May 20: Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time, Cycle II


Nicholas Papas: Christ Blesses the Children

Readings for Mass
First Reading: James 4:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 55:7-8, 9-10, 10-11, 23
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me (NRSV, Mk 9:37).”

Let us pray.

Father, you are present everywhere in the world but especially with us, your sons and daughters, everyone who is a human being. Not only are you present to us but, through the Word, now made flesh in the Lord Jesus Christ, you offer us your very life. All that we must do is say “yes” to your offer and accept the gift of your life into our own.

It is one life, through the Word, that we all share, one with the other, in the Holy Spirit. When we accept one another, we are, through the Word, accepting you, Father. May we share your life with one another and together may we grow in that life forever.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 18: The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity


Marc Chagall: Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9
Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
Second Reading: Second Corinthians 13:11-13
Gospel: John 3:16-18

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, “The Lord (Ex 34:5).”

Let us pray.

Father, you reveal yourself to every human being at every moment in every place, speaking to us at the depth of our being, closer than we are to ourselves, through the Word, offering us life in your Holy Spirit in every situation.

Because of the sin of the world, the combined evil of all of humanity pressing in upon us, and because of our own sinfulness, we grasp only with great difficulty the reality of your presence to us and the Word that you speak to us. Moses and the Israelites experienced you in a special way at Mount Sinai but your truth is available to us all at every moment if we would only allow it to break through.

Father, may our minds be ever open to your Word and our wills ready to accept the great life to which you call all of humanity.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

May 8: Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Arresting Paul in the Temple in Jerusalem, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 1535-40


Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Gospel: John 17:20-26

That night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome (NRSV, Acts 23:11).”

Let us pray.

Father, as the Word stood near Paul (actually nearer to him than he was to himself), so the Word is at every moment and in every place close to every human being, summoning us all to be faithful to the truth, spoken to us all once and for all and in every moment, faithful not only in our growing understanding of that truth and but also in the commitment to live it out in action.

Father, may we be ever responsive to the knowledge and courage given to us all in every situation.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 7: Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter


Claes Brouwer, St. Paul Boarding a Ship for Jerusalem; Taking Leave of the Elders of Ephesus, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, 1430

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 20:28-38
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 68:29-30, 33-35, 35-36
Gospel: John 17:11-19

“Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son (NRSV, Acts 20:28).”

Let us pray.

Father, the life that you share with us, you challenge us through the Word to share with one another, not lording it over one another, but as servants one to other, ready to give of our very selves, as did Jesus.

Father, some have been set aside as elders, others as deacons and bishops, to shepherd the flock, but all are equally called to minister, opening the minds of our sisters and brothers to understand the one Word revealed to all, forgiving one another our sins, and healing our injuries and pains through love.

All this we are called to do, every one of us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 6: Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Paul's Farewell Discourse at Miletus (detail), Richmond Chapel, St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Buffalo, New York, 1851


Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 20:17-27
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21
Gospel: John 17:1-11

“And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem (NRSV, Acts 20:22a).”

Let us pray.

Father, Paul’s missionary efforts in preaching the gospel led him from one place to another, always on the move, eventually to Rome and his martyrdom. To be a human being is always to be on the move. To live in the Holy Spirit, given to us through your Word, now made flesh in the Lord Jesus, is to be called in every situation to let go of the past, of what we have done and what we have become up to the present, in order to become something truly new. Every moment of growth in your life, Father, means becoming a new creation.

In response to your challenge, Father, given to every human being in every time and place through the Word, may we always say “yes” that every situation may bring us to new growth in the Holy Spirit which is a greater share in your divine life.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 5: Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Jacquemart de Hesdin (?):St. Peter and St. Paul Baptizing Les Petites heures de Jean, duc de Berry La Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, 14th cent.


Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 19:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 68:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel: John 16:29-33

Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (NRSV, Acts 19:4-5).

Let us pray.

Father, we believe that you are present to everyone at every moment and in every place, even from the womb. Through the Word who never abandons us even in our sinfulness, you offer us, in the Holy Spirit, a share in your divine life. You offer us forgiveness for our sins and growth in new life in every situation.

We rejoiced in the baptism of John which under the tangible sign of renewed passage through the Jordan we effectively celebrated the leaving of our sins in the desert and accepted the challenge to live in justice and holiness in the land.

In experiencing the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we came to understand, what you reveal to us always in him, the Word now made flesh, that it is not the land at all to which we are called but rather eternal life with you, Father. We have come to understand that you offer us that life at every moment, through the Word in the Holy Spirit, by your one act that is your being. In baptism in the name of the Lord, in your same one act, you effectively give us, always through the Word in the Spirit, that one gift of new life but under the tangible and visible sign of death-dealing and life-giving water.

We rejoice in every situation, Lord, because every moment is salvific. We rejoice in our baptism because you effectively come to us under the tangible and visible sign of water in the liturgical re-enactment for us of death and resurrection in Jesus. We rejoice as well in all of the sacraments, visible signs of your one, saving act, above all in the Sacraments of our lord Jesus Christ and of the Church and the ongoing celebration of the Eucharist. We rejoice, Father, in everything you are and in all that you give to us and in which you call us to grow forever and ever.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 4: The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

The Upper Room, Jerusalem

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 1:12-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-8
Second Reading: First Peter 4:13-16
Gospel: John 17:1-1

When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers (NRSV, Acts 1:13-14).

Let us pray.

Father, your holy people are liturgically gathered in the upper room with Mary, the apostles, and companions in prayer. It is the great novena of the Church praying for the coming of your Holy Spirit.

Father, may we always be responsive to the gift of your life in the Spirit offered to all peoples, in every place, at every moment, even from the womb. May we grow constantly in that life as we accept your Spirit ever more completely into our own lives.

Your Spirit empowers us to live the resurrection even here in this world. May we manifest that life in the Spirit by loving and serving one another and may the Spirit bring us to the fullness of the resurrection with you and all the saints in the world to come.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 3: Feast of SS. Philip and James the Less

El Greco, The Apostle Saint James the Less, Museo del Greco, Toledo, 1606

Readings for Mass
First Reading: First Corinthians 15:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
Gospel: John 14:6-14

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures (NRSV, 1 Cor 15:3-4).

Let us pray.

Father, you speak to every human being at the depth of our being through your Word spoken once and for all in every moment. This one revelation is only understood gradually because of our situation as created beings located in time and space and because of the distractions introduced by the sin of the world and our own personal sinfulness. In Jesus Christ, the Word now made flesh, all has become clearer. We realize that our destiny is not the land as we had previously concluded but rather resurrection and new life with you, a life that begins even here in this world.

Father, with Paul may we be faithful to the tradition that we have received while at the same time may we always be open to further new understanding of the one revelation that you make in every situation to every human being through the Word always present to us.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 2: Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter


Joseph Mallord William Turner, Corinth from the Acropolis, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1831-32

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 18:9-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 47:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel: John 16:20-23

One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city [Corinth] who are my people (NRSV, Acts 18:9-10).”

Let us pray.

Father, during his passion Jesus underwent excruciating torture and then was put to a most ignominious death, but in it all he was never the victim but always the victor. Jesus was resurrected even as he passed through death.

As you are with Jesus in your life and love that you share with him, so, Father, as long as we are willing to accept you, you are also with us, sharing your life and your love also with us. Because of that life, we too can live resurrected lives even in this world. Because of that life, we too need never be victim but can always be victor. Nothing can really harm us, not even death, because you are with us.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 1: Solemnity of the Ascension


Anonymous Norman (Fécamp ?) Master: The Ascension Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, 1180.


Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

The two men in white robes said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven (NRSV, Acts 11:10a)?”

Let us pray.

In the celebration of the mystery of the Ascension of our Lord, we recognize, Father, that, although the Word now made flesh is seated definitively at your right hand, that does not mean that he has left us. The Word remains as always present to everyone of us, closer than we are to ourselves, always challenging us to accept and to grow in your divine life. The Word never leaves us even in our worst sinfulness. We may turn away from you, Father, and reject the gift of your life in the Holy Spirit but the Word remains ever present inviting to forgiveness and new life. The presence of the Word is a defining element of human existence.

Father, we should not dally by staring of into the skies, wondering where the Lord has gone or dreaming about his return. He comes, as he has always come, in every moment, now one of us, to invite us to share in your life, Father, to accept forgiveness for sin and to grow in your life. As we say “yes” to his challenge, may we lead lives with him that are truly resurrected.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Apr. 30: Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Sir James Thornhill, Paul Preaching in the Areopagus, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1729-31


Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
Gospel: John 16:12-15

“When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, ‘We will hear you again about this (NRSV, Act 17:32).”

Let us pray.

Father, when Paul arrived in Athens, he went directly to the Areopagus, and, speaking to the people gathered there, began to make a reasoned appeal about the good news and of Jesus’ resurrection. Those listening would have none of it. Paul made only a few converts. Yet, Father, when Barnabas went to Antioch, because he presented himself, not bubbling over with arguments, but as a man of the Holy Spirit and of faith, a large number came to believe.

Father, may we bear witness to you, not so much by our logic which appeals to reason, as by our lives that testify to the transformation that occurs by accepting your life into our own. It is thus that we can truly bear witness to you and share in the one mediation of the Word always present to all of our sisters and brothers.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Apr. 29: Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Nicolas Tournier, St. Paul, Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, 1625-26

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 16:22-34
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 7-8
Gospel: John 16:5-11

"Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (NRSV, Acts 16:31)."

Let us pray.

Father, we thank you for the gift of your divine life that you offer to every human being in every time and place. This same one gift is made manifest in our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Word made flesh. While we rejoice in our knowledge and open acceptance of him, may we recognize as well the many who say "yes," to your gift without being able explicitly to express their faith in words. Everyone who gives himself in love, can only do so because of your life, Father, that you share through the Word now made flesh in Jesus, our Lord.

Father, your saints are many and often those outside the visible bounds of your Church, and even those who through confusion seem to deny your very existence, lead exemplary lives that bear witness to your divine sharing with us.

May we all grow in your life and share it with one another.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 28: Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter


David M. Mastrobete, St. Lydia

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 16:11-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
Gospel: John 15:26--16:4

When Lydia and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us (NRSV, Acts 16:15).

Let us pray.

Father, According to Matthew, the first apostles were the holy women who arrived at the tomb to anoint the body of our Lord. He met them there and commissioned them to bring the good news of his resurrection to the others.

Father, holy women have served your Church in many ways even being admitted to the rank of teacher at the highest level. Lydia welcomed Paul into her home and offered him hospitality.

Father, has not the time arrived, is indeed long overdue, when women should be admitted to serve at every level of life in the Church, “for in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit (NRSV, 1 Cor 12:13)?”

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 27: Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Anonymous Russian Master, The Apostles Peter and John the Theologian(detail from The Appearance of the Mother of God to Venerable Sergius of Radonezh), late 18th cent.

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
Second Reading: First Peter 3:15-18
Gospel: John 14:15-21

Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17).

Let us pray.

As with the people of Samaria, we rejoice for the Philips in our lives who bring to the surface the good news of salvation, perhaps long hidden in the depths of our consciousness, and who baptize us; and for the Peters and Johns who make us aware of the Holy Spirit working in us.

Father, your truth is spoken to us once and for all in every moment by your Word dwelling within us even from the womb, the same Word who challenges us in every situation to accept your divine life in the Holy Spirit. Because of the limitations of our created being, hemmed in as it is by space and time, and weighed down by the sin or the world and our own sinfulness, we often find it so difficult to grasp our true relationship with you.

As we are grateful for those, our sisters and brothers, and most significantly our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word now made flesh, who awaken in us an awareness of who we really are and what we are called to be, may we also, Father, join with them in sensitizing others around us so that they too may see clearly and recognize their true nature and calling.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 26: Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Modern Mosaic, Vision Telling Paul to Come Over to Macedonia, Veroia (ancient Berea), Greece

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 16:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5
Gospel: John 15:18-21

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us (NRSV, Act 14:9).”

Let us pray.

Father, in every situation in which we as human beings find ourselves, if we are sensitive to your one Word spoken to us, we realize that you are calling us forth, out of the limitations of the present moment, to grow in your life. Abraham sensed himself called to leave his home in Mesopotamia in search of you. The Israelites were called out of slavery in Egypt. Paul was called forth continually to preach your gospel to all peoples.

Father, sensitive to the inevitable inadequacy of our present situation, may we be always ready to respond to your call to move forward from where we are, to let go of our past, indeed our sins and our selfishness, to grow in your life and to give ourselves ever more fully to the service of our sisters and brothers.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 25: Feast of St. Mark, evangelist


Andrea Mantegna, St. Mark the Evangelist, Das Städel, Frankfort am Main, c.1450

Readings for Mass
First Reading: First Peter 5:5-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
Gospel: Mark 16:15-20

And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it (NRSV, Mk 16:20).

Father, when Barnabas traveled to Antioch, we read that a large number came to believe because Barnabas was a good man filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. When we accept your gift of life, Father, always offered us through the Word dwelling within us, we are transformed. Your life fills us with great power that cannot help but radiate out from us to others.

Your Word is the only mediator, Father, between you and us but the life and power that we receive from you through him can influence others to say “yes” to you through the Word as we have done.

If there is only one mediator, Father, you enable us through him to share in that mediation.

As the Lord Jesus worked signs and wonder during his life on earth, so we too are called, and indeed empowered, to work signs and wonders among one another.

May we ever be responsive to our calling that, like Jesus, we too may effectively proclaim the coming of the kingdom to our sisters and brothers.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 24: Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter


Michael Wohlgemuth and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, Jerusalem, The Nuremberg Chronicles, 1493

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 15:7-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 10
Gospel: John 15:9-11

The whole assembly [gathered in Jerusalem] kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles (NRSV, Acts 15:12).

Let us pray.

Father, in every situation there is the possibility of growth in understanding of the same one Word spoken to us all at every moment and every place. It is to the Word living within us to whom we must listen most carefully. Because of our very nature as created beings, located in space and time, however, it is impossible for us to grasp all at once the truth, final and absolute, that is revealed to us. We are also hindered in this task by the sin of the world which presses down heavily upon us and of course by our own personal sinfulness.

Father, you offer your life to all humanity and everyone hears your word. Help us to be open to the understanding of others, those within your church, especially those in positions of leadership, but also others who have found you in different ways and even those of good will who seem to deny your very existence. All have their contribution to make and all must be heard.

May we, Father, through the Word in the Holy Spirit, continue to grow in our understanding of who you are and the life that you challenge us to lead. Yes, Father, may we seek understanding rather than final answers which are never really possible within history. May our conclusions always be tentative and subject to revision as we grow in you who are our final goal and who alone are absolute truth.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 23: Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

The Vine and Branches, Beit Jala Latin Seminary, Jerusalem

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 15:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
Gospel: John 15:1-8

Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit (NRSV, Jn 15:5a).”

Let us pray.

Father, there is only one life that you offer to share with all humanity. When we say “yes” in faith to the challenge of the Word, a “yes” always uttered in the power of the Holy Spirit, we become partakers of that one divine life. All become one with you, Father, through the Word, now made flesh in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Without a share in your life, Father, there is not one good thing that we can do. Love has its foundation in grace. With you, Father, all things are possible to us.

Christ is the vine and we are the branches. Through him may we accept your life, Father, and allow it to flow through us, and in and out among us, who are all one in you.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Apr. 22: Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Gustave Doré, Lucifer in Hell, Illustration for The Divine Comedy, 1861-68


Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 14:19-28
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13, 21
Gospel: John 14:27-31

“The ruler of this world has no power over me (NRSV, Jn 14:30b).”

Let us pray.

Father, even from the womb, created for physical life on this earth and already given a share in your divine life, we are oppressed by the evil forces that fill the world. The sum total of all of the evil ever committed is our inheritance along with the life and power that you always offer us in the Holy Spirit through your Word.

We are at once weakened by the influence of sin and strengthened by your grace.But, created in your image, we are endowed with free will in every situation in which we may find ourselves. We are always free to say “no” to sin and “yes” to you, Father, thanks to the gift always available to us in the Holy Spirit.With Jesus we too can rightly say, “The rule of this world has no power over me.”

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 21: Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Jesus taking his departure and the coming of the Holy Spirit from Martin Luther, Hausspostilla vber die Sontags vnd der furnemesten Feste Euangelien, durch das gantze Jar

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 14:5-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16
Gospel: John 14:21-26

"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you (NRSV, John 14:26)."

Let us pray.

Father, with the resurrection of Jesus we realize that the Holy Spirit is given and not just from that moment. The Spirit is given in every time and place in the one act that is your Being. It is in the power of the Spirit, even in our mother's womb, that we are able, without language or logic, to say "yes" to the Word and thus, Father, to become your children.

May we ever be responsive to the gift of the Spirit that we may "remember" ever more fully the one Word that is spoken to us.

Father, we look forward to the celebration of the feast of the Holy Spirit. May we live that feast at every moment, ever accepting the Spirit more fully into our lives and growing in our understanding of what the Word teaches.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Apr. 20: Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Brother Nicholas, The Stone Rejected Has Been Made into the Head of the Corner, Speculum Humanae Salvationis, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, c.1450

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 6:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
Second Reading: First Peter 2:4-9
Gospel: John 14:1-12

‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner (NRSV, 1 Pt 2:7b).’

Let us pray.

Father, the author of 1 Peter writes of Jesus as a stone, first rejected, then used as the cornerstone, not just any kind of stone, but rather a living stone which communicates life to all of the others stones of the building so that the whole building becomes alive.

Father, the first Christians were not yet much familiar with the dome which the Romans had only just invented. A dome is built upon scaffolding which holds all of the stones in place. Then finally a keystone is dropped into the open space in the apex of the dome. The keystone exerts pressure on the stones around it and they in turn on those around them and so on until finally all is held in place by the living forces unleashed by the keystone. The scaffolding, no longer needed, can be removed. The dome becomes alive through the forces distributed from the keystone.

Father, the first of your churches built with a dome is the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. There the forces exerted by the dome press down upon the apexes of four arches upon which it rests and the pendentives uniting the arches and upon which the dome also rests. The forces continue right to the ground. The whole building becomes alive by the forces coming from the keystone.

Father, Christ, the Word made flesh, is the living cornerstone, yes, even the keystone, of the Church and indeed of the whole human family. It is through him that your life comes to all who will accept it and grow in it. May every one of us be ever responsive to this life-giving force.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 19: Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter


Albrecht Dürer, Saint Philip the Apostle, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 1516

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 13:44-52
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
Gospel: John 14:7-14

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father (NRSV, Jn 14:8-9a).”

Let us pray,


Father, we find you in a number of ways.

We can walk in your footprints, examining what you do in creation, learning about the craftsman from the work he does.

Mostly, we find you by looking inward, deep within ourselves where we always find your Word challenging us to grow in the Holy Spirit in whom we share your very life. Even when we reject you in sin, the Word remains present to us offering us your forgiveness and the renewed gift of your Holy Spirit.

And so we find you, Father, by looking outward at the world you create or inwards to the Word through whom you create everything that is.

If the Word always dwells within all of us, Father, we also find your Word in a way that is tangible and visible, for the Word has been made flesh in our Lord Jesus. Through Jesus, Father, we meet you in a human body, here among us, sharing our joys and sorrows and even passing through death with us.

And we do not forget, Father, that we also meet you in a tangible and visible way in your Church in the sacred actions you perform in our midst, the actions which we know as sacraments.

Father, there is no situation possible in which you are not present to us through your Word. May we ever be responsive to the gift of your life which you always offer to us.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 18: Friday of the 4th Week of easter


Irving Amen (b. 1918), In My Father's House are Many Mansions, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 13:26-33
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11
Gospel: John 14:1-6

“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places (NRSV, Jn 14:2a).”

Let us pray.

Father, the life that is yours is infinite. You share it with everyone who is ready to accept it. In truth, it is your life, always, in every situation, even from our mother’s womb, offered to us by your Word, now made flesh, that constitutes us as human beings. It is your life, Father, freely offered in the Holy Spirit to all of us that sets us aside from the rest of creation. There is no end, Father, to the number whom you embrace and with whom you share your very being.


Father, in offering us your life, you speak your one Word to everyone called to be a human being, once and for all, in ever time and place. Because of the sin of the world, our own personal sin, and the limitations of created time and space, the one Word is understood differently in different situations. Hopefully all of us, as a human family, and as individuals, grow in that understanding as we are challenged in every moment to grow, Father, in your life.

As each of us understands your truth from a different and inevitably limited perspective, Father, may we all share with one another and learn from one another as, hopefully, we all grow together in your life.

Keep us from being discouraged, Father, by the limitations that our humanity places upon us because it is that very humanity that launches us on the way towards you, our only true future, and enables us, through your gift, to share in that future even in this world.

Father, we believe that the fullness of your revelation is made manifest in the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ. As we move forward, emerging from darkness in light, may he always be for us the way, the truth and the life.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr 17: Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Washing of Feet, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena, 1308-11

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 13:13-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27
Gospel: John 13:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples: “Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me (NRSV, Jn 13:20).”

Let us pray.

Father, Jesus called each of his disciples but then he also sent them. He washed their feet the night before he died; then he challenged them to wash one another’s feet.

Father, you have sent your Son, the Word, now made flesh, into the lives of every one of us. He calls us into existence even in the womb and challenges us at every moment to grow in your divine life. But then, as he calls us, your Word also sends us to share the life that you give us with all of our sisters and brothers. It is one divine life that you share with us through the Word and which we are then challenged to share one with the other.

Father, you send your Word to all of us. Through him you also send us to minister to our sisters and brothers. May we ever been responsive to your gift of divine life by manifesting you to one another.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr 16: Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter


Icon of Sofronov: Christ Pantocrator, Monastère de Chevetogne, Belgium

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 12:24--13:5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Gospel: John 12:44-50

Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me (NRSV, Jn 12:44-45).”

Let us pray.

Father, even though you are creator and Lord of all, you are not a God who is distant from your people. Through your Word, always living within us, you are intimately present to all of us, sharing your life with us, and even if we reject you by sin and turn away from you, you are still there ever offering us, through the Word, your forgiveness and the opportunity of once again partaking of your life.

Not only are you present at the depth of our being through your Word always spoken, once and for all, to us; not only do you offer us a share in your divine life in every situation; Father, in your Word, now the Lord Jesus Christ, you have become one of us, taking upon yourself a human body and human nature, to share with us everything that we are and do, our joys and our pains, even to pass through death with us.

Father, we are grateful for your great gift to us. May we always be responsive to the challenge of your Word, and, saying “yes” to you through him, always to grow in your divine life.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 15: Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Jean le Tavernier, St. Barnabas, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, 1450-60

Readings for Mass

First Reading: Acts 11:19-26
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 87:1-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel: John 10:22-30

For Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord (NRSV, Acts 11:24).

Let us pray.


Father, your life is mediated to us through the Word who dwells within every human being. All of us are called to participate in that mediation by sharing our lives with our sisters and brothers.

Barnabas went to Antioch proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and many were moved openly to accept the Lord because they saw in Barnabas a man who was himself full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.

May we lead lives responsive to the gift of the Holy Spirit offered through the Word to all of us so that others will see your good works, Father, before their very eyes and thus come openly to proclaim their faith in you.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 14: Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Christoph Weigel, Peter's Vision, Biblia ectypa: Bildnussen auss Heiliger Schrifft Alt und Neuen Testaments, 1695


Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 11:1-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
Gospel: John 10:11-18

“If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God (NRSV, Acts 11:17)?”

Let us pray.

Father, you speak your one Word to everyone in every time and place but, because of the confusion that comes from the sin of the world and our own personal sinfulness, we come consciously to understand and to express that one Word only gradually.

In the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, the Word now made flesh, we understood clearly for the first time, what had been given to us from the beginning, that our destiny as your people is not the land, as had been supposed from Mt. Sinai, but eternal life with you, a life that you share with us even now in this world, and have shared with us from the beginning, through your Word who dwells within us.

Peter was the first in the Church to grasp how much of our religious practice comes from ourselves, Father, rather than from you. Peter was the first to understand as well, what Jesus had taught, that your people are a people of faith and not of blood descent. All who believe are daughters and sons of Abraham.

Father, may we always keep our minds open to understand more and more the one Word that you speak to us in every moment.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 13: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A


Anonymous Master, Christ as the Good Shepherd, Musei Vaticani, Rome, c. 225

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 2:14, 36-41
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
Second Reading: First Peter 2:20-25
Gospel: John 10:1-10

“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture (NRSV, Jn 10:9).”

Let us pray.

Father, to be a human being is to be related to one another, that is, to share life with one another. One is never truly a human being alone. We are necessarily dependent upon one another but often we fail each other. Even a mother has been known to abandon her children.

There is one, however, who never fails us. It is the Word now made flesh in our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word is with us from the beginning. It is through the Word that every thing that is has been made. It is through the Word that each one of us who is human has been called into existence, Father, and indeed called to share your divine life.

The Word is there from the first moment of our life as human beings. At a certain moment in our mother’s womb he offers us that life which is also a share in your divine life. Without benefit of language or logic, in the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to say “yes,” and to begin our journey to you, Father, as a human being.

From that moment on, the Word never leaves us. He is always there challenging us to grow in life. Even if we turn away in sin and say “no,” he remains ever present to us, calling us to accept forgiveness and new life, Father, from you. The presence of the Word to us at every moment is a defining element of our humanity.

The mother may abandon her children but the Word remains ever with us so that through him, Father, we may always pass to a new and greater share in your divine life.

The Word, now made flesh in the Lord Jesus, is truly the good shepherd. May we ourselves extend his care to all of our sisters and brothers.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 12: Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

Masolino da Panicale, The Raising of Tabitha (detail), Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, 1424-25


Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 9:31-42
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Gospel: John 6:60-69

Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up (NRSV, Acts 9:40-41a).

Let us pray.

Father, because of the sin of the world and our own personal selfishness and sin, death often seems like the undoing of human life. Father, beginning in the womb, when, through the Word, you offered us life, even a share in your own divine life in the Spirit, you called us to constant growth without end. Human life is an everlasting journey which does not end in death but only passes through death to further, perpetual growth in you.

The power that filled Jesus enabling him to pass through death in glory has also been offered to every one of us. Father, the stories of the raising of Lazarus by Jesus and of the raising of Tabitha by Peter are merely signs of the power and glory also available to us to share in the resurrection. In saying “yes” to your ever-offered gift of divine life may we begin, even now, in this world, to live resurrected lives.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 11: Friday of the Third Week of Easter

Caravaggio, The Conversion of St. Paul, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome, 1600-01

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 9:1-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 117:1, 2
Gospel: John 6:52-59

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel (NRSV, Acts 9:15).”

Let us pray.

Father, an apostle is one who has immediately experienced the risen Lord Jesus and has been sent to announce the good news to the others. Mary Magdalene may have been the first apostle; Paul claims that he is the last.

Paul is important for us, Father, because he is the only apostle who has himself written about resurrection. Indeed, he is the first to write of all of those who have contributed to Christian scripture.

For Paul, and this is so important for us, Father, the resurrection is not resurrection merely of the spiritual principle, or soul. Jesus rose in his entirety, that is, also in the body. But, as Paul experienced it, the body was transformed into something beyond the physical, no longer subject to earthly forces. Jesus did not resurrect back into this earthly life but resurrected into the world to come, a destiny to which we are all called.


Father, Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus in a way that changed his whole life. All of us, Father, in every time and place, experience the Word, now made flesh, at the depth of our being, closer than we are to ourselves, at every moment of our lives. May we be every responsive to this one Word spoken to all of humanity that we too may experience conversion in our lives, not merely on one particular occasion, but in every moment that we live, here in this world and into the next.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 10: Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Rembrandt van Rijn, Baptism of the Eunuch, Museum Catherijneconvent, Utrecht, 1626

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 8:26-40
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20
Gospel: John 6:44-51

“How can I, unless someone guides me (NRSV, Acts 8:31a)?”


Let us pray.

Father, how gracious you are to all of us in every situation. At each moment, you reveal yourself to us through your one spoken Word, uttered to all in every place and time. You have as well given us your written Word passed down to us through the centuries. Your truth is contained in the wisdom of the ages shared by the whole human family. If this were not enough, in the fullness of time, the Word has become flesh in our Lord Jesus Christ, indeed truly the way, the truth and the life, come to teach, to comfort, to heal and even to die with us.

Father, our situation in life and history, the heavy burden of the sin of the world, and our own personal selfishness and sin, make it difficult fully to grasp your Word in every situation even though every moment, without fail, is always saving.

Your truth, Father, spoken to us all in the depth of our being through the Word, abounds throughout creation in ways we often least expect. May every one of us, Lord, come to a deeper understanding of who you are and what you challenge us to become. May we always encourage one another so that we may each one benefit from the truth revealed to all but only understood in part by any one of us. May each of us, in ways not always yet determined, share in mediating your Word to one another.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 9: Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter


Matthias Grünewald, The Resurrection of Christ from The Isenheimer Altarpiece (detail), Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar, 1510-15

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 8:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel: John 6:35-40

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (NRSV, Jn 6:35).”

Let us pray.

Father, we are grateful for the gift of the Eucharist in which we celebrate the continuing presence in our lives of the Word made flesh under the tangible and visible signs of bread and wine.

Your act that is the Eucharist is the same act in which the Word challenges every human being in every place, and of every time, to accept and grow in your life, acceptance which is faith in you through the Word, faith that is often anonymous and implicit.

Father, in every moment, not only when we celebrate the Eucharist, may we recognize your presence in our lives through the Word made flesh, and say “yes” to the challenge with which he confronts us, for he is truly the bread of life.

Alleluia. Amen.

Apr. 8: Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

Bernardo Daddi, The Martyrdom of St. Stephen (detail), Santa Croce, Florence, 1324

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 7:51--8:1
Responsorial Psalm: Palms 31:3-4, 6, 7, 8, 17, 21
Gospel: John 6:30-35

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them (NRSV, Acts 7:60a).”

Let us pray.


In the moment of his approaching death, Stephen called out to you, Father, begging forgiveness for those who were killing him. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus himself, begged for forgiveness for those putting him to death.

Father, I truly believe that you offer forgiveness to all of us for our sins, through the Word, even before we ask for it. All that is needed is that we turn away from the evil that we have done and once again freely accept your life into our own, even as we did in the power of the Spirit that first moment of our existence in our mother’s womb.

Father, as you offer us forgiveness and we accept it forgiving ourselves for what we have done, may we also, as Stephen did, turn to those who sin against us and pass on to them the forgiveness that we ourselves have received. To be forgiven is also to forgive in turn.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen
.

Apr.7: Monday of the Third Week of Easter

Paolo Uccello, The Disputation of St. Stephen, Duomo, Prato, 1435

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 6:8-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
Gospel: John 6:22-29

And all who sat in the council looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel (NRSV, Acts 6:15).

Let us pray.

Father, divine power transfigured Jesus even in apparent ignominy and defeat. In Mark’s gospel, seeing the manner in which Jesus was dying, the pagan centurion at the foot of the cross came to believe: “Truly this man was God’s Son!” In John’s gospel, the last to be written, the power that came from Jesus is such that he is seen as resurrected already throughout his entire public ministry.

Stephen, one of the seven, ordained to “serve,” the first martyr for faith in Christ, was so full of grace and power that at his trial before the Sanhedrin his face shone like an angel.

Father, May I respond in such a way to the life which you always offer to me through the Word that I too may be changed, that others may come to believe your Word encouraged by everything that I say and indeed everything that I am.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 6: Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle A


Pontormo, The Meal in Emmaus, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 1530

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-28
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Second Reading: First Peter 1:17-21
Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us (NRSV, Lk 24:30-32)?”

Let us pray.

Father, every Sunday, as we celebrate the Eucharist with you, we are like the disciples on the way to Emmaus. As we listen to the Word proclaimed, it is Jesus himself, the Word made flesh, who unlocks for us a fuller meaning of the Scripture. As we break Bread together, we are those same disciples, gather around the table in the inn, with our eyes on the Lord. In the Bread and the Cup, Jesus gives us his very life to share, the same life that is offered to everyone at every moment at the depth of our being, but now shared with us in a way that is tangible and visible.

Father, encountering Jesus as he taught them concerning Holy Writ and shared himself with them in the blessing of Bread, the disciples on the way to Emmaus came to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and a fuller meaning of the journey that is human life. May we, Father, in the celebration of the Eucharist and indeed at every moment, grow in that same understanding that guides us on our continuing journey to you.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Apr. 5: Saturday of the Second Week of Easter


Giovanni Battista Piazzetta:
St. Stephen, One of the Seven, Proto-martyr
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., late 1730s

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
Gospel: Luke 9:22-25

And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word (NRSV, Acts 6:2-4).”

Let us pray.


Father, in the course of the journey towards you who are our only true future, it is often the case that we unfortunately ignore the interests and well-being of some of our sisters and brothers journeying along with us. In the apostolic Church that was the case in Jerusalem with Christians of Hellenic origin. To address their needs Seven were appointed and ordained to serve them, those we often recognize today as the first deacons.

Father, we stand ready to accept further growth in your life through the Word always present to us, may we be ever conscious of those close to us and faraway that we may be always ready to share with them your life and whatever else they may need and encourage them on our common journey. Keep us conscious, Father, that every human being is loved by you and called to share in your life.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.