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Archive for January, 2016

Readings for the Week – February 21, 2016

Monday: 1 Pt 5:1-4; Ps 23:1-3a, 4-6; Mt 16:13-19
Tuesday: Is 1:10, 16-20; Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21, 23; Mt 23:1-12
Wednesday: Jer 18:18-20; Ps 31:5-6, 14-16; Mt 20:17-28
Thursday: Jer 17:5-10; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Lk 16:19-31
Friday: Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a; 17b-28a; Ps 105:16-21; Mt 21:33-43, 45-46
Saturday: Mi 7:14-15, 18-20; Ps 103:1-4, 9-12; Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
Sunday: Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15; Ps 103:1-4, 6-8, 11;1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12; Lk 13:1-9

February 21, 2016 – Second Sunday of Lent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

White sandy beaches by a turquoise sea, all under a golden sun. Aah! Doesn’t that make for an enticing picture in mid-February? No wonder the airlines run such images by our eyes knowing that many of us are “winter-weary” just now! How many of us who don’t sled or ski but merely shovel the snow would like to oblige but know very well that such trips aren’t for free.

However unintended, such enticements could persuade us to target Lent as the source of our sadness. Not a good thing for people who profess to be disciples of Christ. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to visit a warm beach at this time of year but rushing to that scene contradicts all the Lenten urging to go to the desert and contemplate our need for the discipline called penance.

Readings for the Week – February 14, 2016

Monday: Lv 19:1-2, 11-18; Ps 19:8-10, 15; Mt 25:31-46
Tuesday: Is 55:10-11; Ps 34:4-7, 16-19; Mt 6:7-15
Wednesday: Jon 3:1-10; Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19; Lk 11:29-32
Thursday: Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Ps 138:1-3, 7c-8; Mt 7:7-12
Friday: Ez 18:21-28; Ps 130:1-8; Mt 5:20-26
Saturday: Dt 26:16-19; Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8; Mt 5:43-48
Sunday: Gn 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27:1, 7-9, 13-14;Phil 3:17 — 4:1 [3:20 — 4:1]; Lk 9:28b-36

February 14, 2016 – First Sunday of Lent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Years ago, a popular comedian named Flip Wilson created a female character named Geraldine, complete with a high-pitched voice and sassy speech whose frequent excuse for her misbehavior was that “The devil made me do it.” I am not aware of any contemporary comedian who does something similar as part of his/her act. But time spent in the confessional has revealed to me that a lot of present-day Catholics draw on the same excuse to rationalize their sins. Often enough, it is a bad habit that has invaded their lifestyle, like the use of internet pornography, or the excessive use of alcohol, or plain old but destructive gossip over coffee and bagels at the breakfast table.

For those things, and for everything else comes the curative story of how Jesus handled powerful temptations. Granted, His strength was superhuman, but still it models for us an alternative to the hollow excuses we make. For as powerful as temptations can be, they can still be overcome. As vivid as the picture that Satan paints for us, always disguising evil to satisfy our innate tending to the good, his wiles are not enough to defeat grace. Our choice to ignore the grace hastens our downfall.

Readings for the Week – February 7, 2016

Monday: 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13; Ps 132:6-7, 8-10; Mk 6:53-56
Tuesday: 1 Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30; Ps 84:3-5, 10-11; Mk 7:1-13
Wednesday: Jl 2:12-18; Ps 51:3-6ab, 12-14, 17; 2 Cor 5:20 — 6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Thursday: Dt 30:15-20; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Lk 9:22-25
Friday: Is 58:1-9a; Ps 51:3-6ab, 18-19; Mt 9:14-15
Saturday: Is 58:9b-14; Ps 86:1-6; Lk 5:27-32
Sunday: Dt 26:4-10; Ps 91:1-2, 10-15; Rom 10:8-13; Lk 4:1-13

February 7, 2016 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Turning point. So many biographies, both of great ones from the past as well as some of the present take to highlighting some event as just that in their stories. It may be in the form of a change of outlook in the famous one; or of a career turn or even of a whole lifestyle. Such a change becomes an integral part of their story. It marks a decided change of direction that separates “then” from “now.” Then their story moves from the banal to the bright, or even to the blessed as is the case with the lives of many Church saints.

This weekend, being only three days from Ash Wednesday, is the prelude to the great liturgical cycle of Lent-Easter. It is the season that begins with a call to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.” Today our Church offers us three gospel stories of such turning points in the Mass Readings.

First comes Isaiah. He provides us with an autobiographical detail of his calling to be a prophet by agreeing to be “sent” by God and his striking cleansing by fire for the task.

Readings for the Week – January 31, 2016

Monday: 2 Sm 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13; Ps 3:2-7; Mk 5:1-20
Tuesday: Mal 3:1-4; Ps 24:7-10; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40 (22-32)
Wednesday: 2 Sm 24:2, 9-17; Ps 32:1-2, 5-7; Mk 6:1-6
Thursday: 1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12; 1 Chr 29:10-12; Mk 6:7-13
Friday: Sir 47:2-11; Ps 18:31, 47, 50, 51; Mk 6:14-29
Saturday: 1 Kgs 3:4-13; Ps 119:9-14; Mk 6:30-34
Sunday: Is 6:1-2a, 3-8; Ps 138:1-5, 7-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11 [3-8, 11]; Lk 5:1-11

January 31, 2016 – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

“When Johnny comes marchin’ home” these days, not from an American Civil War battlefield, when the song of that title was originally written in 1863, but from present day fields in places with strange sounding names, his reception (and hers) is filled with joy. There are plenty of hugs and “high fives”; kisses and kudos for brave heroes in the battle against the evil perpetrators of terrorism. That is only as it should be, because it takes a new kind of warrior these days, even if under all his/her high-tech weaponry there beats the heart of an ordinary American much like his civil war counterpart. Still, today’s enemy either hides his face behind a rag or disguises his voice. There is something about the hometown hero that brings out the music and the fire trucks and the rounds of applause.

In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus is another kind of hometown hero, but that only in the eyes of the other two Persons of the Blessed Trinity; His Mother Mary, and perhaps His foster father Joseph. He too has been sent to fight an enemy who masters disguise by the name of Satan and the hold he has had on the hearts and souls of people everywhere. It is no easy task. But a god can handle it, for He is Satan’s creator and superior.