August 31, 2017

Mt 24: 42-51

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Chances to encounter God

Stay awake! Be prepared! We truly do not know the day or hour that the Lord will come, nor how or through who/what circumstances. We have several options of how to approach this text. We could be anxious about this, so anxious that we spin in our minds and miss the gentle suggestions God offers us on how to be prepared or watch for grace. We could ignore the warning, the way we are able to ignore the suffering of those that are marginalized or experiencing violence.

We could also approach this as a reminder of the endless opportunities we have to encounter God. We can treat every person we encounter with respect and dignity, as we might encounter grace through them. We can meet the joyful times recognizing those moments as gifts so we might savor the grace we receive. We can meet challenges with an acknowledgement of our struggles, as well as the confidence that God is present within those times.

We can encounter those who are suffering from violence and hatred as a call to respond and seek to build the Kingdom. An element of Ignatian spirituality is the call to “Find God in All Things.” Today’s reading invites us to seek and find God in all things, so we might quiet the anxiety and indifference that prevents us from staying awake to the movement of God in our world.

—Lauren Schwer is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Loving and faithful God,
You give us endless opportunities to experience your love and grace. We ask for light and wisdom to recognize your presence in all situations and in all people. Help us to open our hearts and minds so we are prepared to welcome you in every moment of our day. We thank you for your unending mercy and love.
Amen.

Lauren Schwer

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 30, 2017

Mt 23: 27-32

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous,and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Telling the truth with love

Prophets are above all truth tellers and we all need truth tellers in our lives who courageously, with love, always tell us the hard truths about ourselves. Sometimes we are initially unable to hear these truths and spurn the person, but over time we come to appreciate them so much. These situations are often difficult for both sides, but with God’s grace are very important.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is a chair of the Theology Department at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, grant me a sincere loving heart to tell the truth to those I love, and an open, humble heart to listen to those truths about myself even when it can be painfully hard for me to hear.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 29, 2017

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

1 Thes 2: 1-8

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.

As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Speaking as Christians

In 1987, the Federal Communications Commision voted 4-0 to repeal its own Fairness Doctrine. Created in 1949, these rules required licensees of public airwaves to discuss important public issues fairly and to present news to listeners honestly and responsibly.

Thirty years later, what we hear on the radio can seem a lot louder and not always fair. But whatever our personal or political opinions, we should be able to agree as Christians that the ways of Jesus are gentle and kind. Even when society removes its rules, we should strive to listen with charity and to speak with care, maybe most to those with whom we disagree.

There were Thessalonians in Paul’s time who accused his ministry of self interest. But Paul asks the Christians in Thessalonica to remember the gentle nature of his visits among them. Is Paul right to remind them of something they may have forgotten?

To whom could I speak more gently or approach more fairly today?

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the West Province currently beginning his Regency assignment in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.

Prayer

God, you chose us to be the holy people
you love. Help us to clothe ourselves
with tenderhearted mercy, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.
Lead our souls in calmness and in peace.
Give us ears of understanding
and words of mercy. Hold our hands.
Allow your Love to guide our way.

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, inspired by Colossians 3:12

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 28, 2017

St. Augustine

Mt 23: 13-22

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’

How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Beware hypocrisy

When we ask young people why they stay away from the church, they often cite “hypocrisy” as the number one reason they do so.  Jesus tries to awaken the Pharisees and scribes to this sentiment.  The money offered to the temple and the adornments that exist within it, seem more important than the temple itself.  I suspect that Jesus is also referring to the “temple” that is our bodies as well.  

I wonder after a lifetime of ministry if Jesus will look at me and cite my own hypocrisy.  Will he point out how many people I led astray?   It would be so humbling to see how much I got wrong and disheartening to know that I spread the wrong message to others and put their soul in the balance!

The challenge Jesus gives to all of us is to “take care of the temple”, that is, ourselves.  Before we can serve others, we need to pray deeply to discern where God is leading us, so that our example is not one based on an irrational piety, or worse, a false God!  Rather we base our lives on dedication to God alone.

—Mike Hayes is the Director of Campus Ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Prayer

Lord God, let our focus be on you, so that we might bring your people to you to do with what you will.  Amen.

—Mike Hayes

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 27, 2017

Mt 16: 13-20

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Who am I to you?

Jesus asked very poignant questions in his time, questions that made you think. He asked Peter, “but who do you say that I am?” Really he asked him, “who am I to you? What is our relationship?”

This is similar to Native People when they meet for the first time.  They want to know, “who are you or who are you related to?” This information tells a lot about oneself and also the character of one’s people. The emphasis is on who you are rather than on what do you do? What defines you?

Jesus poses the same question to you, “who do you say that I am?” The answer says a lot about who you are. Can you answer as quickly as Simon Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God?” We can answer without hesitation if Jesus is truly our relative.

—Deacon Marlon Leneaugh is the Director of Native Ministries in the Diocese of Rapid City, SD.

Prayer

Lord, help us to recognize you as a relative in all who we meet today.

—Deacon Marlon Leneaugh

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 26, 2017

Mt 23: 1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students.

And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Humble yourself

“Actions speak louder than words.”  This phrase is a caution for the scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel.  While they preached, gave instruction, and told others what to do, they did not listen to the intent of God’s laws.  In our world today, power is highly sought after, whether in the workplace, relationships, or in the community.  But, as Spiderman says, “with great power comes great responsibility.”  The scribes and Pharisees did not use their power and influence as they should.

All of us have influence in our lives, and there are people watching our actions whether we realize it or not.  In St. Ignatius’s First Principle and Foundation, he reminds us of the need to be indifferent to honor or dishonor.  Admittedly, this can be difficult, but Jesus tells us that “whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  How can you let your actions show that you are humble before God?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Let me have too deep a sense of humor to be proud.
Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly.
Let me realize that when I am humble I am most human,
most truthful,
and most worthy of your serious consideration.

—Daniel A. Lord, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 25, 2017

St. Louis of France

Mt 22: 34-40

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Primero Dios

“Primero Dios!” It’s a popular expression among Hispanic Catholics that means, “God first!” In the countless decisions we face on a daily basis, this expression gives focus to the great commandment given by Jesus, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” It requires great trust that if we put God first in our lives, seeking God’s will above our own, we will find ourselves truly living a blessed life.

But to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength can only be possible if we know, deep down, that we are loved by God who has our best interest at heart.

If we know this, with constant reminders of course, we can fulfill the second part of the commandment, “to love your neighbor as yourself.”

—Fr. Dan Reim, SJ, is campus chaplain at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH.

Prayer

“Give me only your love and your grace; that’s enough for me.”

—Excerpt of Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 24, 2017

St. Bartholomew

Jn 1: 45-51

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”

Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The gift of being known

In today’s Gospel, Jesus encounters Nathanael for the first time. Yet, Jesus knows both trivial details about what Nathanael had been doing with this day and also about the depth and goodness of Nathanael’s heart. Nathanael recognizes Jesus as the Son of God simply because he feels known through a simple encounter. It’s incredible to think each one of us are also known in that depth by the God that created us.

There is a gift in being known. When someone knows and loves you, they are far more likely to be patient with you when you are crabby or angry or needing support. Those people know you aren’t like this regularly. I wish I was able to approach my relationship with God with the same confidence. God knows both the trivial things that are complicating my days or frustrating me, as well as the bigger issues permeating my heart. I can bring all the content of my life to prayer, knowing God will always be patient with me. Today, we are invited to acknowledge that we are known and feel free to bring all parts of our lives to prayer.

—Lauren Schwer is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Oh, Lord my God,
You called me from the sleep of nothingness merely because in your tremendous love you want to make good and beautiful beings.
You have called me by my name in my mother’s womb.
You have given me breath and light and movement and walked with me every moment of my existence.
I am amazed, Lord God of the universe, that you attend to me and more, cherish me.
Create in me the faithfulness that moves you, and I will trust you and yearn for you all my days.
Amen.

Joseph Tetlow, SJ, published in Hearts on Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 23, 2017

St. Rose of Lima

Mt 20: 1-16

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace;and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.

Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’

But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Unconditional Love

At the end of the movie “Dead Man Walking,” death row inmate Matthew Poncelet thanks Sr. Helen Prejean for simply “loving him.”

We live in a world that is obsessed with data and measurement from which we draw conclusions and notions about ourselves and others. Yet there are limits to all this.

God’s unconditional love has no such limits. It transcends data, measurement, quantification, and even our own imagination. It has no terms or conditions. Rather God’s love consists of ongoing mercy, compassion, humility, and service.

For us to share in God’s kingdom we have to get past “daily wages,” who earned what in comparison to who etc., and love unconditionally as Jesus taught us. Can we do this?

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is a chair of the Theology Department at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for loving me.
Amen

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 22, 2017

Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mt 19: 23-30

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.

But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Money, money, money

As a boy, I thought I’d like to be Richie Rich and have an English butler, a robot dog and a helicopter with my initials on the side. But I never grew up to be a rich man. Now that I’m a Jesuit, I never will be. Thank goodness: one less thing to worry about!

Money comes up a lot in the Bible. In the Gospels, Jesus pays close attention to how it gets in the way of a friendship with him. Today in Matthew’s Gospel, we don’t hear Jesus say that rich people never get to heaven. Instead, he tells his disciples to picture the largest animal they know and imagine it traveling through an impossibly small space. That’s how hard the challenge becomes when the allures of wealth interfere with a person’s readiness to follow Christ. In the end, it’s not about stuff. It’s about relationship.

How is my relationship with Jesus today?

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the West Province currently beginning his Regency assignment in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.

Prayer

A Church that is truly faithful to the Lord
must be humble, poor and trusting in God.
Wealth is good when it is placed
at the service of one’s neighbour;
otherwise it is wicked.
Money must serve, not rule.
May the Lord give us the grace of the poverty
of working people, those who work and earn a fair wage
and who do not seek any more.

—Pope Francis


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to FaithCP

Creighton Prep and the Midwest Jesuits have partnered to create FaithCP, a daily resource for prayer. FaithCP provides daily scripture, reflections, and prayers grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.


Get our FREE App

Submit a Prayer Request

Archives

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
     12
24252627282930
       
   1234
262728    
       
       
       
    123
45678910
       
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       
      1
       
     12
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
       

August 31, 2017

Mt 24: 42-51

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Chances to encounter God

Stay awake! Be prepared! We truly do not know the day or hour that the Lord will come, nor how or through who/what circumstances. We have several options of how to approach this text. We could be anxious about this, so anxious that we spin in our minds and miss the gentle suggestions God offers us on how to be prepared or watch for grace. We could ignore the warning, the way we are able to ignore the suffering of those that are marginalized or experiencing violence.

We could also approach this as a reminder of the endless opportunities we have to encounter God. We can treat every person we encounter with respect and dignity, as we might encounter grace through them. We can meet the joyful times recognizing those moments as gifts so we might savor the grace we receive. We can meet challenges with an acknowledgement of our struggles, as well as the confidence that God is present within those times.

We can encounter those who are suffering from violence and hatred as a call to respond and seek to build the Kingdom. An element of Ignatian spirituality is the call to “Find God in All Things.” Today’s reading invites us to seek and find God in all things, so we might quiet the anxiety and indifference that prevents us from staying awake to the movement of God in our world.

—Lauren Schwer is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Loving and faithful God,
You give us endless opportunities to experience your love and grace. We ask for light and wisdom to recognize your presence in all situations and in all people. Help us to open our hearts and minds so we are prepared to welcome you in every moment of our day. We thank you for your unending mercy and love.
Amen.

Lauren Schwer

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 30, 2017

Mt 23: 27-32

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous,and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Telling the truth with love

Prophets are above all truth tellers and we all need truth tellers in our lives who courageously, with love, always tell us the hard truths about ourselves. Sometimes we are initially unable to hear these truths and spurn the person, but over time we come to appreciate them so much. These situations are often difficult for both sides, but with God’s grace are very important.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is a chair of the Theology Department at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, grant me a sincere loving heart to tell the truth to those I love, and an open, humble heart to listen to those truths about myself even when it can be painfully hard for me to hear.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 29, 2017

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

1 Thes 2: 1-8

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.

As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Speaking as Christians

In 1987, the Federal Communications Commision voted 4-0 to repeal its own Fairness Doctrine. Created in 1949, these rules required licensees of public airwaves to discuss important public issues fairly and to present news to listeners honestly and responsibly.

Thirty years later, what we hear on the radio can seem a lot louder and not always fair. But whatever our personal or political opinions, we should be able to agree as Christians that the ways of Jesus are gentle and kind. Even when society removes its rules, we should strive to listen with charity and to speak with care, maybe most to those with whom we disagree.

There were Thessalonians in Paul’s time who accused his ministry of self interest. But Paul asks the Christians in Thessalonica to remember the gentle nature of his visits among them. Is Paul right to remind them of something they may have forgotten?

To whom could I speak more gently or approach more fairly today?

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the West Province currently beginning his Regency assignment in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.

Prayer

God, you chose us to be the holy people
you love. Help us to clothe ourselves
with tenderhearted mercy, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.
Lead our souls in calmness and in peace.
Give us ears of understanding
and words of mercy. Hold our hands.
Allow your Love to guide our way.

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, inspired by Colossians 3:12

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 28, 2017

St. Augustine

Mt 23: 13-22

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’

How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Beware hypocrisy

When we ask young people why they stay away from the church, they often cite “hypocrisy” as the number one reason they do so.  Jesus tries to awaken the Pharisees and scribes to this sentiment.  The money offered to the temple and the adornments that exist within it, seem more important than the temple itself.  I suspect that Jesus is also referring to the “temple” that is our bodies as well.  

I wonder after a lifetime of ministry if Jesus will look at me and cite my own hypocrisy.  Will he point out how many people I led astray?   It would be so humbling to see how much I got wrong and disheartening to know that I spread the wrong message to others and put their soul in the balance!

The challenge Jesus gives to all of us is to “take care of the temple”, that is, ourselves.  Before we can serve others, we need to pray deeply to discern where God is leading us, so that our example is not one based on an irrational piety, or worse, a false God!  Rather we base our lives on dedication to God alone.

—Mike Hayes is the Director of Campus Ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Prayer

Lord God, let our focus be on you, so that we might bring your people to you to do with what you will.  Amen.

—Mike Hayes

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 27, 2017

Mt 16: 13-20

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Who am I to you?

Jesus asked very poignant questions in his time, questions that made you think. He asked Peter, “but who do you say that I am?” Really he asked him, “who am I to you? What is our relationship?”

This is similar to Native People when they meet for the first time.  They want to know, “who are you or who are you related to?” This information tells a lot about oneself and also the character of one’s people. The emphasis is on who you are rather than on what do you do? What defines you?

Jesus poses the same question to you, “who do you say that I am?” The answer says a lot about who you are. Can you answer as quickly as Simon Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God?” We can answer without hesitation if Jesus is truly our relative.

—Deacon Marlon Leneaugh is the Director of Native Ministries in the Diocese of Rapid City, SD.

Prayer

Lord, help us to recognize you as a relative in all who we meet today.

—Deacon Marlon Leneaugh

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 26, 2017

Mt 23: 1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students.

And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Humble yourself

“Actions speak louder than words.”  This phrase is a caution for the scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel.  While they preached, gave instruction, and told others what to do, they did not listen to the intent of God’s laws.  In our world today, power is highly sought after, whether in the workplace, relationships, or in the community.  But, as Spiderman says, “with great power comes great responsibility.”  The scribes and Pharisees did not use their power and influence as they should.

All of us have influence in our lives, and there are people watching our actions whether we realize it or not.  In St. Ignatius’s First Principle and Foundation, he reminds us of the need to be indifferent to honor or dishonor.  Admittedly, this can be difficult, but Jesus tells us that “whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  How can you let your actions show that you are humble before God?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Let me have too deep a sense of humor to be proud.
Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly.
Let me realize that when I am humble I am most human,
most truthful,
and most worthy of your serious consideration.

—Daniel A. Lord, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 25, 2017

St. Louis of France

Mt 22: 34-40

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Primero Dios

“Primero Dios!” It’s a popular expression among Hispanic Catholics that means, “God first!” In the countless decisions we face on a daily basis, this expression gives focus to the great commandment given by Jesus, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” It requires great trust that if we put God first in our lives, seeking God’s will above our own, we will find ourselves truly living a blessed life.

But to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength can only be possible if we know, deep down, that we are loved by God who has our best interest at heart.

If we know this, with constant reminders of course, we can fulfill the second part of the commandment, “to love your neighbor as yourself.”

—Fr. Dan Reim, SJ, is campus chaplain at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH.

Prayer

“Give me only your love and your grace; that’s enough for me.”

—Excerpt of Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 24, 2017

St. Bartholomew

Jn 1: 45-51

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”

Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The gift of being known

In today’s Gospel, Jesus encounters Nathanael for the first time. Yet, Jesus knows both trivial details about what Nathanael had been doing with this day and also about the depth and goodness of Nathanael’s heart. Nathanael recognizes Jesus as the Son of God simply because he feels known through a simple encounter. It’s incredible to think each one of us are also known in that depth by the God that created us.

There is a gift in being known. When someone knows and loves you, they are far more likely to be patient with you when you are crabby or angry or needing support. Those people know you aren’t like this regularly. I wish I was able to approach my relationship with God with the same confidence. God knows both the trivial things that are complicating my days or frustrating me, as well as the bigger issues permeating my heart. I can bring all the content of my life to prayer, knowing God will always be patient with me. Today, we are invited to acknowledge that we are known and feel free to bring all parts of our lives to prayer.

—Lauren Schwer is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Oh, Lord my God,
You called me from the sleep of nothingness merely because in your tremendous love you want to make good and beautiful beings.
You have called me by my name in my mother’s womb.
You have given me breath and light and movement and walked with me every moment of my existence.
I am amazed, Lord God of the universe, that you attend to me and more, cherish me.
Create in me the faithfulness that moves you, and I will trust you and yearn for you all my days.
Amen.

Joseph Tetlow, SJ, published in Hearts on Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 23, 2017

St. Rose of Lima

Mt 20: 1-16

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace;and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.

Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’

But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Unconditional Love

At the end of the movie “Dead Man Walking,” death row inmate Matthew Poncelet thanks Sr. Helen Prejean for simply “loving him.”

We live in a world that is obsessed with data and measurement from which we draw conclusions and notions about ourselves and others. Yet there are limits to all this.

God’s unconditional love has no such limits. It transcends data, measurement, quantification, and even our own imagination. It has no terms or conditions. Rather God’s love consists of ongoing mercy, compassion, humility, and service.

For us to share in God’s kingdom we have to get past “daily wages,” who earned what in comparison to who etc., and love unconditionally as Jesus taught us. Can we do this?

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is a chair of the Theology Department at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for loving me.
Amen

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 22, 2017

Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mt 19: 23-30

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.

But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Money, money, money

As a boy, I thought I’d like to be Richie Rich and have an English butler, a robot dog and a helicopter with my initials on the side. But I never grew up to be a rich man. Now that I’m a Jesuit, I never will be. Thank goodness: one less thing to worry about!

Money comes up a lot in the Bible. In the Gospels, Jesus pays close attention to how it gets in the way of a friendship with him. Today in Matthew’s Gospel, we don’t hear Jesus say that rich people never get to heaven. Instead, he tells his disciples to picture the largest animal they know and imagine it traveling through an impossibly small space. That’s how hard the challenge becomes when the allures of wealth interfere with a person’s readiness to follow Christ. In the end, it’s not about stuff. It’s about relationship.

How is my relationship with Jesus today?

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the West Province currently beginning his Regency assignment in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.

Prayer

A Church that is truly faithful to the Lord
must be humble, poor and trusting in God.
Wealth is good when it is placed
at the service of one’s neighbour;
otherwise it is wicked.
Money must serve, not rule.
May the Lord give us the grace of the poverty
of working people, those who work and earn a fair wage
and who do not seek any more.

—Pope Francis


Please share the Good Word with your friends!