Sharing Vs. Selfishness

“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Luke 12:15

If only we could seek to live out these very words shared to us by Jesus in today’s Gospel. We must consciously guard our hearts of all greed and envy. Jesus is warning us not to allow selfishness to taint our vision and act as if we are God.

In life, we must be careful not to allow our actions to be done out of selfishness thereby leaving little to no room for God and others.

The parable in this story points to what happens when we become consumed with “stuff” and are selfish. I could not help but picture this man’s barn full of grain that was never intended to be shared with others, even to the point of his food rotting instead of feeding those who are in need.

This is not a story of growing a business to sell the grain, expand bigger barns to store more grain for others, but instead, Jesus tells us that he desired to create larger barns to store grain so he could live a life of selfishness. This man was wealthy and never suffered from lack of food; he was already blessed, his barns worked fine as they were. The man said to himself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink and be merry.” This mantra of living doesn’t involve anyone but self and is a temptation we must all fight.

When God appeared, he said, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you, and the things you have prepared to whom will they belong? “

This question is a crucial one. What will your legacy be? With whom shall you share your life’s earnings? How do you spend your time, talent, and money? Our Lord is pointing out that this man created these barns for himself and not for others; it was all for his pleasure.

Jesus ends this parable with these powerful words, “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” Luke 12:21

Today’s saints,  Sts. John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions were missionaries in the New World and shared the Gospel message even resulting in martyrdom.

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Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She is the co-founder of and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic

Changing Seasons, Changing Hearts

This time of year always has me reflecting on change. I watch in awe as day after day the trees turn into a brilliant array of colors, then fall one by one as the brisk winds carry them away. Our family also celebrates several birthdays. Two of my in-laws, myself, my young son and my Dad all increase their ages by one this month. The trees prepare for winter and the calendar pages turn.

The change of seasons has me reflecting on internal change as well. As the leaves transform from a healthy spring green to a crisp brown on the ground, I wonder if there is something within me that needs to fall as well. Which elements of my character, which poignant words, which vices should just fall to the ground to be trampled underfoot?

The words of the First Reading are powerful: “I have called you by your name… I am the Lord…” I am so tempted to think that I am talented or capable or hardworking. It is so easy to criticize, complain and be filled with negativity. In those moments of weakness, I forget this amazing truth. He has called me by name!

One who is called is also chosen. One who is chosen should follow in the footsteps of the One who chose him. My life should emulate His words and actions so as to be a good example and a source of joy to all I encounter.

Listen to the words of St. Paul in today’s Second Reading: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love, and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters, how you were chosen.”

Perhaps on this Sunday it would be a good exercise for us to reflect on these questions: Do others give thanks to God for me because of how I emulate His love? Do you remember others in your prayers, especially those you may struggle with? Does your life include works of faith and labors of love? Do you have an enduring hope in our Lord? Do you realize that you are chosen and live accordingly?

As I type I immediately realize that I have a long way to go. But we can never reach the finish line until we approach the starting line. May this season of change bring many changes in our hearts as well so that we may grow ever closer to our Lord and inspire others to as well.

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, is a guest blogger on and, runs her own blog at and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

The Peace of Christ

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).

We might think something like this when we hear today’s Gospel passage, which promises condemnation to those who deny Christ and blaspheme the Holy Spirit. We are told that nothing is impossible for God, and that the Son of Man came that all might have life, but we are also told that the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. What if we stumble into blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? What if we are not courageous in our public conversations, and so do not defend Christ when necessary?

Taken out of context, these verses are terrifying. Indeed, even in context, they still call to mind our verse from Hebrews. But given the surrounding readings, we have a broader perspective, allowing us to shed our anxiety and embrace the grace of Christ. We ought to be on guard against infidelity, cowardice, and blasphemy, but we ought not be anxious about them. Concern is warranted, even called for, but anxiety paralyzes. We can see the merit of this approach within the context, but also within the warnings themselves.

Denying Christ before others is self-explanatory.  “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” on the other hand, is sometimes misunderstood. It is considered by a great many saints to mean final unrepentance, a hardness of heart that denies responsibility for sin. These sins are grave, but they are also uncommon. You would be hard-pressed to commit the act of renouncing Christ or blasphemy against the Spirit without a firm intention to do so. Still, we are told to be on our guard.

In the same breath that he warns against these things, Jesus reminds his disciples of the Holy Spirit’s assistance: “When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say” (Lk 12:11–12). This shows us a deeper truth than our fears offer: for the faithful follower of Christ, there really is nothing to worry about.

To be sure, there are things that should give us pause. It is still a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and sin is no joke. However, a view which narrows in on these elements of the Christian life fails to recognize the riches of God’s grace. Saint Paul speaks eloquently of this grace in our first reading, mentioning “the hope” of God’s call, “the riches of glory” that belong to the saints, and “the greatness of his power” for the faithful (Eph 1:18–19). The Psalmist picks up the thread, proclaiming God’s great glory throughout the entire earth.

With God’s grace so prominent for the Christian, anxiety becomes less significant. Sin and temptation remain, but their power pales in comparison to the victory of Christ. For the well-formed Christian, the assistance of the Holy Spirit is an assurance of peace: “the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say” (Lk 12:12). This is the key: though we aim to avoid the judgment of God, we can rest assured in the knowledge that God is with those who believe in him. A vast array of aid is available to us, if only we look up to heaven and ask for it.

That being said, this takes some discipline. It is not enough to simply have good will and believe in Jesus. Saint Paul does not stop praying for the Ephesians, thinking that their faith and love are sufficient for a perfect life. Instead, he prays for a deepening of knowledge, that they may act even more in accordance with God’s call. The spiritual life, rejuvenating as it is, requires hard work and preparation, so that we can be well-equipped in time of trial. The disciple of Christ can rely on the Holy Spirit’s assistance when brought before rulers and authorities because he knows that he is in a state of grace, open to the promptings of the Spirit.

With this in mind, we can be assured that there is peace and joy for those who follow the Lord with heart, soul, mind, and strength. Though there are sins and enticements that we must avoid at all costs, this effort is made simple by the abundant grace of Christ. We need only to avail ourselves of the fonts of those graces: prayer, the sacraments, trust in the Lord, and docility to the Holy Spirit.

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David Dashiell is the Associate Director of Liturgy for a group of parishes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When he is not spending time with his wife and infant daughter, he is writing on philosophy and theology for various online publications. You can find some of these in Crisis Magazine and the Imaginative Conservative, and you can contact him at

How Everything Changes

I used to sleep well. So well, in fact, that I could enjoy an espresso after dinner and still nod off the moment I went to bed. I loved the rest; I loved the dreams. Going to sleep at night was a pleasurable experience.

That hasn’t happened for a long time.

This year, for the first time in my life, my doctor gave me a prescription for sleeping pills, because I felt that if I had to endure even just one more panic-filled night, I’d go quite mad.

It’s not an abnormal reaction to the year we’ve all been living. Sleeplessness is one of many disorders on the rise, and it’s easy to see why. The novel coronavirus has brought a degree of anxiety into the world matched only by other pandemics—or wars. We’re fearful on so many levels as the losses mount up: the loss of friends and family to a death we cannot properly process or even grieve, the loss of income, the loss of security, the loss of homes and livelihoods… We know that more and more children are going to bed hungry, that whole families have nowhere to live, that the death toll is mounting at an ever-increasing rate.

It’s not just not being able to sleep, either. Others are experiencing depression, anxiety disorders, hypervigilance. We’re afraid because of a sense of the world being totally out of control, the wildness and irrationality seeping into every aspect of our lives.

My academic work was primarily in religious history, and to some extent I draw comfort from knowing we’re not the first to experience these levels of anxiety and despair. The Hebrew Bible is filled with lamentations as generation after generation cried out to God. Wars. Slavery. Pandemics. Injustice. Why, why, why? I read the books of the prophets and they could well be speaking to our times.

And then we turn the page and open to the New Testament, and everything changes.

A child is born into poverty, his family forced to migrate into a foreign land. He grows up in relative obscurity, is mocked and despised, dies an agonizing death. This doesn’t sound like what anyone would call a successful life, does it? Yet that child became the savior of the world. Everything about Christianity turns past assumptions on their head.

The powerful? They count as nothing. The religious zealots? They are hypocrites. The riches of the world? They are as valuable as dust.

And the assumption that God is distant, unheeding, is gone forever as he gives his beloved son to save humanity from its own stupidity, folly, selfishness. The assumption that God is distant and unheeding is gone forever in the gift of the Holy Spirit, given so we need never again be alone. The assumption that God is distant and unheeding is gone forever in the promise of eternal union with him.

God is here, now, and will not abandon us, no matter how difficult our journey home to him might become. “Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?” asks Jesus in today’s Gospel reading. “Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Do not be afraid. Words that cut through the pain of our present reality. Words that weave themselves into our troubled dreams. Words that echo in our hearts. Do not be afraid. God is with us. We are not in this terrible moment alone, no matter how isolated from others we may feel, because God is with us. God cares. God knows us and loves us and will never leave us.

And that changes everything.

We don’t know why our lives, our world, must be so painful and difficult now, but they are the lives and the world we have been called to live in. To journey through. To endure.

But we’re not in them alone. The promise is there, as new and fresh as when it was first made; the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the promise. God is with us.

Years ago a monk in a Vermont priory set the words of a collection of Scripture verses to music. This pandemic year, Catholic musicians gathered virtually to sing it again, and I invite you to listen to them today. And tomorrow. And for as many tomorrows as we need to remind ourselves…  that everything has changed.

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Jeannette de Beauvoir is a writer and editor with the digital department of Pauline Books & Media, working on projects as disparate as newsletters, book clubs, ebooks, and retreats that support the apostolate of the Daughters of St. Paul at

What The Saints Can Teach Us

We made a lot of changes in our family this past year due to “you know what”. As the playgrounds, the library, the bouncy houses and the schools closed, we sought alternate ways to keep our young boys happy and occupied. Let me tell you, with the amount of energy they have that is no easy task!

One thing we discerned was moving to a smaller house with a bigger yard. Although we never dreamed we would end up at our current location, it has been such a blessing as we watch our sons play outside for hours every day. They make forts between the pines, jump from landscaping rocks, compete in countless soccer matches, and race their bikes up and down the empty side street.

But perhaps one of the biggest blessings has been watching their minds and hearts expand as they learn at home. My oldest is preparing for his First Communion this year and has been watching stories about the saints on EWTN. I invited him to teach me a few things about them as well so he excitedly quizzes me about their lives. He also insists on reading from the children’s Bible each night during story time.  And after a playful tap on the head by our Pastor declaring him a future priest, he is now considering a vocation.

We can learn so much from the heart of a child and also from our saints. Today we celebrate St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila). She was “a woman of prayer, discipline, and compassion. Her heart belonged to God. Her ongoing conversion was an arduous lifelong struggle, involving ongoing purification and suffering.” ( She is one of the first women to be named a Doctor of the Church.

Paul, another great saint, paints a picture of holiness for us in today’s First Reading: “…he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself…In Christ we have redemption…he has made known to us the mystery of his will…”

This tells us two things: 1) that we are called to be holy by following His will, and 2) that this is only possible through and in Him. Our pride can tempt us to believe that holiness is achieved through our own merit. While avoiding sin is certainly necessary to obtain our eternal reward, only the grace of God can help us do that. We so easily fall back into our old habits. It is only through Him and with Him that we can win the constant battle of good vs. evil in our own hearts.

So, I invite you to dig into today’s readings and perhaps look up the life of St. Teresa of Jesus. Which words and which virtues jump out at you? What step toward holiness could God be calling you to take today?

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, is a guest blogger on and, runs her own blog at and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

The Fruits of the Spirit

I don’t remember the exact path of the conversation but the Fruits of the Spirit came up and my daughter who was 17 or 18 at the time rattled them off as one word, ending with “self-control oh oh!” After I stopped laughing (because who expects their teen to know the fruits let alone sing them), I gave a little thank you to God for both Catholic education and this amazing girl he allowed me to be the mother of. My daughter quickly directed me to a YouTube video of the song she was singing and I quickly learned that the fruits of the Spirit aren’t a banana, a watermelon, or a lemon. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

These are important virtues for us to strive for and are needed now. Paul warns the Galatians of the works of the flesh and sadly these are still present in our world today: immorality (abortion), impurity (sex outside of marriage), idolatry (spending more time pursing money than Jesus), hatred and rivalry (it’s an election year), outbursts of fury (violence and looting), acts of selfishness (so many examples), dissensions and factions (lack of civil discourse). Paul is very clear what the consequences are: “those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Gal 5: 21). This is where we may say “whoa! too far. Are you saying these people are going to hell?” Well, it kinda reads that way.

Our job as Catholics is to avoid that list of things and focus on the fruits by keeping our gaze on Jesus. We can put the fruits of the Spirit into action not only pro-actively but reactively as well. Just because we are surrounded by immorality, selfishness, and division doesn’t mean we have to join in. We can pray for others and avoid getting sucked in.

We can fight against the evil of abortion through how we vote. We can leave work at a reasonable hour to spend time with our families or go to Mass on our lunch break. We can respond to those who disagree with us with patience and self-control.

Sometimes I get frustrated that I can’t change the world but then God gently reminds me that it’s not my job to do that. I can change me and how I interact with the world. It may be a tiny ripple but it is important. If each of us commits to living our lives with the fruits of the Spirit, there will be a lot of little ripples that, I believe, will one day create a wave. So don’t be a banana, be a fruit of the Spirit.

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Merridith Frediani’s perfect day includes prayer, writing, unrushed morning coffee, reading, tending to dahlias, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids.  She loves finding God in the silly and ordinary.  She writes for Ascension Press, Catholic Mom, and her local Catholic Herald in Milwaukee. Her first book Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration is expected to be released summer 2021. You can reach her at

Relationship over Regulations

I love today and the Gospel for a few reasons. To start, today Nathalie and I celebrate our two year anniversary. I am so blessed by her in new ways every single day and she has truly shown me the love of Christ through our still young but full marriage. It is also the Feast of Fatima, which has always been close to both of our hearts. We got engaged on May 13th and married on October 13th. And finally, I love the Gospel today because it’s about food.

If we know one thing about Jesus in the Gospel’s, it’s that he loves to eat, a man after my own heart. Here we see Jesus again correcting the Pharisees for following the letter of the law and forgetting that the whole point is the disposition of the heart and relationship with God.

I like to think of this in terms of the difference between someone who follows a recipe exactly and someone who is willing to improvise. Following a recipe is not bad, you will turn up with a pretty good dish, but the heart and soul will be missing. In the same way, just following the law for the sake of the law removes the heart and soul behind it.

Someone who is used to cooking is freed up to improvise, to change flavors, to go bold, and to not be stuck in a certain box. The end result can either be much worse or much better, but at least there is heart. It reminds me of a quote I heard once in reference to when Jesus walked on the water. The quote was: “It is better to get out of the boat and sink then to not get out at all.” Now, it is still bad to get out and sink, but at least that means we are trying and starting to trust in the Lord with that initial step out of the boat.

Jesus presents this idea in the Gospel today. You can wash your hands out of symbolism all you want, but you are too afraid to trust and get to the heart of the issue, relationship with God. How many times is this us? Especially today where it’s so easy to just pull up the Mass online instead of going in person. I realize some are still worried about health concerns, and that is legitimate. If that is you, take advantage of the live-streamed Mass. But have you been out on vacation, parties, dinners with friends, etc? If you have and you still aren’t returning to Jesus in person, I wonder if we have put the law over relationship. This can apply to anything in our lives, not just the Mass. Where have we put laws over the love of Christ? From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God Bless!

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Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at or check out his website at

Open Up The Old Testament

Salvation history is a story, a story of how God revealed Himself to be a Father, a story of how God invites each and every person to be a part of His family.

It’s a beautiful story, weaving through the Old Testament and culminating in the New Covenant Himself, the person of Jesus Christ. It’s also a difficult and trying story, full of so much sin and heartbreak and regret as the Israelite people struggled to accept God as their Father and their one true King.

I spent the entire summer walking through salvation history with my high school youth group. When we came to the final night where we talked about Jesus as the New Covenant, I closed out the whole topic by posing a question, the same question(s) I pose to you today.

What’s the point? Why does salvation history matter?

Salvation history isn’t just a long and drawn-out story that happened thousands of years ago in a place far, far away from here. Salvation history is our story, right here and right now.

How so?

Because God is still revealing Himself as Father to us, much like He did with the Israelites of long ago. Because we are invited to be part of His family.

We are welcomed into God’s family through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of His only begotten Son Jesus. Through His passion and death, we were reconciled with God the Father and the gates of heaven were opened to us.

Today’s First Reading from Galatians takes us back into the story of salvation history to the time of Abraham. In Genesis 12, God established a covenant with Abraham, a three-part covenant actually, in which He promised to make Abraham a great nation, to make his name great and that, through Abraham’s descendants, all families on earth would find blessing.

Abraham pleaded with the Lord that the covenant be made with his son Ishmael, whom he had with Hagar, his Egyptian maidservant. But the Lord insisted that the covenant be carried out through the son he would have with his wife Sarah, Isaac.

Later on in Genesis 22, Abraham was called to offer up his son Isaac as a sacrifice upon Mount Moriah. Because Abraham did not withhold his only son, God promised to bless all of Abraham’s descendants, the blessing being a fatherly one.

What we learn from what almost took place on Mount Moriah is what would need to happen for Israel’s salvation, a faithful Father who was willing to offer up His only Son as a sacrifice.

I could go on and on but then I’ll end up going way past the allotted word count so I’ll leave you with this. Don’t be afraid to dive into the story of salvation. But most of all, keep your eyes and your hearts open to how God your Father calls you to be a part of His family.

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Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.

Living in the Lord

A couple weeks ago I was having a conversation with a coworker about how hard it is sometimes to pull even one positive, uplifting comment from the Sunday Gospel. Some of them tend to be a little more gloom and doom. Today’s readings are the exact opposite and they happen to be some of my favorites.

Listen to this: “…the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” I love how the prophet Isaiah takes the time to use descriptive adjectives. “Rich” and “choice” were not enough, he had to go on to say “juicy” and “pure”. Now, I don’t know about you but I. Love. Food. So just reading these words has my mouth is watering already!

But he doesn’t stop there, he goes on to proclaim even more profound truths: “…he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face…” In my book, this one reading alone is enough to drive every last inkling of gloom and doom away!

Psalm 23 prolongs the beautiful imagery.  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me…” Today provides a perfect opportunity to sit with these words in the quiet and simply bask in God’s goodness.

Maybe our life is in fact looking a little gloomy. Maybe our table has the same things on it over and over again, a far cry from a feast. Maybe our day to day reality resembles enclosed walls more than verdant pastures. Maybe the noise of our children or our work place or our own thoughts reminds us of a bursting dam more than restful waters.

If that is the case, I hope this one phrase brings you comfort: “…and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.” Yes! This earthly life is not the end! We were created for our heavenly home.

I think our Second Reading gives us a good tip for experiencing that joy that we long for in the meantime. “I know how to live in humble circumstances; I also know how to live with abundance…God will fully supply whatever you need…”

In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether we are rich or poor, happy or sad, warm or cold, but rather that we have the Lord. Although sometimes it seems we may ask and ask for our “needs” to no avail, God knows our hearts and provides for what we truly need.

So I invite you to purposefully seek out a few moments of silence today to let these inspirational readings enrich you. May they cause you to fall deeper in love with our amazing God.

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, is a guest blogger on and, runs her own blog at and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Blessed Are Who?

In today’s short Gospel, we have much to ponder. A woman from the crowd, acknowledging Jesus’ goodness, acknowledges also the presumed blessedness of his mother. It is a compliment of the highest order, perhaps inspired by Mary’s presence there, a way of honoring Jesus’ history, his mother, his belonging.

At first it may seem that Jesus is dismissing this compliment, as if he is saying, “Actually, the blessed ones are those who hear and keep God’s word, and not my mother.” But isn’t Mary the first one to “hear the word of God and observe it”? In fact, Jesus is acknowledging that the real reason Mary is to be honored is not her biological motherhood, but her total faithfulness to the Word of God. His words apply in the deepest way to her: “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it.” She is the one who heard the Word of God, opened herself to it fully, received that Word so completely that it became Flesh within her. Mary is the first disciple, the one who believed, whose loving and obedient “yes” made the Incarnation possible. By looking at Mary, we can see the whole mystery of our redemption, from the Son’s conception in her womb to our own conception in the womb of Mother Church, “until Christ be fully formed in us” (Gal 4:19).

Mary encountered the Word of God, accepted it, assented to it, and never wavered, all the way to the Cross and beyond. Her whole life is summed up in her words at the Annunciation: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  Later, Jesus taught us to pray: “Thy will be done” (Matt. 6:10). Our own daily “yes” should echo this complete willingness to do the Father’s will. But we must remember that God doesn’t want us to do His will because He wants submissive subjects; He wants children who live the joy and peace of a life of love. Love is not just obedience (though lovers often submit to the desires of the other); love is encounter, relationship, and union! Jesus reminds us that this life of real loving union begins with hearing God’s word and aligning our lives with it. In keeping the commands of love, we find the One who IS Love, and our hearts and wills are one with His. This is the “blessedness” and joy and peace Jesus desires for each of us.

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is

Human Fraternity

The themes in today’s readings, beginning with the prophet Abraham saying, ‘through you shall all the nations be blessed’ and the Alleluia, ‘I will draw all to myself, says the Lord’,  have been pulling me to Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.    

Why? The subtitle of the document, Fraternity and Social Friendship, ring true in my heart, just as it did during my first reading of the Gospel. ‘Whoever is not with me is against me, whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Lk 11:23

The Grand Imam, Ahmed el-Tayeb and Pope Francis signed a document in February of 2019 on human fraternity and world peace. The Grand Imam described this joint document as: “… a document that invites all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters.”

Fratelli Tutti is a document that needs to be read slowly to allow yourself to go deeper into the familiar story of the Good Samaritan, which is the framework of Pope Francis’ writing. John Carr, Director of Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at GU wrote a summary of the Twelve Themes on Sunday and Georgetown University held a forum on the encyclical on Monday.

The Alleluia acclamation today states: ‘I will draw all to myself, says the Lord.’ I believe this is what Pope Francis calls us to throughout Fratelli Tutti. The relationships we have with all of humanity and creation are sacred and entrusted to us through the Divine.

This recurring theme delights my Franciscan heart and soul. Click on the links above, read the documents, and find what is yours to do. Pray with me the words of Pope Francis as we begin this journey and necessary work.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.

Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.

Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.

You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:

where there is shouting, let us practice listening;

where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;

where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;

where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;

where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;

where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;

where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;

where there is hostility, let us bring respect;

where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.  Amen.

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here

Total Abandonment To The Will of God

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that we should pray with faith and persistence. When we pray faithfully and persistently, we admit how much we need God in our lives.

Oftentimes we think of persistence in prayer as continually asking God for the same thing until He gives it to us. Sometimes that looks like “I promise I’ll stop gossiping if I get that promotion at work”. Sometimes it looks more serious like, “I promise I’ll come back to church if you allow my loved one to live through this disease”. But I think the prayer Christ is speaking about is the prayer in which we genuinely ask for His will to be done in our lives. Christ says, “If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

We get so caught up in asking for material things, those things which we need most immediately, that we forget that the greatest gift God can give us is the Holy Spirit. When God doesn’t grant us the sign we prayed for, we think He denied us our desire. But God’s will is greater than our own and He knows what we need even when we do not. In those moments that we feel as though God has not given us what we prayed for, perhaps He has given us what we need: the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we have been granted the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to help us bear whatever cross we are carrying. We learn that ultimately, we need God and God alone.

Since I was very young, my mom has told me “God’s delay is not God’s denial”. As a kid (and sometimes even now) that’s a hard thing to accept. It helps to remember that His greatest gift to us is Himself and that is always enough.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at