St. Daria: Saint of the Day for Monday, October 25, 2021

There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an Egyptian, son of a Patrician, Polemius. He was brought to Rome from Alexandria during the reign of Numerian, and despite the objections of his father, who had brought him to Rome, was baptized by a priest named Carpophorus. Chrysanthus refused is father’s attempts to get him married, finally married Daria, a Greek and a priestess of Minerva, converted her, and convinced her to live with him in chastity. When they converted a number of …

Bless Me, O Lord.: Prayer of the Day for Monday, October 25, 2021

Heavenly Father, Almighty God,
I humble myself before your Presence.
What a joy it is to come to you.
I thank you and I praise your infinite Majesty,
Omnipotence and Perfections.
Please forgive me of all my sins.
Lord I come to you in my nothingness.
I want to worship you and adore you,
to love you with all my heart,
with all my mind,
with all my soul
and with all my strength.
I want to burn with desire for you like an angel.
I need you my Lord,
I am …

Act of Faith and Hope

Lately, I have been listening to the soundtrack from the musical Hamilton. The song sung by Aaron Burr, Wait For It, has been especially captivating. The song is about how Burr has hopes and dreams, but also feels the weight of needing to leave some kind of legacy. In the tension between wants and oughts, he finds himself unable to pick sides. He keeps his opinions to himself, never fully committing to one side or the other for fear of choosing wrongly. This feature song expresses his desire to be patient, waiting for the moment he was made for, the time he’s supposed to shine.

The problem with waiting like Burr is that very often, the moment you’re waiting for passes you by. Perhaps you don’t recognize it for what it is, since you are so in the habit of waiting for what could be coming next. Or, you never see the moment because in order for it to arrive you had to make a hard choice in one direction or the other. 

In our Gospel today, Bartimaeus is begging on the side of the road. He is blind, but hears the crowd approaching. His ears pick up the words, “It is Jesus!” “Jesus of Nazareth is coming! Quick, get your mother/father/sister/brother so He can heal them!”

Bartimaeus has been waiting, and waiting, and waiting to be healed. He is at a crossroads. Will he lean into hope, or be held back by despair? If he calls out, will anyone hear him? He doesn’t have anyone to advocate for him, no one to draw attention to his case. The crowd is huge, even he can tell that. How could Jesus even hear him, let alone see him? 

But he does call out an act of faith and hope. He is pushed aside, others tell him to sit back down, and stay in his place. “Who are you to ask for a miracle? Why should Jesus heal you?”

A greater act of faith and hope, a defiant one even in the midst of the crowd’s rejection: “Son of David, have pity on me!”

Bartimaeus is bold. His call to Jesus is one with multiple acts of faith. First, he has faith Jesus will take pity on him and stop at all. Second, that Jesus’ pity will move Him to restore Bartimaeus’ sight. Third, and perhaps most important, Bartimaeus doesn’t just call Jesus, “Jesus”. He names Him as the “Son of David”, a title which points toward Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. 

Bartimaeus did not wait for the perfect moment. He was not timid nor lukewarm in his request. Bartimaeus is a model for all of us to boldly proclaim Jesus’ identity as the Lord of our lives and in Him do we place our hope and trust. We should not wait for things to be perfect before coming to God with our hopes and dreams. The perfect moment is the moment we bring them to God, trusting in His mercy and love.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

Feature Image Credit: Lucas Pezeta, https://www.pexels.com/photo/crop-person-outstretching-hand-in-forest-3772365/

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I Jer 31:7-9

        Thus says the LORD:
    Shout with joy for Jacob,
        exult at the head of the nations;
        proclaim your praise and say:
    The LORD has delivered his people,
        the remnant of Israel.
    Behold, I will bring them back
        from the land of the north;
    I will gather them from the ends of the world,
        with the blind and the lame in their midst,
    the mothers and those with child;
        they shall return as an immense throng.
    They departed in tears,
        but I will console them and guide them;
    I will lead them to brooks of water,
        on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
    For I am a father to Israel,
        Ephraim is my first-born.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

R. (3)    The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
    we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
    “The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
    we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
    like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
    shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
    carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
    carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading II Heb 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
Every high priest is taken from among men
and made their representative before God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.
No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
    You are my son:
        this day I have begotten you;

just as he says in another place:
    You are a priest forever
        according to the order of Melchizedek.

Alleluia Cf. 2 Tm 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. 
But he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” 
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” 
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” 
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Is the Spirit Alive in You?

Did anyone else besides me have to read today’s First Reading more than once before it started to click in your mind? I really had to take a deep breath and intentionally clear the thoughts and images from my head because they were obstacles to the Word of the Lord spoken through the writings of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans.

I couldn’t focus on God’s voice being spoken through the written words in these Bible passages. There are many times throughout my life when I’ve struggled with ‘seeing the face of God’ as the Psalm intones today or hearing His voice in my daily life.

There are so many distractions and tasks that can pull my focus from being fruitful for the Lord. When I’m distanced from Him, for whatever length of time, I become similar to the parable about the barren fig tree in the Gospel.  I don’t want to be cut down after three years for not bearing good fruit.

I know there have been times my routines and thoughts aren’t connected to the Spirit of the life-giving Lord. I am so very thankful that there is no time limit for me to leave the concerns of the flesh and world behind, which take me further from God, and turn back to Him. The fertilizer I need to nurture the Spirit of Life in my heart and thoughts I absorb through the Sacraments, His divinely inspired Words in Scripture and in the living witnesses throughout time in this world.

Today is the memorial of Saint John of Capistrano. There were many challenges in the world during his lifetime. Through courage, diligence and faith, St. John became a reformer of the Church. He is a witness for me of the Spirit being alive in his life.

Please pray with me, asking for St. John’s intercession today.

St. John of Capistrano, your love for Christ overcame all obstacles. Help me to cherish God’s call and to follow him wherever he might lead. Amen.

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and a practicing spiritual director. Beth shares smiles, prayers, laughter, a listening ear and her heart with all of creation. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

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Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Rom 8:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus
has freed you from the law of sin and death. 
For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do,
this God has done:
by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh
and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
so that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who live not according to the flesh but according to the spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh
are concerned with the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the spirit
with the things of the spirit. 
The concern of the flesh is death,
but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.
For the concern of the flesh is hostility toward God;
it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it;
and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you,
although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Responsorial Psalm 24:1b-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

R.    (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
    the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
    and established it upon the rivers.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
    or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
    who desires not what is vain.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
    a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
    that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Alleluia Ez 33:11

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion that he may live.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply, 
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way 
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed 
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty 
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable: 
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, 
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree     
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also, 
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; 
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

John Paul the Great and the Love of Christ

What a joy and blessing it is to write a reflection for the Memorial of St. John Paul the Great! Today’s reflection will be on the optional set of readings for JPII’s Memorial.

In the Gospel we hear Christ ask Simon Peter three times if he loves Christ. Each time, Simon Peter responds by saying, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you”. Christ then tells Simon Peter to take care of His flock. In celebration of St. John Paul the Great, I thought I would read some of his writings for inspiration for this reflection. In an address to young people about the meaning of vocation, he said, “Do not be afraid of the radicalness of His demands, because Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give Himself to you, as well as asking of you. If He asks much of you, it is because He knows you can give much.” This reminded me so much of the Gospel reading. Christ asks Simon Peter three times if he loves Christ, not because He doubts Simon Peter, but as an indication that He will ask much of Simon Peter. He knows that Peter will deny Him. But He also knows that Peter will build up His Church, work for the conversion of souls, and instill hope in those he encounters. Simon Peter knew that his love for Christ would entail a great deal of suffering. He also knew that through suffering Christ would bring about true joy in being united with Him in Heaven. 

The Responsorial Psalm is “Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.” JPII did exactly that. He was the most travelled pope in history, visiting about 130 countries during his pontificate and about 600 cities outside of Italy. He began the tradition of World Youth Day, reaching millions of youth around the world. In a similar way to St. Peter, St. John Paul the Great brought the world together through the love of Christ. 

St. John Paul the Great, like St. Peter, humbly led the people of God to greater conversion and greater love of Christ. I think JPII was so well loved because he so beautifully radiated the love of Christ. He was able to do so because of his own faith and love of God. He taught us that when we fully love Christ and give our hearts to Him, we are trusting Him to care for us. 

I’d like to end with one of my favorite reminders from Pope John Paul II: “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us”. 

St. John Paul the Great, pray for us!

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Moises Becerra, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/10017-pidiendo-intercesion-san-juan-pablo-ii

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Rom 7:18-25a

Brothers and sisters:
I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh.
The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.
For I do not do the good I want,
but I do the evil I do not want.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
So, then, I discover the principle
that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
For 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.
Miserable one that I am!
Who will deliver me from this mortal body?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Responsorial Psalm 119:66, 68, 76, 77, 93, 94

R.    (68b) Lord, teach me your statutes.
Teach me wisdom and knowledge,
    for in your commands I trust.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
You are good and bountiful;
    teach me your statutes.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Let your kindness comfort me
    according to your promise to your servants.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
    for your law is my delight.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Never will I forget your precepts,
    for through them you give me life.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
I am yours; save me,
    for I have sought your precepts.
R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.

Alleluia See Mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Fire And Division

Peace and harmony, love and unity and every good thing. Isn’t that what we all hope for, what we pray for, what we sing hymns about?  Isn’t that what Jesus came to bring to earth?

Apparently not.

Jesus says he came to bring fire and division. “I have come to set the earth on fire…! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”

Wait. What?

Fire and division? What kind of fire? What causes the division?

The fire that Jesus wants to set on the earth is not a destructive fire, but a creative fire, the Fire of Love, the Fire that is the Spirit – the Spirit that IS the Fire of Jesus, sent from the Father and the Son. The Spirit that sheds the light of Truth on everything, the Spirit that is the Word that is a Lantern to our path, the Spirit that comes from the Father and the Son and allows God to be “over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6), the Spirit that consumes everything that is not Love so that Love can reign. The Spirit of Love that draws all souls to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. That is the Fire that Jesus came to set on the earth, and why he was in anguish; without this spiritual fire, we are dull and lifeless.

And those who choose this Spirit, those who allow themselves to be ignited with the life-giving Love of God, will be opposed by those who do not! Even within families, there will be division because those who resist the Spirit cannot understand those who surrender to the Spirit; those who are living only a natural life cannot understand those who are living a supernatural life. Households will be in disagreement, but the patience of those who are filled with the Spirit can eventually share that radiant joy and love and unity with others!

So, Jesus ultimately DOES want peace and unity, in love. But not a shallow and superficial unity that is no more than mutual tolerance in order to avoid confrontation or authentic conversion. Jesus wants a communion that is true and deep and bubbling up from the Springs of the Spirit, a communion that is only possible when we are whole and free, a communion that it is everlasting.

In this world, that kind of communion will always encounter opposition. It is our task to reach out to the opposition in patience and love, knowing that the Spirit can make all things new. 

Contact the author

Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com

Feature Image Credit: thommas68, https://pixabay.com/illustrations/fire-and-water-hands-fight-fire-2354583/

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Rom 6:19-23

Brothers and sisters:
I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature.
For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity
and to lawlessness for lawlessness,
so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.
But what profit did you get then
from the things of which you are now ashamed? 
For the end of those things is death.
But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God,
the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,
and its end is eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Responsorial Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R.    (Ps 40:5) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
    the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
    and meditates on his law day and night.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
    planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
    and whose leaves never fade.
    Whatever he does, prospers.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
    they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
    but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Alleluia Phil 3:8-9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father, 
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.