Category Archives: Feasts & Solemnities

The birth of John the Baptist

Study: Recall a time when you were specifically chosen to carry out an important task.  How did you respond?

Pray: Is there a challenge or difficulty facing you right now?  Ask the Lord for the grace you need to carry it out.

Serve: Is there someone in your life that is having a tough time?  How can your words inspire and encourage?

Mass Readings – The Birth of John the Baptist

John the Baptist is a powerful prophet, calling the people to repentance and directing them to Jesus. Let’s start with an overview of the readings this week:

  • 1st Reading – Isaiah recognizes how he was called from the womb to serve the Lord
  • Psalm – “I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.”
  • 2nd Reading – St. Paul speaks about how John was the herald for Jesus
  • Gospel – We hear about John’s birth and how Elizabeth names him

While I have always been fascinated by this fiery prophet, I sheepishly wonder if I would want to be in deep conversation with him for very long!  John conveys an urgent and intense conviction – now is the time for repentance – and I have always imagined that he would have the ability to look right through a person into the heart.

Yet this is exactly the instrument that was needed to prepare the way for Jesus.  Chosen by God, John’s birth, life, ministry and death all serve as a crucial preliminary step for people to encounter the mission of Christ.  John blazes the trail; Jesus leads people along the way.

John’s birth also teaches us that just as John was prepared for a specific mission, so we are also called by God to offer our lives in the world.  As sons and daughters of the Lord, our lives are a blessing that is meant to be shared.  We have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and now we have work to do that falls to our particular situation in life.

How are you being called to offer your life today?  How do you see the Lord at work in your words and actions?  May the example of John strengthen our resolve to share the gift of our lives!

***************
Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Catholic Inspiration

This feast day fosters both personal piety and a communal connection within the Church to Jesus Christ, our savior, redeemer, brother and friend.  The Lord offers his heart for the salvation of the world as he gives his life on the Cross.  May the love in his heart fill up what is lacking in ours!

Mass Readings – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Corpus Christi: Receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Catholic Inspiration

Every Mass offers us the miracle of an encounter with Jesus Christ.  As we draw near to the altar to receive the Lord in Holy Communion, may we strive to understand WHAT we are doing and WHY we are doing it!

Mass Readings – The Body and Blood of Christ

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Corpus Christi

Última_Cena_-_Da_Vinci_5

Study:  Reflect on the Mass.  What parts do you find most helpful?

Pray:  Consider making a list of prayer needs for your use at Mass.  Keep this list near you for reference when you go to Church.

Serve:  Perhaps you know others who have been away from Mass for awhile.  Consider making the effort to invite them to join you at Mass.

Mass Readings – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

The celebration of the Eucharist is the highest form of Christian prayer.  Jesus defines the bread and wine and his body and blood, and then he commands his disciples to “take and eat…take and drink” in his memory.  Besides the readings we will hear at Mass, some other crucial Scripture passages testify to this essential element of our faith:

  • Matthew 26:26-29
  • Mark 14:22-26
  • Luke 22: 14-23
  • John 6:51-58
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

What happens when we go to Mass?  What do we encounter when we open our hearts to this hour long prayer?  Here are few key points:

  • We hear a good selection of the Word of God
  • We receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion
  • We unite in prayer with others
  • We pray for the sick, those who have died, and our special needs
  • We have a few moments for silence and reflection

Of course in our fast paced, entertain-me-so-I-won’t-be-bored world, we can look upon the central prayer of the Church and wonder why the Mass doesn’t “get modern.”  The reality is that the Mass continues to adapt to the culture and times.  The real question is this: Do I come to the Mass with an open heart to encounter the Lord and his disciples?  Do I come with a focus to offer my life to be renewed by Christ?

Here are seven ideas for getting the most out of Mass:

  1. Read the Sunday Scriptures ahead of time.  This way you can get a sense of the key themes and be better prepared to follow the homily.
  2. Come prepared to pray.  This seems obvious, but many people often don’t come with their “list” of intentions and needs.  Take some time before Mass to consider who or what in your life could use a prayer.
  3. Pray before Mass starts.  Sometimes we can rush into church, drop into a pew, and try to follow along with the Mass.  Give yourself 5-10 minutes to reflect on the past week, look to the next, and ask the Lord for guidance and strength.  It really helps!
  4. Receive Holy Communion with heightened awareness.  This is Jesus Christ who offered his life on a Cross for the salvation of our souls.  It’s his blood that was poured out for the forgiveness of our sins.  Make that moment of receiving Him intentional and reverent; let the “Amen” come from your heart!
  5. Pray after receiving Holy Communion.  You have just received the Lord Jesus into your body – you have become a living Tabernacle – there is no better time to offer the deepest, most important issues on your plate to the one who loves you.
  6. Consider one takeaway that you experienced from every Mass.  Name one thing (just one is perfectly fine) that struck you at every Mass.  Perhaps it was a point in the homily, a line from a hymn, someone you prayed for, something you experienced, or an insight that came to you in silence.  By naming one takeaway you actively participate in the prayer and engage your faith as you live your life.
  7. Use a resource to get the most out of Mass.  Some people like a devotional, missal, or prayer booklet – something that can be used both in and out of church.  Others prefer an online resource where they can follow up at a website, video, or podcast.  Still others favor their smartphones for handheld resources that they can take anywhere.  Find what works for you…the only true measure is the resource that helps you engage your faith each and every day.

Jesus Christ gives us the gift of himself in every Mass.  He defines what we do and commanded us to do it.  Every time we come to Mass we encounter the Lord and allow his grace to transform our lives.  May his Body strengthen our bodies; may his Blood flow through our veins.

After all, as his disciples, we have his work to do.

**********

The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci; 1494-1499, tempera on gesso, pitch and mastic, 460 cm x 880 cm, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy.

Note: This podcast was originally published on June 2, 2015.


The Communion of the Most Holy Trinity. Catholic Inspiration

The mystery of the Trinity – one God and three Persons – reveals the crucial role of communion in our spiritual lives.  We can measure our discipleship in a powerful way by the depth of our communion with God and one another, and we can actively explore the opportunities that we receive and extend communion with the people in our lives.

Mass Readings – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


The Holy Trinity: A mystery of communion

017rublev troitsa

Study:  Reflect on the strongest relationships in our lives.  What qualities and characteristics are present?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the guidance to see where we can build and renew our relationships.

Serve:  Are there people around us that we need to forgive or assist?  What steps can we take right now to start this process?

Mass Readings – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

One God…Three Persons.

That’s the Trinity, and when you get right down to it, this central mystery of the Christian faith is just that – mystery.  I have heard and used many images as illustrations to aid in understanding the Trinity:

  • Shamrock – one leaf, three petals
  • Water – one substance, three states (solid, liquid, gas)
  • Numbers – one meaning, many languages (five, cinque, etc…)

These examples (and many like them) try to get at the notion of how something can be the same and different at the same time.  How unity and diversity can be present at the same time; how the individual and the communal are manifested simultaneously.

It’s a mystery.

And at the heart of the mystery we have a communion of Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – a revelation that God comes to us in communion and invites us to be communion with others.   We are not alone!  God (in communion) invites us into this communion to create communion with one another.

Where do we find communion in our lives?  Some obvious places:

  • Home & Family
  • Work
  • School
  • Neighborhood

You get the idea.  Wherever two or more are present, the opportunity for communion is possible.  The point: How strong is the communion we have have with God and one another?  How united are we in faith, hope, and love?

May we reflect on the current state of our relationships today and renew them, allowing the grace of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – to bless the communion we have with those around us.

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

***************

Trinity, Andrei Rublev; 1411-1427 (est.), Tempera, 142 cm x 114 cm, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.


Pentecost: Come Holy Spirit! Catholic Inspiration

The Holy Spirit transforms the Lord’s disciples, empowering them in the face of adversity and uniting them in love.  The same Spirit continues to work in our lives today, inviting us to call out for the help and guidance we need as we journey through this life.

Mass Readings – Vigil

Mass Readings – Extended Vigil

Mass Readings – Day

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts