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