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

The Responsorial Psalm affirms God’s unfailing mercy and love: “Save me, O Lord, in your mercy” (Psalm 109). In Romans 5: 31-39 Paul puts all our security in the reliability and power of God’s love. Nothing, he says, “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It makes no difference what others think or say about us, or even what they do to us: “If God is for us, who can be against?… It is God who acquits us; who will condemn?” What can anyone do that will separate us from the love of Christ? That is all that matters. All we need to concern ourselves with is persevering in faith, hope and love, serving God as faithful stewards of all that has been entrusted t

Father David's Reflection for Wedneday of Week Thirty (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm pinpoints the source of our hope: “My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy” (Psalm 13). In Romans 8: 26-30 Paul is saying that salvation is the work of God and a gift. It is clear in Scripture and Catholic teaching that God offers everyone the grace to be saved. He “desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Timothy 2:4). But Paul gives a progression: “Those God foreknew he also predestined… called… justified… glorified.” It stands to reason that if God foresees that someone is not going to accept greater graces, God will not offer them (Matthew 7:6). But those whom he foresees will respond, he chooses as he chose Paul “from his mother’s womb”

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

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 having brought a human

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

The Responsorial Psalm shows God in a particular light: “Their message goes out through all the earth.” (Psalm 19). 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 characteriz

Father David's Reflection for Sunday of Week Thirty (Ordinary Time)

Stewards of God’s Love Inventory What do you see God doing about the suffering in the world caused by “humans’ inhumanity to humans” — war and the causes of war; exploitation of the weak; indifference to the poor; various types of discrimination in social life and business; unjust or unfeeling treatment of employees; irresponsible workmanship, absenteeism, and slacking on the job; continued patronage of businesses that proliferate degrading advertisements, destroy natural resources and outsource to countries whose laws do not protect workers, children or the environment? The list could go on and on. When you see pain in the world, do you look for the causes? God does. Input The liturgy today

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

The Responsorial Psalm 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 environment entice or intimid

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

The Responsorial Psalm voices our desire to be faithful stewards who “bring out of our treasure what is new and what is old” (Matthew 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 wisdom,” the gift of appre

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

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 wholehearted, 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, O Lord, I return it. All is yours; dispose of it tota

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

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 take sides positively 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 triumph of evil but for good

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

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 whom Jesus continues his pres

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

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 of human life on earth.

Father David's Reflection for Sunday of Week Twenty-Nine (Ordinary Time)

Managing Power in Weakness Inventory How much confidence do I have in prayer to actually accomplish anything? How much time do I give to intercessory prayer (the “prayer of asking”)? Do I consider prayer a “last resort” — as when people say, “There’s nothing to do now but pray!”? Would I prefer to act through earthly power or through prayer? Input The Entrance Antiphon proclaims that God will answer our prayers: “I call upon you, God, for you will answer me.” It declares that because we are precious to God we are protected: “Guard me as the pupil of your eye; hide me in the shade of your wings” (Psalm 16). The Responsorial Psalm focuses on reliance on God as the theme of the Gospel and Old T

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

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 promises because they come from

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

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 God,” of the glorious trut

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

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 observances 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 Christians who grew up as Jews cou

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

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, forbearance and patience.” It is th

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

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 understood and seen through the th

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

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 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 preaching is not merely a new human insight into truth. His message was “promised long ago through the prophets,” and it concerns the person of Jesus Christ

Father David's Reflection for Sunday of Week Twenty-Eight (Ordinary Time)

Realization through Expression Inventory What encourages you to keep trying to change the world? When you see or hear about the bad things people do, is it your constant practice to remember the good things you have seen or heard about God doing? Do you take note and acknowledge these good things by explicitly thanking God for them? Input The Responsorial Psalm states a fact that the Alleluia verse calls us to celebrate: “The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power” (Psalm 98). Therefore “In all circumstances, give thanks….” (1Thessalonians 5:18). The readings show us people doing this in order to encourage us to do likewise. But if we sometimes fail to give thanks and remember, t

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

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 forward to. It will make

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