Daily Reflections

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 14, 2024

  The second reading for today’s Mass is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 1, verses 3 to 14. Verse 4 of this passage is one of the most powerful verses in all of scripture. It is one that I come back to over and over in my preaching. The reason I do…

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Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 13, 2024

Everything Will Be Revealed Jesus says, “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” (Matthew 10:26b) This is a profound statement. What does Jesus mean by it? Is it a call to be transparent and authentic? Even though no one on earth may know [fill in the blank],…

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Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 12, 2024

  Shrewd Silence and Simple Speech …A moment of silence… Can you hear it? Perhaps not right now, as you read these words of mine. But perhaps today, you will have a moment of silence, a moment to yourself, in which you find yourself and your God. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus advises his Apostles…

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Memorial of St. Benedict, abbot

July 11, 2024

Listen, my Child It is a special day here, not only because it is our founder’s commemoration day. But also, because we welcome a new lifelong member into our monastic community, Br. Mark Nelson, OSB. He is professing solemn and perpetual monastic vows—a promise before God and His saints to live out the rest of…

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Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 10, 2024

Looking for the Lord “Okay, people, it is time to seek the Lord!” That’s basically what the prophet Hosea is saying in today’s first reading. The Israelites were feeling good—with all their production, with all their success, with all their sacrifices—but they were not really doing it for the LORD, the God of Israel. There…

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Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 9, 2024

The Laborers are Few It’s summertime here in the Midwest. That means vacation, a slower pace, enjoyment and leisure for those with means. Yet, there is much work to be done for the sake of the Kingdom. As Jesus says in the Gospel today, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37b).…

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Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 8, 2024

  A Sacramental Touch “If only I can touch his cloak…” said the longsuffering woman in today’s Gospel reading according to Matthew (9:21). She but touched the tassel on his cloak, yet Jesus noticed. Surely, Jesus’ tassel did not have nerve endings connected to his brain. Rather, it was the woman’s faith that sent a…

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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 7, 2024

  What’s in a Name? I have heard this phrase before, but where? A quick online search tells me it appears in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Lamenting that her family has a nasty feud with Romeo’s family, Juliet says: What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name…

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Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 6, 2024

  St. John Chrysostom tells us that the old cloak or the old wineskins that Jesus uses as an image represent his disciples, who have not yet been renewed with the Spirit and therefore are not ready receive the full expectation of the Gospel. The disciples had made sacrifices in order to follow Jesus, but…

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Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 5, 2024

  Jewish tax collectors were seen as traitors along with being unjust. Not only did many of them cheat the people they collected from, they were serving a foreign power that occupied the land promised to God’s people. They sinned against their kin and against the covenant with the Lord. Nevertheless, Jesus saw the good…

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Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 4, 2024

  The ability to receive criticism is an invaluable skill, one that is in short supply. Everyone has their flaws, and we owe our communities and especially ourselves the effort to improve our shortcomings. This is not a demand for perfection or a pronouncement of shame but an acceptance that we are imperfect and that…

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Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle

July 3, 2024

  The poor Apostle Thomas will always be known as the one who doubted the Resurrection. Rarely do people recall his declaration that they would follow Jesus to his death when he returned to Jerusalem (John 11:16). It may be fitting to forget that statement, though, since Thomas did not remain at Jesus’ side through…

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Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 2, 2024

  The words of the prophet Amos are much like Jesus’ statement, “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matt 13:12). The Lord proclaims through his prophet that much has been expected of the Israelites because…

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Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 1, 2024

  Determination is a valuable trait when it serves the proper ends. Great accomplishments usually come with road blocks and pitfalls along the way. It would be easy to give up and pursue something less daunting, but determination can help us overcome the obstacles that lie in our path. Tony Melendez was born with no…

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Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 30, 2024

  Patience is a challenge. Imagine the terror and frustration of Jairus, the synagogue official who desperately pleaded with Jesus to come heal his daughter who was on the brink of death, when Jesus stops along the way to question a crowd and speak to someone. The crowd itself was enough to slow Jesus down,…

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Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles

June 29, 2024

  Could it be true that opposites attract, even in the spiritual life? This may be an interesting question as we examine the personal stories of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Church celebrates this solemnity today highlighting some of their most important teaching which reveal their particular approach to apostolic commitment. The second reading presents…

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Memorial of St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

June 28, 2024

  Our memorial of the first century Bishop and Martyr Irenaeus may seem very distant and disconnected from our present experience. “After all,” we might say, “what can someone who lived in the earliest centuries of the Church have to tell us today?” Perhaps the question with reference to the liturgy of the Eucharist is…

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Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

June 27, 2024

  The awareness of natural disasters is no longer limited by slow and spotty communication. Due to sophisticated technology, such as cell phones, drones, and satellites, the suffering and destruction of natural disasters is now up close and personal. Whether local or far away the destruction of human life can no longer be ignored. Through…

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Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

June 26, 2024

  We believe that the bible is the sacred inspired Word of God. We also believe that God’s Word comes to us through human beings inspired to use their best writing styles and imagination to instruct and motivate the readers. Sometimes finding the message requires a certain amount of digging, patience, and prayer. I’m reminded…

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Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

June 25, 2024

  The first readings from the Second Book of Kings for the next four days during this week’s liturgy show the people of Israel to be under great distress. Sennacherib, King of Assyria, is intimidating Jerusalem and ruthlessly describing their impending doom. In the darkest of times the faith of Israel is being tested. In…

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Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

June 24, 2024

  In military combat when a column of soldiers is moving forward, there is usually someone assigned to “take the point.” This person is the first to lead the group into danger and is responsible for the safety of those who follow. In many ways, the figure of St. John the Baptist might fit this…

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Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 23, 2024

  Whenever we cross the mighty Mississippi River on our travels between Benet Lake and Conception Abbey, I think of the challenge those early explorers must have faced to cross rivers and streams of any size. Today we simply cross with ease because of bridges and modern transportation. However, the decision to “cross over to…

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Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

June 22, 2024

  The first reading from 2 Chronicles 24:17-25 recounts the disastrous reign of King Joash after the death of his mentor and protector, Jehoiada. His return to the worship of pagan idols and his murder of Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest brought ruin upon Judah and Jerusalem. The responsorial psalm, however, reminds us of…

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Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

June 21, 2024

  In the first reading of today’s liturgy from the 2nd Book of Kings (11:1-4, 9-18, 17-18), we find the story of Joash, the child who was destined to be king, and how he was hidden away in the temple of the Lord for six years to protect him from the wicked Athaliah. Jehoiada the…

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Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

June 20, 2024

  Our first reading today from the Book of Sirach is a follow-up to the passages we have been hearing this week from the Second Book of Kings. It pays tribute to the life and accomplishments of the prophet Elijah and of his successor, Elisha. “Nothing was beyond his power; beneath him flesh was brought…

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Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

June 19, 2024

  Today we hear the famous account of Elijah handing over his role as prophet to his disciple, Elisha. The young man is frightened by the thought of his master’s departure. As a flaming chariot suddenly appears and transports Elijah up to heaven, Elisha is left alone and he cries out in terror: “My father,…

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Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

June 18, 2024

  Today we continue the story of vineyard of Naboth. In the first reading, we hear of the aftermath of Ahab’s actions in the wrongful murder of Naboth and seizure of his vineyard. The prophet Elijah confronts him directly for his greed. “The Lord says: After murdering, do you also take possession?” (1 Kgs: 21:19).…

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Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

June 17, 2024

  The story of the vineyard of Naboth depicts the epitome of injustice. Ahab covets Naboth’s vineyard and his wife Jezebel shuns all moral boundaries in order to obtain it by plotting Naboth’s death. (His death is a foreshadowing of Christ who was also falsely accused and “led out of the city” to be crucified.)…

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Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 16, 2024

  God brings forth great things from small beginnings. The opening reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel relates God’s wondrous plan of redemption for the people of Israel who are in exile in Babylon. Using the metaphor of the cedar tree, the prophet gives hope to the exiles by describing how a tender…

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Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 15, 2024

  We often speak of the beauty of yes. Mary’s fiat, her yes to God’s will at the Annunciation, echoed in the response of men and women to priesthood and religious life, is beautiful. It is most perfect in the yes of the Second Person of the Trinity assenting to the Father’s will, taking on…

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Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 14, 2024

  The Lord asks Elijah a strange question today: “Elijah, why are you here?” It is strange because the Lord told Elijah to go to the mountain! Rather than acknowledging the obvious, the prophet acknowledges his unwavering zeal for the Lord when the people had fallen into worship of false gods. Moreover, he defeated false…

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Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church

June 13, 2024

  All the major world religions deal with the problem of suffering. For Hinduism and Buddhism, for example, this world is suffering itself. Mortals escape suffering through breaking the cycle of rebirth. For Christianity, we acknowledge that suffering is part of earthly existence. Yet the coming of the Lord Jesus in His Paschal Mystery changed…

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Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 12, 2024

  The comic strip Family Circle had a motif my dad thought was funny and accurate. When the mother would ask her four small children who was responsible for this or that domestic disaster, the children would blame it in on “invisible gremlins”: Ida Know, Not Me, and Nobody. These ghostly figures would show up…

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Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle

June 11, 2024

  I recently heard an interview in which the two people commiserated about anxiety during airplane travel. They reckoned that even though they were not particularly afraid of flying, rather it was a situation in which one feels most alone among a group of strangers. Much about modern life is alienating. Both the independence that…

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Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 10, 2024

  St. Thomas Aquinas said that the mean between two extremes is virtue; the only exception to this is love. Extremes that are ultimately done in love – love being willing the good for the other – can be necessary to make the wayward amend. The Lord punishes the Israelites who murdered the prophets of…

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Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 9, 2024

  What is the nature of division? Is it evil? Well, Christ says the devil’s minions are unanimous in evil goals! Evil unity is bad! Christ says elsewhere that He did not come to bring peace but division: pitting brother against brother, son against father, and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law. The gospel means making choices that…

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Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

June 8, 2024

  “I will sing of your salvation.” Ps. 71. 15. Mary, O sweet and beautiful mother! Mary is known by many titles. The mother of God, Help of Christians, Refuge for Sinners, and so on. Today we honor her in devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She was conceived without any sin, and her heart itself…

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Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 7, 2024

  “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.” Isaiah 12.2 What is it about a human heart that captures attention? Isn’t it just the organ that pumps blood throughout the body? In Jesus’ time and in the thought of the Bible, the heart was the center of one’s self. The heart is…

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Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June 6, 2024

  “Teach me your ways, O Lord.” Ps. 25.4 Theology is one of the greatest treasures of the Church, without question. You cannot love what you do not know. Remember, God wants to be known by us in His infinite love and mercy. The art of studying theology and knowing the faith more is like…

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Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

June 5, 2024

  “To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.” Ps. 123. 1 As you read this week about the call to holiness and our own response to God’s loving initiative, it comes time to explore the role of all people in the Church with evangelizing. The word “evangelization” means the spreading or proclaiming of…

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