Praying The Word

August 23, 2019 Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22

Psalm 146

Matthew 22:34-40

“For wherever you go, I will go…and your God my God.”  Ruth 1:16

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart…soul…and mind.” Mt. 22:37

Lord, your family tree contains great men and women who were critical to our redemption.  Ruth is an ancestor who came to love both God and her mother-in law.  She gave up her former life to live faithfully for God and to serve Naomi.  Only death would separate her from the woman who showed her the love God had for her.  Ruth is one of the few women mentioned in your genealogy in the Bible.  Ruth was rewarded with a good life.  What a contrast we have between Ruth and the scribes and Pharisees.  She gave her heart to God and your enemies tried to trap you and eventually plotted to kill you.  She never saw God but you were in plain sight everyday to your adversaries.  Her heart was open while theirs was closed.  Lord, I pray for the faith and devotion of Ruth.  She lived the two greatest commandments to a “T”.   The “Ruths” of this world make it a better place and help pave the way for your Kingdom to flourish.   She is an example of decency, kindness and generosity.  Thank you for putting people like Ruth in my life-I am better for it.  Amen.

Praying The Word

August 22, 2019 Thursday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time-C THE QUEENSHIP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Judges 11:29-39

Psalm 40

Matthew 22:1-14

Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you wished not… Ps. 40:7

“…but they refused to come.”  Mt. 22:5

Lord, how could a father sacrifice his one daughter?  There is no redeeming virtue in what Jephthah did.  You used him to deliver Israel from their enemies but he disobeyed your commandment not to offer child sacrifice.  Lord, you do not desire any sacrifice except that of a contrite heart.  Jephthah would have done much better had he heeded the words of today’s Psalm when making vows to God.  You asked Mary to give herself to you completely.  She willingly accepted your invitation to set aside her plans for your plans.  She gave birth to you, nurtured you and fully experienced the sword of sorrow that came with her life.  Now she reigns as Queen in heaven with you and all the saints.  Lord, help me to accept your invitation to the banquet you prepare for me.  Keep me close to you and never let me lose sight of my place in your kingdom.   May I be part of your generosity, your deliverance and your goodness.  My “yes” to you may be costly but I trust in my King to transform my heart and mind.  Make me worthy to live in your kingdom.  Amen.

Praying The Word

August 21, 2019 Wednesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time-C ST. PIUS X, POPE

Judges 9:6-15

Psalm 21

Matthew 20:1-16

 “Are you envious because I am generous?”  Mt. 20:15

Lord, I can see the all-day workers filing a grievance with the grape-pickers union over their treatment.  They may even take him to court.  This wonderful parable teaches us that your ways are not our ways.  We know they were angry but I wonder how the one hour workers felt when they received a full day’s pay.  They must have been surprised and very happy because they had enough to go home and feed their family.  Thank you, dear Jesus, for showing us our Father’s mercy and how we are to treat each other.  May I never be ungrateful or question how you desire to bless me.  You know best and only want that for me.  My sense of fairness or justice can be in conflict with yours.  Help me to avoid the envy trap as I see the gifts others have.  Thank you for not giving me only what I have earned or deserved.  You forgive my sins and cover me with your grace so that I can live the abundant life you came to give me.  I hope to become as generous as you are.    Lord, I trust in your ways.  Amen.

Praying The Word

August 20, 2019 Tuesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time-C ST. BERNARD, ABBOT, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

Judges 6:11-24

Psalm 85

Matthew 19:23-30

“I shall be with you…”  Judges 6:16

Lord, Gideon was not “the most likely to succeed” person in his class.  He admitted that he was of no importance and had little to offer in defense of his country.  He didn’t feel qualified to do what the angel announced to him.  What he didn’t take into consideration was that he would go forward with the strength and help of God.  Your grace, O Lord, can accomplish amazing things.  Throughout salvation history you have been with men and women who came from nowhere to do awesome deeds with your grace.    What have you called me to today?  What deeds, great or small, have you made me for?  I too feel unqualified or unable to respond to the challenges of discipleship.  But that’s when I underestimate your grace.  Lord, give me the faith to know that with your grace I can accomplish whatever task you place before me.  I may not save a country like Gideon but I can rescue someone from loneliness or fear.    With you at my side I can bring the good news of your love to someone struggling with life.  I can share the grief of someone who has lost a loved one.  Lord Jesus, be my rock and my strength.  Amen.

Praying The Word

August 19, 2019 Monday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Judges 2:11-19

Psalm 106

Matthew 19:16-22

They…abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods.  Judges 2:17

“What do I still lack?”  Mt. 19:20

Lord, the rich young man came to you with the same question I have.  He was doing his best to follow the commandments of God.  But in his heart he knew there was more he needed to do to enter into eternal life.  Something was missing in his life and that disturbed him.  He may have sensed that there was an obstacle to giving himself completely to God.  You saw into his heart and identified for him the next step for him to grow in faith and trust.   He had to let go of the false gods of possessions and wealth.  Just as the chosen people of Israel substituted false gods for the one who was caring for them, the young man placed too high a priority on goods of this world.  Lord, “what do I still lack?”  What do you see in my heart that prevents me from giving myself completely to you?  Am I misusing the time and talents you’ve given me?  Am I too self-absorbed to enter into open and fruitful relationships with others?  Do I have pleasure and comfort as my highest priorities?  Help me to let go of what owns me so I can follow you.  Amen.

Praying The Word

August 18, 2019 Sunday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10

Psalm 40

Hebrews 12:1-4

Luke 12:49-53

…keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus… Heb. 12:2

“From now on a household will be divided…” Lk. 12:52

Lord, I hear hurt and sorrow in your voice today.  You could see the divisions your message of repentance caused in families and communities.  It had to break your heart to see the people you were going to die for reject you.  The choice you offered was clear: believe in you as the eternal Son of God or not.  Accept the truth of the cross or not.  Love neighbor, be faithful in marriage, and obey God’s word or not.  Die to self and live for you or not.   The attractions of sin and being consumed by worldly values can push aside your message of love.  When we forget who we are and why we are here and where we are going unity and peace are broken.   That broken peace would nail you to the cross.  Lord, I pray to you, I beg you, to restore and maintain unity and peace in my family.   Help us to keep our eyes fixed on you as our guide, protector and savior.  May we choose to run the race of life united in a commitment to accept the will of our loving Father in everything, every day.  Amen.

Praying The Word

August 17, 2019 Saturday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Joshua 24:14-29

Psalm 16

Matthew 19:13-15

Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you and turn your hearts to the Lord… Joshua: 24:23

Lord, like the Israelites in the Promised Land, we are surrounded by “strange gods.”   The false gods that they were drawn to were made of wood and stone.  The false gods we are tempted by come in many forms.  Our consumer culture tells us that to be happy we must have the state-of-the-art I Phone, the newest computer, the latest fashions and the hottest car.  Our house has to be as nice or nicer than our neighbors.  We fill our time with hours of internet surfing and TV viewing.  Some worship sports or other forms to entertainment.  Lord, where do you fit into our priorities?  Is it OK to play golf on Sunday morning rather than worship you at Mass?  Does making money come before sharing ourselves with our children?  How do I spend my time, my talents and my treasure?   Matthew wrote: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”  (Mt. 6:21).  Joshua was warning of the consequences of turning to the false gods of their neighbors.  Nothing has changed.  Dear Jesus, fix my attention and heart on you.  Help me to empty myself of all excessive attractions to this world so you can fill me with yourself.  Amen

Praying The Word

August 16, 2019 Friday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Joshua 24:1-12

Psalm 136

Matthew 19:3-12

“I gave you a land that you had not tilled…”  Joshua 24:13

His mercy endures forever.  Ps. 136:1

Lord, today I honor you for your enduring goodness to me.  Like the Israelites on their way to the land you gave them I recount the many times in the past you have been the steady, guiding hand in my life. I have not earned nor do I deserve your generous mercy.  How often I have taken credit for the good things that you have provided for me?    You have rescued me from countless dangers.  You have walked with me when I thought I was alone.  Obstacles and barriers you have removed from my path.  The promises you made to care for me are being kept even as I pray this prayer.  When my faith is weak you understand and patiently wait for me to come back to you.  You have forgiven all my sins, great and small.  There has never been a time when you abandoned me.  I look confidently to the future knowing for sure you have wonderful blessings beyond my understanding coming my way.  I am sure of one thing:  “your mercy endures forever.”  Amen.

Praying The Word

August 15, 2019 THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY-C

Revelation 11:19, 12:1-6, 10

Psalm 45

1 Corinthians 15:20-27

Luke 1:39-56

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord… Lk. 1:46

Lord, how blest we are to have Mary as our mother.  Her joy was to be the complete servant of God.  The only thing that mattered to her was to do God’s will without complaint or question.  She never forgot all God had done for her and her people.  Setting aside her own plans, she fully embraced the message of the angel despite perhaps not understanding all it would involve.  Becoming your mother and teacher was the greatest honor given any woman throughout history.  Her obedience to the Father and complete commitment to you stand as awesome examples for all of us.   Today she shows us the way to your kingdom.  She always points the way to you, dear Lord.   Even though our Blessed Mother is with you in heaven body and soul, she is ever ready to intercede for us her on earth.  We can be confident that she carries our needs before you and perfects our humble and feeble prayers.   May we like Mary, remain open to your mighty deeds.  And may we, like Mary, stay faithful to the end.  May we, like Mary, magnify the greatness of our Lord.  Amen.

Praying The Word

August 14, 2019 Wednesday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time-C ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, PRIEST, MARTYR

Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Psalm 66

Matthew 18:15-20

Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses… Dt. 34:10

Lord, today we remember two of your faithful children who were outstanding in their devotion to you.  The first was Moses, who you used to free a nation from slavery, kept them together for 40 years in the desert and then delivered them to the doorstep of the Promised Land.  The second is St. Maximilian Kolbe who was a hero in a Nazi death camp for giving his life for another prisoner.  Both bravely overcame tremendous obstacles to live out the vocations they were called to.  Lord, as I look at my life ask myself: am I living in a way that pleases you?  Am I using the gifts and opportunities you have given me to bear the fruit you created me to bear?  Whether I am a husband, wife, parent, grandparent, or single person am I leading my family to a closer union with you?  Am I a witness to your love and forgiveness in my workplace, neighborhood or community?  Am I patient with those who don’t know you?  Am I willing to give my life in whatever way you call me to?  Jesus, help me to live my purpose in life like Moses and St. Maximilian.  Amen.