Daily Prayer for June 29

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. Psalm 59:16–17, NIV

Lord God, we glorify your name. How we wish our voices could ring out over all the world, telling of the great things you have done for us, praising you that we can come to you in Jesus Christ, that we can worship, honor, and thank you for all your goodness! Safeguard all your children so that they hold to faith and remain true to the message of the gospel. May we thank and praise you for all you have done this day and for your working in the hearts of many people who are still unknown to us. Your Spirit rules and calls people, to bring them to you, the Father in heaven. Watch over us and continue to bless us. Help us who belong to your people, and protect us through the night. Amen.

 

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Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Reading I Am 3:1-8; 4:11-12

Hear this word, O children of Israel, that the LORD pronounces over you,
over the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt:

            You alone have I favored,
                        more than all the families of the earth;
            Therefore I will punish you
                        for all your crimes.

            Do two walk together
                        unless they have agreed?
            Does a lion roar in the forest
                        when it has no prey?
            Does a young lion cry out from its den
                        unless it has seized something?
            Is a bird brought to earth by a snare
                        when there is no lure for it?
            Does a snare spring up from the ground
                        without catching anything?
            If the trumpet sounds in a city,
                        will the people not be frightened?
            If evil befalls a city,
                        has not the LORD caused it?
            Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing
                        without revealing his plan
                        to his servants, the prophets.

            The lion roars—
                        who will not be afraid!
            The Lord GOD speaks—
                        who will not prophesy!

            I brought upon you such upheaval
                        as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah:
                        you were like a brand plucked from the fire;
            Yet you returned not to me,
                        says the LORD.

            So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel!
                        and since I will deal thus with you,
                        prepare to meet your God, O Israel.

Responsorial Psalm 5:4b-6a, 6b-7, 8

R.        (9a)  Lead me in your justice, Lord.
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
            no evil man remains with you;
            the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
R.        Lead me in your justice, Lord.
You hate all evildoers;
            you destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
            the LORD abhors.
R.        Lead me in your justice, Lord.
But I, because of your abundant mercy,
            will enter your house;
I will worship at your holy temple
            in fear of you, O LORD.
R.        Lead me in your justice, Lord.

 

Alleluia Psalm 130:5

R.        Alleluia, alleluia.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
R.        Alleluia, alleluia.

 

Gospel Mt 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

– – –

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

Jesus, Our One, True God

Today’s Old Testament reading sounds a bit scary: “You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your crimes.”  The last lines are particularly ominous: “So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel! And since I will deal thus with you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel.”

I am always surprised when I read about all the trouble the Israelites were always getting into. They were God’s Chosen People, delivered by Him from the power of the Egyptians and led to the land He had promised them. They had ample opportunity to witness the power and miracles of God, and Moses and the prophets gave them clear rules to follow to please Him. Yet they were continually falling into sin, particularly that of worshipping the false gods of the cultures around them.

But are we so different?  Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Irenaeus, a Doctor of the Church who was instrumental in fighting the heresy of Gnosticism. He reminds us of the seductive quality of evil when he writes, “Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than truth itself.

We may not be worshipping golden statues or sacrificing people to Baal nowadays, but don’t we let attractive worldly things come between us and God? Perhaps it’s money, or power, or romance, or status, or even being right instead of being kind. You alone know what your idols are, but we all have them.

We live in difficult and confusing times. We spend much of our time on social media consuming other people’s opinions. People we respect share ideas that seem to make sense. We are bombarded by messages designed to ensnare our hearts and minds. It can be hard to discern what is factual, let alone what is Truth. Politics and opinions can be idols too.

Just like the apostles in today’s Gospel, we are battered by the storm around us.  It can be easy to laugh at their fear. After all, they had Jesus right there in the boat with them! How could they be afraid that He would allow them to sink? 

Well, I have news for you. Jesus is in our boats too.  And while, as the Psalmist reminds us, He is a God of justice, we also know that his judgment is tempered with mercy.  When we turn from our idols, He will be there waiting for us. 

He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm. 

May you feel that calm in your life today.

Contact the author

Leslie Sholly is a Catholic, Southern wife and mother of five, living in her hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated from Georgetown University with an English major and Theology minor. She blogs at Life in Every Limb, where for 11 years she has covered all kinds of topics, more recently focusing on the intersection of faith, politics, and social justice.

Feature Image Credit: falco, pixabay.com/photos/christian-picture-historical-bible-2579648/

Daily Prayer for June 28

All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his sons. For creation was condemned to lose its purpose, not of its own will, but because God willed it to be so. Yet there was the hope that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the glorious freedom of the children of God. Romans 8:19–21, TEV

Lord God, we thank you for all you reveal in your creation so that our lives may be fruitful. Reveal your wisdom and strength among people everywhere so that death and destruction do not have their way, but your will, your love, your mercy shall prevail. Let our age learn that power belongs to you and not to men, and that you will at last fulfill all your promises of good. Your day of justice and holiness will break in, and all misery will be removed through your great mercy. Watch over us as you have done till this hour, and keep us safe during the night. Be present and carry out your will wherever there is misfortune. May your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

 

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Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Am 2:6-10, 13-16

Thus says the LORD:
For three crimes of Israel, and for four,
I will not revoke my word;
Because they sell the just man for silver,
and the poor man for a pair of sandals.
They trample the heads of the weak
into the dust of the earth,
and force the lowly out of the way.
Son and father go to the same prostitute,
profaning my holy name.
Upon garments taken in pledge
they recline beside any altar;
And the wine of those who have been fined
they drink in the house of their god.

Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them,
who were as tall as the cedars,
and as strong as the oak trees.
I destroyed their fruit above,
and their roots beneath.
It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and who led you through the desert for forty years,
to occupy the land of the Amorites.

Beware, I will crush you into the ground
as a wagon crushes when laden with sheaves.
Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong man shall not retain his strength;
The warrior shall not save his life,
nor the bowman stand his ground;
The swift of foot shall not escape,
nor the horseman save his life.
And the most stouthearted of warriors
shall flee naked on that day, says the LORD.
 

Responsorial Psalm 50:16bc-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23

R. (22a) Remember this, you who never think of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“When you see a thief, you keep pace with him,
and with adulterers you throw in your lot.
To your mouth you give free rein for evil,
you harness your tongue to deceit.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“You sit speaking against your brother;
against your mother’s son you spread rumors.
When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“Consider this, you who forget God,
lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.

Alleluia Ps 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”

– – –

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

Walk With Me, Jesus

Today’s Gospel tells us that the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head. There are the words the so-called disciples tells Jesus, “We will follow Him anywhere.” And Jesus answers with these words, “the Son of Man has no where to rest his head”. Every time I read that line I feel kind of sad to think that my Savior has no place to rest. I believe that Jesus was telling this man that following him is not an easy task. Jesus was moving from place to place in order to bring the good news to as many people as possible. I believe he was trying to tell him it’s really difficult to follow him. And it can be.

We are told that the road to heaven is very narrow. Now we know why, because it can be difficult! To reach any worthy goal it takes work. It’s the same in our spiritual walk, but isn’t it worth reaching for? Does it take some effort? Of course it does. Few of us are given things on a silver platter. Scripture is full of stories of times when Jesus met those that were not happy with what he was doing, spreading the good news. He left friends and family behind. But even then He had those that would follow him and help him along the way.

We have three daughters (and five sons) and all three of them experienced some form of what Jesus did, one at a time. They all left home and became missionaries for several years. They left family and friends to give themselves to Jesus and to help spread the good news. Some were in different countries even farther away from home. But they persevered. As time went on they discerned that the Lord was calling them to a new vocation. They are all raising families now and doing well. But, they tell me that those years they spent in the missionary fields they would trade for nothing. God has blessed them for giving Him their first shot.

One thing we never know is how we would react in a certain situation or when making a very important decision. This of course takes a process of discernment. Even that sometimes is very difficult. If you were to ask me if I would give my life for Jesus, what would my answer be? I have thought of this many times in my life. Of course I tell myself, sure I could do that!  But in reality I would not know unless I actually did it and if I actually had the faith to do it.

Many decisions in life are not that heavy, but even some of the lighter ones can be troublesome. This Gospel reading is about making decisions. Many times I have used the term  “Am I all in”? Meaning, am I all in for the Lord? In my heart, I say yes. My mind actually doesn’t prove that I have. So, I continue to do my best for myself and for my family and my Church that we all will help Jesus, to find a place to rest his head and believe the Good News that he continues to give us!

Serving With Joy!

Contact the author

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Lili Popper, https://unsplash.com/photos/lu15z1m_KfM

Daily Prayer for June 27

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15–16, NIV

Lord God, help us to be holy as you are holy, and free us from all the earthly things that try to torment us. Grant us your Spirit so that we do what is right. May we always hold your hand confidently. Protect your children everywhere on earth, and help them do what is right even if the whole world does what is wrong. Help us, so that all we do becomes holy and pleasing in your sight. Let your grace grow among us and among the nations, and let your hand be strong to bring in your day, your day when everything is made new. May your name be kept holy, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

 

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Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21

The LORD said to Elijah:
“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah,
as prophet to succeed you.”

Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat,
as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen;
he was following the twelfth.
Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him.
Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said,
“Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,
and I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “Go back!
Have I done anything to you?”
Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them;
he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,
and gave it to his people to eat.
Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R (cf. 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
            I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
            you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
            even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
            with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
            my body, too, abides in confidence
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
            nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
            fullness of joys in your presence,
            the delights at your right hand forever.
R You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Reading II Gal 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Alleluia 1 Sm 3:9; Jn 6:68c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Speak, Lord, your servant is listening;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

– – –

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

Beyond Mammon

You will remember that just a few days ago, the Gospel for June 18 gave us that famous line from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt 6:24) It’s an easily understood concept. To put it in a more modern vernacular, “How can you expect to ‘get God’ if you’re busy trying to ‘get stuff’?”

Here we are, 2,000 years later, and the world basically runs on the accumulation of “stuff.” We invent stuff, develop stuff, manufacture stuff, grow stuff, buy stuff, sell stuff, collect stuff, service stuff, and dispose of stuff. Cars, electronics, household goods, food, baseball cards, stocks and bonds, money — it’s all stuff, and the emphasis on acquiring it is getting in the way of what we’re really here for: to know, love and serve God in this world so that we can be with him in the next.

The Church in its wisdom ups the ante with today’s Gospel, where Luke tells us about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, where he will suffer, die and rise — all for us, by the way. It’s not the simple “God or stuff” dichotomy. These are real “punch in the stomach” examples today.

When Jesus tells someone, “Follow me,” the reply is “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” The Lord’s reply is blunt: “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another person thinks he has it figured out: “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” See, Jesus? I’m leaving them behind for you. Again, Jesus pushes for more: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Even in requests that seem reasonable to us, Jesus sees the truth. And that truth is this: God first. Always, always, God first. There can be no compromise. Look at it this way: Your father died and must be buried. What if, in your love for and belief in God, you commend your father to God’s mercy, you pray for his soul, you realize that God created him, gave him his life, and knew the moment when it had to end. You thank God for what your father taught you, and you ask God for mercy for yourself, as well. 

What if, instead of saying goodbye to your family before following Jesus, you bring your family with you? You teach them of God’s greatness, His love, mercy and justice, His only begotten Son who became man, taught us, healed us, suffered for us, died for us, rose again, gave His very self to us in the Eucharist. What if you prayed for them, and asked God to help you guide them to communion with Him?

That plow Jesus talks about is the course of your life. If you’re looking back to what was, you’re going to have a pretty crooked row. If you keep your focus up front — on God, your life’s goal — putting Him first and foremost, the plowing might not be any easier, but it will be heading in the only right direction — straight to God, your ultimate joy.

Contact the author

Mike Karpus is a regular guy. He grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, graduated from Michigan State University and works as an editor. He is married to a Catholic school principal, raised two daughters who became Catholic school teachers at points in their careers, and now relishes his two grandchildren, including the 3-year-old who teaches him what the colors of Father’s chasubles mean. He has served on a Catholic School board, a pastoral council and a parish stewardship committee. He currently is a lector at Mass, a Knight of Columbus, Adult Faith Formation Committee member and a board member of the local Habitat for Humanity organization. But mostly he’s a regular guy.

Feature Image Credit: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz, unsplash.com/photos/CXY93X0CwDs

Daily Prayer for June 26

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3, NIV

O Lord our God, grant that we may have fellowship with you every day. May our hearts be ready to fulfill your commandments and to do what you want in all things. Hear our prayer. Hear and answer when we pray for the nations, for the whole world, and let your holy will be done. Remember all who are in distress, and lead them on the right way. May we go with joyful hearts wherever you lead us. Your name will be our help, your glory will come, and the world will be full of your love, your power, and your splendor. Amen.

 

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