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The Epiphany of the Lord

The celebration of the Epiphany varies greatly among the many different Christian traditions and cultures.  Originating from the Easter Church in the fourth century, the celebration of the Epiphany ranks third in importance, behind Easter and Pentecost.  While the celebration was accepted by the Western Church in the fifth century, its celebration has varied over history, but still remains an important part of our Christmas season.


The Word for the Epiphany of the Lord Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

Our first reading comes from the later chapters of Isaiah, referred to as Trito-Isaiah or "third" Isaiah.  As with the other post Babylonian Exile prophecies, we see a vision of Jerusalem as a shining beacon to all the nations.  These nations both near and far, will bring their riches as tribute.  The significance of the gifts of gold and frankincense as mentioned in this prophecy are not lost on Matthew when we get to hi…

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

In accordance with the new Roman Calendar, the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated as part of the Christmas Season on the first Sunday after the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas).  And it seems only fitting, because it is the addition of a child that turns a couple into a family.  And it is that family experience that serves as the basic formation of that child.  Just as we are, in part, a product of our own family experience, Jesus too was a product, in part, of his family experience.  Both Mary and Joseph said "yes" when they were approached by the angel of the Lord, and the three of them together, as family, give us a model of family life.



The Word for the Feast of the Holy Family 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28
Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
Luke 2:41-52

Our first reading is from the first book of Samuel.  Samuel, as we may recall, was the last of the Judges of Israel and a pivotal figure in their transition from a tribal structure to a monarchy…

4th Sunday of Advent

This Sunday is the 4th and final Sunday of Advent.  The Nativity is quickly approaching, and like an expectant parent, the reality of what is to come is beginning to set in.  During the Sundays of Advent we’ve been hearing the prophecy of God sending us a Savior, and now with that moment nearly upon us, we see the prophecy in our readings becoming much more specific, giving flesh to what was just an idea, leaving no doubt that this is going to happen, and that we should be prepared…


The Word for the 4th Sunday of Advent Micah 5:1-4a
Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45

Our first reading comes from the Book of the Prophet Micah.  While Micah is a contemporary of Isaiah, and his prophetic message is similar, Micah is not a native of Jerusalem like Isaiah, so through his voice we see the view of an outsider looking in.  Though we don’t hear from Micah very often in the Liturgy, his prophecy is the one that gives us the birthplace of our Savior… Bethlehem-Ephrath…

3rd Sunday of Advent

“Shout for Joy!”  The opening lines of our first reading express the feelings we should be having during this third Sunday of Advent.  Also known as Gaudete Sunday (Latin for “rejoice”), we celebrate that we have now past the half-way point of our penitent reflection… the “hump day” of Advent, if you will.  What have we to be so joyful about?  Our readings provide the answer…


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Psalm 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke3:10-18

Our first reading comes from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah.  Though we don’t hear from Zephaniah very often in our Sunday Liturgies, and though the book itself isn’t that long (only 3 chapters), the importance of his message not only can be seen in his predecessors Jeremiah and Baruch, but may even have had a profound effect on the Judean monarchy itself by moving King Josiah to begin his campaign of religious reform.  Our passage this week, though similar to the passages we heard from both Jere…

2nd Sunday of Advent

A promise fulfilled.  This is the promise of Advent.  This is the promise of Christ.  As we begin our new Liturgical cycle with this season of Advent, we take a lesson from the prophets… that our hope for salvation will be fulfilled.  How do I know this?  Let’s look at our readings for this week…


The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Baruch 5:1-9
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Luke 3:4, 6

Our first reading is from the Book of Baruch, who was an assistant to the prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah, as we may remember from our readings last week, is one of the prophets of the Babylonian Exile.  The Book of Baruch is reflective of that same period, though unlike the Book of Jeremiah, no known Hebrew version of this book has been found, making it one of the Bible’s Deuterocanonical books (those included in the Catholic Bible, but not the Hebrew or Protestant Bibles).  In our passage for this week, Jerusalem (currently in Exile) is told to “take off your robe of mournin…

1st Sunday of Advent

When we celebrate the secular New Year, we like to reminisce about the past year while looking anxiously ahead to the year ahead.  With this first Sunday of Advent the Church rings in the new year in much the same way... remembering how God promised to send us a Savior and the memory of that fulfillment through Jesus Christ, and looking forward to the time when Christ will return.


The Word for the 1st Sunday of Advent Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Our first reading comes from the book of the Prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah, as we may remember, came to his calling under the great reformer King Josiah, but after seeing his king fall in the battle of Megiddo, and witness to the failure of the Kingdom to maintain it's devotion to God, turned his prophecy to warnings of the coming fall of Jerusalem and the subsequent Exile.  But even as he saw the fall of the Kingdom, he also foresaw a time when it would be restored, and it…

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

The celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King marks the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.  Although being one of the newest feast days on the Church calendar, having been established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, its importance in the life of Christians should not be overlooked nor taken lightly.  While this may be a relatively new solemnity for the Church, it’s roots run quite deep, as our readings will show:


The Word for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Daniel 7:13-14
Psalm 93:1, 1-2, 5
Revelation 1:5-8
John 18:33b-37

Our first reading comes from the Book of Daniel.  As I wrote last week, the Book of Daniel is to the Hebrew Scriptures what the Book of Revelation is to the Christian scriptures.  Our passage this week sounds as if it could be coming from Revelation, as we hear about Daniel’s vision of the Son of Man, being received by God and being granted dominion over all creation.  Whether you read this from a Jewish perspective or from a Chris…

33rd Sudnay of Ordinary Time

Our journey through Ordinary Time is almost at an end.  Next week we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (or simply, Christ the King), marking the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.  In our readings, Jesus also knows the end is near.  We have spent this long stretch of Ordinary Time walking with Jesus and his disciples through the Gospel, and now, nearing the city of Jerusalem for the last time, our thoughts turn to the end times…


The Word for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Daniel 12:1-3
Psalm 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Mark 13:24-32

Our first reading comes from the book of Daniel.  Daniel is to the Hebrew Scriptures what the book of Revelation is to the Christian Scriptures… a prophet’s dream-like vision of the end of days, where the righteous will be saved, and the unrighteous condemned to Hell.  The book of Daniel isn’t a prophetic book, but rather more like the book of Job, taking its name from the story’s hero.  While Danie…

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

As members of the Church we are taught to give of our time, our talents, and our treasure in service to the Gospel.  But how much is enough?  Scripture is quite clear on this subject… this is an “all in” proposition, as our readings this week tell us:


The Word for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time 1 Kings 17:10-16
Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
Hebrews 9:24-28
Mark 12:38-44

Our first reading comes from the 1st Book of Kings.  In our passage this week, Israel is suffering a great drought, and the great prophet Elijah is on the run from King Ahab.  He comes to the gates of Zarephath, a city North of Israel between the cities of Tyre and Sidon.  There he meets a widow and her son.  Tired and thirsty from his journey, he asks the widow for some water and some bread, whereupon we learn that they too are suffering, having  only enough flour and oil to last one more day.  Elijah asks her again to make him some bread, and that the Lord will make sure that her jars of flour and oil will no t run…

The Solemnity of All Saints

Since the beginning of the Church her people have always recognized those who were models of holiness and piety.  They were given the tile “saint,” and what began as a local custom developed into a more structured practice under the Holy See beginning in the 10th century.  In recognition of the Solemnity of All Saints falling on a Sunday, we forego our usual readings in favor of these chosen specifically for this special holiday:


The Word for the Solemnity of All Saints Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
1 John 3:1-3
Matthew 5:1-12a

Our first reading comes from the Book of Revelation… probably one of the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and confusing books of all the Bible.  And it’s no wonder… with its apocalyptic style thick with symbolic images and numerology, it can be hard to follow.  So let’s try to unpack our passage for this week.  The passage opens with John seeing an angel, speaking with God’s authority, to the four other angels charged with Earth’s…

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Are there times where you feel “unworthy?”  It’s a feeling we have all experienced at one time or another.  No matter how severely you may feel this way, however, our readings this week remind us that God is there for us, always...


The Word for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Jeremiah 31:7-9
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Hebrews 5:1-6
Mark 10:46-52

Our first reading comes from the book of the Prophet Jeremiah.  As you may remember, Jeremiah came to his calling as a prophet under King Josiah, the great reformer of the later Southern Kingdom of Judah.  Jeremiah saw the eventual downfall of the kingdom and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, but even though he foresaw the fall of Judah, this week’s passage gives us a vision of redemption and hope… that God will restore the people of Israel.  Even in the midst of impending tragedy, Jeremiah could see God’s great mercy.  How can Jeremiah be so confident of our redemption?  It’s found in our Psalm as we sing, “The Lord has…

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

27th Sunday of Ordinary Time

With Pope Francis concluding his Apostolic Journey to the US by opening the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, our readings for this week are particularly appropriate as they focus on marriage.


The Word for the 27tth Sunday of Ordinary Time Genesis 2:18-24
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Hebrews 2:9-11
Mark 10:2-16

Our first reading is from the second creation story in the Book of Genesis.  Wait… second creation story?  Most Catholics are aware that Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and most are aware that it begins with the story of creation, but unless they’ve engaged in any critical Bible reading or study, any details beyond that tend to get a little fuzzy.  So let me explain…

The first chapter of Genesis does in fact give us the story of creation, starting with “In the beginning,” and very poetically proceeds to give us a day by day description of the events.  When we get to day six, we are told in verse 27, “God created mankind in his image;  in the image of God he …