Readings:  Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Gifts are given to those we love as an expression of the value placed on that love. In the Blessing and Exchange of Rings, in the Rite of Marriage, spouses say to each other:
take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity . . . In our Gospel today, Jesus says:                Father, they are your gift to me.
The LORD Jesus recognizes that you are the sign and symbol of the Father’s love for HIM!

Certainly, we see this gift in St. Irenaeus: He was born in Smyrna circa 120 AD. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was himself, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. St. Irenaeus was Bishop of Lyons for 25 years and a Church Father, as well as both a pastor and missionary. He defended the faith against Gnosticism, and promoted a Bible containing both the Old and New Testaments. He died circa 202 AD.

The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life.


Daily Readings for Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds you of the traditional penitential acts of: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. To gain the reward of doing good,  the LORD teaches that the intention of the act must also be good.
So, when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing;
when you pray, pray to your Father in secret; and,
when you fast, appear not to be fasting to others.

Sometimes, even more than a good act motivated by a good intention is necessary:

This is perfect Fasting (and Almsgiving):
Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose:
releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke;
setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke?
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your homes;
and clothing the naked when you see them?
IS 58: 6,7

This is the fruit of true Prayer:
whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against any one, forgive;
so that your Father also, who is in heaven, may forgive you your trespasses  Mt 11:25

So, dear friends, you do well when you give alms, fast and pray with a good intention;
you do better when you personally feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, bring justice, and, reconcile with those who have wronged you and those whom you have wronged!

Today’s Readings

A scribe asked Jesus: Which is the first of all the commandments? Jesus answered,
The First is this: 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: Love your neighbor as yourself.
         •   The Christian has but one aim in life – the Love of God and Neighbor!

In the first reading, St. Paul gives you examples of what this Love might include:
1)   suffering for the sake of the Gospel:
•  I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal.

2) faithfulness
         •  You will never deny Him

3) I bear everything for the sake of those who chosen,
•  that they too might obtain the salvation in Christ

4) if we persevere (persist, continue in, endure)
         •  we shall also reign with him.

5) The passages on perseverance are demonstrations of Loving God and Neighbor:
         •  persevere in prayer  Col 4:2
         •   perseveres in temptation  Jms 1:12
         •   persevere in good works  Rm 2:7
         •   persevere to the end   Mt 24:13

6) But you’re broken, sinful, weak in faith, and double-minded, how can you do this?
You can’t! You cannot do it with your own strength, with good intentions, intelligence, and certainly not with your charming personality or good looks!
•  Your only chance of success is by the grace of God: 
Because he kept failing, Paul begged the LORD to remove his thorn in the flesh.
Jesus said to him,
         •  My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.
Grace is God’s favor that enables you to participate in His own Divine life.
Ask HIM for it!

Daily Readings

Everything the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that
He will take from what is mine and declare it to you
All that belongs to Jesus by virtue of His Divine Nature, the Holy Spirit imparts to you as gift: Here are just a few examples:
1)  Jesus is the Only-Begotten Son of God. The Spirit takes that Sonship, gives it to you,
then, the Spirit himself bears witness with your spirit that you are children of God. Rom 8:16 2)    Just as The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him Jn3:35 
God’s love has been poured into your hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to you.   Rom 5:5
3)   Just as ALL the gifts of the Spirit belong to Jesus, so,
To each (of you) is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Cor 12:7
4)       the Spirit helps you in your weakness; when do not know how to pray as you ought, the Spirit himself intercedes for you with sighs too deep for words. Rom 8:26

Come Holy Spirit – take what belongs to the LORD and declare it to us!

Today’s Readings

the world hates you.

1. You witness by your words and actions that:
Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world.
        •   but that God raised Him from the dead

2. You witness by your words and actions that:
Jesus Christ is Lord
        •   and there is no other Name in heaven or on earth
by which anyone can be saved

3. You witness by your words and actions that:
        •   among you there is neither Jew nor Greek
                 –   slave nor free
                 –   rich nor poor
                 –   male nor female
                 –   black nor white

4. You witness by your words and actions that among you:
        •   There remains only Faith, Hope and Love
                 –   Faith in Christ Jesus
                 –   Hope for the future
                 –   Love for God and neighbor . . .


Today’s Readings

In the last verse of the first reading, referring to Jesus, John the Baptist says:
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.
This was the one thing that a Jewish servant or slave did NOT have to do!

In the first verse of today’s Gospel:
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, He said to them,
no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
To think differently would be like the ass upon which Jesus sat entering Jerusalem,
thinking the praise and acclamation he heard was for him and not the Master!

Jesus said, I know those whom I have chosen.
What a grace, what a blessing it is to be chosen to serve or be a messenger
for the One who is I AM, for God Himself.

Pray for this gift: the grace of faithfulness . . .

Today’s Readings

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life

1) Belief in Jesus / having faith is a gift
•   There is nothing that you can do that grants you this gift!

2) First, you receive grace to believe the testimony of those to whom He appeared:
And, because Faith comes by hearing, God gave you grace to believe what His witnesses spoke about Him:
•   He came from heaven and (He) is above all;
•   He testified to what he had seen and heard from God, the Father;
•   Speaking to the Jewish leaders Peter said:
You had him killed by hanging Him on a tree.
But, on the third day, the God of our ancestors raised Him from the dead;
•   God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
and granted Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.

3) At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
•    Jesus Himself proclaims to you the Scriptures;
•    and gives you His Flesh to eat and His blood to drink.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life!