May is the month of Mary. There are only about six scriptures that refer to Mary. What do we learn about Mary from these scriptures? She, by her “fiat”, cooperates with God and especially with the Holy Spirit. She is obedient. She is devoted to her Son, Jesus Christ. She is in a way like us because she has seven sorrows and seven joys.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/01 – St Joseph the Worker
Readings: Acts 9:1-20/Jn 6:52-59 or, for the Memorial, Gn 1:26—2:3 or Col 3:14-15, 17, 23-24/PS 117:1BC, 2/Mt 13:54-58
St Joseph the Worker St. Joseph has gained much attention in this present time, principally for his care of Jesus and Mary. He cared for them and when their lives were threatened, he brought them out of trouble to Egypt. He too found himself in a difficult situation and he in turn followed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. A rule of thumb would be not to dismiss dreams Joseph had many.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/02 – St Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Readings: Acts 9:31-42/PS 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17/Jn 6:60-69
Today is the feast of St. Athanasius who gave us the first creed (I believe.) Today, from the Acts of the Apostles we read of the healing of Aeneas a cripple for eight years and the restoration of Dorcas from the dead. Then we have the conflict in John 6 about eating the body and blood of Jesus. This causes some of His disciples to leave and Peter answers for all of us and it should be a daily prayer for us when he says “Lord, to whom shall I go for You have the words of everlasting life.”
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/03 – Fourth Sunday of Easter
Readings: Acts 2:14a, 36-41/PS 23: 1-3A, 3B4, 5, 6/1 Pt 2:20b-25/Jn 10:1-10
In the first reading Peter is again preaching about Jesus Christ and His mission. We are told that his hearers were cut to the heart and asked; “What are we to do”? Peter answered and told them to repent and be baptized in Jesus Christ. This should be a constant reminder for us to repent on a daily basis. While we may not get to reconciliation we certainly can repent and dispose ourselves for Jesus to be in our live. Jesus confirms this in the gospel when He speaks of Himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’ always taking care of His sheep who know how to follow Him.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/04
Readings: Acts 11:1-18/PS 42:2-3; 43:3, 4/Jn 10:11-18
Today’s scriptures represent a breakthrough on two levels. Firstly, it is the bringing the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. Secondly, it represents Peter who has denied anything to do with the Gentiles and is challenged by the disciples as to why he went down to the home of Cornelius. He relates a dream to them of a sheet coming down from heaven with all the forbidden animals and Peter refuses to eat God tells him to eat for what I have made is good. So Peter concludes that god is giving the Gentiles the same Spirit that He gave to the Apostles. So God and Jesus send the Spirit to everyone.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/05
Readings: Acts 11:19-26/PS 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7/Jn 10:22-30
These are great readings this time of year from the Acts of the Apostles because they tell of the rapid spread of the good news of Jesus Christ and the hunger that people had in many regions for the truth of Jesus Christ. It is should make us wonder where all that enthusiasm and faith has gone. Is faith diminished and reason prevails. Faith is not against reason but is above it.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/06
Readings: Acts 12:24-13:5a/PS 67:2-3, 5, 6 AND 8/Jn 12:44-50
Jesus says in the gospel “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in Me might not remain in darkness.” There is an obvious huge difference between living in darkness and light. We are told in Galatians that what the Spirit brings is love, joy gentleness etc. When Christ is alive in us we still face trials and troubles but we have the energy and power to overcome these things. When we are in darkness, we are angry, moody blame others and in opposition to anything of God. It is only my way. Does darkness have more control over you? Then surrender to Jesus Christ!
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/07
Readings: Acts 13:13-25/PS 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 AND 27/Jn 13:16-20
There seemed to be a simple formula for evangelizing back the as we read in the first reading again from the Acts of the Apostles. It was the simple history of God’ dealing with man and finally giving us the savior Jesus Christ. Many people were converted and followed the way of Jesus. Today even though we know the facts of our salvation history many do not convert. In fact, the opposite is happening. Many have replaced Jesus Christ and His gospel for their own way and even total denial of all the Jesus Christ is all about. What has replaced Jesus? Is our reason so strong that we can reject and deny the truth? Jesus said; “I am the way the truth and the life” There is no substitute for Jesus Christ and furthermore there is no compromising the cause of Jesus. No matter how you may justify, rationalize and play it your way, Jesus came to teach us love, the love of God for all mankind.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/08
Readings: Acts 13:26-33/PS 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11AB/Jn 14:1-6
Oftentimes we read and hear the gospel that they don’t impact us. Well the gospel today offers us two significant ideas that hold much more than at first glance or acceptance. First is ‘I Am’ This phrase has a rich history. I was the term given to Moses as God’s name. It has a meaning in Yahweh, the sacred and revered name of God. It means not only a name but a nature as well. The second phrase is “believe in Him who sent Me”. This has profound meaning because Jesus just didn’t arrive on the scene. He was sent by His father with a distinct mission and that was to redeem us and bring us back into a living relationship with the Love of God.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/09
Readings: Acts 13:44-52/PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4/Jn 14:7-14
In the first reading today Paul uses an old device against the Jews. He uses the old concept jealousy. He is speaking to a Gentile audience. He tells them that the Jews rejected Jesus and His message, and had Him crucified and put to death. The Gentiles on the other hand are now accepting Jesus and His teachings. So the gentiles who were always seen as below the Jews are now catapulted above them and accepted by Jesus. How often that even happens today. Cradle Catholics judge new converts as “Johnny come-lately” and feel embarrassed by this new convert. The answer is that jealousy sets us apart. We need to catch the fire of Jesus! Each day is a new way. We cannot stand still and tread water with Jesus Christ. We may allow it but Jesus won’t.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/10 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
Readings: Acts 6:1-7/1 Pt 2:4-9/PS 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19/Jn 14:1-12
In the first reading today, we learn a basic principle of the growth of the Church. The Apostles gather together and say: “It is not right for us to neglect the Word of God to wait on tables”. So they appoint eight deacons. It is a subject that few do not realize, and it is that the Church sees progress or problems and begins to address them. This happens mostly in the Councils of the Church which is part of the deposit of faith. Thus we have the teaching of the Council of Trent which addressed some of the heresies and false teachings of the many churches which emerged in the 16th century, or we have the Council of Vatican II which St. John XIII called to open the window and let the Holy Spirit in. Our faith and Church is not limited to Scripture alone it has also the traveling companion of the Tradition.
The basic four dogmas (teachings) on Mary: 1) Mary is the Mother of God declared by the Council of Ephesus in A.D 431; 2) The second teaching is that of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity, declared by the Lateran Synod of 649 under Pope Martin I; 3) The Immaculate Conception declared by Pope Pus IX in 1854; 4) Assumption declared by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/11
Readings: Acts 14:5-18/PS 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16/Jn 14:21-26
Today’s gospel reveals to us the kind of relationship we should have with Jesus It has to do with a real knowledge of Jesus. We need to obey His commandments. That is the introduction, then as a consequence the whole Trinity will become involved in us. The Father will love us because we love Jesus and keep His commandments and in fact, the presence of God will be alive in our lives. We cannot swear lip knowledge we must in fact make it our life, beginning with the commandments.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/12 – Sts Nereus and Achilleus; St Pancras, Martyrs
Readings: Acts 14:19-28/PS 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21/Jn 14:27-31a
There are two very helpful principles in the readings today. The first one is what St. Paul tells us “We have to undergo many trials and tribulations to enter the Kingdom of God.” Make no excuses but following the Way of Jesus Christ puts us in conflict and confrontation with the ways of the world. The struggle is normal. Where there is no struggle guess who is winning, Satan. The second principle is in that struggle we will encounter an inner peace which is the peace of Christ, His Peace only, “not as the world gives peace do I give Peace.”
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/13 – Our Lady of Fatima
Readings: Acts 15:1-6/PS 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5/Jn 15:1-8
Today is a very special feast. It is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. In 1917 Our Blessed Mother appeared to Sr. Lucia, Francisco and Jacinto, three shepherd children. Her message was a simple one. It was a call to conversion, repentance from sin and a dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary especially through saying the rosary. There were three secrets of Fatima. One was the vision of hell that was shown to the children. The second was WWI would end. The next one was the persecution of Christians in the 200th century. There was also a request to Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate which would stop the persecution. This has not been done yet even though at least six popes were aware of it.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/14 – St. Matthias, Apostle
Readings: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26/PS 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8/Jn 15:9-17
Today is the feast of St. Matthias. We know very little about him except from Acts 1:15 when he was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. The qualifications were that he had t be with the Apostles from the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan till the Ascension. They prayed and Matthias was chosen.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/15 – St Isidore
Readings: Acts 15:22-31/PS 57:8-9, 10 AND 12/Jn 15:12-17
Today the gospel gives us a command that we presume, or take for granted. It is “love one another”. As believers in Jesus and what He has done for us, we have an obligation to lay down our lives for one another. This is difficult and impossible because we value our own lives more than theirs. It is most applicable when we dismiss our neighbor or neglect others who worship with us and believe in Jesus. The corporal and spiritual works of Mercy obligate us to one another. Also John 17 where Jesus prays that they may all be one. Jesus prays in the gospel that we lay down our lives for one another. Remember that Jesus gave His life that indeed we may enjoy that unity and its benefits and gifts which accompany such charity and sacrifice.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/16
Readings: Acts 16:1-10/PS 100:1B-2, 3, 5/Jn 15:18-21
In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we are told that the Church grew stronger in faith and increased in number. Why do you think that it happened like that – as a witness to the faith, teaching and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is trying to do that with you. Which of the three elements is strong but which of the same three is so weak that it even blocks you? Pray that you do not enter into the temptation, that it is not you, that you don’t know enough, or the wonderful excuse you have to resist God.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/17 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
Readings: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17/PS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20/1 Pt 3:15-18/Jn 14:15-21
Today is all about the Holy Spirit. So far the Holy Spirit has descended and been given to the Jews (Apostles) the Gentiles and now to the Samaritans. The Samaritans were at odds with the Jews and were not Gentiles. It is Phillip who does that by preaching the ‘good news’ of Jesus to them. They converted. Then peter and John went down to Samaria and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. We need to pray daily for the renewal of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is all the more possible since we already have a relationship with Jesus and have experienced His touch. It is Jesus who gives us the Holy Spirit. In the gospel today Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit – ‘I will give you an Advocate.’
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/18 – Saint John I, Pope and Martyr
Readings: Acts 16:11-15/PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B/Jn 15:26—16:4a
The focus of the scriptures is on Paul’s journey and the gospel of John. What is important about the gospel of St. John chapters 14, 15 and 16 is the Promises of the Holy Spirit. These promises are: I will send you the Holy Spirit; He will teach you; He will be with you always; He will convict you of all truth. This is our life to live, a life that puts us in direct conflict with the world in which we live. Once we live in the Spirit nothing can come against us. Why? Remember that scripture which says; “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.”
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/19
Readings: Acts 16:22-34/PS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8/Jn 16:5-11
There is a double miracle in the first reading today. Paul and Silas are thrown into jail and into the deepest part of the jail. They are praying when an earthquake happens and the doors of the jail are thrown open. The jailer draws his sword to kill himself and Paul assures him that all are safe and still in jail. They witness to the jailer and he accepts Jesus and joins Paul and Silas. Begin to see in yourself the presence of Jesus Christ even in the worst of circumstances.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/20 – Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest
Readings: Acts 17:15, 22-18:1/PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14/Jn 16:12-15
In today’s gospel Jesus tells the disciples; “I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now.” He then tells them that the Holy Spirit will come upon them and then they will understand and know. This is very applicable to us in our faith journey. Sometimes we journey on what we know or learned in grade school and the Spirit may be giving a clearer insight. How often have you confronted yourself with the thought; if only I knew then what I know now. This is a good realization of what Jesus is trying to tell them in the gospel today.
Think again of the Blessed Mother and all that she has done over the past century. She has appeared over 1600 times. 53 of these apparitions have been approved either by the Vatican or the local Bishop. Just to remind you, roughly around 1900’s Luisa Piccaretta had apparitions of the divine Will. She is now a candidate for canonization. Fatima happened in 1917. The final apparition to Sr. Lucia alone happened in 1929. St .Faustina’s visions of the divine Mercy were in 1931. Our Lady of All Nations appeared to Edith Perlman in 1945 with 56 messages. Our Lady of La Vang appeared in La Vang, Vietnam in 1978. In 1963 it was The Flame of Love to Elizabeth Kindleman. Have all these works of the Blessed mother made a difference in your life? Mary has made a supreme effort to make us aware of her Son. We have learned A, B, and C about Mary. Have we a response?
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/21 – The Ascension of the Lord [Holy Day of Obligation]
Readings: Acts 1:1-11/PS 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9/Eph 1:17-23/Mt 28:16-20
Today is the feast of the Ascension Jesus when ascended into heaven before the Apostles. There are two problems that intrigue me. One is that the Apostles did not seem to be sad or concerned. They took it for granted that this is what Jesus had to do. Second is Peter’s question to Jesus ‘Will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel’. It was as if all that Jesus did and preached was lost. The apostles were still on earth and not concerned with the Kingdom of God as Jesus had so often emphasized. We pray often ‘Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.’ We cannot await His kingdom hereafter if we don’t make it present in our lives today.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/22 – St Rita of Cascia
Readings: Acts 18:9-18/PS 47:2-3, 4-5, 6-7/Jn 16:20-23
The gospel today warns us of suffering, trials and misery. Jesus tells us that if we stick and are obedient to Him then our joy will be complete and no one can take that joy form us. A good example of that is St Rita of Cascia whose feast day is today. She was forced into marriage with an abusive and violent man. He was murdered. Her sons sought revenge, but she interceded for them and both of them died early. She was then free to pursue her first vocation which was the consecrated life Her exemplary care of the sick was one of heroic sanctity She died on May 22nd , 1457.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/23
Readings: Acts 18:23-28/PS 47:2-3, 8-9, 10/Jn 16:23b-28
I am sure that by now you may have noticed the all the first readings have been taken from the Acts of the Apostles. The purpose of that is to show you the early growth of the faith. This is mostly due to St. Paul’s teaching and journeys. This is for us to imitate, not that we have to journey so much as that we have to bloom where we are planted. The gospel gives us courage. Jesus tells us to ask anything in his name and it will be granted. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said ‘all power is given to me from above’ so as His disciples and believers we have access to that power in His name.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/24 – Seventh Sunday of Easter
Readings: Acts 1:12-14/1 Pt 4:13-16/PS 27:1, 4, 7-8/Jn 17:1-11a
There is a strong message in the gospel today. Often people will say that God doesn’t care. God is out to get us. I can go my way. All of these feelings and emotions betray an anger, a lack of faith and a total misunderstanding of what Jesus Christ is all about. Jesus loves us and gave His life for us! That is a truth and a fact. In today’s gospel He prays that we all might be one as He is with the Father so He wants that for us. Let us unite with Jesus in His prayer for us today and let go of our barriers and un-forgiveness of God. God has forgiven us in Christ but have we forgiven God?
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/25 – St Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor of the Church; St Gregory VII, Pope; St Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin
Readings: Acts 19:1-8/PS 68:2-3AB, 4-5ACD, 6-7AB/Jn 16:29-33
Maybe you may have noticed that the month of May has many feasts of saints. Today we celebrate three of those saints. They are St Bede, St Gregory (Pope) and St Mary Magdalene De Pazzi they are separated by three hundred years. St Bede and English man live in 673, a disciple of St. Benedict. He compose many theological treatises. St Gregory the pope lived in 1028 and is famous for his stand of the Church against the State. Then there is St. Magdalene De Pazzi who lived in 1566. She led a life of prayer and mortification for the reform of the Church. Thus, as you can see God sends us saints who will defend and show us good example for living His life and for the Church.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/26 – St Philip Neri, Priest
Readings: Acts 20:17-27/PS 68:10-11, 20-21/Jn 17:1-11a
Today is the feast of St. Phillip Neri who lived in 1515. He could possibly be regarded as a clown for Christ. He was promoted but refused promotion. The pope at the time sent him a cardinal’s hat. Phillip folded it over and made a football out of it. He did not seek fame or renown. He had a great love and concern for the poor. It is reported that an image of Jesus appeared before him and he spat on it because the wounds of Jesus were not present. He prayed fervently for his heart would swell with the love of Jesus. When he was dead they observe a swelling is his chest which was a symbol of the love of Jesus.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/27 – St Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop
Readings: Acts 20:28-38/PS 68:29-30, 33-35A, 35BC-36AB/Jn 17:11b-19
In the opening reading from the Acts of the Apostles St. Paul admonishes the Ephesians to ‘be vigilant’. He says for three years he has taught, preached and prayed for them. Now, at his departure from them he fears that they will give in and not follow God’s way. How applicable that is today – when parents travail over children that were raised with a faith and now no longer practice and to add insult to injury tell parents that they are too old. Why did they leave? One of three reasons: They never really lived their faith. They have not found something better, or they are not in the state of grace, and are angry with themselves and the world. Parents should continue to pray and bear witness. They may not be the ones to change their kids but their prayer will turn the tide.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/28
Readings: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11/PS 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11/Jn 17:20-26
This is a gospel that has been repeated at least three times during this Easter season. Why? Because Jesus prays for His disciples to have the same status as He and the Father do. It is reassuring and tells us that we are never alone. Jesus wants us because He loves us no matter what we have done or sins committed. He said it; “Come to Me all you who labor and find life burdensome and I will refresh you”.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/29 – St Paul VI, Pope
Readings: Acts 25:13b-21/PS 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20AB/Jn 21:15-19
The gospel today is the beautiful gospel where Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love Me” Many, including St Augustine, think that it is because Peter denied Him three times that Peter now had to assert Him three times. This is not what the gospel means. Peter now is affirmed and told what he is to undergo to maintain the Primacy. It is a defining time for Peter and the future Church.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/30
Readings: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31/PS 11:4, 5 AND 7/Jn 21:20-25
Paul called the Jews to see him while he was imprisoned in Rome. He is in the same predicament as Jesus. He is innocent with no charge that the Romans can bring against him. It is the Jews that keep him confined and in prison. How often that appears in our lives? We are unjustly judged and it seems that no one will take our side. Remember the Acts of the Apostles; “we will have to undergo many trials and tribulations before we enter the kingdom of God”. We know that He is on our side and that is all we need.
Fr. Barry’s Scripture Reflection for 2020/05/31 – Pentecost Sunday [Solemnity]
Readings: Vigil: Gn 11:1-9 or Ex 19:3-8a, 16-20b or Ez 37:1-14 or Jl 3:1-5/PS 104:1-2, 24, 35, 27-28, 29, 30/Rom 8:22-27/Jn 7:37-39
For the Extended Vigil: Gn 11:1-9/PS 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15/Ex 19:3-8a, 16-20b/DN 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56 or PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11/Ez 37:1-14/PS 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9/Jl 3:1-5/PS 104:1-2, 24 AND 35, 27-28, 29-30/Rom 8:22-27/ Jn 7:37-39
Day: Acts 2:1-11/PS 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34/1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13/Jn 20:19-23
Today is the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire. It is the promise of Jesus to the apostles that now they will know and understand all that Jesus taught them. They no longer belong to this world. They are not afraid anymore. They speak in new languages. In other words we cannot live our faith without the descent of the Holy Spirit on us not just once but often and daily. I have often wondered why ‘tongues’ of fire? Well in the roman times the Emperor’s image on the coinage was his head and over his head was a tongue of fire depicting him as God. Well now the Apostles were equal to the Emperor