Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Twenty-One (Ordinary Time)

In this week’s readings, including 1Thessalonians 4:9-11, Paul has paraphrased all nine “fruits of the Spirit. This harmonizes with his discussion of the “end time” in the rest of the letter and his concluding prayer: May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.[1] Paul is painting a picture of what we are and should strive to be now in the light of what we will be when Christ will come again in his glory. In the Responsorial (Psalm 98) we look forward to it: “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.” The Eucharistic Prayer calls us to be faithful until then. Matthew 25:14-3

Father David's Reflection for Friday of Week Twenty-One (Ordinary Time)

Paul couldn’t put it more bluntly than he does in 1Thessalonians 4:1-8: “It is God’s will that you grow in holiness.” When the Responsorial (Psalm 97) says, “Let the good rejoice in the Lord", it is taken for granted that the “good” are those who are trying to become better. To be in union with Jesus is to accept the goal of his coming to earth: “I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.” God cannot love or give himself partially. To accept him as he is, we have to give all for All. But we do it in stages. Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” He doesn’t say to do it overnight. There are five steps. First we have to accept the new identity

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Twenty-One (Ordinary Time) [Also feast of the Be

[Since today is the Feast of John the Baptizer, the link with the official readings are for this Feast Day. However, Fr. David's reflection are written for the ordinary weekday readings]. The Responsorial (Psalm 90) anticipates the joy that comes with arrival at the “perfection of love”: “Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy.” In 1Thessalonians 3:7-13 Paul can’t thank God enough “for all the joy we feel in his presence because of you.” It is a divine joy, caused by the divine gift of faith he sees in them: meaning grace and “perseverance in and attachment to the Christian way of life.”[1] Their faith is not perfect: “We ask that we may see you... and remedy any shortcomi

Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Twenty-One (Ordinary Time)

In 1Thessalonians 2: 9-13 Paul holds himself up as an example and gives an exhortation to the Church: He reminds them “how irreproachable our conduct was toward you” and how he “encouraged and pleaded” with them to imitate his example by lives “worthy of the God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” The Church is a fellowship — a “common unity” — of mutual support by example and prayer. In the Intercessions of the Eucharistic Prayer we show this support by praying for all the members of the Church, living and dead. We also ask the support of others’ prayers — the living and the dead. And we draw support from the example of those whose lives and victory give us hope: “in communion wi

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Twenty-One (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 139) reminds us to find our peace in God’s knowledge of our hearts: “You have searched me and you know me, Lord.” In 1Thessalonians 2:1-8 Paul, in revealing his own heart, also describes the spirit of love and unity that should pervade the Christian community. It is a spirit of selfless service based on love. Paul’s motives “met the test.” He, Silvanus and Timothy preached “in the face of great opposition,” out of an awareness of mission — like “men entrusted with the good tidings,” who “strive to please God.” “We were not guilty,” Paul says of “buttering up” anybody, of greed or desire for glory, and did not “insist on our own importance as apostles of Christ.” So w

Father David's Reflection for Monday of Week Twenty-One (Ordinary Time)

We all have various things on our mind when we come to Mass. Various feelings about being there. Various feelings about the people we are going to be with. The Responsorial (Psalm 149) recommends God’s attitude: “The Lord takes delight in his people.” In 1Thessalonians 1:1-10 Paul gives a guideline to every community that assembles for Eucharist: We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Does seeing the community assembled for Mass fill you with joy? Do you feel thankful for each one? Glad to be there with them? If so, why

Father David's Reflection for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Good News is For All Inventory How do you feel about change in the Church? Does it upset you when they change the words of the prayers and hymns you grew up with? When they make changes in the way of celebrating Mass and actualizing the sacraments? In the way religion is taught? When phrases from foreign languages are added to the hymns at Mass to accommodate immigrants? Input In the Entrance Antiphon we are really asking God to save, not just us, but everyone “who trusts in you” and “calls to you.” When we ask him to “have mercy,” we are aware that to have “mercy” means to “come to the aid of another out of a sense of relationship.” The readings will clarify the nature of authentic rela

Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Twenty (Ordinary Time)

The Entrance Antiphon urges us: “Proclaim the salvation of the Lord… his glory to all nations.” The Responsorial (Psalm 145) says it is happening: “Your friends tell the glory of your kingship, Lord.” What would have happened if Philip, in John 1:45-51 had not “found Nathanael [aka Bartholomew] and told him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses… wrote, Jesus… from Nazareth”? Would Nathanael ever have met Jesus? Wound up an apostle? Would the people he preached to have heard the Good News? God may have found a way — but not the best way, the way he wanted. And if we broaden the question, how many people are there that God wants to use to “proclaim the salvation of the Lord,” but who just don’

Father David's Reflection for Friday of Week Twenty (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 146) captures the Mass: Praise the Lord, my soul.” Ruth 1:1-22 is a story of faithful love – love rooted in the bond of family relationship. In the story, the bond of the chosen covenant of marriage takes precedence for Ruth over the bond of inherited kinship. When her immigrant husband dies, Ruth chooses, like Abraham before her, to leave her “country, her [natural] kinsfolk and her father’s house” and “go” to the land of the Covenant. She said to her mother-in-law the beautiful words, “Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”[1] These words could be the theme of everything in the Eucharistic

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Twenty (Ordinary Time)

(Note: This reflection is longer because it tries to explain the theology and flow of the whole Eucharistic Prayer). Judges 11:29-39 is the most tragic story of misguided heroic integrity in the Scriptures. Jephthah makes a one-sided covenant with God: that if he wins in battle he will offer in sacrifice the first person he meets on returning home, It is his only daughter. Feeling bound, he tells her she must die. She asks time to “mourn her virginity” — her childlessness — with her friends. Then her father kills her to fulfill his vow. Some elements of this story are false assumptions. Do we think God was “bound” to sacrifice his only Son in fulfillment of the Covenant? That Jesus had to di

Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Twenty (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 23) reminds us Jesus is our God-given king “O Lord, your strength gives joy to the king.” Judges 9:6-15 takes a negative view of kings. In the parable, the trees want “to anoint a king over themselves.” All the good trees refuse rule while the buckthorn (not even good for shade, and a fire hazard to boot) accepts. “The argument is that the best do not have time to be kings; therefore it usually falls to the worthless to accept the role of monarch....” So why would Jesus accept to be King over us? Why would the Father send and anoint him for it?[1] The answer is in the Eucharistic Anamnesis and the Offering that follows it: “Calling to mind... [Christ’s death, resurre

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Twenty (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 85) reminds us:: “The Lord speaks of peace to his people.” The “remembrance” that is anamnesis means making present something from the past. In Judges 6:11-24 Gideon’s memory was not anamnesis. The angel had greeted him, “The Lord is with you, O champion,” but Gideon did not see it. “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? Where are his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us...? For now the Lord has abandoned us.” Gideon was enclosed in the present, where the Midianite raids were devastating the country. He remembered God’s “being with” his people as something past, not present. But the Lord said, “Go with the strength you have and sa

Father David's Reflection for Monday of Week Twenty (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 106) asks: “Lord, remember us.” During the Institution Narrative we heard Jesus say, “Do this in remembrance of me.” So immediately afterwards we go into the Anamnesis or “remembrance” of the three key events that were the climax of Christ’s life on earth: “Father, calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven [with the promise to return intrinsic to it], and ready to greet him when he comes again....” Now in Judges 2:11-19 we see Scripture “remembering” a recurrent pattern of events in the history of God’s dealings with Israel and their response. “Abandoning the Lord, the God of their fathers, who ha

Father David's Reflection for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ministry is a Two-edged Sword Inventory You love God, but how much? For you, is God the “best,” the “first,” or the All? Ask the same question about your trust. Do you trust in God somewhat, seriously, or absolutely? What in your lifestyle “puts your money where your mouth is”? We don’t believe our own words unless we see them expressed in our actions. Input The Entrance Antiphon invites us to both trust and love. We call God “our Protector.” And we say we appreciate him more than anything on earth: “If we can be with you even one day, it is better than a thousand without you.” In the Opening Prayer we beg to “love you in all things and above all things.” This makes God All. We look for God

Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Nineteen (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 16) expresses recognition of God as All Good: “You are my inheritance, O Lord.” Joshua 24:14-29 tells the people to decide. “Decide today whom you will serve.” Will you direct your life by the goals and values of the culture you grew up in —“the gods your fathers served?” Or by the enticements of some new understanding of life you are learning from those “in whose land (social, professional, cultural milieu) you are now living?” “As for me and my household,” Joshua declares, “we will serve the LORD.” If you choose to serve the One God who is all Truth, all Goodness, all Being and Life, you must “serve him completely and sincerely.” To love authentically the God who is

Father David's Reflection for Friday of Week Nineteen (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 136) and Joshua 24:1-13 list the favors God did for his People from “times past” until their entrance into the Promised Land. Joshua concludes: “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness.” The psalm just keeps repeating, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.” Both show the intrinsic connection between remembering what God has done and giving thanks — in word and action. “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving,” the word that, “as early as the Didache and Ignatius of Antioch... came to designate what had hitherto been referred to as ‘the Lord’s supper.’” Its ultimate intelligibility, however... depends on grasping the essential fact

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Nineteen (Ordinary Time)

The Presence of the End Time Questions to Ask Yourself How does the doctrine of Mary’s Assumption into heaven affect your life? Does it increase your faith? In what? Your hope? In what? Your motivation? To do what? Ideas to Consider The Entrance Antiphon begins, “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman….” What does this image, applied to Mary assumed into heaven, signify? She is “clothed with the sun” — the enduring, unchangeable source of all light on earth. And she has “the moon beneath her feet.” The moon is the transitory, the changing light which is, in fact a reflection of the light of the sun. She has “a crown of twelve stars on her head” — which represent the twelve tribes of Israel

Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Nineteen (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 66) alerts us to the greatness of the mystery of God’s promises and their fulfillment: “Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire.” In Deuteronomy 34:1-12 God is about to fulfill the promise he made to give his People the “land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that I would give to their descendants.” But the one who would lead them into it was Joshua. He was “filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands on him.” Still in our day, the Church “lays hands” on those perceived to be chosen for a special work, and “calls down” the Spirit upon them. In the Eucharistic Prayer, after “naming” God as holy, the Church “calls down” the Spirit on the

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Nineteen (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Deuteronomy 32:3-12) “names” the People of God (who have become the Church) as God’s special possession! “The portion of the Lord is his People.” In Deuteronomy 31:1-8 Moses urges the people to enter with confidence into “the land which the Lord swore to their fathers he would give them.” They must not doubt God’s power or his promises: “It is the Lord, your God, who will cross [the Jordan river] before you.” If we really think of what we are doing, we might hesitate to “cross over” from the Liturgy of the Word into the Eucharistic Prayer. There is a definite passage or transition from what could be understood as very human worship of God into an act of worship beyond all h

Father David's Reflection for Monday of Week Nineteen (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial — “Praise the Lord, Jerusalem” — should be our spontaneous response to the other verses in Psalm 147 and to the first reading. Deuteronomy 10: 12-22 urges us to be faithful to the Covenant because the One we have made it with is “the LORD your God” and “even the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, as well as the earth and everything on it.” When we begin the Eucharistic Prayer with, “Father, you are holy indeed...” we hear the words of Deuteronomy: “the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome....” The beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer reminds us of the holiness of God affirmed in the First Commandment. “What does the LORD

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