Articles for Ordinary Time

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

June 12, 2021

  “The love of Christ impels us,” (2 Cor 5:14). This powerful phrase from St. Paul has inspired Christians for ages. Conception Seminary College, our main apostolate at Conception Abbey, has this as its motto. We are impelled to do all things with and in Christ. Mary is a perfect example of this maxim. She…

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Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 11, 2021

  When Notre Dame burned down in Paris, France in 2019, it was a true travesty. That Cathedral not only represented the Archdiocese of Paris, it also represented France’s history. The whole country of France, and many in the World, mourned this travesty. In Paris, there is another Church that is not as well-known as…

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Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 10, 2021

  Second Corinthians describes a veil that covers “the hearts” of those who read from Moses in the Old Testament. St. Paul admits that even the Gospel is veiled, but only for “those who are perishing.” He declares that through “the ministry” we have received “through mercy… we are not discouraged.” The same God who…

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Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 9, 2021

  Jesus told His followers that He didn’t come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. He said with certainty that not even “the smallest letter of the law” would pass away. Jesus knew what the Law was for. It wasn’t just a set of rules and standards. The Jews left Egypt in the…

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Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 8, 2021

  “You are salt of the Earth…light of the World.” Salt and light are not often things you think about that go together. We use salt as seasoning, and any doctor worth their salt would not suggest adding more salt to your diet! When it comes to light we are used to artificial light being…

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Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 7, 2021

  The Beatitudes are the subject of today’s Gospel. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” “Blessed are the Meek,” “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” “Blessed are the pure of heart,” etc. These teachings give clear insight into Jesus’ heart. They show what He valued (and still values). Jesus did not respect wealth or the prestige of…

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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

June 6, 2021

  It is quite something to think that the Body and Blood of Jesus, His real presence, total and true, could be contained within the consecrated host and wine at Mass. Yet this is exactly what the Eucharist is. We believe that Jesus Christ is fully and truly present in the Eucharist at Mass. This…

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Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

June 5, 2021

  One of the local Catholic university presidents once told me this maxim: “No money, no mission.” Jesus tells us to leave everything to follow Him, to sell everything and give to the poor in order to be perfect. However, even the Lord relied on the charity of some wealthy women to subsidize his public…

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Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June 4, 2021

  When tragedy occurs people say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Since most everything in society has become political, some politicians have used this phrase to decry inaction on the part of their opponents. “Keep your thoughts and prayers,” they say, “What we need now are actions!” This rejoinder is a false dichotomy.…

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Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

June 3, 2021

  In the seminary, a man sometimes discerns that he is not called to the priesthood. There are times, however, when a man may or may not be a good candidate but it is unclear. Why? Because he is unformable – he is somehow resistant in his will to be conformed to the man who…

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Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June 2, 2021

  I remember getting to know an elderly woman who spoke fondly of her husband. At the same time, she looked forward with excitement to heaven without reference to reunion with him. It was unusual but to me seemed appropriate. God denies us no good thing that would contribute to the joy of heaven. This…

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Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr

June 1, 2021

  The Pharisees and the Herodians make strange bedfellows. As the saying goes, however, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I would guess that they teamed up to catch Jesus on either side of an issue. For the Pharisees, Roman coinage was unclean because it bore the image of man (hence moneychangers in…

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Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 31, 2021

  The rather unfamiliar prophet Zephaniah personifies the holy city of Jerusalem and gives her a message of future hope. Daughter Jerusalem is an image used by the Church today on the Feast of the Visitation as fulfilled in Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth says to Mary that she is blessed because she believed what was…

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

May 30, 2021

  Several years after being ordained a priest, I went back to graduate school at a secular university. Once in a seminar, the professor brought up the notorious billboards that line Interstate Highway 70 in Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City. “Oh yes!” I exclaimed, thinking we were all talking about the same thing.…

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Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 29, 2021

  It’s mysterious why some people have a very strong faith, but others have little or no faith in God. A friend of mine from college was so resistant of faith in God that claimed everything he experienced that might indicate God’s action was either coincidence or chance. We can never know exactly what is…

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Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 28, 2021

  Jesus astonishes the crowds by his teaching and at the same time infuriates the chief priests and the scribes when he cleanses the Temple—driving out the money changers and those who were buying and selling. In such a way, Jesus attempts to restore the Temple to a house of prayer. The Temple, with all…

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Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 27, 2021

  I remember when I got to that age where I was embarrassed to walk around with my Mom or my Dad holding their hand. I was a “big boy” and it was time to assert my independence, and I didn’t need either of them to walk me across the street or hold on to…

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Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest

May 26, 2021

  We celebrate the Memorial of St. Philip Neri, who was born in 1515 in Florence, Italy. Known for his cheerfulness and joy, St. Philip was not afraid to challenge men and women and call them to holiness. One famous story communicates his way of offering rebuke and urging others to conversion: On one occasion,…

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Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 25, 2021

  St. Teresa of Avila in her frustration cried out to God, and is supposed to have said: “If this is how You treat Your friends, no wonder why You have so few of them!” Thankfully St. Teresa persevered in her trials, but she realized that being a friend of God does not always mean…

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Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

May 24, 2021

  In 2018, Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church be inserted into the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost. The Holy Father wished to promote this devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church in order to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the…

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Pentecost Sunday

May 23, 2021

  Pentecost is regarded as the “Birthday of the Church.” Gathered in one place together, the Holy Spirit appeared to the disciples as “tongues of fire,” which rested on each of them. The Spirit first enabled them to communicate effectively the Gospel message without language being a barrier: “They were all filled with the Holy…

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Friday after Ash Wednesday

February 19, 2021

  Our culture is very health-conscious. The very idea of fasting seems foreign in contemporary America. True fasting is hard. Several years ago, I went on a bread-and-water fast just on Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent. That did not seem too bad – after all, I love bread! However, there was something about that being…

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Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

February 16, 2021

  Mark’s Gospel differs from the other three in that there are two miracles of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. Both stories are charged with biblical numerology – numbers that cue us into seeing a deeper significance. For example, twelve baskets leftover equal the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and the seven baskets leftover…

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Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

February 15, 2021

  How does one distinguish between coincidence and a sign from God? Often it is only looking back on events, and, at other times, it is our willingness to see the divine action at work in our life. In our first reading, Cain is jealous of his brother Abel. Rather than understanding that sometimes when…

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 14, 2021

  The Journalism School at the University of Missouri is world-renowned. Consequently, you could not scratch your nose in class without elbowing a journalism undergrad. One principle of journalism they mentioned was this: If it bleeds, it leads. In other words, bad news sells papers (or gets internet clicks). Bad news captivates us. Yet conspicuously…

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Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

February 13, 2021

  “Taking the seven loaves (Jesus) gave thanks, …. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.” To bless God is to enter into the mystery of his creation. It is to take up and allow oneself to be formed in reverence for all God has…

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Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

February 12, 2021

  The Benedictine abbot, Blessed Columba Marmion commented that the mysteries of Christ are our mysteries as well as Christ’s. In today’s Gospel we have an example of this: “(Jesus) …looked up to heaven and groaned” Here we have a mystery of Christ’s life – groaning or sighing. This man comes before him Jesus and…

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Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

February 11, 2021

  “She begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter” “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” This episode in Jesus’ encounter with the demonic can teach us something valuable for our lives. One of the things which Satan does not, cannot, understand is humility. It…

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Memorial of St. Scholastica, virgin

February 10, 2021

  The Benedictine world today celebrates the feast of St. Benedict’s twin sister, Scholastica. The Gospel given for the feast is the Martha-Mary story in serving Jesus in their home. The first optional reading is taken from the Song of Songs, also called, The Song of Solomon. It is an Old Testament love song and…

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Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

February 9, 2021

  Today’s readings offer us two ways to “learn God”. The first way is by contemplating God’s works. We learn that God is creator. It’s a beautiful way to come to know God. It’s a way children are taught to know God. Think, for example, of the catechism question and answer, “Why did God make…

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Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

February 8, 2021

  How does the believer touch Jesus in our times? There are two indicators in this question that lead us in the direction of an answer. The first is the word, “believer.” One has to be a believer, he or she must have faith! Yet there is more to it than simply stating that touching…

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 7, 2021

  All of us can agree, I’m sure, that mental anguish is a very great human suffering. Loneliness, fear, doubt, betrayal, infidelity, and especially depression and mental illness are hard to take. Job confronted this dilemma centuries ago. He didn’t solve the problem but he began the journey into redemptive suffering — a journey which…

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Memorial of St. Paul Miki and companions, martyrs

February 6, 2021

  One of the greatest travesties of life is when people give up hope. How often you see people who don’t want to move forward in life or make things better simply because they don’t believe things can get better. We all know a cynic or two. Sometimes the person who’s questioning our hope is…

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Memorial of St. Agatha, virgin and martyr

February 5, 2021

  I have often turned to Thomas Merton as an inspiration in my spiritual life. His writing is so profound. There are simplicity and significant depth that run through all of it. I found a new insight recently when I read his autobiography again, The Seven Storey Mountain. In one section he writes about World…

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Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

February 4, 2021

  I once heard the saying that a pessimist is an optimist with experience. Can you really experience life and still be hopeful? I do believe the answer is yes. An optimist is someone who makes the best of their experiences. We will have both positive and negative experiences in life. We can’t control everything…

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Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

February 3, 2021

  The Epistle to the Hebrews offers encouragement to those who are undergoing trials. “Treat your trials as discipline… Strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees…” Jesus underwent a trial of disappointment in His native place. He came home and no one listened to His word. He was “amazed at their lack of faith.”…

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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

February 2, 2021

  Jesus’s parents brought him into the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the ancient custom of presenting the firstborn child before the Lord. The prophet Malachy foretold that the messenger of the Lord would come before the Lord, and the Lord himself would come to the Temple. We see this fulfilled when Jesus entered the…

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Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

February 1, 2021

  Hebrews declares that our ancestors “conquered kingdoms” because they had faith. They believed that the Lord was with them. They hoped in the Lord’s promise. How blessed we are to inherit the blessings of this promise. As Hebrews says, “something better was planned for us.” We have received the great treasure that was longed…

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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 31, 2021

  Today’s readings show how often humanity puts up barriers to God. The Lord wants to draw us to Himself, yet we are the ones who put up the barriers. In the beginning of Israel’s journey, the people enjoyed the direct presence of God. They still asked not to hear the voice of the Lord…

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Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

January 30, 2021

  Preface: This week, I reflect on the Responsorial Psalm, “which is an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word and holds great liturgical and pastoral importance, because it fosters meditation on the word of God.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 61) Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come…

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