Saturday, July 2, 2022

Gospel Acclamation: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

The peace of Christ... This is not merely a lack of conflict or an absence of upset. The word for “peace” in Greek is eirēnē, and it refers to a wholeness in which all the parts of something are joined together in the right order. This is the peace that we are to allow into our hearts. Jesus wants us to be whole, to be complete, to be in the proper order in all ways. We cannot do this on our own, of course. So we need the peace of Christ, Jesus' own wholeness and completeness and order, to control our hearts that we may enter into His peace.

The word of Christ... Do we hang on every word Jesus speaks? We should be. We should spend time each day reflecting on Scripture, which is the Word of God, and especially on the Gospels that provide us with Jesus' teachings. These words should become part of us, and they should grow within us as we allow the Holy Spirit to show us their truth, reveal the depths of their meaning, and apply them to our lives. Then the word of Christ will indeed dwell in us richly.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Gospel Acclamation: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening; You have the words of everlasting life.

This Gospel acclamation is a compilation of two Bible verses, one from the Old Testament and one from the New. When we pray them together, we first express our invitation to God to speak to us and our assurance that are minds and hearts are open to hearing and obeying. Then we acknowledge that God's words lead to everlasting life.

The first clause Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening comes from 1 Samuel 3:10. The young Samuel has been sleeping in the house of the Lord where the Ark of the Covenant is. Just think of sleeping in peace before God like that. But Samuel is not having a particularly peaceful night. Someone keeps calling his name. Three times, Samuel thinks the priest Eli is calling him, and he gets up and goes to Eli at once. But Eli has not called. Finally, the third time, Eli realizes what is happening. God is trying to talk to Samuel. Eli tells the boy what to do, and when Samuel hears his name again, he says with a humble confidence, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.” With those words, Samuel presents himself to God in an openness that is willing to hear and obey God's words.

The second clause You have the words of everlasting life is first found in Psalm 19, but Peter makes it his own in John 6:68. Jesus has been speaking to the Jews about how He is the bread that has come down from Heaven and how everyone must eat of this bread of life. Many of those who have been following Jesus leave Him at this point. Jesus turns to the apostles and asks if they, too, will go. Peter replies, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Eternal and everlasting life. Peter recognizes that such is only found in Jesus. Like Samuel, he opens his mind and heart even though he does not fully understand.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Gospel Acclamation: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.

What a promise our Lord gives us! First, He gives us Himself as the living bread. The One Who has come down from Heaven becomes our food. He enters into an intimacy with us almost beyond what we can imagine, entering into our bodies, truly present within us, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He does this because He loves us and wants to be with us, to draw us closer and closer to Him all the way to Heaven.

In fact, Jesus tells us that whoever eats this Bread will live forever. When we receive the Eucharist in a state of grace, our venial sins are wiped away. We receive a foretaste of Heaven, an increased intimacy with God. This draws us onward, increasing our desire for eternal life, strengthening us against sin, providing us with increased grace that we may continue our journey home to Heaven.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Gospel Acclamation: Most Holy Trinity

Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to God Who is, Who was, and Who is to come.

Sometimes we struggle to express our faith in the Blessed Trinity. We are, of course, faced with a mystery beyond our human comprehension. We will never fully understand how God is one God yet three Persons, but we believe that it is true because God has revealed it to us.

So we give glory on this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. We praise and worship our one God in three Persons as we marvel at the mystery. We stand in awe before the eternal God, Who is, Who was, and Who is to come. We bask in the love of this God Who has created us and sustains us in existence at every moment.

We wonder that the Father would send His beloved Son to become one of us, fully human while remaining fully God, and to die for us that we might be freed from our sins and receive eternal life. We are amazed that the Father and the Son have given us the Holy Spirit, the eternal love of God so strong as to be a divine Person, to enter into our souls and dwell within us.

And so in gratitude and love, we exclaim, “Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to God Who is, Who was, and Who is to come. Amen.”

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Gospel Acclamation: Pentecost Sunday

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love.

Fire. The Holy Spirit comes to set us on fire. We read in Acts how tongues as of fire descended upon the Apostles as a sign that the Holy Spirit had come upon them and filled them with His gifts and with the fire of His love.

At our Baptism and again at our Confirmation, the Holy Spirit has come upon us in a special way as well, infusing us with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. He has poured faith, hope, and love into our hearts, minds, and souls. He has set us on fire that we might know and defend our faith with courage and love and grow ever closer to the Blessed Trinity.

But do we accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Do we open our hearts that He may fill them? Do we put His gifts to good use? Or do we tuck them away, unwilling to allow them to move and work in us?

Let us pray on this Pentecost Sunday that the Holy Spirit may indeed come and fill our hearts and set them on fire with faith, hope, and love. Amen.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Gospel Acclamation: Ascension

Go and teach all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world.

I am with you always.” These are Jesus' words to us. He is with us always. There is never a moment when He is separated from us. He loves us continually, supports us constantly, and offers us His grace always.

Today we celebrate the Ascension, but we should not think of it as Jesus “going away” or saying goodbye. Quite the opposite is true. Jesus ascends to the Father so that He may be closer to us than ever. We receive Him Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist, taking Him into ourselves in a most intimate way and basking in His love.

Jesus also tells us to go and teach others about Him. This ability to spread the Gospel grows from the intimacy we experience with Jesus. As we grow closer and closer to Him, we can't help but want to spread the word and draw others to Him. So we allow Jesus to speak and act through us, opening ourselves to Him and becoming channels of His love.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Gospel Acclamation: Sixth Sunday of Easter

Whoever loves Me will keep My word, says the Lord, and My Father will love him and We will come to him.

What beautiful words of comfort from Jesus. He and the Father want to come to us and be with us and love us.

Will we let Jesus and the Father and the Spirit dwell within us? Will we love Jesus and keep His word? Will we open ourselves up to the divine presence? Will we take Jesus up on His incredible offer?