Weekly Spiritual Resources

“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” ~Jn 6:35

Sunday, August 1, 2021 | 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday we hear the first of the seven “I am” sayings recorded in the Gospel of John. In the Old Testament God revealed his name to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM”. “Say this to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’”. (Exodus 3:14). Thus, in Judaism “I AM” is unquestionably understood as a name for God (Yhwh). Whenever Jesus made an “I AM” statement he was identifying himself as God. The seven “I AM” sayings are:

“I am the bread of life.” John 6:35
“I am the light of the world.” John 8:12
“I am the door.” 10:7,9
“I am the good shepherd.” John 10:11, 14
“I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25
“I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6
“I am the true vine.” John 15:1

The Gospel of John shows us many instances of how Jesus, the Incarnated God, came to meet our many needs. In the last sentence of this Sunday’s Gospel passage Jesus reveals this by saying, “whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

This brings to mind the well-known story of the Samaritan woman at the well also found in John’s Gospel (John 4). Jesus tells her: “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst; the water that I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (4:13)

Only Jesus is the real “thirst-quencher.” Drink from the well of his word!

View/Download the Liturgy of the Word Celebration

Yvonne Gill
Director of Adult Formation

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Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy 

Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I Love you above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Daily Spirituality

In an effort to continue the practice of our beautiful Catholic faith at home during this time, we invite you to:

Pope Francis' Prayer to Mary during the Current Health Crisis

Join us in prayer:

O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you,
Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain,
keeping your faith firm.

You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection.

Under your protection, we seek refuge,
Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties
of we who are in trial,
but deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

Previous Weeks’ Readings and Resources

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Sunday, July 25, 2021 | 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are told in this Sunday’s Gospel that a large crowd was following Jesus because of the “signs” he had performed. We are also told that the Feast of Passover was near; this may explain why there would be such a large crowd on the roads at that time. It is likely the crowd was swelled by pilgrims on their way to the Passover celebration in Jerusalem.

Jesus could see they were hungry and tired and must be fed. Philip was the natural man to whom to turn, for he came from Bethsaida and would have local knowledge. Philip’s answer was despairing. But then Andrew appears on the scene with a young boy who has with him five barley loves and two little fish; the boy had not much.

Jesus tells the disciples to have the people recline. The “great deal of grass” noted recalls the Psalm from last week, (#23): “In verdant pastures he gives me rest.” Jesus then takes the loaves and fish and, acting as father of the family, gives thanks, and then distributes them. Again, Psalm 23 “…You spread the table before me..”

The people ate and were filled – more than filled – for we are told that the fragments were gathered and filled 12 baskets (recall the significance of the number).

The promise of Psalm 23 is fulfilled: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

We never know what possibilities we are releasing when we bring someone to Jesus as Andrew did. The young boy had not much to offer but in what he had Jesus found the materials of a miracle. Jesus needs what we can bring him. If we would lay ourselves on the altar of his service, there is no telling what he could do with us and through us. Little is always much in the hand of Christ.

Give a little of your time to ponder his word! 

Click here for this Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word, Scripture readings, reflections, activities, and more!

Yvonne Gill
Director of Adult Formation

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Sunday, July 18, 2021 | 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The verse we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel concludes the story Mark began in 6:7-13 in which Jesus sent the Twelve out to minister, two by two. Their ministry saw amazing success; they accomplished through the Lord, what no mere human could apart from God.  When they return Jesus suggests that they go to a deserted place to take time out to rest and eat. 

However, by the time they arrive to the “deserted place” the ever-present multitude greeted them with a host of expectations.  From a horizontal, human viewpoint, the mass of people looked like a multitude of burdens.  No doubt a few disciples said, “Let’s keep sailing.”  But Jesus saw something different.  The Good Shepherd saw aimless, vulnerable sheep. 

Jesus used this incident to teach his Apostles – and us – something that would impact their understanding of ministry for the rest of their lives.  Explicit mention that they had no time to eat prepares for next Sunday’s narrative when, ironically, the disciples will not eat but will instead serve the hungry. 

However, before the feeding (next week’s Gospel) is the teaching.  We are told this week that Jesus began to teach the vast crowd many things.  As we know from every Mass, teaching and feeding are not in opposition.  We are called on to realize that the teaching of Jesus handed down to us in the Gospels is as important for life and sustenance as the bread in the wilderness was for the Exodus generation.  “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4)

And, as the Psalmist tells us: The Lord, our shepherd, spreads the table before us.  Be nourished at the table of his word! 

Click here for this Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word, Scripture readings, reflections, activities, and more!

Yvonne Gill
Director of Adult Formation

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Sunday, July 11, 2021 | 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Between the last line of last week’s Gospel and the first of this week’s, but not included in either proclamation within Mass, is the passage: “And he went about among the villages teaching.” The comment provides a transition from the rejection by Jesus’ family and hometown (last week) to a preaching tour of the surrounding area (this week).

This is the first stage of Jesus passing on his power and mission to the Church.  The use of the word “summoned”, in the opening line of this week’s Gospel, recalls the initial “calling” of the Twelve.  The commissioning, of which we hear about this week, enlarges their role.

The instructions for the journey – what to take and not to take; say, do – are not simply traveling directives but are also preparation for the demands of discipleship.  The instructions demand utter simplicity and trust in both God and neighbor.

Mark’s allowance of sandals recalls the Israelites preparing to eat the Passover meal prior to their departure from Egypt; they were to eat the meal, with “your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand” (Exodus 12:11).  Some regard this as a prelude to the miraculous feeding of the five thousand recorded in v. 32 of this same chapter.

These first missionaries brought not only the message of the Lord and the call to repentance and conversion, they also brought mercy and healing. They brought not only a hand to lift from moral wreckage but a hand to lift from physical pain and suffering.

The enduring significance of this passage is its reminder to the Church – us – to never forget our origin as a community of missionaries.  The Church’s self-identity is as a community that is “sent”; it is to “travel light” and to proclaim the word with conviction and fearlessness.

As we travel the road of discipleship let us be guided by the original GPS (Global Positioning System) – the word of God!

Click here for the Sunday Liturgy of the Word, Scripture readings, reflections, activities, and more!

Yvonne Gill
Director of Adult Formation

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Sunday, July 4, 2021 | 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear of Jesus returning to his hometown.  He arrives accompanied by his disciples that is, he comes as a Rabbi.  It was the custom of Rabbis to move about the country accompanied by their circle of disciples, and so it was as a teacher, with his disciples, that Jesus arrived in Nazareth.

When he teaches in the synagogue Jesus is greeted not with wonder but with contempt.  “And they took offense at him.” Familiarity had bred contempt.  “Is he not the carpenter?” Yes, Jesus was a working man.  A man of the people.  For us that is his glory; God, in his incarnation, claimed no exemptions.  He took upon himself the common life with all its common tasks.

Also notable in the passage is the query, “Is this not Mary’s son?  The fact that they called Jesus Mary’s son may indicate that by this time Joseph had died.  The people of Nazareth despised Jesus because they knew his mother; his family.  Sometimes we are too near or familiar with people to see and appreciate their greatness. 

When it comes to Jesus, we can either open the door wide to him – or slam it in his face as did the people of Nazareth.

Be open to him; open to his word!

Yvonne Gill
Director of Adult Formation

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Sunday, June 27, 2021 | 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saint Mark’s Gospel which we’re reading this year, is known for its rich detail in describing Jesus’ healing miracles. Today we have two stories which are provocative as well. They teach us how we relate to Christ in our daily lives.

In the Gospel, Jesus responds to a synagogue official with a sick daughter, and to a woman suffering from a hemorrhage. In both situations, Christ must deal with very human emotions and complications. The household of the synagogue official is demonstrative in its grieving over the young girl’s death. They even ridicule Jesus for his persistence in offering faith. The woman with the hemorrhage has her own long experience with frustration and failure, and she fears to approach Jesus directly.

In both circumstances, Christ confronts the obstacles and breaks through with healing power. That’s what his whole mission is meant to bring: a radical transformation which overcomes sin, disease, even death. Let’s allow the Lord to break into our lives!

Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org. Shared with permission.

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Sunday, June 20, 2021 | 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In this Sunday’s Gospel proclamation Jesus tells the disciples to “cross to the other side.” During Ordinary Time we journey with Jesus, crossing from where we are to where he leads.

Saints and mystics have described the difficulties of the spiritual life using metaphors such as “a rocky road”, “an arid desert”, and “dark night of the soul”. These, and the image of “storm”, mentioned in the First Reading and Gospel, remind us that even steadfast faith will not spare us from difficulty and challenges in following Jesus.

Be anchored in his Word!

Yvonne Gill
Director of Adult Formation

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Sunday, June 13, 2021 | 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday we return to Ordinary Time and, as we are in Cycle B, most often our Gospel proclamations will be drawn from Mark.

In the chapter we hear from, chapter 4, there are two parables of seeds; both are about the Kingdom but the metaphors are decidedly mixed.

The parable of the mustard seed, proclaimed this Sunday, is unique to Mark; it is not found in any of the other Gospels. It encourages us to persevere in sharing Christ with others even when we do not see results. The kingdom of God does not always grow the way we think it should nor at the rate we would prefer.

The first thing we learn from this parable is that if we want to see God’s kingdom grow – we must plant seeds. This is the most basic step when it comes to gardening. If we leave out this step, no matter what else we do, we will never harvest a crop!

So how does God’s kingdom grow? It begins with planting seeds. From the first parable found in this same chapter (4:3-20) we see that planting seeds means sharing God’s word with others; no seeds, no plants, no growth!

The passage goes on to make another equally important point. God will make the seeds grow. So even though it may look like nothing is happening it may be because we can’t see what is going on beneath the soil. Paul knew this: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth”. (1 Corinthians 3:6)

As faithful disciples we persevere in sharing the truth of the Good News and trust that the Holy Spirit will transform truth into growth and eventual fruit!

Be rooted in the Word!

Yvonne Gill
Director of Adult Formation

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Sunday, June 6, 2021 | Corpus Christi

“Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” ~Mark 14:22

An old tradition in the Catholic faith is to pray for a “happy” death.  I have been blessed to hear many stories of the passing of loved ones who went peacefully, happily. My own father died while my mother, my brothers, my sister, and I along with our spouses were praying the Our Father with him. A happy death is not uncommon yet there is something wonderful about this message from Mark’s gospel. Jesus knew the pain and suffering ahead of him and still chose to walk out of the room and to the Mount of Olives where he would be betrayed, singing a hymn.

This Sunday we celebrate Corpus Christi, The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. It is important to remember that this food and drink we now are blessed with each time we come to Mass, is the result of a love offering. Jesus celebrated what was his last supper, so that we may have his body and blood for our spiritual feast. Christ sang hymns as he was about to enter into his arrest, humiliating trial, painful scourging, and crucifixion.  No matter which biblical account you read, it is hard to imagine his pain and suffering.

I am not sure if anyone knows what hymn our Lord was singing as he went out to the Mount of Olives, but our Psalm this Sunday says; “I will take the cup of Salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” It is very fitting that when we come forward to receive the Body of Christ, we do so with the understanding of not only Christs’ sacrifice, but also his joyful self-surrender that allows us to sing this psalm this Sunday.

As we take this bread of salvation this Sunday may we remember the sacrifice that allows us to receive, and may we be joyful in our lives as we follow Christ.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Jeff Willard

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Sunday, May 30, 2021 | The Most Holy Trinity

As a student I found that I learned best when ideas were presented in a story format. I could retain the information through stories because they created for me a visual image of the lesson. One of my favorite ones is the experiment with fleas in a glass jar. The fleas jump out the top as fleas often do. When a lid was placed on the jar they could no longer jump out and after a period of time the lid could be removed and they still would not jump out. (I bet you are itching to find out what this has to do with our readings today.)

Paul tells the Romans that “you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but a Spirit of adoption, through who we cry, “Abba, Father!”

The usual pattern for us is that we continue to fall back into slavery to sin although God sent His Son to remove the lid. We are slaves to sin because we fail to recognize the freedom that we have through Christ. Often I have people tell me that they don’t “feel” that God listens to them. They pray and seek God’s wisdom and direction yet things do not seem to be going in a direction that leads them to believe he cares.

We must understand that faith is not based on “feelings”. Feelings are real and important, but we cannot depend on emotions to define God’s presence in our lives. In the book, His Way; Father Ken Roberts says; “prayer that does not change us is not really prayer at all, no matter how good it feels”.

Paul gives us a big hint for our prayer when he introduces us to the idea of calling God, Abba. This very earthy word that means, papa. Calling God papa, or father, serves many purposes not the least of them being a realization that we are under the care of God.

Our prayers ought to change us even when we do not see our circumstances changing. Calling on our papa relaxes us and allows us to know that we are not always in control of what is going on around us, but with God’s help, we are responsible for how we act in our surroundings. We are to pray that no matter what is going on, we can rise above our situation.

Once in a while, when behaviorist watch the flea jar, a flea or two will figure it out and jump out when the lid is removed. May we all keep jumping (praying) no matter how many times we “feel” that it is of no use. Our papa has set us free; we are no longer slaves to sin.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Jeff Willard

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Notes from Music Ministry

Our Music Ministry has recorded beautiful Hymns and Musical Meditations to accompany our families at home. We are delighted to share their recordings on our podcast: