Immersed in Christ: Tuesday 10/31/17

Tuesday, Week Thirty The Responsorial Psalm calls us to be “stewards of the promise” by being “stewards of the memory” of God’s people: “The Lord has done marvels for us” (Psalm 126). To recall this supplies motivation to hope. Romans 8: 18-25 tells us that the only way to view the present is in light of the future. Like a woman in childbirth, “all creation is groaning in labor pains.” But if we look ahead we will consider “the sufferings of the present time as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” Jesus said the same: “When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of ha

Immersed in Christ: Monday 10/30/17

Monday, Week Thirty The Responsorial Psalm shows God in a particular light: “Our God is the God of salvation” (Psalm 68). As “good stewards of the manifold grace of God,” (1Peter 4:10) we need to be conscious of how precious is the realization entrusted to us — that God’s stance toward us is that of saving, life-enhancing love. In Romans 8: 12-17 Paul is describing what “salvation” is. God saves us by incorporating us into the body of his Son so that “in Christ” we might be filii in Filio, true sons and daughters of the Father through the grace of identification with, inclusion in, Jesus who is the “only Son of the Father” from all eternity. If this is what salvation is, then it should chara

Immersed in Christ: Sunday 10/29/17

Preserve the Gift of Love in Hope Inventory What do you ask God for most often? What do you experience him doing for you most often? How often do you ask him for strength? The strength to do what? Ideas to Consider The liturgy today focuses our attention on the love to which God calls us. But it does not presume that we can love as we should by our own strength. The Entrance Antiphon urges us to “Seek the Lord and his strength.” We will find that strength by “seeking always the face of the Lord.” We draw our strength from knowing God (Psalm 104).. The Responsorial Psalm declares that we love God because he is our strength: “I love you, Lord, my strength” (Psalm 18). And the Opening Prayer a

Immersed in Christ: Saturday 10/28/17

Saturday, Week Twenty-Nine The Responsorial verse tells us: “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face” (Psalm 24). This longing is an experience of the Holy Spirit in us. In Romans 8: 1-11 Paul is teaching us that without grace, even if we are instructed about right and wrong and able to see the reasonableness of what God’s law requires, we are unable to keep from violating his law — not because we are not free, but because we are “weakened by the flesh.” All the “roots of sin” inside us — Pride, Envy, Avarice, Anger, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth — drag us down. Cultural conditioning “programs” us to false values, distorted attitudes and destructive desires. External forces in the en

Immersed in Christ: Friday 10/27/17

Friday, Week Twenty-Nine The Responsorial Psalm voices our desire to be faithful stewards who “bring out of our treasure what is new and what is old” (Mt. 13: 52): “Lord, teach me your statutes ” (Psalm 119) — and keep teaching me. Romans 7: 18-25 makes it clear that it isn’t enough just to know the laws of God. St. Paul said, “I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” That is why he said, “I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.” The Responsorial Psalm recognizes this. We ask God not just to “teach me your statutes,” but to “teach me wisdo

Immersed in Christ: Thursday 10/26/17

Thursday, Week Twenty-Nine The Responsorial Psalm gives motivation through hope: “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 1). In Romans 6: 19-23 Paul is talking about profit and loss. What do we get out of sinning? What do we get out of serving the Lord? If we are going to work for Christ as his stewards, what wage can we expect? Stewardship, if we give ourselves to it wholeheartedly, can appear daunting. It is the total abandonment of all we have and are into the hands of God. St. Ignatius has put it into the form of a prayer: Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will — all that I have and possess. You have given everything to me; to you,

Immersed in Christ: Wednesday 10/25/17

Wednesday, Week Twenty-Nine We might re-phrase the Responsorial Psalm: “Our help is in acting in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 124). Romans 6: 12-18 tells us there is no neutral ground between serving God or serving sin. We have to positively take sides and work for one or the other. “Do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness.” We have grown up with sayings urging us to be pro-active: “The best defense is a good offense; an idle mind is the devil’s workshop; live fish swim upstream, dead fish float downstream; nothing is needed for the

Immersed in Christ: Tuesday 10/24/17

Tuesday, Week Twenty-Nine The Responsorial Psalm is the watchword of Christian stewardship: “Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will” (Psalm 40). In Romans 5: 12-21 Paul explains that “just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and with sin death,” so through the act of one man, Jesus Christ — his unique act of dying and rising from the dead — all our sins were annihilated and life was restored — not just human life but divine life, life unending. To be “saved” we have to be incorporated (through Baptism) into the body of Christ on the cross, die “in him,” and let God bring us back to life. We “rise up” from Baptism, not just as human beings, but as the risen body of Jesus, in who

Immersed in Christ: Monday 10/23/17

Monday, Week Twenty-Nine The Responsorial Verse is a hymn of hope and confidence: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, he has come to his people” (Luke 1: 69-75). In Romans 4: 20-25 Paul holds up Abraham as an example — in fact, Israel’s prime example — of faith and hope in God: “Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief.” And as a result “he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God” We were consecrated at Baptism to be “stewards of the kingship of Christ’; that is, to take responsibility for managing in God’s name all that we have control of: our time, our possessions, our energy and talent; to use everything we have to establish the reign of God over every area and activity o

Immersed in Christ: Sunday 10/22/17

The Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Year A The Stewardship of Grace Questions to Ask Yourself What does it mean to treat God as God? Does it just mean giving to God what we owe him? Or is it also important to recognize what God is giving us, believe in what he wants to give us, and gratefully let him give it? Ideas to Consider The Entrance Antiphon celebrates God as the One we can call upon and who will answer: “I call upon you, God, for you will answer me.” It acknowledges how much God loves us, how precious we are to him: “Guard me as the pupil of your eye; hide me in the shade of your wings” (Psalm 16). In recognizing God’s love for us we are doing what the Responsorial Psalm calls for: “Give the

Immersed in Christ: Saturday 10/21/17

Saturday, Week Twenty-Eight The Responsorial Psalm declares: “The Lord remembers his covenant forever” (Psalm 105). In Romans 4: 13-18 Paul tells us that God made his covenant with Abraham, not because he observed all God’s laws, but because he believed what God told him. “For this reason [the covenant] depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham.” Translated into daily life, this means that we enter into authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, not by keeping his laws, but by putting faith in him as a person, trusting in him, counting on his prom

Immersed in Christ: Friday 10/20/17

Friday, Week Twenty-Eight The Responsorial Psalm describes the wise steward: “I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation”(Psalm 32 and see Matthew 13:52). Romans 4: 1-8 teaches us that when we are troubled, and worried about our salvation, we have a choice: we can seek security by making sure we are keeping all of God’s laws; or we can “turn to the Lord” himself and find our security in his love. We can look for security in what we are or we can look for it in what God is. Paul says we are a lot safer trusting in God’s saving love for us than in our own ability to keep his laws. As Christians we are stewards “of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of G

Immersed in Christ: Thursday 10/19/17

Thursday, Week Twenty-Eight The Responsorial Psalm invites us to look at what “redemption” really is: “With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption” (Psalm 130). In Romans 3: 21-29 Paul teaches that we are not made holy by keeping laws. The laws Paul has in mind are mostly the ritualistic observances of Jewish culture. Some of these, like circumcision, dietary restrictions and the minute observance of the Sabbath, were important elements of the Covenant God made with the Jews. But the Church had decided (Acts 15: 1-29) that under the new law of Christ these sacred traditions did not apply to non-Jewish converts, or to any Christians. The inflexible conservatives among the Christi

Immersed in Christ: Wednesday 10/18/17

Wednesday, Week Twenty-Eight The Responsorial Psalm calls us to trust that our efforts for God will not go unrewarded: “Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works” (Psalm 62). Jesus promised that our reward will include seeing (in heaven , at least) the fruits of our labors: “I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Have hope. When Paul reaffirms, in Romans 2: 1-11 that God “will repay everyone according to his works,” he begins by warning the legalists who were judging others for not observing rules. Only God can judge, and when we do judge — ourselves as well as others — we tend to underestimate God’s “priceless kindness, forbea

Immersed in Christ: Tuesday 10/17/17

Tuesday, Week Twenty-Eight The Responsorial Psalm teaches us “stewardship of intellect”: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God” (Psalm 19). As endowed with intelligence, we are expected to use our brains responsibly. Romans 1: 16-25 describes an influential segment of the world’s population: the pseudo-intellectual milieu of those who claim there is no God — or at least that his existence cannot be known with certitude. For them “The heavens do not proclaim the glory of God.” They are blind. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been underst

Immersed In Christ: Monday 10/16/17

Monday, Week Twenty-Eight The Responsorial Psalm gives us the source of confidence in our efforts to renew the world: “The Lord has made known his salvation” (Psalm 98). In Romans 1: 1-7 Paul makes it clear that he is not just preaching some ideas of his own because he feels inclined to do so. His message is “the gospel [good news] of God,” and he has been called, “set apart” to proclaim it. And those to whom he is preaching are not just an ordinary audience. They are the “beloved of God” who have been “called to belong to Jesus Christ,” “called to holiness.” He is describing us. Paul is not just preaching some new human insight into truth. His message was “promised long ago through the prop

Immersed in Christ: Sunday 10/15/17

Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A Being Faithful to Faith Questions to Ask Yourself What do you love most about the Church? How do you experience God’s action in the Church, especially in the way he blesses you? How do you respond to experiences or thoughts that make you feel discouraged? Ideas to Consider The Responsorial Psalm (Ps. 23) sets the tone of today’s celebration: “I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” We are rejoicing in what God is doing and will succeed in doing through his Church. The first and second readings both speak of God’s generosity in providing for his people. The Gospel recognizes that we don’t always recognize or accept what God

Immersed in Christ: Saturday 10/14/17

Saturday, Week Twenty-Seven The Responsorial Psalm gives a guideline for our hearts: “Let the good rejoice in the Lord” (Psalm 97). If the word “judgment” sounds negative to us, we may be making some false assumptions. When Joel 4: 12-21 says “near is the day of the Lord, the valley of decision,” he continues “the heavens and the earth quake, but the Lord is a refuge to his people.” Those who are with God look forward to the day when God will purify the world by separating right from wrong. “Then shall you know that I, the Lord, am your God…. Jerusalem shall be holy….On that day the mountains shall drip new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk.” The “day of the Lord” is something to look

Immersed in Christ: Friday 10/13/17

Friday, Week Twenty-Seven The Responsorial Psalm declares an enduring fact: “The Lord will judge the world with justice” (Psalm 9). In Joel 1:13 to 2:2 the “day of the Lord” does not sound like a day to look forward to! “It comes as ruin from the Almighty… a day of darkness and of gloom.” But it is in fact a day of piercing light: “The Lord will judge the world with justice.” It is the false light of this world, the light of distorted cultures, attitudes and values, that will be revealed as darkness. In the Lord’s “judgment” (the root meaning is “separation”), all will see, as Malachi proclaimed yesterday, “the distinction between the just and the wicked.” As in the famous judgment scene of

Immersed in Christ: Thursday 10/12/17

Thursday, Week Twenty-Seven The Responsorial Psalm makes a flat statement: “Happy are they who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 1). Malachi 3: 13-20 tells us we have an either-or choice: to base our hope on what we see, or on what God says. And the key to it is our time-frame. At almost any moment in history it seems to us that “the proud are blessed” and that “evildoers prosper.” We see the rich and powerful breaking laws with arrogance and getting away with it. This is true of nations (markedly our own) as well as of individuals. But God says: You shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked…. The day is coming… when all the proud and evildoers will be stubble… For you who fear my

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