A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday & Weekday Liturgy



Corpus Christi – Week 11 in Ordinary Time: June 14-20, 2020



(The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY & WEEKDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy from various perspectives. For the Lectio Divina on the liturgy of the past week: June 7-14, 2020 please go to ARCHIVES Series 18 and click on “Pentecost – Ordinary Week 97”.




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“JESUS SAVIOR: His Flesh Is True Food; His Blood

Is True Drink”




Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a // 1 Cor 10:16-17 // Jn 6:51-58





A. Gospel Reading (Jn 6:51-57): “My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.” 


My parents immigrated to the States with one of my younger brothers and became American citizens. In 1997, however, my 82-year-old father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. His wish was to die in his native Philippines where my other siblings were residing. Our Regional Superior gave me permission to fly to the States and assist my father in his illness. I stayed two weeks in the Bay Area to prepare the return trip of my parents to the Philippines. My father, recently discharged from the hospital, was too weak to go for his daily Mass. When I went to their parish church in Newark, I talked to the pastor about my father’s situation. He gave me permission to give communion to my father and provided a pyx that I could use to carry the sacred host. St. Edward Parish has a stock of vessels to be used by parishioners to bring communion to their sick relatives. The daily communion received by my father gave him peace and serenity to trust in the will of God and to accept his imminent death. We left for the Philippines on August 14. He continued to be nourished with the Eucharistic bread until he died two weeks later. The sacred host served as his viaticum. For him, the Eucharistic communion was truly an experience and pledge of eternal life.


Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The biblical scholar, Eugene Maly, gives a profound insight into the meaning of this feast in light of the Christian vision of death as the passage to eternal life. He comments: “As the Christian sees it, death is both dissolution and transformation. As dissolution it is the cessation of physical life and the deterioration of the body no longer sustained by life-giving blood. As transformation it is the ushering of the human spirit into a new kind of life that has been prepared for in the previous existence … In the renewed liturgical rites the emphasis is clearly on death as transformation. The white vestments, the repeated Alleluias, and, again, the homily all express the joy that a new and better existence is now shared by the deceased faithful believer. It may sound strange to be speaking of death on the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. I am doing so only that I might speak all the more forcefully about life … In the Gospel reading for this feast Jesus says, “He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal …” There is no question of Jesus’ meaning, the verb is in the present tense, the communion with Christ in the Eucharist means a sharing here and now in eternal life … Later on in our Sunday reading Jesus says, “… the man who feeds on this bread shall live forever.” Death, therefore, does not destroy this kind of life.”


Eugene Maly then delineates the basic characteristic of eternal life as communion with God: “For John eternal life is the kind of life that is proper to the Father and which he shares with the Son. That is what our reading says about it. Eternal life, then, is God’s life. And the most frequently mentioned quality of this kind of life is that it is shared. This is at the basis of the Christian doctrine of Trinity. That is why the real enemy of eternal life is not natural death, which affects only natural life, but sin, which destroys the union with God and, accordingly, eternal life. When we receive the Eucharistic body and blood of Christ, we are united to him and to the Father. This is sharing in eternal life that is a life of union with God.”



B. First Reading (Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a): “He gave you a food unknown to you and your fathers.”


The feast of “Corpus Christi” – the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ! As a community of believers, we celebrate the Real Presence of the Risen Christ - body and blood, soul and divinity - in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Our Catholic faith declares: “By the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1376). On this day, we meditatively focus our attention on the goodness and kindness of God in providing sustenance for his people. The Lord God fed the Israelites journeying in the wilderness to the Promised Land with “manna” from heaven. Now he continues to nourish and feed, in a marvelously unique way, the Church – the new People of God – with the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ the risen and glorified Lord, through the Eucharistic sacrament of his body and blood.


The feast of Corpus Christi is a special “memorial” day for us Christians. As we listen to the Old Testament reading (Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a), the exhortation of Moses addressed to the Israelites moves us deeply and helps us in our “remembering” - and in not “forgetting”. We intend not to “forget” - but rather resolve to “remember” - how the Lord Yahweh was gracious to his people. For forty years he directed their journey in the desert. When they were hungry, he fed them with “manna” from heaven, a unique food unknown to their fathers. Journeying out of slavery in Egypt, they were led safely by him through a vast and terrible desert infested with scorpions and serpents. The Israelites’ throats burned with thirst as they moved through parched ground, but the Lord slaked their thirst with water gushing from the rock. Above all, in their experience of hunger and thirst in the desert, the Lord God provided not merely material sustenance, but something better and surpassingly nourishing - the bread of his living Word!


The manifestation of divine providence to the people of Israel is surpassed and excelled by God the Father’s gift of his Son Jesus Christ – the Bread of life – to the Church, the new people of Israel. Jesus is the true “manna” that came down from heaven to nourish us and enable us to share intimately in the divine life. It is most fitting that on this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we deepen our sense of “remembering” – and avoid the misfortune of “forgetting” - by celebrating the saving event of Christ’s death, rising and glorification through the sacrament of the Eucharist. In the Eucharistic bread broken and shared, we receive Jesus Christ’s body broken for the life of the world. And in the Eucharistic wine, we drink the blood of Christ that sealed the new Covenant and the constitution of the new people of God.


One apostolic initiative to make the solemnity of Corpus Christi more meaningful is the “FORTY HOURS”, during which the faithful join with the local clergy in a continuous period of prayer for forty hours. This laudable pastoral practice enables the faithful to enter more deeply into the celebration of the Eucharist, which is its summit and source. Moreover, it intensifies the sense of “remembering” and thankfulness for the goodness and saving grace given to us by God in his Son Jesus Christ, the living Bread from heaven and the cup of eternal salvation. The following is my experience of the “FORTY HOURS” Adoration and Eucharistic Activities held in the Diocese of San Jose (California) in 2006.


Introduced at the San Jose diocesan level by Fr. Mark Catalana and Sr. Mary Rosario Gallardo, PDDM, the “FORTY HOURS” Adoration and Eucharistic activities were celebrated on June 16 to June 18, 2006 at the San Jose Vietnamese Catholic Center. With the blessing of Msgr. Francis Cilia, the Bishop’s Vicar for the Diocese, with the special cooperation of Rev. Fr. Hienh Minh Nguyen who offered the full resources of the Vietnamese Catholic Center, and with the collaboration of the clergy, religious and laity, three days of intense prayer were dedicated to contemplating the meaning and deep implications of “The Body and Blood of Christ”. This wonderful ecclesial event included the daily celebration of the Eucharist, day and night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, group Eucharistic Adoration, Lauds and Vespers, Confession, and the Eucharistic Procession and Benediction, which followed the 11:00 A.M. Mass on Corpus Christi Sunday (June 18).


Especially offered for the increase and perseverance of priestly and religious vocations, people of various age groups came throughout the day and throughout the night to respond to the spiritual invitation, “THE MASTER IS HERE PRESENT! HE CALLS FOR YOU!” (Jn 11:28). They came to celebrate the Eucharistic Mystery and to adore Jesus Master present in the ineffable sacrament of his Body and Blood k,eeping in mind the following reality: “Grateful for this immense gift, the Church’s members gather around the Blessed Sacrament, for that is the source and summit of her being and action. Ecclesia de Eucharistia vivit! The Church draws her life from the Eucharist and knows that this truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery in which she consists.” (Cf. Pope John Paul II, Homily for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi, June 10, 2004, n. 4)



C. Second Reading (1 Cor 10:16-17): “The bread is one, and we, though many, are one body.”


The Second Reading (1 Cor 10:16-17) is a powerful witness of the Eucharistic faith of the Christian community. The Eucharist builds the Church, whose head is Jesus Christ. Participation in the body and blood of Christ is the source of the life and unity of the Church as one body.


The biblical scholar, Richard Kugelman, comments: “Through eating the bread and drinking the cup Christians are united to Christ in an intimate fellowship, because the Eucharist is his body and blood. From this Eucharistic fellowship with Christ follows the real union of all the faithful with one another in one body. Baptism incorporates the Christians into the body of the Risen Lord; the Eucharist in which each communicant receives the body of Christ strengthens and cements the union. The Eucharist is consequently the sacramentum unitatis ecclesiae (Augustine), and when we receive the Eucharistic bread, Christ assimilates and transforms us, making us his body.”


The multi-talented Fr. Leo Patalinhug, a third-degree black-belt in tae kwon do and arnis, a form of full-contact stick fighting, and an award-winning break-dancer, is also a fabulous chef. He has started the Grace Before Meals movement, which encourages families to prepare and enjoy meals together. It is a movement deeply rooted in the Eucharist. Fr Leo asserts: “Relationships are what I’m trying to encourage … relationships that are developed when we spend time with each other and feed one another.” Family meals can thus lead people to the Eucharist, enabling them to experience in it the sacramental reality: Because there is one loaf, we, though we are many, form one body.


The beautiful article reported below is most fitting for today’s feast of Corpus Christi (cf. Fr. Leo Patalinhug, “Cook’s Grace” in Guideposts, May 2011, p. 88-90).


Food was a big deal in our little house south of Baltimore. My parents, brother, sister and I crowded around the kitchen table. I remember Mom dishing hot pancit onto our plates, a simple Filipino meal of noodles, vegetables and chicken she loved making for our immigrant family. I dug in with my fork, hungry and wanting to rush back to my G.I Joes. “Slow down, Leo!” Mom would say. “Taste the different flavors.” I learned to chew … slowly … and there was the sweetness of the carrots, the pungent garlic. Mom was right. Food was meant to be savored, like a blessing. Mmmm!


“What did you learn at school today?” Dad would ask at dinner. It seemed remarkable to me, his fascination with both photosynthesis and James and the Giant Peach. We would all talk. Even after my plate was clean I lingered, wanting seconds of the conversation. It slowly dawned on me that mealtimes were for more than just eating. It was when my family connected. It helped that Mom was a great cook. Before long she began teaching me. My first meal was Eggs in a Nest. I made it for Dad for breakfast. One look at the love in his eyes and I knew how Mom felt cooking for us.


Eventually I answered a call to priesthood, which made my parents happy. I still love to cook though. My studies took me to Rome, where I learned to make pasta and discovered the wonder of sauces. Then, back in the States, assigned to my first parish, a realization: For many of my parishioners the dinner hour was no longer sacred. Rush here, rush there, take-out, mom and dad working late, no one sitting at the table anymore. I was troubled. I prayed about it.


Soon I felt a calling, to show how easy it is to make great food, to share my own story, and bring parents and children back to the Lord’s table – the one collecting dust in their homes. I was teaching at seminary by now but I had weekends free. I would spread the gospel of family mealtime and good food.


Five years later I’ve taken the message of our growing movement Grace Before Meals to nearly every state and countries around the globe. You may have seen my face-off and win against master chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network last year. That was huge. But my crusade can be lonely at times. I wonder if I’m making any difference at all.


Last November a parish in Tiverton, Rhode Island, invited me up. It was a Friday evening and I was tired after a long week of teaching. But I perked up when the event coordinator told me she expected 200 people, half of them teens. “Wow! Your kids must be into cooking.” “Not exactly”, she said sheepishly. “I made them come … as part of confirmation classes.”


My heart sank. As the crowd streamed in I searched their faces for some sign of recognition. Surely someone had come eager to see me. Why did every presentation feel like I was starting anew? I hopped onstage, behind the stove that serves as my pulpit. “Good evening”, I said. “My name is Father Leo. Tonight I’m making Penne alla Vodka, enough to feed your body, mind and soul.”


The adults chuckled appreciatively, but the kids looked at me blankly. I hoped I could hold their interest until I burned off the alcohol in the vodka. I grabbed my big bottle of olive oil, poured it into a pan and turned up the heat. I tossed a handful of garlic into the oil and paused to hear the sizzle. “That’s my favorite sound”, I said. “Or maybe it’s ‘Go in peace and serve the Lord’.” More laughter. They were getting into it.


I stirred in some onion, letting it caramelize, while sharing the importance of a family meal. Next some tomato paste. And a few more stories. At last it was time for the vodka. I took the bottle by the neck and tipped it into the pan. “Now I’m gonna set this bad boy on fire.” I struck a match and with a whoosh flames leapt from the pan. “Whoa!” the crowd roared. Kids were on the edge of their seats. For an instant I felt that familiar rush of adrenaline. I mixed in tomatoes, heavy cream and the penne. Finito! “Who wants a bite?” I said.


I dished out samples as the crowd filed past. Most everyone said they loved it, though a few said it was too spicy. But as I headed out the doors I felt drained. I’d done so many presentations like this and what did I have to show for it? Was I bringing families together or just putting on a show? On the flight back to Baltimore I wondered whether it wasn’t time to hang up my apron.


I brooded about it for the next week. Then one day, in my office, I clicked open an e-mail from an unfamiliar name. Father Leo, So here’s the deal. My grandson Nathan eats nothing but PBJ and hot dogs. But on my birthday he announced he wanted to make me Penne alla Vodka. He attended your presentation in Tiverton. I laughed, but he knew every step of the recipe. I watched in disbelief as he cooked his first meal to perfection. You obviously made quite an impression on him and I just wanted to say thanks for a birthday present I’ll never forget.


I reread the e-mail, marveling at every word, like an answer to prayer. What difference could I make to a hectic world? Suddenly, through God’s grace, the possibilities seemed limitless.





1.  What is our response to Jesus’ auto-revelation: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51)? What is our response to the gift of the Eucharist offered to us by the Risen Lord Jesus?


2. What is the importance of “remembering” in the life of Israel and the Church? How do we “remember” God’s guidance and providence for his people? How do we respond to the following reality taught by God: “Not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Dt 8:3)?


3. Do we truly believe that at the Eucharistic table the cup of blessing that we bless is a participation in the blood of Christ and the bread that we break is a participation in the body of Christ?





O loving and gracious God,

we thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ,

the true bread from heaven and the real cup of blessing.

At the Eucharistic table,

he offers us the flesh that is true food in the form of bread

and the blood that is true drink in the form of wine.

How wonderful is the memorial-presence

of the saving event of liberation through the sacrificial body of Christ

and of the new covenant that he sealed in his blood!

Let our participation in the wondrous mystery of the Eucharist

make of us “one bread … one body” .

Let us drink from the one cup of salvation

and enable us to share in the eternal life that is ours

as your covenant people.

We proclaim and thank you for this mystery of faith,

now and forever.






The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.


“My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (Jn 6:55)





Endeavor to share God’s goodness and sustenance to others, especially the poor and needy. Make an effort to participate meaningfully in the Mass and in Eucharistic activities such as the “Forty Hours”, etc. Be grateful for the grace of being “One Bread … One Body”. 



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June 15, 2020: MONDAY – WEEKDAY (11)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Counters Evil with Good … He Has Suffered Injustice”



1 Kgs 21:1-16 // Mt 5:38-42





A. Gospel Reading (Mt 5:38-42): “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.”


The law of retaliation contained in the Old Testament (that is, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”) is meant to moderate vengeance and to keep violence within limits. It restricts the punishment inflicted by the avenger to injury proportionate to the damage done by the aggressor. In today’s Gospel reading (Mt 5:38-42), we hear Jesus’ radical teaching on non-retaliation, which seeks to break the cycle of revenge. The righteous man is called not just to respond with proportionate vengeance to an injury inflicted by an aggressor, but to take no vengeance at all. Jesus teaches us “to offer no resistance to one who is evil”. The Divine Master’s teaching of non-resistance to an evildoer is not an invitation to suicide, or to let true justice be trampled upon, but a call to counter evil with good, hatred with love, vengeance with forgiveness. Love, though vulnerable and paradoxical, is the only force capable of overcoming evil. By his passion and death on the cross, Jesus showed how forgiving love can overcome the ugly forces of evil and sin that lead to violence. With his life of non-retaliation and reconciliation, a new world order has begun.


The following story gives us insight into the ways of the non-vengeful who seek to overcome evil with good (cf. Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight: A Book of Story Meditations, New York: Image Books, 1988, p. 65).


A traveler was walking along the road one day when a man on horseback rushed by. There was an evil look in his eyes and blood on his hands. Minutes later a crowd of riders drew up and wanted to know if the traveler had seen someone with blood on his hands go by. They were in hot pursuit of him. “Who is he?” the traveler asked. “An evil-doer”, said the leader of the crowd. “And you pursue him in order to bring him to justice?” “No”, said the leader, “we pursue him in order to show him the way.”


Reconciliation alone will save the world, not justice, which is generally another word for revenge.



B. First Reading (1 Kgs 21:1-16): “Naboth has been stoned to death.”


Today’s Old Testament Reading (1 Kgs 21:1-16) depicts the criminal acts of the idolatrous royal couple Ahab and Jezebel. King Ahab wants to possess Naboth’s vineyard next to his palace to make it into his vegetable garden. Naboth the Jezreelite does not want to part with his ancestral heritage and refuses the king’s offer to barter or to buy it. The disappointed Ahab is sullen and angry. His wife Jezebel plots the death of Naboth using false charges and witnesses so that they can seize the property. The innocent Naboth is stoned to death. Jezebel’s infamous strategy and Ahab’s tacit acquiescence illustrate the pervasive and destructive power of the state when it moves against its own citizens.


The suffering of the innocent goes on through history. One case in Sudan is an example (cf. “A Christian Woman in Sudan Sentenced to Death” in L’Osservatore Romano, 23 May 2014, p. 3).


In Sudan last week, a court sentenced a Christian woman, who is 8 months pregnant, to death on charges of apostasy. 27-year old Meriam Yeilah Ibrahim, a doctor, has a 20-month-old child in prison with her. The judge of a court in Khartoum concluded that the woman had abandoned her faith, as her father was a Muslim. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes on charges of adultery for having married a Christian.


According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights protection group, the woman is a daughter of a Muslim Sudanese man and an Orthodox Ethiopian mother. After her father abandoned her at the age of 6, Meriam was raised in the Christian faith. But because of her father, Sudanese law considers her a Muslim by birth. This would make marriage to a non-Muslim invalid. According to the group’s spokesman, Kiri Kankhwende, in similar cases in the past, the Sudanese government had waited for the woman to give birth before proceeding with the death sentence.





1. Do I strive to conquer vengeful instincts and to overcome evil with good? Do I practice the ethic of non-violence and the Christian way of forgiving love?


2. Are there evil streaks in me that could lead to acts of injustice against my neighbors?





Jesus, meek and humble of heart,

your example transcends the ugly ways of the violent.

By your life of forgiving love and reconciliation,

you show us how to break the cycle of vengeance in this world.

Give us the grace to be peaceful.

Let your love be upon us

that we may respond to evil with good,

to hatred with love.

Lead us on the path of true justice and peace.

We give you glory and praise, now and forever.






            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.


“Offer no resistance to one who is evil.” (Mt 5:39) //“Naboth had been stoned to death.” (I Kgs 21:14)





If someone offends you, put into practice the teaching of Jesus of non-retaliation and reconciliation through the power of good. // Pray to God for forgiveness for all the innocent victims of injustice in today’s world and see in what way you can help them concretely.



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June 16, 2020: TUESDAY – WEEKDAY (11)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches Us to Love Our Enemies … He Calls Us Away from Our Wicked Ways”



1 Kgs 21:17-29 // Mt 5:43-48





A. Gospel Reading (Mt 5:43-48): “Love your enemies.”


Today’s Gospel reading (Mt 5:43-48) contains the Divine Master’s radical teaching on magnanimous love even of enemies. Harold Buetow comments: “Jesus teaches largeness of heart and mind … Our love for our enemies – those we do not like or who do not like us – is not of the heart but of the will. Therefore, to love them need not be an emotional experience, but must be a decision to commit ourselves to serve the best interests of all other people … We see that the apex of God’s kind of perfection is compassion, a willingness to suffer for others. Those who love in such an unconditional and non-selective way are true children of the God of limitless love … In our dealings with other people, both friends and enemies, we are to be magnanimous: large-minded, wide open, generous – and holy.”


The Amish community’s compassionate act to reach out to the family of Charles Roberts, the suicide-attacker of 10 Amish girls, illustrates the grandiose love that forgives and embraces all (cf. Internet article of Daniel Burke, Religion News Service).


It was October 2, 2006, and Charles Carl Roberts IV had just shot 10 Amish schoolgirls before turning the gun on himself. Five girls died. Five others were seriously wounded. The shooting shocked this quiet, rural county and horrified countless outsiders glued to the nonstop media coverage. “Not only was my son not alive, he was the perpetrator of the worst crime anyone could ever imagine”, Terri Roberts said. After the shooting, the world was riveted by the remarkable display of compassion shown by the Amish, as the quiet Christian sect embraced the Roberts family and strove to forgive the troubled sinner. (…)


On the day of the shooting, Terri crawled into a fetal position, feeling as if her insides were ripped apart. Her husband Chuck, a retired policeman, cried into a tea towel, unable to lift his head. He wore skin off his face wiping away his tears. Family and friends poured into the Roberts’ home in Strasburg, Philadelphia, a small town about six miles from Nickel Mines, where the shooting occurred.  No one knew what to say. “What do you say, ‘At least it’s not as bad as so-and-so’? There was nothing that anyone could imagine that would have been worse than that day”, she said.


Later that evening, an Amish neighbor named Henry, whom Terri calls her “angel in black” arrived at their house. Chuck had begun a second career as an “Amish taxi”, driving families to destinations farther away than horses and buggies could carry them. After the shooting, Chuck feared he could never face the Amish again. “Roberts, we love you”, Henry insisted and continued to comfort Chuck for nearly an hour. Finally, Chuck looked up. “Thank you, Henry”, he said. “I just looked at that and said, ‘Oh Lord, my husband will heal through this.’ I was just so thankful for Henry that day”, Terri said.



B. First Reading (1 Kgs 21:17-29): “You have provoked me by leading Israel into sin.”


In today’s Second Reading (1 Kgs 21:17-29), God sends Elijah the Tishbite to confront and condemn King Ahab for the murder of Naboth and for stealing the victim’s ancestral heritage. The prophet speaks God’s word of condemnation. The murderous, covetous and idolatrous couple would suffer the same fate as Naboth even to the goriest detail: the dogs shall lick up their blood too. In II Kgs 9:30-37 we learn of the horrible end of Jezebel who instigated her husband Ahab to idolatry and sin. The palace officials threw her down from the window and her blood scattered on the wall and the horses. Jehu, the new king of Israel, drove his chariot and horses over her body. The men who are to bury her find nothing except her skull and the bones of her hands and feet.


Hearing the words of divine judgment, King Ahab is remorseful. His humble stance before the forthcoming punishment wins for him a reprieve. The destruction of his house is postponed to the next generation. Ahab, however, is “not-so-totally-converted”. The king will be wounded by an arrow in his future battle with the Syrians and die. The chariot drenched by his blood will be cleaned up at the pool of Samaria. There the dogs shall lick up his blood as the Lord has said will happen. 


By speaking God’s word, the prophet Elijah continues to be an instrument of the divine saving will. The following story, “A Speeding Ticket Lesson”, circulated on the Internet, illustrates a “prophetic” way to confront an evil situation.


Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with the mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in his hand.


Bob? Bob from the church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow. Jumping out of the car, he approached the man he saw every Sunday, a man he’d never seen in uniform.


“Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this.” “Hello, Jack.” No smile. “Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids.” “Yeah, I guess.” Bob seemed uncertain. Good. “I’ve seen some long days at the office lately. I’m afraid I bent the rules a bit – just this once.” Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. “Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?” “I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct.” Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.


“What’d you clock me at?” “Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?” “Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65.” The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket. “Please, Jack, in the car.”


Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn’t he asked for a driver’s license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the window jerked his head on the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him his slip. “Thanks.” Jack could not keep the sneer out of his voice.


Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched him retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read.


Dear Jack,

Once upon a time, I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it – a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters, all three of them. I had only one, and I’m going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left.



Jack turned around to see Bob’s car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.





1. Do I strive to conquer the vengeful instincts and to overcome evil with good? Do I practice the ethic of non-violence and the Christian way of forgiving love?


2. Do I believe in divine justice and retribution? Do I make an effort to renounce my wicked ways?





Loving Father,

in you mercy and justice have embraced.

Thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ.

Through his self-giving,

we realize that Christian holiness demands compassion.

It challenges us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Give us the strength to love unconditionally

and to learn the ways of justice and peace

Let us draw courage from the truth that we belong to Christ

and that he leads us on the right path.

You live and reign, now and forever.






The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.


“Love your enemies.”  (Mt 5:44) //“He has humbled himself before me.” (I Kgs 21:29)   





By an act of kindness and compassion to a needy person or an offensive person, or by a forgiving stance to an injury suffered personally, enable the Gospel of saving love to spread. Help people to understand the meaning and implication of divine justice and the necessity of responding to the Word of God calling us to conversion.



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June 17, 2020: WEDNESDAY – WEEKDAY (11)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches Us to Do Good Deeds … He Ensures Prophetic Succession



2 Kgs 2:1, 6-14 // Mt 6:1-6, 16-18





A. Gospel Reading (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18): “And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”


From today’s Gospel reading (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18), we realize that doing the right deed for selfish reasons is “phony” and not commendable. Jesus takes up three traditional Jewish good deeds: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. While encouraging his disciples to practice them, he warns about the manner of practicing them. These traditional acts of righteousness are meaningless when done hypocritically and in view of self-seeking. Jesus criticizes pious self-display and not the pious actions themselves. Almsgiving, prayer and fasting are meaningful only when they are motivated by a sincere and faithful relationship with God and one’s fellow human beings. The Father of Jesus – our own Father too – who sees acts hidden from human sight will surely reward good deeds done for the glory of God and the good of others. God the Father rewards good deeds, both those done in secret and those carried out in public witnessing, as long as they are properly motivated, i.e. to secure God’s glory and to promote the well-being of our brothers and sisters. While teaching his disciples not to be hypocrites and self-seeking, Jesus Christ also encourages them to let their light shine before others so that those who see their good deeds may glorify the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:16).


After the 8:00 A.M. Easter Sunday Mass at our parish of St. Christopher in San Jose (CA-USA), our community of three, plus a friend, went for breakfast at a nearby restaurant in our Willow Glen neighborhood. We enjoyed freshly brewed coffee and placed our order. Mine was a bowl of fresh fruit and Eggs Benedict. Easter joy was in the air as we shared the meal. When we asked for the bill, the waiter told us that an “Easter bunny” took care of it. We greatly appreciated the kindness of our secret benefactor. We prayed that God the Father, who sees good deeds done in secret, may reward and fill him with Easter blessings.



B. First Reading (2 Kgs 2:1, 6-14): “A flaming chariot came between them and Elijah went to heaven.”


Today’s Old Testament reading (2 Kgs 2:1, 6-14) depicts the ascension of Elijah into heaven and the prophetic succession of Elisha. Elijah has responded to a series of commands from God that progressively separated him from his people and his land. Today’s episode narrates the final separation. Obeying God’s command, Elijah goes to Jordan. The devoted and determined disciple Elisha follows him and witnesses the parting of the Jordan River which the prophet Elijah effects using his mantle. Elisha begs the master for a “double portion” of his spirit. The eldest son in Israel generally receives a double share of the paternal inheritance.  Elisha’s request means that he be recognized as the spiritual heir of the master. He is begging to receive a share of the power that will enable him to succeed the prophet. It is a difficult request because Elijah may have extraordinary powers, but he cannot create prophets. The master tells him that if the disciple sees him being taken up to heaven, his wish will be granted.  Suddenly a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire comes between them and Elijah is taken up to heaven. Elisha receives the prophetic power. The repetition of the miracle of the parting of the Jordan water using the master’s “miraculous” mantle confirms Elisha as Elijah’s successor. The fifty prophets from Jericho see him strike the water and divide it. They acclaim: “The power of Elijah is on Elisha.”


The following article gives insight into the “prophets” and witnesses in the modern world (cf. Judith Sudilovsky, “Argentina Priest Caters to Spiritual Needs of Poor” in Our Sunday Visitor, January 12, 2014, p. 6).


At the entrance to Villa Carcoba, on the outskirts of the city of Buenos Aires, sit piles of rubbish and construction waste. Perched on this pile is a group of young boys armed with homemade slingshots taking aim at the windows of a building that looms above them. All the windows are covered with bars and netting.


“This is how they pass their time”, said parish priest Jesuit Father Jose Maria di Paola, 51, who is known to everybody – not only in this poorest of parishes but in the entire country – as “Padre Pepe”. He swings his beat-up white Fiat sedan down onto the street that leads from paved roads and grassy parks into the chaos of rutted dirt roads, roaming bands of mangy dogs and groups of loitering youth.


Two years ago Father di Paola – who belongs to the group of priests of the villas beloved and supported by Pope Francis, when he was archbishop and cardinal of the city – voluntarily left another slum, Villa 21-24, known as the most dangerous villa in Buenos Aires proper. This was after numerous threats against his life by drug traffickers who had become rampant in the rambling shanty town of 40,000 inhabitants, mostly immigrants from Paraguay and Bolivia.


As the economy and social conditions of neighboring countries continue to deteriorate, immigration to Argentina increases and the population and distress in these densely populated centers of poverty, family violence and drug crime continue to grow, noted the Jesuit.


Having grown up in a working-class neighborhood to immigrant parents, Pope Francis always has been close to the common people, especially the most poor. “Pope Francis gave a new presence to the villas”, said Father di Paola. “Before, in a sense, they had been orphaned. When then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio came he gave special attention to the villas. There was not a week that we did not speak with him telling him our problems and giving suggestions.”


Funding for programs in the villas comes from international bishops’ conferences as well as some local Church funds. Father di Paola counts as one of his successes a spiritual retreat he was able to organize for 700 men from Villa 21-24 – an almost unheard of number.


“There is the problem of addiction … but the crux of the problem is spiritual - it is an unresolved spiritual question in each person”, he said. “We have to help them find a place for their own spiritual path so they can find … a meaning in their life.


For 14 years, Father di Paola served in the villa parish of Caacupe in Villa 21-24, leading a team of four other priests and numerous professionals and volunteers who worked also in three other neighboring villas to keep youths away from drugs by providing them with social activities and emotional support. They created a home for street children as well as rehabilitation programs for drug addicts and a small farm, breaking through the state bureaucracy with little or no support from state agencies. It was only in 2009, after he and the other priests of Villa 21-24 came out with a declaration denouncing the growing drug trafficking in the villa, that threats against his life became more menacing. (…)


Following the threats in Villa 21-24, together with then Cardinal Bergolio, Father di Paola decided to leave for a northern rural parish in the province of Santiago del Estero, not merely for his own safety, but for the safety of the people with whom he was working.


Eight months ago Father di Paola was ready to come back to his work with the marginalized youth of the villas and was given responsibility over Villa Carcoba – one of the oldest slums outside Buenos Aires – and three other slums encompassing a population of 35, 000.





1. Do we do our “good deeds” with proper motivation, or do we carry them out as an occasion for self-seeking? Do we believe that God the Father who sees in secret will reward us for all good deeds done for his glory and the salvation of his people?


2. Do we imitate the prophetic spirit of Elijah and Elisha on behalf of God’s people? Do we ask the Lord for the grace of prophetic witnessing?





Heavenly Father,

we praise and thank you

for you see all our humble efforts to love and serve you.

You search the secrets of our heart

and all our actions are known to you.

Teach us always to work with supernatural intentions.

Deliver us from self-seeking and hypocrisy.

May our prayer, fasting and almsgiving

be done always for your greater glory

and the good of souls.

Grant us the prophetic power of Elijah and Elisha.

You live and reign, forever and ever.






The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.


“Your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Mt 6:4) //“Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” (II Kgs 2:11)





In every good you do and in your pain and suffering, give glory and praise to God and seek the salvation of souls. Emulate the wholehearted prophetic witnessing of Elijah and his successor Elisha.




*** *** ***


June 18, 2020: THURSDAY – WEEKDAY (11)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches Us to Pray … He Is Prefigured by Elijah and Elisha”



Sir 48:1-14 // Mt 6:7-15





A. Gospel Reading (Mt 6:7-15): “This is how you are to pray.”


When I was a postulant, we had a retreat with an Irish Carmelite priest. To help us understand better the meaning of prayer, he narrated a story about two hermits. Each one planted a papaya and took care that it should grow well and be fruitful. They even prayed for the papaya. One hermit tried to make God understand what needs to be done for the papaya: “Lord, please send some rain today for the papaya”; “The sun is too hot; please send some cool breeze for the papaya;” etc. But his papaya was unhealthy and scrawny. When he visited his friend, he noticed that the papaya he planted was sturdy and extremely fruitful. “What is your secret?” he asked. The other hermit responded, “I prayed and asked God, Please take care of the papaya!”


In today’s Gospel (Mt 6:7-15), Jesus teaches us the true meaning of prayer and how to pray. God our Father knows our needs even before we make our request. But he wants us to ask in confidence and trust. In prayer we do not so much inform God of some situation or micromanage him, as express our dependence and faith in him. The “Lord’s Prayer” that Jesus teaches us is a model of total surrender to God: “Your will be done …” Mother Teresa of Calcutta remarks: “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at his disposition, and listening to his voice in the depths of our hearts.”



B. First Reading (Sir 48:1-14): “Elijah was enveloped in a whirlwind and Elisha was filled with the twofold portion of his spirit.”


Today’s Old Testament reading (Sir 48:1-14) gives a summary of the exploits of Elijah and Elisha, great prophets of the northern kingdom of Israel. Both are obedient instruments of God’s word and they stand up to wicked kings and authorities. Their prophetic careers underline the destruction and devastation that await those who forsake God. Indeed, the prophet Elijah and his successor Elisha, are God-fearing men of principles, in marked contrast to the kings of Israel, among whom the author of the Book of Sirach finds none to praise.


The sterling quality of the prophetic careers of Elijah and Elisha can also be verified in the following clergy who have inspired hearts, formed lives and brought the faithful closer to Christ (cf. “We Love Our Priests” in Our Sunday Visitor, June 1, 2014, p. 10-11).


FATHER MATTHIAS CREMER, Priests of the Sacred Heart Monastery, Hales Corners, Wisconsin: Rarely in life do we meet someone who makes such an impression on us that even after many years we can still recall with fervor the emotion attached to such an encounter. Such was the case with Father Matthias Patrick Cremer, who taught at Priests of the Sacred Heart Monastery in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, and where I first called on him back in 1992. He was a scholar, linguist, teacher, preacher, mentor, incredible athlete and survivor. Yes, survivor.


He had escaped the clutches of Adolf Hitler, whose aides had their eye on the young Cremer as he trained in Germany with other athletes from the national team for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. Cremer had set records in the discus and javelin events and was widely considered to be one of Germany’s leading contenders. Hitler desired him for his bodyguard; however the young Cremer wanted no part of this evil, despite that it could have given him a comfortable life.


His story of survival and eventual exile is impressive in itself but only secondary to why I was drawn to this man. I heard of his great love for our Lord and His mother; his gentle nature, generosity and passion for his faith. I was determined to be in the presence of one so selfless.


During our one and only visit, I knew I’d met a true servant of Jesus. His imposing physical figure stood in stark contrast to his mild manner. And his genuine concern for me personally was my lesson in love and humility, and so much more than I could have asked for.


(By Joan Brigman Krueger: Racine, Wisconsin)




FATHER MICHAEL J. ESSWEIN, St. Peter Catholic Church, Kirkwood, Missouri: Father Mike Esswein has been a holy inspiration to our family through his profound love of God and neighbor. His physical life is a constant challenge, but he is always a steadfast beacon of joy and grace.


While Father Mike was in the seminary, he was involved in an automobile accident that left him quadriplegic with only limited movement of his arms and hands. At the accident scene, his first prayer to God was that he could still fulfill his childhood vocation dream of becoming a Catholic priest.


During his rehabilitation, his vocation goal seemed doubtful as initially his hands were not functional enough to even grasp the host during Mass. Through constant prayer, a final surgery on his neck miraculously provided him just enough digital dexterity to grasp a host.


Even though he is confined to a wheelchair and daily carries many physical crosses, he is always thankful to God for his life as a devoted, loving priest. Our family is in awe of his humility, compassion, wisdom and joy he shares. When any of us are burdened by one of life’s challenges, we are inspired by the graceful, angelic life of Father Mike. We are blessed that he is part of our Christian family.


(By Ken and Pam Kopp: Des Peres, Missouri)





1. What is the significance of prayer for me personally?  What are my experiences of prayer?  Do I try to glean the true meaning of the “Lord’s Prayer”?


2. How do the life and ministry of the great prophets Elijah and Elisha inspire us? Do we imitate their example of complete dedication to the word of God?





Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.






The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.


“This is how you are to pray.” (Mt 6:9) //“His words were as a flaming furnace.” (Sir 48:1)





When you pray the Lord’s Prayer, mean what you say. Spend more time today in silent prayer. Pray to God for the grace to be persons of integrity like Elijah and Elisha and to be totally obedient to the divine word.




*** *** ***





“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is Meek and Humble of Heart”



Dt 7:6-11 // 1 Jn 4:7-16 // Mt 11:25-30





A. Gospel Reading (Mt 11:25-30): “Although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to the childlike.”


The Gospel passage (Mt 11:25-30) proclaimed in today’s solemn feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is about the mystery of the Kingdom revealed to the “little ones” and the call of Jesus, the meek and humble of heart. With this reading, the Church reminds the faithful that Jesus, the meek and humble one, reigns over all by the light of his wisdom and the yoke of his love. He is the instrument of revelation of the Father’s love. With Jesus, the yoke of submission to God’s plan becomes easy and the burden demanded by the love of God and neighbor becomes light. Indeed, united with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we experience the immense peace and joy of the Kingdom. In heeding his invitation “Come to me …” we discover that, far from being burdened, we are spiritually liberated. Love makes every burden light.



B. First Reading (Dt 7:6-11): “The Lord set your heart on you and chose you.”


The Old Testament reading (Dt 7:6-11) underlines that the Lord God “has set his heart on us” and has chosen us. During this feast of the Sacred Heart, we are reminded that we belong to God who loves us unconditionally and takes the first initiative. As Israel has been set apart by God to be his treasured possession, each one of us is called to be holy and blessed by his saving love. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, the recipient of the visions of the Sacred Heart and chosen as an apostle to manifest to the world the treasures of the Sacred Heart, testifies: “And Christ showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin that made him form the design of manifesting His heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure Him all the honor and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasure of which His heart is the source.”


C. Second Reading (1 Jn 4:7-16): “If we love one another, God remains in us.”


Today’s Second Reading (1 Jn 4:7-16) helps us to connect the cult of the Sacred Heart to God who is love. God has first loved us. He loves gratuitously, unmotivated by any worthiness on our part. He radically reveals his love by sending his Son Jesus as our Savior. God sends his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have eternal life. God loves us so much that we too must love one another. Whoever loves proves that he is born of God. The love revealed by God in Jesus is perceived by faith and must be responded to in faith. We “manifest” our communion with God by our love for each other. Indeed, by loving one another as brothers and sisters, God dwells in us and his love is made perfect in us. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Son of our merciful God, is the great symbol of divine love.


Today’s feast is very meaningful to me personally. I grew up in the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Manila, Philippines and promoted in my family the First Friday devotion. When I made my religious profession, I was given a new name – “Sr. Mary Margaret” - in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the disciple of the Eucharist and the apostle of the Sacred Heart. The following article helps us delve into the meaning of the Sacred Heart devotion (cf. Fr. William Saunders, “The Sacred Heart of Jesus” in October 1994 issue of The Arlington Catholic Herald).


During a recent visit to my parish church, my Protestant friend was interested in our Sacred Heart shrine and the meaning behind the devotion. I told her that the Sacred Heart was a sign of the love of Jesus for us. Is there anything else I should say? What about the history of the devotion? – A reader in Alexandria


Actually, your answer “hits the nail on the head”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting Pope Pius XII’s beautiful encyclical “Haurietes Aquas” (1956) states: “Jesus has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings without exception.”


To appreciate the rich symbolism of the heart, we must remember that in Judaism the word “heart” represented the core of the person. While recognized as the principle life organ, the heart was also considered the center of all spiritual activity. Here was the seat of all emotion, especially love. As the psalms express, God speaks to a person in his heart and there probes him. This notion of the heart is clear when we read the words of Deuteronomy 6:5-6: “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.”


The heart has even greater depth when contemplated in light of the Incarnation. We believe that Jesus Christ, second person of the Holy Trinity and consubstantial with the Father, entered this world taking on our human flesh – true God became also true man. While Jesus’ heart obviously served a physiological function, spiritually His Sacred Heart represents love: the divine love our Lord shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity; the perfect, divine love which God has for us; and the genuine human love Christ felt in His human nature.


I think one of the most beautiful passages of the Gospels is our Lord saying, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon your shoulders and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will rest, for My yoke is easy and My burden light” (Mt 11:28-30). Therefore, while meditating on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are called to share in the love of the Lord and strive to express our own genuine love for God, ourselves and our neighbors.


Throughout the Gospel, we see the outpouring of Jesus’ love from His heart, whether in miracle stories, the reconciliation of sinners, or the compassion for the grieving. Even on the cross, our Lord poured out His love for us. There the soldier’s lance pierced his side and out flowed blood and water (Jn 19:34). St. Bonaventure said the Church was born from the wounded side of the Lord with the blood and water representing the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and baptism.


The early Church Fathers clearly cherished this meaning of the Sacred Heart of our Lord. St. Justin Martyr (d. 165), in his “Dialogue with the Jew Trypho” said, “We the Christians are the true Israel which springs from Christ, for we are carved out of His heart as from a rock”. Likewise, St. Irenaeus of Lyons (d. 202) said, “The Church is the fountain of the living water that flows to us from the Heart of Christ (“Adversus Haereses”). Paulinus of Nola (d. 431) added, “John, who rested blissfully on the breast of our Lord, was inebriated with the Holy Spirit, from the Heart of all creating Wisdom he quaffed an understanding which transcends that of any creature.” Although these are just a few brief examples from the times of the early Church, we find a profound respect for the Sacred Heart of our Lord as a font of His love which gave birth to the Church and continues to nourish its members.


The devotion continued to grow during the Middle Ages and in 1353 Pope Innocent VI instituted a Mass honoring the mystery of the Sacred Heart. During the age of the Protestant movement, devotion to the Sacred Heart was practiced in hope of restoring peace to a world shattered by political and religious persecution.


Shortly thereafter, the devotion escalated due to the fervor surrounding the apparitions of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690). For example, on Dec. 27, 1673, Our Lord revealed, “My Divine Heart is so passionately inflamed with love … that, not being able any longer to contain within itself the flames of its ardent charity. It must let them spread abroad through your means, and manifest itself to man, that they may be enriched with its precious treasures which I unfold to you, and which contain the sanctifying and salutary graces that are necessary to hold them back from the abyss of ruin.” The four apparitions provided the catalyst for the promotion of the devotion to the Sacred Heart: a feast day in honor of the Sacred Heart and the offering of our Lord’s saving grace and friendship if the individual attended Mass and received holy Communion on nine consecutive first Fridays of the month.


In 1989 Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Since then, his successors have exhorted the faithful to turn to the Sacred Heart and make acts of personal consecration. They have also begged the faithful to offer prayers and penances to the Sacred Heart in reparation for the many sins of the world.


Considering our present day and age, the temptations and sins of the world, the growing apathy and secularism, we too should turn again in loving devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and ask Him to pour forth His grace. We must strive to make our hearts like His own, for He said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).


May we remember the words of the Preface of the Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “Lifted high on the Cross, Christ gave His life for us, so much did He love us. From His wounded side flowed blood and water, the fountain of the sacramental life in the Church. To His open heart the Savior invites all men, to draw water in joy from the springs of salvation.”





What is our personal response to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and his burning love for us? Do we promote the cult of the Sacred Heart? How?





Prayer “Anima Christi” (by Pope John XXII, 1249-1334)

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.

Body of Christ, save me.

Blood of Christ, inebriate me.

Water from the side of Christ, wash me.

Passion of Christ, strengthen me.

O good Jesus, hear me.

Within your wounds, hide me.

Separated from you, let me never be.

From the evil one, protect me.

At the hour of my death, call me

and close to you bid me

that with your saints,

I may be praising you forever and ever.






The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.


“I am meek and humble of heart.” (Mt 11:29)





By your acts of mercy and compassion to the needy, suffering and grieving, let the love of the Sacred Heart console them and give them the strength of salvation.



*** *** ***


“JESUS SAVIOR: He Delivers Us from Anxiety … A Sword Pierced His Mother’s Heart”




II Chr 24:17-25 // Lk 2:41-51





A. Gospel Reading (Lk 2:42-51): “Your father and I have been looking for you.”


When I was in India, I gained an insight into the “sword” that pierced Mary’s heart as indicated in the reading (Lk 2:41-51). I came into contact with the pain and anxiety of a parent who lost a child. The Italian lady, Sarah, and her adopted girl, Saraji, the six-year old daughter of a leper couple, were guests at our convent in Bangalore, India. One afternoon, they went downtown to shop. An hour later a very distraught Sarah came back. Saraji had wandered away and was lost. We prayed in earnest for her return. The deeply anxious Sarah, accompanied by some Sisters, searched for her. They found Saraji at the police station calmly eating an ice cream cone. Sarah was overjoyed to find her again.


            The first words of Jesus ever recorded in Luke’s Gospel are full of meaning. To his mother Mary’s legitimate reproach: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety?” the boy Jesus responds: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” With these astonishing words Jesus makes a pronouncement about the meaning of his life and mission. He declares that the heavenly Father’s will is his priority. His life and mission transcend the relationship of his human family. This episode confirms Simeon’s prophecy of a sword piercing Mary’s heart. The bible scholar Carrol Stuhlmueller reflects on this Gospel episode: “Mary finds Jesus at his work; he is not simply her son, but the heavenly Father’s Son, sent on a mission in which she finds him totally involved; at this she sorrows for it means separation.”



B. First Reading (2 Chr 24:17-25): “They murdered Zechariah between the sanctuary and the altar (Mt 23:35).”


The Old Testament reading (2 Chr 24:17-25) encourages us to continue to do good and resist evil. King Joash of Judah does not persist in following the way of the Lord. After the death of his counselor and benefactor Jehoiada, the Priest, Joash falls from a good life and succumbs to idolatry. Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah prophesies that the king’s rejection of the Lord will have dire consequences.  Joash’s response is to silence the bad news. On the king’s orders, the people stone Zechariah in the temple courtyard. King Joash, who has abandoned God, has forgotten about the loyal service that Zechariah’s father had given him. He, who as an infant was rescued by Jehoiada from death, instigates the killing of his redeemer’s beloved son. As Zechariah is dying, he calls out to the idolatrous king: “May the Lord see what you are doing and punish you.” Punishment is inevitable. A small Syrian army overtakes a larger Judean army. King Joash suffers the indignity of being murdered by his own servants.


Today’s Bible reading invites us to persevere in doing good and warns us not to succumb to evil. The need to persist in doing noble acts, even if unrequited, can also be gleaned in the following article (cf. “The Unseen Harvest” in Poverello News, June 2014, p. 5-6).


A police officer we know (we’ll call him Brett) was driving near Poverello one hot summer day after he had finished his shift. He saw a man dressed in dirty, ragged clothing and carrying a backpack. However, what got Brett’s attention was that the man was barefoot, and each step he took on the blistering sidewalk looked like torture. Brett had to gas up his police vehicle at the city yard nearby, but after he did so, he drove by the same area, and saw the man again. He pulled up to him and rolled down his window.


When he greeted him with a friendly, “How’s it going?”, the man immediately became hostile. “I just got out of jail! I didn’t do nothing wrong. Why are harassing me?” he shouted.


Brett tried to calm him down. “Look”, he said, “I’m not stopping you to give you any trouble. I just noticed that you didn’t have any shoes, and I thought your feet must be hurting, that’s all. I have some boots at home that might fit you.”


Brett said that the look in the man’s eye was one of absolute astonishment. It was as if he couldn’t understand that a police officer wasn’t trying to arrest or hassle him. After a long silence, he responded, “Yeah, that would be nice. Some boots would help.”


Brett replied, “Okay, I’m off duty right now. The boots are at my house. It’ll take me twenty minutes to drive there, and about twenty to thirty minutes to drive back. You go over there under the overpass where it’s shady. Stay there, and I’ll be back with some socks and boots. Got that? Stay there, okay?”


The man assured Brett that he would wait, and Brett took off. When he returned with the boots, the man was nowhere to be seen. Brett drove around for about fifteen minutes looking for him, but he had vanished.


Brett told us, “You know, I felt pretty stupid, like I had been conned. Was that a stupid thing to do?”


Not only was that not a stupid thing to do; it was a compassionate, noble act. Whenever we go out of our way to show kindness to someone in need, there is never a guarantee that we’ll get the results we expect. In fact, we are often very disappointed. In Galatians 6:9, Saint Paul tells us, “Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”


If everyone who performed kind acts simply gave up because his charity was misused, there wouldn’t be anyone left to help the poor, and the world would be a much darker place. Compassion is wonderful and motivating virtue, but without the companion virtues of faith and perseverance, compassion transforms itself quickly into anger and cynicism.


In over forty years at Poverello House, we hadn’t reaped a huge harvest for our investments of love, but we know that there is a bigger picture. God sees things very differently that we do, and so we persevere in charity and faith, because we believe He knows the rest of the story, which is the harvest that we can’t see right now.





1. Do we truly appreciate the vital role of Mary in salvation history? Do we treasure her immense love for Jesus and for us? Do we have devotion for the Immaculate Heart of Mary and imitate her loving compassion?



2. Do I persevere in my resolve to fight evil and to do good? Do I continue to act charitably even if my effort is not reciprocated and does not produce the result I imagine?





A Prayer to the Blessed Mother (by Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

Mary, mother of Jesus, be a mother to each of us,

that we, like you, may be pure in heart,

that we, like you, love Jesus;

that we, like you, serve the poorest

for we are all poor.

First let us love our neighbors

and so fulfill God’s desire

that we become carriers of his love and compassion.






            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.


“His mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Lk 2:51) //“Because you have abandoned the Lord, he has abandoned you.” (2 Chr 24: 20)





When you experience some trials and difficulties, present them to Mary and unite them with her most Immaculate Heart for the salvation of souls. // Do not allow unrequited charity to discourage you.




Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM





60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

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