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FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD Thursday, February 02

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"He wants to see the Messiah”

 

*** 1st Reading ***

 

Malachi 3:1-4

Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts. And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller's herb: And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old, and in the ancient years.

 

Ps 24:7,8,9,10 Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

 

***2nd  Reading ***

 

Hebrews 2:14-18

Therefore because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner hath been partaker of the same: that, through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil: And might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude. For no where doth he take hold of the angels: but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold. Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful priest before God, that he might be a propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that, wherein he himself hath suffered and been tempted, he is able to succour them also that are tempted.

 

 

**** Gospel ****

 

 Luke 2:22-40

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the baby up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem, at this time, a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel; and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So, he was led into the temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law.

Simeon took the child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, "Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation, which you display for all the people to see. Here is the light you will reveal to the nations, and

the glory of your people Israel."

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, "Know this: your son is a sign; a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed." There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father's home, she had been seven years with her husband; and since then, she had been continually about the temple, serving God, as a widow, night and day, in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There, the child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.

 

Gospel Reflection:

"He wants to see the Messiah”

Like many people, I have a bucket list. A bucket list is a list of things you want to do or accomplish before you die. For many of us, the list includes travel or special purchases or career accomplishments. One of the great things about having a bucket list is that it gives you permission to spend time, money, and energy to achieve them.

 

In today's Gospel, Simeon has a bucket list, but his bucket list has only one item on it: he wants to see the Messiah. Even more, the Holy Spirit has promised that he will be able to complete his list. Simeon has been preparing to check off his bucket list for his whole life. He has lived a life of prayer and faithfulness to God's laws. That way of living disposed him to seeing the Lord. We should all have Simeon's single-mindedness. His goals were not wealth and fame and power. Instead, he focused every aspect of his life on the Lord and the Lord fulfilled his promise. Simeon met Jesus and his life was complete.

4TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Wednesday, February 01

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"No human experience is foreign to Jesus."

 

*** 1st Reading ***

 

Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15

Have you already shed your blood in the struggle against sin? Do not forget the comforting words that Wisdom addresses to you as children: My son, pay attention when the Lord corrects you and do not be discouraged when he punishes you. For the Lord corrects those he loves and chastises everyone he accepts as a son. What you endure, is in order to correct you. God treats you like sons, and what son is not corrected by his father? All correction is painful at the moment, rather than pleasant; later, it brings the fruit of peace, that is, holiness, to those who have been trained by it.

Lift up, then, your drooping hands, and strengthen your trembling knees; make level the ways for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but healed. Strive for peace with all, and strive to be holy, for without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See that no one falls from the grace of God, lest a bitter plant spring up and its poison corrupt many among you.

 

Ps 103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18 The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

 

**** Gospel ****

 

Mark 6:1-6

Leaving that place, Jesus returned to his own country, and his disciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and most of those who heard him were astonished. But they said, "How did this come to him? What kind of wisdom has been given to him, that he also performs such miracles? Who is he but the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here among us?" So they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, "Prophets are despised only in their own country, among their relatives, and in their own family." And he could work no miracles there, but only healed a few sick people, by laying his hands on them. Jesus himself was astounded at their unbelief. Jesus then went around the villages, teaching.

 

Gospel Reflection:

 

 "No human experience is foreign to Jesus."

Rejection by those closest to you always hurts more than the rejection of strangers. It can threaten your self-confidence, making you question your value, leading to unimaginable pain. As today's Gospel reminds us, no human experience is foreign to Jesus. By becoming fully human, he shares in our hopes and fears, our joys and our sorrows, even our pain.

As members of Christ's Body, we are called to reach out in love to those who are hurt or who question whether or not anyone cares about them. The invitation to love is present throughout our lives. When we are young, we can invite the lonely children to join our games. The teen years are especially difficult, so reaching out to those who seem different, either as a peer or a trusted adult, can offer encouragement. Given the prevalence of teens who die by suicide, such attention can literally be life-saving. Even as adults, our faith asks us to extend our hands and our hearts to those on the margins, offering people material assistance, but also our time, our attention, and our prayer.

3RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Friday, January 27

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Living in a secular environment, our days are marked by struggle and suffering, and we long for his presence.


The Good News of the Gospel, God is in our midst, active in our daily lives. a Kingdom of justice, love and peace.

St.Angela Merici, virgin

 *** 1st Reading ***  

ebrews 10:32-39

Remember the first days,

4TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Tuesday, January 31

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"Persevere in running the race."

 

St. John Bosco, priest

 

*** 1st Reading ***

 

Hebrews 12:1-4

What a cloud of innumerable witnesses surround us! So let us be rid of every encumbrance, and especially of sin, to persevere in running the race marked out before us.

Let us look to Jesus, the founder of our faith, who will bring it to completion. For the sake of the joy reserved for him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and then sat at the right of the throne of God. Think of Jesus who suffered so many contradictions from evil people, and you will not be discouraged or grow weary. Have you already shed your blood in the struggle against sin?

 

Ps 22:26b-27, 28 & 30, 31-32 They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

 

**** Gospel ****

 

 Mark 5:21-43

Jesus then crossed to the other side of the lake; and while he was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and, seeing Jesus, threw himself at his feet, and begged him earnestly, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may get well and live." Jesus went with him, and many people followed, pressing around him. Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors and had spent everything she had, but instead of getting better, she was worse. Because she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind him and touched his cloak, thinking, "If I just touch his clothing, I shall get well." Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint.

But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd, and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" His disciples answered, "You see how the people are crowding around you. Why do you ask who touched you?" But he kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward, trembling and afraid. She knelt before him, and told him the whole truth. Then Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be free of this illness." While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official's house to inform him, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?" But Jesus ignored what they said, and told the official, "Do not fear, just believe."

And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion, with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered, and said to them, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead, but asleep." They laughed at him. So Jesus sent them outside, and went with the child's father and mother and his companions into the room, where the child lay. Taking her by the hand, he said to her, "Talitha kumi!" which means, "Little girl, get up!" The girl got up at once and began to walk around. (She was twelve years old.) The parents were amazed, greatly amazed. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it; and he told them to give her something to eat.

 

Gospel Reflection:

"Persevere in running the race."

The pain and despair in today's readings is almost unbearable. Anyone who has struggled with chronic illness or who has kept watch at the bedside of a dying loved one can empathize with Jairus and with the woman with a hemorrhage. In the face of illness and death, it can be very difficult to hold on to faith and hope. The sorrow and burden can be overwhelming and feel unending.

But the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that we have to "persevere in running the race" marked out before us. We can only persevere in difficult times by relying wholly on Jesus who will never abandon us in our struggle. Like the woman in today's Gospel, we need to reach out to Jesus' power, letting it fill us and strengthen us to go on. Like Jairus, we must humble ourselves to ask Jesus for what we need. Only by reaching past our doubt and pride will we find the hope we need

3RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Thursday, January 26

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Timothy became the first bishop of the Church of Ephesus.

Titus has the distinction of being a close friend and disciple of Paul as well as a fellow missionary. Titus became the Bishop of Crete.

Saints Timothy and Titus, were called by God to share in the apostolic ministry of Saint Paul, bring many souls to Christ.

 

Sts. Timothy & Titus, bishops

*** 1st Reading ***  

2 Timothy 1:1-8 (or Titus 1:1-5)

From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus,

4TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Monday, January 30

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"We too are called to community."

 

*** 1st Reading ***  

 

Hebrews 11:32-40

Do I need to say more? There is not enough time to speak of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, as well as Samuel and the prophets. Through faith they fought and conquered nations, established justice, saw the fulfillment of God's promises, shut the mouths of lions,  quenched raging fire, escaped the sword, were healed of their sicknesses, were valiant in battle, and repulsed foreign invaders. Some women recovered their dead by resurrection but there were others – persecuted and tortured believers – who, for the sake of a better resurrection, refused to do what would have saved them. Others suffered chains and prison. They were stoned, sawn in two, killed by the sword. They fled from place to place with no other clothing than the skins of sheep and goats, lacking everything, afflicted, ill-treated. These people of whom the world was not worthy had to wander through wastelands and mountains, and take refuge in the dens of the land.

However, although all of them were praised because of their faith, they did not enjoy the promise because God had us in mind and saw beyond. And he did not want them to reach this end ahead of us.

 

Ps 31:20, 21, 22, 23, 24 Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.

 

**** Gospel ****

 

Mark 5:1-20

 

They arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. No sooner did Jesus leave the boat than he was met by a man with evil spirits, who had come from the tombs. The man lived among the tombs, and no one could restrain him, even with a chain. He had often been bound with fetters and chains; but he would pull the chains apart and smash the fetters; and no one had the strength to control him. Night and day he stayed among the tombs on the hillsides, and was continually screaming, and beating himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell at his feet, and cried with a loud voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? For God's sake, I beg you, do not torment me!" He said this, because Jesus had commanded, "Evil spirit, come out of the man!" When Jesus asked the evil spirit, "What is your name?" it replied, "Legion is my name, for we are many." And it kept begging Jesus, not to send them out of that region.

Now a great herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside, and the evil spirits begged him, "Send us to the pigs, and let us go into them." So Jesus let them go. The evil spirits came out of the man and went into the pigs; and immediately, the herd rushed down the cliff; and all were drowned in the lake. The herdsmen fled, and reported this in the town and in the countryside. So all the people came to see what had happened.

They came to Jesus, and saw the man freed of the evil spirits, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind; the same man who had been possessed by the legion. They were afraid. And when those who had seen it, told what had happened to the man and to the pigs, the people begged Jesus to leave their neighborhood. When Jesus was getting into the boat, the man, who had been possessed, begged to stay with him. Jesus would not let him, and said, "Go home to your people, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." So he went throughout the country of Decapolis, telling everyone how much Jesus had done for him; and all the people were astonished.

 

Gospel Reflection:

 "We too are called to community."

The importance of community shines through the readings today. The Letter to the Hebrews recounts the ancestors of the Jewish people, their accomplishments and their struggles. In the Gospel, Jesus' last instruction to the man he has healed is to return to his community.

We too are called to community. Building and maintaining that community seems more challenging every day. We substitute digital connections for real ones. We prioritize individualism and treat self-sufficiency as a goal. The practice of mutual aid and community organization – neighbors helping neighbors – seems to be a thing of the past. We are even more distant from people who are geographically distant or who are part of different social, religious, cultural, or economic groups. That distance is not the reality to which Jesus calls us. We are called to become one body, to care for our brothers and sisters – to reach out in love, service, and concern. Like the man Jesus healed, we can share with others the good news of Jesus that has transformed our lives.

FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE Wednesday, January 25

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St. Paul Said : The gospel I preached is not of human origin.

I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

*** 1st Reading ***  

Acts 22:3-16 (or Acts 9:1-22)

"I am a Jew,

4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME Sunday, January 29

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"Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit."

 

*** 1st Reading ***  

 

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

Seek Yahweh, all you poor of the land, who fulfill his commands, do justice and be meek; and perhaps you will find refuge on the day Yahweh comes to judge.

I will leave within you a poor and meek people who seek refuge in God. The remnant of Israel will not act unjustly nor will they speak falsely, nor will deceitful words be found in their mouths. They will eat and rest, with none to threaten them.

 

Ps 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10 Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!

 

*** 2nd Reading ***

 

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Brothers and sisters, look and see whom God has called. Few among you can be said to be cultured or wealthy, and few belong to noble families. Yet God has chosen what the world considers foolish, to shame the wise; he has chosen what the world considers weak, to shame the strong. God has chosen common and unimportant people, making use of what is nothing, to nullify the things that are, so that no mortal may boast before God. But, by God's grace, you are in Christ Jesus, who has become our wisdom from God, and who makes us just and holy and free. Scripture says: Let the one who boasts boast of the Lord.

 

**** Gospel ****

 

Matthew 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. He sat down and his disciples gathered around him. Then he spoke and began to teach them:

Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Fortunate are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.

Fortunate are the gentle; they shall possess the land.

Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.

Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.

Fortunate are those with pure hearts, for they shall see God.

Fortunate are those who work for peace; they shall be called children of God.

Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God.

 

 

Gospel Reflection:

Lectio Divina

"Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit."

 

Read: Zephaniah promises the exiles of Israel that they will again find peace and contentment because of the Lord's faithfulness. Paul reminds his readers that God does not choose only the wise and the powerful. Instead, he chooses the weak and the poor, giving them strength and wisdom in Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus begins his Sermon on the Mount by teaching that those considered less fortunate in the eyes of the world will be blessed immeasurably by God.

 

Reflect: Our God is a God of surprises. Time and again Scripture makes it clear that God judges by standards very different than those of the world. As the prophet Isaiah taught, God's ways are not our ways.

In our celebrity-driven culture, people seek fame, wealth, and power. People strive for and celebrate momentary notoriety as viral sensations. Those who fail to meet the world's standards are ignored, despised, or blamed for their situations.

But Jesus teaches a different way. He raises up those who are humble, poor, in mourning and persecuted, promising that they will find joy in God.

 

Pray: Loving God, please help me to see the world and its people through your eyes.

 

Act: Log off of social media for one day and use the time for prayer or service.

3RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME  Tuesday, January 24

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Often, we hear the phrase “Brothers and Sisters in Christ”.

Jesus highlights that the primary relationship in life is to God.

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.

St. Francis de Sales, bishop & doctor

 *** 1st Reading ***  

Hebrews 10:1-10

The religion of the law

3RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Saturday, January 28

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Perhaps in our lives, we are experiencing some kind of fear or anxiety.
Where is God in the midst of my distress?

“even the wind and the sea obey him?” who he really is.
You are with me and I trust you.
In the storms, my faith in him will keep me close to him.

 

St. Thomas Aquinas, priest & doctor

*** 1st Reading ***

Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19

Faith is the assurance of what

3RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Monday, January 23

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Jesus said, “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven;

 How can a person be forgiven who refuses to accept forgiveness?

 

Psalter: Week 3/(Green) Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

*** 1st Reading ***  

Hebrews 9:15, 24-28

So, Christ is the mediator