Immersed in Christ: Friday 6/30/17

Friday, Week Twelve: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 128) is an encouragement both to reverence God and to hope for great things from him: “See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.” In Genesis 17: 1-22 God promises to make Abram (renamed Abraham) “the father of a host of nations.” And he promises to do this through Sarai (renamed Sarah), blessing her even more than Hagar in spite of her vindictiveness. He promises to give Abraham a son by her, although Abraham was ninety-nine years old and Sarah ninety! Understandably, they both laughed at the idea (Abraham in 17:17, Sarah in 18:12). So God told them to name the baby Isaac, which in Hebrew means “laughed.” He who laughs las

Immersed in Christ: Thursday 6/29/17

Thursday, Week Twelve Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles Vigil Mass (from June 28) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us. (Responsorial: Psalm 79) Acts 3:1-10: Everyone knows the story of a pope who said, commenting on this text amid the riches of the Vatican, “Peter can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’” A saint replied: “No, and neither can he say, ‘Rise and walk.’” Since the remark is attributed to various saints, it may be just legend, but it makes us think: how do money and ministry mix? No one questions the need parishes and dioceses have to pay salaries, provide services and put up necessary buildings. The question arises when buildings, their ornamentation, or the l

Immersed in Christ: Wednesday 6/28/17

Wednesday, Week Twelve: View Today's Readings When the Responsorial (Psalm 105) tells us “The Lord remembers his covenant forever,” this is an echo of the “virtual definition of God” that God gave us when he showed his “glory” to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”[1] Genesis 15: 1-18 shows us the beginning of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants: Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able… So shall your descendants be… I am the LORD who brought you from Ur… to give you this land to possess. But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" Then God told him to offer a sacrifice

Immersed in Christ: Tuesday 6/27/17

Tuesday, Week Twelve: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 15) declares the fruit of “justice”: “Those who do justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” For Christians “justice” means living up to the identification with Christ that Baptism gave us. Genesis 13: 2-18 shows us Abram seeking peace and good relationships with his nephew Lot. Abram and Lot were coming into conflict over grazing rights. So Abram told Lot to choose whatever territory he wanted: Let there be no strife between you and me… for we are kindred… If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left. Our baptismal consecration as priests commits us

Immersed in Christ: Monday 6/26/17

Monday, Week Twelve: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 33) situates our relationship with God within the context of a whole community’s relationship with God: “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.” In Genesis 12: 1-9 we see that from the very beginning, when God chose Abraham he was choosing relationship with a community: I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you…. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you. “Shall find blessing in you” is usually translated “in you shall be blessed.” In Acts 3:25 Peter explains that God sent Jesus to the Jews first because they are the descendants of Abraham. In Galatians 3:8 Paul uses the same tex

Immersed In Christ: Sunday 6/25/17

June 25, 2017 : THE TWELFTH SUNDAY OF YEAR A Grounding Principles of Christian Ministry Questions to Ask Yourself What is the one most important characteristic that qualifies a person for ministry? Who are the most effective ministers you have known? What is the greatest danger in ministering? Do you know of anyone who by ministering suffered spiritual damage? Do you know people who were deeply engaged in ministry and who left the Church because of what they suffered through it? Ideas to Consider The Entrance Antiphon invites us to trust in God in all temptations: God is the strength of his people. In him, we his chosen live in safety. As we embark on the ministry of saving others, which ha

Immersed in Christ: Saturday 6/24/17

June 24, 2017 (The Birthday of Saint John the Baptizer): Saturday, Week Eleven Vigil readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1Peter 1:8-12; Luke 1:5-17 (586) (Day readings: Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66, 80) The Responsorial (Psalm 71) invites us to hope in God’s strength for what we are called to do: “Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.” Christians minister authentically only as the body of Christ. At Mass we join Jesus in saying to the whole world, “This is my body, given up for you.” In this act we surrender our bodies to let Jesus, living within us, express himself with us, in us and through us to give his divine life to others. This sounds presumptuous. Do we really belie

Immersed in Christ: Friday 6/23/17

Feast of The Sacred Heart of Jesus (Year A) Rejoice in the Gifts of Love Questions to Ask Yourself What is your basic feeling about God? Is it fear? Gratitude? Trust? Love? Do you relate easily to the words Jesus spoke to St. Margaret Mary: “I am going to make my home in your heart, where we can talk and enjoy each other’s company”?[1] Ideas to Consider The Opening Prayer puts the message of this feast in a nutshell: “We rejoice in the gifts of love....” On December 27, 1673, Jesus appeared to Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Visitation Convent in Paray-le-Monial, France, showed her his heart, and gave her the message that people should focus on his love. At the time, the teaching of the

Immersed in Christ Thur 6/22/17

Thursday, Week Eleven: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 111) gives us a guide for discerning true ministry from false: “Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.” In 2Corinthians 11: 1-11 Paul denounces people who were proclaiming a distorted version of Christianity. They may even have based their claims on an “appeal to the authority of church leaders in Jerusalem” and carried “letters of recommendation from them.” But since “their preaching is marked at least by a different emphasis and style,” Paul sees them as seducing people away from Christ as the devil seduced Eve.[1] Not all ministers, even accredited ministers, are trustworthy. There always have been and always will be

Immersed in Christ Wed 6/21/17

Wednesday, Week Eleven: View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm may surprise us: “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord” (Psalm 112). We don’t think of fear as a blessing. But if we read the rest of the Psalm, it tells us that those who “fear the Lord” will fear nothing else. Their children will be blessed. They will have wealth and righteousness. “They shall not fear an ill report; their hearts are steadfast, trusting the LORD Their hearts are tranquil, without fear, till at last they look down on their foes.” This explains the next line: “Lavishly they give to the poor.” Those who fear the Lord are not particularly concerned about their security on this earth. They know that “their pr

Immersed in Christ Tue 6/20/17

Tuesday, Week Eleven: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 146) encourages us: “Praise the Lord, my soul!” and the readings give us reasons to praise based on faith and the experience of faith in action. In 2Corinthians 8: 1-9 Paul does not just praise the Corinthians for their generous contribution to the collection for the suffering Church in Jerusalem. He sees in their response another manifestation of the gift of grace in them: “you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in the love that we have communicated to you” (Jerusalem Bible). The love the Corinthians show is a love they have learned — or better, seen — in Paul, who reminds them

Immersed in Christ Mon 6/19/17

Monday, Week Eleven: View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm declares the fruit of authentic Christian ministry: “The Lord has made known his salvation” (Psalm 98). The reading from 2Corinthians 6: 1-10 begins by saying that we “work together with him” (Revised Standard Version). The word Paul uses, synergountes, is just one example of many words he coined by adding the prefix “co-“ (in Greek syn-) to verbs declaring what Jesus did. Our union with Christ is his theme song. Christian ministry is not just a human activity; it is the mystery of Jesus himself acting with, in and through every member of his body. 1 When what we do is so far beyond human power that it is obviously Jesus who i

Immersed in Christ Sun 6/18/17

Feast of Corpus Christi: The Body and Blood of Christ (Year A) Sunday, Week 11: View Today's Readings “A Food Unknown...” Questions to Ask Yourself What do you know about Eucharist? What first comes to your mind when you hear the word? Is it “Communion”? or “the Mass”? In your mind, can they be separated? Ideas to Consider Father Bernard Botte, O.S.B. died in 1980. He was a key figure in the efforts to renew the liturgy before Vatican II (1962-1965) and to implement the Council’s teaching in parish life afterwards. He tells us how the Mass was actually understood when he was growing up (he was born 1893). When he was in high school: Every morning there was a Mass in the students’ chapel....

Immersed in Christ Sat 6/17/17

Saturday, Week Ten: View Today's Readings 2Corinthians 5:14-21; Psalm 103; Matthew 5:33-37 The love of Christ urges us on. Paul says, “One died for all; therefore, all have died.” This is the mystery of Baptism. When Jesus hung on the cross, we were in his body. Because he took us into his body with all of our sins, “he who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” “For anyone who is in Christ, everything old has passed away.” When we died in Christ our sins were “taken away,” annihilated. We have no record of past sins. Through the death of Christ, “God has reconciled us to himself.” Completely. Totally. Even though we still have some w

Immersed in Christ: Friday 6/16/17

Friday, Week Ten 2Corinthians 4:7-15; Psalm 116; Matthew 5:27-32 We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear... Christian ministry is an extraordinary power: the power to give and enhance divine life. It must be “made clear that this power belongs to God and does not come from us.” What makes that clear? The answer lies in the principle, “The absence of the human reveals the presence of the divine.” The absence of a human father in the virginity of Mary revealed that the Father of Jesus was God. The absence of human resources when Jesus sent his disciples out on mission revealed that they were relying on God. The absence of any human explanation for the radical lifestyle

Immersed in Christ: Thursday 6/15/17

Thursday, Week Ten 2Corinthians 3:15 to 4:1, 3-6; Psalm 85; Matthew 5:1-20-26 All of us, gazing… on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed. St. Ignatius (of Loyola) suggest we divide Scripture texts into “bullet points” for meditation. If these reflections have helped you up to now, you should be able to get more out of meditating on what St. Paul says here than by reading my thoughts on it. Try thinking about the points below: The Gospel [is the light] of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ. And all of us, with unveiled face

Immersed in Christ: Wednesday 6/14/17

Wednesday, Week Ten 2Corinthians 3:4-11; Psalm 99; Matthew 5:17-19 God… has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit… the Spirit gives life. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” He needed to say that, because, as a matter of fact, he did not observe all the Jewish laws—at least, as they were interpreted in his time (see Matthew 9:11; 12:1, 10; John 8:5). Jesus respected laws—so much that he always tried to obey them in a way that achieved the purpose of the law. Catholic theology has recognized for centuries that sometimes, due to circumstances, it will actually do harm and f

Immersed in Christ: Tuesday 6/13/17

Tuesday, Week Ten 2Corinthians 1:18-22; Psalm 119; Matthew 5:13-16 Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. Ministry is essentially surrender to letting God express himself in and through our physical human actions. The light we are sent to share is the truth of God that we know by sharing in God’s own act of knowing. This is the gift of divine faith. But God’s light has to be translated into words (or actions) to be understood. To make that translation for others is ministry. Ministry does two things: it gives life to others and to ourselves; and it gives glory to God. We quoted Francis above: “Life grows by being given away, a

Immersed in Christ: Monday 6/12/17

Monday, Week Ten 2Corinthians 1:1-7; Psalm 34; Matthew 5:1-12 The God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction… The word translated here as encouragement, or in other translations as consolation, or comfort, is paraklesis from the Greek kaleo, to call, and para, which means “by the side of.” The word used in John’s Gospel for the Holy Spirit is parakletos, “the one who is called to one’s side,” or “Advocate” (see 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7, and 1John 2:1). Paul uses it, as he does here, as paraklesis, a “calling to one's aid” for encouragement or comfort. The interesting thing is that in today’s short reading (seven verses) the word occurs ten times. This tells us somethi

Immersed in Christ: Sunday 6/11/17

TRINITY SUNDAY OF YEAR A 2017: Tenth Week of the Year “To Know the Mystery of Your Life....” Questions to Ask Yourself How central to your spirituality is the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity? How much are your actions and choices influenced by what God actually is: three Persons in one God? How does this trinity of Persons enter into your prayer? Ideas to Consider We were baptized — that is, received the gift of Life as Christians — “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” It is logical to expect we would live in awareness of and interaction with those three Persons from then on. This awareness is cultivated by the one greatest sustaining force of our Christian l

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