garments, with which he clothed them.  ibid.

And the worst consequence of that sin was yet to come . . .

Then the LORD God said: “See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is evil!  Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life also, and thus eat of it and live forever.” The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken.  ibid

You see, without the fruit from the Tree of Life, man is dependent upon the dirt of the ground to bring him life.  The dirt that provides his food.  The dirt that can build him a shelter.  The dirt that keeps his body resistant from diseases and viruses.  And man keeps thinking that he knows better.  Mask your face, wash those hands, hide yourself from contact with other human beings.  And, God forbid don’t dare touch that dirt!  John baptized in the muddy waters of the Jordan.  Jesus wrote in the dirt and brought sight to the blind with dirt and spit.  St. Francis slept in a pit with pigs to make a point to an aristocratic Church and pope.

You see, beloved, God loves us.  And Jesus came among us to give us a NEW choice.  Eat of the Common Bread.  Share peace with one another.  And love until it hurts.  And in that hurt we will finally find the Life, the eternal life that we so long for.  It’s life with God, the True Life that we lost so many eons ago!

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02-12-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 12, 2021
People brought to Jesus a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd.  He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. Mk_7:31-37

Funny, how, as we get older, we tend to have these same ailments.  We can’t quite hear as well as we used to and even our speech starts getting scratchy. But when you think about it, sometimes it’s the younger crew who may have more of a problem with closed minds. In the Rite of Baptism the priest says the prayer of Ephphatha over the ears and mouth of the child.  Be opened to the Word of God in your life.  Be opened to the thoughts, concerns and opinions of others.  It may not mean we have to totally agree with everything everyone else thinks and says, but at least for their benefit we have the courtesy of listening.  We may not be able to open other’s hearts, but Jesus can!  So we pray for them and we just keep on listening!

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02-11-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 11, 2021
(Our Lady of Lourdes)
A woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him (Jesus). She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.  Mk_7:24-30

Least expected places, least expected people.  You know, sometimes, beloved, we can find faith in the least expected places and in the least expected people.  Bernadette found the Blessed Virgin Mary in a dark and damp grotto.  And Mary had a very important message for Bernadette.  Of course, no one would believe her, a little girl in a poor town.  And yet she persisted in speaking with the mysterious woman and passing on her messages.

It reminds us of the persistence of the Greek woman in the Jewish house of the Savior of the world.  She was a sinner in a sinful town.  And Jesus knew He would have a lot of work to do to get these people to listen to His message.  Yet this woman had faith beyond what Jesus ever expected.  An unexpected place for an unexpected woman.  Her persistence earned her reward – all for the love of her beloved daughter.

Ever find yourself misunderstood, in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And yet, ‘out of the mouths of (God in us), mere babes,’ come words that astound, deeds that befuddle, faith that amazes even us!  That’s the Holy Spirit, beloved, working in us.  Let ‘er rip!  And someday we will earn our reward as well!

Persist!

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02-10-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 10, 2021
(St. Scholastica, Virgin)
Jesus said, “Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine.  But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil . . .” Mk_7:14-23

Thus, beloved, we must always be alert and aware of what comes out from us.  There are things that can never be taken back (especially when we don’t even realize how we might have hurt someone else, by our words or our actions).  Is it worth expressing that feeling that doesn’t even matter to someone else?  Is it worth sharing that opinion when the listener may feel the exact opposite, and we don’t even know it?  Is it worth asking that first response question when that very question could be held against us for the rest of our life?  People can be very unforgiving, especially with unintentional words, actions and even facial gestures.  So, be very prudent with what comes out, beloved.  And transform all those heart thoughts, actions and words into love!  And then, all that comes out will be reflective of that love, will be reflective of Jesus!

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02-09-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 9, 2021
Jesus said to the Pharisees and Scribes, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.  Mk_7:1-13

Following the commandments is more than just making up your own corollaries to suit your own needs.  And following the commandments is more than just reciting words.  It’s doing what the commandments require.  It’s teaching by action, not by words alone.  Killing someone for breaking a commandment is itself breaking the commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill.”  Depriving parents of the love and the support they need in their old age is worse in God’s eyes than skipping a tithe once in a while.  We are called, beloved, to see all of our actions in light of the two commands Jesus taught: love God and love your neighbor.  Missing either one of them for the sake of saving self is exactly the sin God wants us to avoid.

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02-08-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 8, 2021
(St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin)
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed–the first day.  Gn_1:1-19

Out of the darkness, God created the light.  And then God separated them.  And for age upon age man has been trying to force them to work together.  Yes, the light can shine in the darkness.  But the darkness will try as it might to overcome it.  Man cannot overcome the darkness, but God can.  If we want to live in a world of light, beloved, we MUST trust in God.

St. John tells us, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.  What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  Jn_1:1-5

That Light is Jesus.  And Jesus is the one and only light that cannot be overcome by the darkness.  So trust in Jesus, beloved, and His light in you will overcome any darkness that seems to be encroaching.  Trust in Jesus!

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02-07-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 7, 2021
(5th Sunday Ordinary Time, B)
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.  Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.  They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.  Mk_1:29-39

When we bring our petitions, our needs, our pain to Jesus, He will heal us.  This is the hope of our faith.  But we must trust in Him.  We must be patient in receiving our answer.  And above all we need to keep our spirits up that they may receive whatever answer Jesus brings to us.  Are we spiritually ill?  Jesus will lighten our burden.  Are we physically ill?  We know that even to the extreme of death, we have a better life to live after this earthly tent is spent.  Hope in Jesus, beloved!  And all will be well!

Pray this week for all who are sick and/or suffering, as we celebrate the 29th World Day of the Sick along with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes this Thursday, Feb 11.

Link to Pope Francis’ Message for
the World Day of the Sick 2021

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02-06-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 6, 2021
(St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs)
Brothers and sisters: Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.  Heb_13:15-17,20-21

Praise and works, these are the things we do, beloved, to please God.  Sometimes those works are difficult.  Sometimes they may even seem impossible.  But through Jesus and for God, all things are possible.  And, you know what, through those difficult sacrifices, God will give us the pleasure of accomplishment and the joy of knowing that we’ve helped others.  These are the blessings of living with and for God (and not solely for ourselves)!

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02-05-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 5, 2021
(St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr)
Let brotherly love continue.  Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body. Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers. Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never forsake you or abandon you.’  Heb_13:1-8

John the Baptist might have chuckled at the circumstances of his own execution, if he ever knew them.  Here he was thinking that he was slowly making progress with Herod’s morality, if that was even possible, when out of the blue it was all over for John.

You see, the Scriptures tell us that Herod not only feared John for his holiness, but he enjoyed listening to him as well.  And yet with the snap of his finger, and for the sake of saving face, we quickly see the hierarchy of priorities that Herod held for John.  Beneath his daughter, beneath his illicit wife, and even beneath his hired help, John was expendable.

And yet, the Scriptures tell us that Herod’s order to take John’s life deeply distressed him.  So, if it wasn’t out of pure selfishness, somewhere within that hardened facade of Herod, there was actually a tiny spark of compassion. . . . A spark that was clearly doused by the time Herod encountered Jesus.  Jesus, whose righteousness reminded Herod of John.  John, whose murder hounded Herod, not only with guilt but with the fear that John would come back as a ghost for retribution.

You see, a psychologist would have a field-day with the wild social interactions of Herod’s strange and sinful family.  And yet, they are the perfect example of how the taste of sin drives more and worse sin, like a virus or an addiction, leading them down a bottomless pit of vengeance, despair and insanity.

It is precisely why, Jesus, and St. Paul, and the Apostles, and the Church so vehemently and frequently remind us to avoid sin. We hear words like . . .

“Let brotherly love continue,
– do not neglect hospitality,
– keep the marriage bed undefiled,
– stay away from the worship of money or material things, or anything else, besides God.”

And when we do, rather than plummeting down a bottomless pit, God will lift us up to heavenly bliss.

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Agatha of Sicily.  Agatha held so tightly to her faith in God, to her virtue of Chastity, that no temptations, no imprisonment, not even torture and death could divert her resolve to stay faithful.

At the tender age of 20, in 251ad, Agatha died for her faith.  And today she is still one of the most venerated – virgin, martyr, saints  in the Church.

As we approach Lent in another week and a half, now is the time to start thinking about our own lives and how we can let go of our material selves a little more, how we can eliminate our tendency to protect and defend before we understand and discuss with compassion, and how we can hospitably share this great love of Jesus with every soul we meet.

For Jesus truly is our Light and our Salvation!

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02-04-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 4, 2021
You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them. Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”

No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled Blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.  Heb_12:18-19,21-24

* [12:18] This remarkably beautiful passage contrasts two great assemblies of people: that of the Israelites gathered at Mount Sinai for the sealing of the old covenant and the promulgation of the Mosaic law, and that of the followers of Jesus gathered at Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the assembly of the new covenant. This latter scene, marked by the presence of countless angels and of Jesus with his redeeming blood, is reminiscent of the celestial liturgies of the Book of Revelation.

* [12:1829] As a final appeal for adherence to Christian teaching, the two covenants, of Moses and of Christ, are compared. The Mosaic covenant, the author argues, is shown to have originated in fear of God and threats of divine punishment (Heb 12:1821).

The covenant in Christ gives us direct access to God (Heb 12:22), makes us members of the Christian community, God’s children, a sanctified people (Heb 12:23), who have Jesus as mediator to speak for us (Heb 12:24).

Yet, not to heed the voice of the risen Christ is a graver sin than the rejection of the word of Moses (Heb 12:2526). Though Christians fall away, God’s kingdom in Christ will remain and his justice will punish those guilty of deserting it (Heb 12:2829).

Reference: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/hebrews/12

So pray, beloved, especially for our fallen-away brothers and sisters, children and neighbors.  And pray for our own zeal to help them return to Jesus with the hope of eternal salvation, that we may be together forever in His Kingdom of love.

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02-03-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 3, 2021
(St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr)
Brothers and sisters: In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: ‘My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.’  Endure your trials as “discipline”;  God treats you as his sons. (and daughters)  Heb_12:4-7,11-15

Funny how, when life’s sufferings come upon us we tend to blame it on God.  And in our survival and accomplishment, we tend to forget Him.  You know, beloved, God is in all things.  But He’s all the more there to help us through our struggles than to create them.  And He’s more there cheering us on in our survivals and accomplishments than He is causing them.  But in all things, God loves us!  Even when we, sometimes, mess up.  He is there to joyfully forgive us.  Are we taking the cue in modeling that love for others?  We may not always be there to save them.  And we may not always be there to congratulate them.  But they are there in our every waking moment of prayer, of care, of thought, of love.  Even when we’re not there!

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02-02-21 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

February 2, 2021
(Presentation of the Lord)
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,’ and to offer the sacrifice of ‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,’ in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.  Lk_2:22-40

All done “in accordance with the Law of Moses.”  Jesus was consecrated according to the Old Covenant in order to legitimately consecrate a new law, a New Covenant.  Consecrated in His blood, Jesus opened the door to a promise based on love, a promise based on respect and care.  And our sacrifice is letting go of self in order to give, just as Jesus gave.  It all gets down to love!

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