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November 30, 2018

St. Andrew

Mt 4:18-22

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”

Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Freedom to respond at once

I’m inspired by and also somewhat jealous of Peter, Andrew, James and John. I’m not jealous of their call to discipleship – I know that I (and you, too!) are called to discipleship. I’m jealous of their freedom.

My own response to God rarely, if ever, comes “at once” or “immediately.” Yet, upon Jesus’ invitation, they freely walk away from their former ways of defining themselves (their work and their paternal lineage) to reorient their lives around their relationship with God. I, on the other hand, tend to cling more tightly to my nets.

I’m currently making the Spiritual Exercises in their 19th Annotation form. In my prayer, “trust me” and “follow me” continue to surface. Day after day, I ask for the grace of freedom to respond like Peter, Andrew, James and John.

How is Jesus calling you today? What net(s) do you need to leave behind?

—Lauren Hackman-Brooks is a Chaplain in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago – Health Sciences Division and serves on the Board of Directors at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House.

Prayer

O Spirit of God, we ask you to help orient
all our actions by your inspirations,
carry them on by your gracious assistance,
that every prayer and work of ours
may always begin from you
and through you be happily ended.

Amen.

—A prayer for spiritual freedom published in Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits

 

 

 


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November 29, 2018

Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos, SJ

Lk 21: 20-28

“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written.

Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Look to the heart of Jesus

We face times in our lives when we feel like we’re surrounded by armies and desolation is at hand. Maybe it’s not the Roman legions pounding on our gates. But desolation comes in many forms: depression, addiction, loneliness, hopelessness, and their allies. We each have faced them; we will again.

Today we remember Blessed Bernard Francis de Hoyos, SJ, an eighteenth century Jesuit. Known as Spain’s first “Apostle of the Sacred Heart”, de Hoyos died at age 24, from typhoid fever just after his thirty-day retreat. As we face desolation, now or in the future, let us be reminded to look to the heart of Jesus, to the compassionate found there for each one of us. In opening ourselves to this mercy, we find the greatest consolation, Jesus himself. As de Hoyos prayed frequently while dying, may we pray, “Oh, how good it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus.”

—Mark Bartholet is a John Carroll University alumnus who coordinates the Contemplative Leaders in Action program and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Peter Catholic Church, the Jesuit parish in Charlotte, NC.

Prayer

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.
Amen.

—Traditional prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 


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November 28, 2018

Lk 21:12-19

“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.

You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all cause of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Jesus is with us, even in this

What an intense reading! Jesus speaks strongly and directly about betrayal and persecution that can seem far away to those of us leading comfortable lives today. If this situation seems far away to you, imagine how comforting this reading must have been to the early Christians who first read it. The evangelist wrote Jesus’ warning about the coming persecution to people who were very familiar with how this all had come to pass.

Imagine their relief, thinking, “Yes, Jesus told us he would be with us, even in this.” If you have experienced persecution and betrayal in your life because of your faith or your convictions, hear Jesus speaking to you here. If not, imagine Jesus speaking words like these about some of your greatest trials. How does it feel to hear Jesus knowing about the difficult times in your life and promising to be with you?

—Beth Franzosa teaches in the Religious Studies department at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

Prayer

Jesus, we know that you are close to us in all our difficulties. Give us the faith to see your presence with us. We ask your special protection for all those around the world who are persecuted for their faith. Amen.

—Beth Franzosa

 

 

 

 


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November 27, 2018

Lk 21: 5-11

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Signs to serve

In the animated series The Magic School Bus, a character, when confronted with challenges or catastrophes would repeat three times, each with more fear than the last “What are we going to do?” It’s easy to listen to the voice of fear, to focus on ourselves, to wait for our fears to be realized, to blame others. But these don’t do anything to help us share the Gospel or labor with Christ as his disciples.

Jesus tells us, “it will not immediately be the end.” Bad things happen to and around us, in our neighborhood, city, country, and world.  Rather than condemn and worry, Jesus invites us to labor with him in the vineyard, performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We see Jesus’ examples, where, even on the Cross, he welcomed a sinner and asked God to forgive those crucifying him. The works of mercy are tools for listening for the voice of God.

We can ask ourselves: Am I hearing a call to love and serve the least? Who are “the least?” Am I hearing a call to listen, pray, forgive, and bear wrongs patiently? Am I living out these calls? How can I encourage my family and friends to grow and labor in the vineyard with me?

—Mike Tedone, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province in his first year of regency at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose, CA.

Prayer

To reflect on prayerfully:

Which of the corporal works of mercy can I perform today or this week?
Feed the hungry
Shelter the homeless
Clothe the naked
Visit the sick and imprisoned
Bury the dead
Give alms to the poor

Which of the spiritual works of mercy can I perform today or this week?
Instruct those who seek knowledge
Advise those who seek me out
Console those who are hurting
Comfort the sorrowful
Forgive those who wronged me
Bear wrongs patiently
Pray for the dead

—Mike Tedone, SJ

 

 


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November 26, 2018

Lk 21:1-4

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Emptying oneself complete to God

I often take for granted of how present Christianity is within my own life and world. I work at a Catholic school, I go to a Catholic University, and almost all of my friends and family members are Catholic or other Christian. With Christianity being so prevalent, I find that the faith component of Christianity can be overlooked by the culture of Christianity. Someone who is fully immersed in the culture of Christianity is doing all of the outwards signs to demonstrate the individual’s Christian identity. I am guilty of this. I go to church (almost) every Sunday, I donate what I “can” to the Church or to charity (which decreases when I want a new pair of dress boots for the winter), and I offer service once a month.

In today’s reading, Jesus is asking us to go beyond the culture of Christianity. Jesus points out that faith does not involve picking and choosing when and what to sacrifice. Instead, Jesus emphasizes that true faith is the emptying of oneself completely to God. This true faith does not only reference money but also energy, time, pride, material items, and personal wants. Real faith requires that the whole self, no matter the risk or the effort, are for God and God’s purposes.

—Beth Moeller is a member of the Billiken Teacher Corps through Saint Louis University and is the campus minister and theology teacher at Loyola Academy of Saint Louis, a middle school for boys.

Prayer

Good and gracious God, help me to put my whole faith in you, no matter how inconvenient of difficult it may seem at the time. Take my life, and use it for your purpose, to bring about your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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November 25, 2018

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

John 18:33b-37

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Will you follow this type of king?

What is your image of a king? Palaces? Robes? Armies? Opulence? Jesus chose a very different path and lifestyle than typical earthly kings.

He models for us a new way, one of inner authority and humble service: washing feet; inviting, not forcing; love, not fear; active non-violence.

Pilate is perplexed and sarcastic with the accused impostor “king.” Jesus reveals that his Kingdom “does not belong to this world.” Pilate seeks regular “kingdoms” of power, prestige and possessions – and so do the Temple authorities!

At the end of the liturgical year we recall that the Risen Jesus Christ is king of “the Universe.” The universe, with over a billion galaxies! A personal Jesus is only half the mystery! The Christ exists intimate, indwelling and infinite!

St. Ignatius teaches that the Christ invites us to labor with him as the Way of Life. Do you want to follow this kind of King?

—Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits Central and Southern Province. He serves as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, Texas, where he ministers to people who are migrants and refugees.

Prayer

Risen Christ, humble King, give me the grace and the desire to follow your Way, which undercuts the world of power, prestige and possessions.

—Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ

 


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November 24, 2018

St. John Berchmans, SJ; Sts. Andrew Dung-Lac, SJ and Companions, Jesuit Martyrs

Lk 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”

Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”

Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him another question.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Limitless God

The Sadducees in today’s Gospel shows the danger of trying to restrict God to our narrow way of thinking.  We often attempt to put rules on what God can or can’t do, based on our limited understanding of the divine.  “God can’t really love me because I keep making the same mistakes over and over.” “God can’t forgive him for that particular sin.”  “God must love her because she is rich and powerful.” Fortunately, God isn’t bound by the limitations of our thinking.

In this last week of our liturgical year, the Scriptures will focus on Jesus’ teachings about his second coming.  Some of the words sound unduly harsh, or seem in contrast to the image of a loving God. They offer an opportunity, though, to reflect on Jesus and the eternal life to which he invites each of us.  

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Lord God, you call each of us by name and invite us to eternal life with you in heaven.  Expand our hearts to deepen our relationship with you so that we may be united with you both today and in eternal life.  We pray this through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns forever and ever.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 

 

 

 


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November 23, 2018

Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, SJ

Lk 19: 45-48

Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Hearing the prophetic voices around us

“People were spellbound by what they heard.”

Jesus is prophetically speaking truth to power here. He wants us to rid ourselves of material possessions that represent power and prestige, which keep us from following his teachings. When we are the recipient of someone telling us the hard truths, it can be difficult to listen. Our initial reaction can be one of defensiveness where we turn away from these prophetic voices or escape through some of the earthly distractions Jesus refers to. But sooner or later, as Jesus keeps calling, we will have to listen. Let us pray that we listen to Jesus with a heart that is humbly open to love seeking repentance.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal of Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Forgive me for the times when I have allowed my ego, my fear, and earthly distractions to keep me from listening to your words and living your teachings. Please grant me your mercy, instilling in me a hope for redemption that brings me closer to you. Above all, this is what I desire in this life.

Thank you Lord.

—Sajit U. Kabadi

 


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November 22, 2018

St. Cecilia; Thanksgiving Day

1 Cor 1:3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

What are you thankful for?

“Happy Thanksgiving, Bob,” Jesus said to me.

“Thanks Lord! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

“Tell me, Bob, what are you thankful for?”

I need to think about this. I’m grateful for so much. Yes, I’ve had some challenging moments in my life, things that I would not want anyone else to experience. But even those challenges I now recognize as blessings. Perhaps that is why gratitude is important: it transforms us. Maybe gratitude is the shortest path to the kingdom of heaven.

“Lord,” I finally say, “I don’t know where to begin. I’m thankful for everything. What are you thankful for, Lord?”

As soon the question escapes my mouth, I regret asking it. What if, in the Lord’s litany of gratitude, I’m not included? The thought terrifies me. I become tense as I wait for the Lord’s answer.

Jesus laughs. “You know, I am grateful for everything too.”

—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of  Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press.

Prayer

Let me always give thanks Lord for everything, because gratitude seems to be the only praise well-suited to you.

—Bob Burnham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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November 21, 2018

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lk 19:11-28

As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’

When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’

Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’

He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’

He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”

After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Being Christ’s hands right now

If you’re like me, you might be struggling with the violence in today’s Gospel. Considering the context here is crucial. Once this conversation concludes, Jesus and his disciples enter Jerusalem. Though his friends don’t realize it yet, it’s about to get REAL.

Through this imaginative parable, Jesus invites them to consider their diverse talents: what roles are they called to play in this shared ministry? Jesus uses the drama to urge the disciples not to hold back the gifts he’s helped them discover, but rather to invest their love and their lives now.The poor, the outcast, the oppressed, and the sick need accompaniment now. Like the disciples, we must be Christ’s hands and feet now.

How am I using my gifts to contribute to the Reign of God? How passionately, how deeply, how urgently am I committed to co-creating a world of God’s love and justice? What holds me back?

—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.

Prayer

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

—St. Teresa of Avila

 

 

 

 

 


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November 30, 2018

St. Andrew

Mt 4:18-22

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”

Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Freedom to respond at once

I’m inspired by and also somewhat jealous of Peter, Andrew, James and John. I’m not jealous of their call to discipleship – I know that I (and you, too!) are called to discipleship. I’m jealous of their freedom.

My own response to God rarely, if ever, comes “at once” or “immediately.” Yet, upon Jesus’ invitation, they freely walk away from their former ways of defining themselves (their work and their paternal lineage) to reorient their lives around their relationship with God. I, on the other hand, tend to cling more tightly to my nets.

I’m currently making the Spiritual Exercises in their 19th Annotation form. In my prayer, “trust me” and “follow me” continue to surface. Day after day, I ask for the grace of freedom to respond like Peter, Andrew, James and John.

How is Jesus calling you today? What net(s) do you need to leave behind?

—Lauren Hackman-Brooks is a Chaplain in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago – Health Sciences Division and serves on the Board of Directors at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House.

Prayer

O Spirit of God, we ask you to help orient
all our actions by your inspirations,
carry them on by your gracious assistance,
that every prayer and work of ours
may always begin from you
and through you be happily ended.

Amen.

—A prayer for spiritual freedom published in Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 29, 2018

Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos, SJ

Lk 21: 20-28

“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written.

Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Look to the heart of Jesus

We face times in our lives when we feel like we’re surrounded by armies and desolation is at hand. Maybe it’s not the Roman legions pounding on our gates. But desolation comes in many forms: depression, addiction, loneliness, hopelessness, and their allies. We each have faced them; we will again.

Today we remember Blessed Bernard Francis de Hoyos, SJ, an eighteenth century Jesuit. Known as Spain’s first “Apostle of the Sacred Heart”, de Hoyos died at age 24, from typhoid fever just after his thirty-day retreat. As we face desolation, now or in the future, let us be reminded to look to the heart of Jesus, to the compassionate found there for each one of us. In opening ourselves to this mercy, we find the greatest consolation, Jesus himself. As de Hoyos prayed frequently while dying, may we pray, “Oh, how good it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus.”

—Mark Bartholet is a John Carroll University alumnus who coordinates the Contemplative Leaders in Action program and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Peter Catholic Church, the Jesuit parish in Charlotte, NC.

Prayer

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.
Amen.

—Traditional prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 28, 2018

Lk 21:12-19

“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.

You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all cause of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Jesus is with us, even in this

What an intense reading! Jesus speaks strongly and directly about betrayal and persecution that can seem far away to those of us leading comfortable lives today. If this situation seems far away to you, imagine how comforting this reading must have been to the early Christians who first read it. The evangelist wrote Jesus’ warning about the coming persecution to people who were very familiar with how this all had come to pass.

Imagine their relief, thinking, “Yes, Jesus told us he would be with us, even in this.” If you have experienced persecution and betrayal in your life because of your faith or your convictions, hear Jesus speaking to you here. If not, imagine Jesus speaking words like these about some of your greatest trials. How does it feel to hear Jesus knowing about the difficult times in your life and promising to be with you?

—Beth Franzosa teaches in the Religious Studies department at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

Prayer

Jesus, we know that you are close to us in all our difficulties. Give us the faith to see your presence with us. We ask your special protection for all those around the world who are persecuted for their faith. Amen.

—Beth Franzosa

 

 

 

 


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November 27, 2018

Lk 21: 5-11

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Signs to serve

In the animated series The Magic School Bus, a character, when confronted with challenges or catastrophes would repeat three times, each with more fear than the last “What are we going to do?” It’s easy to listen to the voice of fear, to focus on ourselves, to wait for our fears to be realized, to blame others. But these don’t do anything to help us share the Gospel or labor with Christ as his disciples.

Jesus tells us, “it will not immediately be the end.” Bad things happen to and around us, in our neighborhood, city, country, and world.  Rather than condemn and worry, Jesus invites us to labor with him in the vineyard, performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We see Jesus’ examples, where, even on the Cross, he welcomed a sinner and asked God to forgive those crucifying him. The works of mercy are tools for listening for the voice of God.

We can ask ourselves: Am I hearing a call to love and serve the least? Who are “the least?” Am I hearing a call to listen, pray, forgive, and bear wrongs patiently? Am I living out these calls? How can I encourage my family and friends to grow and labor in the vineyard with me?

—Mike Tedone, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province in his first year of regency at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose, CA.

Prayer

To reflect on prayerfully:

Which of the corporal works of mercy can I perform today or this week?
Feed the hungry
Shelter the homeless
Clothe the naked
Visit the sick and imprisoned
Bury the dead
Give alms to the poor

Which of the spiritual works of mercy can I perform today or this week?
Instruct those who seek knowledge
Advise those who seek me out
Console those who are hurting
Comfort the sorrowful
Forgive those who wronged me
Bear wrongs patiently
Pray for the dead

—Mike Tedone, SJ

 

 


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November 26, 2018

Lk 21:1-4

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Emptying oneself complete to God

I often take for granted of how present Christianity is within my own life and world. I work at a Catholic school, I go to a Catholic University, and almost all of my friends and family members are Catholic or other Christian. With Christianity being so prevalent, I find that the faith component of Christianity can be overlooked by the culture of Christianity. Someone who is fully immersed in the culture of Christianity is doing all of the outwards signs to demonstrate the individual’s Christian identity. I am guilty of this. I go to church (almost) every Sunday, I donate what I “can” to the Church or to charity (which decreases when I want a new pair of dress boots for the winter), and I offer service once a month.

In today’s reading, Jesus is asking us to go beyond the culture of Christianity. Jesus points out that faith does not involve picking and choosing when and what to sacrifice. Instead, Jesus emphasizes that true faith is the emptying of oneself completely to God. This true faith does not only reference money but also energy, time, pride, material items, and personal wants. Real faith requires that the whole self, no matter the risk or the effort, are for God and God’s purposes.

—Beth Moeller is a member of the Billiken Teacher Corps through Saint Louis University and is the campus minister and theology teacher at Loyola Academy of Saint Louis, a middle school for boys.

Prayer

Good and gracious God, help me to put my whole faith in you, no matter how inconvenient of difficult it may seem at the time. Take my life, and use it for your purpose, to bring about your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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November 25, 2018

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

John 18:33b-37

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Will you follow this type of king?

What is your image of a king? Palaces? Robes? Armies? Opulence? Jesus chose a very different path and lifestyle than typical earthly kings.

He models for us a new way, one of inner authority and humble service: washing feet; inviting, not forcing; love, not fear; active non-violence.

Pilate is perplexed and sarcastic with the accused impostor “king.” Jesus reveals that his Kingdom “does not belong to this world.” Pilate seeks regular “kingdoms” of power, prestige and possessions – and so do the Temple authorities!

At the end of the liturgical year we recall that the Risen Jesus Christ is king of “the Universe.” The universe, with over a billion galaxies! A personal Jesus is only half the mystery! The Christ exists intimate, indwelling and infinite!

St. Ignatius teaches that the Christ invites us to labor with him as the Way of Life. Do you want to follow this kind of King?

—Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits Central and Southern Province. He serves as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, Texas, where he ministers to people who are migrants and refugees.

Prayer

Risen Christ, humble King, give me the grace and the desire to follow your Way, which undercuts the world of power, prestige and possessions.

—Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ

 


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November 24, 2018

St. John Berchmans, SJ; Sts. Andrew Dung-Lac, SJ and Companions, Jesuit Martyrs

Lk 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”

Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”

Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him another question.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Limitless God

The Sadducees in today’s Gospel shows the danger of trying to restrict God to our narrow way of thinking.  We often attempt to put rules on what God can or can’t do, based on our limited understanding of the divine.  “God can’t really love me because I keep making the same mistakes over and over.” “God can’t forgive him for that particular sin.”  “God must love her because she is rich and powerful.” Fortunately, God isn’t bound by the limitations of our thinking.

In this last week of our liturgical year, the Scriptures will focus on Jesus’ teachings about his second coming.  Some of the words sound unduly harsh, or seem in contrast to the image of a loving God. They offer an opportunity, though, to reflect on Jesus and the eternal life to which he invites each of us.  

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Lord God, you call each of us by name and invite us to eternal life with you in heaven.  Expand our hearts to deepen our relationship with you so that we may be united with you both today and in eternal life.  We pray this through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns forever and ever.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 

 

 

 


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November 23, 2018

Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, SJ

Lk 19: 45-48

Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Hearing the prophetic voices around us

“People were spellbound by what they heard.”

Jesus is prophetically speaking truth to power here. He wants us to rid ourselves of material possessions that represent power and prestige, which keep us from following his teachings. When we are the recipient of someone telling us the hard truths, it can be difficult to listen. Our initial reaction can be one of defensiveness where we turn away from these prophetic voices or escape through some of the earthly distractions Jesus refers to. But sooner or later, as Jesus keeps calling, we will have to listen. Let us pray that we listen to Jesus with a heart that is humbly open to love seeking repentance.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal of Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Forgive me for the times when I have allowed my ego, my fear, and earthly distractions to keep me from listening to your words and living your teachings. Please grant me your mercy, instilling in me a hope for redemption that brings me closer to you. Above all, this is what I desire in this life.

Thank you Lord.

—Sajit U. Kabadi

 


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November 22, 2018

St. Cecilia; Thanksgiving Day

1 Cor 1:3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

What are you thankful for?

“Happy Thanksgiving, Bob,” Jesus said to me.

“Thanks Lord! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

“Tell me, Bob, what are you thankful for?”

I need to think about this. I’m grateful for so much. Yes, I’ve had some challenging moments in my life, things that I would not want anyone else to experience. But even those challenges I now recognize as blessings. Perhaps that is why gratitude is important: it transforms us. Maybe gratitude is the shortest path to the kingdom of heaven.

“Lord,” I finally say, “I don’t know where to begin. I’m thankful for everything. What are you thankful for, Lord?”

As soon the question escapes my mouth, I regret asking it. What if, in the Lord’s litany of gratitude, I’m not included? The thought terrifies me. I become tense as I wait for the Lord’s answer.

Jesus laughs. “You know, I am grateful for everything too.”

—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of  Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press.

Prayer

Let me always give thanks Lord for everything, because gratitude seems to be the only praise well-suited to you.

—Bob Burnham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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November 21, 2018

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lk 19:11-28

As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’

When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’

Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’

He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’

He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”

After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Being Christ’s hands right now

If you’re like me, you might be struggling with the violence in today’s Gospel. Considering the context here is crucial. Once this conversation concludes, Jesus and his disciples enter Jerusalem. Though his friends don’t realize it yet, it’s about to get REAL.

Through this imaginative parable, Jesus invites them to consider their diverse talents: what roles are they called to play in this shared ministry? Jesus uses the drama to urge the disciples not to hold back the gifts he’s helped them discover, but rather to invest their love and their lives now.The poor, the outcast, the oppressed, and the sick need accompaniment now. Like the disciples, we must be Christ’s hands and feet now.

How am I using my gifts to contribute to the Reign of God? How passionately, how deeply, how urgently am I committed to co-creating a world of God’s love and justice? What holds me back?

—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.

Prayer

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

—St. Teresa of Avila

 

 

 

 

 


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