4th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, Year I

In today’s First Reading the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us of so many “heroes” that the Lord raised up in the Old Testament to help his people in times of need: the Judges, prophets, and King David. Salvation history is a history of rescues with the Lord’s help and the Lord’s initiative.

All these rescues were just a taste for the biggest rescue to come: a rescue from sin and death where Our Lord comes as the definitive hero to save the day not just one more time, but forever. That’s a promise we’re all still waiting to be definitively fulfilled for all believers, and in the meanwhile we need to imitate Our Lord and try and practice some Christian “heroism” of our own.

Salvation history continues. Let’s imitate our greatest hero.

Readings: Hebrews 11:32–40; Psalm 31:20–24; Mark 5:1–20. See also 13th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday.


2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, Year I

Today’s First Reading reminds us that Our Lord became man not because he was on a fact-finding mission, but because he wanted to make it easier for us to relate to him and, through him, to relate to our Heavenly Father. Christ did not come to earth in a comfortable moment of human history; his life was hard, compounded by how hard it must have been for someone who’d been in Heaven for all of eternity to come down and live on Earth. His life was also unfair: he was a just man his whole life, concerned only with others, and he was branded a criminal and executed.

We often identify more readily with someone who has struggled through life, and we empathize often with those who seem to have gotten a raw deal. When we suffer we too can draw closer to Our Lord because we know he suffered too. He wasn’t indifferent to our sufferings, and he still isn’t. To be fair to him we too should not be indifferent to his sufferings for us. Those sufferings became the source of our blessings. His Father turned his sufferings into blessings, and he’ll turn ours into blessings as well.

Is life hard? Bring it to Our Lord. He’s experienced hardship as well and will help turn that hardship into blessings.

Readings: Hebrews 5:1–10; Psalm 110:1–4; Mark 2:18–22. See also Friday after Ash Wednesday22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, and 13th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.

1st Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, Year I

In today’s First Reading the author of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us that the God has spoken to us throughout salvation history through prophets and angels, but he himself has now come to speak to us through his Son. We’d be amazed, probably frightened, if an angel appeared to us today with a message from God, but the Gospel we try to live as Christians is the Lord himself speaking. We should be more frightened if we are not listening to the Lord speak through his Word, not only the written Word in Sacred Scripture, but the Word who became flesh who speaks in our hearts, thanks to the Holy Spirit, and the traditions he has communicated to us through the Apostles (also thanks to the Holy Spirit).

Sometimes we fall into a “copy-paste” outlook on the Word of God. We pick what we agree with and ignore what we don’t. We see Scripture as a source from which we can clip a few good things to help us in life instead of a history of salvation that wants to draw us in and transform us. There’s nothing wrong in having favorite passages from Scripture, but they should always lead us back to the “whole” Testament.

We believe that God had said everything needed through his Son. Let’s listen to his Word today with renewed hearts.

Readings: Hebrews 1:1–6; Psalm 97:1, 2b, 6, 7c, 9; Mark 1:14–20.

1st Week of Advent, Monday

Today’s Gospel reminds us that Our Lord was not the Messiah everyone expected. The Messiah was supposed to overthrow pagans and oppressors, and the Romans in his time were occupying Palestine. Yet Our Lord finds something in this centurion that he hadn’t even found in the people who’d been prepared for his coming: a great faith. It’s not easy to surprise Our Lord, and in the case of the centurion he is pleasantly surprised.

Our Lord also reminds us today that he came to save everyone, not just the Jews. Anyone who believes in him will receive healing and grace, pagan or otherwise. Advent should be a time of joyful expectation for everyone, because we’re celebrating the coming of Our Lord to give everyone an opportunity for salvation.

Even baptized Christians sometimes live like pagans. Advent is a time to start fresh. The centurion mustered his faith for the good of his servant, not just for himself. Let’s show concern for others this Advent. It’s the first step toward turning away from ourselves and, in faith, turning toward Our Lord.

Readings: Isaiah 4:2–6; Psalm 122:1–9; Matthew 8:5–11. See also 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.

34th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, Year II

In today’s First Reading, amidst the calamities and evils narrated in the book of Revelation, John has a consoling vision of the righteous surrounding Our Lord (the Lamb). Mount Zion refers to Jerusalem, the traditional place where the faithful remnant will gather under the Messiah’s reign. The righteous bear the name of the Father and the Lamb on their foreheads, in contrast with the pagans who bear the name or number of the Beast.

They follow the Lamb wherever he goes, which means they followed him all the way to Heaven, but by way of Calvary. They’re faithful disciples who have no deceit on their lips because they didn’t deny Christ or do homage to the Beast. Lying is characteristic of the opponents of Christ. They’re unblemished because they have made a perfect untainted sacrifice of themselves to God, singing a song of praise unique to them because it comes from a heart that loves Our Lord completely.

Any one of us could form part of this group, because everyone is called to holiness. All we have to do is offer Our Lord everything we have and are, fulfilling the duties of our state of life (married, consecrated, ordained, etc.) with love for him and for souls. It’s never too late on this earth to start.

Readings: Revelation 14:1–3, 4b–5; Psalm 24:1b–4b, 5–6; Luke 21:1–4. See also 34th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday9th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday, and 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B.