by Fr. Michael Barry
Thursday February 6th
The first reading today is where David tells his son Solomon to ‘keep the Lord’s mandates’ It is the same for us today because in the Epistle of John we read”if you love Me , keep my commandments and we (Trinity) will come to you and abide in you” The commandments are the only way that God responds to us if we are keeping them. Even if we sin, the way back is repentance and then keeping His commandments.
Friday February 7th
The first reading from Sirach recalls the deeds of David and how God was with him. It may help if we would meditate on our lives and see where God has been with us. A simple way is the expression of’ by their fruits you shall know them’ The gospel on the other hand tells of Herod who is trying to impress his friends and courtiers. He has John the Baptist beheaded all because of a promise he made to a young girl. Envy and being right are not always what God wants.
Sunday February 9th
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.If you ever look for the root of the Beatitudes you will find it today in the first reading from the Prophet Isiah. St. Paul tells us that he preached and proclaimed ‘only Jesus Christ crucified’ The true Jesus is the One who suffered and died for us that we might have life and not only life here but most importantly life hereafter. The suffering of Jesus is often misunderstood. We should allow it to minister to us in our hearts because it ts true meaning is love. god’s love for us.
Saturday February 8th
In the first reading today we should be able to learn something that we assumed as right but it is wrong. God asked Solomon to ask for anything he wanted. People assume that Solomon asked for wisdom but he didn’t. Solomon asked for “an understanding heart” and that is what he got In the gospel we learn that Jesus had that understanding heart because He looked on the crowd’with an understanding heart. Any and every relationship that you are in make sure you bring your understanding heart to it, most especially in marriage.
Monday February 10th
Today is the feast of St. Scholastic who was the sister of St.Benedict. They lived around the year 480 A.D. One of the readings says”Set me as a seal on your heart” This should be our constant prayer because once we unite our hearts with His we are not only protected but also loved and enlivened. The gospel today solidifies it where Jesus tells Martha , Mary has chosen the better part and it shall not be taken from her.
Tuesday February 11th
Solomon prays “There is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below” How true it is . Do I have other gods in my life that take the place of the One true God? Have I a relationship with god that is not exclusive. Remember the prayer of Israel. “Hear Oh Israel the Lord alone is your God” Today is a double celebration because it is also the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes where Bernadette,poor and uneducated was chosen to proclaim the Immaculate Conception, a dogma, teaching declared by the Church only four years before.
Wednesday February 12th
Jesus gives us a great teaching in the gospel. It has to do with the heart. He tells them that nothing that enters a man for the outside like food etc., will not defile. It is that which is inside that causes evil and sin. If it comes from the heart that is bitter or hard or judgmental then it not only defiles the person but most likely defiles many others as well. Bitterness, envy, greed , lust covetousness destroys not only eternal life but our natural selves as well.
Friday February 14th
Today is the feast of SS Cyril and Methodist. These two brothers were chosen to bring the faith to Moravia and other regions. Why two brothers. We need to stop and consider God’s ways because they certainly are not our ways. Why do you think that God choose Paul to preach to the Gentiles. Paul had a passion to kill the Christians and persecute them. So Jesus saw Paul’s passion and He choose Paul because of his energy and drive and used it not for the Jews but for the opposite , the Gentiles. God knows you even in your faults and failings and uses that for His own purpose
Saturday February 15th
In the gospel today Jesus again feeds the crowd. What is interesting is the human Jesus moving the divine Jesus.Jesus says” My heart is moved with pity for the crowd” If anyone ever doubted Jesus all you have to do is read the gospel with your heart and not just read it. Here is Jesus very much human and also God, divine trying to show His concern for us and that we would be convinced that God has a better life for us.
Sunday February 16th
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the gospel today Jesus gives us the hard facts. He has a series of ‘whoever’ By that for example is meant “Whoever is angry with his brother,is liable to judgement” or ” whoever swears….” Following Jesus has its conditions and to put it simply we cannot do our own thing. There is no prosperity gospel as America believes. The cross is always in our lives. The cross was in Jesus life and will be in your life too. There is no avoiding it.
Tuseday February 18th
In the gospel today we have a situation that often happens to us. The disciples come to Jesus and ask Him to send the crowd away because they have no food for them. Jesus reminds them of the many miracles that He performed to feed the crowd. It is easy for us to forget the faithfulness of God when we want something else from Him. That happens not because of poor memory but because we fail to Jesus as God and now we want Him to be God. Do we thank God for God being in our lives and having the gifts He gave us. How foolish to think that god doesn’t care . He laid down His life for us .
Monday February 17th
Have you ever considered that there is much contradiction (for want of a better word) in the christian life. Read the first reading from St. James today where he says to consider it a blessing when there is trials in your life and let perseverance be perfect. Jesus sin the gospel echoes this when He says you will receive the sign of Jonah. Jonah was chosen by God to preach to the Ninevites which he refused to do until such time as God chastised him severely. Again as Jesus Himself found out ,”If it’s possible ,let this chalice pass Me by, yet not My will but Your will be done. Pray for that type of perseverance which will only come with corresponding faith.
Wednesday February 19th
In the gospel we have an unusual situation. Jesus heals a blind man but it is not a complete healing . The man only sees partially and Jesus has to lay hands on him again before he fully recovers his sight. Nothing unusual in a sense .It teaches us that we must pray but continue to pray. Do not give up on prayer. It is often a test of how faithful we are and how much do we trust in Jesus rather than ourselves.
Thursday February 20th
Jesus asks His disciples a very pertinent question in the gospel today. Who do you say that I am? There are varied responses until Peter says “You are Christ the Son of the living god” Why would Peter say differently than the others. Two reasons seem to be present. First of all Peter like the other disciples have witnessed Jesus do many miracles and things that only god could do and secondly, most importantly the holy Spirit has touched him. for us we may have a’fake’ Jesus. We want Jesus to do this for us and that for us. We want to control Jesus. Jesus cannot and refuses to be controlled. We need to pray for things but THEN let Jesus take over, not you.
Saturday February 22nd
This gospel today is the famous gospel where Peter recognizes Jesus as Son of god and then Jesus rewards Peter and makes hi the first Pope. Recognizing Jesus in everything and directing everything we do to the praise honor and glory of God is our destiny. God will reward us with eternal life and even a good life here on earth.Jesus always has to be in the mix of our lives. Jesus intervenes in our lives between the good and the bad. All good things come from Jesus.
Friday February 21st
Today’s first reading captures the famous slogan of the Reformation and that is Faith without good works is useless. St.James puts it into perspective when he says ” Faith of itself if it does not have works is dead” If we have faith then the good works will follow.Good works automatically follow on good faith.
Sunday February 23rd
In the first reading God tells Moses to tell the people to be holy as God Himself is Holy. How can we become holy. It is a twofold project . First we need to recognize evil and what keep us from go in our lives. Then we need to get rid of that sin or evil habit. Confession or reconciliation comes to mind. It is not only good to get rid of the obstacles but we need to replace them with prayer, the sacraments the pursuit of what god has given us for a holy life. The gospel tells us that we cannot live on the natural but have to go the extra mile as it were .
Monday February 24th
It is a good and helpful practice to see a connection between the two readings. I have been concentrating on one or the other but there may be a better ‘wine’ when you compare them Witness today the first reading which stresses works coming fro a good life. Then the gospel has Jesus doing a miracle to deliver a young boy form demons/ The expression although trite has wisdom in it. “God is good all the time’ and ‘all the time God is good’.
Wednesday February 26th
Ash Wednesday. Today is the beginning of Lent. Lent is often viewed as negative with what are you giving up. The answer is all that keeps me from God. We should be constantly be aware of what brings us to him and what separates us from Him. The gospel from Matthew nails down for us the right way when it says that our hearts should not be so much concerned with outward show and attention as it should be with our interior disposition because as Jesus told us .Your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Remember you are in the world but not of the world. It would be a good practice today to write down all that keeps you in the world and all that attracts you to God. for Lent find some silence in your life.
Tuesday February 25th
St. James poses a question with which we would not agree. He says ” Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with god” So often we compromise and satisfy our selves with “It’s okay/ We excuse our sinful ways to our own content. We echo St. Augustine who said “Make me a saint but not today’ Even the disciples in the gospel when they heard of Jesus impending death are discussing who will take over. Let us enter into the mystery of God in our lives and Jesus Christ whom He has sent and we can readily make the right choice.
Thursday February 27th
Jesus in the gospel tells us that we must suffer and even furthermore say that we must take up our cross and only then can we be His disciples. I have often wondered what our cross is? I have worked it out that our cross is anything and everything that separates us from Christ and the cross is ths struggle to rid ourselves of those things with Jesus help and the power of the Holy Spirit. So we can carry the cross if we see its effects . Contrary to our conception the cross brings us freedom and not so much distress.
Friday February 28th
In the first reading Isiah stresses the intense struggle between the evil and the good. He seems to be very concerned with the evil that permeates their lives. We need a true sense and awareness of evil in our lives. we would readily admit that there is evil in our lives but after all we are not that bad. Satan only needs a small amount to do his DNA on us an form his plan Counteract that wit His grace. As He told St. Paul “My grace is enough” Also console yourself with where evil abounds, grace abounds all the more. Jesus calls people to become His disciples whom we even today ould consider unworthy or not good candidates. Well, Jeus calls all of us despite our condition because He created us and sees that a;; that Hecreated is good. Secondly, we have to be open . Our faith takes us beyond where our reason stops. In Jesus we haveeverything.