Monthly Archives: June 2017

A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors. For they have contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.
(Mark 12: 42-43)

Call me to you, Lord Jesus, as you did your disciples, and help me to hear you.

My first reaction when considering this story is that I have no “surplus wealth.” It is true that I have more debt than assets, but if I am careful, I can pay it gradually. I have food on hand, and the things I think I need I can do without, at least for a while. There will be enough for my rent. The little check I will write for the collection today will not be my “livelihood.” It is just a token of trust in your providence. Please help me to be more generous and more trusting.

David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’”
(Mark 12:36)

Spirit of God, you are at work in the world before you descended upon the apostles and after. Jesus, you tell us that the Spirit revealed to David that his son would be his Lord. Son of God, and Son of Mary, you rule with your Father. Father, through your divine Son, you are our father, too. Our Lord is our brother. Our relationship with you is the only one that matters, for in you we are all related.

Whether or not the crowd understood, you explained to them that you, the Messiah, are more than our Savior, but our very God.

Please help me today to remember that you are with me in all my encounters and to act as your servant and your daughter and sister.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
(Mark 12:30-31)

To love you with my whole heart, Lord, I need to clear out any attachments and distractions. The paradox is that if I do love you with my whole heart, these will disappear, for there simply will be no room for them. Once I realize how you love me, how can I help but give my heart to you?

My mind can be my enemy. I love exercising it; I delight in solving puzzles, applying logic, reading and writing. I get frustrated because life is not logical. Still, you did not give me a mind just for my gratification. It helps me to know you, but you are so far beyond its grasp that I cannot depend on it alone. It is your Spirit that will guide me.

My soul is the Spirit you breathed into me, the kiss of your creation. It hears only in silence. Help me to cultivate quiet space.

Without you, Lord, I have no strength, but again and again you show me how to lean on you.

To love you is to receive your love and reflect it. How can I serve my neighbor today? I will remember the prayer of St. Francis, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” Show me where and how I can replace hatred with love, injury with pardon, doubt with faith, despair with hope, darkness with light and sadness with joy. Let me seek only to serve.

As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.
(Mark 12:26-27)

Living God, Father and Creator, you made our bodies as well as our souls. The Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection, posed a ridiculous question about seven brothers who married the same woman after the preceding brother died. You informed them that our resurrected bodies will have no need of marriage, for we will be in constant communion with you and love one another in you.

We cannot imagine our glorified bodies, but you tell us they will live again and be like angels. We won’t have the needs and infirmities we have now, but neither will be pure spirit. Just as you appeared after your resurrection and ate and drank with your disciples, and even let them place their hands in your wounds, so will we recognize one another, though the bodies will be perfected. It is beyond our comprehension, but you have told us and we believe.

Help me to respect and care for the body you gave me and those of all humans, from the preborn to the dying. You washed the disciples’ feet, touched lepers, and healed the lame, the blind and the deaf. Let me not turn away from anyone who is suffering, but treat all with dignity. We are all precious to you.

So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were utterly amazed at him.
(Mark 12:17)

The Pharisees were amazed, my Jesus, because “knowing their hypocrisy,” you had not only answered their question about whether it was legal to pay tribute to Caesar, but you had also sidestepped the trap they had set for you.

A coin is a human invention. We use it according to our rights as citizens. It is neither moral nor immoral, but just an object. What we owe to you, Lord, is a return of gratitude for everything you have given us. What can I give you today>

“How can I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me? I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of the people.” (Psalm 116:12-14)

What is my cup of salvation? It is the cup I will offer as you, Father, offered it to your Son in Gethsemane. Let me not shrink from whatever you ask.

What is my vow? It is the promise made in my name at Baptism and renewed by me throughout my life. In the presence of your people, I will affirm that I belong to you by loving you and them. Please show me how to do that today.

He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to him last of all, thinking, “They will respect my son.”
(Mark 12:6)

My omniscient God, you knew that the Pharisees would not respect your Son, but that he would save us all. We did not make the world; you gave it to us to tend. We did not make ourselves. We can do nothing to earn your love, and yet you give it freely. We own nothing, but you provide for us lavishly. It is when we forget who we are and who you are that we disrespect you, ourselves, our neighbors, and our environment.

Please help me today to be grateful for the beautiful, bountiful vineyard in which you have placed me. To regard it as mine would be to desecrate it. I would hang onto it jealously, and it would enslave me. Instead, with your grace, I will pause and thank you. I will give whatever you ask, which is a mere token of all you have so generously provided.

At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
(Acts 2:16)

Heavenly Father, the Genesis story of Babel portrays you as confounding the languages in order to prevent us from relying on our human pride and abandoning you. Holy Spirit, since love seeks unity, you repeal that penance and enable your people to understand what the disciples reveal about you. Help us to communicate with people of various cultures, not in order to rebel against you, but to know one another in you. When we learn to accept and welcome others, we can participate in the renewal of the earth.

What can I do to promote peace and unity? Today, I am staying in, but as I reflect on the wonders of this “birthday of the Church,” strengthen me and let me work harder to live in your Spirit and reflect it.

Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?”
(John 21:22)

Peter had asked you about John, Lord, saying, “What about him?” You remind him that our duty is to follow you, no to wonder about other people. Let us love one another, for that is your command, but let our focus be on whatever you are asking of us.

Your invitation is so simple and yet profound. First, we must discern where you are, else how could we follow you? You are everywhere, of course; so perhaps what we need to ask is “Where am I?” Am I concentrating so much on my own goals that I forget to look for you? Even if those goals are noble, if they do not bring me closer to you, they are not my path.

Please give me the courage and humility to forget myself, to pay no attention to where others are going, but to let you guide every step I take.

How can I follow you today? Just as I began to write that sentence, I remembered that the discipleship questionnaire will be collected during Mass this evening. I have been reflecting for several weeks; now it is time to make a commitment. That is my next step, then. Lead me, guide me.

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
(John 21:15)

John tells us, Lord, that this is the third time you appeared to your disciples. The first time, you had entered the locked room, but Thomas wasn’t there; so you came back the next week. In this last incident, they are once again fishing and none of them recognize you until you fill their nets. It is Peter who proclaims, “It is the Lord.” It is to Peter that you pose the question, “Do you love me?” And it is Peter whom you commission to feed your lambs. You will ask him three times, and he will become more and more confused and distressed, but finally you will charge him, once again, to follow you.

This is reminiscent of your first invitation to Peter. It is also interpreted as an opportunity for him to atone for his threefold denial of you during your trial.

How will I recognize you today in the neighbors you have commanded me to love? I promised to visit a friend who is lonely and confused. Please show me how I can help her.

And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
(John 17:22)

This is our glory, Lord, to be one in you and with one another through your Mystical Body. Mother Theresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Please help me to remember those words today. I will share them with my neighbors at the Communion service. How could we be closer than when we share your Body? How blessed we are to belong! Today, I rejoice, as you rejoiced in us.

Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
(Luke 1:50)

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
(Luke 1:50)

The encounter between Mary and Elizabeth confirms what John would announce and you would fulfill, my Jesus. You came for the salvation of all generations. You would instruct us that we are saved by believing, as Mary did. You would praise her, not for bearing you, but for hearing the Word and trusting.

“If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.” How can I be open to you today, Lord? Melt away the wall I have built. Restore the bridges I have burned. Let me hear you in the pleas of the oppressed, the cries of the hungry, and the needs of our people and our earth. Let me attend to the little things I can do to respect all you create. Let me rejoice, as Mary did, that we are under your protection.