Get our free Prayer App
Apple  Android 

July 8, 2020

Mt 10: 1-7

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come 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.

Staying close to home

I received a great piece of advice from my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Oliver, on the day of my high school graduation in 2017. “Michael, when something isn’t working right, look at yourself first.” By this, I think she was insinuating this idea of “don’t be lazy.” It is spectacularly easy to blame and judge others when circumstances go awry. It is much less strenuous to say, “they should have done this instead,” or, “if they had only…”  

         It is not as easy to shepherd people in our close-knit circle. Fear of ridicule and conflict can often prevent me from speaking up when the deepest part of my heart knows that I should. Jesus calls me in today’s Gospel to give particular attention to the needs of my own community, which includes myself. When the world needs mercy and love, change myself, my actions, and those near to me first, before criticizing others. 

—Michael Petterson is a senior at the University of Michigan and is an active member of St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me,
and teach me Thy paths.
Direct me in Thy truth, and teach me;
for Thou art God my Savior.

—St. Peter Faber, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 7, 2020

Mt 9: 32-38

After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

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.

Called to be co-laborers

Jesus’ humanity and sensibility are exposed in today’s Gospel when he experiences his heart being moved by the reality that the crowds live. But can any of us be laborers of God when we ourselves are in so much need of him?

When we open our hearts and let ourselves be moved by the lives of our sisters and brothers, we will recognize our own fragility and weakness. Only then can we find ways of sharing our lives and faith with others. Who does God call to be laborers of his harvest? He calls those who recognize themselves in need of his mercy, and whose eyes share the way Jesus looked at others with compassion; people whose words are filled with the mercy of God, who make others feel accompanied and loved because they have experienced it themselves in their own hearts. The laborers Jesus asks his father for are ordinary, humble, and free. They are people whose hearts deeply desire to look, to feel and to love the same way Jesus did.

—Humberto Guzmán, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Mexican Province studying philosophy and social sciences at at the ITESO, Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you were moved to respond to the needs of all who you encountered. Mold our hearts to be like yours so that we may recognize the need and act on what we see.  Make us worthy to co-labor with you in building your kingdom.  Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 6, 2020

Hos 2: 16, 17c-18, 21-22

On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, ‘My husband’, and no longer will you call me, ‘My Baal’.* For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you* a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish* the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.

On that day I will answer, says the Lord,

   I will answer the heavens

   and they shall answer the earth;

and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,

   and they shall answer Jezreel;*

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.

Peace is linked to justice

Hosea’s message from God says, “I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.” This message of peace and hope resonates with me at this time. However, as I consider peace there seems to be more needed then simply an absence of conflict.

In Stride Toward Freedom, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” Nearly five decades later, Nelson Mandela expanded, “Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, class, caste or any other social markers of difference.” Peace is closely linked to justice.  

As our nation struggles to face our injustices and reconcile our brokenness, may we remember the words of Pedro Arrupe, SJ, “To be just, it is not enough to refrain from injustice. One must go further and refuse to play its game, substituting love for self-interest as the driving force of society.”

We are called to action. We are called to love. How will we answer the call to “the service of faith and the promotion of justice?”

Julia Vargas is the director of the Center for Service Learning at Rockhurst University

Prayer

May Christ inflame the desires of all people to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through his power and inspiration, may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers and sisters, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them.

—Pacem in Terris


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 5, 2020

Mt 11: 25-30

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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.

Come to Me

In the storm of protests against excessive use of violence by police, especially against people of color, a policeman came to a counselor the night after he had beaten up his wife. “I’ve never laid a hand on her or any woman before this” the officer explained.  “I don’t know why I did it. I need help.”  

There are dark forces at work within all of us – as individuals, as a country, as a Church.  In the midst of this confusion, Jesus’ invitation stands. “Come to me!”  The healing begins when we take that first step toward the Lord. We must admit that life isn’t working for us, that we need divine help. We are not self-sufficient. Rather than being put off by our display of weakness, Jesus rejoices in our standing in this place of humble truth. It’s much easier to play the blame game than to follow a savior who leads us toward confronting our own inner demons. 

—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ, is a retreat master, writer, and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, in Barrington, IL.  His weekly video reflections can be viewed at Heart to Heart.  

Prayer

O Lord, I am weary. I am tired of the fight.
So much confusion. So much division. 
How can I ever find my way home?
Worries, like weeds, continue to thrive…
Keep reminding me that You are God, and we are not,
That no problem is too big for You,
No heart so hardened that it can’t be cracked open.
Crack the yoke I’ve chosen to carry.
Fashion one anew that allows me to walk beside You. 

—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 4, 2020

Mt 9: 14-17

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. 

Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

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.

Celebrating Jesus’s Kingdom

I’m intrigued by talk of the “new normal” we’re entering. Lately, it has brought to my mind an ancient legend of the “seven sleepers.” In short, seven Christians escape Roman persecution by hiding in a cave, only to reemerge (after a centuries-long nap) into a bizarre new world: Christendom! Imagine the mix of emotions felt by the waking Christians, rubbing their eyes to a society turned on its head. No longer persecuted, they encounter a culture seemingly ruled by Christ himself. Is it all they hoped for?  Regardless, their old ways of seclusion no longer suit the new reality.

Leaving the caves of our own quarantine, some now face a similar shock, perhaps not so positive. Nevertheless, today’s Gospel paints change in festive colors. Change is a banquet. Change is new wine. Change is new clothing. The first-century world of Jesus was far from safe and secure; there’s no need to romanticize it. Yet, the Kingdom crashes into this scene like a jolt of electricity. Amidst societal chaos, Jesus and his disciples celebrate! 

Lord, no matter the days ahead or the precautions we must take, clothe us in festiveness and thanksgiving for the Kingdom’s sake.

Jarvis Williams is wrapping up his year of service at Cristo Rey Jesuit in Houston as a part of the Volunteer Service Corps.

Prayer

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!  

—St. John Henry Newman


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 3, 2020

St. Thomas

Eph 2: 19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

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.

Love is a relationship 

“Love is shown more in deeds than in words.” When we hear this phrase from the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises, we are usually filled with great energy. We get fired up to do great things for God. But there is a second part to this not often referenced: that love is a mutual exchange between the loved and the beloved. It’s a relationship, first and foremost. There is no ‘you’ or ‘me’ unless we understand we have no identity apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ. On this feast of St. Thomas, who tried to distance himself from the others by his doubts of the Risen Lord, may we remember that we cannot flee from one another. Or from God. For it’s only when we love, and feel the love of God, that we can rise above our words and begin to live in our deeds. 

What doubts are alive in you today?  Covid 19?  Racial injustice? How will you allow God to heal you? 

—Deacon Chuck Thompson is the Director of Adult Ministry at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.

Prayer

Loving God, we come to you today
no longer strangers and sojourners,
but now feeling the embrace of Your compassionate love,
holding us together here in the streets,
the poor, the black, the brown, the sick.
Holding us. Blessing us. Together.

May we build a dwelling place for You,
working hand in hand with Your passion and mercy,
always keeping our eyes on You,
remembering where we came from,
And knowing in our hearts where we are called to go.   

—Deacon Chuck Thompson


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 2, 2020

Sts. Bernardine Realino, SJ, John Frances Regis, SJ, Francis de Geronimo, SJ, and Bls. Julian Maunoir, SJ and Anthony Baldinucci, SJ

Mt 9: 1-8

And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 

Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he then said to the paralytic—’stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.

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.

Have courage, take heart

“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven,” reads the translation we hear at Mass today.

Today, I feel helpless. I’ve actually been feeling helpless for the past three months. As much as I want to be with our students on campus and walking alongside my black neighbors and friends, the world feels like it is caving in, and I am paralyzed. I believe the most important statement Jesus tells that paralytic is to have courage. Without courage, we cannot speak up; without it we cannot walk up, pick up the mat and go home. But, before courage, there is darkness and desolation. We are paralyzed deep within our souls until we hear that word or we feel it… courage. It is the feeling that breaks the cycle of being a bystander to accompanying my students, my family, my black brothers and sisters, and los imigrantes in cages. It is our turn to tell them the same thing as Jesus, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven… pick up your stretcher and go home.”

Rocio Juarez is the Service Coordinator at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, and a proud alum of both that school and Xavier University.

Prayer

Jesus our brother,

You revealed God through your wise words and loving deeds, and we encounter you still today in the faces of those whom society has pushed to the margins. Guide us, through the love you revealed, to establish the justice you proclaimed, that all peoples might dwell in harmony and peace, united by that one love that binds us to each other, and to you. 

Amen.

Prayer for Racial Healing- Catholic Charities USA


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 1, 2020

Mt 8: 28-34

When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 

Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. 

Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.

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.

Love like Jesus

A line in today’s first reading, (“…hate evil and love good, and establish justice  at the gate” (Am 5: 15) reminded me of a sign I saw in front of a church once. It said “Love em’ all, I’ll sort it out later.” I think it serves as a healthy reminder of how God calls us to act as human beings. We should work to love everyone, to embrace everyone as a child of God, and gaze upon the world with eyes of mercy, not judgement. Judgement will come from God.

How, then, do we respond to evil? How do we respond to racism, systemic injustice, war, etc.? Jesus responded to it with love. Jesus loved everyone, whether they be rich or poor, man or woman, Gentile or Jew, you name it. I think that Jesus’ in today’s Gospel calls us to “drown” in love those who seek to do harm. My prayer today is that I may love more like Jesus: judging less, caring more for the marginalized, and letting God’s love manifest itself to others through me.  

—Michael Petterson is a senior at the University of Michigan and is an active member of St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, mold my heart to be more like yours, open and loving to all I encounter.  Remind me that judgement is reserved for you alone, and that I am called to follow in your footsteps, treating others as brothers and sisters.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to Pray.JesuitRetreat!

We hope that the Scripture, reflections, and prayers will help you encounter Christ and be transformed as you live your retreat experience in your everyday life.



    Connect
with us
   

JesuitRetreat.org

Submit a Prayer Request

ARCHIVES

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 
       
      1
       
     12
       
    123
25262728   
       
   1234
262728    
       
       
       
      1
       

July 8, 2020

Mt 10: 1-7

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come 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.

Staying close to home

I received a great piece of advice from my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Oliver, on the day of my high school graduation in 2017. “Michael, when something isn’t working right, look at yourself first.” By this, I think she was insinuating this idea of “don’t be lazy.” It is spectacularly easy to blame and judge others when circumstances go awry. It is much less strenuous to say, “they should have done this instead,” or, “if they had only…”  

         It is not as easy to shepherd people in our close-knit circle. Fear of ridicule and conflict can often prevent me from speaking up when the deepest part of my heart knows that I should. Jesus calls me in today’s Gospel to give particular attention to the needs of my own community, which includes myself. When the world needs mercy and love, change myself, my actions, and those near to me first, before criticizing others. 

—Michael Petterson is a senior at the University of Michigan and is an active member of St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me,
and teach me Thy paths.
Direct me in Thy truth, and teach me;
for Thou art God my Savior.

—St. Peter Faber, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 7, 2020

Mt 9: 32-38

After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

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.

Called to be co-laborers

Jesus’ humanity and sensibility are exposed in today’s Gospel when he experiences his heart being moved by the reality that the crowds live. But can any of us be laborers of God when we ourselves are in so much need of him?

When we open our hearts and let ourselves be moved by the lives of our sisters and brothers, we will recognize our own fragility and weakness. Only then can we find ways of sharing our lives and faith with others. Who does God call to be laborers of his harvest? He calls those who recognize themselves in need of his mercy, and whose eyes share the way Jesus looked at others with compassion; people whose words are filled with the mercy of God, who make others feel accompanied and loved because they have experienced it themselves in their own hearts. The laborers Jesus asks his father for are ordinary, humble, and free. They are people whose hearts deeply desire to look, to feel and to love the same way Jesus did.

—Humberto Guzmán, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Mexican Province studying philosophy and social sciences at at the ITESO, Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you were moved to respond to the needs of all who you encountered. Mold our hearts to be like yours so that we may recognize the need and act on what we see.  Make us worthy to co-labor with you in building your kingdom.  Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 6, 2020

Hos 2: 16, 17c-18, 21-22

On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, ‘My husband’, and no longer will you call me, ‘My Baal’.* For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you* a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish* the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.

On that day I will answer, says the Lord,

   I will answer the heavens

   and they shall answer the earth;

and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,

   and they shall answer Jezreel;*

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.

Peace is linked to justice

Hosea’s message from God says, “I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.” This message of peace and hope resonates with me at this time. However, as I consider peace there seems to be more needed then simply an absence of conflict.

In Stride Toward Freedom, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” Nearly five decades later, Nelson Mandela expanded, “Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, class, caste or any other social markers of difference.” Peace is closely linked to justice.  

As our nation struggles to face our injustices and reconcile our brokenness, may we remember the words of Pedro Arrupe, SJ, “To be just, it is not enough to refrain from injustice. One must go further and refuse to play its game, substituting love for self-interest as the driving force of society.”

We are called to action. We are called to love. How will we answer the call to “the service of faith and the promotion of justice?”

Julia Vargas is the director of the Center for Service Learning at Rockhurst University

Prayer

May Christ inflame the desires of all people to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through his power and inspiration, may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers and sisters, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them.

—Pacem in Terris


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 5, 2020

Mt 11: 25-30

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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.

Come to Me

In the storm of protests against excessive use of violence by police, especially against people of color, a policeman came to a counselor the night after he had beaten up his wife. “I’ve never laid a hand on her or any woman before this” the officer explained.  “I don’t know why I did it. I need help.”  

There are dark forces at work within all of us – as individuals, as a country, as a Church.  In the midst of this confusion, Jesus’ invitation stands. “Come to me!”  The healing begins when we take that first step toward the Lord. We must admit that life isn’t working for us, that we need divine help. We are not self-sufficient. Rather than being put off by our display of weakness, Jesus rejoices in our standing in this place of humble truth. It’s much easier to play the blame game than to follow a savior who leads us toward confronting our own inner demons. 

—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ, is a retreat master, writer, and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, in Barrington, IL.  His weekly video reflections can be viewed at Heart to Heart.  

Prayer

O Lord, I am weary. I am tired of the fight.
So much confusion. So much division. 
How can I ever find my way home?
Worries, like weeds, continue to thrive…
Keep reminding me that You are God, and we are not,
That no problem is too big for You,
No heart so hardened that it can’t be cracked open.
Crack the yoke I’ve chosen to carry.
Fashion one anew that allows me to walk beside You. 

—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 4, 2020

Mt 9: 14-17

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. 

Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

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.

Celebrating Jesus’s Kingdom

I’m intrigued by talk of the “new normal” we’re entering. Lately, it has brought to my mind an ancient legend of the “seven sleepers.” In short, seven Christians escape Roman persecution by hiding in a cave, only to reemerge (after a centuries-long nap) into a bizarre new world: Christendom! Imagine the mix of emotions felt by the waking Christians, rubbing their eyes to a society turned on its head. No longer persecuted, they encounter a culture seemingly ruled by Christ himself. Is it all they hoped for?  Regardless, their old ways of seclusion no longer suit the new reality.

Leaving the caves of our own quarantine, some now face a similar shock, perhaps not so positive. Nevertheless, today’s Gospel paints change in festive colors. Change is a banquet. Change is new wine. Change is new clothing. The first-century world of Jesus was far from safe and secure; there’s no need to romanticize it. Yet, the Kingdom crashes into this scene like a jolt of electricity. Amidst societal chaos, Jesus and his disciples celebrate! 

Lord, no matter the days ahead or the precautions we must take, clothe us in festiveness and thanksgiving for the Kingdom’s sake.

Jarvis Williams is wrapping up his year of service at Cristo Rey Jesuit in Houston as a part of the Volunteer Service Corps.

Prayer

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!  

—St. John Henry Newman


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 3, 2020

St. Thomas

Eph 2: 19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

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.

Love is a relationship 

“Love is shown more in deeds than in words.” When we hear this phrase from the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises, we are usually filled with great energy. We get fired up to do great things for God. But there is a second part to this not often referenced: that love is a mutual exchange between the loved and the beloved. It’s a relationship, first and foremost. There is no ‘you’ or ‘me’ unless we understand we have no identity apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ. On this feast of St. Thomas, who tried to distance himself from the others by his doubts of the Risen Lord, may we remember that we cannot flee from one another. Or from God. For it’s only when we love, and feel the love of God, that we can rise above our words and begin to live in our deeds. 

What doubts are alive in you today?  Covid 19?  Racial injustice? How will you allow God to heal you? 

—Deacon Chuck Thompson is the Director of Adult Ministry at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.

Prayer

Loving God, we come to you today
no longer strangers and sojourners,
but now feeling the embrace of Your compassionate love,
holding us together here in the streets,
the poor, the black, the brown, the sick.
Holding us. Blessing us. Together.

May we build a dwelling place for You,
working hand in hand with Your passion and mercy,
always keeping our eyes on You,
remembering where we came from,
And knowing in our hearts where we are called to go.   

—Deacon Chuck Thompson


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 2, 2020

Sts. Bernardine Realino, SJ, John Frances Regis, SJ, Francis de Geronimo, SJ, and Bls. Julian Maunoir, SJ and Anthony Baldinucci, SJ

Mt 9: 1-8

And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 

Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he then said to the paralytic—’stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.

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.

Have courage, take heart

“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven,” reads the translation we hear at Mass today.

Today, I feel helpless. I’ve actually been feeling helpless for the past three months. As much as I want to be with our students on campus and walking alongside my black neighbors and friends, the world feels like it is caving in, and I am paralyzed. I believe the most important statement Jesus tells that paralytic is to have courage. Without courage, we cannot speak up; without it we cannot walk up, pick up the mat and go home. But, before courage, there is darkness and desolation. We are paralyzed deep within our souls until we hear that word or we feel it… courage. It is the feeling that breaks the cycle of being a bystander to accompanying my students, my family, my black brothers and sisters, and los imigrantes in cages. It is our turn to tell them the same thing as Jesus, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven… pick up your stretcher and go home.”

Rocio Juarez is the Service Coordinator at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, and a proud alum of both that school and Xavier University.

Prayer

Jesus our brother,

You revealed God through your wise words and loving deeds, and we encounter you still today in the faces of those whom society has pushed to the margins. Guide us, through the love you revealed, to establish the justice you proclaimed, that all peoples might dwell in harmony and peace, united by that one love that binds us to each other, and to you. 

Amen.

Prayer for Racial Healing- Catholic Charities USA


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

July 1, 2020

Mt 8: 28-34

When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 

Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. 

Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.

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.

Love like Jesus

A line in today’s first reading, (“…hate evil and love good, and establish justice  at the gate” (Am 5: 15) reminded me of a sign I saw in front of a church once. It said “Love em’ all, I’ll sort it out later.” I think it serves as a healthy reminder of how God calls us to act as human beings. We should work to love everyone, to embrace everyone as a child of God, and gaze upon the world with eyes of mercy, not judgement. Judgement will come from God.

How, then, do we respond to evil? How do we respond to racism, systemic injustice, war, etc.? Jesus responded to it with love. Jesus loved everyone, whether they be rich or poor, man or woman, Gentile or Jew, you name it. I think that Jesus’ in today’s Gospel calls us to “drown” in love those who seek to do harm. My prayer today is that I may love more like Jesus: judging less, caring more for the marginalized, and letting God’s love manifest itself to others through me.  

—Michael Petterson is a senior at the University of Michigan and is an active member of St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, mold my heart to be more like yours, open and loving to all I encounter.  Remind me that judgement is reserved for you alone, and that I am called to follow in your footsteps, treating others as brothers and sisters.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!