Tuesday in the 17th Week of the Church Year.martha

Saint for the day: St. Martha (1st Cent.)

Jeremiah 14:17-22

Psalm 79

John 11:19-27 or Luke 10:38-42

Today the Church gives us a choice of Gospels for the “memorial” of St. Martha: the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11) or the “Martha, Martha” dinner story from Luke. These two choices of Gospel readings show us the two sides of today’s saint, Martha: her heart-felt concern over the death of her brother, Lazarus –“Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) And her upset in being left to do all the work for a dinner party for Jesus: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving?”(Luke 10:40)

Maybe it’s important for us to understand both sides of these feelings: the real pain and loss when a close family member dies; and the “call to service” which is key in Jesus preaching throughout the Gospels. Once again, it’s not a question of “either or” but, rather, a matter of “both and.” All of us must develop an ability to “hear” what Jesus says to us about His workresurrection and how it applies to all of us. Martha is able to make a profound act of faith in the closing of the John Gospel: “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God…” (John 11:27) The secret to her ability to make this statement of faith must have come to her while she was busy preparing the meal for Jesus. The Benedictine model comes to mind: “Ora et Labora” – “Prayer and labor.” This made me think of the German sisters who did the cooking at our HouseTherese of Studies when I first entered the Dominicans. They always traced a cross on the bottom of a loaf of bread before beginning to slice it. A simple reminder to acknowledge a prayer even in the simplest act of slicing bread. St. Therese of Lisieux said, “Stopping to pick up a pin on the floor out of love can convert a soul.” I make my own correlation to that statement and say, “when you toss a scrape of paper into the waste basket – and miss – and don’t go over to pick it up you’ll never become a saint.”   When you read the stories of “saints” you have to see that most started out as simple people – often not enjoying any kind of notoriety. They usually had an edge on being helpful in the most common areas of life often doing the simplest of tasks. Their secret seems to have been their ability to see Christ in the people that they were trying to help. Martha, in fixing a meal for Jesus is told, “not to worry” and her serving Jesus allowed her to be able to make that statement of faith, at the close of today’s Holy Gospel, “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God…” (John 11:27)

I think today’s commemoration of St. Martha is packed with hidden secrets about becoming a saint if we just look a little deeper. Amen!


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Monday in the 17th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: St. Innocent I (4t - 5th Century)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Jeremiah 13:1-11

Deuteronomy 32: 18…

Matthew 13:31-35

“As close as a loincloth clings to a man’s loins … had I made you my people … but they did not listen.” (see Jeremiah 13:11ff)

After hearing this scripture from Jeremiah the Prophet we have to say: “he says it like it is” and doesn’t flinch using the most graphic examples to get our attention. God wants to be intimately close to us in our most private parts and He wants us to cling to Him no matter what. But we are like people of all the ages: we quickly forget how God has rescued us and how He has led us through the deserts of life. I think that this happens because we most often expect to “see God’s Hand” in more spectacular ways. Certainly not talking about loin clothes! Then, almost as if God, Himself, was laying out the scriptures for this liturgy, we hear this Holy Gospel with its tiny examples of the Kingdom of heaven: mustard seeds, yeast and pearls. It makes me think of the talents when Jesus says to the one who only received one talent – but invested it to get the hundred fold –“… because you have been faithful with the little I gave you … take what the others thought was their rightful gain…” (My own translation of Matthew 25:23ff) This made me think of another popular saying, “we often miss the forest because of the trees” which made me think of my recent trip with my African Dominican brother, Fr. Jude. We drove down from Oregon along the ‘Redwood Highway’ and Fr. Jude couldn’t get over the immense sizes of those trees. I had to remind him that these giant redwoods began with just a tiny seed. And as we drove through one of the biggest of the trees which had a tunnel cut through it base I reminded him that it was most likely that this tree was just a tiny seedling at the time of Jesus’ birth! And, all of this reminded me of my namesake, “doubting Thomas” as we entered into the heart of that giant tree much like Jesus asking us to enter into His life of grace to become a true believer. Can we cling to Him and believe that – like those giant redwoods, which began as tiny seeds - we, too, can experience the “hundred-fold-yield” if we hold on to Him and let His grace guide us always. Amen!

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Thursday in the 16th Week of the Church Yearlast supper 1

Saint for the day: St. Kunigunde (1224-1292)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Jeremiah 2: 1 … 13

Psalm 36

Matthew 13:10-17


“To them that have, more will be given them.” (Matthew 13:12)

In the photograph, above, it’s easy to see that the apostles were gathered around Jesus at the Last Supper. “Much was being given to them…” However, it’s important to notice that Judas is the only one who is turned away from the face of Jesus and the only one without a halo. Much was being given to those apostles as it is being given to us. But we always have the possibility of turning away from that love and that gift. Free choice is always there and we can always turn it down. Sometime back I remember hearing that astrophysicists had discovered “the God particle” deep in space. Yet, as far as I know, nothing much has come of this discovery. In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples “Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven has been granted to you but not to them.”

And the disciples are sent out by Jesus to proclaim the Kingdom by bringing sight to the blind and hearing to those who the bridgeare deaf to the wonders of God. It’s interesting to note that Jesus doesn’t send them out to explain the wonder of God but, rather, to open the eyes and ears of those who cannot see or hear.When something is explained (the word means ‘flattened out’) something is lost in the translation and we lose the mystery of God’s presence. We are not expected to find the “God fog pathparticle” or to unravel the mysteries of creation but simply put, to encounter the wonder of God’s love and mercy for His people. St. Thomas Aquinas says, “no one goes after evil for evil’s sake, but only when they perceive it as good.” The Israelites in the desert didn’t follow pagan ways because they were wrong, but sought Baal thinking that this God might be better than Yahweh who appears to have left them in this desert wilderness.

In the Gospel Jesus tells why he uses parables, so that hearing they may not understand and seeing they may not comprehend.” Then He lays out this harsh statement: “To them that have, more will be given. To them that have not, even what they have will be take away.” On the surface these statements seem cruel but I think that we have to approach it from another angle and see that God begins to feed us with “spiritual milk” and we need to grow with that food at first. If we balk at “this wretched milk” we will find ourselves out in the “weeping and gnashing” area but if we stay in close contact with our God he will gradually give us more and more of the necessary means to grow in His love.   It's kind of like when the fog lifts over the Golden Gate Bridge on or the path we are walking on.  Amen!

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17th Sunday in the Church Year

Saint for the day: St. Pantaleon (275-303)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

1st Kings 3:5, 7-12

Psalm 119

Romans 8:28-30

Matthew 13:44-52

“Solomon prayed to God: ‘Give your servant therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.’” (1st Kings 3:5)

 Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “The Wisdom of Solomon” and we can see the essence of it in today’s first scripture reading from 1st Kings. Go back and read it again. It’s like an outline of how we should approach the Lord if we really seek to follow Him correctly. The key is in that second paragraph: “Because you have asked for this – not for a long life for yourself nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding… I give you a heart so wise and understanding …”

 Just recently I was speaking with a women who didn’t think that God was answering her prayers. She said that she had been praying coarsely that her son would not seek a way of life that she perceived as wrong. She didn’t know why God wasn’t listening to her prayers. I had to remind her that God always listens to our prayers but it us who don’t hear Him say, “Not right now. Or not the way you prayed.” Wasn’t it St. Francis who prayed, “Lord! Help me to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can not accept and the wisdom to know the difference.” Notice the emphasis is on the “me” and not the other way around. I can’t make someone love God. All I can do is ask God to help me love that person – just as they are – (the way I let God accepted me) and watch what will happen. A friend of mine once told me about a time when his mother was on a tirade about his older brothers “way of life.” She wanted him to kneel down right there in the kitchen and tell God how sorry he was or else leave the house. They got deeper and deeper into a loud and fierce argument – so vicious that the neighbors called the police. When the police came they took the mother away thinking that she was crazy and the cause of all the commotion!

Most of the time when we want something to change we forget that any change needs to begin with our own change of heart. If we want people to love us we need to begin loving others. In most of the miracles of Jesus, He’s the one who asks, “What do you want?” There’s a lesson there for us in that God’s healing presence is most often found when it applies to something outside of ourselves. In today’s Holy Gospel Jesus gives us the insight that the Kingdom of God is most often a treasure that we must search for. In the same way we need to search for that wisdom that Solomon found: “because you asked for understanding to know what is right…I give you the treasure besides.” (My own interpretation of essence of this reading.)

 Any change that we perceive is needed in our world always begins with a change in ourselves. “Oh Lord, grant me an understanding heart to know what I need to change in my own life before I try to change things in the world around me.” Amen!

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Wednesday in the 16th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: St. Bridget (1303? - 1373)grace 2

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10

Psalm 71

Matthew 13:1-9

“Jesus told them this parable: ‘A sower went out to sow and some seed fell on the path … some fell on rocky ground … some fell among thorns … but some seed fell on rich soil, and produced … a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

These words from today’s Holy Gospel must be important for us to hear since we just heard this same scripture two Sunday’s ago! So, rather than just saying, “Ho, hum! Heard that before…” we need to look closely to see how it still speaks to us. I think the bottom line might be that we need to be careful about how we put ourselves into this parable. It’s not so much a matter of trying to see which of the examples given reflect our lives but to perhaps see that there are times when we might be one or the other or even all four. I don’t gracethink it would be difficult to look at our own lives and see how we let the love and mercy of God enter into our day-to-day experience of journeying with Jesus. But we also need to look at what robs us of the hundred fold yield that Jesus wants to give us? If God “gifts us” with the faith and we just let is sit there on the edge of our lives; not actively receiving it and making it a part of our faith walk then it is useless. I think I can let you continue on your own to see how this parable might apply in your own lives. Remember: our “journey of faith” is not a “once-in-a-lifetime-event” but an on-going way of life that must be nurtured by God’s love on a regular basis. You can use the parable of the “Talents” to help you see that the gift of faith is a two-way-street that requires each of us to – not only receive, but, also to act on. God’s love and mercy are always being poured out to us but it’s up to each of us to allow God’s love to reach into the depths of our lives where it can yield the “Hundred-fold” return. I love the last line of this Holy Gospel: “Whoever has ears ought to hear!” If we go back to the opening verse of St. John’s Gospel we hear: “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God. And the Word was God!” This is what we all need to “hear” and grasp and make real in our lives in order to produce that hundred-fold yield. Amen!

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Province of St. Joseph

The Dominican friars of the Province of St. Joseph were founded in 1806 by Edward Dominic Fenwick, O.P., an American who had joined the English Province of the Order as a young man during its exile in Belgium. Fenwick eventually returned to the United States with the dream of establishing the Order in his native land. Read More

Our Motto

The Order of Preachers, hence the abbreviation OP used by members, more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Roman Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic de Guzman in France, and approved by Pope Honorius III (1216–27) on 22 December 1216. Membership in the Order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and lay Dominicans.

Founded to preach the Gospel and to combat heresy, the Dominican motto is Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare. To praise, to bless and to preach.

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