St. Agnes of Montepulciano

St. Agnes of Montepulciano

Feast date: Apr 20

St. Agnes of Montepulciano was born in 13th-century Tuscany. At the age of six, Agnes began trying to convince her parents to allow her to join a convent. She was finally admitted to the Dominican convent at Montepulciano at age nine despite it generally being against Church law to allow a child so young to join.

Agnes’ reputation for holiness attracted other sisters, and she became an abbess at the unheard of age of 15. She insisted on greater austerities in the abbey. She lived on bread and water for 15 years, slept on the ground and used a stone for a pillow.

It was said that she had visions of the Virgin Mary and that in her visions angels gave her Communion. She also had a vision in which she was holding the infant Jesus. When she awoke from her trance, she she was holding the small gold crucifix the infant Jesus was wearing.

She died in 1317. Miracles have been reported at her tomb. When her body was moved to a church years after her death, it was found incorrupt.

She was canonized in 1726.

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 9:31-42

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
was at peace.
She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.

As Peter was passing through every region,
he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda.
There he found a man named Aeneas,
who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed.
Peter said to him,
“Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.”
He got up at once.
And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him,
and they turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas).
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs.
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
“Please come to us without delay.”
So Peter got up and went with them.
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed.
Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.”
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive.
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (12) How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
R. Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See Jn 6:63c, 68c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:60-69

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

To Whom Shall We Go? / ¿A Quién Iremos?

Recently, we listened to a priest talk about the Legion of Mary so that we could prayerfully discern whether or not we should begin a group in our parish. It sounded amazing. You get together once a week to pray the rosary and other Marian prayers, you listen to words of wisdom, and have fellowship with others who are also trying to live out their devotion to Mary. I was all in. 

Then he told us that each member of the group would be given a weekly apostolic work and we would come back to the group to report it. We would be given tasks to complete, like visiting the homebound or hospitalized, praying for others, completing works of service or walking up to complete strangers and offering them the Miraculous Medal. 

Walking up to strangers. Talking to them about Mary. Evangelizing to strangers. Out of my comfort zone. Way out of my comfort zone. Panic inducing anxiety out of my comfort zone. 

Yet, like Peter, I have to say, “Lord, to whom shall I go?” 

Jesus is at the height of his popularity. People are calling for him to be king. They are all in. And then Jesus tells them that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. What? Is he talking about cannibalism? Is he just trying to tell them that he will provide for them? What does this mean? And great numbers of people simply walk away. This is too hard. It invokes revulsion, anxiety, maybe even panic since it is out of their comfort zone. And they walk away. 

So Jesus asks his apostles if they are going to leave as well. And Peter responds, “Lord, to whom shall I go?” Peter doesn’t tell Jesus he understands these hard sayings. He doesn’t ask Jesus to clue him in or to make an exception. Peter simply stands on his relationship with Jesus and wonders aloud, “What else is there?” 

We are asked to do the same thing over and over again. When the teachings of the Church become hard and we want to look for something easier, to whom shall we go? When we are scandalized by the behavior of those we see in the pews next us, to whom shall we go? When our pastor doesn’t live up to our expectations, to whom shall we go? When helping to build the Kingdom of God here on earth takes me out of my comfort zone, to whom shall I go? 

I don’t know where this current path will lead, but I know I trust Jesus enough that if he is placing this before me, I need to prayerfully, wholeheartedly discern his call. Because, like Peter, I too believe, Lord, that you have the words of eternal life. I have come to believe and am convinced that you are the Holy One of God. To whom else should I go? 

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Recientemente, escuchamos a un sacerdote hablar sobre la Legión de María para que pudiéramos discernir en oración si deberíamos o no comenzar un grupo en nuestra parroquia. Sonó increíble. Te reúnes una vez a la semana para rezar el rosario y otras oraciones marianas, escuchas palabras de sabiduría y convives con otras personas que también están tratando de vivir la devoción a María. Estaba totalmente convencida.

Luego nos dijo que a cada miembro del grupo se le asignaría un trabajo apostólico semanal y regresaríamos al grupo para informarlo. Se nos darían tareas para completar, como visitar a los confinados en sus hogares u hospitalizados, rezar por otros, completar obras de servicio o acercarnos a desconocidos y ofrecerles la Medalla Milagrosa.

¿Acercarse a extraños para hablarles de María? ¿Evangelizar a los desconocidos? Todo esto está fuera de mi zona de confort…completamente fuera. Tan fuera que me induce pánico y ansiedad. Sin embargo, como Pedro, tengo que decir: “Señor, ¿a quién iré?”

Aquí Jesús se encuentra en el culmen de su popularidad. La gente pide que sea rey. Todos están a favor. Y luego Jesús les dice que deben comer su carne y beber su sangre. ¿Qué? ¿Está hablando de canibalismo? ¿Está simplemente tratando de decirles que él proveerá para ellos? ¿Qué quiere decir esto? Y un gran número de personas simplemente se marchan. Esto es muy difícil. Provoca repulsión, ansiedad y tal vez incluso pánico, ya que está fuera de su zona de confort. Y se alejan.

Entonces Jesús pregunta a sus apóstoles si ellos también se van a ir. Y Pedro responde: “Señor, ¿a quién iremos?” Pedro no le dice a Jesús que entiende estos duros dichos. No le pide a Jesús que le dé pistas ni que haga una excepción. Pedro simplemente se mantiene firme en su relación con Jesús y se pregunta en voz alta: “¿Qué más hay?”

Se nos pide que hagamos lo mismo una y otra vez. Cuando las enseñanzas de la Iglesia se vuelven duras y queremos buscar algo más fácil, ¿a quién iremos? Cuando nos escandalizamos por el comportamiento de los que vemos en la banca al lado nuestro, ¿a quién iremos? Cuando nuestro párroco no está a la altura de nuestras expectativas, ¿a quién iremos? Cuando ayudar a construir el Reino de Dios aquí en la tierra me saca de mi zona de confort, ¿a quién iré?

No sé a dónde me llevará este camino actual, pero sé que confío en Jesús lo suficiente como para que si él me presenta esto, necesito discernir su llamado con oración y de todo corazón. Porque, como Pedro, también creo, Señor, que tú tienes palabras de vida eterna. He llegado a creer y estoy convencido de que tú eres el Santo de Dios. ¿A quién más debería ir?

Comunicarse con la autora

Sheryl’s first calling is to be wife and partner to Tom, who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. She also gets to live out her passion for teaching and learning by serving as principal at St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Home is full with Carlyn, our goofy golden retriever, Lucy, our terrier mix wild child, and Mila, our very special Bernese Mountain dog. 

Feature Image Credit: Andrew Neel,

Blessed James Oldo

Blessed James Oldo

Feast date: Apr 19

James Oldo experienced a radical conversion that led him to become a Franciscan tertiary, and later a priest.

He was born in 1364 into a rich family in Lodi, Italy. He married at a young age, and he and his wife both led a very self-indulgent lifesyle. One day, a traveling reproduction of the Holy Sepulchre came to thier town. As a joke, James lay down on it to compare his height to Christ’s.

As soon as he laid down on it, he was instantly converted, and became a tertiary soon after.

At first, his mother and wife were opposed to the change they saw in him, but soon they grew attracted to his new ways and became tertiaries as well. The family turned their mansion into a chapel and worked with the sick and with prisoners.

When James’ wife died, he became a priest. His acts of penance were so severe that his bishop had to order him to eat at least three times a week. He was a celebrated preacher, who inspired many to enter the religious life. He also prophesied wars and his own death. He died at the age of 40 in 1404. When his body was moved seven years after his death, it was found incorrupt.

Friday of the Third Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 117:1bc, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 6:56

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Physical World Matters / El Mundo Físico También es Importante

In the Gospel reading today, we see how the physical realities of this world mean something to Jesus. He tells us that we must eat his body and drink his blood to have eternal life. At the Last Supper, he shows us how this is possible through the priesthood in the context of the Mass. Throughout Scripture, when Jesus makes physical things holy, such as bread, wine, water, oil, our bodies, and our communal gatherings, he gives them a powerful spiritual purpose and significance.

A while back, I was listening to a podcast from a non-Catholic Christian who specializes in trying to help Christian churches thrive. They were asking the question, “How do we ‘do’ church?” This expert recommended that churches meet the needs of our modern culture by investing more in online “church.” Hmmm… an emphasis on online church community and “worship” minimizes the importance of our physical natures and how we are taught by Christ to live and to worship. 

The Catholic Church was founded by Christ when he said to Peter, “You are Peter [Rock], and upon this Rock, I will build my church.” Ever since then, for over 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has been asking in various ways, “How do we ‘do’ church?” We “do church” by gathering for worship and fellowship and by engaging in the sacraments. 

The Church is the family of God, and we are taught by Christ to worship God together. Online opportunities can only take us so far. We need to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually interacting with each other, like a family, in order to do what the Church is called to do. Sometimes it is exhausting, but God teaches us, through our daily personal interactions, to grow in virtue and to rely on his grace. 

When it comes to the sacraments, “Virtual reality is no substitute for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacramental reality of the other sacraments, and shared worship in a flesh-and-blood human community” (The Pontifical Council for Social Communications in The Church and the Internet). Holy Communion, Baptism, Confession, Matrimony, Holy Orders, the Anointing of the Sick—they are all encounters with the living, personal Christ who became incarnate to be with us. 

While churches may offer legitimate, helpful, online opportunities for communion and growth in faith, there is so much more than that. Human beings were designed to commune with each other in more meaningful ways, and the Catholic Church, whether she is found in Zimbabwe, Japan, or the United States of America, makes grace available to us through the spiritual and physical elements of the sacraments. 

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En la lectura del Evangelio de hoy, vemos cómo las realidades físicas de este mundo significan algo para Jesús. Nos dice que debemos comer su cuerpo y beber su sangre para tener vida eterna. En la Última Cena, nos muestra cómo esto es posible a través del sacerdocio en el contexto de la Misa. A lo largo de las Escrituras, cuando Jesús santifica las cosas físicas, como el pan, el vino, el agua, el aceite, nuestros cuerpos y nuestras reuniones comunitarias, les da un poderoso propósito y significado espiritual.

Hace un tiempo, estaba escuchando un podcast de un protestante que se especializa en tratar de ayudar a las iglesias cristianas a prosperar. Se preguntaban: “¿Cómo ‘hacemos’ iglesia?” Este experto recomendó que las iglesias satisfagan las necesidades de nuestra cultura moderna invirtiendo más en la “iglesia” en línea. Hmmm… un énfasis en la comunidad eclesial y la “alabanza” en línea minimiza la importancia de nuestra naturaleza física y de cómo Cristo nos enseña a vivir y alabarlo.

La Iglesia Católica fue fundada por Cristo cuando le dijo a Pedro: “Tú eres Pedro [Roca], y sobre esta Roca edificaré mi iglesia”. Desde entonces, durante más de 2.000 años, la Iglesia Católica se ha estado preguntando de diversas formas: “¿Cómo ‘hacemos’ iglesia?” Nosotros “hacemos iglesia” al reunirnos para la adoración y el compañerismo y al participar en los sacramentos.

La Iglesia es la familia de Dios y Cristo nos enseña a adorar a Dios juntos. Las oportunidades en línea sólo pueden llevarnos hasta cierto punto. Necesitamos interactuar física, emocional y espiritualmente unos con otros, como una familia, para poder hacer lo que la Iglesia está llamada a hacer. A veces es agotador, pero Dios nos enseña, a través de nuestras interacciones personales diarias, a crecer en virtud y a confiar en su gracia.

Cuando se trata de los sacramentos, “la realidad virtual no sustituye la Presencia Real de Cristo en la Eucaristía, la realidad sacramental de los demás sacramentos y el culto compartido en una comunidad humana de carne y hueso” (El Pontificio Consejo para las Comunicaciones Sociales en La Iglesia y el Internet). La Sagrada Comunión, el Bautismo, la Confesión, el Matrimonio, el Orden Sagrado, la Unción de los Enfermos: todos ellos son encuentros con el Cristo vivo y personal que se encarnó para estar con nosotros.

Si bien las iglesias pueden ofrecer oportunidades en línea legítimas y útiles para la comunión y el crecimiento en la fe, hay mucho más que eso. Los seres humanos fueron diseñados para interactuar de maneras más significativas, y la Iglesia Católica, ya sea que se encuentre en Zimbabwe, Japón o los Estados Unidos, pone la gracia a nuestra disposición a través de los elementos espirituales y físicos de los sacramentos. 

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A lover of Jesus Christ, a wife, and a mother of five, Christine is the author of Everyday Heroism: 28 Daily Reflections on the Little Way of Motherhood. She is a graduate of Franciscan University, an instructor for the Institute for Excellence in Writing, and an experienced catechist. Thrilled to have recently become grandparents, she and her husband currently live in Upstate, NY. Visit her author webpage at

Feature Image Credit: Matea Gregg,

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin

Feast date: Apr 18

April 18 commemorates the feast of Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin, a Canadian woman whose life was a story of obedience in the face of personal setbacks.

Esther Blondin was born in 1809 to a pious, French-Canadian farm family in southern Quebec. When she was old enough, she began to work as a domestic servant for a merchant and later for the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. While she worked for the sisters, she learned to read and write.

During that time, Esther decided to enter the congregation as a novice. However, her health forced her to abandon the pursuit. Nevertheless, the literacy she had obtained opened doors for her and she became a teacher, and eventually a director at a parochial school.

She was aware of the high levels of illiteracy in the area, and when she was 39 years old, she sought to found an order that taught both boys and girls in the same school. The year was 1848 and her idea was radical, as schools taught boys and girls separately.

Eventually, the pioneering woman received the requisite permission, and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne was founded. Esther was the superior and took the name Marie-Anne. Though she was the founder and superior, Sister Marie-Anne faced much oppression from the congregation’s chaplain. He eventually had her removed from her position, and she was prohibited from holding any administrative roles for the rest of her life.

She spent her last 32 years without complaining, working in the order’s laundry and ironing room. Despite her demotion, her order continued to grow and spread across Canada and the United States.

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin died in 1890. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 8:26-40

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
“Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and join up with that chariot.”
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
He replied,
“How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
“I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?”
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?”
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 66:8-9, 16-17, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Bless our God, you peoples,
loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,
and has not let our feet slip.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven,
says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

I am the Bread of Life / Yo Soy el Pan de Vida

The Eucharist is truly Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity!

Do you doubt the real presence of the Eucharist? When asked the most quoted verse in all the Bible, we turn to “This is my body that is given up for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” This is a verse we hear every time we celebrate in the most Holy Mass. It is a statement that is so well known, and yet, so difficult for many to understand. Even the Disciples say “This saying is hard, who can accept it?” Despite the many miracles that Jesus has performed, His followers, still to this day, often doubt. 

Yet in the Gospel of John, Jesus repeatedly declares that He is the Bread of Life, in verses 35, 48, 51, 53 and 55. Jesus could not be more clear in his language here. He explains over and over again that this is the truth! This is the central belief of Catholicism: If we eat of His flesh, we shall live forever! Jesus is speaking literally, not figuratively. The Eucharist is truly Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity. This teaching should change our lives; it should be a belief worth dying for. Christ loves us so much that He has died for us. In this life we are constantly hungry, yet we are never alone, if Christ resides in us. 

How blessed I am that our oldest living child is to receive her holy Communion this year! I cannot begin to express my gratitude. On her first communion, I want her to know that her family loves her, but that God loves her so much more than she could ever imagine. I pray that my daughter will believe this is truly Jesus, that He longs for her, that He is there waiting for her in the church at every Mass to be a part of her always. He is all that matters. We should always be ready and willing to give up everything for Him. There is nothing more valuable. To receive the Eucharist is to receive Heaven on earth. May all praise be to the Lord Jesus, today and forever!

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¡La Eucaristía es verdaderamente Jesús, cuerpo, sangre, alma y divinidad!

¿Dudas de la presencia verdadera de Jesús en la Eucaristía? Cuando nos preguntan cuál es el versículo más citado de toda la Biblia, recurrimos a “Este es mi cuerpo, entregado por ustedes. Haz esto en memoria mía.” Este es un versículo que escuchamos cada vez que celebramos la Santa Misa. Es una declaración muy conocida y, sin embargo, muy difícil de entender para muchos. Incluso los Discípulos dicen: “Esta palabra es dura, ¿quién podrá aceptarla?” A pesar de los muchos milagros que Jesús ha realizado, sus seguidores, hasta el día de hoy, a menudo dudan.

Sin embargo, en el Evangelio de Juan, Jesús declara repetidamente que Él es el Pan de Vida, en los versículos 35, 48, 51, 53 y 55. Jesús no podría ser más claro en su forma de hablar. ¡Él explica una y otra vez que es cierto! Esta es la creencia central del catolicismo: ¡si comemos de Su carne, viviremos para siempre! Jesús está hablando literalmente, no en sentido figurado. La Eucaristía es verdaderamente Jesús, cuerpo, sangre, alma y divinidad. Esta enseñanza debería cambiar nuestras vidas; debería ser una creencia por la que valga la pena morir. Cristo nos ama tanto que murió por nosotros. En esta vida tenemos hambre constantemente, pero nunca estamos solos, si Cristo reside en nosotros.

¡Cuán bendecida soy de que nuestra hija mayor viva reciba su sagrada Comunión este año! No puedo empezar a expresar mi gratitud. En su primera comunión, quiero que sepa que su familia la ama, pero que Dios la ama mucho más de lo que jamás podría imaginar. Pido que mi hija crea que este es verdaderamente Jesús, que Él la anhela, que Él está ahí esperándola en la iglesia en cada Misa para ser parte de ella siempre. Él es todo lo que importa. Siempre debemos estar listos y dispuestos a renunciar a todo por Él. No hay nada más valioso. Recibir la Eucaristía es recibir el Cielo en la tierra. ¡Que toda la alabanza sea para el Señor Jesús, hoy y siempre!

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Dr. Alexis Dallara-Marsh is a board-certified neurologist who practices in Bergen County, NJ. She is a wife to her best friend, Akeem, and a mother of two little ones on Earth and two others in heaven above.

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God’s True Nourishment / El Verdadero Alimento de Dios

Today’s Gospel is taken from John chapter 6. Throughout these verses the people are seeking a sign – tangible proof that would validate Jesus as the Messiah. The peoples’ inquiries reflect a common human desire for tangible evidence when faced with uncertainty. When we are scared, angry, or sad we tend to question our faith just like the people Jesus was speaking to, because our human brains cannot always wrap our heads around pure belief and faith without evidence. 

When met with this uncertainty in our own lives we can reflect on what Jesus pointed out to the people in this passage. He states “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). This proclamation speaks volumes and echoes throughout the centuries, challenging us to reflect on the nature of our own uncertainties, and to remember the only nourishment we need comes from God. 

In conclusion, today’s Gospel prompts us to reflect on the nature of our hunger and the avenues we explore to satisfy it. Jesus, as the Bread of Life, offers a profound solution, redirecting our focus from human desires to enduring sustenance found in a strong relationship with him. As we respond to this invitation, may we discover a transformative fulfillment that is beyond the limitations of our worldly desires, finding true satisfaction in Jesus Christ, the Bread that leads to eternal life. 

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El evangelio de hoy viene del capítulo 6 del evangelio de Juan. A lo largo de estos versículos la gente busca una señal, una prueba tangible que valide a Jesús como el Mesías. Las investigaciones de los pueblos reflejan un deseo humano común de obtener pruebas tangibles ante la incertidumbre. Cuando estamos asustados, enojados o tristes, tendemos a cuestionar la fe, al igual que las personas con las que Jesús hablaba, porque nuestros cerebros humanos no siempre pueden entender la creencia pura y la fe sin evidencia.

Cuando nos enfrentamos a esta incertidumbre en nuestras propias vidas, podemos reflexionar sobre lo que Jesús señaló a la gente en este pasaje. Él afirma: “Yo soy el pan de vida; el que viene a mí no tendrá hambre, y el que cree en mí nunca tendrá sed” (Juan 6,35). Esta proclamación dice mucho y resuena a lo largo de los siglos, desafiándonos a reflexionar sobre la naturaleza de nuestras propias incertidumbres y a recordar que el único alimento que necesitamos proviene de Dios.

En conclusión, el Evangelio de hoy nos impulsa a reflexionar sobre la naturaleza del hambre que tenemos y los caminos que exploramos para satisfacerlo. Jesús, como Pan de Vida, ofrece una solución profunda, redirigiendo nuestro enfoque desde los deseos humanos hasta el sustento duradero que se encuentra en una relación sólida con él. Que al responder a esta invitación, podamos descubrir una realización transformadora que vaya más allá de las limitaciones de nuestros deseos mundanos, encontrando la verdadera satisfacción en Jesucristo, el Pan que nos lleva a la vida eterna.

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Heather Orlowski and her husband are busy parents of two little girls (ages 2 and 4). The Catholic Church holds a special place in her heart and in her entire life. She attended Catholic schools from Kindergarten through college. She graduated from Aquinas College with a degree in Elementary/Special Education. Catholic Education is very important to her and she now teaches 1st and 2nd grades at St. Therese Catholic School. In her free time, she loves creating memories with her family and watching her little girls play soccer. 

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