Published: Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000
Last Build Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:01:51 +0000Copyright: James Kurt
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Sir.48:1-4,9-11; Ps.80:2-4,15-16,18-19; Mt.17:10-13) “Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace.” Elijah has come, to “restore everything.” The word has fallen like fire from heaven to prepare a path for the Lord to tread. The Baptist has cried out as a voice in the wilderness for us to make our hearts ready for the coming of the Lord. But, sadly, “they did not recognize him and they did as they pleased with him.” They rejected the voice crying to them and attempted to cover over the way the word had cleared before them. He who came “to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob,” was himself turned back; and they cast him into prison and beheaded the great prophet. Yet the way remains open to us. He whom the prophet hailed has come into our midst, and His presence cannot be taken away – even to the end of the age (which is upon us). And we must join with our psalmist today in calling upon Him to “come to save us,” to “look down from heaven, and see,” to “take care of this vine” planted by His right hand. “Give us new life, and we will call upon your name,” must be our prayer, especially in this Advent season, for we must awaken and enliven the path to God the Baptist has served to blaze in our hearts. We must know now Him whom he has hailed. And, yes, with this Elijah and with the Son of Man, we too will suffer at the hands of those who would silence the Word, who would extinguish the fire set upon the earth. But the fire is eternal and its light and power cannot be dimmed, much less extinguished. It will purify those who seek the face of God and destroy those who turn from Him. It cannot be otherwise. Now that the Lord has come, His angels wait in expectation to purge the world. Once more only the prophet Elijah will appear and the flaming furnace his words prepare will be fulfilled in God’s eternity by the return of the Son of Man. In absolute glory the Lord will reign. ******* O LORD, Elijah has come and the way of the Cross has been prepared; your Son is now present to save us. YHWH, rouse your power and come to save us; purge us in the fire your Son has set upon the face of the earth. The Baptist has come in the spirit of Elijah – the way of the Savior is now prepared in our midst. But we must walk this way of fire; we must be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, if we are to walk in the way of your Son. If our hearts are to be turned to you, LORD, we must have faith in the One to come. And this path is one of persecution; it is one that reduces us to straits. For nothing unholy can enter your presence, and so we must be prepared along the narrow way. O LORD, make us strong in following you this day! The Son of Man is now among us, He who has suffered and died for our sake. May the fire of the Spirit He sends, LORD, make us ready to share in His death, and so His glory.
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000O humble child of the Lord whom our Lady blessed with her presence, to whom she gave roses in winter – pray for us who are not humble as you, whose obedience is cold and grown so weak, that she might come to us, too, that she might speak a word to our hearts and we might as children listen and do as she directs, she who directs us only to Jesus, only to His love. Pray this continent be once again renewed by the grace of God; may Our Lady’s image be upon our hearts that we too might proclaim the glory of the Lord and His love for His children.
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.48:17-19; Ps.1:1-4,6,Jn.8:12; Mt.11:16-19) “Time will prove where wisdom lies.” No doubt it lies with God. It lies with the Son of Man, come for our salvation. “I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.” Is it not our essential call to obey His Word, to listen for His voice and follow in His way? Are they not happy who hear the Word of God and keep it? Is this not wisdom, to walk in the way of our Creator, with the One who loves us above all? Does not all our misery stem from disobedience to His sacred commandments? Do we not in this way of our own making not simply lose all love in our hearts? Does this not bring our death? If we would but follow the Lord, our “prosperity would be like a river,” no doubt. Our “descendants would be like the sand,” for “like a tree planted near running water” we would flourish with the wisdom which comes from the font of life which is the Lord, and one would we become with all the children of His eternal kingdom. We cannot expect the Lord to dance to the tune we pipe or wail to the dirge we sing. It is the height of foolishness for the creature to attempt to impose its will on the Creator. But such is our pride, the source of our wickedness. And so, deaf, blind, and empty are we when we seek to turn the order of the universe back upon our God. For “like chaff which the wind drives away” our own foolish counsels can all but come to naught. The branch cannot grow apart from the vine, nor can the tree bear fruit without the water which gives it life. “Happy the man who… delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night.” For then the nourishing waters are upon him; then the light of wisdom fills him – then he shall bear fruit a hundredfold and never taste of death. For the Hand of God will be upon him to lead him to the eternal kingdom, where His wisdom will be proven true. ******* O LORD, let us follow your Wisdom, your Word, your way to eternal life. YHWH, let us follow in your way, in the way you call us to walk. Let us not follow in the way of the wicked, the way which vanishes, but walk with you, meditating on your Word, and we will come to life, to life everlasting with you. If we do not listen to your Word, what fools we are, O LORD! If we seek our own designs and to impose them upon you – what greater foolishness can there be? O let us recognize you as God and not ourselves! And may obedience to your voice be our salvation. John appeared neither eating nor drinking to show us the path of sacrifice that leads to you, that enables us to overcome this world and find your kingdom. Jesus ate and drank for He is of your kingdom and calls all to your table on high. O let us witness to your Wisdom at work in all things! a wisdom we cannot gainsay or deny, a wisdom we must accept to find its light. There in your Wisdom let us make our home, dear LORD, and we shall prosper unto eternity.
Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000O pure Mother, you are she who is full of grace; it is you who have found the Lord’s favor. Preserved from all sin from the womb, overflowing with all His blessings, you are the hope of our race, the one created soul most like to God – pray for us this day, dear Mother, that we might be kept from the snares of the world, from the enticements of the devil. O help us be pure as you, obedient to the will of the Father, bringing His Son into this world by the Holy Spirit’s power. You who now reign in Heaven with the Lord, your only Son, intercede for us who toil on earth that we too might enter God’s presence; you who are blessed to be one with Him, pray the Church you bear be so well founded. Hail, Full of Grace! Your name be blessed forever by all generations.
Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:00:00 +0000(Gn.3:9-15,20; Ps.98:1-4; Eph.1:3-6,11-12; Lk.1:26-38) “He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him.” And she is the sign of such preservation from evil. “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” And so the Virgin Mother is greeted by the power of the Most High. So she is called – “full of grace” is her title. She whom all generations will call blessed is revealed in this simple greeting as having “found favor with God.” And so, “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God,” the Son of her who has been preserved by grace. “In accord with the favor of His will, for the praise of the glory of His grace,” this has been done – she has been immaculately conceived, kept from the stain of sin. Not that she herself might be worshiped is the Virgin kept pure, but indeed she does “exist for the praise of His glory.” “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she has proclaimed… and it is so. She is but the sign that “His right hand has won victory for Him”; she is the instrument through which “the Lord has made His salvation known.” How wonderfully this is expressed in her own words of consent to His call: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Here in this blessed obedience she sets in motion the cleansing of our sin of disobedience she shall bring by the fruit of her womb, a disobedience painfully recounted for us in our first reading – a disobedience which has caused us to hide from the face of God. But no longer will we be trapped in this hell. No more will we flee from the presence of Him who is our Creator, for by her humble obedience, and our own, in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we will have our nakedness covered over and become holy as He. The Virgin is our Mother. She who has “no relations with a man” has brought about the salvation of all men “in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of His will.” And so the curse is removed from us. And so we might “sing joyfully to the Lord,” for “in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice”; through this simple virgin He has brought us His grace. And now we may be pure as He. Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney. Music By Carie Fortney; used by permission. ******* O LORD, the serpent comes to Eve, and we fall; the angel comes to Mary, and we rise – in selfish disobedience we do the devil’s work; in selfless obedience we serve you… O let us be your children! YHWH, full of grace is the Mother of your Son; by your will you have made her pure that she might carry Him who is perfect into this world. We praise you for your goodness to her, for it means goodness to us – it means our salvation has come! With every spiritual blessing in the heavens you have showered us by your grace and mercy, O LORD, by the love you offer us in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. And so we might stand holy and without blemish before you; and so we might be even as Mary our Mother, even as Jesus her Son. O let us be incorporated into your glory, dear God! Our sin has been grievous. We have turned away from you. Our disobedience has wrought your just punishment, LORD. But salvation you bring to us this day by the word of the angel. And so we praise you for your faithfulness in saving us; and so we offer our lives with Mary your handmaiden – in our lives let your Word be accomplished.
Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000O good bishop and wise doctor of the Church – pray for us, that the water that is Christ might pour upon our souls, especially His chosen apostles, your fellow bishops, and fill all with wisdom from on high, leading us away from all lies to the truth that is Jesus. Pray our hearts shall be filled to overflowing with this Word, that the Gospel might be preached by lips anointed with the Body and Blood of our Lord; may the darkness of error be dispelled and God’s pure light shine in our midst. Pray for us, good doctor, pray for us; lead us indeed to the truth that is Christ.
Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.40:25-31; Ps.103:1-4,8,10; Mt.11:28-30) “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” How we do become “weary and find life burdensome.” How we can “faint and grow weary,” “stagger and fall” from the burden of sin and our inherent weakness. But oh how “He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak He makes vigor abound.” For indeed He is the creator of the universe – “by His great might and the strength of His power” all things come to be – and His Son is the redeemer of our souls. “The Lord is the eternal God” and “they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar as with eagles’ wings.” Trust in Him who “pardons all your iniquities” and “heals all your ills.” What a promise Jesus holds forth for those who come to His “gentle and humble” heart: “Your souls will find rest.” We know that the great St. Augustine has told us that only in God do our souls find rest. How we wander aimlessly in trackless wastes seeking comfort for our souls, rest for our weary bodies, taking refuge in the various attractions of the world and the vain promise they hold. How late in life all of us come to the fulfilling promise of Jesus, for any time spent apart from Him is but wasted. And thank the Lord that He is “merciful and gracious.” Thank Him that “not according to our sins does He deal with us.” For what hope would we have then? But this great God who has no equal, who holds the world in His hand, “redeems your life from destruction, He crowns you with kindness and compassion” despite your sins, if you but come to Him as He calls. How patiently Jesus waits for each of us, this only Son of God, this image of the Father and embodiment of His love. How gracious He is toward us poor creatures. Will you not take His “yoke upon your shoulders and learn” from Him? Will you not find refreshment from all your sins and forgiveness of all your crimes? Will you continue to turn your face away from Him who watches over all and weigh yourself down with anxiety? Or will you come to Him, your only hope? Take the light burden of His gracious Word upon your souls and do His will in this world. ******* O LORD, how shall your compassion come to dwell in our hearts, and your strength renew our own? – let us be blessed in Jesus your Son. YHWH, you make our burden light by the Cross of your only Son. He takes our sins upon Himself and carries them away, and we need but turn to Him and walk with Him to find rest for our souls. How great is your announcement to us, O LORD; how great your blessing! For you who are Creator of Heaven and earth promise your own strength to those who believe in you, who turn to your grace and mercy. Our sins you remember not, our iniquities you pardon; and finding no condemnation at your hands, we are free to soar as with eagles’ wings – for what punishment can there be if it comes not from you? O LORD, for all your benefits let all men bless you and your holy NAME. Let us come this day to your only Son and share the blessings upon Him. He will carry our burden in this world and so our yoke will be light. Deep in our souls let us know your compassion, and we shall soar on your heights.
Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000O bishop of Myra, shepherd of the Lord’s sheep who has with a generous heart cared so well for His little ones… all became as your children, for you loved your flock with the love of Christ Himself; their needs were your own – pray our hearts will be like yours, that just so generously we will give to those in need, provide for those in our care. I pray you will see us now as your children here and beg the bearer of all good gifts to provide for all those most in need, that in joy all souls may welcome His coming, ready for the joys of Heaven. May our love be one with the love of our Good Shepherd, now and in eternity.
Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.40:1-11; Ps.96:1-3,10-13,Is.40:10; Mt.18:12-14) “Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers His lambs.” His is the voice which “speak[s] tenderly to Jerusalem.” It is He who “give[s] comfort to [His] people.” For “it is no part of [the] heavenly Father’s plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief.” Like a shepherd He leads us. With great concern He watches over His flock, careful that none is led astray. And diligent is He in finding the one who “wanders away.” This is indeed “good news.” These are indeed “glad tidings,” which make even “the trees of the forest exult.” For He cares about each one of the many of His creatures, and shall bring all back to Him by the sound of His gentle voice. And of His sweet voice we must cry out. “Sing to the Lord; bless His name; announce His salvation day after day.” For all the earth must know that “He shall rule the world with justice and His peoples with constancy.” And so “a voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!” May all hearts be ready to meet Him. When “every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low… then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together.” O that that glorious day might come! “Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.” And so He stands behind us, whispering into our ears of the way we should walk. And so He calls to our hearts, carrying us “in His bosom” with care. And so His eternal presence ever comes to our tired bodies, our fading souls, and gives them life, and brings them back from their straying paths upon this dying earth. And so it is that all “exult before the Lord, for He comes; He comes to rule the earth.” It is only in His eternity that we shall find a home, brothers and sisters. And into these arms He now gathers us. And with His food He now feeds us. Let us partake of His presence in Word and in Sacrament as we await His coming. ******* O LORD, we praise you for the merciful justice and peace you have brought into our midst through your Son Jesus. YHWH, truth has sprung out of the earth, for justice has looked down from Heaven and our redemption has come – Jesus has been born among us. He is the holy way, the way that leads to the splendor and glory of your kingdom. He is as the stream in the desert that cleanses our souls of all sins and so prepares us to dance and sing with Him in your eternal presence. We who were lame now leap like a stag for the blessing we have received from our Savior; yes, we have been forgiven, and are now crowned with everlasting joy. O let your splendor come to us this day, dearest LORD and God. May we hear these blessed words from the mouth of your Son: “Your sins are forgiven.” O let us rise and walk with Him to our heavenly homeland! The parched land cries out to you; let your water pour down upon us that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might blossom forth with His gifts. Strengthened by such grace let us do your holy will in all things.
Sun, 04 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.35:1-10; Ps.85:9-14,Is.35:4; Lk.5:17-26) “A highway will be there, called the holy way.” Jesus is the highway; holy is He! He is the stream that “will burst forth in the desert.” It is He who “strengthen[s] the hands that are feeble [and] make[s] firm the knees that are weak,” that they might walk along His way. It is He who forgives sins. For “no one unclean may pass over” the safe path He makes in the wilderness of this world, and He wishes to “give His benefits” to all of faith. “Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.” “Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing,” prophesies Isaiah. And Jesus says to the paralyzed man, “Get up! Take your mat with you and return to your house.” And what did the man do? “He picked up the mat he had been lying on and went home praising God.” “We have seen incredible things today!” the crowd exclaims in awe, for the great vision of the prophet Isaiah has come to pass before their eyes: before them is being set the path to paradise. “Hear what the Lord proclaims,” brothers and sisters: “Justice shall walk before Him, and salvation, along the way of His steps.” Along His holy way “the redeemed will walk. Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy.” All those forgiven their sins will enter their homes praising God. Yes, the “desert and the parched land… will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song.” We once paralyzed in our sin, by His hand, by His word, along His holy way, shall walk once again. He has come. “Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense He comes to save you.” In Him “kindness and truth… meet, justice and peace… kiss.” In Him we are made whole by the breath of His mouth, by the words from His lips. And now we have “a journey to make.” Now there is a way to walk. Let us remain upon this highway. Let us preserve the healing He has brought to our bones. Let us now live in faith with our Lord. ******* O LORD, tear down the mountains of pride and fill in the valleys of fear that we might come to you on straight paths. YHWH, how shall our flesh see your salvation? How shall we come to your glory, we poor, miserable creatures? Only because you call us to redemption. Only because you desire us to share in your heavenly majesty. And only if we make straight the way for your Son to come into our hearts. O LORD, let us ever increase in knowledge of what is good and lasting, that we might be made pure and blameless for the day of Christ, that we might become as He is, blessed to be called your sons. O let us give glory and praise to you for such a blessing! Restore our fortunes, dear God; may we who have been separated from you and sent into exile be brought back to your holy City, to your mountain. As on royal thrones let us be borne aloft to gaze upon your splendor and glory, O King of all the nations. Great things you have indeed done for us, for now our weeping is turned to joy and we enter your presence bearing great fruit. Alleluia!
Sat, 03 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000O blessed teacher of the faith – may the nourishing waters of our Mother, of the true teaching of our Church, flow upon all souls, calling them to the Lord from whom they emanate; like the waters trickling from the temple in Ezekiel’s vision, may they grow and increase as they travel to the ends of the earth, making all whole, pure in the light of God. Pray that the Mother of Heaven, through whom flow these waters, these graces pouring forth from the Cross of Christ… will pray for us here on earth and see that we are nourished well by the faith brought to us by the holy apostles and still fostered by the shepherds of the Church. May the Lord keep us in His way.
Sat, 03 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000(Is.40:1-5,9-11; Ps.85:9-14; 2Pt.3:8-14; Mk.1:1-8) “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.” And so, “John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” And so comes “the voice of one crying out in the desert,” in the desert that is our fallen lives: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.” Turn from your sins, brothers and sisters. Repent. It is the Lord’s will that “all should come to repentance,” that all should be “found without spot or blemish” on the day of His coming, on the day all “the elements will be dissolved with fire.” With the fire of the Holy Spirit does the Lord Jesus come now to baptize, that what John has cleansed from our souls might be gone forever – that the new person we become by this baptism of water might be made complete, might become hardened and lasting in the furnace of His love. God “proclaims peace to His people. Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.” Hear what His prophet says, for he cries “out at the top of [his] voice” that indeed all hearts might listen: “Here is your GOD! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by His strong arm.” Yes, “the mouth of the Lord has spoken,” and now the WORD is in our midst, walking amongst us as our shepherd and “leading the ewes with care.” The “justice [that] shall walk before Him, and prepare the way of His steps,” has come, and now the level highway that leads to His kingdom we must tread – there is no denying the road that is set before us. Christ is coming, brothers and sisters, and Christ has come. The Baptist has prepared His path, and He, the Son of God, has walked it. And now we await His return in glory. And “the Lord does not delay His promise”; His return is sure. Already we see the “glory dwelling in our land.” He waits for you to come now to Him. In patience He looks for you to turn. Turn to Him now in earnest; with all your soul cry out His Name. “Jesus Christ the Son of God” dawns on the horizon. Embrace His love; walk His sacred path. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Under God" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, may all souls come from this desert of sin to your holy mountain. YHWH, let us be gathered into your barn, into your reign of peace, where, the viper having been defanged, all your creatures live in harmony, glorifying you as God and Father. In your Son let us make our home. Jesus comes into our midst endowed with your justice and judgment, O LORD. And the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire, but His wheat He will draw into His heart. With fire shall all men be baptized – may that fire be for us a purging light for entering your kingdom. The Spirit that was upon John shall anoint all who hear his voice, who seek your way, O LORD and God. And so we must make straight our paths to you, following closely in the footsteps of your Son. O let there be fruit upon our trees! to prove our repentance genuine. Your NAME shall be blessed forever, dear God; in peace shall all your children dwell. May we be covered with knowledge of you, and so live always in the light of your glory.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000O holy apostle of the Lord, model of faith in God and love of the Church, has there been a soul to match your zeal for the salvation of the world? Convict us of our laziness, of our sloth, of our distraction by the things not of the kingdom of God; of what worth are our lives if not spent in service of the Lord and of neighbor? O missionary of missionaries, by your prayer let the Church on earth, which flounders so in empty illusion, be renewed by a living faith that reaches to the ends of the world and banishes all darkness from the hearts and minds of men. Pray God’s kingdom come and reign amongst us.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.30:19-21,23-26; Ps.147:1-6,Is.30:18; Mt.9:35-10:1,6-8) “On the day the Lord binds up the wounds of His people, He will heal the bruises left by His blows.” “Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the leprous, expel demons.” With these words Jesus sends His disciples forth proclaiming, “The reign of God is at hand!” The prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled. The Savior has come. The Teacher is at our side now speaking into our ears, “This is the way; walk in it.” And of all our sins He cleanses us; from all our sickness He heals us. Indeed, “as soon as you call He will answer you,” for He is ready to wipe all tears from your eyes. And what must be our response to a Lord who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” We must be the same as He. We must go forth as He has, teaching, proclaiming “the good news of God’s reign,” and curing “every sickness and disease.” It is our call to make others whole in heart, mind, soul, and body; and so, to whatever need is present – and there are many or the Lord would not ask us to “beg the harvest master to send out laborers to gather His harvest” – we must apply the grace of God. He will do the work that is needed, but He needs us to work through. To what glory all are called; what a wonderful message we have to bring forth! Isaiah, the great prophet, only touches upon it when he cries out that the Lord “will give rain for the seed that you sow in the ground” (see how He will bless your work!) and when he proclaims: “The light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater.” This vision is for all who turn to the Lord for healing. We have been bruised, brothers and sisters. No doubt, our sins have brought wounds to our souls. But the Lord will bind up all these; in His surpassing pity He will raise us all from death as He “rebuilds Jerusalem.” Let us bring this message forth. ******* O LORD, heal us of all ill and teach us to walk in the way that leads unto Heaven. YHWH, we lie prostrate from exhaustion, do we not? We thirst for your presence; we hunger for the Bread you provide. Come to us. Send your laborers to teach us and to heal us of every disease, to bring us your grace. Have pity on your sheep, O LORD! We are broken, but when we cry out to you, O LORD, you hear our voice and quickly answer our prayers. And what promise you make to our waiting hearts! Abundance of blessing shall be ours as you heal the wounds of our sin and bring us into your glorious presence. Seven times greater than the light of the sun will be your light on that Day, O LORD. Streams of running water will fill our thirst for you and by your teaching we will be led in our every step. Come, LORD, fulfill your promise in our midst. Let all men know your reign is at hand.
Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.29:17-24; Ps.27:1,4,13-14; Mt.9:27-31) “The eyes of the blind shall see.” O “that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate His temple.” That out of “gloom and darkness” I might be taken, and come “to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” That I could feel His hands touch my eyes, that I might have the faith to believe they shall be open to His glory… Brothers and sisters, we are blind. All of us. All of us lack understanding. All of us falter in faith. For who among us is there that gazes continually upon the Lord’s presence? Who among us has entered His glory? Who among us possesses no arrogance and has “nothing to be ashamed of”? If yet we toil upon this earth, groaning as we await the redemption of our bodies, then yet do we continue in a measure blind. Yet do we seek His face. And if yet seeking “to see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living,” then yet have we to find it in its fullness; and so, yet do our eyes lack of the light that is the Lord, our salvation. But certainly we are not without hope. Most certainly His hand is upon us even now. Most certainly His presence comes to us each and every day. Clearly His light shines in our midst in the Sacrament we receive and in the Word we hear, and so we can with confidence heed the exhortation of the psalm of David: “Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.” For He comes, and we know this. We are catching up to Him, and this is our joy. Yes, today do we know we shall see Him, for our eyes do glimpse Him even now. In the meantime, brothers and sisters, as we wait, as the light that has dawned upon the world rises to our eyes, as He comes to fill our vision, let us strive to avoid speaking any word which “condemns a man.” Let us know that indeed we “err in spirit” and need the Lord’s light to guide us, and we shall become free of that which blinds us. And we shall be the lowly who are raised to His presence. ******* O LORD, let us gaze upon your loveliness always! YHWH, take us out of gloom and darkness that we might gaze upon your face; save us this day from all evil that into your Temple we may come. You are our very light, O LORD – let our eyes be filled with vision of your presence. O LORD, let us never cease pursuing you till we catch up with you and you turn to us to heal us. So far short of your glory do we fall, so far short. Yet you draw us forth as you walk on ahead of us; yet if we keep calling out to you, you shall answer. Never let our hearts be discouraged as we seek the light of your face. O LORD, let us keep your NAME holy; in awe let us reverence you always. Let us remember your love for us and the understanding your Spirit brings. O let our minds be filled with your light as we wait steadfastly for you to come! Open our ears, O LORD; open our eyes. Cast from our midst all arrogance, all condemnation from our tongues. Let us not be condemned ourselves but come to contemplate your glory forever.
Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.26:1-6; Ps.118:1,8-9,19-21,25-27; Mt.7:21,24-27) “Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal rock.” Sand or rock? Upon which do we build our house? If we “take refuge in the Lord” and enter “the gates of justice,” we shall find salvation in the Lord’s kingdom; if we “trust in man” and “princes,” we shall be leveled with the dust – our house shall collapse and we be “completely ruined.” The choice is set before us. “Those in high places” will be humbled to the ground; those who find refuge in the empty things of this world will find no protection on the day of His coming. But for the “nation of firm purpose,” which “comes in the name of the Lord,” “He sets up walls and ramparts to protect.” And they shall “give thanks to the Lord” as they enter the gates of His holy city. Jesus states clearly, “Only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” will enter His kingdom: the one “who hears my words and puts them into practice” is he who is wise. And the putting into practice is key. Jesus has come in the flesh, and flesh there must be to our deeds. He is real, and we must be as real as He in our love. Otherwise we deny Him. We deny His coming if we do not live His way. God is not across the ocean or in the sky; He walks upon this earth now and must be in our lives. Only this will bring us strength. Only this will enable us to stand when the torrents come and the winds blow and buffet our house – for these have no power over those who are set in the Hand of God, who do His bidding. “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk.11:28). We cannot but think of these challenging words from our Lord, referring greatly to the Mother of God – whose service to the Lord we particularly celebrate in these days of preparation – and cannot but hope to abide by them and become the handmaiden Mary has shown herself to be, that the eternal blessings of God might be ours as well. In Him let us trust. In Him let our faith be set. And let us do His will. ******* O LORD, let us dwell in your House, built on the Rock that is you. YHWH, how shall our city be strong if we do not trust in you? How shall we stand on your Day if we are not your children, if we have not done your will in this world? How can we enter your House and there dwell in peace if we have not the key to your kingdom, if we live not as your Son? O LORD, we shall but fall to the dust and be trampled underfoot if we have only words to offer you. If we have lived our lives in vain, then we have built our house on sand, and it shall but collapse when you stand before us on your holy Day. There is no hope for those who do not come to your Son and put His words into practice. But for those who trust in you and serve you, the gates of justice open up and they enter in and dwell in your presence – these stand strong whatever may come for they stand with you who are the eternal Rock, the foundation that cannot be shaken. Let us enter your House and give thanks to you, O LORD, for you are our Savior and in you we take our refuge.
Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:00:00 +0000O brother of the Rock of our Church, you who brought him to our Lord, you who were crucified on the Cross of our Savior, who shed your blood freely for His cause… you who thirsted for His coming and welcomed Him so readily into your life – bring us also to the Messiah’s side and pray we shall receive Him as well as your brother has done; pray we, too, will abandon our boats, our moorings in this world, to follow the Christ along the way He leads, even apart from home and family. Brothers to the Son pray we become, accomplishing the Father’s will with our lives; capture us in His net this day that we too might stand in His light with all the redeemed of Israel.
Tue, 29 Nov 2016 08:00:00 +0000(Rm.10:9-18; Ps.19:2-5; Mt.4:18-22) “How beautiful are the feet of those who announce good news!” Alleluia! We must have “faith in the heart” and “confess with [our] lips that Jesus is Lord”; but how can we believe in Him and call on Him if we have not heard of Him? “And how can [we] hear unless there is someone to preach? And how can men preach unless they are sent?” Thank the Lord that He has sent the apostles out to the ends of the earth, that “their voice has sounded over the whole earth.” Where would we be without them? “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus says to His first apostles, two brothers. And two brothers Jesus chooses after them, as if He is looking for brothers to call to emphasize our solidarity with Him and with one another. Indeed, we are family in the Lord. We are His mother and His brothers. David’s psalm today speaks of Him who would be called his Son, and illustrates the work of His brothers to come. All are one in Him, through time, through space… for He who is the beginning and end truly becomes our brother. I thank God today for Andrew and his brother Peter, their brothers James and John, and all brothers and sisters in the Lord. I thank God especially for their answering His call, their readiness to respond. “They immediately abandoned their nets and became His followers.” And so strong in the Lord they would become. And so clearly their words would be spoken of Him who is risen from the dead, of Him in whom our hearts trust – of Him of whom we now speak. A joy fills me this day, and should fill us all, for the beauty of the apostles and of their call. For now our ears ring with the love of our Jesus, the truth of the ages. Now through these faithful disciples we have heard “the word of Christ” and find it abiding in our souls. Let us open our mouths and proclaim Him Lord of all! Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney. Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission. ******* O LORD, let us follow where the apostles lead, for they follow in our Savior’s footsteps. YHWH, help us to abandon our hearts, to leave our moorings in this world that we might follow your Son, that He might lead us to the shores of Heaven. And help us to preach as your apostles have preached, to speak of your salvation to all men, that indeed the message of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth and all souls come to believe. O LORD, Jesus has been raised from the dead – let us believe in our hearts that He lives now and confess with our lips that He is Lord, and by our faith we shall be saved and bring others to redemption. The voice of your apostles has indeed gone out to the limits of the world; all peoples are now blessed to hear your Word and so are given the opportunity to believe. May all souls turn resolutely to your Son and follow Him in His way. On the shores of Galilee first came the call from the mouth of Jesus. May He speak to our hearts, LORD, even this day, that we might leave all for your kingdom.
Mon, 28 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.11:1-10; Ps.72:1,7-8,12-13,17; Lk.10:21-24) “The earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.” And so, “there shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. The vision is sure: “The wolf shall be the guest of the lamb… the lion shall eat hay like the ox… the child shall lay his hand on the adder’s lair,” for all shall live as one in the Spirit of the Lord. “Justice shall flower in His days, and profound peace” – such is the vision to which all hearts aspire. Jesus is the fullness of that peace. And so He says to His disciples, “Blest are the eyes that see what you see,” for what “prophets and kings wished to see,” what Isaiah prophesies for us today, is present there before them. And He is present before us. But we can only see and hear Him if we are as “merest children,” else His presence will be hidden from our eyes. He wishes to reveal Himself, desires to lead us to the Father whom He alone knows, to whom He alone can lead us – but to find such fullness of vision, to gaze upon the face of God, to be filled with His wisdom and knowledge as is His Son, we must first fear Him, as He does, and seek to abide by the words and the commands that come to us by “the breath of His lips.” All must be slain that is wicked in us, and His justice and faithfulness shall be ours. “May His name be blessed forever; as long as the sun His name shall remain,” for He Himself is light, and indeed His dwelling is glorious. With judgment and justice He is endowed, and in the light of His wisdom and grace we stand eternally blessed. But are our eyes open to Him? Now should we pray for the Lord’s light to fill us, for His knowledge to cover us, that our eyes may be open to see Him, that we shall not miss Him as He comes. O Lord, prepare our hearts to see you, and the blessing of your presence, your peace, among us. ******* O LORD, open our eyes and ears to your glorious presence among us. YHWH, your Son is our justice; our hope for peace is in Him – open our eyes to see His presence, to see your presence among us. Upon Jesus your favor rests, O LORD, and that favor you would share with all of us; that favor He would share with us if we would but turn to Him with the heart of a child. May we be truly humble, O LORD, truly loving and truly kind, that your justice might be upon us for good, and to your salvation, to your holy mountain, we shall be called. In awe of you let us stand, LORD, our eyes and ears filled with your glory alone. O how shall we bear such blessing? How shall we come to know such surpassing peace? How shall we come to stand in your presence and live in your perfection? Only if your Son reveals to us your glory; only if we are sustained by His grace will we be filled with knowledge of you, our only God.
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Is.2:1-5 or Is.4:2-6; Ps.122:1-9; Mt.8:5-11 I shall treat of both first readings) “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!” For it shall come. “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain…. All nations shall stream toward it,” and there the Lord will give judgment. And His judgment will cause the banishment of war, for all shall be one in Him, and to all He shall grant “shelter and protection,” by night and by day. The coming peace and unity all find on the holy mountain of Jerusalem prophesied by Isaiah is signaled in our gospel passage today as the Gentile centurion approaches Jesus with a request made in great faith. His surpassing faith prompts the Lord to reveal the truth of the coming kingdom: “Many will come from the east and the west and will find a place at the banquet in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” For it is faith that brings us to Him and to His blessings. Certainly the serving boy for whom the centurion intercedes receives healing from the Lord; and certainly all those who “go up to the house of the Lord” in faith shall themselves be gratefully received. I pray we all remain in Zion, remain in “her place of assembly,” and so find refuge from “storm and rain” and from the “heat of day.” The New Jerusalem we know is the Catholic Church, is the faith handed down by Jesus through His apostles and blessed by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We know that within these walls we shall always find peace and protection, and we pray for all to stream toward the truth and the glory found in this House. There all shall find cleansing from their sins; “with a blast of searing judgment,” the Lord has created this Virgin Bride. So, “let us walk in the light of the Lord!” As Jesus remarks to His followers, “I have never found this much faith in Israel,” He is calling them to an increase in their faith. He calls us, too, brothers and sisters, to act more readily upon His commands. Let us not fall short in our service to Him, and the peace of Jerusalem shall just as readily be ours. ******* O LORD, may all souls come to your holy mountain and find there a home of peace. YHWH, peace reigns in your House, and all those of faith find a place there. From every corner of the earth, men shall stream toward Jerusalem, where you dwell, where you teach the nations. Draw all souls into Holy Church. You are the refuge and protection for all who are purged from their sin; all who come to you for cleansing of the blood from their hands find in you a place of peace and forgiveness, LORD. May all swords be beaten into plowshares – the war come from men’s hearts be banished forever. All nations you call, O LORD, and all those of faith you accept into your kingdom. Let us be obedient in serving you that we might find your peace within our hearts and dwell on your holy mountain forever.
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000(Is.2:1-5; Ps.122:1-9; Rm.13:11-14; Mt.24:37-44) “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may instruct us in His ways, and we may walk in His paths.” “Beat [your] swords into plowshares.” “Throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” “It is the hour now for you to awake from sleep,” and to “stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” And even now He calls you to “go up to the house of the Lord” and “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Advent has come, and so we are reminded of the Lord’s coming and our need to be prepared. He will not come in vain, and will not accept any vanity into His kingdom. His is a kingdom of light into which no darkness enters. His is a place of peace where “rivalry and jealousy” and all “the desires of the flesh” find no provision. If in the days of Noah they were blind to the time of their visitation, and so “the flood came and carried them away,” how can it be the same with us, who have the first coming of Christ in the manger and on the cross to stir us to wakefulness? If we live now as in the days of Sodom, how much greater will be our punishment? If we allow our house to be “broken into” though we have His voice calling to our hearts, what could make us think that He will take us with Him when He comes again? It is indeed time to wake from the sleep of sin and “stream toward… the Lord’s mountain.” There we shall rejoice in His grace as His “relatives and friends”; there we shall find the light of His teaching. “For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem,” and it shall fill the earth with holiness. The Lord has been born in our midst. The Word has been made flesh and walked among us. Now we are called to become like Him, to walk in His ways of peace. And so when He returns at the end of time, we will be prepared to “set foot within [the] gates” of His kingdom. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Can We Go Together?" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, let us walk in the light of your Son until He comes. YHWH, let us go up to your House, where we shall find our peace, where we shall find the instruction we need to leave behind all deeds of darkness and enter into your holy light. When your Son returns for us, let us be awake and ready to welcome Him, and He will welcome us into your kingdom. O LORD, let all the nations come to your holy mountain, to the place of wisdom and peace, that all weapons of destruction might be themselves destroyed and war might be no more. Let not any nation raise the sword against another, and let no man fall again into sin. Let us be trained for peace, not war; purity, not lust. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that it shall extend to the ends of the earth. In this time let it come and dispel all rivalry and jealousy, all the works of the flesh. Your Spirit reign upon us, O LORD; let your Son come to carry us to you.
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.22:1-7; Ps.95:1-7,Rv.21:20; Lk.21:34-36) “Remember, I am coming soon!” And when He comes what blessings there shall be for those who have been faithful to Him. They shall eat of “the trees of life which produce fruit twelve times a year,” which grow either side of “the river of life-giving water, clear as crystal” flowing from “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Healed entirely shall they be by the medicine of their leaves. Then, brothers and sisters, if we wish to eat of this blessed, holy fruit, let us not now “become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares.” For the bitter fruit of this earth will only poison our souls with sin and so prevent our tasting the food of the heavenly kingdom. “Nothing deserving a curse shall be found there,” so let us remove all of this world’s bitterness from our tongues. Oh my dear brethren, the promise is great for those who “serve Him faithfully,” who “acclaim the Rock of our salvation,” the Lord, the “great God,” and Jesus Christ His Son. Listen to what our blessed brother John imparts to us today, for “these words are trustworthy and true,” and oh so beautiful: “They shall see Him face to face and bear His name on their foreheads. The night shall be no more. They will need no light from lamps or the sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever.” Do you hear these words? Does the promise take root in your hearts? Oh let your heart be upon His light! Let the glory of His face be all you aspire to, for it is not far from you. “Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us.” For “the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, has sent His angel to show His servants what must happen very soon.” Let us listen to His words. “Happy the man who heeds the prophetic message of this book!” who eats the Bread God provides. His dawn is on the horizon. ******* O LORD, come; send your Son a second time and let us enter your kingdom. YHWH, that we might be able to stand secure before your Son on His coming Day, that great and terrible day that leads to the eternal kingdom! O that we might eat the fruit of the crystal river that flows from your throne and that of the Lamb, that heals us of all our illness and enables us to live forever! O that we might stand in your holy light, that we might look upon your face, your NAME written on our foreheads! O that we might forever reign with you! O LORD, let us sing your praise even this day that we might come to sing your praise always in your kingdom. Let us bow down in our worship and kneel before you who have made us. You are our God, you alone; let our hearts not be set on any of the things of this world but on you who have made them all, that we might transcend this earth and all its emptiness and come quickly into your presence. O let us heed your Word this day and ever serve you faithfully. Glory to you, O LORD our God!
Thu, 24 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O virgin pure and brilliant, you gave your life in defense of the faith, refuting all arguments to its contrary; though you were but a child yourself, you stood strong before your tormentors, enduring the persecution and torture they struggled in vain to muster against you, ever shining the light of purity and truth before their corrupted minds and hearts – pray for those who defend the faith and all those who would explain it away, that the light of pure reason will dispel all doubt and darkness and the verity of the faith be known by all souls on this earth, undeniable as it is by the mind of any man. Pray we not waste words or time but live a holy life before God, giving witness to His presence in the world and in the Church, and come finally to rest on His mountain.
Thu, 24 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.20:1-4,11-21:2; Ps.84:3-6,8,Rv.21:3; Lk.21:29-33) “The heavens and the earth will pass away, but my words will not pass.” Indeed John tells us of his vision that once “the former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer,” he saw “new heavens and a new earth,” which are, of course, founded on the Word of God, given life by the breath of His mouth alone. Yes, in the great Evangelist’s vision there was “One who sat on” “a large white throne,” and “the earth and the sky fled from His presence until they could no longer be seen.” Even as the dead whose names are “not found inscribed in the book of the living” are “hurled into the pool the fire,” even as they cannot stand before the judgment seat of the Lord, neither can this earth we walk upon or the heavens upon which we gaze, for they too have become as corrupted as their inhabitants: all that has been spoiled by sin must be cast into darkness, into eternal death. For all that is wicked must join the prince of wickedness, whom the angel of God chains up and hurls “into the abyss, which he close[s] and seal[s] over him.” And any release from this dungeon is only illusory and brief, for this is the home prepared by the Word of God for him and those who serve him from the foundation of the world. But oh the wonder of the “New Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband.” It is she whom He has indeed prepared for Himself, purifying her as a precious jewel, even from the time she was first conceived in His mind, even since His breath first came upon her. And so it is our “soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord,” and is not happy until it rests in His house – yes, our soul is like a sparrow which finds its home in Him, and like the swallow which in His altars makes a nest for her young. “Happy they who dwell in your house! Continually they praise you.” And in our midst we see your fig tree bloom in the shoot that is your only Son, and your peace does come to reign upon us now. To nothing of this world let us hold but let all corruption pass, that your judgment we may endure, and be found worthy of new life in the Word you speak eternally. ******* O LORD, let us live in your undying Word that we might not know the second death, that we might do your will upon this earth and come to the kingdom of Heaven. YHWH, when the heavens and the earth pass away, when they flee from your holy presence, may we be found worthy to stand before your throne and make our eternal home in your House. Of the New Jerusalem let us be, our souls prepared for the return of your Son. O LORD, we yearn for you, we who are so separated from your glory, from the love that does not pass away. Open our eyes to see your coming, to recognize your presence among us even this day; and make us ready to praise you forever when this winter has passed into spring. O holy LORD, let us die in you; let us die to all the evil of this world and so be made pure as all your saints. Let us not be hurled into the pool of fire with Satan and his minions but be set free from any chain of sin and so be found clean on the coming Day. Let us conduct ourselves ever with your kingdom in mind.
Wed, 23 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O you who were martyred over three centuries of persecution in a country so bitter toward the faith, bishops and priests and laymen alike, native to the land and foreign-born, all innocent souls who suffered even torture in joy, all for the sake of the Lord and His Church – pray we shall be as ready as you to bear witness to the faith with our lives, that all as one in the Body of Christ we will be willing even to die to satiate our thirst for the kingdom and for the salvation of souls. O what joy to be as Jesus, to walk in His steps even to the Cross! No greater blessing could any soul know on this corrupted plane… Pray we shall come with you to Heaven.
Wed, 23 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.18:1-2,21-23,19:1-3,9; Ps.100:2-5; Lk.21:20-28) “These indeed will be days of retribution, when all that is written must be fulfilled.” The destruction of the world and the coming of the kingdom is our clear theme today. It is what is written. It is what must be fulfilled. “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” that “dwelling place for demons,” cries out an angel by whose authority and glory “all the earth was lighted up.” He calls down the destruction of the evil empire that is the city of this world. And the “assembly in heaven” sing loudly, “He has condemned the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her harlotry,” exulting in the salvation and glory and might of the One God, whose “judgments are true and just!” For though “the blood of His servants… was shed by her hand,” “the great city” is “hurled… into the sea” like “a huge millstone,” “cast down” with such “violence” that it shall never rise again. And so, “happy are they who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lord,” who sing “Alleluia!” to the great and wonderful presence of our God in the kingdom that is to come. And in our gospel Jesus warns of the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and of the final destruction of the earth. Yes, “Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles.” Indeed its “devastation is near,” a mere thirty-five years from the death of the Lord. But the devastation of Jerusalem will last beyond its destruction by Rome, by the whore of Babylon, around 70 A.D. – it will continue “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled,” until the nations’ drinking of the cup of evil to its dregs, and the consequent end of this world brought about by the mighty hand of God. And so the blood of His servants continues to be shed, even as the kingdom is on the horizon. “Those in the heart of the city must escape it.” Here is a grave warning. You must rise from the mire of the sin into which the world leads you. For “the powers in the heavens will be shaken”; the walls of the city will be torn down, and you will be exposed and alone. “Flee to the mountains” of holiness; take refuge in “the country,” where the Lord pastures His sheep. Do not give yourself to the ways of this world or the mark of the beast – lust not for the gold in its hands. For she is “a cage for every filthy and disgusting bird”; though the appearance may be otherwise, though the cage may be gilded, the horror within shall be revealed in the last days. Brothers and sisters, we must find ourselves standing with those who “sing joyfully to the Lord,” who “enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise.” On the last day we must not fear “the roaring of the sea and the waves” because of our complicity with evil, but “stand up straight and raise our heads,” ready for our ransom to come at the hands of our Lord. Let His goodness which “endures forever” be fulfilled in our souls. (With arms open upon the cross, we shall find our song.) ******* O LORD, as the great city of this earth is destroyed by fire, let us be welcomed into your kingdom by your Son. YHWH, in you and in your Son our ransom is near at hand, ransom from this world of corruption, ransom to the wedding feast of the Lamb. Your saints have shed[...]
Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:05:00 +0000O father of holy monasteries who dug deeply in the earth, in the heart of man, and laid their foundation on the Rock that is Christ that they might be made in His image, in the image of Him who created us – pray we shall love the Lord as He commands and so be holy as He is holy, truly reflecting the image of our God and living in His surpassing peace. Pray austerity serve well to make us in the Lord’s image, to purge from us all that is not of Him; may we be blessed to serve with untiring devotion and care the will of our Lord in all things, in worship of Him, in prayer, and in genuine love of our neighbor, that the Gospel may go forth to the ends of the earth not just in words but in our very flesh and blood.
Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O successor to Peter, Shepherd of God’s Church, Father of all the churches in the Body of Christ, these you instructed well; these you gave a shepherd’s care… for these and for the Lord you shed your blood – pray for God’s Church even this day, that she shall remain united under her one Lord and Savior, each member serving the good of all as wholly as you have done. Pray we all work together in Jesus’ name and in His blood to do the Father’s will and so become as holy as He, as holy as you were blessed to become. Pray the teaching of the apostles ever ring in our ears that we shall never forget the way the Christ marks out for us, the way of truth that leads to life.
Tue, 22 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.15:1-4; Ps.98:1-3,7-9,Rv.15:13; Lk.21:12-19) “By patient endurance you will save your lives.” Jesus tells His disciples bluntly: “People will manhandle and persecute you.” Some will be “put to death” as they are “brought to give witness on account of” His name – “All will hate you because of me.” Yet in their witness He promises to provide “words and a wisdom” to serve as an impenetrable defense against their enemies… and in the end, after persevering through all suffering, eternal life shall be theirs. John’s vision in our first reading reveals the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise. Even as “seven angels holding the seven final plagues” of “God’s wrath” stand ready to cast these culminating tribulations upon the earth, the Evangelist sees “those who had won victory over the beast and its image” – over the illusory power of the evil one – “holding the harps used in worshiping God,” and singing “the song of the Lamb” who was slain but now lives forever: “Mighty and wonderful are your works, Lord God Almighty! Righteous and true are your ways, O King of the nations!… You alone are holy.” Brothers and sisters, let us “sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for Him, His holy arm.” Yes, “the Lord has made His salvation known,” and as those who stand “on the sea of glass” give praise to God with harps in hand, so does “the sea and what fills it resound,” so do “the rivers clap their hands, [and] the mountains shout with them for joy.” Let us join their holy song “before the Lord, for He comes, He comes to rule the earth”; His everlasting “justice” is upon us. And though we may have to suffer for a time in this world of darkness and sin, where light is shunned by the sons of men, yet even in our persecutions this eternal joy should take hold of our souls so that we know not the suffering from the rejoicing – for both are done in His name, and soon the former shall pass away. Indeed, the song of the Lord is already upon our lips; we wait now only for its eternal resonance before His throne. ******* O LORD, let your will be done in us and our souls be saved, that we might praise you forever. YHWH, let your song of praise be on our lips for the salvation you have wrought in our midst. With the Lamb let us come into your heavenly kingdom. Through all persecution let us endure with your Word within us. What is our suffering in this life, O LORD, when the eternal life of Heaven awaits us and comes to us even this day. We shall rejoice with the rivers and mountains and all the earth, for we shall win victory with your Son over the devil and his illusions – that battle is being won even as we speak. Be with us, LORD, this day, this hour; every hour we toil on this plane, let us toil only with you and for you. And we shall have nothing to fear at the death of the body or our being dragged before the rulers of this age. For we shall never die! For you who are life never die and our home is in you. Praise you, O LORD our God! Do your mighty works in our midst and we shall glory in your holy NAME forever.
Mon, 21 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O holy virgin and martyr, you sang a song of love to Jesus, a song that could not be dimmed, could not be taken away, for you were protected by an angel of the Lord and willing to give your life to maintain your love for Him – pray for us poor souls of this day and age from whom purity is so far removed, who need deep conversion to believe, to see the angel at your side, to know the path to which the Lord calls us, the Cross which is every Christian’s song. So far removed, so far removed are we, and so impassible is the way to Him… inspire in our souls, dear saint, the desire for the incorruptible that beat in your heart, that we too might sing a song to Jesus pleasing to His ears.
Mon, 21 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.14:14-19; Ps.96:10-13; Lk.21:5-11) “Use your sickle and cut down the harvest, for now is the time to reap.” Brothers and sisters, you will “hear of wars and insurrections,” and “there will be great earthquakes, plagues, and famines in various places, and in the sky fearful omens and great signs.” “These things are bound to happen first, but the end does not follow immediately.” The end does not follow immediately from the signs, so do not set your hearts upon them – “take care not to be misled” by those whose seed has no root and so jumps up at any indication of travail. There has been travail throughout human history and the end, which is upon us every moment now, will only be fulfilled at the angels’ cry. When this will be, be assured you do not know. In John’s vision, at the first angel’s cry “the one sitting on the cloud wielded his sickle over all the earth and reaped the earth’s harvest.” At a second angel’s cry another “wielded his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes of the earth… [and] threw them into the huge winepress of God’s wrath.” And so the end comes. But does John see the future only, the past or the present as well… or a time that exists quite apart from our own? And even the angels did not know the time had come until they obediently acted upon the word of their God. And would you yet listen to the anxious rantings of those without eyes, those whose vision does not approach the heavenly reality? The Lord “shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with His constancy” when “He comes to rule the earth.” This you can know even now; of this you can be assured. But when “the heavens [shall] be glad and the earth rejoice… [and] the sea and what fills it resound,” none can say – this word is in His mouth alone, and when the Mighty One shall pronounce it is known to His Heart alone. He has spoken once at the coming of Christ, but when He shall speak finally cannot be ascertained; it is but for us to be prepared for that Day. For He will come again, we know, and the angels’ sickles shall be sharp, and separate with certainty the wheat from the chaff. The time of harvest is at hand. (In the harvest of the wheat and the grapes of the earth at the end of the age is made perfect this Body and Blood of Christ we eat and drink from our altar today. The saints’ flesh and blood become the Lord’s own.) ******* O LORD, when harvest time comes, let us not be fearful but rejoice in the return of your Son. YHWH, you rule the world with justice and in the end your justice will be known. There will not be left a stone on another as you reap the harvest you have sown and cast the unrighteous into the winepress of your wrath. Those who love you, LORD, shall rejoice at your coming, at the return of your only Son and all His angels with Him. They shall rejoice that the end has come and your justice will be fully known. And you shall gather them into your barns. But those who are not your own, LORD, will not be able to endure that day, for they will be anxious and afraid at the glory that comes to rule the earth. Turn all hearts from the empty illusion of this pas[...]
Sun, 20 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O holy Temple of the Lord, preeminent member of His Church, you who were destined from all ages to bear the Son of God, to be His chosen dwelling place… you were weaned into His Temple; there you ever remained, becoming yourself the House of God, where He now ever stays – pray we be built into His Temple; pray we become sons and daughters unto you. In you let us make our home, dear Mother, that the holiness of Jesus we shall ever share. We cannot live in Him if apart from you; we cannot be as Christ’s Body, blessed by the Holy Spirit and doing the Father’s will on earth, if you are not our Mother, if you are not the Temple in which we dwell. Pray our holiness mirror your own.
Sun, 20 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.14:1-5; Ps.24:1-6; Lk.21:1-4) “They are pure and follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” Here is answered most definitively the question David sings: “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?” In John’s vision, the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God “was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him were the hundred and forty-four thousand who had His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.” Here are they who are worthy to stand with the perfect and pure One, for their “hands are sinless, [their] heart is clean”: “on their lips no deceit has been found; they are indeed without flaw.” And so they “receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God [their] savior.” The greatest blessing of all is theirs – remaining in His presence forever. And these holy ones play the thunderous song of praise “on their harps,” “singing a new hymn before the throne in the presence of the four living creatures and the elders.” They indeed have found their place as firstfruits of the kingdom of heaven, singing a hymn no one else could learn. And again, it is their purity, their perfection in the sight of God, that brings them to this holy place. All they have given over to the Lamb, and so He makes them like Himself. And in our gospel we see in the simple widow indication of the spirit necessary to enter God’s presence. She holds nothing back from the Lord, but gives “every penny she ha[s] to live on.” Yes, brothers and sisters, every penny must be paid; all we have and all we are must be given to Him. If we are like this widow and like the holy ones who stand before the throne and give all while here on the face of the earth, we shall come quickly to heaven and find our place in His presence prepared. If not, the purgatorial flames await to take away any flaw in our soul, to remove any selfishness from our hearts – to bring us then to give up all that we yet have to Him, that with Him we might truly be. But the saints tell us these flames are not pleasant. In fact, they say they are much the same as the fires of hell, though they shall come to an end. So let us here and now offer all we have to the Lord; let us seek to serve Him with all our lives, that we might by His grace avoid the cleansing fire and come immediately before Him. Only those in absolute purity follow Him and stand in His place. ******* O LORD, come; send your Son a second time and let us enter your kingdom. YHWH, that we might be able to stand secure before your Son on His coming Day, that great and terrible day that leads to the eternal kingdom! O that we might eat the fruit of the crystal river that flows from your throne and that of the Lamb, that heals us of all our illness and enables us to live forever! O that we might stand in your holy light, that we might look upon your face, your NAME written on our foreheads! O that we might forever reign with you! O LORD, let us sing your praise even this day that we might come to sing your praise always in your kingdom. Let us bow down in our worship and kneel before you who have made us. You are our God, you alone; let our hearts n[...]
Sat, 19 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000(2Sm.5:1-3; Ps.122:1-5; Col.1:12-20; Lk.23:35-43) “This is the King of the Jews.” On earth, our King rules from a cross; in Paradise, upon a glorious throne. O Lord Jesus, “here we are, your bone and your flesh.” May we die with you that we might reign with you in your holy kingdom. “All the tribes of Israel came to David” and anointed him king of Israel. He had been called by the Lord as shepherd and commander of Israel, and now he would finally receive his kingship. And he would make Jerusalem the city of the king, and make it holy when he brought the ark of the covenant within its walls. And so, here on earth David reigned, as God’s anointed. And so Jerusalem becomes the place of worship, within whose gates all rejoice to set foot. And there “are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.” And so Jesus is called the Son of David, for He inherits this earthly kingdom blessed by God, anointed anew to reign from Jerusalem. But, of course, His kingdom is more than that of the flesh, for it is His own flesh that makes it holy – He is the Temple not made by human hands, through whom all things blessed of the earth and of heaven came to find their being: “In Him were created all things in heaven and on earth.” He indeed is the beginning of all things and the fullness, or the end, of all things; nothing, and in particular the Church, exists apart from Him. And to what heavenly rule are we all thus called by His “making peace by the blood of His cross.” By His sacrifice we shall indeed be saved; He will remember us when He comes into His Kingdom. And there shall be true rejoicing, for there the cross shall be borne no more. Having consumed all our sins and the darkness and death of this life, it shall be transformed into the throne of glory. Even now the Lord calls to us from the cross; even now His suffering beckons us. Even now we must turn to Him, our King, in our sin and let Him take our corrupted flesh and bone upon Himself to find the blessed reconciliation of our souls in the hand of God. As His forgiveness pours upon us in His blood, we come to the fullness of His heavenly kingdom and “share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.” Long live our King, who dies upon a cross. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Removing the Log from My Eye" (first part) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, Jesus is our bone and our flesh – may He be our King! YHWH, your Son is King of the Jews – let us come with Him into Paradise, where He reigns forever. By the blood of Jesus’ Cross all in Heaven and on earth are made one, are reconciled to you, O God and Father of all the redeemed. Through Him all things were made and through Him all are saved. May we all come to share the inheritance of the holy ones in light. David ruled from the holy city of Jerusalem; all Israel came to him to make him king. He was a man after your own heart because he sought your will in all things. But it is Jesus, your Son, He who is called Son [...]
Fri, 18 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.11:4-12; Ps.144:1,2,9-10; Lk.20:27-40) “After three and a half days, the breath of life which comes from God returned to them.” And these his two witnesses “went up in a cloud as their enemies looked on” “in sheer terror.” For it seemed they had “conquer[ed] and kill[ed]” the Lord’s prophets. Their corpses had lain “in the streets of the great city, which has the symbolic name ‘Sodom’ or ‘Egypt,’ where also their Lord was crucified.” Fire had “come out of the mouths of these witnesses to devour their enemies,” but now it seemed the truth had been overcome and sin and death had won the day. And so “the earth’s inhabitants gloat[ed] over them and in their merriment exchange[d] gifts.” But their death, as with the death of the Lord, was not to last, was only to show the absolute power of the God of life. And fire comes from Jesus’ mouth today to silence the evil conjurings of the enemies of life. His word is truth and cannot be answered, cannot be gainsaid by even the most unbelieving mind. And what He tells all today is that “the dead rise again,” that death has no dominion in the kingdom of the living God. The Lord is “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” and these fathers of the faith along with the prophets and saints of any and all time “are alive for Him,” for He is but Life: in His reign all His children “become like angels and are no longer liable to death. Sons of the resurrection, they are sons of God.” This truth cannot be denied, will not be conquered. “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.” It is He who is “my shield, in whom I trust, who subdues peoples under me.” As He was with His only Son, giving Him victory in every battle and final victory over death; as He was with His witnesses who devoured their enemies’ lies and rose from the dust after three and a half days; so He is with all who put their trust in Him, enabling them to conquer all doubt and fear, all surrounding sin and death. For Jesus crucified sits now at the right hand of God, and His witnesses with Him; and all who take their refuge in His power, though they die, cannot but rise to life. Yes, they will hear “a voice from heaven say to them, ‘Come up here!’” and will again have the breath of life. Alleluia! (Note on “three and a half days”: more than its obvious similarity to the three days the Lord spent “in the heart of the earth” (Mt.12:40) may be an allusion to His approximately thirty-five years spent on this earth (which is half the span of a human life – “seventy is the sum of our years” (Ps.90:10)), itself a kind of death for Him.) ******* O LORD, let us be set free from death; raised from the grave, may we praise your NAME forever with your angels and your saints. YHWH, what need we fear if you are with us, you who hold even death in your hand? If we serve as your witnesses, we will be united to you who are life; and even though we die, in the sight of our enemies, in the sight of the devil and death its[...]
Thu, 17 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O woman who prayed always and had great mercy on souls, whose missionary zeal led you across the ocean, thousands of miles from your home, to educate the poor and care for the sick, to bring the love of Jesus to those most in need – pray we too shall have a heart set on service of the Lord and remembrance of His presence, that our concern for those apart from Christ will drive us to great ends, even to the ends of the earth, where certainly He dwells. Pray we shall have your courage in facing the unknown, in calling all home to the Heart of God; and through all we do for Him let us remain in prayer, knowing His Heaven here on earth.
Thu, 17 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.10:8-11; Ps.119:14,24,72,103,111,131; Lk.19:45-48) “I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands.” In our first reading, John is told to “take the open scroll from the hand of the angel” and to “eat it.” In his mouth “it tasted as sweet as honey.” And now he who has eaten of the blessed word of God “must prophesy,” must speak the words upon the scroll, despite the sour stomach, the persecutions, it will inevitably bring. In our gospel we hear that “the entire populace was listening to [Jesus] and hanging on His words” as He taught daily in the temple. The Lord has cleansed the temple of the impure forces at work within it, and for this and for His speaking the irresistible words of Truth He shall know the sour stomach of persecution – the cross is now quite close on the horizon as the leaders of the people seek “a way to destroy Him.” O Lord, “how sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” “The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” “Your decrees are my delight,” “the joy of my heart,” and despite the cross I find in consuming and then having to proclaim them, I shall not cease to eat of your glorious presence. Day to day you come to me. Moment to moment you whisper in my ear. You speak to my heart your wondrous promises, instilling faith and hope in my soul, and I shall not turn back from loving you. May all “peoples, nations, languages, and kings” know of your greatness; may all embrace the inheritance you offer by the death of sin in our lives. Open your mouth, brothers and sisters, and He will fill it. He will feed you with the food that comes without cost; the sweet Bread of Heaven shall be yours. Even at His altars and from His pulpits it is today offered forth. Eat, and it will bring life to your soul, life that lasts beyond the destruction of the world. ******* O LORD, let us listen devoutly to your Word that we might be cleansed of sin and made whole in your sight. YHWH, your words are sweeter to us than honey, and your NAME the sweetest Word of all. Speak to our soul this very day; let us hear your truth in our heart, though it bring persecution and trial. As your Son let us be, O LORD, unafraid of the Cross which comes from doing your will. Let our concern be to cleanse your Temple, to make your House a house of prayer, though it bring the body’s destruction. We are in your Temple, O LORD, and you call us to eat of your words and partake of your Son’s Body and Blood. This gives life to our very spirits, a life that does not pass away. Be our inheritance, all that we desire in this land. LORD, we are unworthy to proclaim your words, to receive them in our souls and speak them to the world. How can we prophesy in your holy NAME? Let your Son be with us every step of the way; may His blood strengthen our service.
Wed, 16 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O charitable soul who gave all you owned for the sake of the Gospel, though endowed with great riches you embraced lady poverty that you might serve the Lord with a heart beating for the poor. With your own hands you tended the sickest; into your own home you welcomed the most destitute – pray that in our small way we too may follow in the footsteps of Christ and give our lives to the poor whom He loves and to prayer in His presence. Pray our hearts, too, may know His tender care for souls and our own souls meditate upon Him night and day; pray we too shall give up all to find His holy kingdom.
Wed, 16 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.5:1-10; Ps.149:1-6,9,Rv.5:10; Lk.19:41-44) “Do not weep. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has won the right by His victory to open the scroll with its seven seals.” “Jesus wept over” Jerusalem “because [she] failed to recognize the time of [her] visitation”; and so she will be destroyed, and so her enemies will “leave not a stone on a stone within” her walls. And John “wept bitterly because no one could be found to open or examine the scroll” “in the right hand of the One who sat on the throne.” The scroll “had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals.” How wonderful it must be! But “who is worthy to open” it? The tears of both will be appeased, both by the One. For whom does John see appear at the throne of God but “a Lamb standing, a Lamb that had been slain” – Jesus, our Savior! who is on His way even in our gospel today to conquer death, to receive the wounds John witnesses, that by His blood He may purchase for God “men of every race and tongue, of every people and nation”… that He might take the destruction of Jerusalem upon Himself and thus redeem her from annihilation. Because of His sacrifice, He is able to read the wisdom of the ages to all waiting hearts, for that wisdom is known only in such dying, only in His redeeming love. And so, let us join with the elders who fall “down before the Lamb.” Let our prayer unite with “the prayers of God’s holy people,” which rise up like “aromatic spices” before the throne of the One on high. Let us sing the new hymn unto the Lamb who was slain for our sins and so saved us from all tears. “Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful.” Weep no more but “let the high praises of God be in [your] throats” and “praise His name in the festive dance.” How great is our God! How profound is the revelation of His wonders in our midst! What joy do we find in His blood! His wounds bring us victory over death, and we reign now in the New Jerusalem as priests in the service of our King, joining ourselves ever to His sacrifice, finding ever the wisdom only He brings. ******* O LORD, offering the sacrifice of your only Son, we become priests in your Temple; this blood we shed He makes holy by His love. YHWH, you have made us a kingdom of priests who offer continually to you the blood of your Son in our holy prayer. O LORD, it is we who have slaughtered Jesus, your Lamb, we who by our blindness have caused Him to be pressed hard from every side, not a stone left on a stone in this holiest Temple… Yet by His willing acceptance of our sins He washes clean the blood upon our unholy hands and redeems our souls from destruction. By His blessed sacrifice He makes us holy, as holy becomes the sacrifice we make. O how can we fathom your love for us, dear LORD? How can we plumb the depths of your Son’s sacrifice? We are left with nothing but high praises for you in our throat! O[...]
Tue, 15 Nov 2016 20:05:00 +0000O blessed mystic of Jesus, you were saved by Him from a life of vain pursuit of the things and thoughts of this world to find union with His Sacred Heart, which holds all heavenly treasures. You see Him now (do you not, dear virgin?) in His perfection, even as you saw Him, though only in the shadow of vision, here upon this plane – pray we shall also know His blessed perfection, the beating of His Sacred Heart within our own, the love which surpasses all understanding illumining our soul… that no more will we ever desire than to be with Him where you are now, in His eternal glory.
Tue, 15 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O devout mother and queen whose concern was ever for your children and your people, that they might ever be fed in body and in soul and so grow unto the fullness of Christ – pray for us, O holy queen, that we the Lord’s poor subjects might receive from His hand all we need to become His sons and daughters. In prayer and gratitude let us remain ever before His throne, that by such holy fear we might be made fruitful as you, bearing children unto Him and raising them to His glory. A heart for the poor may we ever nourish that, as poor as we are, by our King’s gracious blessing we might give what He provides until all enter His reign.
Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.4:1-11; Ps.150:1-6,Rv.4:8; Lk.19:11-28) “O Lord our God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power.” “A man of noble birth went to a faraway country to become its king.” And of this faraway country and of its king, whom “everything that has breath” should praise, John has vision today. “Above me there was an open door to heaven”; and a “trumpetlike voice” called the great Evangelist, “Come up here and I will show you what must take place in time to come.” And so, “caught up in ecstasy” he sees the “One whose appearance ha[s] a gemlike sparkle,” the Lord of all, seated upon His throne. And on twenty-four thrones surrounding this King he sees the elders, “clothed in white” with “crowns of gold on their heads,” sharing in their Master’s Kingship. And the four living creatures are at the center, singing, “without pause”: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!” And ever do the elders worship Him and join in the song of praise which rises continually to the One through whom all things “came to be.” “Praise the Lord in His sanctuary… praise Him for His sovereign majesty,” for He reigns justly over all and is indeed worthy of all praise. “With the blast of the trumpet… with lyre and harp… with clanging cymbals” – with every instrument that is placed in our hands, with all the talents He provides here as we wait for His return, we must join in the song of the angels and the saints in the heavenly kingdom and praise His holy Name. For He will seek “to learn what profit each [has] made” when He returns to us from His journey. He will “send for the servants to whom He [has] given” His possessions, and call them to account in His love. Will our deeds then praise “His mighty deeds”? Glorious is the kingdom of the Lord, and blessed are they who join Him in such marvelous glory. These He puts in charge of His cities; with these He shares His crown and His throne. And everywhere He has a right to reap, for only He does so in love – and there is nowhere He has not sown. All are invited into His radiant presence: to all He gives gifts that will bring them there. And but for their employment does He wait, that they might learn to praise His glory. Follow Him as He continues “with His ascent to Jerusalem,” and the cross He meets in this city will lead you to the light of paradise. ******* O LORD, let us rejoice in serving you all our days, and praise you forever in your kingdom. YHWH, let all your creatures give you praise: by your will we came to be and were made. We are in your hands; by all that is at our hands may we give you glory and honor and praise. May we know the blessing of praising you with full voice. Before you let us bow, O God; before you let us throw down our crowns. All we have is from you alone – let us return it to you with great profit. May your glory be [...]
Mon, 14 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O patron of scientists and philosophers, you of brilliant mind who taught with both human and divine wisdom, who led your students to deeper and purer understanding of God and His world and most especially His Church – pray we partake of your teaching this day, that the light you brought to the minds of your flock will not be lost or forgotten by eyes blind to the truth. Pray the word upon your soul will bring us closer to the Lord that we might partake of Him in sacrament and in preaching. O how shall we see if you do not pray for us, if you do not serve to guide us to the glory that surpasses our poor ability to comprehend Him?
Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.3:1-6,14-22; Ps.15:2-5,Rv.3:21; Lk.19:1-10) “Today salvation has come to this house.” To two of His houses, two of His seven churches, does the Lord speak today, calling them both to repentance, that they might know the salvation Zacchaeus has found. In no uncertain terms does the Lord call the churches in Sardis and Laodicea, chastising both dearly, telling the first: “I know the reputation you have of being alive, when in fact you are dead!” and the second (who think themselves “so rich and secure that [they] want for nothing”): “How wretched you are, how pitiable and poor, how blind and naked!” In Sardis there are only “a few persons who have not soiled their garments”; and the Laodiceans, who are “neither hot nor cold,” are promised by the Lord, “I will spew you out of my mouth!” All the unfaithful, all those who have lost their fervor and who pride themselves on their own works shall be spewed from the Lord’s mouth, shall be cast from His presence. All He calls to “wake-up,” to “repent,” to “buy white garments in which to be clothed, if the shame of [their] nakedness is to be covered.” All He summons to rouse themselves in sharpest and truest of words, for “whoever is dear to [Him] [He] reprove[s] and chastise[s]” – for He knows that only by the jettisoning of our sin will we find the salvation He so dearly desires for each of our lives. Brothers and sisters, the Lord “stand[s] knocking at the door. If anyone hears [Him] calling and opens the door, [He] will enter his house.” And He will sup with him, and He will sit him on His own throne. Listen to the promise our Lord makes: “The victor shall go clothed in light. I will never erase his name from the book of the living, but will acknowledge him in the presence of my Father and His angels.” And see how the promise is fulfilled in Zacchaeus, who in his great fervor “climbed a sycamore tree which was along Jesus’ route, in order to see Him”; who in his great generosity promised “to give half of [his] belongings” to the poor – and who has had the Lord in to sup in his home and has heard the blessed words spoken over him: “Today salvation has come to this house.” And so, strive with all you have to be as “he who walks blamelessly and does justice, who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.” Let His chastisement bear blessed fruit in your life; turn from your sin… and you too will know the victory the Lord Himself has won for all faithful souls. ******* O LORD, save us from our sin by your chastising Word, that we might walk in white before you. YHWH, let us hear and heed your Word: let us repent of all our sin that we might enter in and sup with your Son. Do we not have ears, O LORD, and should we not have hearts set on you and the doing of your will? And yet, are we not [...]
Sun, 13 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Rv.1:1-4,2:1-5; Ps.1:1-4,6,Rv.2:7; Lk.18:35-43) “Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.” A blind man sat begging by the side of the road. “Hearing a crowd go by the man asked, ‘What is that?’” And he was told that “Jesus drew near,” that all he could possibly ask for was upon him – and so he begged with the greatest sincerity he could muster. And as the end of the Church year approaches, we hear from the Lord’s beloved “servant John” “the revelation God gave to Jesus Christ”; he “bears witness to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ,” telling us truly that “the appointed time is near,” that He “who is and who was and who is to come” is passing by the way. It is time to call out to Him, and know His healing touch. To the church in Ephesus specifically, the Lord instructs His apostle to speak today, to commend the disciples there on their “patient endurance” and their lack of tolerance for “wicked men,” and to call them back to their “early love… the heights from which [they] have fallen”; thus do they need to “repent,” to call out themselves to the Lord for renewal of their innocent hearts and their burning love for God. You see, all have their own reason to call out to Jesus as He passes by. What need have you to call upon the Lord’s Name as He passes by here at the end of days? Do you walk at every point in “the way of the just,” or are you somehow blind to His presence, or are you in some way cold in your love? Or have you any of innumerable other sins that keep you from His kingdom? Be careful. The time is indeed short, and we are indeed sinners – and Jesus is indeed still passing by to heal us. Do not be afraid to cry out to Him, to leave “the company of the insolent” and find His redeeming graces. Let the light of faith burn in your soul that you might know “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven lampstands of gold.” His holy light is coming now upon the earth, and you must join yourself to it. “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” ******* O LORD, heal us of all our sin that we might walk in the way of your Son. YHWH, grant us vision to see the appointed time is near and Jesus is passing by to heal us of our blindness, to return us to our early love. And let us not be afraid to cry out to Him. Bring us healing, Lord Jesus, for you have come from the Father and pass through our midst this day. To us you bring His surpassing love; may we join ourselves to it and follow you along your way. You speak to us by your Spirit, LORD; you inspire your apostles with your Word. You teach us of the way to you, and that with all our heart we should walk it. Help us to meditate on your Law day and night; ever let us dwell in your light. Make us always frui[...]
Sat, 12 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O mother of the faith and helper of the stranger in the New World, you sought with great diligence to preserve the true religion in a land hostile to Mother Church, to assist those in spiritual as well as physical need – pray a measure of your missionary spirit be poured out upon your daughters, upon the many houses you established and all those served by them. Pray the country you took to heart and which became your own will turn resolutely to the Lord and His blood and away from the destruction of its soul, upon which it seems so set. Pray the faith shall be restored from shore to shore and this nation in truth become a light on a hill.
Sat, 12 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000(Mal.3:19-20; Ps.98:5-9; 2Thes.3:7-12; Lk.21:5-19) “For you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.” The end comes. The end of the Church year approaches, and the end of time is always upon us. What shall it mean for us, the fact that “there will not be left a stone upon another stone”? That day comes “blazing like an oven” for all evildoers, but for the just the healing rays of the Son of God shine down – will we be burned with the proud like stubble, or made whole in the presence of God? Yes, “He comes to rule the earth; He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity.” He is just and so He cannot but judge with justice. How shall we prepare for His coming? What do we do as we wait? Paul gives us wise instruction, simple instruction, which should be simply heeded: “Work quietly.” It is not for us to be anxious or afraid; it is not for us to fall into disorder or become lazy… it is but for us to remain occupied with the work of God, however simple, however wonderful, that working be. We may be as St. Theresa and her little way, giving ourselves to the Lord in the simple tasks we perform day to day; or we may be as the missionaries for whom she prayed, going out to the ends of the earth, handed over to “synagogues and to prisons,” being “led before kings and governors” to give witness to the name of Christ – “and they will put some of you to death” – but to whatever we are called, always it must be the Lord and His Spirit which are at work in us, helping us to persevere to the end. Not all shall die in the cause, but all must remain faithful to His voice. Brothers and sisters, sometimes it is the hardest thing simply to go on day to day. Regardless of our situation, we can become distracted and, failing to find the wisdom of Christ, seek to “prepare [our] defense beforehand,” to put the words of the Lord into our own mouths – to decide for ourselves what the Lord would have us do. It is the simplest thing to accept His will, to bask in the rays of His glory… and yet so anxious do we become in our waiting that we cannot hear His still, small voice speaking to our hearts. We must persevere. We must go on. We must listen. He is coming, and if we fear His holy Name, we shall have nothing else to fear: we shall be made whole. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "The End of the World Courses through a Day" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, let us do your work now on this plane that we might rejoice in your coming Day. YHWH, help us to persevere until the Day of your Son’s return; that Day is at hand, we know – let us be read[...]
Fri, 11 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O shepherd thirsty for souls, whose only desire was the unity of the Church under Christ her King and on the Rock of Peter… for this cause you gave your life; for this call from the Lord you shed your blood – pray this day all may be one, that none shall shrink from fulfilling this desire of Jesus but by the power of the Holy Spirit work tirelessly and with great courage to slake the thirst of the Lord. We are all children of one Father; we have but one Brother in Christ and one Mother in the Catholic faith. Pray this truth shall prevail over the deceptions of the devil, who would separate and conquer souls but who is turned back from his evil course when we are willing to die for one another.
Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(3Jn.5-8; Ps.112:1-6; Lk.18:1-8) “When the Son of Man comes, will He find any faith on the earth?” So beset by weakness are we on this earth, brothers and sisters. So doubtful, so fearful… so seemingly without help, alone. And so our faith does falter, and so we do fall. And we wonder, “Where is God?” But the Son asks us today where we are. He emphasizes “the necessity of praying always and not losing heart.” Why should we think that God does not listen to us? If the corrupt judge can give justice to the widow who begs him constantly for her “rights against [her] opponent,” “will not God then do justice to His chosen who call out to Him day and night?” Do we make Jesus a liar by failing to believe in the Lord’s “swift justice”? Is this corrupt judge more reliable than He? And listen to what John writes to Gaius. He says to him, “You demonstrate fidelity by all that you do for the brothers.” He has “testified to [his] love before the church” by caring for its members. And John now asks this beloved disciple to support those who pass through his neighborhood carrying the message of the Gospel to the nations, to “help them continue on their journey.” And we can be assured that this child of God does continue to demonstrate his generosity, that “he is gracious and merciful and just” toward his brothers in their need. And if this man “dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright,” shall the Lord Himself then leave us alone when we call out to Him in our need? Why are we of such little faith? Why do we so easily falter in our trust of the Lord’s protection, of His grace at work upon our souls and His providential hand in our lives? If weak human beings can give aid to those in distress, cannot God? Are not all “wealth and riches… in His house”; does He not hold all the world and all our souls in His loving hand? Then why should we be afraid? Why should we think He does not answer our prayer? It is not because He is not listening that we have not the good we desire – this lack is from our lack of faith. Brothers and sisters, be encouraged by the Lord today to never give up hope, to never give up our petitions to the Lord. He does not need to be worn down, but is ready at every moment to help us. Seek but to believe in Him. ******* O LORD, your Son will come to us as the answer to our prayers – let us do all we can this day to bring Him here. YHWH, why have we not faith in your care for our souls? Why do we so easily cease praying to you? Do we not think that you can answer our calls? Those who follow in your way care for those in need, and so should we not trust that you watch over us this day? O L[...]
Thu, 10 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O sacrificial shepherd, you gave your life for your flock; a poor and humble man, you gathered the poor and humble of the Lord into the arms of His Church, where they might be fed with His grace. Ever with arms upraised you taught your people ever to pray and founded many houses of prayer; peace you brought to your church that all might serve the one true God – pray we shall be humble and lowly as you, dear shepherd, and so mirror the life of our Lord. Pray our lives be entrusted to Him, that whatever we do be in His will; whether we live or die, let it not matter to us, but only let matter the laying down of our lives, that by such sacrificial offering God’s Word might go forth and all souls be welcomed into Abraham’s arms.
Thu, 10 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(2Jn.4-9; Ps.119:1-2,10-11,17-18; Lk.17:26-37) “Anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possesses both the Father and the Son.” While “anyone who is so ‘progressive’ that he does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God.” Rather, he possesses but the emptiness of this earth. And what is this teaching so necessary for our salvation, for knowing and possessing the Lord our God? It is indicated clearly in John’s request of the Lady to whom he writes (whom we may take as the Church herself): “Let us love one another.” Here is the commandant we “have heard from the beginning,” which we need to find rooted in our hearts – this “commandant is the way in which [we] should walk.” For “happy are they… who walk in the law of the Lord… who observe His decrees, who seek Him with all their hearts”; for they shall find Him, and they shall possess Him forever. Love has come, brothers and sisters: Jesus Christ has “come in the flesh.” And though the people in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot were particularly wicked and meriting condemnation from the Lord, they at that time did not have the Son of God come in their midst. And so if their punishment was great for turning from the way and the call of God, how much greater will be our own if we set our hearts on the possessions of this land and thereby lose Him whose love knocks upon the door of our hearts? It is now among those who deny Him as if they stand under the brightness of the noonday sun and say, “I see no light. I feel not its heat.” If we refuse to open our eyes to what is so obvious, what punishment will be enough for our souls? Learn the lesson of the two men sleeping and the two women “grinding grain together.” Though they lie and sit or stand in close proximity to one another in this place, seeming no different one from the next, yet “one will be taken and the other left.” While one flies up to the reaches of heaven, the other will rot like a carcass on earth. And why? Who can tell which one says within his heart, “I treasure your promise, that I might not sin against you,” and which has turned his heart from the Lord? “On the day the Son of Man is revealed,” so will be the thoughts of all hearts. And He who is Love alone will know who owns the love He alone imparts. He will say who has walked in His teaching. ******* O LORD, your Son calls us from our earthly lot to your kingdom on high – let us walk His way of love that leads there this day. YHWH, let us walk in your way, in the way your Son has marked out for us, He who has come in the flesh to show us indeed how we should li[...]
Wed, 09 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000O true Pastor of God’s Church, defender of the faith from forces without and within her walls, you proved that this House founded by Christ the Lord shall never succumb to the powers of hell but ever stand strong against all tides of the world and the evil influence of the devil – pray though the flesh be weak, though every member be prone to sin, that all souls set on the Rock that is the bark of Peter shall repel every attack against the integrity of the faith and stand with Jesus as king over the flesh, as priest offering pure sacrifice, as prophet speaking His words… and so until the end of time may God’s Church be ever blessed.
Wed, 09 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Philm.7-20; Ps.146:7-10; Lk.17:20-25) “The reign of God is already in your midst.” Brothers and sisters, Jesus the Christ has come, He has “suffer[ed] much and be[en] rejected by the present age”… and He has risen. This is all you need to know. There is no need for “careful watching when the reign of God will come,” for it is not “a matter of reporting that it is ‘here’ or ‘there’” – it is among us today. And when it shall be fulfilled, you will never know. “Through you the hearts of God’s people have been refreshed,” Paul writes to Philemon: does the kingdom of heaven not come through this man? “Refresh this heart of mine,” the Apostle adds – does he not call for an increased manifestation of the kingdom? A slave has stolen from his master and run away. Paul has discovered him and now calls him, “My child whom I have begotten during my imprisonment.” The slave has run to the prisoner and found freedom; does not the kingdom of God come to this place? And certainly Philemon will accept his slave back as a brother in the Lord, his arms open like the father of the prodigal son… how the Lord does work among us. And our psalm presents a litany of the Lord’s work: yes, “the Lord sets captives free,” as we see in our first reading; but whenever the eyes of the blind are opened or the widow and the stranger are cared for, whenever justice is secured and the hungry are fed… the Lord is at work, His kingdom comes. This world is in His hands, after all, and whenever love is “freely bestowed” by any of us toiling upon this earth, the Lord shows Himself indeed in the beat of our heart and our arms open wide. It is not difficult to see. You must remember, my brothers and sisters, that all prophecy has been fulfilled; all revelation is complete in the coming of the Son of God, in His death and in His resurrection. There is nothing left to await but the final day, a Day about which false prophets conjecture and faithless souls run anxiously about to find, only moving themselves further from its presence. “The Son of Man in His day will be like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other” – don’t worry, you will not miss it; nor can you mistake it. Your purpose in the meantime is to spend yourself bringing His kingdom to this earth in the love you share with your neighbor. In such love come only from Christ, the kingdom is already here. ******* O LORD, let us be useful to you in these days before your Son’s return – let us bring your presence to this world. YHWH, make us useful to you and to your Chu[...]
Tue, 08 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Ti.3:1-7; Ps.23:1-6; Lk.17:11-19) “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Such is the cry of the ten lepers standing at a distance from the Lord. And such is the cry that wells up in all our hearts when we realize we must keep ourselves far from His company for the sin that festers like a disease in our souls. Desiring no longer to be outcasts from His love, we call out… and He answers. Do you think you are something different than these lepers? Do you think your status with God is somehow raised above these poor souls? Beware. Heed the words of Paul: “We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, and far from the faith; we were the slaves of our passions and of pleasures of various kinds.” Was our soul not then in a diseased state? And was it any work of our own that brought us healing, that brought us to “baptism of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”? No. Rather, “when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy.” So, by rights we should yet be in the mire of our sin; we should yet be as lepers outside the gates of salvation. But His “Spirit He lavished on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs, in hope, of eternal life.” And do we appreciate what He has done for us? Indeed the Lord indicates today that most of us are ungrateful wretches when He asks, “Were not all ten made whole? Where are the other nine?” at the sight of the single leper returning to give praise to God. “Where are the other nine?” Only one of ten falls “on his face at the feet of Jesus”; and to how many of us does this lack of thanksgiving speak? And so, how many of us remain with more than a trace of our leprosy? “He refreshes my soul,” David sings in humble appreciation of the blessings of the Lord he finds before himself in all things. It is He who gives “repose”; it is He who “anoints [our] head with oil”… it is He who cleanses our soul. And if we fail to realize this grace at work within us, then a measure of pollution remains, and still we need to cry out to our God, and fall on our knees in praise for His answer. Ever is He our Master; ever are we His slaves – ever do we need His mercy to live in righteousness each day. ******* O LORD, save us from enslavement to our passions – let us have faith in you and in your grace upon our souls. YHWH, our faith has saved us, has it not? Our faith in you and in your Son has brought the Spirit upon us to cleanse us from our si[...]
Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Ti.2:1-8,11-14; Ps.37:3-4,18,23,27,29,39; Lk.17:7-10) “Live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age.” Brothers and sisters, be “eager to do what is right” as servants of the Most High God. “Trust in the Lord and do good, that you may dwell in the land and enjoy security.” For “the Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever.” Paul gives instruction to all on how to live a godly life here on this earth. He “tell[s] the older men that they must be temperate, serious-minded, and self-controlled”; the older women that they must give “good example” to the younger women, teaching them thus “to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, loving at home, kindly, submissive to their husbands”; “the young men to keep themselves completely under control”; and those who teach to “have the integrity of serious, sound words to which no one can take exception.” Then “no opponent will have anything bad to say about us”; then we will have given right witness to Christ in this age. And “when [we] have done all [we] have been commanded to do” by the Lord and His apostles, when we have fully served Him and one another in our life on this earth – when we have finished “prepar[ing] [His] supper” and “put[ting] on our apron and wait[ing]” on our brothers – what should we do but say in all humility and in all truth: “We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty”? For this is what will assure us that we will “abide forever”; this will prove that we are as our Lord, “who sacrificed Himself for us,” and so, with “the just [we] shall possess the land, and dwell in it forever.” Our God has come “to redeem us from all unrighteousness and to cleanse us for Himself as a people of His own.” Let us show we are that people by ever being “sound in the faith, loving, and steadfast,” doing all for the Lord and our neighbor. In this way we indicate that even upon the dust of this earth “we await our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ.” In this way we attain to the age to come, where we shall be seated at His table. ******* O LORD, help us to turn from all sinful ways and complete the work you command us to do. YHWH, we are useless servants; help us to fulfill the tasks you set before us, to be eager to do what is right. For this is what will gain us entrance to your kingdom, to a place at your table – if we live temperately, devoutly and justly in this world, as even your[...]
Sun, 06 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000(Ti.1:1-9; Ps.24:1-6; Lk.17:1-6) “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.” Of priests and holy men our readings speak, yes, but most especially of bishops, who are most entrusted with the Word of God, with the preaching of the Gospel of eternal life… and how silence in this regard leads but to condemnation. Paul sets the standard for the “servant of God.” He presents himself “as an apostle of Jesus Christ for the sake of the faith of those whom God has chosen and to promote their knowledge of the truth as our religion embodies it.” Here is the bishop in sum. Here is the priest in sum. Here is the sum of any sent to teach in His name: increase the faith and knowledge of the flock. And in this service certainly a priest must be “irreproachable,” and “the bishop as God’s steward must be blameless.” He must be “steady, just, holy, and self-controlled. [And] in his teaching he must hold fast to the authentic message, so that he will be able both to encourage men to follow sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.” But how many of our leaders hold to Paul’s words? How many encourage the keeping of sound doctrine, and, perhaps more to the point, how many refute error? Worse yet, how many travel merrily along with the error of the day? “If your brother does wrong, correct him,” Jesus says. But how many tell their flock, “You should not fornicate or commit adultery” or “You should not abort a child or contracept him” or “You should not be ‘self-willed or arrogant, a drunkard, a violent or greedy man’”? And how many freely engage in sins such as these themselves? Yes, Jesus says, “If he repents, forgive him” (even “seven times a day”) of the brother in your care; but how can he repent if he knows nothing of the wrong he does, and how can you instruct him if you are committing the same sins as he? And so where is true forgiveness? “Scandals will inevitably arise, but woe to him through whom they come.” It is a terrible warning the Lord gives today, particularly to those entrusted with much, for how great will be their punishment for the abuse of their call. And of course, the source of such travails in the wayward soul is simply a lack of faith. Not “the size of a mustard seed” or a speck of dust is the faith of too many. If even it could be detected with a microscope it would show itself in good works. B[...]
Sat, 05 Nov 2016 04:00:00 +0000(2Mac.7:1-2,9-14; Ps.17:1,5-6,8,15; 2Thes.2:16-3:5; Lk.20:27-38) “On waking I shall be content in your presence.” Our hope is in the resurrection, brothers and sisters. It is this which gives us strength, and it is our endurance which brings us to His presence. Brothers and sisters, indeed, as Paul wishes us, we have “everlasting encouragement and good hope” through the grace of our Lord. He strengthens our hearts “in every good deed and word” and guards us “from the evil one.” Thus our hearts should be directed “to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.” We have as our example today these seven brothers spoken of in the Second Book of Maccabees, who showed the endurance of Christ and their faith in the resurrection to life despite the severity of their torture at the hands of the wicked of this world – and all this before the coming of Christ into the world and the great graces He has since imparted to His Church. If they could die so for the law alone, to what deeds should we not be able to attain? If in the presence of their torturers they could state with such confidence, “The King of the world will raise us up to live again forever,” what should we not be able to declare in the name of Him who has now been raised from the dead and ascended to glory? If they were so well able to regard their suffering “as nothing,” how much easier should be our own sacrifice, we who stand “in the shadow” of His cross and have His wounds in which to take refuge? Indeed, such greater reason have we to hold to “the hope God gives of being raised up by Him.” “That the dead will rise” there should be no doubt in our hearts. The fact that “to Him all are alive” should be firmly fixed as a peg in the deepest recesses of our souls. Certainly, this is who we are, children of the resurrection, with the calling to come to Christ, He who has been raised to life. I pray we shall all be “deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead.” Children of God, may we be like angels in His presence when we rise. May our minds not be darkened by the night upon this earth, but let our hope be fixed on the coming morning and our faith strengthen us to endure until we stand with Him on that new day. Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt. Music: "Too Good for This World" from Remove the Mask of Lies, second album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt. ******* O LORD, give us the cou[...]
Fri, 04 Nov 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Phil.4:10-19; Ps.112:1-2,5-6,8-9; Lk.16:9-15) “Well for the man who is gracious and lends.” “Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in glory.” Such is the man who knows the proper use of this world’s goods, that is, to give them all as “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” This shows that he “fears the Lord,” that his heart is not set on the things of earth but the riches of heaven; and so to these shall he come. “Make friends for yourselves through your use of this world’s goods,” Jesus instructs His disciples, “so that when they fail” – when the goods of this world have faded into eternity – “a lasting reception will be yours” in the kingdom which does not pass away. Our life on this earth serves indeed as a kind of test. The Lord needs to see if He “can trust [us] in little things,” in the passing things of this passing day; then He will know that He “can also trust [us] in greater,” in the eternal graces of our heavenly homeland. How well shall we prove ourselves? The Philippians prove their generosity well. The Apostle Paul commends them for their repeated gifts to supply his needs as he preaches the Gospel. Here we see a perfect example of wise use of this world’s goods, of their being given in service of God and man. And because of their generosity, there is “an ever-growing balance in [their] account,” not of silver and gold, but of the “magnificent riches in Christ Jesus.” As they empty themselves of what they have, as they give of their riches on this earth, the Lord gives them all they might desire of the true riches; as Paul says as he assures them he has been “fully paid” by the fruits they have offered: “My God in turn will supply your needs fully.” “No servant can serve two masters.” We either amass wealth for our own benefit in this world – and toward our own condemnation – or we give what we have for the benefit of God and others. We love God or we love money; there are no two ways. “The Pharisees, who were avaricious men, heard all this and began to deride Him.” Does your heart tend to deride the generosity to which the Lord calls you, as do these? Is there yet mockery upon your tongue and lips against the preaching of the emptiness of this world’s possessions? Do you also “justify yourselves in the eyes of men”? Know indeed that “God reads your hearts” and “[...]
Thu, 03 Nov 2016 19:00:00 +0000O defender of the Catholic faith in which all the saints make their home, O great pastor of souls, shepherd of Christ’s flock, who would see all enter fully into the fold only the saints know – pray for the Lord’s Church this day, that it shall never turn away from the Truth which is at its heart, from the Son of God who made it, forming it in His own blood; pray our souls be set on prayer to Him, our minds on meditation on His life, that nothing may distract us from His holy presence within the walls of Mother Church and within our own hearts.
Thu, 03 Nov 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Phil.3:17-4:1; Ps.122:1-5; Lk.16:1-8) “We have our citizenship in heaven.” Brothers and sisters, we are not among “those who are set upon the things of this world.” Always we must remember this. Though surrounded by worldly things, our hearts are not set upon them; rather, “we eagerly await the coming of our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our hearts are set upon heaven. Then what are we to do with “this lowly body of ours” as we long for the Lord to “remake it according to the pattern of His glorified body”? What purpose have we of heaven here upon this earth? Is there nothing for us to do with this old form that has been afforded us? Is emptiness all we are to know here? We must know and remember, brothers and sisters, that in this dark world we are called to light; we are called to “go up to the house of the Lord” even here where we stand. Is the Church not with us? And has not the Lord left His sacraments with her, that even now we may be transformed into the new creation He makes us? We do not wait in vain for our Savior to come; we do not sit empty here as we long for His Day. He is here now with a measure of His grace; “His power to subject everything to Himself” is already evident in our midst… and we must join with that power and work diligently to transform not only ourselves into the image of Christ, but the dark world we see around us as well. “Be imitators of me,” Paul encourages his brother Philippians. In warning them against those who “go about in a way which shows them to be enemies of the cross of Christ,” he exhorts them to be the cross’s friend – to prove their mettle as they continue “to stand firm in the Lord.” There are those for whom “their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame,” and the “devious employee” of whom Jesus speaks may well be among these. But though we are called in no way to imitate his wickedness, yet we must see that he is given “credit for being enterprising” by the owner, despite the fact that he had been “dissipating his property.” “Why?” indeed. And how can the Lord use an example such as this to teach us of the kingdom? Here the Lord employs great wisdom, and calls us to do the same. For He reveals to us how even in one destined to condemnation there is yet the spark of intelligence. (“I have it!” he declares, after taking consideration.) And should no[...]
Wed, 02 Nov 2016 19:00:00 +0000O humble and charitable soul whose healing hands served the poor and all those the Lord placed in your care, with great love you looked upon Christ on the Cross and in the Blessed Sacrament, and so sought to love your neighbor even as Jesus Himself – pray we shall somehow learn to put others before ourselves, that in this way, in the way of the Lord, we will truly love and serve God, knowing our sins outweigh those of any other soul, and yet that the mercy of our Savior outweighs any human fault. And so, pray we shall be humble as you, as kind and as caring, that we too will lay down our lives in prayer and in penance, in the blood and tears of Jesus.
Wed, 02 Nov 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Phil.3:3-8; Ps.105:2-7; Lk.15:1-10) “I have come to rate all as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul tells us, “Those things I used to consider gain I have now reappraised as loss in the light of Christ.” The “legal observance” he grasped so tightly – having been “circumcised on the eighth day,” “a Hebrew of Hebrew origins,” himself a Pharisee – he now looses to the wind, desiring only to be among those “who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus,” and “seek[ing] to serve Him constantly.” What matters but Jesus and His love, and “the judgments He has uttered”? But this justice those who remain as Paul was cannot begin to consider, for they say to themselves as Paul once said of himself: “I [am] above reproach when it [comes] to justice based on the law”… yet do they hold tightly to their fine legal observances, looking down upon those who are below their reproach and judging them all as loss, as wayward sheep destined for the fires of Gehenna. And this Man eats with them! But what is loss in their eyes becomes great gain in the eyes of God, for there is “more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent”; and the angels sing in praise as they see the Son of Man sitting and ministering to these sinners, drawing them, as He has been sent to do, into the kingdom’s gates. The Lord “light[s] a lamp and sweep[s] the house in a diligent search” for straying souls. When He succeeds, He calls us all, saying, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.” And will we be jealous of the Lord’s discovery, as the Pharisees and scribes, or will we realize that we all have need of repentance, that we are all that lost sheep, that lost coin which the Lord treasures so once He holds it in His hand again? Brothers and sisters, it is in the Lord’s hands we must always place ourselves; this is to be in the light of the surpassing knowledge of Christ. By our own hands, in our own wills – “putting our trust in the flesh” – what do we make but corruption, even as our first parents who desired so to hold the apple in their hands and eat it at their pleasure? In things themselves, and our willful manipulation of them, we find only a knowledge that brings death, that leads to darkness. An[...]
Tue, 01 Nov 2016 07:00:00 +0000(Wis.3:1-9; Ps.23:1-6; 1Cor.15:51-57; Jn.6:37-40 Note: there are any number of readings possible for this day) “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.” Is this not what it means to be a Christian? To have faith in the resurrection from the dead. To believe that after our time of trial there shall be peace, that we shall be refined by the hand of God to stand in His presence, to share in His kingship. “Grace and mercy are with His holy ones, and His care is with His elect.” This is our faith. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” And so we have no fear. The Lord watches over us and guides our path, and in His blessing we take refuge, knowing we shall come to be with Him, knowing He is with us even this day, knowing even death we shall conquer in His Name. “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.” Nothing shall remove us from His presence. “We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed.” Indeed, though all die, all shall come to life. None can remain as they are; all must be changed. All that is mortal must take on immortality, and in this immortality, in this incorruptibility we gain, death is swallowed up – it is no more. “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is an eternal victory. “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me.” It cannot be that the Father’s will not be done. Jesus awaits us with open arms. He has gone before us, He has prepared a place for us, and we must but come to Him as drawn by the will of the Father. “Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I shall raise Him up on the last day.” Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ! Death is not our realm, brothers and sisters. Though it comes to us all, it is but a passageway into Heaven, it is but the Lord’s means of preparing us for the kingdom. And so, whether we experience it today or tomorrow or yesterday is of no consequence. It is there. It shall come to us all. But all who believe are preserved from its clutches and drawn into the life the Father offers. Let us pray this day for all holy souls to come by the Son into the hands of the Father. Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney. Music by Carie Fort[...]
Mon, 31 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000O God’s holy ones, His apostles and martyrs, His virgins and confessors, all who have borne witness to Him with your lives, who have washed your robes in His blood, whose hands are clean in His sight and so are clothed in white, all you who have suffered under the Cross in the flesh in this world and so now stand in His light in the Spirit before His throne in Heaven… O all holy ones of the Lord from every age, from every time and place; from every nation you come, speaking in every tongue of His undying love – please, pray for us, His pilgrim children!
Mon, 31 Oct 2016 07:00:00 +0000(Rv.7:2-4,9-14; Ps.24:1-6; 1Jn.3:1-3; Mt.5:1-12) “Everyone who has this hope based on Him makes himself pure, as He is pure.” All our readings speak of this purity this holy day. In the first reading we hear of the saints who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Our psalm tells us it is “one whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,” who stands in God’s presence. The above quote is from our second reading, and Jesus tells us in our gospel, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” Indeed, this purity of heart is the essential characteristic possessed by all the saints in heaven; and so we must strive to achieve it. I note a striking parallel particularly between our first reading from Revelation and David’s psalm: the reading begins with the image of the four angels (at the four corners of the universe) being prevented from their call “to damage the land and the sea” until the seal of God is placed upon the foreheads of the “one hundred and forty-four thousand [symbolizing absolute fullness in number] marked from every tribe of Israel”; and our psalm begins by proclaiming, “The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it.” The reading continues with John’s “vision of a great multitude” who “stood before the throne and the Lamb” in their white robes; while, as it continues, our psalm tells us that only the pure of heart “can ascend the mountain of the Lord” or “stand in His holy place.” Then the reading from Revelation cries out, “Salvation comes from our God” and exclaims of the blessings upon the Lord and so His faithful; and David’s psalm concludes that it is he who seeks Him who “shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior.” What does all this tell us but what John states quite simply in his letter, our second reading: “Beloved, we are God’s children now,” and that when “what we shall be… is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Yes, we are anointed by Him as His own creation and shall come to stand in His presence with all the angels and saints, proclaiming the blessing He is and the salvation He has provided us. And in our gospel Jesus climbs the mountain and [...]
Sun, 30 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Phil.2:1-4; Ps.131:1-3; Lk.14:12-14) “Let all parties think humbly of others as superior to themselves, each of you looking to others’ interests rather than his own.” The key to Christianity is to see others, even the blind and the lame and the crippled beggar, as superior to ourselves, and place ourselves at their service in love. As Christians we can never look down upon another individual; if our heart is proud and our “eyes haughty,” we are certainly set up for a fall, for the Lord who sees all and humbles Himself before all will certainly humble our proud souls. Rather, we must maintain the “fellowship in spirit, compassion, and pity” of which Paul speaks, “possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals” and thus always giving one another the “encouragement” we owe in Christ. Jesus would teach this humility and unity of spirit to the chief of the Pharisees today. He would have him adopt a truly Christian attitude, expecting nothing in return for his feeding of the sheep, concerned only for the welfare of the poorest in his midst. Thus He would convert him to the faith by wiping the mocking smile from his face in a spirit of genuine compassion. He tells him, “Whenever you give a lunch or dinner, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or wealthy neighbors.” He should not be concerned simply with those of his blood and the people of means, for certainly these would “invite [him] in return and thus repay” him. No, quite a novel idea has the Son of God for the head of the Jewish Church: expect your recompense at “the resurrection of the just,” not on earth. Set your heart on things that are above, not below. And go beyond your blood to invite all into the hall of the Lord, especially those most in need, those most outcast. Such a call must have been shocking to the sensibilities of this Pharisee, as indeed it remains shocking to most even today. But He only calls us to do as He has done – empty ourselves completely for the good of others. “Make my joy complete by your unanimity,” Paul begs the Philippians; and unanimity in the Lord encompasses all. In it there can be no “rivalry or conceit” because in it there are no factions: all are one in the Lord. To this unity, found only in [...]
Sat, 29 Oct 2016 04:00:00 +0000(Wis.11:22-12:2; Ps.145:1-2,8-11,13-14; 2Thes.1:11-2:2; Lk.19:1-10) “The Son of Man has come to seek and save what was lost.” How beautifully the readings speak today of our “Lord and lover of souls” whose “imperishable spirit is in all things” and who is “good to all and compassionate to all His works.” It is indeed “in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ” that we be glorified in Him and He in us, and so we praise Him: “Every day I will bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever.” The Lord “love[s] all things that are”; all is made by Him, so how could He but love all. Though to Him “the whole universe is as… a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth,” He loves it all with a most personal affection, shown in the grace-filled coming of His Son among us. And why has this Son come but to forgive? Why has He walked the earth but to call men back to their place in the loving heart of the Father? Why has He come but to show the Father’s loving mercy? And appropriate is Paul’s warning “not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly” in fear of the Lord’s imminent return in judgment. Here is remedy against all the false prophets predicting the sudden end of this universe God has created, as if they could move His hand, as if they could know His mind. Whence does this come but the same grumbling of the people when Jesus moved to go in to sup with Zacchaeus, the famous sinner? Whence does this come but a failure to understand the Lord’s wisdom and love and manner of working in the world, failing to see that what the Lord does is “rebuke sinners little by little, warn[ing] them and remind[ing] them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in [Him]”? It is evident that the majority in the crowd would have preferred, in fact, rejoiced in seeing, Zacchaeus’ utter destruction. They expected the Lord’s punishment on this sinner, and desired it to come immediately. Why? Again, they knew not God’s love or the Lord’s purpose. Why? Even more to the point: they were sinners themselves who failed to recognize their sin and realize their own need for mercy – and so had neither the Lord’s [...]
Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Phil.1:18-26; Ps.42:2-3,5; Lk.14:1,7-11) “When you are invited by someone to a wedding party, do not sit in the place of honor in case some greater dignitary has been invited.” At the feast of the marriage of Christ to mankind, we are the lesser party, and must act humbly before our God. Jesus comes among us as a guest to eat a meal in our house; He humbles Himself to sit at our table. And this guest who sits in the lowest place among us is in fact the Host of the banquet of which all are invited to partake. Though the Lamb that is slaughtered for all to eat, He the sacrifice rules at the altar of our worship. Listen carefully to what Paul says to his beloved Philippians; see how his own attitude mirrors that of the humble Christ, and how it must be imitated by us all. He says quite openly, “I long to be freed from this life and to be with Christ, for that is the far better thing.” In the choice of living or dying, he would opt for the latter, “for, to [him], ‘life’ means Christ; hence dying is so much gain.” As the psalmist sings in comparing his soul to “the hind [that] longs for the running waters”: “When shall I go and behold the face of God?” When shall he know full union with the Lord? Only in death, the dawn of perfect day. But though “strongly attracted” to death, Paul has equal attraction to life, and accepts that he must “go on living in the flesh” for the “productive toil” it means; and so he will “persevere with [his disciples], for [their] joy and [their] progress in the faith.” He will remain “with the throng” that he might lead them “in procession to the house of God… amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,” though he himself is already prepared to enter the festival gates. Do you not see how this attitude is as Christ’s own? Would not the Lord Jesus have preferred to remain in the heavenly kingdom with the Father? Would this not have been better for Him by far? And yet He comes among us, and yet He remains with us. And yet He takes on flesh which is as the cross itself and bears it with all patience for our benefit. He gains nothing by sitting with us at table as a dishonored guest, but we gain life eternal as w[...]
Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000O zealous and loving apostles, to the ends of the earth you brought the Word of the Lord; calling sinners to repentance, seeking healing for all souls, you carried the light of Christ to all the world – pray we shall match your zeal for the Gospel; pray we serve to impart the mercy of God unto life everlasting for all children of the Lord. May the power and glory upon you in the name of Jesus Christ build up His Temple in forgiveness and love this day that soon all will be one with Him and with you in Heaven.
Thu, 27 Oct 2016 07:00:00 +0000(Eph.2:19-22; Ps.19:2-5; Lk.6:12-16) “You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” And whom is this building founded upon but our Lord Jesus Christ; He is the cornerstone by which the apostles and prophets are set in place, and we are built upon this firm foundation, all integrated as one “holy temple in the Lord.” This Church is “the dwelling place for God in the Spirit.” Alleluia! Oh that blessed night Jesus spent “in communion with God”! Praise God for the mountain on which He prayed! For that night, in that place, in these prayers was conceived the foundation stones of His holy temple: in the Spirit that night the essential structure of the Church was given birth in the names of these poor apostles, these simple human beings. And at daybreak He called them forth by name. Upon them His favor rested. And though one “turned traitor” and had to be replaced, yet here are the pillars on which the Church rests. And to this day their descendants, their blessed successors remain with us, holding up the Church despite their frailties – yes, the power of the Spirit continues to go forth from their call. “Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge.” Nothing can stem the passage of this Word to the ends of the earth, for it is founded in the silent communion with God. Who can touch this silence? Who can tear down this oneness in the presence of God? No one can hold the wind in his hands and no one can restrain the power of the Spirit. It indeed goes forth. Yes, “the whole structure” continues to be “fitted together” in the Lord’s Name, and no persecution can stop its growth, can prevent its inevitable coming to fullness in the eternity of heaven. And so, let us thank God for His blessed apostles and prophets and martyrs today. Let us pray we shall be found worthy to be one with them in the House they build. And let us come to know the Lord even more, who is at the heart of us all. Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney. Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission. ******* O LORD, may we be built int[...]
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Eph.6:10-20; Ps.144:1-2,9-10; Lk.13:31-35) “Today and tomorrow I cast out devils and perform cures, and on the third day my purpose is accomplished.” “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war,” King David sings, for the Lord is the “shield… who subdues peoples under [him]”; He is the “stronghold” by whom “victory” is his. The same image of battle is used by Paul as he encourages us, “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.” But “our battle ultimately is not against human forces” – in war against nations or even any individual enemy – “but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in the regions above.” It is spiritual warfare we engage in, and in it we must “pray constantly and attentively for all in the holy company,” for the attacks against us are constant and we must ever with our brothers and sisters resist the evil one and “stand [our] ground.” Heed Paul’s summary of the strength we must draw from the Lord for our mission: “Stand fast, with the truth as the belt around your waist, justice as your breastplate, and zeal to propagate the gospel of peace as your footgear.” Does not the Lord do just this? Does He not witness fully to the courage we must have in the battle of earthly life? For though the Pharisees come with the warning, “Leave this place! Herod is trying to kill you,” Jesus “proceed[s] on course” in firm resolve. Though “Jerusalem… slay the prophets and stone those who are sent to [her],” yet the Lord’s face is set like flint to enter there. In every step along the way, on every day that leads there, He conquers the devil valiantly, displaying His great power over all darkness of this world by His Word of truth; and when He comes to the cross the war will have been won – the evil one will have no weapon remaining. “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Blessed is Jesus the Christ, and blessed all those who follow in His way, who fight unto death the evils that be[...]
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Eph.6:1-9; Ps.145:10-14; Lk.13:22-30) “Do God’s will with your whole heart as slaves of Christ.” These words Paul addresses to the slaves of his time, instructing them to “obey [their] human masters with the reverence, the awe, and the sincerity [they] owe to Christ,” but they apply well to us all, who are in all things to serve the Lord. Always we should “give [our] service willingly, doing it for the Lord rather than men.” This is as “the narrow door” of which our Lord speaks; this is what will bring us into His heavenly kingdom. For it is certain that “each one, whether slave or free, will be repaid by the Lord for whatever good he does.” Brothers and sisters, the Lord’s “kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and [His] dominion endures through all generations.” It matters not when we live or where, or what position we have in society – none of these things pertain to the reign of God. For those who are to be saved shall indeed come from the four corners of the universe and from every period of time, and as Paul says to masters of their slaves: “You and they have a Master in heaven who plays no favorites.” So if you think that any honor or preference of this earth will smooth your way into the kingdom, you are surely mistaken and risk the grave disappointment of discovering that “some are first who will be last,” or finding yourself barred from His House for failing to serve the Lord with all your heart in all the things of the world. For He has come to serve and not to be served, and He “lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Jesus goes “through cities and towns teaching – all the while making His way toward Jerusalem.” Even unto the cross He offers instruction to those who would follow Him. He is as the fathers Paul instructs to “bring [their children] up with the training and instruction befitting the Lord.” But we must heed His words; we must honor and obey the Lord as children are expected to honor and obey their parents. For His words are wise and they carry the greatest promise: “That it may [...]
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Eph.5:21-33; Ps.128:1-5; Lk.13:18-21) “To what shall I compare the reign of God?” Jesus Himself compares it to a mustard seed which grows so steadily into a “large shrub,” and to yeast which makes “the whole mass of dough” rise. And Paul tells us of the marriage union that it “refers to Christ and the Church.” These images should lead you, brother, to understand the glorious kingdom that is beyond all image. “The husband is head of the wife just as Christ is head of His body, the Church,” and husbands should “love [their] wives, as Christ’s loved the Church,” giving themselves “up for her” as the Lord has done for us. A wonderfully beautiful call; a marvelous image which is to bring the Lord so really into our midst: love between husband and wife – the love of love upon this earth, which indeed brings the fruit of new life. “A man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Here is a word of truth incomparable to others in the joy it brings the ear and the heart open to its call. For by it is promised great happiness to those “who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.” Yes, the obedient man will find that his “wife shall be like a fruitful vine” and his “children like olive plants around [his] table”; great is the blessing upon those who wed in love, the true love of the Lord. But a greater promise than this does this word bring, for in it is indeed “a great foreshadowing”; in it we see not only the fruitful love of man and woman, but of God and His people. For does not Jesus leave His Father in heaven and cling to us? Does it not bring the great knowledge that we shall be made one with Him and with His Father in heaven? If “he who loves his wife loves himself,” does this not emphasize the absolute oneness of husband and wife? And if such marriage foreshadows Christ’s love for us, can we not conclude that we will be as He is? Oh to what glory we are called! To be as the only Son of God, to be one with Him. Indeed “we are members of H[...]
Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:00:00 +0000O zealous apostle who traveled throughout the earth driven by the fire of the Holy Spirit, you labored strenuously, rejoicing in poverty and welcoming hardships as you gave your very life for the flock in your care – pray the love of Christ will urge us on to holy zeal that we might approach your apostolic spirit, desiring to inflame all men with the fire of God’s love. Concerned always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, may we fulfill our call; as sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with her same purity and commitment, pray we give birth to Christ in souls by the preaching of the Gospel until all are formed in His image in the heavenly kingdom.
Sun, 23 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Eph.4:32-5:8; Ps.1:1-4,6,Eph.5:1; Lk.13:10-17) “There was a time when you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Brothers and sisters, remember always that “God has forgiven you in Christ.” Once you “walk[ed] in the way of sinners,” but now you are as he who “delights in the law of the Lord.” And so as God has shown His mercy to you, so should you do unto others; we must “be imitators of God as His dear children.” As when Jesus saw the woman who “was badly stooped – quite incapable of standing erect,” for eighteen years afflicted by her infirmity, He had pity for her, called her to Him and “laid His hand on her” so that “immediately she stood up straight and began thanking God”… so should our hearts go out to all those in need, all those afflicted by infirmity and sin, that all might be as well as we have become, that all might praise God as we do. “Make no mistake about this: no fornicator, no unclean or lustful person – in effect an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Brothers and sisters, how many of us have been guilty of the deadly sins of which Paul speaks today? (And if not these, what others?) How many of us have deserved to be barred from the kingdom? In truth we must say that all of us have fallen short of God’s glory and found ourselves in desperate need of the salvation only Christ brings. And so should we hold out no hope for those who commit such sins now, who are as we have been? Certainly “there are sins that bring God’s wrath down on the disobedient” and put them in danger of dying; but do we instruct these to “have nothing to do with them,” do we offer light to those in such darkness… or do we presume their condemnation? The Lord left not the stooped woman in Satan’s clutches, despite the “indignant” attitude of the leaders of the synagogue – whose own inability to stand erect is so much more difficult to cure. No, the Lord saw a soul in need and reached His hand out to her;[...]
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 19:00:00 +0000O tireless preacher of God’s Word, how well, how completely, you called all men, and especially the priests of the Lord, to a life of holiness, to shine the light of Christ; with patience and sound doctrine and the example of a blameless life you sought to save souls throughout the world and bring them into the fold of Holy MotherChurch – pray this day apostles go forth in the brightness of holiness as light to the world, drawing all men to God. In such wisdom let truth be known, the truth of our Savior Jesus Christ, that every heart might call Him Lord and proclaim the Church as His own. Pray not a day pass, not an hour upon this plane, wherein His Word is not heard.
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 04:00:00 +0000(Sir.35:12-14,16-18; Ps.34:2-3,7,17-19,23; 2Tm.4:6-8,16-18; Lk.18:9-14) “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” “The one who humbles himself will be exalted,” for it is the lowly the LORD hears. And in no greater way, and for no greater benefit, do we humble ourselves than to recognize our sinfulness before God. It is then we prove ourselves His own, for it is then Truth is with us. We must guard ourselves ever from the sin of pride, brothers and sisters; it is just such presumption that breaks down the spiritual life, for it separates us from our proper place before our Lord and God. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted”; “He hears the cry of the oppressed.” He does not come to heal those who are well, nor does He respond to the prayer of the oppressor; and our life on this earth is one of continual healing, and whenever we judge another we condemn our souls. “May it not be held against them!” is Paul’s prayer for his unjust accusers and those who have deserted him. (How like Christ’s prayer from the cross it is!) He is crushed before the courts of this world and yet does not judge, and yet does not condemn. For he is the servant of the Lord and shows himself faithful to such a call. Even as he is “poured out like a libation,” he remains faithful, unwavering in his hope of standing before and being redeemed by “the just judge.” He knows fully that “the Lord redeems the lives of His servants” and that “He who serves God willingly is heard,” and so he humbles himself when accused, trusting that “the Lord will rescue [him] from every evil threat and will bring [him] safe to His heavenly kingdom.” Yes, “the prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.” How blessed are they who know their humble place before the Lord, for He hears them and comes quickly to rescue them when they cry out to Him in all their humility. And of course our greatest rescue must be from sin, that which has made us base before His eyes. [...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Eph.4:7-16; Ps.122:1-5; Lk.13:1-9) “Each of us has received God’s favor in the measure in which Christ bestows it.” Paul reminds us today of Scripture: “When He ascended on high, He took a host of captives and gave gifts to men.” Christ Himself “descended into the lower regions of the earth,” coming to the place where we lowly humans dwell, and then “ascended into heaven, that He might fill all men with His gifts,” that those to whom He comes here on earth might know the riches of heaven to which He draws us all. “It is He who gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in roles of service for the faithful to build up the body of Christ.” Yes, He gave us these leaders such as Paul to guide us to all truth, but He no less has given us each a share of His heavenly glory and bestowed upon each of us the gifts that are our portion from Him. None is without gifts, and none can fail to employ these gifts. It is necessary that the Body of Christ has “the proper functioning of [its] members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament” if it is to grow in love as it is called to do. All our gifts must be employed to the full; each must fulfill his role. The Lord makes clear the call upon each of our souls to utilize the gifts He grants to each of His members. Listen to the words of the vinedresser in His parable: “For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree and found none.” Who is that vinedresser but Jesus Himself and who is that fig tree but we who claim to be His disciples? And finding no fruit on the fig tree, what does the vinedresser say? “Cut it down. Why should it clutter up the ground?” Why indeed should we drag down the Body of Christ struggling to grow in love in this world; if we are dead members, what place have we in His kingdom? And unless we reform in the short time we are given, what shall become of our souls? Brothers and siste[...]
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Eph.4:1-6; Ps.24:1-6; Lk.12:54-59) “Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force.” Is this not what Jesus instructs the crowds in saying, “When you are going with your opponent to appear before a magistrate, try to settle with him on the way”? Do not both Paul and Jesus speak of the love we must have one for another, even for those who may seem our enemies? Again, in the House of God there is unity, there is peace. Among His children there should be understanding, there should be grace. We must make every effort to have no enemies – to hate no one, to bear no grudge against any – in this life or the next. Brothers and sisters, we are called to live as one, “bearing with one another lovingly,” for “there is but one body and one Spirit” in Christ; “there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” which we all share, and so we should live as children of the “one God and Father of all.” On our oneness in the Lord our hearts should be set, and nothing should disturb the peace we find in Him. We see so many other things, we understand so much of the world and its ways… why do we not understand this? Why do we not know and practice God’s way? “The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it.” This David tells us: all are one under the Lord God. But only those “whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,” “may stand in His holy place.” We cannot “ascend the mountain of the Lord” if we are not made perfect as He. And so the Lord warns us of the necessity of settling all our accounts here, now, while there is time – while we yet have breath and eyes to see – lest we come to the judge at the end of time with the darkness of sin upon our soul. Now is His mercy offered forth, and we are called in turn to offer it freely to others. Then will be grave punishment[...]
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:00:00 +0000O true lover of the Crucified, always you celebrated the feast of the Cross in the temple of your soul, uniting yourself with the will of God by taking upon yourself the torments of the Lord in a silent joy and so finding the food of sacrificial love which sustains us in this world – pray we shall be as Christ, that we shall walk the path He marks out for us, and so in embracing the Cross find true joy in the grief we suffer, in the blessing of oneness with our crucified Lord and so with His Father in Heaven. You who have been transformed into your Beloved, pray we shall join you through the Passion of Christ.
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Eph.3:14-21; Ps.33:1-2,4-5,11-12,18-19; Lk.12:49-53) “Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth?” Strong contrast we find in our readings today. Jesus speaks of the division He has come to bring by the fire of truth He lights on this earth – fire like a sword separating even the closest of family members one from another; whereas Paul speaks of “the breadth and the length and the height and the depth of Christ’s love” and the great oneness found in “the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.” How does one reconcile this apparent contradiction? Is the Lord of peace or division? Brothers and sisters, there is no contradiction here. Paul speaks of the “glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus” which exists “through all generations” and which we share “with all the holy ones” for whom “charity [is] the root and foundation of [their] life.” As our psalmist proclaims, “Happy the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen for His own inheritance.” In the House of God is peace. In His Church is the oneness of perfect love, and all its members “experience this love which surpasses all knowledge” and “attain to the fullness of God Himself.” Then whence the division the Lord emphasizes? The division exists here on earth, as He Himself states. When the light of truth comes up against the darkness that is this world, when the holy ones of God meet up with the children of this evil age, there is necessarily division. Despite the best efforts of the just to bring peace to all, how often is our offering of peace rejected – how frequently is Christ nailed to the cross. So, though we yet hold love for all as the disciples of our living Lord, it cannot but be that many will cling to darkness and so find an enemy in the light. And thus division comes. Though in[...]
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:00:00 +0000O heroic witnesses to the faith, O loyal followers of Jesus who took up the cup of torture and death willingly, with desire only to join your Lord, with delight and joy at the deadly blows… your offering of body and blood is unsurpassed because it was one with Christ’s own, done with love for those who killed you – pray we shall so completely embrace our call, embrace the cross provided us by the Lord, that with your same thirst for truth we shall lay down our lives for our brothers.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Eph.3:2-12; Is.12:2-6; Lk.12:39-48) “When much has been given a man, much will be required of him.” Yes, “more will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted,” and today we see two of the men to whom the most has been entrusted. First, of course, is Peter, who queries the Lord and to whom the Lord addresses His question, “Who in your opinion is that faithful, farsighted steward whom the master will set over his servants to dispense their ration of grain in season?” knowing full well it is to the blessed Rock of His Church He speaks. And Paul tells us how “through the gift God in His goodness bestowed on [him] through the exercise of His power, [he] became a minister of the Gospel.” Paul has been “given the grace to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ and to enlighten all men on the mysterious design which for ages was hidden in God, the Creator of all.” The Rock of the Church and its great Apostle – how much has been entrusted to these two men! And what has been entrusted to these is entrusted to all who follow in their wake, to all “the holy apostles and prophets” to whom “the mystery of Christ” is “revealed by the Spirit.” And so the same responsibility is upon them as well. The Lord has promised, “With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation,” and how can the faithful find such life-giving water if the Lord’s priests and preachers do not offer it forth freely as it has been given them? If they withhold the children’s food and their tongues cleave to the roofs of their mouths, how shall the Church be fed, how shall she be instructed in the way she should walk? If the guardians of the truth are not vigilant, but rather begin “to abuse the housemen and servant girls, to eat and drink and get drunk,” feedi[...]
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 23:37:01 +0000(2Tm.4:9-17; Ps.145:10-13,17-18; Lk.10:1-9) “The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the preaching task might be completed and all the nations might hear the Gospel.” As I read of Jesus’ instruction to the disciples as He “sent them in pairs before Him to every town and place He intended to visit,” and particularly His words to them to “eat what they set before you,” I am reminded of the command given Peter in his dream to “take and eat” of the unclean animals (Acts 10:13), this just before the first Gentile converts came to him seeking the Word of God. And, of course, similar terminology is present in Jesus’ sending his workers as if into a harvest: in this case, the Lord shall eat of the feast the disciples are sent forth to prepare. We know our work is our food, that the labor the Lord imparts to us serves as our daily bread. And we know that the wheat that becomes His precious Body and the Word that is cultivated by His apostles, by His preachers and prophets, is the food that sustains us, that strengthens us for our daily tasks. All we do must be blessed by Him and be, as it were, a “discourse of the glory of [His] kingdom,” and His kingdom, which is “a kingdom for all ages,” and His dominion, which “endures through all generations,” shall become known in our midst. It is not easy to eat of this food, to drink of this cup. We see how alone Paul finds himself in our first reading. “Everyone abandoned me,” he declares in reference to his trial before the courts of this world. He pleads with Timothy to join him soon, for many have left his side: “I have no one with me but Luke.” Indeed, he has nothing but the Word of God. And most apparent in the Lord’s instruction to His disciples is the utter [...]
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 23:34:29 +0000O bringer of the Good News, the light of the Gospel, to many nations… a thorough account you have given us of all Jesus did and taught and of the Holy Spirit’s work among His disciples; and so the Lord’s peace may enter our homes, and we embrace Him with Mary – pray, dear physician, that the Word of the Lord may indeed come to our hearts through the words you declare, and we be healed by His grace and illumined by His Spirit; the glory of the kingdom pray we know. Though He has been taken from our sight, let us proclaim His presence with great joy, for He yet speaks to all our souls in the words you have recorded, in the fire of God that guided your hand.
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 23:33:52 +0000O wheat of Christ ground by the teeth of wild beasts and so made His bread, His leaven unto Heaven… by such heroic witness you became one with the Lord, joining Him in death and so in eternal life – pray we shall find the strength and faith to follow in your sacrificial footsteps, that it will also be our sole desire to die in Jesus’ name, to be remade in His glory. Teach us the way, for it seems so dimmed by the material things the devil presents to our vision; pray for us, blessed victim, that our thirst for life in Him will overcome any obstacle and so our journey to His kingdom be made straight by His grace. His flesh and blood be our own this day.
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 15:33:39 +0000(Eph.2:1-10; Ps.100:2-5; Lk.12:13-21) “It is owing to His favor that salvation is yours through faith. This is not your own doing, it is God’s gift.” Brothers and sisters, salvation is no “reward for anything [we] have accomplished.” It is nothing we make by our own hands, but comes only by God’s “kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” “God is rich in mercy.” Here is the great truth; this is our great hope: “Because of His great love for us He brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin.” By our own hands we had but built up our condemnation and so “deserved God’s wrath.” Like the foolish rich man, we thought we could take our refuge in the things of this earth, that in them we would “have blessings in reserve for years to come.” But however much we “pull down [our] grain bins and build larger ones,” filling them with all the “grain” and “goods” of the world, we yet will have nothing; yet will we be empty and in need. For our life is in His hands alone. “He made us” and not we ourselves; “we are truly His handiwork,” and so, dependent on Him for all things. And if not for His mercy we would yet be dead in our sin. Brothers and sisters, we must not “live at the level of the flesh”; we cannot give our “allegiance to the present age and the prince of the air” and remain in the favor of God. “Following every whim and fancy of our own” will but lead us down a dark road, and all the “piled-up wealth” we can amass will give us no light for the night ahead. Truly we must realize that we are “created in Christ Jesus to lead the life of good deeds which God prepared for us in advance.” Now that by His mercy He has s[...]
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Job 42:1-3,5-6,12-16; Ps.119:66,71,75,91,125,130,135; Lk.10:17-24) “I watched Satan fall from the sky like lightning.” Oh how our readings conspire together today to bring heavenly light to our eyes. Truly by them the Lord would say to us what He says to His apostles, what is so evident with Job: “Blest are the eyes that see what you see.” For what more could we hope to behold than the defeat of Satan and the power of the Almighty at work in our lives? “I had heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you,” Job declares unto the Lord who stands before him. Could there be a greater blessing than this for him who has longed for just this moment? For just in this moment comes to him who has suffered so greatly at the hands of Satan the vindication of the Lord’s servant, the justice that is in the hand of God. Truly is Satan now cast down before the Lord of all, and truly do the eyes and the heart of Job witness this power of the Most High. For truly is he set free from the evil one’s clutches and blessed so abundantly. Job’s eyes see the return and the increase of his myriad of animals; they witness the great blessing of seven sons and three daughters, of whom it is said, “No other women were as beautiful as the daughters of Job.” These eyes behold “his children, his grandchildren, and even his great-grandchildren,” yes, but the greatest of all visions for which Job is truly blessed and which brings any and all other blessings is that his eye has seen the Lord: he knows now Him who has made him and rejoices sublimely with the apostles that his name is “inscribed in heaven,” indeed that it cannot be blotted out; for Sata[...]
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:00:00 +0000O great interpreter of holy Scripture, seeking the wisdom and power of God you listened to what the Lord says in His Word and so served to dispel ignorance of Christ; from your hermitage you came to serve the Church just so, to enlighten the minds of the faithful – pray the Lord shall send forth today the light of His wisdom and grace upon those who turn to the pages of the Word of God in prayer, that He may be understood in truth, that Jesus may walk amongst us again… that knowing the Christ we may become more like Him and live according to His instruction, as a lamp burning brightly in this world to draw all men to the Lord and the salvation of their souls, which He so deeply desires.
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Job 38:1,12-21,40:3-5; Ps.139:1-3,7-10,13-14,24; Lk.10:13-16) “I put my hand over my mouth.” When the Lord speaks, what can we be but silent? When He chastises us for our pride and sin, we can only be ashamed. No defense have we before Him who holds us and all the world in His mighty hand and who comes to us with His redeeming love. We can but bow before Him. The Lord has “commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place”; He has “entered into the sources of the sea [and] walked about in the depths of the abyss” – He has “comprehended the breadth of the earth” and the highest heavens. And so, if we “take the wings of the dawn, if [we] settle at the farthest limits of the sea,” He is there. If we “go up to the heavens” or “sink to the netherworld,” He is present. He is present everywhere, and everywhere we are, we are subject to His hand. For He has “formed [our] inmost being”; He has “knit” us all “in [our] mother’s womb.” And He alone knows “the dwelling place of light” and “the abode of darkness,” and to which place our souls shall come. There is nothing we can say before the Creator and Judge of all the earth except, “I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works,” as we humbly give thanks to Him who scrutinizes all our ways. And when He comes to us with His love, when He has wrought forgiveness in “the miracles worked in [our] midst” by the grace of the only Son… when redemption for all our sin He offers by a merciful hand, what must we do but accept it? For how shall it be for us on “the day of judgment” if we r[...]
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 13:00:00 +0000O mighty messengers of the Lord, ministers of His will, bringing His word and His power to all poor souls on earth, you serve to lead us unto Heaven… you who do the bidding of God, you who are first among those who stand around His throne and sing His praise, you who are so faithful in defending His Kingship and keeping us from harm – cast the devil from our midst, instill the word of Jesus’ coming in our hearts, bring His healing to the lost sheep, and see that we join you on His holy mountain on high; carry us in your arms to the place the Savior prepares for us with you and all your army in His presence.
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 07:00:00 +0000(Dn7:9-10,13-14 or Rv.12:7-12; Ps.138:1-5; Jn.1:47-51 I shall treat of both first readings) “You shall see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” And who shall see such visions? He whose own vision is pure, he who is as Nathanael – he who has “no guile in him.” Such is the case both with Daniel and John the Evangelist, of whose visions we hear in either first reading. The angels are with them, indeed, and they lift them up to look upon the Most High God and His Anointed One. Both first readings reveal vision of Jesus the Son, whose “dominion is an everlasting dominion” and by whom “salvation and power have come.” In Daniel is shown the Ancient One, the Father, from whom all power comes as “surging streams of fire” from His throne; and in Revelation, John presents the defeat of Satan, who would presume to be like God but is “driven out” and “hurled down to earth” by the archangel Michael (whose name tells us that none is like God) before “the reign of our God” comes. In Revelation is included, too, our own participation in “the blood of the Lamb,” that the Church, “by the word of their testimony,” will share in the Lord’s dominion. And David’s psalm sings today: “Great is the glory of the Lord.” His voice joins with the “thousands upon thousands… ministering to Him, and myriads upon myriads” attending Him. “In the presence of the angels I will sing your praise,” he declares, and finds himself “worship[ing] at [His] holy temple” Him whose name is “[...]
Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:05:00 +0000O simple and devout layman, husband and father and clerk, suddenly you were forced to flee your homeland and family with your missionary companions, but death for the faith each one of you met without wavering upon disembarking in a foreign land – pray, O blessed martyrs, our faith shall be strong as your own, that should we be called to witness even with our lives to the faith which gives us life, we will be ready to enter eternity with Christ our Lord and Savior. If tortures threaten our bodies, too, intercede for us for grace, that the face of Jesus alone we shall look upon that day.
Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:00:00 +0000O faithful ruler whose devotion served to bring your death, though you loved all your subjects, caring especially for the poor, and loved God and His Church above all, your care and your faith caused you to be killed by those so jealous and selfish – pray for us, good king, and for the rulers in our midst, that they will be inspired as you with a self-effacing humility and a desire for the truth of God’s way, giving their lives in service of the Lord and His people, not seeking their own gain. Pray the Mother of God guide all leaders and they turn to her in obedience, that the will of the Father shall be done and to this world His kingdom come by the blood of His only Son.
Tue, 27 Sep 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Job 9:1-12,14-16; Ps.88:3,10-15; Lk.9:57-62) “Why, O Lord, do you reject me; why hide from me your face?” The cry of our psalmist certainly reflects that of Job, who in his travails asks, “How can a man be justified before God?” who realizes that the Lord “does great things past finding out” and that “should He come near [us], [we] see Him not.” But it also reflects Jesus’ treatment of those who might follow Him, and could easily be their cry as well. “If I appealed to Him and He answered my call, I could not believe that He would hearken to my words.” Such a seemingly hopeless attitude may be understandable in one suffering such a plight as Job. For he is as “the mountains [removed] before they know it”; he is shaken as “the earth out of its place.” He is as one suddenly confounded by God, who is “wise in heart and mighty in strength.” Before such power how can he speak, or expect to be heard? And so, rightly in silence he must remain. Certainly he could cry out to the Lord, “Will you work wonders for the dead?… Do they declare your kindness in the grave, your faithfulness among those who have perished?” and in justice be saved from “the land of oblivion.” But the test Job undergoes passes beyond justice to the suffering of the innocent before the mighty power of God. And what of those who would be Christ’s disciples spoken of in our gospel today? To them why does the Lord speak so severely? Why does it seem they, too, are [...]
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:00:00 +0000O blessed help of the poor, slave to widows and orphans and all those most outcast and in need, the least of Christ’s brothers you indeed gave your life to serve, completely spending yourself in their assistance and leading your own brother priests to do the same… and so Christ Himself you waited upon day in and day out upon this earth – pray that we, too, shall be like Jesus, filled with compassion for the needs of our neighbors, sharing their poverty as we empty ourselves as the Lord has done. May all our prayers and desires lead to such charity for the plight of others, that we might fulfill with you our Savior’s call to the Cross and come, therefore, to the riches of Heaven.
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Job 3:1-3,11-17,20-23; Ps.88:2-8; Lk.9:51-56) “My soul is surfeited with troubles and my life draws near to the netherworld.” After sitting in silence seven days, scraping the boils from his skin, finally, “Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.” Finally he cries out against all his troubles, asking, “Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” Only so much can mortal man bear, and so Job seeks now only the tranquility of death, wherein “the weary are at rest.” How well our psalm today describes Job’s state, he who is among those “whose path is hidden from them, and whom God hemmed in.” For he truly finds himself now “numbered with those who go down into the pit… a man without strength” from whom all blessing has been taken. His “couch is among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom [God] remember[s] no longer and who are cut off from [His] care.” And so he prays for an end to his misery; so he seeks the forgetfulness of death to remove its pangs from his body and his heart. And is it not these same pangs James and John would inflict upon the Samaritans who refuse to welcome Jesus: “Lord, would you not have us call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” Would they not plunge them “into the bottom of the pit, into the dark abyss” where Job sits in his innocence? Is it not right that God’s “wrath lies heavy” upon such as these? L[...]
Sun, 25 Sep 2016 19:00:00 +0000O highly honored martyrs whose tomb drew many pilgrims and brought about many miracles, you laid down your lives as one in the Lord, taking up His bitter and saving cup of suffering all for your faith in Him and His Church, and so, precious in His sight was your death in His name – from beyond the grave pray for us this day, that the healing blood of Christ our Savior be poured upon our souls, that we too might be raised by His sacrifice, redeemed by the death He endured; for He has overcome the world, and you with Him in His blood. Pray that we who are so weak of faith may by the Lord’s grace and your intercession bear witness to Jesus by our own deaths upon the Cross with Him.
Sun, 25 Sep 2016 16:00:00 +0000(Job 1:6-22; Ps.17:1-3,6-7; Lk.9:46-50) “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall go back again.” In the beginning and in the end, we have nothing: and so should be our attitude toward all things we are given – that they are not our own, that we do not possess them… that they shall pass from us unto eternity again. As shall we all. In our first reading we begin to hear of Satan’s temptation of Job, of whom the Lord’s own words witness: “There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” But Satan in his jealousy responds, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing?” and recounts all the blessings the Lord has bestowed on His “servant.” The adversarial angel then wins from God permission to tempt Job by removing all his blessings. And the persecution is strong. All in a day Job loses all his multitude of livestock, his servants, and his children. Four messengers come, each with catastrophic news, each the sole survivor of the tragedy of which they speak, and each following the previous “while he was yet speaking.” In a moment all but his life is taken from Job. But Job proves God’s assessment of his character true by proclaiming, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” thus properly putting all things in God’s hands, and praising His [...]
Sat, 24 Sep 2016 04:00:00 +0000(Amos 6:1,4-7; Ps.146:2,5-10; 1Tm.6:11-16; Lk.16:19-31) “Keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Lord is coming. First of all, know this. “The King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see” will reveal Himself “at the proper time.” Shall come the end of this world and the birth of the new in the presence of our all-holy God. Do not doubt this. Do not question it in your hearts. But believe. Second, know the nature of our God. This our psalm makes abundantly clear: “The Lord gives sight to the blind” and “protects strangers… The fatherless and the widow He sustains, but the way of the wicked He thwarts.” And since “the Lord raises up those who were bowed down,” we must bow down and serve Him, bringing His love to this world; keeping “faith forever” we must give “food to the hungry,” showing His unending compassion to all those in need. Third, know the fate which awaits those who fail to adhere to His command of love, those who stain themselves with comfort and riches in a vain existence and have no heart for those who suffer now by their lack. As He prepares a place of refuge in Abraham’s bosom for those who “pursue righteousness, devotion, f[...]