Praying the Word

September 26, 2023, Tuesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time-A

Ezra 6:7-8, 12, 14-20

Psalm 122

Luke 8:19-21

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  Luke 8:21

Lord, your words today lead us to reflect on family and what really binds us to you. Rather than see this incident as a put down of your blood family we can see it as a blessing. Lord, you tell us how we can be full members of your Kingdom family. The key is to first open our hearts to you and your word. The second is to let it change us, strengthen us, and guide us. If we put these two steps as our top priorities, then we will connect with you as family. What an honor and privilege it is to be family to you. Lord, if I put my attention on you first, I will automatically give love and commitment to my earthly family and my church family. Give me a firm and holy heart, dear Jesus, to live in unity with your will and the hopes and dreams of my brothers and sisters. May I always look to your word to guide me in the temptations and challenges of life.  Your grace, I am confident, is sufficient for whatever you desire for me.  Amen.  

Praying the Word

September 25, 2023, Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time-A

Ezra 1:1-6

Psalm 126

Luke 8:16-18

“To anyone who has, more will be given…”  Luke 8:18

Lord, there is no doubt you have blessed me with an abundance of everything I need to follow you.  From your generous hands I have received unearned benefits, unasked-for gifts and unknown blessings.  Indeed, it is proper that I reflect on why you have been so lavish in your goodness to me. You know what I need so out of your love you supply it. You know what I need to grow in the virtues of faith, hope and love. You have chosen me to be an instrument of yours in my circle of family, friends, and community.  In other words, you provide the light that I can shine in the darkness.  Lord, how will you provide for me today? What opportunity will you give me to follow the will of my Father?  How will you reveal yourself to me so I can live your calling?  In what ways can I be more open to your love so I can be a more faithful servant in your kingdom?  May I not hide my light under a bed. Lord, may I be ready for the “more” I’ll be given today.  Amen.  

Praying the Word

September 24, 2023, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A

Isaiah 55:6-9

Psalm 145

Philippians 1:20-24

Matthew 20:1-16

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. 

Is. 55:8

“You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.”  Mt. 20:4

Lord, from a very young age we are taught about fairness. We learn what is right and what is wrong from our parents and teachers. The hard workers in your parable were sure that giving the latecomers the same wage as they received was unfair and not right. I can understand their grievance. The Master’s sense of justice included generosity, love, mercy, and compassion.  Your standards of justice are not those of the world. The landowner didn’t see lazy men on the street corner at 5 o’clock.  He saw men who had families to feed. The last hired made little contribution to the harvest yet they too had hungry children at home. Thank you, Lord, for not giving me only what I deserve or have earned. You see my needs first and fill me up abundantly.  Dear Jesus, help me to have the same sense of justice and fairness of the vineyard owner. Form me today so that I may ensure no one is left behind or not cared for. May my ways become more like the ways of your Kingdom.  Amen. 

Praying the Word

September 23, 2023, Saturday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time-A ST. PIUS OF PIETRELCINA (Padre Pio)

1 Timothy 6:13-16

Psalm 100

Luke 8:4-15

“And some seed fell on good soil and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.”  Luke 8:8

Lord, it’s a real relief to hear that producing a fruitful harvest is not all up to me. My job is to be good soil, your job is to grow the harvest. So many times, I have felt like a failure because I didn’t see the outcome I wanted from my efforts. I wanted to produce oranges, but apples grew instead. Your gospel reminds me to allow your Word to transform my life from the inside out. Lord, I so want to be the receptive, open, and fertile soil for your word to grow from a thought to an action. I want your word to have a real effect on my life. I want to change. I want to be more like you. O, dear Lord, open my heart to your truth. Help me to live out the dream you have for me. Nothing else really matters, does it? Sharpen my eyes and ears of faith so I am more aware of your presence. With your grace anything is possible. May I be a fruitful garden for you to grow whatever you want for your heavenly table.  St. Pius pray for us.  Amen.  

Praying the Word

September 22, 2023, Friday of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A

1 Timothy 6:2-12

Psalm 49

Luke 8:1-3

Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.  1 Timothy 6:6

Lord, contentment to me means happiness. If I am content, I am at peace and not worried or anxious. It is good to be content. Paul urges his companion Timothy to be content with the “sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He lists for us the evils that come from ignoring or disputing the gospel. None of these have anything to do with contentment. There is little peace and real happiness in “envy, rivalry, insults” and other such nasty ways. We are also taught that when we put the accumulation of money as our top priority we will “pierce ourselves with many pains.” Again, Lord, that doesn’t sound much like contentment. It is a great blessing to be content with what I need to live in peace and union with you. It’s an attitude that can be learned and practiced with your help. Grant me the joy of a peaceful and contented life free of worry or fear. Lord, I came into this world with nothing, and I will go out the same way. Thank you for providing me all I need to follow you.  Amen.  

Praying the Word

September 21, 2023, Thursday of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A ST. MATTHEW, APOSTLE, EVANGELIST

Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Psalm 19

Matthew 9:9-13

…he saw a man named Matthew…  “He said to him, Follow me.” Mt. 9:9

Lord, when you stopped at Matthew’s customs post and invited him to follow you he had to be the most surprised man in all Israel. Matthew knew well how despised he was. The religious authorities constantly reminded him of his sins against his own people. He had to wonder what Jesus saw in him. But you looked into his heart and saw the possibilities, the potential of this man. You overlooked his sinful past and extended mercy to him. You even went so far as to dine with him and the other tax collectors in clear violation of ritual purity laws. How amazed were those who ate with you!  How many souls did you win that day? Jesus, it’s clear that you chose well when you called this future gospel writer into your fold. It shows the power of grace to transform even the most lost and forsaken among us. Lord, please help me not to judge others. Help me to trust in your mercy and to be open to the potential within even those who are detested today. Thank you for not holding my past against me. St. Matthew, pray for us.  Amen

Praying the Word

September 20, 2023, Wednesday of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A

1 Timothy 3:14-16

Psalm 111

Luke 7:31-35

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart…  Psalm 111:1

Lord, as we journey through life we make judgments, choices and experience a lot. We pick up prejudices and form habits. Growth and maturity can sometimes be checked by a closed mind or predetermined outcomes, or just plain stubbornness! What baggage am I dragging along that hinders me from knowing you, Lord?  How is my heart closed to your love, my eyes to your presence? You know I mean well and am doing my best to walk in your light. I can be somewhat hard-hearted about some things as you know. I can look the other way when given an opportunity to love, pull back in fear at a challenge, close my heart to your grace. I can’t help but feel I can be more open to your ways. Lord, help me to see you more clearly. Soften my heart and show me how to surrender to you in all ways. Please accept my gratitude for all you do for me whether I notice it or not. Your grace and presence lead me to offer you all the praise in my heart.  Amen.

Praying the Word

September 19, 2023, Tuesday of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A

1 Timothy 3:1-13

Psalm 101

Luke 7:11-17

When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her… Lk 7:13

Lord, so many times in the Gospel stories you are asked to perform a miracle of healing by someone afflicted with a disease or possessed by a demon. People came to you from far places to experience your power. Yesterday, a centurion asked for you to heal his servant.  Today no one asks you to do anything for this widow and her dead son. You saw her grief and knew that with her husband and only son gone she would be destitute with no support.  Moved with pity for her you raised her son to life. You entered into her life and restored her son without being asked. Lord, how many times a day do you, without being asked, enter into my life circumstances? How often do you see me in need of strength, healing, or guidance and you provide it without my awareness? I want to thank you, dear Jesus, for seeing my needs and taking pity on me. You know what I need better than I do. I thank you for all the blessings and gifts you pour into my life and my family that I fail to see. I surrender to your compassion.  Amen.   

Praying the Word

September 18, 2023, Monday of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A

1 Timothy 2:1-8

Psalm 28

Luke 7:1-10

“…I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.”  Lk 4:6

Lord, over two thousand years after these words were spoken by a pagan centurion, we repeat them every time we prepare to receive you in Holy Communion. What is so important about this unnamed officer that we remember him even today? What caused you to accept his request to come heal his servant then respect his plea to perform your miracle from a distance with but a word? Lord, what can I learn from his humility and faith? I know sometimes my pride prevents me from asking others and even you for help.  I want to be in control and in charge of my life. Depending on someone else doesn’t come easy sometimes. I trust, Lord, in your healing and transforming power in any situation. You don’t owe me a thing. I cannot earn your love. May I pray with the Psalm: The Lord is my strength and my shield. Jesus, I really am not worthy, but I believe you can help me and change me. Give me the humility of this centurion.   May I receive the grace of a humble Holy Communion as you enter under my roof.  Amen 

Praying the Word

September 17, 2023, Sunday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time-A

Sirach 27:30-28:7                  

Psalm 103

Romans 14:7-9

Matthew 18:21-35

Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tighter.  Sirach 27:30

“Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant as I had pity on you”? Mt. 18:33

Lord, what a joyful feeling I would have if one day I received a notice that all my debts had been erased: home mortgage, car loan and credit cards. I would for sure wonder, “what’s the catch?” This is too good to be true. Your unconditional, unlimited, undeserved forgiveness is the ultimate meaning of the cross. It seems too good to be true. Mercy flowed from the sacrifice of your life for me. Lord, today’s word reveals that there is a catch, however. Your love and mercy are free, but you expect that I forgive my brothers and sisters as you have forgiven me.  I walk a very dangerous path if I choose “wrath and anger” over forgiveness and mercy as the parable you spoke clearly states. You insist on me forgiving the debts of others because it is good for me and them. The outcome for the unforgiving servant certainly gets my attention. I beg you for the grace of an understanding and compassionate heart. Help me always to remember how much I have been forgiven by you so I can forgive my brothers and sisters from my heart.  Amen.