St. Agatha


St. Agatha

Feast date: Feb 05

Although we have evidece that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr.

In the legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had  her arrested and brought before the judge – – himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see  my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil.”

When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured. He refused her any medical care but God gave her all the care she needed in the form of a vision of St. Peter. When she was tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer: “Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul.”

Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bellmakers for an unknown reason — though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms.

Called and Gifted / Llamados y Dotados

I know I am guilty of perceiving Jesus a certain way or putting words into his mouth when his actual words say something different. I hear him saying that he wants me to learn the intellectual facts about the Church quite often. Then I realize that is probably just me telling myself what I want to hear because I enjoy studying theology. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with learning about who God is and how to defend the Church, but Jesus in his ministry was very simple in his requests. 

From the First Reading today we hear that Jesus wants us to share with the hungry, shelter the homeless, and clothe the naked. But yet, I know I get annoyed when the neighbor kids play football in our yard because it makes our dogs bark really loud and sometimes wakes up our baby. It’s a far cry from helping the homeless, but I get annoyed at even something that simple. I focus so much on the intellectual side of things sometimes that I forget service. Something that helped me balance this years ago was realizing what gifts God had given me in order to help the world.

My parish did the “Called and Gifted” workshop from the Catherine of Sienna Institute years ago. I highly recommend it if you have not gone through the program. One thing I learned through the discernment process is that God has gifted me with the charism of teaching. This is what inspired me years ago to start teaching theology classes for our local homeschool group. Now, instead of just reading theology books and keeping the knowledge to myself, I can serve with the talents God has given. 

I think the Church in her wisdom put the First Reading and the Gospel together today on purpose. The First Reading is all about Jesus asking us to serve and the Gospel is all about being salt to the world and not hiding your gifts under a basket. But in order to serve properly we must first receive and then ask God what he wants from us. It’s the old saying, “You can’t give something you don’t have.” We need to make sure we are spiritually fed and filled with grace to go out and preach the good news. Then we need to ask God what gifts he has given us for the sake of the kingdom. 

Finally, the last step is to get out there and do it. Sometimes we discern things so long that we never actually move. Well, God is calling us to move. Little kids love the dismissal at the end of Mass because it is over. I love the dismissal at the end of Mass because we have just received Jesus’ body and blood and God calls us to get out and share it. As Jon Foreman said in his hit song, “I Dare you to Move.” Let’s get out there and change the world one gift at a time. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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Sé que soy culpable de percibir a Jesús de cierta manera o poner palabras en su boca cuando sus palabras actuales dicen algo diferente. Lo escucho decir que quiere que aprenda los hechos intelectuales sobre la Iglesia con bastante frecuencia. Luego me doy cuenta de que lo más probable es que soy yo diciéndome lo que quiero escuchar porque disfruto estudiar la teología. No me malinterpreten, no tiene nada de malo aprender acerca de Dios y cómo defender a la Iglesia, pero en su ministerio Jesús pidió de forma muy sencilla.

 Escuchamos en la Primera Lectura de hoy que Jesús quiere que compartamos con los hambrientos, alojamos a los desamparados y vistamos a los desnudos. Sin embargo, sé que me enojo cuando los hijos de mis vecinos juegan fútbol en nuestro patio porque hace que nuestros perros ladren muy fuerte y a veces despiertan al bebé. Eso no tiene nada que ver con ayudar a las personas sin hogar, pero me molesta algo tan simple. A veces me concentro tanto en el lado intelectual de las cosas que me olvido del servicio. Algo que me ayudó a balancear esto hace años fue darme cuenta de los dones que Dios me había dado para ayudar al mundo.

 Hace varios años, mi parroquia hizo el taller “Called and Gifted” (llamado y dotado) del Catherine of Sienna Institute. Si no has pasado por el programa, lo recomiendo altamente. Una cosa que aprendí a través del proceso de discernimiento es que Dios me ha dotado con el carisma de la enseñanza. Esto me inspiró hace años a comenzar a dar clases de teología en nuestro grupo local de educación en el hogar (homeschooling). Ahora, en lugar de leer libros de teología y quedarme con el conocimiento, puedo servir con los talentos que Dios me ha dado.

 Pienso que la Iglesia en su sabiduría puso la Primera Lectura y el Evangelio juntos hoy a propósito. La Primera Lectura tiene que ver con Jesús pidiéndonos que sirvamos y el Evangelio tiene que ver con ser sal del mundo y no esconder los dones debajo de una canasta. Pero para poder servir correctamente primero debemos recibir y luego pedir a Dios lo que quiere de nosotros. Como dice el antiguo dicho, “No puedes dar algo que no tienes”. Tenemos que asegurarnos estar espiritualmente alimentados y llenos de gracia para salir y predicar la buena nueva. Entonces debemos preguntarle a Dios cuáles dones nos ha dado por el reino.

Finalmente, el último paso es salir y hacerlo. A veces demoramos tanto tiempo para discernir las cosas que nunca actuamos. Bueno, Dios nos está llamando a la acción. A los niños pequeños les encanta la despedida al final de la Misa porque ya se acabó. A mí me encanta la despedida al final de la Misa porque después de recibir el cuerpo y la sangre de Jesús, Dios nos llama a salir y compartirlo. Como dijo Jon Foreman en su exitosa canción, “I Dare you to Move” (te atrevo moverte). Salgamos y cambiemos al mundo un don a la vez.

 De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

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Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Alexander Grey, unsplash.com/photos/eMP4sYPJ9x0

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Is 58:7-10

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn 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!
If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (4a) The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
or:
R. Alleluia.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
His justice shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Cor 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of Spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Alleluia Jn 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”

– – –

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.

Rest Awhile with Jesus / Descansa Un Rato Con Jesús

Jesus’ words to the weary Apostles, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while,” appear just before the miracle of feeding the 5000. Busy tending to the needs of others, “People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.” 

What mother can’t relate to caretaking interfering with opportunities to eat? How many lunches have been consumed over the kitchen sink or consisted of cleaning off the remnants of their children’s plates before placing the dirty dishes in the dishwasher? An equal number of meals have been scarfed down at one’s desk while trying to tackle the day’s numerous deadlines and tasks at work. 

Though engrossed in their mission, the Apostles knew Whom they served and heeded the Shepherd’s call to come, sit a while, and rest. The 5000 would soon arrive, also weary and worn, and Jesus’ “heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Are we like sheep without a Shepherd? Do we allow ourselves to be led by the one true Shepherd or our to-do list?

The feeding of the 5,000 prepared the disciples for the institution of the Eucharist—an anticipation of the glorious sacrament, which will ultimately feed more than 5000 men plus women and children. He would come to, and continues today, to feed millions of weary souls. Jesus provides nourishment for the body and the soul, continually feeding and teaching us many things.

How do we prepare to receive the Eucharist? How do we prepare our hearts and minds for the miraculous moment of Consecration each time we are at Mass? Do we find a time that morning, or throughout our week, to rest in and with the Lord? Do we approach this meal fully present, free from distractions, so we can focus solely on Jesus, who yearns to give you rest and assure Eternal rest in heaven? May we find a “deserted” place to rest a while with Jesus.

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Las palabras de Jesús a los Apóstoles cansados, “Vengan conmigo a un lugar solitario, para que descansen un poco”, aparecen justo antes del milagro de alimentar a los 5000. Ocupados atendiendo las necesidades de los demás, “eran tantos los que iban y venían, que no les dejaban tiempo ni para comer.”

¿Qué madre no puede relacionarse con el cuidado que interfiere con las oportunidades para comer? ¿Cuántos almuerzos se han consumido sobre el lavadero de la cocina o han consistido en limpiar los restos de los platos de sus hijos antes de colocar los platos sucios en el lavaplatos? Un número igual de comidas se ha devorado en el escritorio mientras se intentaba cumplir con las numerosas fechas límites y tareas de un día de trabajo.

Aunque absortos en su misión, los Apóstoles sabían a quién servían y escucharon el llamado del Pastor de venir, sentarse un rato y descansar. Pronto llegarían los 5000, también cansados ​​y desgastados, y él “se compadeció de ellos, porque andaban como ovejas sin pastor”. ¿Somos como ovejas sin pastor? ¿Nos dejamos guiar por el único Pastor verdadero o por nuestra lista de cosas por hacer?

La alimentación de los 5000 preparó a los discípulos para la institución de la Eucaristía, una anticipación del glorioso sacramento, que finalmente alimentará a más de 5000 hombres más mujeres y niños. Él vendría, y continúa hoy, para alimentar a millones de almas cansadas. Jesús provee alimento para el cuerpo y el alma, continuamente alimentándonos y enseñándonos muchas cosas.

¿Cómo nos preparamos para recibir la Eucaristía? ¿Cómo preparamos nuestros corazones y mentes para el momento milagroso de la Consagración cada vez que estamos en Misa? ¿Encontramos un tiempo por la mañana, o a lo largo de nuestra semana, para descansar con el Señor? ¿Nos acercamos a esta comida completamente presentes, libres de distracciones, para que podamos enfocarnos únicamente en Jesús, quien anhela darte descanso y asegurarte el descanso eterno en el cielo? Que encontremos un lugar “desierto” para descansar un rato con Jesús.

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Allison Gingras ( www.ReconciledToYou.com ) — Shares her love of the Catholic Faith with stories, laughter, and honesty as experienced in the ordinary of life! Her writing includes Encountering Signs of Faith (Ave Maria Press) and the Stay Connected Journals for Women (OSV). Allison is a Catholic Digital Media Specialist for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom, and the Fall River Diocese. She hosts A Seeking Heart podcast and is co-host of the Catholic Momcast podcast.

Feature Image Credit: Fray David Carreño, cathopic.com/photo/12444-corpus

The views and opinions expressed in the Inspiration Daily blog are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Diocesan, the Diocesan staff, or other contributors to this blog.

St. Joseph of Leonissa


St. Joseph of Leonissa

Feast date: Feb 04

Joseph of Leonissa, OFM Cap.;  was the third of eight children born at Leonessa (Italy) on January 8, 1556.

At baptism he was given the name Eufranio.

Impressed by the example of Matthew Silvestri, who had left the medical profession to embrace the Capuchin life and whose holiness was evident, Eufranio was inspired to become a Capuchin.  After overcoming family opposition, he was admitted to the novitiate and received the habit and the name Joseph and made profession on January 8, 1573.

On May 21, 1581, the Capuchin general vicar issued patents for preaching, the ministry in which Joseph would be engaged for the remainder of his life.

Relying solely on grace and with a mission crucifix always tucked in his cincture, Joseph negotiated the most obscure, mountainous regions of Umbria, Lazio and the Abruzzi in an intense and extensive mission of evangelization among those who were poor.

Joseph enjoyed such great success in preaching because of his intimate union with God which was cultivated by incessant prayer. He would pray and meditate on the road, while holding his crucifix. Assigned to Constantinople he was appointed as chaplain to some 4,000 Christian slaves who worked in the penal colony of Qaasim-pacha. He immediately went to work bringing the gospel and charitable relief to those who were languishing in inhumane conditions. Many times he offered himself as a substitute in order to obtain the release of a slave who was near death. His offer was never accepted.

When the plague broke out in the penal colonies, the Capuchins immediately took up the ministry of assisting those who were sick and dying. Two Capuchins, Peter and Dennis, died doing so. Although Joseph became ill, he and Brother Gregory alone survived to remain at the mission. After converting a Greek bishop who had renounced the faith, Joseph devised a plan which entailed approaching the sultan, Murad 111, to seek the recognition of the right of freedom of conscience for anyone who was converted or returned to the Christian faith.

When Joseph attempted to enter the sultan’s chambers, he was arrested and bound in chains. He was condemned to an immediate death by being hung on hooks. He was hung from the gallows with one hook through the tendons of his right hand and another through his right foot.  Near death, on the evening of the third day, the guards cut him down.

Joseph quickly left Turkey and arrived at Rome where he and the converted Greek bishop presented themselves to Pope Sixtus V. Following Joseph’s return to Italy, in the autumn of 1589, he took up residence at the Carcerelle in Assisi.

In the aftermath of the Council of Trent, Joseph spent much time and energy catechizing. He began a ministry of evangelization among shepherds who lacked even rudimentary knowledge of the faith, prayer and the commandments. He would walk through the streets ringing a bell, reminding parents to send their children to catechism class.

When he became deathly ill, Joseph asked to be taken to Leonessa in order to pay his last respects to his relatives and friends. On Saturday evening, February 4, 1612, after beginning the divine office,which proved too difficult to continue, Joseph repeated his favorite prayer: “Sancta Maria, succurre miseris.”  Joseph was beatified by Clement XII in 1737 and canonized by Benedict XIV in 1746.

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Heb 13:15-17, 20-21

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.

Obey your leaders and defer to them,
for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account,
that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow,
for that would be of no advantage to you.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R. (1)  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.  
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Alleluia Jn 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

– – –

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.

Climbing the Ladder / Subiendo la Escalera

…knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” 

This reading from Romans for the Memorial of St. Blase is a personal favorite. I love the connection St. Paul makes from my afflictions, whatever those hurtful, annoying, stressful situations in my life may be, to the love of God being poured into my heart. 

One of my favorite aspects is that there are so many steps between affliction and receiving God’s love. God isn’t a big ol’ vending machine in the sky, where I insert a prayer and he sends out what I want. There is a connection between all that is happening in this world and God’s greater plan for us, but we don’t make a single leap to God, we have to climb every single one of those little steps of the ladder.

It is all because God knows us so well! He knows we want it all and we want it now. He knows we will keep making grand leaps and attempting to love with our own strength and will fall with a dramatic flop when we fail. And He knows that isn’t what is best for us. That we have to do it in tiny steps. We have to hand it over to him, one small act at a time. 

When we bear our afflictions with patience and love, we are given endurance. When we endure with humility and charity, our character is proven. When our character is proven, hope arises. And hope always leads to love. Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to live the step that I am on today and trust that tomorrow, you will lead me one step higher. 

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“…porque sabemos que el sufrimiento produce perseverancia; la perseverancia, entereza de carácter; la entereza de carácter, esperanza. Y esta esperanza no nos defrauda, porque Dios ha derramado su amor en nuestro corazón por el Espíritu Santo que nos ha dado.”

Esta lectura de Romanos para el Memorial de San Blas es una de mis favoritas. Me encanta la conexión que hace San Pablo con mis aflicciones, sean cuales sean las situaciones dolorosas, molestas y estresantes de mi vida, con el amor de Dios que se derrama en mi corazón.

Uno de mis aspectos favoritos es que hay tantos pasos entre la aflicción y recibir el amor de Dios. Dios no es una gran máquina expendedora en el cielo, donde le mando una oración y él envía lo que quiero. Hay una conexión entre todo lo que está pasando en este mundo y el gran plan de Dios para nosotros. Pero no damos un solo salto hacia Dios, sino tenemos que subir cada una de esas pequeñas escalas de la escalera.

¡Todo es porque Dios nos conoce muy bien! Él sabe que queremos todo y lo queremos ahora. Él sabe que seguiremos dando grandes saltos e intentando amar con nuestras propias fuerzas y caeremos con un fracaso dramático cuando fallemos. Y Él sabe que eso no es lo mejor para nosotros, que tenemos que hacerlo en pequeños pasos. Tenemos que entregarlo a él, un pequeño acto a la vez.

Cuando sobrellevamos nuestras aflicciones con paciencia y amor, se nos da paciencia. Cuando aguantamos con humildad y caridad, nuestro carácter queda probado. Cuando se prueba nuestro carácter, surge la esperanza. Y la esperanza siempre conduce al amor. Ven, espíritu santo. Ayúdame a vivir el paso en que me encuentro hoy y confiar en que mañana me llevarás un paso más alto.

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Sheryl is happy to be the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever and Lucy, our not-so-little rescue puppy. 

Feature Image Credit: Mike Lewinski, unsplash.com/photos/iURMH0Lrz8Y

St. Blaise


St. Blaise

Feast date: Feb 03

Blaise was a hard-working bishop dedicated to encouraging the spiritual and physical health of his people in Sebastea, Armenia.

Although the Edict of Toleration which granted freedom of worship in the Roman empire had been signed five years prior, religious persecution still raged in the country.

According to a legend, a mother came to him with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Bishop Blaise’s command, the child coughed up the bone.

In another tale, Blaise was being led to the prison in Sebastea, and on the way came across a poor old woman whose pig had been stolen by a wolf. Blaise commanded the wolf return the pig, which it did -alive and uninjured – to the amazement of all.

In 316 he was beheaded for not sacrificing to the pagan gods. The account of his life was written nearly 400 years later.

The Germans and Slavs hold him in special honor and for decades many United States Catholics have sought the annual St. Blaise blessing for their throats.

Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Heb 13:1-8

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.
Thus we may say with confidence:

The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc

R. (1a)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
For he will hide me in his abode
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Alleluia See Lk 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart,
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”

Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

 

– – –

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 Light Enters The Temple / La Luz Entra en el Templo

“And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming…” (Mal 3).

This is what the Jewish people, the Chosen People, awaited and longed for, and what the righteous and devout man Simeon was awaiting for so many years. And this is what we celebrate today: the Lord, the Word Incarnate, who has come to save his people, entering the Temple at last.

But he does not enter as a King or a Prophet or a Revolutionary. He is carried into the Temple as an infant, by his impoverished parents, to be presented according to the law of Abraham, because “he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way” (Heb 2). Like all male children, he was brought to the Temple to be dedicated to the Lord 40 days after his birth.

But this infant is the Light of the World, as Simeon’s words remind us: “My eyes have seen your salvation… a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Because we use lit candles to symbolize Christ, the true Light of the World, this has traditionally been the day that candles are blessed in the Church since the 7th century (so it is sometimes called “Candlemas”). As we celebrate the Light entering the Temple at last, the celebration begins with a procession and blessing of candles and ends with candles being taken back to bring Christ’s light to our homes.

Blessed candles are a sacramental – an object of faith like statues, medals, and crucifixes, which help us remain close to Christ and ask for grace throughout our day; we use them because Faith is not just a weekend or church event, but a light that should shine on every aspect of our lives! These candles blessed at Candlemas can be used at prayer time, during storms and troubled times, and during times of illness. Lighting a candle is a beautiful way to signal to the family that it is time to pray – not just to create a “mood,” but to remind us of the Light of Christ within our homes. Like the fire of love and hope in our hearts, the steady flame of a blessed candle is like a constant prayer being lifted up to God.

What are some new ways you can use blessed candles in your home?

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“De improviso entrará en el santuario el Señor, a quien ustedes buscan, el mensajero de la alianza a quien ustedes desean. Miren: Ya va entrando…” (Mal 3)

Esto es lo que el pueblo judío, el Pueblo Elegido, esperaba y anhelaba, y lo que el justo y piadoso Simeón esperaba desde hace tantos años. Y esto es lo que celebramos hoy: el Señor, el Verbo Encarnado, que ha venido a salvar a su pueblo, entrando por fin en el Templo.

Pero no entra como Rey, ni como Profeta, ni como Revolucionario. Lo llevan al Templo como un niño, por sus padres empobrecidos, para ser presentado según la ley de Abraham, porque “por eso tuvo que hacerse semejante a sus hermanos en todo” (Heb 2). Como todos los niños varones, fue llevado al Templo para ser dedicado al Señor 40 días después de su nacimiento.

Pero este niño es la Luz del Mundo, como nos recuerdan las palabras de Simeón: “mis ojos han visto a tu Salvador…luz que alumbra a las naciones y gloria de tu pueblo, Israel“ Debido a que usamos velas encendidas para simbolizar a Cristo, la verdadera Luz del Mundo, este ha sido tradicionalmente el día en que se bendicen las velas en la Iglesia desde el siglo VII (por eso hoy también se llama “Día de la Candelaria”). Mientras celebramos la entrada de la Luz al Templo por fin, la celebración comienza con una procesión y la bendición de las velas y termina con la devolución de las velas para llevar la luz de Cristo a nuestros hogares.

Las velas benditas son un sacramental: un objeto de fe como estatuas, medallas y crucifijos, que nos ayudan a permanecer cerca de Cristo y pedir gracia a lo largo de nuestro día; los usamos porque la fe no es solo un fin de semana o un evento de la iglesia, sino una luz que debe brillar en todos los aspectos de nuestras vidas. Estas velas bendecidas en la Candelaria se pueden usar en momentos de oración, durante tormentas y tiempos difíciles, y durante épocas de enfermedad. Encender una vela es una forma hermosa de indicarle a la familia que es hora de orar, no solo para crear un “estado de ánimo”, sino para recordarnos la Luz de Cristo dentro de nuestros hogares. Como el fuego del amor y la esperanza en nuestros corazones, la llama constante de una vela bendita es como una oración constante que se eleva a Dios.

¿Cuáles son algunas formas nuevas en las que puedes usar velas benditas en tu hogar?

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and seven grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com

Feature Image Credit: Fernando Vasquez, cathopic.com/photo/15817-luz-de-cristo